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Showing posts with label Identity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Identity. Show all posts

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2 - Purity 537

 

Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2   - Purity 537

Purity 537 09/29/2021  Purity 537 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a roadside meadow and tree line underneath a cloud filled September sky comes to us from yours truly as I felt moved to just stop and grab this moment of simple scenic beauty while I was driving through the Westerlo NY area on September 21st, which was if you don’t recall, the last day of summer of 2021.  

I share it for its simple beauty but also because it features a road which represents moving forward and making progress.  It’s Thursday and I share pictures of pathways or roadways of some sort today as a reminder or an encouragement to take the opportunity to step on, or keep walking on, the path of Christian Discipleship that is defined by a life walking in the Spirit and which leads to the growth of the fruit of the Spirit and increasing levels of maturity in our Christian faith.  It just also happens to be the path that leads to freedom. 

I teach am teaching the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course from Freedom in Christ Ministries this evening at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY and invite anyone local to join us at 6:30pm.  For those not within driving distance of the church, I have already uploaded a podcast version of the teaching for the first three lessons and will be uploading the fourth installment after tonight’s class. So if you want to be encouraged in your faith, to learn something new, or to be equipped with the tools to overcome, or to help others overcome, personal and spiritual conflicts join us for class.

Well yesterday, we started a series in where we started an investigation in to the question of “What is a Christian?” or “Is this person a Christian?” And as the Children’s show “Blue’s Clues” was in the news recently because they celebrated 25 years of programming, I was motivated to channel the inquiring spirit of Blue and that inquisitive theme to help us look at the questions of our faith and to help us examine the “clues” that would tell us if people we encountered were “real” or authentic Christians.   

Yesterday we looked at the significant “clue” of church membership or attendance as a good indicator but not a guarantee of whether someone was an authentic Christian. 

So today when I asked “Blue” (FYI, one source states that Blue signifies the Healing Power of God (https://www.color-meanings.com/biblical-meaning-colors/) which “clue” we would be looking for today, in my imagination, “Blue” was holding a small mirror.  

In our dialog, with me asking questions and Blue murmuring as she does, I was able to discern that before we started looking for anymore “clues” about other people’s authentic Christianity,  Blue wanted me to make sure I was a real Christian!  

So I thought about the question? What in my life made me know I was a Christian?  Now while our self-examination may prove helpful to determine whether those around us are Christians, it is the question of our identity as a Christian that is really the most important thing that we can investigate and confirm.  

Blue really turned the tables on us today because while we started to look for “clues” in the outside world about other people, she wanted us to “play fair” and put ourselves to the test too.     

So if someone were to ask you when you became a Christian or how you became a Christians, what would you say, boys and girls?    

Well the “state of grace” that determines whether or not someone is a Christian has to do with whether or not we are “saved” from God’s wrath by having a reconciled relationship with God through putting our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord in Savior.  

Romans 10:9 (NKJV) tells us
9  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Now this verse tells us that we are “saved” only if we confess (agree with) that Jesus is our Lord and that we believe in our heart that He was raised from the dead, meaning that we believe that Christ’s dying on the Cross was meaningful, that it paid the cost of our sins, and that Christ’s resurrection proved that He was the Son of God and God the Son.  Confessing with our mouths “the Lord Jesus” means we not only publicly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ as our Savior, but agree to live according to what Jesus taught, to be obedient.  The Apostle Peter, who was able to walk on water when he obeyed Christ’s call to “come” wrote:

1 Peter 1:13-15 (NKJV)
13  Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14  as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15  but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,.

I point to this verse and the fact that our conduct should be changed when we become Christians because many people don’t understand the implications of “confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus” and I wanted to make it clear that there is more than just “saying a prayer” to being a Christian. 

But let’s make first things first.   Although we as Christians are supposed to become holy in our conduct, our entrance into God’s kingdom starts with that verbal confession. We must name and proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior before we can successfully live like a Christian.  

We can’t become holy first, nor are we required to.   That’s like going through boot camp before you sign up for military service.  It doesn’t work that way.  You sign an agreement with the service and then the kind and gentle drill sergeants will train and encourage you to become a soldier.  Like military service, when you sign up to be in Christ’s army you are literally signing your life away.   

So if we are looking in the mirror, and trying to determine if we “look like a Christian”, we should stop and ask ourselves: “Have I honestly confessed the Lord Jesus with my mouth, and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead? Did I sign my life away to be saved and agree to make Jesus my Lord?”   

For me, I can point to a specific time and place when I did that. I heard a gospel message on the radio and because of it I really believed “in my heart”, not just intellectually, that God had raised Christ from the dead and that if I made Christ my Lord I would be saved.

So have you ever done that, boys, and girls?

If you don’t believe in your heart that Christ was raised from the dead by God,  that whole idea will just seem like nonsense to you, and you will be hesitant to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.

You won’t want to tell your friends, coworkers, or family. You won’t want to tell anyone about this crazy story of how a man dying on the cross has meaning and purpose. That Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is used to cause a reconciliation with an unseen God and man and that it gives eternal life to anyone that names Jesus their Lord and Savior.

So, hopefully most of you reading with this will say you have done this. You have confessed the Lord Jesus.  If you haven’t and want to, say this prayer:

Dear God,

I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from you grave. I trust Jesus alone as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Well if you said that prayer, you just signed “your life away” and joined God’s kingdom as His beloved child.  You are a Christian. You no longer have to fear death because you have been forgiven of all your sins and have eternal life.

From this point forward, because you named Jesus as your Lord, you should endeavor to follow the One who saved you by reading the word of God and applying its teachings to your life, step by step, one day at a time. 

Our Christian faith is not about perfection its about progress.  We don’t beat ourselves up when we fail, we pick ourselves up because God’s forgiven us and is encouraging us to walk into the abundant life that He wants us to experience.

So keep walking and talking with God, our faith doesn’t have to be complicated it just has to be continuous. So rejoice in your salvation and take another step today towards the good things that God has prepared for you.  

        

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
11  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

 

Today’s verse teaches us why we should read the Bible and meditate on its truth.  

Well as we may have welcomed some  people into the kingdom today, they may be wondering “Now What?” 

Well the good news is that you can rest.  You no longer have to fear what happens when you die. You have been given eternal life because of God’s grace. You didn’t have to earn it. You should be filled with joy and gratitude for having been shown the truth of the gospel and for receiving forgiveness and new spiritual life.   

The next step? We should learn about the God who gave us mercy and grace by reading His word. Start with the New Testament to learn all about Jesus and pay attention to His teaching to learn how we should behave as Christians.  Think about those truths as you go about your day and try to live according to them.  

That’s what today’s verse is teaching us and motivating us to do. For if we hide the truths of God’s word in our heart, we might not sin against God.”   I like the fact that the verse says might. I like to imagine that God understands that we won’t be perfect in our walk but still encourages us to express our love for Him by reading His word, meditating on it, and doing what it says. 

So if you don’t have a regular practice of reading and meditating on God’s word, start today and commit yourself to a regular practice of drawing close to God by studying His word.   

The Bible is true, and today’s verse encourages us that if we hide its truth in our hearts we just might not sin against God.  So put the word to the test by hiding it in your heart, and experience its power to transform your mind and change your behavior, not because you are trying hard but because you are learning to be the person that God has made you to be and because He has given you the power to become it,

 

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 Blended Family’s

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:

The Blended Family

God's Recipe for Success

by

June Hunt


Introduction

Do you feel that the mix of your family is basically a mess? If you mix flour, sugar, eggs and oil together... it takes some work to get them to blend. But when the mixture is exposed to the heat of an oven for just the right amount of time, a chemical reaction occurs that bonds the separate ingredients into a delicious dessert. Likewise, when members of a blended family are subjected to the heat of new living conditions and differing personalities, it takes some work to come together as a connected family unit. Each individual needs to make every effort to promote peace and build one another up so that the family will be bonded in love and in unity.

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." (Romans 14:19)


I. Definitions

Blended families, with their many challenges, have been around for a long time. They are formed for different reasons. When a spouse with children remarries after the death of a partner, the situation is difficult. But when the family unit becomes a blend of his children, her children and their children, the recipe for success requires a great deal of understanding and forgiveness.

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)

A. What Is a Blended Family?

  • The blended family is a family unit in which one or both of the spouses have been previously married and bring a child or children to the relationship.
  • The word blended means "mixed together." It suggests a combining of separate units into an integrated whole.
  • The stepfamily is a family unit in which at least one spouse has a parental relationship with a child based on marriage, not blood.

B. What Is a Nuclear Family?

The nuclear family is a traditional family unit composed of...

  • one husband and one wife
  • one marriage
  • one or more children from one union

C. God's Heart on Remarriage

  • Remarriage is permitted when the marriage covenant is broken by...
    • death
      "By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man." (Romans 7:2-3)
    • —defilement (adultery)
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
    • —desertion and divorce (a controversial position)
      Only because of a hardened heart on the part of the one who leaves—God's heart is one of reconciliation.
      "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." (1 Corinthians 7:15)
  • Remarriage is not permitted...
    • to an unbeliever
      "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:39)
    • to a former spouse who has married another
      "If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
    • —to a divorced person whose spouse has not broken the marriage covenant
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
  • Remarriage is not God's preferred state for everyone.
    "I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:7-9)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: The Blended Family: God's Recipe for Success.

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Purity 285: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Purity 285

Good morning!

Today’s photo comes from a friend who caught this great shot of the moon near their home in the Chatham area of upstate NY in Columbia County. 

I share it because even in the darkest night God can give us hope.  As I reported yesterday it has been a week since asking for prayers for my parents, Kathy and Matt, who both caught Covid-19.  Dad is on the other side of quarantine and considers himself recovered. My mother reports that she has improved to the point where the doctors will take her off oxygen soon and track her progress in anticipation of releasing her from the hospital.  My mom says, “the prayers are working”. So thank you to all who have prayed. 

As much as we strive to establish our lives individually, there is nothing like an illness in the family to remind you that you are a part of something bigger than yourself.  Whether you like it or not, your family is your family, for better or worse.  Sometimes families are very close and sometimes very estranged from one another.  As significant or insignificant as our familial relationships are in our lives, the Lord calls us to be in His royal family and makes no bones about who comes first.   God does.  

I mention this because its true and because even though our families can be a great source of comfort, they can also be less than that and even be a great source of pain. 

Recently, I counseled a parent of adult children who reported that they were continually accused by one of their children for not providing an equal amount of love to them as their siblings when growing up.  This parent also reported that this issue had been apologized for and apparently resolved more than once, even though they honestly didn’t think there was any disparity of treatment by them with their children.  Another crisis had hit the family, and like a broken record that keeps playing the same song, the accusations and complaints came up once again, leaving them defensive and seeking an answer of how to put this business aside for good.  

While I couldn’t guarantee that the child would ever forgive them for the real or perceived lack of love or attention, I knew someone who could: Jesus.  The resolution of personal and spiritual conflicts can only come from God.  

I advised the parent, that as a Christian, we are called to forgive others because we have been forgiven for all we have done because of our faith in Christ.  So in regards to the situation with the child I advised that the parent should ask the Lord to reveal the truth about how they had interacted with the child through the years and now and to ask the Lord for forgiveness for any wrong doing or bitterness that they have done.  But most importantly, after doing this, I advised the parent that they had to accept the Lord’s forgiveness and declare that “it is finished”. As far as God is concerned, they have resolved any “sin” or wrongdoing that they were responsible for.    They have done their part with the Lord.  

As for the child, because the parent had asked for forgiveness previously and received it, the parent needs to understand that the child is troubled and will only find resolution to their issues with the Lord. The fundamental problem here is that the child either doesn’t know the love of the Lord or has forgotten it. 

All the love or attention that a parent can give, pales in comparison to the love of the Lord.   The child has wrongly based their self-worth on pleasing and receiving love from the parent when they should base their self-worth on their identity in Christ.  If they did this, they would forgive the parent for any pain, neglect, or lack of love the parent was guilty of, and they would certainly cease bringing up the real or perceived wrongs from years in the past.  

However, if the parent believes asking the child for forgiveness will help them or the child get past this recent crisis, they should do so. To not resolve issues that we could is prideful.  We, as Christians, are called to be peacemakers.

But what if, the child continues, this repeating cycle of blaming the parent? 

This is where our maturity is tested.  Knowing that we have been forgiven of all wrong doing by the Lord, and because we understand the child is troubled, if the parent stands in faith, they will dismiss any thoughts of accusation or condemnation and instead do their best to forgive the child for their lack of maturity and show them love in whatever way they can.  

If these patterns are toxic, unhealthy, and unsafe (which is not the case here), we can offer forgiveness and make amends to make things right but when we realize that there will be no peace, we can take a break from interacting with the other person, or cease the relationship altogether while praying for the Lord to change the other person.

The only way to rise above earthly familial dysfunction is to identify with your heavenly father and to live your life sharing His love and living according to His ways.  

 

(There is More at the restricted blog). Follow me on Twitter, MeWe, or Parler for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

This morning’s meditation verses were:

1 John 1:8 (NKJV)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 Today’s meditation verse is perhaps the most favorite verse of “Christians” who aren’t free.

 “See we’re all sinners! I told you! Now stand back, as I continue to live a life full of hopelessness that comes from my love/hate relationship that I have with my sin. Thanks for forgiving me Jesus, because I really need it today and I will really need it tomorrow too.”  

 That may seem silly to some, but that was me! After most of my life spent in bondage to my addictions to alcohol, drugs, and sex, I figured there was no way to be free and that’s what faith in Christ was for: endless forgiveness.  And it is!

 However, if you read the New Testament you learn that Jesus also calls us not to sin.

 John 8:11 (NKJV) 

11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."  

 “Say what? Wait a minute, Come on Jesus. From the way I understood it, You do the forgiving and I do the sinning… unless I got that wrong?”

 I did get that wrong. Although 1 John 1:8 and other verses in the Bible point to the reality that even Christians can and will sin, we are forgiven, and we are to endeavor to live out our freedom over sin.  In fact, if we read the entirety of 1 John, we would see that John’s epistle is all about overcoming our sin.   

 Before you get depressed, like I was, you have to realize that when you came to faith in Christ it wasn’t because you were a good person, you did enough good things, or you were deserving. You were chosen for eternal life because Jesus wanted you.   

John 5:21 (NLT2) 

21 For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, Christ wants you.  That’s the only reason you are saved.  Christ chose you.  He loves you and, just like when we love people who make horrible decisions with their lives, He knows there is a better life for you: a life without the sin that gives some pleasure but eventually causes you pain. 

Christ loves you so much that He gave His life for you and has granted you eternal life but He also gave you the power to turn from the wrong things you do in your life and  overcome them. 

So go to the Lord and repent of the sins that seem impossible to live without and ask Him for the wisdom and strength to stop and abandon the sin that so easily besets you.  If you walk and talk with Him, God will lead you out of your personal darkness and show you that those things you did don’t define you.  He does.

He made you, chose you to know the truth and to live forever with Him. He has a better life filled with peace, love, and joy but living with darkness in our lives will only keep us from it.   Trust in Him and follow where He leads. His path leads to glory. Take the first, or another, step toward it today.    

Today we continue chapter 5 of Anderson & Baumchen’s Finding Hope Again, where the authors discuss how anxiety is a battle for the mind and the fact that we must discern the origin of “our” thoughts and oppose any thoughts that contradict our identity in Christ.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work:

Anxiety as a Battle for the Mind

The second standard of mental health is to be relatively free from anxiety. Anxiety is fear without an apparent cause. Fear is not the same as anxiety, in that it is actually identified by its object. For instance, we fear other people, death, snakes or enclosed places, etc.

Many people are paralyzed by fears that seem to be irrational to others because they don't see the object of the fear, or they question its validity. When people fear something that others can't hear or see, it is usually called a panic or anxiety attack because they can't identify the object of their fear.

Again, such cases often prove to be a spiritual battle for the mind. These thoughts are very disturbing and very real. Others can't see or hear what suffering persons are going through because the object of their fear can't be seen or heard in a visual or auditory sense. Remember, we wrestle "not against flesh and blood" (Ephes. 6:12). In other words, our enemy does not materialize in the physical realm because the battle is spiritual. It is also very, very real.

The Origin of Your Thoughts

It is critical to distinguish between deceiving thoughts from the enemy and thoughts that are truly yours. If you think that tempting or accusing thoughts are your own, then you are going to draw some very bad conclusions about yourself. Understand that God cannot tempt you, but the devil will. "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone" (James 1:13). Jesus will never accuse you, because there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). But the devil "deceives the whole world" (Rev. 12:9), and accuses the brethren day and night (see Rev. 12:10).

A very mature and godly pastor's wife discovered that she had cancer. Her doctors immediately put her on chemotherapy. Then she became very fearful. When I visited with her, she said, "I'm not sure if I am a Christian." I asked her why she would even question her salvation, and she said, "When I go to church I have these blasphemous thoughts go through my mind, and many times I struggle with evil and perverted thoughts."

"That's not you!" I told her, "Scripture teaches that you, 'joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man'" (Romans 7:22).

If such thoughts originated from the woman herself, then what would she logically conclude about herself? She reasoned, If those thoughts were actually coming from my own nature, then I must not be a Christian. Consequently, she was frightened about the prospect of dying. After all, how can a Christian think those kinds of thoughts? Any Christian can choose to think them, but these thoughts don't originate from who they are in Christ. Because of this woman's maturity, I was able to help her get rid of those thoughts within an hour. She never questioned her salvation again.

False Identity or True?

Every Christian has tempting thoughts, but many don't understand the battle for their minds. Suppose a young man had a sexually tempting thought about another man. At first he may be a little surprised and would probably just brush it off. He certainly is not going to tell anybody. If the thoughts persist, he may start wondering why he is thinking these thoughts. "If I am thinking these thoughts, then maybe I am homosexual," he may conclude. If so, he just bought a false identity, and it could be years, if ever, before he shares what was going on in his mind. People struggling with depression are plagued with myriad thoughts that are not true.

True mental health is characterized by "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension," guarding "your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7). It begins with a true knowledge of our heavenly Father and a true knowledge of who we are in Christ. If you knew and believed,

That your heavenly Father loved you (see Ephes. 3:14-19);

That you now have eternal life in Christ (see John 3:16);

That you are spiritually alive right now (see 1 John 5:11);

That He would never leave nor forsake you (see Hebrews 13:5);

That He has completely forgiven you (see Col. 2:13, 14);

That He would supply all your needs (see Phil. 4:19);

That you were a child of God (see Romans 8:16);

That there was no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (see Romans 8:1);

That you have an eternal purpose for being here (see Ephes. 2:10);

That you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (see Phil. 4:13);

That God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline (see 2 Tim. 1:7);

That the peace of God was guarding your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus (see Phil. 4:7);

then you would have the foundational beliefs necessary to establish mental, emotional and spiritual health.

The most common deception associated with mental and emotional illness is a distorted belief in God and yourself. If you don't think that is true, then go to any mental ward in a hospital and you will find some of the most religious people you have ever met. But when you question them about their beliefs in God or themselves, you will quickly discover that what they believe is riddled with distortions and deception.


Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression.

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

 

God bless you all! 


Monday, December 7, 2020

Purity 284: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Purity 284 12/07/2020 

Good morning!

Today’s photo comes from a friend’s recent hike to Harrier Hill park in Hudson NY.  I share it because it’s December and blue skies with clouds and sunshine are becoming rare. 

Lately, I have been thinking of that Counting Crows song: “A Long December”, as a week ago I asked for prayers for healing for my Mother and Father, Kathy and Matt, as they both have Covid-19.  My father has had mild symptoms and remains home, relatively well, and my mother is hospitalized, receiving treatment and reports that she is improving and hopes to come home some time this week.  We are praying for complete healing for both and for mom to return home.  I deeply appreciate all the prayers and messages of concern for my parents. Thank You.

I recently read that the Christian discipleship process is both Bible-based and forward looking. 

The Bible tells me God is in charge and He is the creator and healer. So we will trust in Him, knowing that all outcomes are in His hands and that He is good. 

And as we enter into a new week, we won’t lament over disappointments in the past, but we will look ahead with hope and expectancy, planning and preparing for what the Lord has for us this week.     

(There is More at the restricted blog). Follow me on Twitter, MeWe, or Parler for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

This morning’s meditation verses were:

Psalm 109:30-31 (NLT2)
30 But I will give repeated thanks to the LORD, praising him to everyone.
31 For he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them.

 I love today’s verses because they point to two core truths of how we are to practice our faith as Christians: we are to give “repeated thanks to the Lord” and let others know about His goodness.  Our thanks are to be a repeated practice because if we don’t repeatedly thank the Lord for what He has provided, and how He continues to provide for us, we can forget about the blessings we enjoy and become dissatisfied and discontented with the “wonderful life” that we have.  

 Our relationships suffer when we take people for granted and our relationship with the Lord is no different. He has loved us, and we are to love Him right back. 

 While it is a good practice to daily thank the Lord for what He is doing in your life, the practice is even more effective when we share our hope with others. By telling others about the Lord, we become a beacon of hope in what can seem to be a hopeless world. We not only assure and encourage others by telling of the goodness of God and His plan for all of us, we also encourage ourselves and confirm that we really are children of God because we are not just telling people facts about the Lord, we are telling people about the reality of our relationship with the Lord and how He has interacted with us by bringing us out of our own personal darkness and blessed us in ways that we never saw coming. 

 Verse 31 also speaks of how He stands beside us and saves us from those who would condemn us.  Our relationship with God means even more in times of need and when we are persecuted by the world. 

 God always meets our needs because our biggest need is Him. His presence in our lives is a never-ending comfort at all times.  He also defines who we are as the truth of God’s word tells us that we are loved, significant, and accepted even when the rest of the world condemns us.  But the key to receiving the benefits of our faith is believing the truth of God’s eternal word over the temporary circumstances that surround us and the opinions of the world that is lost.  

 So keep thanking God, telling others about Him, and believing what He says about you!    

 Today we continue chapter 5 of Anderson & Baumchen’s Finding Hope Again, where the authors discuss how our primary protection from depression is the truth of God’s word and how it reveals our identity in Christ.  I encourage those who read this look up the referenced Bible verses and put them on index cards or in a notebook in order to meditate on them to reinforce your identity in Christ and to renew your mind to this truth.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work:

The Primary Protection: Established in Truth

The "heavenly places" (NIV "realms") are a present reality. The phrase does not refer to heaven where God has His throne, nor does it refer to some physical planet such as Pluto or Mars that exists in the natural realm. It refers to the spiritual world or atmosphere in which we live. The god (ruler) of this world, "your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).

John says, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19). Herein lies the problem and the answer in one verse. People are kept in spiritual bondage because of the lies they believe about God and themselves, and Satan is the father of lies (see John 8:44).

Jesus is the truth (see John 14:17), and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He will guide you into all truth (see John 16:13), and that truth will set you free (see John 8:32). That is possible because we are children of God.

Every defeated Christian we have worked with, regardless of their presenting problem, had one thing in common. None of them knew who they were in Christ, nor understood what it meant to be a child of God. Almost all of them were questioning their salvation. If the Holy Spirit is bearing "witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16), then why weren't they sensing it? "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! [or] Father!" (Galatians 4:6). Where is the "Abba! Father!" in the depth of depression? He is there, but depressed people often don't sense His presence because of ignorance or lack of genuine repentance.

The Primary Issue: Our Identity and Position in Christ

The devil does not want you to know that you are a child of God and seated with Christ in heavenly places (see Ephes. 2:6). From that position in Christ, we have authority over the kingdom of darkness. Every believer is alive in Christ and therefore united with Him:

In His death

Romans 6:3; Galatians 2:20; Col. 3:1-3

In His burial

Romans 6:4

In His resurrection

Romans 6:5, 8, 11

In His ascension

Ephes. 2:6

In His life

Romans 5:10, 11

In His power

Ephes. 1:19, 20

In His inheritance

Romans 8:16, 17; Ephes. 1:11, 12


Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression

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

 

God bless you all!