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Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts

Friday, September 24, 2021

You are My Density – Perfect Love Casts Out Fear - Purity 532


 

You are My Density – Perfect Love Casts Out Fear  - Purity 532

Purity 532 09/24/2021   Purity 532 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of an amazing display of beauty of God’s creation from an undisclosed location over an undisclosed body of water comes to us from a pastor friend of mine who captioned this magnificent shot as being a “sermon without words.”  

Last night in part of the teaching in the Freedom in Christ discipleship class that I taught I briefly discussed some of the evidence of God and proposed the notion that it took more faith to not believe in God than it took to believe in God.

With a photo like this one that points to the “first evidence for God, His creation, we can see the beauty and magnificence and design in our created universe and say: “Enough said. Where did all of this come from? Obviously There is a God. He created it all.”   A scene like this is supposed to take your breath away and draw you to connect with that mysterious unseen Creator who provides all the wonders of creation and everything we need to live.  God’s marvelous creation is a “sermon without words”.   

The video presentations in my class prevent me from teaching too much and what I do say has often been presented in other classes or other ministries as I can draw from my previous teaching to present some quick points regarding the reasons for believing in God, the truth of God’s word, and how to practice and grow our faith.  

This morning I realized that in all my presentations for the reasons to believe in God I have never stated that love was one the reasons to believe in God.   And quite honestly, I can’t recall any apologetics guys list love as evidence for God.  

Scripture states that God is love and that God shows His love for us because while we were, yet sinners Christ died for us.  So if you needed two points from scripture that love is a reason to believe in God, there you go!

Unfortunately, the reason why apologetic guys probably stay away from love as a reason for God is all the sinful things that are done in “love’s name”. Crimes of passion and people indulging in selfish desires and doing all manners of hurtful and destructive things because they “loved” someone so much can make us cautious to point to love as evidence for God.   The reason why love can get a bad name is because God is left out of it.  

 

God’s perfect design for human relationships of love and the foundation of families is the love of a man and a woman who love one another but who are both in love with God and who are both pursuing His will for their lives individually, as a couple, and as a family unit when children naturally come from their loving union. 

Unfortunately, my testimony speaks of the pain and brokenness that can result from being in a relationship where God is not at the center for both parties.  So in recovering for my divorce, I made a commitment to myself and God that I would only pursue a relationship with an authentic Christian woman that I could walk with, seeking to love and support one another while we both sought to live according to God’s will for our lives.   

In searching for a mate, you have preconceived ideas of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Some situations that surround people can influence you to decide not to “go there” with them.  

You end up saying things like: “I really like X and could see being with them if not for “this or that”. It’s just too bad. A relationship with them is just impossible.”

Now don’t get me wrong. It is a very good idea to be discerning and to have standards when you are choosing a life partner and we shouldn’t go into a relationship deciding that we will “fix them”.  

I can testify that without God generally people will not change.  And even with God, it takes the individual working cooperatively with the Lord to overcome habits and defects of character to change.  As noble an idea it is to help someone to change, that falls in the realm of a godly desire but is ultimately beyond our control.  

The thing we can do is to have a godly goal for our lives: to be the person that God wants us to be. Loving, compassionate, kind, patient, selfless, loyal, faithful, and diligent are qualities that we can develop and grow in ourselves with God’s help.  With God, we can overcome our personal issues and be flexible with the circumstances we face in life.  

So, if we find someone with those character traits, we have found a diamond in the rough. And even if they have circumstances that surround them that aren’t perfect we shouldn’t necessarily rule them out.  

Until very recently, that’s what I did. I was ruling people out arbitrarily because I couldn’t conceive of a way that our two lives could come together. I saw union as just impossible because of the details of my and the other person’s life.

As much as my heart told me this particular person that I was interested in was a faithful Christian woman, I told myself that I just couldn’t see how things could fit together and was saddened by how it just wouldn’t work.  

But as time has gone on and they have proven themselves to be who they appeared to be and we have drawn closer in our friendship, I finally realized that I had fallen into the trap that I often warn and teach people about.  The enemy will tell us that some things are just impossible. He will use our weaknesses and preferences to convince us that there just no way.   

But with God, all things are possible. And as my friend, Tammy Lyn and I have gotten to know each other and grown closer, we realized that our feelings had grown beyond friendship and somewhere along the line, my fears and anxieties have faded away as we have come to realize that both of us love one another enough to walk through whatever struggles we may face in bringing our lives together.    

I was reminded of the movie Back to the Future, where Marty McFly must bring his parents back together because of his accidentally messing us the space time continuum. Marty coaches his dad, George, to make a romantic gesture to win his mother’s heart and the hapless George suavely tells Lorraine: “You are my density….” Very smooth George. 

But as the story evolves, we know that George and Lorraine simply must come together otherwise Marty is done for.  Luckily a Sovereign God apparently is working behind the scenes in the film and even George McFly’s fumbling won’t prevent what God has designed to come together.  In a critical moment, George’s courage is challenged and despite his fear, his love for Lorraine gives Him the courage to make a stand and win her love.  

Much like George McFly, I have fumbled and stumbled my way through life, and even though I was overcome with fear and anxiety over how Tammy Lyn and I could be a couple, the perfect love of God has come in and drawn us together and cast out all fear.  We have confessed our love for one another and have committed ourselves to work together to make a life together come what may. 

We are just starting so we don’t know where this is going just yet, and people might think we have lost our minds, but I get a line from an old Hollies song that seems to describe my certainty of our future together:  

“All the people stared as if we were both quite insane
Someday my name and hers are going to be the same 

Not sure how or when but my mind, heart, soul, and spirit tell me this is the truth and I am rejoicing at the prospects of walking into that reality with my love, and my Lord.    

Perfect love comes from Him and casts out all fear. Love bears witness of His existence for God is love.   So keep walking and talking with God.  He gives you the love that saves you and sustains you. His love causes you to hope for more and to carry on. And if you follow where He leads, He just might give you some company on your path from here to eternity.

  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NKJV)
11  that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,

Today’s verse speaks of some simple wisdom that will make us personally responsible and lead to peace.  

It’s a jungle out there. Even before the Fall of Man into sin, God made us to be stewards of the earth. That means we are supposed to work.  So the Apostle Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians to “work with your own hands” is reminding them of that basic command that God gave us from the beginning. 

The reason why Paul had to remind the church in Thessalonica of this basic fact of life, to work, was because some false teachers were telling the church that it was “the end of days” and people had begun to walk away from their responsibilities because they thought existence itself was going to change at any moment with the return of the Lord. Others under the guise of pursuing the Lord were claiming to be on a spiritual quest which demanded others to support them, those of the “heavenly minded” crowd that were no earthly good and even worse wanted the church body to support them as a super saint.   

Paul’s life example as tent maker who supported himself proved that just because we serve God doesn’t mean we are entitled to a living and that the original command to be stewards to support ourselves and our families doesn’t go away with changing times or a life of ministry.

Paul also advises the Thessalonians to “mind you own business”.  Really? It’s in the Bible, so remember that “Mind your own business” First Thessalonians 4:11!

Now before you start getting snappy with that,  realize that is directed at you.   We are to mind our own business and aspire to lead a quiet life.  It is solid biblical advice that if followed  will mostly likely lead to peace.  

So work to support yourself and try to live a quiet life where you mind your own business.  This is simple biblical advice to show us that the basic aspects of our lives are addressed by God.  So practice what the word says and find the peace that comes from being in harmony with God’s will for our lives. 

 

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

 

Today we continue 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:

E. How to Practice the Do's of Parental Boundaries

What "do's" of parental boundaries may not have been practiced in the raising of Rosie Ruiz?

She goes on to break even more boundaries, only this time her offenses occur off the race course. In 1982 she is arrested on charges of forgery and larceny, and then 18 months later she turns herself in following an arrest warrant accusing her of conspiring to sell 4.4 pounds of cocaine to undercover agents. This time Rosie doesn't act alone—she has two female coconspirators also facing drug charges.

Infamy... makes the name Rosie Ruiz more memorable than rightful marathon champions.

The Bible, however, reveals the importance of a good reputation. . . .

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."

(Proverbs 22:1)

While boundaries are good and necessary for instilling self-discipline and self-control, most children and teenagers do not necessarily look on them from a positive perspective. Rather, they view them as constraining their freedom and spoiling their fun. It is not until they experience some of the true benefits of boundaries that they begin to embrace them and eventually internalize them as their own rules or code for living.

In the meantime, it is important to take into account that most young people have a keen sense of fairness and are quick to demand justice when they perceive an unfair boundary has been set or an unjust repercussion has been imposed . . . especially against them. Parents and other authority figures who are known for their fair-mindedness and impartiality will quickly gain the respect of the youth in their charge and will likely find them loyal and receptive to reasonable boundaries. . . .

"If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established forever."

(Proverbs 29:14)

The Do's of Practicing Parental Boundaries

"My son, keep your father's command and do not forsake your mother's teaching."

(Proverbs 6:20)

Do... Mold the will without breaking the spirit of your child.

  • A child's will is molded by applying appropriate boundaries when the child seeks to go in a direction contrary to what the parents perceive to be God's will.
  • A child's spirit is uplifted by being valued as a unique creation of God and by being treated with courtesy, kindness, fairness, and respect.
  • A child's spirit can be broken through overreacting or having too many rules, criticizing or teasing, false accusations or inflexibility, impatience or harsh punishment.

Example:

A wild stallion has some intrinsic value; however, the most valuable horse turns with the slightest nudge from the rider's reins. The goal of the master is to break the will of the horse, but not the spirit. The goal of a parent should be to mold the will of the child without breaking the spirit. . . .

"Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."

(Colossians 3:21)

Do . . . Communicate your expectations clearly.

  • Make eye contact with your child when communicating.
  • Prior to any problems, describe in detail what you expect of your child regarding structure and limits.
  • Enter into an agreement with your older child or teen and ask for a statement verifying an accurate understanding of your expectations.
  • When it is time for your child to honor the boundary you have established, give one gentle reminder.

Example:

Don't say:

"Don't you think it is time for you to do your homework now?"

Do say:

"Remember, you agreed to start doing your homework at 7:00. It's 7:20, so what do you need to be doing now?"

" . . . we instructed you how to live in order to please God...." (1 Thessalonians 4:1)

Do . . . Establish negative repercussions for misbehavior.

  • Clearly communicate the repercussion.
  • Prior to a problem, ensure your child understands and accepts that the repercussion will be enforced.
  • Allow your child to experience the repercussion for rejecting or violating a boundary.

Example:

Tom, age 13, rides his bicycle with his friends on weekends but has agreed to never ride after dark. If Tom disobeys, he will not go with his friends the next time they go riding together on the weekend.

If he breaks his agreement a second time, the repercussion will be doubled and he won't go riding with his friends for two weekends.

"Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death."

(Proverbs 19:18)

Do... Encourage and develop responsibility.

  • Allow your child to make age-appropriate choices and decisions.
  • Permit your child to experience the repercussions of wrong choices and the rewards of right choices.
  • Give increased freedom when your child is responsible.
  • Restrict freedom when your child is irresponsible.

Example:

Seventeen-year-old Karl is told, "You may take the car to the ball game and to the pizza parlor afterward, but do not go anywhere else and be home by 11:30." If Karl disobeys, ask, "Where did you agree to go in the car and when did you agree to come home?" . . . "Why did we make this agreement?". . .

"Yes, the agreement was made for your safety and my peace of mind. So, per our agreement, you have chosen to not use the car for the next two weeks."

"A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the mother who bore him."

(Proverbs 17:25)

Do . . . Assign beneficial chores with boundaries.

  • Chores need to be assigned to everyone in the family.
  • Chores need to be explained as benefitting the entire family.
  • Chores need to be clearly defined and detailed.
  • Chores need to be compatible with your child's age and capabilities.
  • Chores need to be given an assigned time for completion.
  • Chores need to be consistently enforced by making sure they are completed.

Example:

Don't say:

"Michael, you are to mow the lawn once a week."

Do say:

"Michael, since your responsibility is to take care of the yard before you leave each Saturday, be sure to remember to use the edger around the curb and sidewalk. When you have finished, put the clippings in a yard bag and place it inside the trash can by the alley, then clean and put the equipment where it goes in the storage shed."

"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty."

(Proverbs 14:23)

Do . . . Reward positive behavior.

  • Give your child praise regarding character traits.
  • "Your room looks great! I'm proud of your faithfulness to finish the job well."
  • Give your child "thank you's."
  • "I really appreciate your willingness to bring in the groceries. Thanks for your help!"
  • Give your child recognition in front of others.
  • "Jim, I wish you had heard the compliments about the way our lawn looked after Peter mowed it."
  • Give your child attention.
  • "Lisa, I heard you have learned to dive from the diving board. I would love to see you dive."
  • Give your child respect.
  • "Chris, I respect your need for privacy. I won't enter your room without knocking."
  • Give your child smiles and physical affection. Children need to be lovingly touched by their parents—with plenty of hugs, kisses, pats on the back, or a hand on the shoulder.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Do... Maintain consistency.

  • Both parents need to come to an agreement on issues regarding the child, even if they disagree in private.
  • Make only promises you know you can keep.
  • Give careful thought to a request before denying it.
  • Refrain from requiring too many major changes at one time.
  • Evaluate your boundaries and their accompanying rewards and repercussions on a regular basis. Change them as your child grows more responsible.

Example:

If you and your spouse disagree on a reward or repercussion, discuss the situation in private. Listen to each other as you share feelings and reasons for or against the correction. Come to an agreement or compromise so that there can be the security of consistency in your child's life.

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."

(Proverbs 24:3-4)

Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

 

---------------------------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, August 24, 2021

Fool for Love – Things Hoped For - Purity 505


 Fool for Love – Things Hoped For                                                                                                                                        

Purity 505 08/24/2021   Purity 505 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a field of sunflowers stretching out as far as the eye can see comes to us from a friend who visited the Sand Flat Orchard in Fonda New York on Sunday.  I love how my friend also captured the brilliance of the sun that, although obscured by the clouds, cannot be denied, and comes shining through. Also if you notice, the vast majority of these sunflowers are in full bloom, but there is this one, just left of center, that wasn’t there yet but whose inverted petals are thick with the promise of bursting forth into glory.  We can hope that it will bloom!

Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  A group of friends have recently decided to exercise their faith and have joined one another to go to the Lord in prayer with each other’s hopes and petitions.  They recognize that the Lord is sovereign and gives good things to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.   So it is my prayer that all my friends, this particular prayer group and other friends that are hoping for things not seen, receive what the Lord has for them.     

If you notice, I didn’t say “what my friends want”.  As someone who has cried out to the Lord in prayer for all kinds of things since making Jesus my Lord and Savior, I have been through the ringer in my journey of faith, a path of Christian Discipleship that one could describe as a “trail of tears” as I have literally wept and “hoped and prayed with all my might.” over things I have wanted.

I have prayed for healing, finances, favor, opportunities, love, and death at various times in my walk with the Lord.  I have seen my prayers answered just like I wanted, and I have been bitterly disappointed when they weren’t.   I have also been greatly relieved in hindsight that the Lord didn’t answer some of my prayers.   

One of things that I have prayed for in the past that I would caution my friends to consider thinking about before praying for,  is love.  Believe me, I understand loneliness, obsession, and the desire to restore relationships and its not just because I studied these subjects in school.  In the past few years I have prayed for the restoration of my marriage and , after it became clear to me that my marriage covenant was dissolved by the conditions put forth in the Word of God and the laws of the state, I prayed for new love and a new wife. 

In my pain of my divorce, I really wanted comfort and thought that a Christian wife would be just the thing to make all things new and to heal my broken heart.   I even had dreams and hopes about a particular Christian woman who I thought the Lord was drawing me to.

So I prayed for love. Before I ever approached the person with my any indication of my feelings, believe me I prayed, repeatedly.  I was really hoping my prayers would just bring them to me. I didn’t want to have to approach them. I wanted God just to have them show up on my doorstep one day!

Ain’t no fool like an old fool, right?  And there probably isn’t any bigger fool that an “old fool” for love.  

Part of me was content to just sit back and pray for my dream lover to come to me, but after a while I realized that I wasn’t living the way God wanted me to. I was obsessed over some future outcome, some unseen hope that I had real mixed feelings about.  So instead of torturing myself, I decided I had to know the truth no matter where it would take me.

So I expressed my interest in a romantic relationship, without confessing my undying love or anything like that, and discovered that while they were flattered, they were not interested. Unfortunately that person wasn’t getting the same calls from God to be my spouse.  

While I could have hoped against hope and decided to just keep praying and wait for God to move, and to endure until the time is right, and this person “sees the light.”, I decided that if I really trusted the Lord I was going to have to accept what He had for me, or in this case, didn’t have for me.   

I was reading James 5 this morning and there are very encouraging verses about prayer and perseverance in that chapter but there is also a verse that tells us to not swear oaths and to let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No”, lest you fall into judgment.

So, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I sort of used this Biblical principle  to decide to let this person’s “No” be “No” and have gone on to use it to let others lack interest in me to also be a “No.” without having to suffer the embarrassment of asking for one.   

In my fumbling on this faith walk, I have come to realize that in matters of the heart God allows us free will.  He doesn’t make us love and follow Him. So I think He isn’t going to make the object of our desires to love and follow us, either.   

Also when we pray for love, I think that we are really blinded by the fact that God is love and that we may be failing to fully accept and experience the love He has for us.  

There are several verses in the Bible that indicate that a marriage relationship is not the thing that completes us.  The idea of a “soul mate” that completes isn’t really found in scripture. Colossians 2:10 says that Christ completes us.  So my question to the lovelorn would be: “Have you experienced the love of the Lord? Or “Do you feel complete in Christ?”

If the answer to those questions is “No.”, I would suggest that we might want to pray for that too.      

But don’t get me wrong, I’m a fool for love after all.  So prayer for the things you want, what ever they may be, but remember that just because the word indicates that we will receive the desires of our hearts doesn’t mean that our hearts are necessarily in the right place. 

In our ignorance and penchant for instant gratification, we may be blind to the fact that the things that we “want” are not what are best and could cause a great deal of suffering. 

So keep walking and talking with God. Seek His presence, wisdom, and ways. As you walk, ask Him what He wants for you instead of demanding what you want for Him.

If you listen, you may learn that He’s got a better plan and that His desires for you are better than your own.  Pray, be faithful, and follow where He leads. Allow Him to change your heart and to open your eyes to the new life He has for you.  

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NKJV)
2  For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

Today’s verse calls us to remain faithful every day for things can change suddenly.  

In terms of the end times, there are no necessary signs that need to come for Christ to return. He could return today.  

Also in this world we are never promised tomorrow.

I just saw a story about the sudden loss of life that came in the wake of the latest tropical storm. Apparently a mother and son in Tennessee sought to escape flood waters by climbing to a roof of a building only to have the structure collapse.  The son was rescued but the mother died.  Last week before the storm came, there was no hint that this woman’s life would be taken.  

The eminent return of Christ and the possibility of death makes it clear that we need to have a full assurance of our salvation and right standing before God.   It also should drive us to share the gospel with those around us.

Our faith in Christ should be at the forefront of our minds and the message on our hearts. Our faith empowers us to live with joy and peace through all the troubles of this life and gives us a hope that we can stand on for all of eternity.

So seek the Lord and seek to make Him known.    

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 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

Discipline Yes, Judgment No

Are there any occasions when Christians should confront each other on matters of behavior? Yes. We are required by God to confront and restore those who have clearly violated the boundaries of Scripture. Jesus instructed: "And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed" (Matthew 18:15, 16).

Let me alert you to an important distinction: discipline is an issue of confronting observed behavior—that which you have personally witnessed (see Galatians 6:1); judgment is an issue of attacking character. We are instructed to confront others concerning sins we have observed, but we are not supposed to judge their character (see Matthew 7:1; Romans 14:13). Disciplining others is a part of our ministry; judging character is God's responsibility.

For example, imagine you just caught your child telling a lie. "You're a liar," you say to him. That is judgment, an attack on his character. However, if you say, "Son, you just told a lie," that is discipline. You are holding him accountable for an observed behavior.

Let's say a Christian friend admits to you that he cheated on his income tax return. If you call him a thief, you are judging his character. You can only confront him on the basis of what you see: "By cheating on your taxes you are stealing from the government, and that's wrong."

When you discipline others, it must be based on something you have seen or heard personally, not on something you suspect or have heard through the grapevine. If you confront their behavior and they do not respond to you, next time you are to bring two or three witnesses—other eyewitnesses of their sin. If you are the only eyewitness, you confront them alone and leave it at that. It is their word against your word, and that won't stand up in a court of law. If they won't own up to their sin and repent, do we just let them get away with it? Yes, but God isn't finished with them. Imagine the conviction every time they see you.

Much of what we call discipline is nothing less than character assassination. We say to our disobedient children: "You dumb kid"; "You're a bad boy"; "You're worthless." We say to falling Christian brothers and sisters: "You're not a good Christian"; "You're a thief"; "You're a lustful dirtbag." Such judgmental statements don't correct or edify. Your children are not liars; they are children of God who have told a lie. Your Christian friends are not thieves; they are children of God who have taken something that doesn't belong to them. Believers caught in moral failures are not perverts; they are children of God who compromised their purity. We must hold people accountable for their sinful behavior, but we are never allowed to denigrate their character.


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

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Looking Ahead but Not Missing the Details - Purity 483


 Looking Ahead but Not Missing the Details     

Purity 483 07/29/2021

Good morning

Today’s photos of walkway through lily pad covered waters comes to us from a friend’s recent visit to the Ann Lee Nature and Historic Preserve in Albany NY.

It's Thursday, and as is my custom I have shared another photo of a pathway to encourage others to draw closer to God in their lives by exploring the path of Christian Discipleship. It also serves as a reminder that you don’t have to be alone in the journey as I teach a discipleship class tonight at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY and if you are not local, I make all my classes available via the mt4Christ247 podcast which is available on most podcast services.    

Although I normally only share a single photo each day, I like to step out of “the box” on occasion and to try new things to keep an open mind and heart and to stretch the limits of my, and other’s, expectations. 

I particularly like to challenge the world’s view of what a life of faith looks like. I advocate for a lifestyle of faithfully seeking the Lord’s presence and wisdom for our lives on a continual basis as opposed to the view that our Christian faith is exercised only once a week at a corporate worship service for a couple of hours.   


I am sharing the second photo today of a close up of those lily pad covered waters to share their beauty but also to point out the two aspects of any journey through life.  While we should be intentional about where we are going and looking forward rather than looking in the past, we should also be aware of the here and now and enjoy the beauty that is to be enjoyed in the present moment.  

No matter where you are in your journey or how tumultuous the present moment is right now, peace can be found in the realization that you are not alone, for the Lord is with you, and He will be your ever-present comfort as you move through the present to the future that He wants you to walk into.    

So stop and smell the roses, or heck, enjoy the exquisite beauty of the utter chaos of misfortune that you are suffering through, because either way God is right there with you and whether your future testimony will tell of the pleasant circumstances you were able to enjoy today or will speak of how you had to cling to the Lord with all your might to get through horrible circumstances as your world is being torn asunder, if you keep walking and talking in God your life experience will be one of supernatural peace and joy that comes through walking in the Spirit.

So embrace the present moment but don’t cling too tight, you got places to go and people to see; to tell of the freedom and victory that you have found through Christ alone.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NKJV)
3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

Today’s verse speaks of our ability to encourage one another in our walk of faith and speaks of our source of motivation for the journey. 

Here the Apostle Paul is greeting His fellow Christians in the church at Thessalonica, with a fond remembrance of their faithful work and their attitudes of love and hope that was supernaturally imparted to them through their faith in Jesus Christ.   

Yeah, if you are living your life of faith with the motivation of “doing everything right” or with the idea that “As a Christian, I’m supposed to”, you might want to check your heart and see if its beating, you might want to check your mind to see if you know who you are in Christ.   If you are really not sure what I am talking about when I refer to experiencing your freedom and victory in Christ on a continual basis, today’s verse is for you.   

While we are tremendously grateful for the Lord’s grace and our salvation, you are tremendously grateful right?, we are not trying to “pay Jesus back” by behaving like a Christian or by doing good works. Christ’s gift of His perfect life sacrificed for all who would call upon Him as Lord and Savior is a priceless gift and there is nothing that we could do on earth to pay God back for His mercy, grace, and love.   

However, the reception of our new life in Christ should cause us to love God and motivate us to deepen our relationship with Him because of that love.  

Paul rightly calls our Christian lives a “labor of love” because it is born from God’s love for us and is only possible to “perform” or live out through our love for God.   Loving God is our first commandment from Christ and when we develop that ability suddenly we are given the power of love to change ourselves and to love our neighbors as ourselves.   

But our faith is not just motivated by the love of what Christ did for us and is doing for us currently…, you do have a vibrant life of faith that allows you to say God is in your life currently right?

Anyway, our life of faith is also motivated by the hope of things to come.  And I’m not just talking about the return of Christ, which should be every Christian’s hopeful expectation, but I am also talking about the hope of where your relationship with God will take you and what things you will have the opportunity to do to glorify the Lord in your life’s journey. 

When we live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, we not only can glory in the love and the hope for what is to come in our faith walk but amazingly as we walk it out we can also encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ as we go.   

So love what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do in your life. And rejoice with the others that are following the Lord too.  Our walk is highly personal and individualized but that doesn’t mean that we are on our own.  Our lives can cause others to remember what the Lord as done for us and is doing for us and give them hope for their walk and give them the motivation to inspire others like you have inspired them.        

So live a life of faith, love, and hope through your life in Christ and encourage others to walk with you as you go.

 

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 9.

 

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:

Strongholds of the Mind

Action, Habit and Stronghold

Once your consideration of a temptation triggers an emotional response leading to a Plan B choice, you will act upon that choice and own that behavior. You may resent your actions or claim you are not responsible for what you do. However, you are responsible for your actions at this stage because you will have failed to take a tempting thought captive when it first appeared at the threshold of your mind.

People who study human behavior tell us that if you continue to repeat an act for six weeks, you will form a habit. If you exercise that habit long enough, a stronghold will be established. Once a stronghold of thought and response is entrenched in your mind, your ability to choose and to act contrary to that pattern is very difficult. It is like driving an old truck down the same dirt road for so long that deep ruts are established. After a while, you won't even have to steer the truck. It will naturally stay in the ruts of the road and any attempt to steer out of them will be met with resistance.

A stronghold is a mental habit pattern. It is memory traces burned into our minds over time or by the intensity of traumatic experiences. For instance, inferiority is a stronghold. Nobody is born inferior to anyone else, but you could be struggling with an inferiority complex if you kept getting the message from the world that everyone is stronger, smarter, and prettier than you.

Being the adult child of an alcoholic can be the basis for a mental stronghold. Suppose three boys were raised in a home in which the father becomes an alcoholic. When the father comes home drunk and belligerent every night, the oldest son thinks he is big enough to stand up for himself. He says to his father, "You lay one hand on me, mister, and you're in trouble."

The middle child doesn't believe he can stand up to his father, so he accommodates and becomes the classic enabler. He greets him by saying, "Hi, Dad. Are you feeling okay? Can I get you anything, Dad? Do you want me to call anybody?"

The youngest son is totally intimidated by his father. When Dad comes home, he scurries out of sight and hides in the closet or under the bed. He stays clear of his dad and avoids conflict.

Twenty years later their father is long gone, and these three men are confronted with a hostile situation. How do you think they will respond? The oldest one will fight; the middle one will appease; and the youngest one will run away. That is the way they learned to handle hostility. Their deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and responding have formed strongholds in their minds.

Hostility is a stronghold. The man or woman who struggles with hostile thoughts and behavior learned to be pugnacious or argumentative when threatened. That is how he or she learned to cope in difficult situations. He or she will not find it easy to learn to love his or her enemy, bless those who curse him or her and turn the other cheek.

Homosexuality is a stronghold. In God's eyes there is no such thing as a homosexual. He created us male and female. However, homosexual thoughts, feelings and behavior can usually be traced to past negative experiences or tempting thoughts. Such experiences precipitate sexual feelings, fantasies, and disorientations, causing some to believe a lie about their sexual identity.

Anorexia and bulimia are mental strongholds. Eating disorders have little to do with food. A 95-pound woman standing in front of a mirror believes she is fat and can't see the deception! She is the victim of negative thought patterns about herself that have been burned into her mind over time, or they could have originated during traumatic experiences such as rape or incest.


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