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Showing posts with label John. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John. Show all posts

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Blue, Can you be Born Twice? – Checking the Clues 4 - Purity 539


 
Blue, Can you be Born Twice?  – Checking the Clues 4   - Purity 539

Purity 539 10/02/2021   Purity 539 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of an amazing sunrise sky over what is presumably one of the peaks of the Kentucky Appalachians Mountains comes to us a friend who moved from the Empire State to make the Bluegrass State their home but even though the sights may be different they still have their eyes on the sky and have an appreciation for the beauty of God’s creation and in sharing its wonder with their friends on social media.  

Well, it’s Saturday and while things may be significantly different for me this morning as I am a houseguest of my beloved, TammyLyn, some things don’t change even if we find ourselves in new and unfamiliar settings.  As our friend in Kentucky discovered that the sun still rises everyday and they can expect God to provide them with the opportunity to experience its wonder, I discovered that even though I didn’t set an alarm or make any concrete plans for my “morning process”, I still rose long before the sun came up to connect with the Lord and to share a reason to be encouraged and to have hope for those who know there is a God and who have chosen to follow a spiritual course with their lives by making Jesus their Lord and Savior and to consider and follow the wisdom that is found in God’s Word. 

While my bearings have been thrown off this morning and I am surrounded by a curious pair of cats and dog who seems to only be calmed by constant human contact, my heart and my thoughts are still drawn to share a few insights and encouragements  and to wish my friends a peaceful day and weekend.   

As I sit in darkness, I could imagine that my canine companion is that children’s television superstar, Blue, and we have begun a new day to look for another “clue”  that would help us to determine whether someone we are interested in as being a life partner is a “real” or authentic Christian.  

Like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson,  the Blue in my imagination and me go where the “clues” take us and where “the game is afoot” and persist even when the trail runs cold.   As we looked to a different process to draw today’s Bible verse, Blue and I have stumbled across another possible “clue” that could help us to find a “real “Christian”.    

As investigators of spiritual truth, we have to have “an ear to hear” and we need to listen to the word’s that the subjects of our investigations use and how they refer to themselves. 

I must admit that even though I was pretty sure that I had found a faithful Christian woman to make my wife for the rest of of my days, the investigation is ongoing, and I am ecstatic to report that in terms of faith and a desire to follow the Lord, my continual conversations, and interviews with TammyLyn has only discovered more “clues” that my “girlfriend” really is who she appears to be. Our talks  and my probing questions have only confirmed that she is an authentic Christian.   

So I would recommend talking about the things of God with your potential partner to reveal the depths of their theological understanding and their devotion to love the Lord and endeavor to follow His ways for their life.   

So today’s “clue” is a verbal one and ironically it has not been one that I have heard  spoken by my girlfriend.  So I will have to see how she comes down on this particular phrase and whether or not she uses it in referring to her faith. 

As today’s Bible verse will reveal the source of today’s inspiration for investigation, we address the question of being “born again” as a “clue” to someone being a Christian.  

Okay, I know this is a pretty “specific” phrase that we are looking to hear coming from our potential significant other, but I would say that its specificity and the rarity of its use in casual conversation make the phrase “born again” to be a really good clue to indicate that a person is a Christian.  

I mean you don’t really hear the phrase “born again” used in concert with any other faith system, so if we hear someone refer to themselves as “born again” we can quickly ascertain a few things.   S

Someone using the phrase “born again” to describe their Christian faith most  likely:

·       Believes in the Bible or attends a church that professes to. 

The phrase “born again” isn’t some made up term that someone created to describe a higher level of Christianity. It is a phrase that Jesus used, in the Bible.  So, anyone calling themselves a “born again Christian” either is a “Bible believing Christian” themselves or has been taught by “Bible believing Christians”.   

Also People who call themselves “born again” most likely:

·       Have a lifestyle that includes regular worship and spiritual practices.   

The term “born again” is not a casual term and those who use it probably don’t have a casual faith life.  My understanding of the term “born again” was that some who was “born again” had a devout faith life. “Born again” Christians were those devoutly crazy members of the body of Christ who not only went to church on a regular basis, they also were known to actually read the Bible, prayed out loud sometimes, and would share the gospel with others, in public.    

And finally, the phrase “born again” also described people who

·       Tried to abstain from sin and practiced a Biblical moral code.  

Not only did those crazy “born again’s” believe in the Bible and have a lifestyle with regular spiritual practices, but they also tried to “be holy” by having a strict moral code with clear standards that were based on the Bible’s teachings. They would also actually “practice what the preach” by living a morally upstanding life.   

So if in our investigations, we hear the phrase “born again” being used to describe someone’s faith, we can either rejoice that we have found someone who will join us enthusiastically as we try to walk the path of Christian discipleship or be apprehensive at the thought that our new “born again” love interest may have “more faith” then us because the term “born again’ generally describes someone who has Biblically based faith that is supported by regular spiritual practices and strong moral convictions.   

However, just as there are genuine forms of currency that are very valuable, there can also be counterfeits.   So while I would say that as much of the term “born again” could indicate an authentic Christian faith, unfortunately it is possible that people professing to be “born again” could only have an outward showing of piety covering a hidden agenda that could include sinful proclivities or Machiavellian methods of manipulation.

So, while we may think that we have hit the motherlode by finding a “born again Christian, we still have to remember Jesus’ teachings that not only will His disciples follow His commandments, but they would also be know for their love for one another and that the proof of someone’s authenticity is in the fruit of righteousness in their lives. 

So keep walking and talking and God, show yourself to be “born of the Spirit” by seeking the Lord, following His ways, and by sharing His love with others on the earth.   

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 3:7 (NKJV)
7  Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'

Today’s verse contains the words of Jesus and instruct that we must be born again. 

Well, now you know what motivated, our “Blue’s Clue of the Christian Faith” for this morning. Because of my decision to take advantage of my love’s gracious invitation to weekend at here house, I was miles away from my stack of index cards from which I normally draw the “verse of the day” from.  So this morning I decided to utilize one of the many daily devotional eBooks that I own to randomly select a verse for today. 

So I to give credit where credit is due I drew today’s verse from “365 Days in The Presence of God: Daily Devotions from the Sermons of Dr. Frank Ray.”  365 Days in His presence seemed to be in line with my theme of Christian Discipleship 24/7 so even though I don’t know Dr. Frank Ray or his work, his 2004 devotional book is credited for giving us John 3:7 today.      

Anyway, John 3 is the chapter in the Bible from which the term “born again” comes from and as today’s verse states Jesus doesn’t indicate that “being born again” is a matter of debate.  We must be born again.  

To understand what this phrase means, we should examine the context in which Christ used it.  

In this section of scripture, Jesus is meeting with Nicodemus and discussing spiritual truth. As a Pharisee,  Nicodemus was well versed in the Old Testament scriptures and attempted to live his life according to the law.  So in terms of knowing the law and the things to do, Nicodemus had a wealth of instruction, but Jesus challenge this Pharisee’s knowledge by stating that in order to see the kingdom of God, he must be “born of water and the Spirit”.  While we could think of this phrasing to be ultra-spiritual and mysterious, as their conversation progresses, Christ makes the requirements of salvation clear in verse 16:

John 3:16 (NKJV)
16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

In this discourse, Christ makes it clear that salvation, entrance into the kingdom of God, and everlasting life are not earned through the keeping of the law. It is through faith in Christ, by believing in the only begotten Son, that men will not perish but have everlasting life.  

So as much as we pointed out what the term “born again” may look like in the life of a believer with the outward signs of a profession of belief of the truth of the Bible, performing spiritual practices, and having strong moral convictions, none of these things make us “born again”.  It is only through faith that we are born of the Spirit.  

So do not marvel, that Christ says that we must be born again. When we place our faith in Christ we receive a new and eternal spiritual life that we didn’t have before. The term “born again” is representative of that new life and points to the fact that as Christians we are new creations and have freedom from sin and death.  

So remember, we don’t earn our place into the kingdom. God shows us the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we place our faith, or believe, in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and are forever changed.   While our enjoying the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is dependent on our faith and our following the Lord’s wisdom and ways, we are born of the Spirit by simply believing in the Son. 

So keep walking and talking with God, rejoice this weekend at the fact that nothing can separate you from the love of God and that you have everlasting life but remember that the Lord has an abundant life for you to walk into while you are still here on the earth and the way that we find it is to listen to His voice in the Word of God and with our spirit and to follow Him where He leads.  

 

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 The Blended Family’s God’s Recipe for Success.

 

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:

III. Causes

Some recipes are not as easy as they seem, especially when many ingredients are added to the mixture. And in situations where there has been a divorce, more than just the members of the family are involved. Other parents from other marriages are blended into the mix. A major difficulty will be establishing lines of authority for children who spend a great deal of time with a natural parent. Children also resent leaving a parent who now is not part of the new family makeup. If there can be open lines of communication among all the adults involved, children will be able to accept guidelines for their behavior more readily.

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12)

A. Major Causes of Failure

  • First Marriage
    • —immature spouse
    • —sexual difficulties
    • —relatives
    • —value systems
    • —social adjustments
  • Second Marriage
    • —child rearing
    • —financial difficulties
    • —relatives
    • —value systems
    • —sharing tasks

B. The Stepfamily Sabotage

Your emotional health is of critical importance when you are faced with the new challenges of parenting, the pain of separating from past marriages and the stress of interacting with ex-spouses. Your responses to the challenges will greatly affect the failure or the success of your new family. Although no two families are alike, all will have varying degrees of the following emotions:

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!" (Isaiah 43:18)

  • Loss
    • —All members are dealing with the loss of the nuclear family.
    • —Children are grieving the loss of a parent.
    • —Spouses are grieving the loss of significant relationships.
  • Fear
    • —Children fear loss of affection.
    • —Children fear the unknown.
    • —Spouses fear a second failure.
    • —Stepparents fear rejection.
  • Anger
    • —Both children and stepparents may be angry over lack of acceptance.
    • —Children may be angry over too little or too much discipline from stepparent.
    • —Stepparent may be angry over additional financial commitments and responsibilities.
    • —Both children and stepparents may be angry over unfulfilled expectations, dreams and goals.
  • Guilt
    • —Children feel guilty over divided loyalty.
    • —Children feel guilty about being responsible for the failure of the first marriage.
    • —Children feel guilty about not accepting and loving the stepparent.
    • —Spouses feel guilty over the divorce and its effect on the children.
    • —Spouses feel guilty over giving priority to bonding with the new spouse.
    • —Spouses feel guilty over not loving stepchildren.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1)

C. Root Cause of Marriage Failure... The Second Time Around

 

Wrong Belief:

"I must be perfect in this new marriage in order to project a healthy family image and to prove my success as a marriage partner and as a parent."

Right Belief:

I cannot be a perfect parent or make others happy all the time. I will rely on the Holy Spirit, who gives me the wisdom and love to respond in a Christlike manner in all my family relationships.

"I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)


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

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

I Got a Problem? You Got a Problem! – The Problem of Pride - Purity 506


 I Got a Problem? You Got a Problem! – The Problem of Pride                                                                                                   

Purity 506 08/25/2021   Purity 506 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s phantom like photo of bales of hay with the ghostly mist of morning next to a dense thicket on the border of some farmland at an undisclosed location, presumably in upstate NY, comes to us from Arthur Cincotti, Bible Study Composer and Photo Enthusiast.  I must give Arthur some credit for this one. Although it doesn’t reflect our current season, I would guess this was taken in the autumn of 2020, it caught my eye this morning and I decided to step outside of the box and share a photo that was “out of season”.  But as I have a loose framework for how I put these messages together, it actually fits.    

It's Wednesday, and these “humps of hay”, brought to you by Mr. Cincotti, are here to encourage you in progressing over that midweek summit with the confidence, hope, and expectation that comes from walking in the Spirit.   

Tonight, I attend a men’s accountability group and I think it is rather humorous and appropriate that  a group that is meeting to support one another in sexual purity is meeting on “hump day”.  I have found that when we are seeking to walk away from the darkness of the past, addictions, or old behaviors it is best to do so with a sense of humor. Sometimes its laugh or cry, and when I’m in public I choose to joke and laugh. The crying is generally done in private. Tears of a clown, right? When no one’s around.  

Humor can be a big defense mechanism for us.  We use our humor to get attention and to get people to like us. In the recent Friend’s reunion, Matthew Perry who has a history of recovery issues, in speaking about a scene from a past episode, revealed how he just had to get a laugh and would actively look for opportunities to do so. He confessed about how so much of his self-worth was tied up in getting that attention and that response of laughter. 

I saw myself in Perry’s comments as I have played that role of the practical joker and comedian in my family growing up and still do and use my humor to try to ingratiate myself to people.   I think a lot of people who used to be the “life of the party” can relate. But this wasn’t supposed to be about me!  I began writing this to point to something else. Pride.  

Last week at our men’s support group, one of the guys shared that he was a little bothered by the fact that the meeting was held on a night when there were other activities going on at the place where we were meeting, and he had a problem with what this meant in terms of confidentiality. He stated that “everyone” knew why we were there and that it was “no secret” to anybody.  He then grew a little upset and said that the area of sexual purity in men was a big problem and that there should be more men there and he was bothered that he was “one of the few” that were invited to be a part of this group.     

I tried to assure him that no one really what he was doing there, and that for all anyone knew he could be there as someone who had victory in this area and was there to just give support and offer help, and that no one knew anything about his “problem” or the extent of it.  I didn’t say it, but I was thinking “that would include us” as none of the group has really opened up about their struggles yet.   

In hindsight, I would have also included that people generally don’t care. I think it was Joyce Meyer who said once that “If we knew how little other people thought about us, we wouldn’t be so concerned about what they think.”   We tend to be self-focused.

But I guess we also tend to judge and think badly about others too.  This man’s concern with how he was perceived by others and his comments reveals that he has considered the problems other people were hiding. 

“I got a problem? Well, you got a problem too… at least I’m honest!”

That’s thing about getting help.  The stigma. I encourage people to get help but let’s not be coy. You will be judged. People will treat you differently.  And some always will, no matter how many years you are free.  Ask me how I know.     

But you know what? That’s a consequence of going astray and climbing out of darkness and we are going to have to live with it. We will never regain some people’s respect or “good opinion” but what we can gain is freedom, peace, maturity, and joy.   

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are “made right” with God and given the power to be free.  But if we let the opinions of men keep us from being open, honest, and transparent, we will never experience freedom and the new life that Christ has for us.  

“But what if they judge me? What if they don’t include me? What if they reject me?  

I “did everything right” by going into recovery and I still have this stigma! What’s the point?”  

The point is that you are no longer in bondage and your freedom from whatever problems you overcome is a testimony of the goodness of God and His grace, mercy, and power in your life.     

What do you do with the people who reject you and treat you like a second class citizen?

Well, Jesus forgave those who crucified Him from the cross. The Word commands us to forgive. So we do that, again and again, over, and over, because God forgave us and gave us a new and eternal life when we didn’t deserve it.

As disciples of Christ we are to learn from His example and follow Him.  In Matthew 11:29, Christ said that He was “meek and lowly in heart”, That’s means He was humble so we should be humble.  

Our pride can keep us from seeking help and finding the “rest” and new life that God wants for us.  Our pride can stop us from helping other people because we “don’t know what to say” or “don’t want to look foolish”.  When we are prideful, we make ourselves more important that God and others.   We worship our “image” instead of God who is calling us to repentance and the freedom, victory, and new life that lie on the other side of it.  

So, let go and let God. The cure to pride is truth.

“Yup, I used to have all kinds of problems. They may not have been as bad as you think, or they could have been a lot worse than you could ever imagine. But the thing is that God has set me free and while I could tell you a lot of stories about my past, I would rather tell you about the One who set me free and encourage you to follow Him.”    

So keep walking and talking with God. Lay down your pride because you will never “do everything right” and when you aren’t so full of yourself you will discover that the Lord is ready to fill you with His love, wisdom, and power that will transform your life and cause you to seek His purpose. 

  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 8:31 (NKJV)
31  Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

Today’s verse makes the connection between our relationship as disciples of Jesus Christ with the word of God.  

One of the first things I did after I got saved back in 2010 was I dusted off a Bible I had received when I was confirmed as an Episcopalian years before, grabbed a highlighter, and started reading the word.  

I finally understood that salvation had come through my faith in Christ alone, but the joy of my salvation gave me a big desire to be as authentic a Christian as I could be, but I also wanted to make sure that “this thing was for real.” 

I didn’t want to be one of these “blind faith” types that don’t seem to have any knowledge about their own religion and just blindly “trust and obey”.   I wasn’t really thrilled about the idea of being some mindless sheep that just does “what pastor says”.   I was going to investigate my newfound faith in Christ to make sure I wasn’t being led astray. 

I also wanted to know what the Bible had to say about the God who loved me enough to save a wretch like me.  

Those desires have led me to read the Bible several times and to get degrees in Biblical Studies and Christian Counseling.   Knowing the word is one thing. And I could study the Bible for the rest of my days and not be fully content that I “know” the Word. 

But Abiding in His word indicates that we meditate on what it says and apply it to our lives.  Abiding is the key to discipleship.  We read, ponder, and meditate on the word and then endeavor to shape our lives according to the word of God.   

Christ said it Himself. Those who do that are His disciples.  

So surrender parts of your life that are consuming your time and money that don’t draw you closer to the Lord.  There is great value in being Christ’s disciples and I encourage you to draw closer to Him.  

John the Baptist said that he must decrease, and Christ must increase. That can be taken as advice for all of us.  Exchanging our worldly ways for the ways of the Lord not only reveals our identity as true disciples of Jesus Christ, it also is blessed by a continuous flow of the fruit of the Spirit into our lives. 

So abide in the Word of God and rejoice that you are a disciple of the Savior of the world.  

 

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, concluding  Chapter 12.

 

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

When You Are Tempted to Criticize or Reject Others

Express Your Needs Without Judging

If you have legitimate needs in a relationship that are not being met, should you risk conveying criticism and rejection by expressing your needs? Yes, but express them in such a way that you don't impugn the other person's character.

For example, you may feel unloved in a relationship, so you say, "You don't love me anymore." Or you think your spouse doesn't value you, so you say, "You make me feel worthless." Or you feel a distance developing between you and your friend, so you say, "You never write or call." You haven't really expressed your need. You criticized the other person. You are usurping the role of the other person's conscience. By pushing off your need as that person's problem, the person will probably respond by getting defensive, further straining the relationship.

What if you expressed your needs this way: "I don't feel loved anymore"; "I feel like a worthless, unimportant person"; "I miss it when we don't communicate regularly"? By changing the "you" accusation to an "I" message, you express your need without blaming anyone. Your nonjudgmental approach allows God to deal with the person's conscience and turns a potential conflict into an opportunity for ministry. The other person is free to respond to your need instead of being defensive against your attack.

We all need to be loved, accepted, and affirmed. When these needs go unmet, it is very important that we express them to our family members and fellow Christians in a positive way and allow others to minister to those needs. I believe that a basis for temptation are unmet, legitimate needs. When you are too proud to say, "I don't feel loved," or when you push others away by saying, "You don't love me anymore," your need for love goes unmet. So Satan comes along with a tempting alternative: "Your wife doesn't love you like you deserve. But have you noticed the affectionate gleam in your secretary's eye?"

God's primary resources for meeting your needs and keeping you pure are other believers. The problem is that many go to Sunday School, church and Bible study wearing a sanctimonious mask. Wanting to appear strong and together, they rob themselves of the opportunity of having their needs met in the warmth and safety of the Christian community. In the process, they rob the community of the opportunity to minister to their needs—one of the primary reasons God gathered us into churches. By denying other believers the privilege of meeting your legitimate needs, you are acting independently of God, and you are vulnerable to getting your needs met by the world, the flesh, and the devil.

A pastor once humorously quipped, "The ministry would be a great career if it wasn't for people." Perhaps you have said something similar, such as "Growing in Christ would be easy if it wasn't for the people." We all know that following Christ involves both the vertical and the horizontal—loving God and loving people. It is important to know that God works in our lives through committed relationships. Where better to learn patience, kindness, forgiveness, and team spirit than in the close quarters of working relationships? Committed relationships can be extremely difficult unless we accept our responsibilities to grow and to love others. You can make that commitment. Remember, you are the only one who can keep you from becoming the person God wants you to be.

One of my students brought me the following poem that he insisted was a description of me. I hope he is right. I share it with you because I believe it provides a helpful perspective for our sometimes prickly relationships as Christians:

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.

Fight for the underdog anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help, but may attack you if you help them.

Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you've got and you'll get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you've got anyway.

Anybody can find character defects and performance flaws in another Christian. It takes the grace of God to look beyond an impulsive Peter to see in him the rock of the Jerusalem church. It takes the grace of God to look beyond Saul the persecutor to see in him Paul the apostle. So as you live day to day with people who are sometimes less than saintly in their behavior—and who see you the same way—may I simply say, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you" (2 Peter 1:2).

 Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

God bless you all!

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Friday, August 6, 2021

I Ain’t Got No Where Else to Go! - Yes and Amen to All You Say, Lord - Purity 490


 I Ain’t Got No Where Else to Go! -  Yes and Amen to All You Say, Lord         

Purity 490 08/06/2021  Purity 490 Podcast

Good morning

 

Thank God it is Friday! And while you are at it you can thank Jesus and the Holy Spirit too.   I’m especially chipper this morning because after last night’s discipleship class, I am sure of my purpose and have determined to be true to my calling and will go forward with my plans to teach the 11 week “Freedom in Christ” Course at Rock Solid Church from September 9th to November 18th, taking us into the future from Labor Day to Turkey Day.  

With dwindling numbers in my current series, I had contemplated only podcasting the Autumn class but as I have been praying about it I have been more and more convicted to continue with the plans of teaching at the church and to leave the results up to God.  When you seek God’s direction, you discover that sometimes it was actually very simple, be faithful, and very clear, do what you are called to do, but your own fears and insecurities are the only thing clouding the way. 

Speaking of setting out into the clarity of a new day, today’s photo comes to us from a friend’s recent early morning paddling journey towards the sunrise on the shores of Pawtuxet River at the Aspray Boat House in Warwick, Rhode Island. I just love the image of my friend’s companion facing the sun and the glory of the early morning sky and sunrise that just invites all of us to “come and see” what the new day has for us!

Our lives are a journey into the mystery of what God has intended for us to be our purpose. When we align ourselves with His will for our lives we discover the peace and harmony that He wants us to experience.  But the going is not always easy, because we are not always keen on the way we should go and sometimes choose the wrong things to follow.

In last night’s Bondage Breaker lesson, I shared quite a bit on some of the missteps I have taken in my walk with the Lord where I thought I was more than I was and how the experience of trying to discern the truth of God’s word and apply it to my life has been a humbling experience at times over the years.  But the thing is from the moment I heard the gospel message that saved me, I have been determined to follow the truth of God’s word no matter where it would take me, causing me to progressively turn from my worldly ways of darkness to God’s ways of wisdom and love.

This morning in contemplating my journey, I was reminded of the scene in An Officer and a Gentleman where the drill Sargent, played by Louis Gossett Jr, threatens to expel Richard Gere’s character, Zack Mayo, from the service, saying “You’re out!”  causing Mayo to erupt in an emotional catharsis to keep his spot: saying: 

“Don’t you do it! Don’t! You! I ain’t got no where else to go!  I got no where else to go! I ain’t got nothing else….”    (To see that Gere and Gossett’s Oscar winning performance in that scene go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g2JN2PrHJg).  Its that attitude of desperation and desire that causes me to continue to seek the Lord and follow where He leads.  

That sentiment has been placed in the hearts of believers who decide to walk the path of Christian Discipleship since the days of Christ’s earthly ministry, most vividly shown in scripture by the Apostle Peter’s response when others began to walk away from Jesus.  

John 6:67-69 (NKJV)
67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

As much as the original Apostles failed to fully understand all that Jesus was trying to teach them, they all knew that they had no where else to go. They weren’t following an ideology or a philosophy. They were following the Word made flesh. They weren’t trying to show how good they were by keeping a bunch of rules.  They were following the Son of God.   Even though they didn’t understand all that He said, their reason for all they did, serving and declaring the gospel until there was no earthly life in them, was because they understood who Jesus is: God the Son.    

So trust that Jesus is who He said He was.  There are generations of believers that have gone before us whose lives were transformed by their relationship with Him and proclaimed Him as the truth, the way, and the life.  

Jesus doesn’t force anyone to go with Him though, He only invites us to “Come and see.” But when we accept Christ’s invitation to a new eternal abundant life, by making Him our Lord and Savior, we “see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” with the Holy Spirit confirming in our spirits that not only is Christ the King of King and Lord of Lords but confirming that we are welcomed in as beloved children of God and co-heirs with Him in His royal family.   

So remember who you are in Christ, or take the first step to discover it, by saying “Yes and Amen” to all that the Lord has for you.    

 

(There is more content to help you walk out your journey of faith at MT4Christ dot org. You can also subscribe to the mt4christ247 podcast to hear this message, our discipleship classes, and our weekly Bible Study, on Apple, Google, and Amazon Podcasts, as well as Audible and Podbean).

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This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV)
18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

Today’s verse speaks of the reality of spiritual consequences to the sins of the flesh.  

I think this is like the third verse that we have encountered on fleeing sexual immorality in the last couple of weeks and it highlights God’s will for our lives to be pure in the sexual realm.  Sex is a wonderful gift from God that is intended to be for pleasure and for the expression of love between husband and wife.  Any sex outside of a marriage covenant is “missing the mark” of what God intends for sex to be.  

When we indulge in sex outside of marriage the resultant feelings of shame or guilt when we first lose our virginity tells us that we have done something wrong.  Of course in the throws of ecstasy of sexual pleasure we can easily get over our guilt and shame and rationalize away any feelings of immorality and sink into all kinds of sexual bondage.  

Today’s verse tells us that when we give in to sexual immorality that we sin against our own body pointing to the fact that there are some spiritual, emotional, and physical connections that exist that are difficult to understand.

Other portions of scripture, like the preceding verses in Corinthians 6, tell us that when we have sex with someone we become one flesh and that we can be “joined to a harlot”.  These verses document the existence of sexual soul ties that we create through our sexual encounters. The experiential evidence for these ties is the emotional, physical, and spiritual draw that our old partners have over us, sometimes causing us to obsessively remember old “what’s his/her name” and to desire a reuniting of the flesh.  

The good news is that those soul ties can be broken through renunciation and prayer. Going through Dr, Neil Anderson’s The Step to Freedom in Christ specifically breaks those ties. So if you want to be free of the baggage of your sexual history, you can go to this link (https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56747bae0ab377c98158e42d/t/57ed5d006a49634e0b9b7d0a/1475173632920/Seven+Steps.pdf ) and download a free copy of the Steps and pray through them.    

And that’s how we get freedom over any besetting sin.  We confess our sins to God, agree with what He says about how we are to live, renounce what we have done in the past, and walk on in His ways, by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, to increasing freedom and sustained victory.  

So don’t take you sins lightly, renew your mind to adopt God’s view of what’s right and wrong, and ask the Lord to give you spiritual discernment to see the darkness of the world system we live in. 

When you see the goodness of God and realize the bondages that we suffer through in a world that calls us to independently of Him, you will draw close to the Lord for His protection, cleansing, and love.    

 

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 10.

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

Don't Ignore the Warning Signs of Your Emotions

The Hammer of Indiscriminate Expression

Another unhealthy way to respond to emotions is to thoughtlessly express everything you feel. Indiscriminately telling anybody and everybody exactly how you feel is usually unhealthy for the other person. The apostle Peter is a great example. Peter was the John Wayne of the New Testament—a real door slammer. He had no problem telling anyone what was on his mind or how he felt. I like to refer to him as the one-legged apostle because he always had one foot in his mouth.

Peter's indiscriminate expression of his emotions got him into trouble more than once. One minute he makes the greatest confession of all time: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). A few minutes later Peter tells Jesus He doesn't know what He is doing, and Jesus has to rebuke him: "Get behind Me, Satan!" (Matthew 16:22, 23).

It was Peter who missed the point on the Mount of Transfiguration by suggesting they build three tabernacles to honor Moses, Elijah and the Master. It was Peter who impulsively whacked off the ear of Caiaphas's servant during Jesus' arrest in Gethsemane. It was also Peter who promised to follow Jesus anywhere, even to death. Then only hours later Peter swore that he never knew Him. The fact that Peter later became the spokesperson for the Early Church is evidence of the powerful transformation effected by the Holy Spirit.

Indiscriminate expression of emotions may be somewhat healthy for you, but it is usually unhealthy for others around you. "There, I'm glad I got that off my chest," you may say after an outburst. In the process though, you just destroyed your wife, husband or children.

James warned: "But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" (James 1:19, 20). Paul admonished: "Be angry, and yet do not sin" (Ephes. 4:26). If you wish to be angry and not sin, then be angry the way Christ was: be angry at sin. Turn over the tables; don't attack the money changers.

The Openness of Acknowledgment

Nancy was a college student in another city who drove to Los Angeles to talk to me about her difficult relationship with her mother. We ended up talking about Nancy's inability to express the anger and resentment she felt in the relationship. "My roommate gets to the point sometimes where she just explodes emotionally to let off steam. I have deep feelings, too, but I'm not sure that a Christian is supposed to let off steam."

I opened my Bible to Psalm 109 and read the following verses to her:

O God of my praise, do not be silent! For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without cause. In return for my love they act as my accusers; but I am in prayer. Thus they have repaid me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Appoint a wicked man over him; and let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is judged, let him come forth guilty; and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few; let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children wander about and beg; and let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes. Let the creditor seize all that he has; and let strangers plunder the product of his labor. Let there be none to extend lovingkindness to him, nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; in a following generation let their name be blotted out (Psalm 109:1-13).

"What's that doing in the Bible?" Nancy gasped. "How could David pray all those evil things about his enemy? How could he talk to God that way? That's pure hatred."

"David's words didn't surprise God," I answered. "God already knew what he was thinking and feeling. David was simply expressing his pain and anger honestly to his God who understood how he felt and accepted him where he was."

After a couple of thoughtful moments Nancy asked, "Does that mean it's okay to do what I do?"

"What do you do?"

"Well," she said, looking slightly embarrassed, "when the pressure builds up inside me, I get in my car and just drive. I scream and holler and shout and kick. When I get back to the dorm, I usually feel much better."

I encouraged Nancy that when she is able to dump her hurt and hatred before God, she probably won't dump it on her roommate or her mother in a destructive way. I also reminded her that David was as honest about his need for God as he was about expressing his feelings. He closed the psalm by praying, "Help me, O Lord my God. . . . With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord" (Psalm 109:26, 30).

I think the way David and Nancy acknowledged their feelings is healthy. Perhaps your prayers at times of emotional stress are not very noble, but they are real and honest before God. If you come to your prayer time feeling angry, depressed or frustrated and then mouth a bunch of pious platitudes as if God doesn't know how you feel, do you think He is pleased? Not unless He has changed His opinion about hypocrisy since the time of the Pharisees. The Pharisees tried to look right on the outside while they were far from right on the inside. They weren't real; they were phonies.

Jesus told His disciples, "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20). In God's eyes, if you are not real, you are not right. If necessary, God may have to make you real to make you right with Him.

Acknowledging your emotions as a real person is essential for intimate relationships. You shouldn't let off steam just anywhere in front of just anybody. That is indiscriminate expression, and you run the risk of hurting others more than you help yourself—and that is wrong. The biblical pattern seems to suggest you have three friends you can share with deeply. During his travels, Paul had Barnabas, Silas or Timothy to share with. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus expressed His grief to His inner circle of Peter, James and John.

Psychologists tell us it is difficult for people to maintain mental health unless they have at least one person with whom they can be emotionally honest. If you have two or three people like this in your life, you are truly blessed.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

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

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                   Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship