What a Cluster! – Follow the Path to Life and Healing - Purity 531
Purity 531 09/23/2021 Purity 531 Podcast
Today’s photo of a section of the corn maze path under a cloudless September sky comes to us from a friend’s recent visit to Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook NY. Now that we are one full day into the Autumn season I would invite all my friends to boldly grab a pumpkin spiced or apple cider flavored treat this morning and make some plans to mark the season by going out somewhere this weekend or the weeks ahead to celebrate the harvest season.
It’s Thursday, and I couldn’t resist sharing today’s photo of a pathway through the corn, because of the Autumn season, and because it is my habit to feature a road or a pathway for the Thursday photo to encourage my friends to keep traveling along, or to step on to, for the first time, the path of Christian Discipleship. One way you can walk that walk, is by joining me for the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Class that I will be leading this evening at Rock Solid Church at 6:30 pm.
For my fellow travelers along the path that Christ laid before us who are not local, I will be uploading a podcast version of tonight’s teaching on the mt4Christ247 podcast and an outline of sorts for the lesson on the “restricted” blog mt4christ dot org.
One of the biggest complaints about the Christian faith is all those “hypocrites” in the church and I would be dishonest if I were to say I didn’t know what you are talking about. But instead of pointing to the problem people who give the church a bad name because of their licentious lifestyles of sin or because of their hard hearts of self-righteousness, I would encourage you to be the solution by deciding to be an authentic surrendered Christian who is continuously seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness by living out your faith every day.
The separation of church and state, or the spiritual and the secular, should not be a theme in a Christian’s life because the correct view of our existence recognizes “Our Father who art in Heaven” who is sovereign over all His creation.
To experience our new life in Christ, we must agree with the Word of God and apply it to our lives.
Last night I talked to a brother and kindred spirit who knows the wonders of the Lord’s love and the power of our Christian faith. While I don’t know all of his story, I know that Darren Duso started coming to my local church a few years ago and started his on walk on the path of Christian Discipleship (all it is our faith walk) by first attending services and then eventually feeding his curiosity, his heart, and mind by enrolling in Rock Solid Bible Institute where he recently received his Associates degree in Biblical Studies.
But it wasn’t all just “fancy book learning” that has pulled Darren Duso along on the path of Christian Discipleship. Sure there was the joy of our lively worship services and the fellowship of like minded Bible believing Christians to worship and walk with, but Darren has encountered the living God in a real and tangible way, that many on the path come to experience one way or another.
Our church celebrates ever new year by calling for a time of fasting and prayer, encouraging our fellowship to choose to use the time to draw closer to God and to set their spiritual visions and intentions for the new year.
Darren Duso decided to give it a try. Darren suffered from what they call “cluster headaches”. As a result of the pain, those with cluster headaches may experience suicidal thoughts during an attack (giving the alternative name "suicide headache" or "suicidal headache"). It is reported as one of the most painful conditions a person can experience. The pain can be so bad that you consider killing yourself to escape it.
So Darren decided to fast and pray for healing from his cluster headaches a couple of years ago. If I recall correctly it was about a week after he started fasting and praying that Darren testified to the church that his cluster headaches were gone. Like I said, that was a couple of years ago, and if you ask Darren today , he will tell you that they are still gone.
Nice story huh, well as those of us who are walking on the path of Christian Discipleship can tell you, the testimony never ends. Like I said since then Darren has earned a degree from the Bible college, but he is not done seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness yet.
Darren just announced that he is now hosting a podcast where he will be teaching his listeners how to study the Bible and how they can apply its truth to their lives. He and I know the power of God personally and both of us seek to encourage people to pursue a life of faith because of the transformative power it has and because of the purpose and joy it can bring to your life.
So keep walking and talking with God. Seek His kingdom and His righteousness by surrendering to Him and leaving the world and its ways behind. When you start walking in His direction, God will come running into your life to shower you with His love and to teach you the way you should go. Let go of your pride, pain, and hypocrisy. Confess that you need Him and follow where the Lord tells you to go.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
2 Timothy 2:23 (NKJV)
23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.
Today’s verse wisely tells us what Christians are to avoid.
Well, well, well. I could say a lot about this verse. The first thing that comes to mind are politically minded brothers and sisters in Christ that speak the names of politicians more than they speak the name of Jesus. I understand that value of standing for what you believe in but often what I hear from those who are “fighting the power” or who are trying to “make America great again” falls into the category of “foolish and ignorant disputes” that “generate strife”.
What do you mean by that MT! I’m standing for our Christian traditions and the US Constitution! Or “I’m standing against HATE!”
I have no problems with making a stand. What I have a problem with is one thing.
1. To be in the world’s forum of debate, the first thing that goes out the window is the word of God.
There might be a few exceptions to this but if there are the people who stand on the word of God as part of their discussions don’t get a lot of air play because they would be labeled as religious extremists who don’t live in the real world.
The Holy Spirit anointed Word of God is the only thing that will activate real change in people’s lives, so the enemy convinces well meaning Christians to “intelligently” debate their opposition by suggesting man made ways to institute reforms and changes.
The “Christians” in these debates end up failing to use their forum to present the gospel and end up appearing “foolish and ignorant” to their opposition with their watered down Christian values based solutions that just aren’t pragmatic in the real world. Ironically, by trying to be pragmatic, conservative Christian pundits fail to bring people to Christ and alienate the people they are trying to reach.
Unfortunately, our Christian wisdom, the gospel, is foolishness to those who are perishing but it is the only thing that will save people. Christ told us to go out into the world and to preach the gospel and to make disciples (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19). Fighting political battles does neither.
Today’s verse also applies to us in the church. As Christians we are to, as long as it depends on us, to make peace with all people. So fighting over doctrinal differences that are not essential to the gospel must be avoided in order for the church to be effective in its purpose to be used by God to bring people into His kingdom and to maintain the unity and harmony in the body of Christ.
We are to be the peace makers, not the troublemakers. So if you find yourself as being an argumentative person, ask the Lord to give you wisdom so that your words will speak the truth in love and represent His kingdom and His plan for humanity.
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. How to Build Healthy Boundaries
Bill Rodgers models healthy boundaries and goes on to become a four-time winner of the Boston Marathon.
But for Rosie Ruiz, the 1980 Boston Marathon isn't her first "ruse on the run." In her very first race, the 1979 New York City Marathon, it is later discovered that Rosie starts the race, pulls a fast exit after about 10 miles, rides a subway, and jaunts her way to the finish line in Central Park. She finishes in 24th place with a time of two hours, 56 minutes, and 29 seconds.
What is the motivation for such unhealthy boundaries? Some say it is as simple as wanting to promote herself while intimidating and impressing coworkers.
"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."
Athletes work hard to develop strong muscles so that they can compete and win. Strong muscles require an exercise plan, a great coach or trainer, and regular, challenging exercise. No athlete can build strong muscles if someone else lifts the weights, works the practice sessions, and takes direction from the trainer.
You also must have a plan, a counselor or mentor, pastor or friend who will walk alongside you as you rely on God to help you gain control of your life. And you must continually face the challenges required to maintain healthy boundaries. . . .
"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.>"
6 Sure Steps for Success
#1 Admit that you have a problem: Athletes can't improve their performance without first identifying the problems they're having.
Acknowledge that you're the one with the problem of lacking boundaries.
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).
#2 Be aware that you may not want to do the hard work of change: Some athletes say they hate certain aspects of working out, but they do it anyway because they know that if they don't, they won't win.
Admit that you've often been your own worst enemy.
"Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place" (Psalm 51:6).
#3 Care about yourself: Athletes concentrate on their own challenges and leave the challenges of others to trainers and coaches.
Agree to let God change you. Determine to leave others in His care.
"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming" (1 Peter 1:13).
#4 Don't try to go the distance the first time: Marathon runners don't start out running 26 miles. They build up to it—1 mile a day, 2 miles a day, and so on.
Allow yourself to make small changes before you take on bigger challenges.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).
#5 Enforce the boundaries you set: If an athlete doesn't force himself to push through challenges, he won't succeed.
Accept the challenge to enforce boundaries.
#6 Continue to move forward: Athletes have to accept that one day they will not be able to perform at peak levels, even if they haven't achieved their dreams. Everyone has to let go and move forward with life or stay stuck.
At last, move forward, grieving your losses as you seek to fulfill your God-given purpose.
"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12).
Teach Healthy Boundaries
Question: "As a parent, how can I help my children develop healthy boundaries?"
Answer: Just as children must learn to respect authority, children must also be taught how to build and maintain healthy boundaries. Consider the following foundational elements necessary to develop healthy, appropriate boundaries with children.
• Allow your children to say "No" and to hear "No" without fear of rejection or loss of love.
- —If their "No" is justified, compliment them.
- —If their "No" is unjustified, stay caring and calm and reason with them.
- —If they rebel against your reasoning, realize that they are still hearing the truth spoken in love. In time, the seeds of truth can take root and bear fruit. Jesus said...
"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
• Bonding time with your child as an infant is the most important, but bonding time at any age will only strengthen your relationship. It is from this foundation of bonding that your child develops the ability to develop healthy boundaries.
"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them" (1 John 4:16).
• Consequences are the logical and natural results of our actions. Your child needs to receive repercussions related to bad behavior. For example, if your child hurts someone, the repercussion would be to do something kind for that person. If your child says hateful words, a logical repercussion to retrain that behavior would be for you and your child to go to the person and ask for forgiveness, and then to sweetly speak complimentary, encouraging words to that person.
"You have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go—to the point of exhaustion—and give your neighbor no rest! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler" (Proverbs 6:2-5).
• Discipline grounded in love is basic training for boundary development. Discipline is teaching boundaries, rewards, and repercussions, as well as being proactive in instruction and training in righteousness.
"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Hebrews 12:11 NASB).
• Encouragement equips, energizes, and empowers our children to feel loved. At the foundation of boundary setting is bonding, which is love. Unconditional love encourages our children to form healthy boundaries.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Set Healthy Boundaries
Question: "Why do parents need to set boundaries in the first place?"
Answer: Just as God set boundaries for Adam and Eve when He first created them, you need to set boundaries for your children. In truth...
demonstrate your loving care. As a parent, you should not feel guilty when
setting and maintaining boundaries. You are loving well when you hold the
line on limits.
"Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them" (Proverbs 13:24).
earn respect. Do not be afraid of losing your child's love by establishing
boundaries. In following God's loving example, respect for your authority
is a natural result of protective boundaries.
"Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!" (Hebrews 12:9).
are beneficial, not punitive. Don't look at boundaries as punishment. Good
boundaries provide structure and security.
"May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels" (Psalm 122:7).
are honored out of respect and trust, not followed or coerced by force. Do
not try to manipulate your child through fear or guilt. Instead, rely on
established rewards and repercussions to motivate your child to act
"We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord, and the guilt of our ancestors; we have indeed sinned against you" (Jeremiah 14:20).
are not detrimental, degrading, or demeaning. Upholding your boundaries is
a discipline, and learning to develop and maintain boundaries is a
positive skill for your child to learn.
"Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded"
- (Proverbs 13:13).
protect your child much like a filter, keeping out harmful influences
while allowing positive benefits.
"Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9:10).
- Boundaries may eventually need to be altered or adapted according to your child's continued growth. As your child matures and your level of trust deepens, you may choose to expand boundaries accordingly. Remember to clearly convey changes of boundaries, rewards, and repercussions.
"For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life."
Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship