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Showing posts with label Philippians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philippians. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch – It’s the Holy Spirit, Charlie Brown! - Purity 547


The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch – It’s the Holy Spirit, Charlie Brown! - Purity 547                                          

Purity 547 10/12/2021 Purity 547 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a misty morning, fog covered pumpkin patch in Johnsonville NY comes to us from yours truly as I simply had to stop on the side of the road to capture this October scene on the morning of the 7th day of the 10th month.  

The fog wasn’t as thick as pea soup, but you can see that it was substantial as the pumpkin patch was covered in mystery and even the brilliance of the morning sun was shrouded by it. If you have been following the recent events in my life, you may also know that this pumpkin patch and the sun’s brilliance wasn’t the only thing shrouded in mystery on the morning of the seventh.

Although I may have been able to guess that the fog would clear and the sun’s brilliance would dominate creating a pleasant October day, at the time when I took this photo I had no idea that I was to receive information that would lead me to propose to my fiancé later the same day.  

In the aftermath of joy, at her acceptance of my invitation to become my wife, my future life partner and I took some time yesterday to discuss how God had moved in each of our lives to bring us together and how we could have never guessed the far reaching consequences to decisions that we each had made months ago that would eventually lead to us meeting, becoming friends, and agreeing to marriage.  

As two travelers on the path of Christian Discipleship, we had only intended to be faithful to God’s call on our lives individually seeking to serve Him and to know Him more.  In our seeking the Lord, we met each other and as our initial impressions and misconceptions about one another were clarified so we could see the truth about who we each were, we realized that we were both the “sincere” Christians who could fulfill our mutual desires for a Christian spouse.    

Not only did our recent paths lead us to one another for marriage, but the Lord was also working in both our lives to deepen and mature our faith in Him individually.  In the preceding months, I was maturing in my faith by establishing and leading a Christian Discipleship Ministry, starting a podcast, and receiving healing and instruction about the pains of divorce and the contemplation of moving on. 

At the same time, my fiancé was being drawn to trust in the Lord at a deeper level. She was challenged to step out of her comfort zone by going out of her way to seek instruction and to apply the things she “always knew” in her mind about the Christian faith at a heart or experiential level.  Beyond reading a book or gleaning a few insights from a Bible study. she also learned about the truth of the Lord’s presence in her life by asking for and receiving the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. She also experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in her life to aide her through the Steps to Freedom in Christ to resolve personal and spiritual conflicts to help her to know experientially her freedom in Christ.  

We both marveled over how the Lord worked in each of us individually and how he brought us together.  We can now see how the “blessings” that we each experienced was the result of each of us choosing to “seek the Lord” through surrender and obedience to His ways and repentance from the things of this world that held us back.  

We both recognized that the blessings didn’t come overnight and that our walks were a process of pursuing the Lord’s will for our lives and were marked by our individual desires to do His will with no expectation of specific results.  

I pointed out that although my fiancé had received a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s presence in her life, it didn’t come out of nowhere. Before she “received”, she had repented by making a decision to seek the Lord’s will for her life and to be faithful to follow where He led her.  And after hearing about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, she researched what was said about it and most importantly “sincerely” asked the Lord to receive it.  Shortly after her asking, she received.     

Being October, I made the silly analogy that it was like Charles Schultz’ Peanut’s character, Linus Van Pelt seeking to have visitation from the Great Pumpkin.  Linus’ Great Pumpkin theology stated that the GP only “rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is most sincere”. 

Our seeking the Lord, our repentance, our obedience, and our faithfulness to preserve in “walking in the Spirit” and asking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit demonstrates our “most sincere” hearts for the Lord.  

While I can’t codify or write a prescription for how you experience this encounter with the Lord’s presence, all the testimonies that I have heard, including my own, in which someone receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit have the common elements of:

1.    Seeking the Lord (learning and sincerely seeking God’s wisdom and ways from the study of the Bible , and His presence in prayer and worship)  

2.    Repentance (turning from sin, or surrendering from habit that draw us from God, choosing to forsake the world’s ways for the spiritual path of Christian Discipleship)

3.    Prayer  (communing with the Lord in prayer and specifically asking to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, including thanksgiving, worship, and praise).       

Beyond this, I point out that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is given as a sign that is to confirm our faith beyond any and all doubts and that naturally leads to an increased desire for sanctification and service to the Lord.  

I like to be clear and point out that we are not running after experiences, we are seeking the Lord and His will for our lives. While we may have moments of intense peace, love, and joy in the Lord’s presence as we walk out our faith, the purpose of our walk is not “good feelings”. The Lord calls us to follow Him and leads us into “good works” that He has prepared for us to walk into.  

So seek the Lord with a “most sincere” heart and follow the path that He guides you in. Generally, I would say the Lord will guide you to His word, repentance, and good works that will bring Him glory.  

So keep walking and talking with God because even though we may not be “overcome by the Spirit” in a dramatic way every day of our journey,  when we are faithful to follow the Lord we know that He will never leave us or forsake us and that because He is omnipresent, we are always living in His presence.

To see Him in our lives, we only need to look through the mist of the world’s lies and see the brilliance of the Son of God who saves all who put their faith in Him and who calls his disciples to experience the abundant new life that His sacrifice on the cross paid for.      

(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, Spotify, and Amazon Podcasts, as well as Audible and Podbean).

#Christian #christianity #encouragement #freedominchrist #christiancounseling #jesuschrist #mt4christ #discipleship #victoryoverthedarkness #Dating #mt4christ247podcast 

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT2)
12  Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
13  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

 

Today’s verse points to the individual responsibility of every Christian to obey the Lord with the simple desire to do that which pleases Him.  

Today’s verse speaks of the integrity of the Christian disciple.  The Philippians “always followed” Paul’s instructions when he was present with him, but he is clear to point out to them that just because he is “out of sight, and out of mind” it doesn’t mean that you stop obeying the Lord’s will for your life.

One definition of integrity that is thrown around Christian circles is that integrity is “doing the right thing when no one is watching.”  In truth, because God is omnipresent and omniscient, Someone is always watching: God.  

But the idea behind that definition of integrity, is the proving of the “sincerity” of our beliefs or Christian faith.  Do you really believe what you say you believe or are you just “putting on a show”?  When no one is watching, are your actions consistent with your faith?  

But I always like to make sure that Christians understand that “doing the right thing”, even when no one is watching, isn’t necessarily going to confirm your faith.  

“Doing the right thing” is great but are you doing it for the right reasons? 

Today’s verse encourages us to “follow instructions” but it also points to our proper motivation: our relationship with the Lord.   We are to have “deep reverence and fear” for the Lord which I would equate to “proper understanding and respect for the Lord”. 

Deep reverence comes from properly understanding that God is who He says He is: the eternal, unchanging, all powerful, all knowing, loving, good, and holy Creator of all things.

Fear comes from respecting who God is and realizing that the proper response to Him as our Sovereign King, who graciously made a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to Him, is obedience and love.

When we are in relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.   Thus as verse 13 says:

“God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

 

Our “doing the right thing” is only a demonstration of our faith when we “do it for the right reason”: loving God, having the heartfelt desire “to do what pleases Him,”.  

 

So as disciples of Jesus Christ, the buck stops here. We individually must “do the right thing” which is to obey the Lord’s instructions – not out of a fear of punishment – we have been forgiven and promised eternal life after all-  but out of our desire to do what pleases God. We are motivated to keep walking in the spirit not to please men, or even with the hope to receive rewards, we surrender our lives to the Lord’s ways and service because we love Him.     

 

So rejoice in the new life that was graciously bought for you, do what is pleasing to the Lord, and be assured that not only are you doing the right thing when no one else is around, you are doing it for the right reason, your love for the One who made it all and gave it all for you.  

 

 

 

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:

E. What Is the Progression of Courtship?

Kyle no longer feels nervous when he knocks on Jennifer's door. When her mother or father answers, he is invited in immediately—no longer an intruder who might steal away their little girl. Now his presence is welcome as if he were one of the family. For months on end, Kyle has earned an invisible emblem of honor by proving himself trustworthy. Likewise, Jennifer feels comfortable in his company, at ease and safe under his caring protection.

Progressing from acquaintance to friendship to something more has moved at a snail's pace...but both know this has been time well invested in their future. And now the time has come for the next step in their courtship. With the blessing of her parents, Kyle kneels down and takes Jennifer's hand in his...asking her to be his bride, for he knows the treasure he has found in Jennifer and...

"He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 18:22)

The primary difference between dating and courtship lies in the intent of the relationship.

For many, the dating relationship is driven by romantic connection for the sole purpose of enjoyment. Casual daters "try on" other people to see how well they fit—their looks, their personality, their style. Dating can sometimes be more centered on self. And while there may be awareness that marriage could be considered, the presiding purpose for casual dating is immediate pleasure.

In a courting relationship, both people understand that the purpose of the relationship is to consider marriage. Courting takes a long-term view. It's not simply a Christian way of dating, nor is there anything "casual" about the approach. Courting is best suited to those who are spiritually and emotionally ready for marriage—those who give sincere love—not based on emotion, but on devotion....

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." (Romans 12:9)

The Progression of Courtship

  • Commitment to Christ
    • Be confident of who you are in Christ: Your identity, love, significance, and security are in Him.
    • Look for a mate among like-minded individuals, equally committed to Christ.
  • Integrated Interests
    • Serve the Lord in ministry, utilizing your God-given talents and gifts.
    • See who works alongside you in ministry, serving in similar areas.
  • Address Appropriate Areas
    • Lay the foundation for relationship by ensuring your emotional healing from past pain.
    • Prepare for building a relationship by developing spiritual maturity and godly character.
  • Find Friendship
    • Acquaintance: Focus on being content in Christ and serving God as a single person.
      • Refrain from emotional intimacy.
      • Casual interaction is acceptable, but avoid one-on-one activities.
    • Casual Friendship. Participate in church activities with other individuals in group settings.
      • Refrain from emotional intimacy.
      • Share surface feelings but avoid one-on-one activities.
    • Close Friendship. Share God's vision, discover spiritual gifts, limit intimate one-on-one talk.
      • Share deeper feelings but limit emotional involvement or attachment.
      • Focus on external social activities instead of one-on-one intimate activities.
      • Side hugs are acceptable.
    • Intimate Friendship: Engage in spiritual talk at its deepest, most intimate level. Discuss possibility of marriage and the purpose of courtship as related to your love for God. Discuss the need for spiritual accountability.
      • Share your innermost thoughts, fears, failures, hopes, and dreams.
      • Support each other in times of crisis, pain, and joy. Limit one-on-one emotional interaction.
      • Side hugs and holding hands are acceptable.
  • Acquire Accountability
    • —Begin to become one spiritually, spending one-on-one time in shared prayer and in church.
    • —Commit your courtship to glorify God and help each other grow in Christ.
    • —Start pre-engagement counseling. Seek parental or godly counsel for accountability.
  • Promising Purity
    • —Discuss and document boundaries and limits of a pure relationship.
    • —Increase one-on-one emotional time together.
    • —Side hugs, holding hands, short kisses are acceptable. Limited cuddling.
  • Entering Engagement
    • —Continue becoming one spiritually through prayer, Bible study, church attendance; seek shared ministry opportunities.
    • —Spend one-on-one time sharing deep emotional feelings through vulnerable communication.
    • —Increase holding hands, light kissing and hugging (with caution), and nonsexual touching (not intimate areas).

As the relationship moves toward marriage, continue growth and maturity in becoming unified through prayer, Bible study, church involvement, and ministry. Relate at the deepest spiritual level. Make more and more decisions together as one in Christ. Set aside time each day to share feelings and reflect Christ's love....

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus." (1 John 4:16-17)

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

Monday, July 26, 2021

Trinity of Thanks – God Meets All Our Needs - Purity 480


Trinity of Thanks – God Meets All Our Needs   

Purity 480 07/26/2021    Purity 480 Podcast 

Good morning

Today’s photo comes to us from yours truly as I was seated up front on a morning boating excursion on Lake George on Saturday under magnificent blue skies that filled me with awe, wonder, and abounding gratitude.   The thrill of speeding across the huge lake, added to the joy over the weather, the environment, the company, and the context of my overall journey of life and relationship with God had my spirits soaring and had me giving thanks to My God for bringing me to this day that proved the be the uncontested highlight of the summer of 21 by far!  

I am a teacher of Christian discipleship, which is basically the process of being a life student of the Lord and continually bringing Him into the context of our lives.  So as we go about our day, we are in a constant conversation with the Lord in which we can examine the past, observe the present, and contemplate the future while always considering the blessings God has provided and the wisdom that He would have us live by.  Living like this takes your attention but when you do it, the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit of peace, joy, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, patience, self-control and love just become a normal part of your daily experience of life. 

I say all that to say this. As you are “walking in the Spirit”, it only becomes natural for you to become overwhelmed by emotions at time as you are regularly given revelations of what the events of your life mean in the context of your faith and the part God plays in it.  When you get glimpses of this “big picture”, you generally praise the Lord and thank Him for not only bringing you through the circumstances in your life and providing for you, but you also thank Him for the ability to “see it all”.   When that happens to me I often erupt in thanksgiving with a trinity of gratitude saying: Thank You GOD! Thank You JESUS! Thank You HOLY SPIRIT!

So as we were cruising over Lake George I was just grinning from ear to ear over the magnificence of the day and that smile reappears when I contemplate it.  In reviewing the photos this morning, I chose this one for today because of these three separate cloud formations in remembrance of being “OH so thankful” to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.”    

As I was later resting in a “floaty” in the surprisingly warm waters of Lake George,  I was reminded of the overall context of my journey of life and faith over the course of the last couple of years with the ending of my marriage, my exodus to a new home, my completion of my masters degree, and working two jobs during a worldwide pandemic to come to this wonderful day with others who have also suffered their own trials of heartache in the same season of chaos and who are also connected to Our heavenly Father to emerge into new lives of hope, and all I could think was think was “God is good!”   and

“Thank You God, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit… for all that You are, for all that You do, and for all that you have brought us through. Thank You for this day and for all the days to come with You!”  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Today’s verse reminds us that all our needs are met by God and through Jesus Christ.     

We all grow up independently of God for the most part and we are taught the ways of the world by our families, friends, teachers, and our life experiences.   We learn philosophies that tell us not to trust anyone, to only look out for ourselves, and to go after the things you want in life.  Depending on your upbringing there will be varying degrees of focus on the importance of family and moral integrity in how you live your life.  These life experiences, viewpoints, philosophies, moral standards, and one’s personal interpretations of how they will live individually determine how we will choose to pursue the things we need and want as well as what we determine to be a “need” or a want.     

Our view can define preferences or wants as “needs”.  For Instance, I need a house with 3 bedrooms, a two-car garage, and a swimming pool.  That was only an example. I don’t need a pool. I just need friends who regularly invite me to their pools.   

But seriously, our perspective defines what we consider a “need”.  Our basic needs are food, water, shelter, purpose, and love.   

My worldly friends would agree with that list but would challenge me to prove how my God is going to provide all these things. 

I have often encountered faithless people in my life, I met lots of them because I was one of them for a long time. Some would openly cry out to heaven and challenge God to give them something or even tempt Him to take their lives, only to claim He’s seeming inaction as proof for either His lack of power, care, or existence.  

While I would admit that God doesn’t answer our whims like a genie in a bottle, I would insist that we would all have to give God credit where credit was due.  

I would explain that because God has created our world and put things in it that we can manipulate to provide us with the food, water, and shelter that we need and because He has given us the capacity to understand and the ability to work to meet those needs, I would say that God not only provides for our basic physical needs but He also gives us the basic purpose of working to meet our needs.   

While that might not seem fair to some people, that we must acknowledge our world as being provided by God and that we must work, if we are honest we would have to acknowledge that God is good for giving us the resources and abilities to meet our needs.   

Some may say that’s all well and good but would question God’ ability to provide love for us.    Again I would point to the people that God has provided for us and while we might not all be blessed with a romantic soul mate partnership, there are very virtually no people who can claim that they never knew the love of family, friends, or pets.  

I know that some would claim that’s cheating.  Some bitter people were going to claim having no love in their lives, but I widened the spectrum from the present moment to encompass all the time of your life and even included the animal kingdom as possible sources of love, but when you walk in faith you look at the big picture of all that God gives us and you don’t dwell too much on the past, the present, or the future.    

A bad past or present can be overcome with a good future. While time might be running out on our lives and we may feel that we can’t manipulate the people or things of this world in a manner that will give us back the love that we lost or the love that we “really” need, I would invite you to draw closer to God to discover the greatest love of all.  

God’s love is unconditional.  He loves us no matter what. This is proven by Christ’s sacrifice to pay for our sins. Jesus is the beloved Son of God, and He lived a perfect life and died to make a way to reconcile mankind to God. 

If we respect God and utilize the Way He provide us, by putting our faith in Jesus Christ, we will be able to experience a love that will surpass any that we have ever known through lovers, family, friends, or pets.    

When we place our faith in Christ, God in the person of the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us. Scripture tells us that God is love and that God is spirit. The pure love of God Himself comes to dwell in us.  

When we invite Him into our lives, seek His truth and presence, and live by His ways, our lives become living expressions of the love of God as we realize our greater purpose of glorifying God and sharing His love with others.

So, if you think God doesn’t provide for your needs, think again, and accept His invitation to an abundant life of purpose and love that never ends.     

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 8.

 

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:

Proper Guidelines Lead to a Proper Walk

8. Peace. Key Concept: Establishing Internal Order

Peace on earth, good will toward men; that is what everybody wants. That is a great desire but a wrong goal. Nobody can guarantee external peace because nobody can control people or circumstances. Nations sign and break peace treaties with frightening regularity. One group of peace marchers confronts another group of peace marchers, and they end up beating each other over the head with their placards. Couples lament that there would be peace in their home "if only he/she would shape up."

The peace of God is internal, not external. Peace with God is something you already have (see Romans 5:1). The peace of God is something you need to appropriate daily in your inner world in the midst of the storms that rage in the external world (see John 14:27).

A lot of things can disrupt your external world because you can't control all your circumstances and relationships. You can control the inner world of your thoughts and emotions, however, by daily allowing the peace of God to rule in your heart. Chaos may be occurring all around you, but God is bigger than any storm. I keep a little plaque on my desk that reminds me: "Nothing will happen to me today that God and I cannot resolve." Personal worship, prayer and interaction with God's Word enable us to experience the peace of God (see Phil. 4:6, 7; Col. 3:15, 16).

Often when I share these eight critical points of the Christian's belief system, I hear people say, "Well, I suppose that's true, but I still believe . . ." Which will they live by: what they acknowledge as true or what they "still believe"? Always the latter—always! Walking by faith is simply choosing to believe what God says is true and to live accordingly by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

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, May 21, 2021

Purity 424: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


 Purity 424 05/21/2021 Purity 424 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of dawn’s early light on the beaches of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida comes from a friend’s vacation at the beginning of May.  They and a friend apparently “hopped outta bed and ran across two boulevards and through three hotel pool areas” to see this sight but their photo confirms that they got there!  

I was actually torn between sharing this photo or another one they had taken and almost shared both views today but have decided to use their photos that show a transition from dawn to morning as a way of transitioning us from Friday, the “dawn of the weekend” to Saturday, the “weekend’s morning”.   I think both shots are worthy of sharing and I hope no one gets upset by my decision to do another first on the blog of presenting a sequential series of photos.   

I feel compelled to do this because a part of me is right there with my friend waking up at the crack of dawn to run to the beach.  They didn’t let the fact that they didn’t have beach front accommodations stop them from “getting there”.   I just love the thrill of the excitement that I get to imagine because they shared this one small narrative detail of how they got this photo. The detail tells us of close friends rejoicing in the first moments of their vacation, running through the dark, possibly avoiding traffic, and maybe breaking some rules, to experience the splendor of their friendship as much as the beauty of the rising sun.  In moments like this the cares of the world are left behind as we can rejoice in one another and in the world that the Lord has made.   

So thank God its Friday, not only because the cares of our workday will diminish with each passing moment but thank God because of the friends and family He has given us to rejoice with as we walk, or run, through this wonderful world that He has created for us to enjoy.  

But also remember that as good as our friends and the things of this world can be, our appreciation of them is increased exponentially when we know that they are all provided for us by God and that we are loved and cared for by Him. 

Knowing that we are united with God through faith in Jesus Christ and experiencing the peace and harmony that comes from a relationship with Him is worth getting up in the morning and running across highways and jumping over fences.  Being united with God brings a joy that doesn’t end and gives us a friend who will run with us always, no matter where we go or what time it is.   

So whether you are alone or running with your bestie, make sure you bring God into your experience. He rejoices over you so we might as well rejoice with Him.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 4:7 (NKJV)
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Today’s verse tells us the result of living by our faith in Jesus Christ. The result is the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding.

Most people want peace.  People schedule vacations and spa days in their attempts to get it. They are willing to pay for it.  Some people buy candles and incense to try to get it. Other’s buy comfortable furniture to lounge or sleep on to experience it.  Others turn to “comfort foods’ to taste a measure of it.  And while setting the proper conditions in our environments can bring us a measure of peace, none of our efforts to change the circumstances around us will give us the “peace of God, that surpasses all understanding.”

The only way to experience the “peace of God” is to have peace with God. And the only way to have peace with God is to put your faith in Jesus Christ.

The world doesn’t know peace because the vast majority of it doesn’t have peace with God because they refuse to seek it through Jesus Christ.   

The reason our peace with God surpasses all understanding is because we are given the assurance of our acceptance and a new eternal life when we place our faith in Christ. 

When we stand in our identity of who we are in Christ and realize that we are approved by the highest power of all existence, have overcome death itself, and are given the power to overcome the world’s darkness; things don’t bother us so much. With that perspective, the calamities of our daily lives are no longer as troubling as they used to be.   We can find a measure of God’s peace every day.  

So enjoy the peace that surpasses all understanding. Let it guard your mind and heart, your thoughts, and emotions, on a continual basis.  But be sure to let those around you know that you have the answer to peace.

You know the One who gave it all so we could have peace with God. Be a minister of reconciliation, by introducing people to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Assure them that ultimate peace is found in Him.    

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

  

 

Today, in continuing recognition of mental health awareness month, we continue to share from Dr. June Hunt’s “Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless “.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. 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. How to Evaluate the Extent of the Suicidal Struggle

To determine the degree of despair, asking pertinent questions will give you much insight into the suicidal struggle.

Suicide Assessment

Initially begin with these questions about painful thoughts. ...

The Thoughts

“Do you ever think that life is not worth living?”           

“Do you wish you could go to sleep and not wake up?”           

“Do you think about dying ... or wish you were dead?”           

“Are you thinking about harming yourself?”           

“Tell me more about what you are thinking.”           

“When was the first time you had those thoughts? What was happening then?”          

“How long have you been thinking about taking your life?”           

“Have you ever thought of suicide as the ultimate revenge toward someone you resent?”           

“What has been happening in your life recently?” “What do you fear the most?”           

“How strong have these suicidal thoughts been?” “Have you talked with anyone about these thoughts?”           

Job, the man God called blameless, said in the midst of his painful ordeal ...

“I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life.” (Job 9:21)

The Method

“Do you have a plan now?”           

“How would you hurt yourself?”           

“When do you think you would do it?”           

“Where would you do it?”           

“Do you have access to the gun/knife/intended weapon?”           

“Where is it? Is it locked up? Who can get to it?”           

“Have you already swallowed any pills/poison?”           

“Have you written a suicide note?”           

“Are you taking steps to fulfill your plan at this time?”           

In his despair, Job even said ...

“I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine.” (Job 7:15)

Family Suicidal History

“Do any of your family members suffer from a psychological illness?”           

“Have any of your family members been suicidal?”           

“Have any of your family members taken their own lives?” If yes,

  • “Who? ... When?”           
  • “What were the circumstances?”          
  • “Had they received a psychiatric diagnosis?”           
  • “What impact did that have on you?”           

After a family member dies of suicide, their loved ones sometimes fear that they too will be suicidal. These words spoken by Job could reflect that same fear. ...

“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” (Job 3:25–26)

Personal Suicidal History

“Have you ever attempted suicide in the past?”          

“How many times?”           

“When was the first time you attempted suicide?”           

“What was happening at that time?”           

“What did you do?”           

“When did you do it?”           

“How close did you come to ending your life?”          

“What happened after you did that?”           

“At that time, how much did you want to die?”           

“At the time, how certain were you that you would die?”           

“Afterward, did you feel glad or sad that you were alive?”           

“At the time(s), were you drinking or using drugs?”           

“At the time(s), what was your mood?”           

“Has anything changed since you tried to end your life?”          

“Tell me about any other times you felt suicidal.”           

In severe pain, Job thought back to the past. ...

“Why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?” (Job 3:16)

Medical History

“How old are you?”           

“When was the last time you received a medical checkup?”           

“What was the result of the checkup?”           

“Have you recently had a baby?” (Checking for postpartum depression. If yes, ask about depression after the birth of any other children.)           

“Did you tell the doctor that you felt suicidal?”           

“Have you ever been to a psychologist or psychiatrist?”           

“Did you receive a diagnosis?”           

“Were you prescribed medications?”           

“Are you taking your medication exactly as prescribed ... or not really?”           

Job describes the lack of meaning in his life. ...

“I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.” (Job 7:16)

Spiritual History

“What is your religious background?”           

“Describe your spiritual journey.”           

“How would you describe God? Jesus?”           

“What spiritual beliefs are important to you?”           

“Where are you spiritually?”           

“How do you see your relationship with God?”          

“Are you a member of a church? ... an active member of a solid, biblically based church?”           

“Are you involved in a small group Bible study?”           

“Have you shared your struggle with anyone there?”           

“Is someone there with whom you feel you could share this? Who?”           

“Would you be willing to share this?”           

“What would make you more hopeful about God’s future, less likely to take your life, and more encouraged to keep on living?”           

“Do you think God cares whether you live or die?”           

Though he can’t seem to find the Lord, Job realizes he is not lost to the Lord. ... He realizes the Refiner is testing him so that he will come forth as gold. ...

“He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” (Job 23:10–12)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship