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Showing posts with label Matthew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matthew. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Stepping Out – Are They a Christian in a Boat - Purity 548


 

Stepping Out – Are They a Christian in a Boat - Purity 548                                                                      

Purity 548 10/13/2021  Purity 548 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a blue cloud filled sky over the Adirondack Mountains which is reflected in a lake, pond, or stream comes to us from a pair of friends who took “another fall trip deep into the Adirondacks” to enjoy the sights and the rewards of trout fishing.  Subsequent photos from our friend assure us that they are not a “catch and release” fisherman and the Lord provided a bounty on this fishing trip that would not only nourish their souls but also their bodies.    

With the holiday Monday, we find ourselves already at the “hump” of midweek so although the peaks of the Adirondacks in this photo are not prominent, they are present and make this photo’s selection appropriate for “hump day”.  

With the recent revelations of the changes that will be coming in the days and years ahead due to my engagement and future wedding and marriage, I have been overcome by a sense of wonder of how a life that has been surrendered to God can move in all kinds of directions.  

Like our friend who doesn’t “catch and release” the trout he catches on his autumn fishing trips, God doesn’t “catch and release” those He chooses to come into His kingdom. Since coming to Christ, I have endeavored to increasingly surrender my life to His ways and His purposes and along the way have often speculated on the direction that the Lord was leading me in.  

I confessed last evening to a fellow traveler on the path of Christian Discipleship how I thought that the move to my new house “down by the river” would lead to an assignment from God to co-pastor a church that was just down the road a piece. I also admitted to how I had “felt moved” to apply for an executive position at a local rehabilitation agency in Columbia County because I anticipated that the Lord would choose to move me out of my corporate job and place me in a career that would serve the recovery community.  

At the time, I could see both of these directions as real possibilities for the Lord to move me in.  In hindsight, I was working with incomplete information and making “best guesses” as to where the Lord might be sending me on this journey called life.  As it turns out neither “revelation” came to pass, and I no longer “feel” that the Lord is calling me to those vocations.  

That’s the great testing of God’s will for your life: If it doesn’t happen, it wasn’t God’s plan for your life.   Unfortunately, you only discover that something wasn’t God’s will for your life, AFTER you have tried and failed, hoped, and prayed, and envisioned the next steps with excitement and expectancy. 

Disappointments, regrets, and dreams that failed to come true are actively used by the enemy to drive us into depression, idleness, and separation from God.   One of the enemy’s favorites lies to whisper in our ears is the painful speculations over “what could have been”. 

“Oh what could have been, if only MR or Mrs. Blank would have loved me?” “

Oh what could have been if I had gotten that job?”

“Oh what could have been “IF ONLY”…..”

The enemy takes those hurts and uses them:

1.     To beat up the individual as lacking or inadequate, hello condemnation!

2.    To blame God for not granting us the “desires of our hearts”

3.    To convince us that there is no God, and we are all alone in our suffering and inadequacies.  

But on the flipside of those disappointments of “what could have been” and those “if only” speculations, is the fact that we can see the will of God reflected in what we don’t get, where we have been, and in in the present moment and where we find ourselves.  

“Que sera, sera” – Whatever will be, will be -  may sound like a listless or fatalistic way to face the future if we just “wait and see” what will happen in our lives but the truth of God’s sovereign will should give us great peace and challenge us to boldly pursue what we think the Lord is calling us to.     

I know the series of “Checking the Clues” is over but this morning in my ponderings of future possibilities in the days ahead considering “where will I live”, “where will I go”, and “what will I do”, I imagined Dr. Seuss’ Sam I Am appearing to ask another “Green eggs in Ham” question in regards to our faith life:

“Are they a Christian in a Boat?”

As the previous series taught us about examining the “clues of authentic Christian faith”, when we ask a question about someone else’s faith walk, the question invariably is posed to ourselves as well.    

So contemplating Sam I am’s inquiry about “boats”, I envisioned the Apostle Peter calling out to Jesus Christ walking on the sea of Galilee and saying: "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." To which Jesus only gave the single word of assurance to “Come!”

Would you step out of the boat onto shifting seas, based on one word from Christ? Would you take the risk of falling? Would you dare to possibly look foolish and get “all wet” in another failure?

Are we a Christian if we just sit in the safety of “the boat”?

Or are we to step out in faith to whatever the Lord calls us to, even if it’s scary or uncertain?

I’ve told you about some of my speculations regarding my faith walk that didn’t come to pass.  As the song says, “The futures not ours to see”, but that doesn’t mean we are not to try to discern where the Lord is calling us to go. While we are operating with incomplete information, we have to make our best guesses about what the Lord would have us do.  

The dreams and hopes we have may not come true, but our failures and disappointments will be a part of our journey that leads us to God’s will for our lives.

Just because “whatever will be will be”, it doesn’t mean that we are not to call on the Lord and ask Him if we are to step out into new possibilities.  

Some may look at Peter’s fear and failure to walk successfully on the water as a reason to not take any chances, but the thing is although Peter may have looked foolish in the eyes of man, he learned what it was like to boldly step out in faith and most importantly he learned that even if he fell the Lord would always be there to catch him.   

The same Peter who denied the Lord Jesus out of fear of persecution, was convinced by the Resurrected Christ that Jesus wouldn’t just catch him in this life. Seeing that Jesus was the Son of God and God the Son, caused the one who ran away to come back and lead the church and to face a martyr’s death knowing that Jesus would catch him on the other side of this life too.   

So keep walking and talking with God. If you feel that the Lord is calling you somewhere or to some new opportunity, answer the call and “step out of the boat” knowing that even your failures will be part of God’s plan for your life.   The futures not ours to see but when we are in Christ we know that where we have been, where we are now, and where we will be will all be for our good, will be a part of God’s will for our lives, and will be for His purposes.


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Matthew 28:20 (NLT2)
20  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Today’s verse reminds us of what we are to pass on to those we teach and assures us of the Lord’s presence in our lives.  

In the previous verse the Lord commands us to : “Go…. and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Beyond baptizing them, we are to teach the disciples that we make “to observe all the commands ” that Jesus gave us.   These words of Christ command us to know what He taught the Apostles and to “obey”, or apply, the teachings to our lives.  As disciples we don’t just know intellectually what Jesus taught, we are to live by what he taught.

Also we are not pick and choose what teachings of Jesus we are to obey; we are to obey all the commands Christ gave to us.   

So the picture Christ is painting for His followers is to live a devout and holy life.   

Jesus knew that the world hated Him for what He taught and tried to live out in their presence so His final words in the gospel of Matthew are designed to assure us that He will be with us “even to the end of the age.”  

Teaching others to and choosing to observe all the things that Christ commanded for ourselves may not be an easy path to walk upon, but Christ’s death, resurrection, and words assure us that it is the right way to go and that He will be with us all the days of our lives. 

So know the word of God and the teaching of Christ that are contained within it. Observe all that Christ commanded us and go and make disciples of all the nations knowing that when the end of the age comes, Christ will be with us, always and forever.  

  

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 sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

 

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:

F. What Is God's Heart on Dating and Courtship?

God is the author of relationships, a fact clearly revealed in His relationship with the first man and woman He created. He spent time with them daily and knew them intimately. His heart is for every person to have a relationship with Him, not just as Creator but as Friend, as a close companion. And He is also deeply interested in our relationships with one another and has revealed His heart... His thoughts...His desires for us in His Word.

Since dating is essentially an activity in which relationships are formed and either valued and nurtured or devalued and destroyed, God is thoroughly tuned in to our dating experiences and nothing escapes His eyes....

"Does he not see my ways and count my every step?" (Job 31:4)

God's Heart on Dating

  • God desires that believers date only those who have yielded their lives to Christ and are in right relationship with Him.

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?...Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

  • God desires that we know, practice, and recognize the attributes that accompany someone who loves the Lord and His people, and choose to date only such a person.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

  • God desires that we and those we date live according to His Word and be committed to purity.

"How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word" (Psalm 119:9).

  • God desires that we and those we date be sanctified—set apart for God, set apart from sin—by avoiding sexual immorality.

"It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality" (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

  • God desires that we learn and practice self-control both in our minds and bodies, especially regarding those whom we date.

"Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable" (1 Thessalonians 4:4).

  • God desires that we and those we date flee sexual lusts and pursue purity of mind and heart along with peace, faith, and love.

"Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).

  • God desires that we make a habit of regularly confessing our sins and viewing ourselves and those we date as forgiven by God, purified of all unrighteousness, and worthy of being treated with respect.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

  • God desires that we speak the truth in love to one another and grow to become mature in Christ.

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).

  • God desires that we encourage one another and build each other up.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

  • God desires that we sharpen one another in character and in our spiritual walk.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17).


Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

---------------------------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

Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Evidence to Convict – Checking the Clues 9 - Purity 545


The Evidence to Convict – Checking the Clues 9 - Purity 545                                                                   

Purity 545 10/09/2021 Purity 545 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo from inside the Buskirks Covered Bridge comes to us from yours truly as I decided to take a photo from the inside looking out to the light of day on Thursday.  The function and form of the bridge does have its own beauty but pales in comparison to the brightness of the natural light of the sun that shines and invites us out of the darkness.  

As I am away again this weekend, I am experiencing firsthand the darkness that can exist when your technology is compromised, and you have to scramble to use the resources you have before they run out.  I am on battery power because the absent minded MT packed “everything he needed” except the power cable to his laptop and finds the local alternatives to be sorely lacking.  

So today’s message will be brief.  

Despite this technological limitation and the ire that arises at its consideration, we are still able to have a measure of peace because despite this minor frustration, God is still on the throne and has blessed us in so many ways that this inconvenience is put in its place next to all the good that God has done for us.  

And that’s a key to “walking in the Spirit”: putting things in their proper perspective.  Regardless of negative circumstances, Christians should be thankful for all they have received and have a baseline of joy and peace that they can tap into at all times.  The way we tap into the peace and joy that never runs out is to remember that God Himself has saved us and assures us that He is working all things together for good. So we should count our blessings. 

It’s Saturday, and I pray that my friends will use their faith and the power to change their circumstances to have a peaceful and joy filled weekend.       

Even with my mild annoyance this morning, my imagination is once again visited by children’s television Blue who is reminding me of the current series we are doing on examining the “clues” of the authenticity of someone’s Christian faith.  This morning Sam I am must have taken the day off because he is curiously absent, but Blue has put her “paw print” on several of the items in the home I am staying in making me wonder if these multiple clues are in retaliation for skipping the current series yesterday to share the testimony of my marriage proposal.  

In my mind’s eye, I can see blue paw  prints on a Bible, several Christian DVDs, various pictures, and wall hangings that proclaim Bible verses or other general encouragements related to the Christian faith, and several Christian books and daily devotionals.  

As I contemplate these multiple “clues” all over this house, I realize that Blue is pointing to the fact of their presence in this place to “clue” us into the fact that they serve as evidence that the person who lives here has an awful lot of things in their home that indicate that they are indeed an authentic Christian.  

So, as I will remind you, the purpose of our current series is to help us to try to determine if someone who is presenting themselves as a Christian is someone who indeed “practices what they preach” and lives out their faith in a real way for the purposes of selecting a Christian life partner.  While these outward signs are no guarantee of the inward condition of the heart of the person that lives here, the preponderance of the “evidence” would certainly indicate that they are an enthusiastic follower of Jesus Christ.  

While the diligent investigator should use more than one source of evidence to “prove their case”, the presence of Bibles, Christian media, and Christian images and decorations in someone’s home are a great thing to discover if we are trying to see if our subject’s faith is authentic.     

So if you are interested in someone and want to make sure they are walking the walk as well as talking the talk, take a visit to where they live and see if the décor and media they display give some “evidence” that they dedicate time and monetary resources to items that can be used as part of a Christian lifestyle.  

If someone is living out their faith, they will have some physical evidence in their lives of the spiritual reality of their Christian faith.

Even when you take it on the road, if you are a Christian, you will pack some things that will give you away as a Christian because no matter where we go we will endeavor to stay connected to our Lord with our spiritual practice and seek to share the knowledge of His mercy, grace, and love with those we encounter on the path of Christian Discipleship.

 

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Matthew 25:21 (NKJV)
21  His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

Today’s verse describes a good ending from one of Jesus’s parables about the kingdom of God. 

In the parable Jesus describes a man who gives three of his servant’s some talents to invest.  Today’s verse is the master’s response to the servant to whom he gave five talents and who was able to trade with them wisely and receive another five talents.

The wise and industrious servant is rewarded with high praise and increased responsibilities and the invitation to “enter into the joy” of his lord.  

So through the parable, Christ is pointing to God as encouraging His followers to be faithful over the “few things” that He has provided and to try to be wise and increase them with the assurance that we will be pleasing to the Lord and invited to share in His joy.      

So, no matter what “few things” the Lord has given us as His servants we should be faithful to use them to give glory to the Lord. 

But remember, we are not saved by or performance. So yes we are to try to help to build the kingdom of God by using our “talents” for God’s glory but because we have made Christ our Lord and Savior we have already been invited into the “joy of the Lord” and we can live every day in it by walking and talking with God.

 

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 sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

 

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:

C. What Is Love?

Who doesn't love the word love? Book titles that include the word love typically guarantee increased sales. The same is true for song titles. Yet there is much confusion on this subject because we are limited to only one word in the English language for love, which has numerous meanings. If you say, "I love my fiance....I love my job....I love my coffee," obviously you are not referring to the same kind of love. On the other hand, the Greek language has multiple words for love—with multiple meanings.

The highest form of love is agape—unconditional love that seeks what is in the best interest of the other person. This is where all relationships should begin and end. A second love emotion is phileo—an affectionate emotion based on genuinely liking the other person—the type you have with a close friend. In today's culture, most dating begins with eros—passionate emotion that usually involves romance. (Some couples never get beyond eros.)

The Bible is absolutely clear about what we are to prioritize—in all our relationships, including dating....

"Follow God's example...walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not he even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." (Ephesians 5:1-3)

  • Agape is unselfish love, unconditional love—a commitment to seek what is best...and the highest good...for another person, regardless of the response.
    • Agape originates with God.
      "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:10-11).
    • Agape is the source of our ability to love others selflessly.
      "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7).
  • Phileo is affectionate love, brotherly love, mutual enjoyment. Phileo is true friendship. The love of "liking." Philadelphia is known as the "city of brotherly love."
    • Phileo can be love for another that is as deep as love for yourself.
      "After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself" (1 Samuel 18:1).
    • Phileo seeks to strengthen the other person spiritually.
      "Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God" (1 Samuel 23:16).
  • Eros is passionate or physical/sensual love. It is the Greek word from which we get English words such as "erotic." Eros can be passionate, romantic love, but it can also be the feeling of strong emotion without a romantic focus. eros has a positive and negative connotation to it. Positively, eros can describe the romantic love shared between a husband and wife. Negatively, eros can describe sinful behavior like lust and sexual immorality when expressed outside the bounds of marriage. eros finds its proper expression within marriage, but within a dating relationship, we must be cautious about eros love.
    • eros within marriage is designed by God for physical and emotional pleasure. Although the term is not used in Scripture, the idea seems to be present in the book of Proverbs....
      "May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love" (Proverbs 5:18-19).
    • eros within a dating relationship is designed to be morally pure without passionate lust. You can have passion for a person without having passionate lust. Physical purity is necessary for spiritual purity. The idea of eros—in the negative sense referring to sexuality immorality—is something we should avoid in order to maintain sexual purity....
      "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

---------------------------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, July 14, 2021

Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God - Purity 470


Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God

Purity 470 07/14/2021   Purity 470 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo from atop Giant Mountain, the twelfth-highest peak in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Park in upstate NY, comes to us from a friend’s recent summit of the peak that is also known as "Giant of the Valley” due to its stature looking over Keene Valley and St. Hubert’s to the west.  Our adventurous friend truly made the most of their day as they also summited nearby Rocky Peak Ridge, and then spent the remainder of the day boating on Lake George!  But here up above the clouds on top of Giant Mountain, our friend took a moment to sit and take a rest with their companion to enjoy a bird’s eye view of God’s creation.      

I share today’s photo because of the epic view but also because it reminded me of a couple of phrases from scripture that speak of the peace we have when we come into relationship with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.  

Seeing our friend’s companion’s feet stretched out on Giant Mountain with a few wispy clouds below I thought of the phrase in the Bible that refers to Christians as being seated in the heavenlies with Christ. The exact passage is:  

Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

When we were dead in our sin and God made us alive through Christ, He made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Positionally speaking, we are already citizens of heaven. We have been adopted into God’s royal family.  We have been saved and never need to fear death again. We are assured of a good place with God in eternity because of Christ.  

That realization, and this photo, made me think of Christ’s promise to give us rest. The exact passage I was thinking of is: 

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Our lives on earth are hard. We have to somehow figure out who we are, what we like, and how we can include those things in the process of deciding how we spend our time and how we provide for ourselves. We also must take all of that into consideration when we choose to leave our original family to establish a life of our own and choose whether or not to have a family of our own.  That’s a lot to figure out and we have to do it all in environment in which everything changes over time, including ourselves.  

A lot of people can look at those last few statements and say that they more or less define our entire lives but there is more to our lives than just the things of this earth. 

God sent Christ to earth to tell us that and to make a way for us to somehow rise above it all with His offer of rest and eternal life.  Figuring out the mysteries of life’s meaning and purpose by our own efforts and reasoning is exhausting and ultimately a fruitless pursuit. 

To find a meaning and purpose in life that is meaningful, we have to ask the One who made all existence what He says. God sent Jesus tell us what life is all about and Jesus said:

Matthew 11:29 (NKJV)
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

While we can find some measure of rest from sitting a top a mountain glorying over our accomplishments, or by discovering optimal relaxation in a “sleep number bed”, the rest that comes from being at peace with God is beyond compare.  

So no matter where you find yourself on this “hump” day, remember that if you are in Christ, God has made you to sit in the heavenly places.  You have the assurance of life everlasting with the One who overcame the world.  Remember that and rest.     

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NKJV)
7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

Today’s verse calls us to a life of holiness and makes it clear that if we reject this instruction we reject God.    

In today’s seeker friendly churches with their hearts set on not offending those who they wish to bring into the kingdom of God, the preachers of the modern gospel are kind and compassionate but often exclude the message of holiness when they are presenting the benefits of the grace that saves.     

Quite honestly, when I heard the gospel message that saved me I heard about God’s love and forgiveness and was amazed by the grace that saved a wretch like me but I in no way thought, or heard in the message that saved me, that I would be called to change.   

I figured the thing that was so amazing about the gospel was that God knew all about me and accepted me, warts, and all! There was no way that God would expect me to change.  I figured my job would be just to tell people how awesome God was for the rest of my life, and I would just sit quietly in the back of the church praying prayers of thanksgiving and staying out of everyone else’s way.  

But God does call all His Children to holiness.

In the “body of Christ” I would say that there is definitely a sliding scale on holiness that is dependent on each individual’s understanding and convictions.  

The way I look at it the deeper your relationship and knowledge of the Lord is the deeper your conviction and desire to be holy will be. 

Repentance is a dirty word in some circles. I know it was a word that I didn’t want to hear when I first got saved. When I heard it I thought I had been a victim of the old “bait and switch”. 

“You said I was saved! You said I was forgiven of all my sins, even my future sins! So what’s this noise about repentance?! What are you talking about? I don’t need to repent! I did that when I said the prayer! I’m good. Thanks but no thanks! I’ll just be over here chilling with Jesus.”  

The thing is I was actually “chilling with Jesus” and the Holy Spirit too.   And guess what, they encouraged me to read the word of God and I saw the truth that God had indeed saved me and made me His child but although He found me in darkness, He didn’t want me to stay there, and He gave me the power to leave it all behind.

So I began to repent and have been experiencing victory after victory and have enjoyed an increasing freedom in Christ with each stronghold that I overcome.  I leaned on the Lord and took things one thing at a time and walked with the Lord one day at a time and sure enough every step with God took me closer into His light and further from the darkness.        

We are all called to holiness when God calls us into His kingdom. If you accept Christ you are saved but accept the Lord’s call to holiness too. That’s His plan for your life.

The abundant life the Christ promised is significantly different from our lives that we knew before Christ. To experience it, that means we must change from the ways we have always been and start living by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.  

When you reject the call to Holiness, you reject the fullness of the life that God has for you. By rejecting holiness, we are saying we know better than God.  I assure you that no matter how bright or special you may be, that is not the case.  

So humble yourself before the Lord, ask Him to help you and guide you out of your former or current darkness and into His light.  Your victory has been given to you already. You just have to trust the Lord and walk into it with Him as your guide.

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 7.

 

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:

How Can I Turn Bad Goals into Good Goals?

Let me ask you a faith-stretching question: If God wants something done, can it be done? In other words, if God has a goal for your life, can it be blocked, or is its fulfillment uncertain or impossible?

I am personally convinced that no goal God has for my life is impossible or uncertain, nor can it be blocked. I can't imagine God saying, "I've called you into existence, I've made you My child and I have something for you to do. I know you won't be able to do it, but give it your best shot." That's ludicrous! It's like saying to your child, "I want you to mow the lawn. Unfortunately, the lawn is full of rocks, the mower doesn't work and there's no gas. But give it your best shot." When an authority figure issues a command that cannot be obeyed, the authority of the leader is undermined in the minds of those who are in submission.

God had a staggering goal for a young maid named Mary. An angel told her she would bear a Son while still a virgin, and her Son would be the Savior of the world. When she inquired about this seemingly impossible feat, the angel simply said, "'Nothing will be impossible with God'" (Luke 1:37).

You wouldn't give your children tasks they couldn't possibly complete, and God doesn't assign to you goals you can't achieve. His goals for you are possible, certain, and achievable. We need to understand His goals for our lives and then say with Mary: "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

Goals Versus Desires

To live successful lives, we need to distinguish a godly goal from a godly desire. This liberating distinction can spell the difference between success and failure, inner peace, and inner pain for the Christian.

A godly goal is any specific orientation that reflects God's purpose for your life and is not dependent on people or circumstances beyond your ability or right to control. Who do you have the ability and right to control? Virtually no one but yourself. The only person who can block a godly goal or render it uncertain or impossible is you. If you adopt the attitude of cooperation with God's goals as Mary did, your goal can be reached.

A godly desire is any specific result that depends on the cooperation of other people, the success of events or favorable circumstances you have no right or ability to control. You cannot base your success or sense of worth on your desires, no matter how godly they may be, because you cannot control their fulfillment. Some of your desires will be blocked, remain uncertain and eventually prove to be impossible. Let's face it, life doesn't always go our way and many of our desires will not be met.

We will struggle with anger, anxiety, and depression when we elevate a desire to a goal in our own minds. By comparison, when a desire isn't met, you will only face disappointment. Life is full of disappointments and we all must learn to live with them. However, dealing with the disappointments of unmet desires is a lot easier than dealing with the anger, anxiety and depression of goals that are based on wrong beliefs.

Does God make a distinction between a goal and a desire? Yes, I think He does. "'For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,' declares the LORD God. 'Therefore, repent and live'" (Ezekiel 18:32). It is God's desire that we would all repent and live, but not all will.

John wrote, "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin" (1 John 2:1). Certainly, the integrity, sovereignty and success of God is not dependent upon whether or not we sin. God has no blocked goals. It is God's desire that everyone repent, although not everyone will.

Then does God have any genuine goals—specific results that cannot be blocked? Praise the Lord, yes! For example, Jesus Christ will return and take us home to heaven to be with Him forever—it will happen. Satan will be cast into the abyss for eternity—count on it. Rewards will be distributed to the saints for their faithfulness—look forward to it. These are not desires that can be thwarted by the fickle nature of a fallen humanity. What God has determined to do, He will do.

When you begin to align your goals with God's goals and your desires with God's desires, you will rid your life of a lot of anger, anxiety, and depression. The homemaker who wants a happy, harmonious family is expressing a godly desire, but she cannot guarantee that it will happen. Her goal is to become the wife and mother God wants her to be. The only one who can block that goal for her life is herself.

She may object, "But what if my husband has a midlife crisis or my kids rebel?" Those kinds of problems are not blocking her goal to be the wife and mother God called her to be. Such trials will surely test her faith. If anything, difficulties in the family should further encourage her commitment. If her husband should ever need a godly wife and her children a godly mother, it is in times of trouble. Family difficulties refine her goal of being the woman God wants her to be.

The pastor whose success and sense of worth are based on his goal to win his community for Christ, have the best youth ministry in town or increase giving to missions by 50 percent, is headed for a fall. These are worthwhile desires, but no pastor should deem himself a success or failure based on whether or not they are achieved. His goal is to be the pastor God called him to be. No member of his church or community can block that goal.


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