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Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts

Friday, June 24, 2022

Thoughts and Intentions – I’ve Got to Concentrate! – Purity 766

Thoughts and Intentions – I’ve Got to Concentrate! – Purity 766

Purity 766 06/24/2022  Purity 766 Podcast

Good morning,  

Today’s photo of the fading light of sunset over the dark silhouette of roadside trees comes to us from a friend who has been looking to the skies as of late and captured this scene in their travels a couple of days ago.    

Well, It’s Friday again, so thank God!, and as the sun sets on another work week, for most,  it is my prayer that my friends reflect on their lives and connect with their heavenly Father and seek the peace that comes from Him.   The peace that assures us that He is in control and that He can make a way where there seems to be no way.   

Last night, I was blessed to host the concluding zoom session of the Freedom in Christ course that I was facilitating and was reminded in the lesson that happiness comes from being content, or as the lesson put it from “wanting what we have”, rather than believing that happiness is only obtainable by getting something we don’t have”.  

As we have gone through life, we may not have accomplished all of our dreams and we may still have hope of accomplishing things on our “bucket lists” but as last nights lesson taught, happiness is available to us all, right now, by being content. 

Undoubtedly, we currently possess somethings that we desired and hoped would make us happy. So what happened? Didn’t getting the things you currently have make you happy? I would imagine they did but over time the satisfaction of getting those things seemed wear off. Why?  You probably took them for granted. You forgot what you life was like before you had them. And most likely, you stopped being thankful for their presence in your life.   There is also the possibility that you lost them but we won’t go there!  I am trying to encourage you to be content after all.  

But guess what contentment doesn’t just count our blessings in some myopic view where we ignore the bad by focusing on the good.  Contentment is possible only when we honestly assess all the aspects of our lives and declare, because of Christ in my life (if there is nothing else, Christians all have Him), it is well with my soul!   

It well with my soul! It is! and I am content with my life and I am happy, no joyful, because of my relationship to God I have peace with Him and I realize that He is the One who gives me acceptance, security, and significance.  This peace and joy goes beyond understanding and overcomes circumstances.   

But let’s keep it real guys, we have responsibilities in this life to God, to others, and to the things that He has provided us with.  And we are to be good stewards of what He has entrusted us with: our relationships, our stuff, and what He has reveal to us.  

Yesterday, I had the “day off” from my day job but I decided to be a responsible steward in a few areas of my life that needed attention.  

Although I have a relationship with the One who is perfect, Jesus, I am still a work in progress and there is often a lot of work to do!  With my life divided with work and “ministry”- discipling myself if no one else, and having my time split between households, I have limited time to tend to my property “down by the River” so I have to be intentional to meet the regular needs of maintenance around my house, among other things I have to mow the lawn and tend to things in my backyard. 

Previously, being annoyed with mowing around a certain bush in my backyard I made the executive decision to remove the obstacle and went to work with a set of loppers to remove it from my path permanently.  This final solution was invigorating as I “took care of business” and got rid of it.  But did I? 

I know you may be thinking about roots here, and that is a concern and I am keeping an eye on that situation, in case this bush wants to come to life again, but  like I said I have limited time fore yard work and when I laid waste to that bush I just through the branches into a brush pile near the “burning barrel” that the previous owners left on the property.  So yesterday, with the threat of rain in the forecast I decided that I needed to go out and mow the lawn but before I did I decided that I would start a fire and through all the brush in the burning barrel to be consumed.  

Since my frenzy to get rid of the bush, I forgot how big it was. And while I intended to mow the lawn after burning the brush, I never got around to it.   Once the fire started my concentration was focused on getting rid of all the brush on my property.   I hate to admit it but there is a little bit of attention deficit disorder  rolling around in my wheel house and when I set off on projects around the house my progress is somewhat chaotic as I get drawn into activity streams in which I did not originally intend to tread.  

My lack of concentration reminds my of the scene in the 1980 comedy Airplane, where the main character is enlisted to land the plane and while he is under stress and focusing on the task at hand we are given a view of his thought life with a echoing voice over in which we can hear him thinking:

“I’ve got to concentrate (concentrate…. Concentrate….)

I’ve got to concentrate (concentrate…. Concentrate….)

Hello! (...hello! ...hello!) Echo! (...echo! ...echo!)

Pinch hitting... for Pedro Borbon... Manny Mota... Mota... Mota...!   (https://youtu.be/CahNAauFgys)  a link to the clip is on the blog today. 

Anyway, once I started burning the brush, I realized some of the pieces were huge and so I got my trusty loppers to try to make the process of burning the brush more manageable.  While getting the loppers was absolutely necessary for the task at hand, once I had them in my hands I was drawn to use them to do more.  

At first I took on the bush at hand. Once that was gone, and the burning barrel was as hot  and the fire was raging, I took care of the small pile of brush on which the bush had been deposited. I not only took care of that pile but I was ripping up all the fresh weeds that growing through it, all being consumed. After that ara was cleared, I remembered that I had another brush pile on my property that I made after I first moved in, so I started burning that stuff.  Eventually both piles were gone, but I had those loppers in my hands and the next thing I knew I was going all over my property cutting off branches and trimming trees to remove anything else that might impeded my progress while mowing the lawn.  

But the process of doing all of this tired me out.  In the end I decided the grass wasn’t that long and could wait a while before it needs to be mowed.  Not only that this latest round of “lopping” resulted in a new huge brush pile that will have to be burned another day.  I decide that I had enough of outside and I would go in and “relax”.  

But did I?   Not I was full blown A.D.D at that point and because I had temporarily misplaced an item in my bedroom, I found myself cleaning our my closet and reorganizing my massive collection of books and making the decision to donate some I no longer had need of or interest in.  

After I made great progress there I had realized I hadn’t prepared for my Zoom meeting and finally sat down to review last night’s lesson.  Exhausted by my efforts, I actually took a nap and got up just in time, fully refreshed, to start the meeting.  

Might seem like a chaotic bunch of activity may make you think that I had lost peace in this storm of activity, but that wasn’t the case at all.  Even though, admittedly the day was a little crazy,  I had an enduring sense of peace though out it all.   

As I burned the brush, the flames in the burning barrel reminded me of the fires of hell and I was very content that  didn’t have to worry that would not be my ultimate destiny as I had feared before coming to Christ.  

I also thought God as a consuming fire and the work of the Holy Spirit to help us burn up all that didn’t matter. I had thought to use this illustration of how that whatever problems we have, bad habits, or besting sins we suffer from, if we give them to the Lord there is nothing that His Holy Spirit can’t consume and overcome.  

I thought about how while I was feeding the fire I had to step back at times and wait for the fire to do its work and how this was analogous of how while we do have to be intentional to work on our problems that we also have to allow the Lord to do His work in us.  We can strive and accomplish much in our own strength but when we are partnered with the Lord, He can give us permanent solutions.  The Lord will consume whatever we surrender to His Holy Fire.   

In cleaning my room, I faced my own mortality and had to come to peace with the fact that I may not have time to read all of the books I have collected and that some of them no longer applied to or were meaningful to my life’s journey any more and that they could be let go of.  “I’m never going to read this.” So I let it go.  I’m still  working on that but I like the fact that I now know where everything is in my room and because my time is so precious I won’t have to waste some of it looking things I have lost track of.  

I hope you can see how even in the midst of chaotic household chores, there was a continuous contemplation and connect with my Lord.  And even though, there was a lot of dealing with things that “were not as they should be” I was never discontent, not really.  I wanted to put things in order because I am extremely grateful for having them. I love them. I love my house and I love my things. But I love the God that provided me with this life where I can enjoy them most of all.  

When I think about my life in the context of God where my intention is to be the person God created me to be, I have peace. I have joy. I have happiness because I am content. I want the things I have already and look forward to what the Lord has for me today.

You know I love the fact that the Lord knows our thoughts and hearts and I love the spiritual reality that exists where we are connected to Him through prayer and how our thinking of or talking to him simply is perhaps the purest form of prayer.      Hebrews 4:12 speaks of the word of God and how it seems to be “reading us as we read it” but the scripture says more than that.   

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NKJV)
12  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

John 1 calls Jesus the word of God. As often as Hebrews 4:12 is quoted it, verse 13 doesn’t get mentioned. But in that verse we see the Word is personalized. “No creature is hidden from His sight.  A ll things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. That’s Christ! That’s God. He sees us. He sees our thoughts and intents of our hearts!  

So keep walking, talking, and thinking about God. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, He never leaves you or forsakes you and He longs for you to pursue His Truth and live the abundant life where you can know peace, joy, love, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, and self-control  by directing your thoughts and intentions in the way He would have you go. God bless you.

(forgive the typos today, and everyday- running late) 

______________________________________________________________

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 17:23 (NLT2)
23  I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

Today’s Bible verse speaks of the spiritual reality that we are united with Christ and that He prays for us to be in unity with one another so that the world will see that Christ was sent here for them and that He is the Lord and Savior that everyone desperately needs.  

This section of scripture is a prayer from Jesus to the Father where He prays for us to know we are secure in His love and that we be united so that others will know Him.   

When the church is operating properly there is unity and joy. When brothers and sisters in Christ come together in unity they can accomplish much for good and be a witness to the goodness of God here on the earth.  

Christians united in “missions” foreign or domestic can help communities solve earthly problems through providing help in the areas of construction, medicine, and technology.  They can also just provide care by addressing immediate needs of food, water, and shelter.  They can provide emotional care and concern. And they can give the most valuable help with the presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to provide people with the way to make peace with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, and obtain a new and eternal life.   

But when the church doesn’t act properly, we give our faith a bad name. Church abuses and power plays and disunity gives non believers reasons to avoid the church.  

So it is Christs prayer to the father that live and unity and His teaching on being reconciled to our brothers and sisters and on forgiveness, provide us with the means to have unity.  We need to forgive one another and agree with one another about the importance of our faith to help the world to be united to answer Christ’s prayer.  

So minister to one another, forgive one another, and encourage one in our faith to create the harmony of unity that will testify to the world that Jesus really can save and transform the lives of the ones who put their faith in Him.

 

 

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

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Night Hag and Other Evil Spirits

The Old Testament also ascribes names to some evil spirits. Lilith (translated “Night Hag” by the RSV) is a demon who will inhabit Edom after it experiences God’s desolating judgment (Is 34:14). Although this is the only time Lilith is mentioned in the Old Testament, she was a well-known evil spirit in Mesopotamia. She also figured prominently in later noncanonical Jewish texts, as, for example, in a Jewish targum, which records the following prayer: “May the Lord bless you in all your deeds and protect you from the demons of the night [Lilith] and from anything that frightens and from demons of evening and morning, from evil spirits and phantoms.”2 Lilith also makes her appearance on some of the Aramaic incantation bowls. One bowl reads, “Bound is the bewitching Lilith who haunts the house of Zakoy.”

In Isaiah 34:14, the spooky and terrifying place of desolation is portrayed as being inhabited by wild animals and other demonic spirits. This passage speaks of Edom becoming a den for jackals and an enclosure for hyenas. It then goes on to say “demons” (daimonia), “phantoms” and “goat spirits,” as well as Lilith, will haunt this place.

In a similar way the Isaianic prophecy of the desolation of Babylon predicts that it will become a haunt for “goat spirits” and other sorts of demons (Is 13:21). As in Isaiah 34:14, the Greek Old Testament uses the word daimonia (“demons”) to translate some of the Hebrew words here for wild animals. There was a strong connection between wild animals and evil spirits throughout antiquity. The “goat demon” was thought to be in the form of a shaggy he-goat

In the Old Testament Levitical law the goat demons also appear. Israel was prohibited from offering sacrifices to goat idols. The law states: “They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves” (Lev 17:7a). Rehoboam violated this statute when he set up “high places” and “appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made” (2 Chron 11:15). In both of these instances demonic involvement in pagan cults is reaffirmed.

Witches, Mediums and Spiritists

Occultic practices were common among the neighbors of Israel, and they proved to be a great temptation to God’s people. Consequently we find numerous commands and admonitions throughout the Old Testament, warning Israel to stay away from every form of magical practice. The Torah specifically says, “Do not practice divination or sorcery” (Lev 19:26). In the Torah the most comprehensive list of occultic prohibitions is given:

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. (Deut 18:10–12)

Throughout the Old Testament these kinds of occultic practices are often catalogued, either in a list of prohibitions or in a historical narrative where the sins of a key figure are mentioned.

Manasseh, one of the kings of Judah, was guilty in the eyes of the chronicler for breaking the occult prohibitions of the Torah. He worshiped the Canaanite gods, practiced astrology or a form of astral religion (“bowed down to all the starry host and worshiped them”), “sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists” (2 Chron 33:1–6). The chronicler concludes, “He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord provoking him to anger.”

Likewise, Hoshea, the last king of the northern kingdom, led Israel away from God to pursue the worship of foreign gods and engage in occultic practices, including astrology. The text says they set up sacred stones and Asherah poles, they worshiped idols, they imitated the nations around them, they bowed down to all the starry hosts, they worshiped Baal, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters in the fire, and they practiced divination and sorcery. The biblical writer interprets their action as selling “themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger.” As a result, the Lord was “very angry with Israel,” removing them from his presence (2 Kings 17:7–23).

In the Old Testament none of these occult practices are ever described in any detail. Instead, they are usually mentioned in a list and condemned. There was a clear assumption on the part of the various Old Testament writers that the readers would know precisely what was being referred to.

In Old Testament history burning children in a fire as part of pagan worship was something that occurred on more than one occasion (see Jer 7:31; 19:5; 32:35; Mic 6:7). Outside of the Old Testament, however, there is little information that describes the practice of child sacrifice.

As we have seen from the accounts about Manasseh and Hoshea, astrology was widely practiced during their times. Biblical writers describe it as “bowing down to the starry hosts.” We would be remiss to think they viewed the stars merely as material objects. Throughout the history of the ancient Near East, the stars were deified and thought to represent various gods and goddesses. In fact, the book of Amos actually names two Assyrian astral deities that Israel worshiped: “Sakkuth your king and Kaiwan your star god” (Amos 5:26). Jeremiah mentions the worship of Ishtar, the “Queen of Heaven” (Jer 7:18; 44:17–19). Then, as well as in the later Greco-Roman forms of astrology, the stars were believed to control the unfolding of history. The law expressly prohibited Israel from worshiping the stars (Deut 4:19), in spite of the fact that this was the common practice of all the other nations around Israel.

In the ancient Near East many forms of divination were practiced. One of the most popular forms was liver inspection (hepatoscopy). Perhaps, because the liver was the seat of the blood, and thus the center of life, it was especially important in popular belief as an object that could help determine the future. Another well-known form of divination was necromancy, the conjuring of the dead, of which King Saul was culpable when he visited the witch at Endor (1 Sam 28:3–25). Since divination was closely associated with magic in all its forms, biblical writers roundly condemned it (see Lev 19:26, 31).

Magic, witchcraft and sorcery have played a part in every society in the history of religion. The main features are always the same. Of special significance for our topic is the fact that these practices were based on a firm belief in the realm of good and evil spirits. Those who practiced magic believed the supernatural beings could be manipulated to bring positive benefit or harm. For the covenant people of God these practices were regarded as evil and detestable to the Lord.[1]

 

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 57–60.

 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

What will make Me Happy? – The Trap of the Enemy – Purity 662


What will make Me Happy? – The Trap of the Enemy – Purity 662

Purity 662 02/21/2022  Purity 662 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the shadows of palm trees falling on a path at the Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin Fl comes to us from yours truly as my wife, TammyLyn, and I decided to take a hike and enjoy some of God’s creation yesterday while on our honeymoon.  However, we discovered that we were not alone in the wilderness as upon closer inspection this photo reveals that the upper shadow in this picture contains an eastern diamondback rattlesnake who was making his way across our path!  

Our reptilian friend reminded us that just like Adam and Eve, we are not alone in this wilderness called Earth and that we must be careful as we make our way through life. We must not only respect nature and the wild animals it contains, but we must also beware of the dark spiritual forces of the enemy who seek to steal, kill, and destroy.      

The enemy’s tactics are to deceive us and to tempt us to make us forget who we are and what’s important in life.  He loves to tempt us to make us self sufficient and to seek our happiness in the circumstances of this world.  Satan likes to drive us to distraction chasing after things that he knows will not satisfy us and that will keep us busy.  It’s a crafty trap that he sets for us and this morning I was unwittingly ready to run head long into it!

As we enter into the last full day of our vacation, I was overcome by a sense of urgency this morning as I realized that our time in Florida is quickly fading away and I have a desire to “make the most of our time here”.  I awoke earlier than normal this morning with various ideas floating through my head about what we should do to make it the “perfect day” and I struggled with anxiety about where we should go and what we should do.    

As my anxiety about what choices would be best increased, I realized that where we go and what we do today really won’t matter all that much.  Luckily, I stopped in my contemplations long enough to realize that none of the various options for activities and destinations will fulfill me or make our day “perfect” or make our honeymoon complete.     

So, although I have a few ideas of what we could do today, I’m not as bothered by it now because I realize that the important thing about our honeymoon will be the time that TammyLyn and I spend together enjoying each other’s company.    

My desire to “make the day perfect” by choosing “the right” things to do lies at the heart of mankind’s problems and reveals the independent spirit of anti-Christ that the enemy loves to sow into our lives.   

Instead of finding peace and joy in our relationships with God and the people He has put in our lives, the enemy drives us to distraction to work for or to choose our own circumstantial happiness that will either disappoint us or cause us to chase after pleasant experiences continually as a temporary remedy to our feelings of unease.  

Recently, I was in a grocery store with my wife, and I stood back and looked at all the different products and foods that the store offered and how the store offered various treats, products, and foods that could “meet our needs” or “satisfy our appetites”.  There was everything from fruit and vegetables, meats, baked goods, and frozen products. 

As I looked through the store, I recalled my life before Christ and how I often would take my kids to the store on the weekends and how I would buy various foods or snacks to make my kids and I “happy” and how we would decide what we would buy based on what we were “in the mood” for.   Whatever I and the kids wanted, we would purchase and consume in hopes it would “make us happy” for the day.  

Back then, one of the things I used to grab to  “make me happy” was alcoholic beverages.  While I had a few brands of beer that I was a loyal consumer of, on occasion, I would feel the need to “switch it up” and buy a new beer or other alcoholic beverage.   My regular brand wouldn’t thrill me so I would try something new.  Alcoholic beverage companies were only happy to oblige me as there were plenty of potent potables to choose from and they would even make “seasonal” choices available to provide options that “put you in the mood” for summer, or autumn, or winter, or the holidays at various times of the year.  The beer manufactures, and food companies for that matter, continue to provide their customers with lots of choices to “make them happy”.  

Well one time I can recall shopping with my kids, and we had gotten the food and snacks we wanted for the day, and I just needed to decide which beer or alcoholic beverage I ‘needed”.   On this particular occasion, I just couldn’t decide.  None of the options appealed to me and I waffled in deciding until the point I was apparently visibly affected by my anxiety because eventually my daughter said: “Dad, just pick something!”    

I don’t remember what I picked that day, I might have grabbed more than one beverage option, but I do remember feeling a sense of hopelessness because I realized it didn’t really matter what I picked because none of the products in the store offered any lasting satisfaction.  Whatever beer or snack foods I chose didn’t matter because I would just be back to choose more the following weekend.      

So this morning, as I tried to decide which location or activity we would do today, I realized I was in the same trap as I was way back when.  The enemy loves when we torment ourselves with our decisions over what will make us happy, and we forget that the important thing in life is to love the people in our lives and to love the God that gave us life.  

So as I will lead us in whatever direction that the Spirit moves me today, I will thank Him for bringing us here and for providing us with all that we have to enjoy as a man and wife on their honeymoon.   

Today’s focus will be on my relationship with my wife and my God, and I won’t put too much thought in “doing everything right” or “making everything perfect”.  

So as you go through this day, don’t ask “what will make me happy?”  Instead remind yourself that in Christ, you have the answers to life and death, and you already have all that you will ever need. 

No drink, food, location, thing, or experience can give you a sense of happiness that can surpass the peace and the joy that you receive from the Lord when you know you are His and He has set you free.   

Life is all about choices but remember that the choice that matters is the one to come into harmony with God by making your peace with Him through Jesus Christ and then making the decision to abide in Him and to follow Him all the days of your life. 

No matter what you choose in life, when you are walking and talking with God, you can be sure you are going in the right direction because you will find peace and rest for your soul that comes from knowing that there is nothing that you lack, for in Christ you have received all you could ever want or need.  


Today’s Bible verse come to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 2:16 (NLT2)
16  For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

Today’s Bible verse answers the question: who can understand God?

One of the obstacles to knowing the Lord is false humility.  Some will accuse Christians of being arrogant for claiming the assurance of their salvation or claiming to know the meaning and purpose for their life that is revealed in God’s word or for claiming to have a personal relationship with God.   

Rather than agreeing with the word of God to know about their heavenly Father, these accusers of the brethren will claim that they have more respect for God because they don’t presume to know anything about Him, as they will choose to accept, or at least consider, all of man’s various views and opinions regarding God.  

Instead of saying anything definitive about God or stating what they believe to be true about God, they will consider themselves wise by claiming ignorance and humility. 

The questions:

“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?” And “Who knows enough to teach him?” from today’s verse reflect that ignorance and that false humility.  

The logical progression of these two questions shows us how skeptics would claim that we not only can not be sure that we know anything about God (who can know His thoughts)  but it also reflects that accusation against those that claim to have knowledge of God or a relationship with Him.  

“Who knows enough to teach him?” Could be seen as an indictment that it is best not to even say anything about God because our knowledge of Him is imperfect.  It’s basically saying: “Listen, you can’t know God so don’t try to “teach” him to me or anyone else” or it can equally express their belief that someone’s claim of knowing God is the height of arrogance, “Oh I guess you know it all and could teach God a thing or two, huh?”  

Well, I love Paul’s use of these questions because their spirit of disbelief is still alive today as it was in his day,  and his following statement completes the argument of “who can know God” by claiming the special knowledge that comes through the Holy Spirit that lives in Christ’s disciples: the mind of Christ.  

For the non-believer,  the things of God are foolishness and the idea of knowing God or teaching others about God are equally foolish because the truth about God is spiritually discerned and the only ones who can truly know God are the ones that have made peace with Him by placing their faith in Jesus Christ and who have been made spiritually alive through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Christians have the mind of Christ because the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, lives in us.  

So who can know God?  Those of us in Christ can!  The Lord has been gracious to reveal to us the truth of who He is through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have been given the mind of Christ to know God and to make Him known.  

So be confident in your knowledge of God and be bold to speak the truth about Him in the hopes that the Holy Spirit will work through you to teach Him to others.

 

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

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Codependency: Balancing an Unbalanced Relationship.

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 his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

III. Causes of Codependency

What draws people into destructive, codependent relationships? The answer is most often found in their childhood pain—a past pain that impacts their adult choices. In reality, codependent people are grown-ups who have never grown up.

The Bible refers to immature grown-ups by using the analogy of infants feeding on milk instead of on solid food....

"Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness." (Hebrews 5:12-13)

A. What Causes Codependency to Develop in Children?

All children progress through five developmental stages on their way to maturity and adulthood. God designed the family to provide the necessary structure for the healthy completion of each of these stages. If as children we fail to progress successfully from one certain stage to another, our development will be stunted at that stage, and we will grow up to be emotionally immature adults. We will develop adult bodies, but—like children—we will be underdeveloped emotionally. As a result, we will be inclined to be drawn into codependent, needy relationships. Out of tender concern for the protection of children, Jesus gave this general, but strong, warning to adults....

"If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)

Five Stages of Childhood Development

God bestows on parents the major responsibility of nurturing their children so that they will not be love-starved—an emotional state that sets them up to "look for love in all the wrong places."

#1 The Helpless Stage

Babies need to bond with their parents because they are helpless and totally dependent for all of their basic needs (including the three inner needs for love, for significance, and for security). If your parents did not meet your needs, you may have grown into a needy adult who feels "empty" inside—as if there is a hole in your heart.

#2 The Pushing Away Stage

Toddlers need to begin to push away from their parents as a way of exploring their environment and setting boundaries. If your parents did not allow separation, you may have grown into an adult who manipulates others in order to gain some sense of control.

#3 The Conflict Stage

Young children need to learn proper ways of resolving conflict as they begin to test their parents' rules. If you did not learn healthy conflict resolution skills, you may have grown into an adult who lacks problem-solving skills in your adult relationships.

#4 The Independent Stage

Preadolescent children need to grow in independence, but they still need direction and support from their parents. If your parents stifled your assertiveness, you may have grown into a needy, unassertive adult who is dependent on others to validate you.

#5 The Sharing Stage

Adolescents need to learn mutual give-and-take and even sacrificial sharing from their parents as they begin to pursue involvement within their own groups. If you did not see a healthy give-and-take between your parents or see ways of sacrificially helping others, you may have grown into a self-focused adult who forms unequal relationships in order to feel some sense of significance.

Children who grow up being emotionally needy and who are not allowed to learn the skills necessary for forming healthy, adult relationships never learn healthy independence. They have difficulty speaking the truth, asking for what they want, and setting boundaries. They become codependent adults who are addicted to unhealthy relationships because they never learned anything different. Ultimately, they are desperately trying to finish what they started in infancy—to grow up!

 

Question: "As a parent, how can I keep my children from having an unhealthy dependence on me?"

Answer:

  • —Teach your children to pray about their decisions and to depend on God to guide them.
  • —Begin early to train your children to make their own decisions.
  • —For example, early on, allow them to choose between two or three options regarding the clothing they would like to wear.
  • —Praise your children for making good decisions—they will want to repeat actions that are praiseworthy.
  • —Allow your children to experience the repercussions of making bad decisions. Rather than finding a way to rescue them, maintain the boundary line—some of the most memorable lessons are learned the hard way.
  • —Teach your children the practical principles of decision making in regard to age-appropriate topics, such as boundaries, chores, friends, curfews, money, dating, and goals.
  • —Encourage your children to develop friendships with other children and to learn to give and take in relationships.
  • —Teach your children to take care of their possessions, to perform routine household chores, and to prepare meals.
  • —Show your children how to budget their money and how to establish spending priorities.
  • —Enroll your children in group activities or clubs that will expose them to new experiences, enhance their life skills, and develop their self-confidence.
  • —Identify your child's strengths and find avenues in which your child can succeed in developing those strengths.

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

God meant for us to grow. By God's design, you can change and grow in maturity. You can have mature relationships. By God's power, what has been ravaged can be restored. What has been ruined can be redeemed. Ask the Lord to transform your mind with His truth. Realize that the tree rooted in truth will bear much fruit.

"He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." (Psalm 1:3)

Biblical Counseling Keys: Codependency: Balancing an Unbalanced Relationship.

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship