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

Monday, May 17, 2021

Purity 420: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Purity 420 05/17/2021 Purity 420 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of the green splendor of Dutch Gables meadow habitat in Stanford NY underneath a blazing sun and blue skies comes to us from the Winnakee Land Trust.  Now don’t rush out to Dutch Gables just yet as the Trust’s members were only providing a preview to the grounds as their members surveyed the area this weekend in preparation to the public opening next month.  

While good things come to those who wait, I felt I had to share this photo now because I felt it best represented the weather that we enjoyed in upstate New York this weekend and I wanted to mark this area as a site for a possible excursion in the future.  As I advance in age I realize that I have to make a point of remembering the things that pique my interest because if I don’t I will forget all about them and possibly miss a worthwhile experience.  

I also realize that if I don’t make concrete plans to do something those ideas go by the wayside and I end up not doing much more than sitting at home. I love my home but I also enjoy getting out to see God’s creation so I seek to establish a balance where each will enhance the enjoyment of the other.

So even though the weekend flew by because I had to work on Saturday and we are at the beginning of another work week, I am preparing to make plans to see some new things in the upcoming weekends in the next few months because I realize if I don’t I will spend the end of spring and the summer months with nothing more than memories of times at home.  

As Christians, we are called to look to the future and not to dwell on the past.  The Apostle Paul said in:  

Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 When we look forward with short term goals, we can have a hopeful expectation for the days ahead and rejoice in our plans’ fulfillment.  So whether you had a great weekend or a lousy one despite the favorable weather, don’t dwell on what is behind but instead look to today and the days ahead knowing that God is with you and is calling you to keep walking into the future that He has prepared for you. 

Our problems are overcome one day at a time, but we can look forward to the days when we walk past them by looking at the next mile marker with determination to reach it and knowing that God will give us the strength to get there every step of the way.    

This morning’s meditation verses are:

James 1:2-3 (NKJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.


Today’s verses suggest that we consider a different perspective when we run into difficult circumstances.   These verses indicate that the Christian is to adopt a mind set that is contrary to what would be a typical response to trials. Instead of being frustrated and lamenting over life’s difficulties we are encouraged to consider the challenges that we face in life to be opportunities for growth. 


I love verses in scripture like James 1:2-3 because they point to authentic faith.  Are we really going to believe in God and live according to His word when the going gets tough?  Are we going to persevere in our faith or are we going to give up our new life in Christ and go back to doing things the way we used to before we put our faith in Him?


Part of me loved the challenges of facing life and its problems with my newfound faith in Christ.  I looked at my trials as tests of my faith that asked me: So, are you for real? Are you really a Christian?  


Believe me, I have made many mistakes in my walk as a Christian through the ten plus years since making Christ my Lord and Savior and I have experienced some rather severe trials but the thing I discovered as I walked through them was that the best course of action was always to live according to God’s wisdom rather than my own.  


When you do things God’s way, you never regret the things you do.  While following God’s way may not be the easiest thing you can do in any given situation, you are assured that God’s way is the right way and when you walk in God’s righteousness you don’t second guess your path.  Walking with God through trials not only produces patience but it cultivates all the fruit of the Spirit.  


When we abandon the cunning ways of the world that promote our self-interests above everything else and instead look to follow the Lord’s wisdom for life we experience peace knowing we are doing the right thing and we set the conditions in which we can grow in faithfulness, goodness, kindness, gentleness, patience, and self-control.  


The more we follow the Lord’s way the more we grow and the more we grow the deeper we can know His love for us and experience a joy that goes beyond the circumstances of our experience. 


So count it all joy, when you fall into trials because although our faith will be tested if we choose to trust and follow the Lord we can walk through the fire and know that the Lord will preserve us and refine us in the process.  



I invite all to 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 Does Fear Relate to Suicide?

When someone we know has been suicidal, we typically feel a strong sense of sadness. In fact, our feelings can run the gamut of emotions from frustration to fear ... from hurt to helplessness. The emotional impact can be overwhelming.

Likewise, those who contemplate suicide also experience different types of emotions prior to their attempts. Although Scripture does not specifically use the word suicide, it does describe the emotional state of those who choose suicide.

Most suicides are caused by a psychiatric disorder—a physical condition in the brain—but other causes can be based on severely stressful situations. While emotions vary, a common contributor to a “suicidal crisis” is a sense of overwhelming fear of a situation—a dreaded expectation of impending doom. Those who feel such emotions today can easily identify with these words from Scripture. ...

“Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.” (Psalm 55:5)

The Bible describes many people so overcome with fear that they resort to suicide. These suicidal scenarios reveal ...

  • Fear of extreme pain, abuse, or torture
    Example: King Saul, was afraid of torture following his military defeat.
    “Saul said to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and abuse me.’ But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it” (1 Chronicles 10:4).
  • Fear of being left behind
    Example: King Saul’s armor-bearer was terrified following the death of his leader.
    “When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died” (1 Chronicles 10:5).
  • Fear of repercussions
    Example: Ahithophel had ignited mutiny against David.
    “When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed .... He put his house in order and then hanged himself” (2 Samuel 17:23).
  • Fear of humiliation
    Example: King Abimelech was afraid that a mere woman would kill him.
    “‘Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, “A woman killed him.”’ So his servant ran him through, and he died” (Judges 9:54).
  • Fear of retaliation and murder
    Example: Zimri had committed many evils.
    “When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he ... set the palace on fire around him. So he died, because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 16:18–19).
  • Fear of severe punishment
    Example: The Philippian jailer, thinking he had failed at his job, feared he would be killed.
    “The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, ‘Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!’” (Acts 16:27–28).

Since fear is a powerful catalyst, when you first have thoughts of suicide, take this proverb to heart. ...

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

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

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


God bless you all!


Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( and Google podcasts (

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship






Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Purity 416: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Purity 416  05/12/2021 Purity 416 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of “a wave… forming a beautiful tree backlit by the glowing sun. A surreal view of” last night’s sunset on Lake Ontario in Oswego NY comes from our friend at Celestial Blue Photography. Their photo is truly a piece of art that they entitled “Frozen in Time”.   

I haven’t been doing these daily encouragements for too long. They started as texts to a friend, which lead to a group text, and then slowly evolved to Facebook posts to encourage more people which led to the resurrection of my blog and, after I had a desire to open my discipleship class to more people via podcast, I started podcasting them too.  

I say all that to say this: as far as I can remember I have never used photos from the same friend, back-to-back.  Also, out of respect for my few professional photographer friends, I try not to use their work too often unless I specifically know they are cool with it.  So I hope my friend at Celestial Blue Photography won’t object but the title of their piece and the beauty of their work was very appropriate to what’s on my mind this morning.    

I attend a Divorce Care group on Tuesday nights (find a group near you at and one of the things mentioned in last night’s video caught my attention.   In discussing the trauma of divorce and healing, one of the presenters stated that the response that we have to trauma can have a stunting effect on our growth.  

The dangers of living in the past and avoiding dealing with your emotions when going through a significant loss were highlighted but the analogy that has me thinking was that this presenter likened our response to trauma to be similar to the pattern that develops in people with substance abuse problems.  

The presenter stated that when someone chooses a substance, or something else, as a coping mechanism their emotional growth and maturity are “frozen in time”, meaning that whatever stage we are at when we start coping in an unhealthy way, we get stuck there. Essentially, we get caught in a cycle of continually doing the same things over and over and unless something changes we stay there.  

I think everyone can relate to this because we all know people who have basically remained the same throughout their lives.  For some that is commendable because of their kind or friendly disposition.  For others it isn’t because of their grating or abusive personalities.  But regardless of where they fall in the nice vs not so nice spectrum, people who haven’t grown or matured can be frustrating to deal with because they don’t have dynamic responses to the difficulties in life and the advice they provide to people going through trauma seem thoughtless, child-like in its simplicity, or positively inane.  

For most of my life, I was stuck in a cycle of reactivity that was driven by alcoholism and other fleshly patterns.  My answers to life’s problems and those hurting were childlike, thoughtless, and inane. “Get over it.”, “Have a drink.”, and “Well, screw them.” were some classics that you might’ve heard from me.  In my stunted growth, I didn’t have the depth of maturity to really process the complexity of what was happening or simply didn’t want to deal with it.  I was just one continuous cycle of reactive responses of pain and pleasure and when you are in that there’s no room for anyone else and their problems, so you tend to isolate.   

I might have been trapped in that cycle for the rest of my life, but two things changed it.   In 2002, I suffered a major heartbreaking trauma and in the wake of it, I actively sought the meaning of life.  Life went on in my patterns for a long time but throughout it all I was seeking truth and in the process I discovered new ways to interpret my experience in life and eventually, and thankfully, I found the Truth, The Way, and The Life: Jesus Christ.

I know a lot of people who have suffered possibly the greatest loss of their lives in the not-so-distant past, but my experience may be able help in some small way. 

I can encourage you that you don’t have to be “frozen in time” to the brokenness and the loss that you are experiencing.  The losses we experience in life give us a shock treatment that can leave us devasted and hurt but they can also be used to shift our understanding and help us to grow.  Our loss of innocence can open our eyes to the truth that was obscured when we were “just living our lives”.   

Now please don’t get this twisted.  The world will give you tons of advice of what you should do in the wake of heartache pain and a lot of it will be “childlike”, “thoughtless”, or “inane” but some of it can be harmful (see my simplistic remarks in quotes above) too.  

So, when you are looking for some healing from the losses you suffered, Go to the Healer. 

When you are looking for answers, Go to the Truth.  

When you are looking for comfort, Go to the Comforter.     

Our faith in Christ was supposed to give us new life.  In the wake of trauma and loss, you have the unique opportunity to put the world’s wisdom, and the world’s ideals for what happiness is supposed to be, aside and seek the way that brings “peace that goes beyond understanding and that allows you to experience joy regardless of the circumstances.   

So pick yourself up and keep walking and talking with God.  He has a lot to say to you, but He is also a good listener.   He has some new things to bring you to, but He will walk with you at your pace.    He is not surprised by your new journey, but He has a new path for you to follow and new levels of growth and maturity to walk into.   This journey begins with a single step towards Him.   It may be long but with God it will never be lonely.   


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Today’s verse reminds us of the emotional stance we can take as Christians.   We can and should rejoice and because the Lord knew that we might doubt our ability to do so the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to say it twice.  “Again I will say, rejoice!”      

Some may look at our impermanent world and the suffering in it and ask, “What’s there to be so happy about?”   Well, first of all the Lord is not just saying “Don’t worry. Be Happy.”

He is telling us to “Rejoice in the Lord always”.   How do we do that and how can we do that “always.”   

In Victory over Darkness, Dr. Neil Anderson gives us an idea of how we can rejoice always by his explanation of how our emotions can be influence by our thoughts.   So when we are to “rejoice in the Lord” we are to direct our thoughts toward Him, His Word, and what He has done in our lives. 

Every good thing we have experienced in our lives was brought to us by the Creator of all things.  All those happenstances that made you happy were put into motion by God.  Happenstance is another way to say coincidence but with a Sovereign God there are no coincidences.  

So we should rejoice over all the good we have experienced but beyond the “good times”, the Lord provides us with ultimate meaning and truth and the assurance of our purpose and safety.    

We can rejoice always in the Lord because the greatest mystery of existence has not only been revealed to us but through its revelation we understand that we have been specifically selected and called to know the mystery of life and have been assured that we have a safe place with the Lord in the ultimate reality that the history of existence is leading to.    

Watchman Nee hypotheses in the Normal Christian Life that the Apostle Paul refers to the saints who have gone into eternity as having “gone to sleep” rather than dying   because of the reality of their everlasting life and the fact the Christians never really die.  

In Christ, we have the assurance of everlasting life.  In Christ we are accepted, significant, and secure. When we keep these ultimate realities in our consciousness, our natural response will be to rejoice.  

So when life’s circumstances are less than ideal, ponder your identity in Christ and the significance of what that all means, and rejoice.  Again I say, rejoice!      

I invite all to 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. What Is the Profile of Suicidal Males and Females?

Within China’s “one child per family” law, the vast number of aborted babies are female. China is one of only two nations where more women commit suicide than men. A culture that discriminates and devalues women has, without question, contributed to the unusually high number of female suicide deaths in China. For centuries, traditional Chinese culture has elevated the status of men at the expense of women. Even today, while some of these prejudices are beginning to pass away, the unnaturally high ratio of male to female births indicates a preference for male children as well as the continuing practice of sex-selective abortion.

In China, many well-educated women with doctorate degrees find it difficult to find a job in China’s male-centric marketplace. Likewise, not only are women considered inferior to men, but also a high percentage of wives find themselves victims of domestic violence.

Tendencies for males and females generally differ when it comes to suicide.



  • Attempt suicide 3 times less often
  • Nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide
  • Tend to use more violent means (guns, hanging, driving off bridges, jumping off buildings)
  • 16% of U.S. suicide deaths occur in people age 65 and older (Retired men have the highest rate.)
  • Seek help less often
  • Experience suicide as the 7th leading cause of death
  • Attempt suicide 3 times more often
  • More likely to experience nonfatal suicide attempts
  • Tend to use less violent means (overdose of pills, carbon monoxide, poison, cutting)
  • As a woman has more children, her risk of suicide decreases. (Frequent stressors that contribute to suicide are losses and crises in social and family relationships.)
  • Seek help more often
  • Experience suicide as the 16th leading cause of death

Those of both genders who choose death over life have given up hope of being delivered from their despair. If only they knew the truth that King David knew. ...

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. ... The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:17, 22)

Helping a Suicidal Husband

Question: “What could help a husband reject suicide?”

Answer: One approach is to encourage him to think through the logical, probable impact of suicide on his wife by asking him a progression of questions.

• “Have you thought about how you would take your life?”

— “I’d probably shoot myself.”

• “Then what would happen?”

— “I guess someone would find me.”

• “Then what?”

— “They’d probably call the police.”

• “Then what?”

— “The police would contact my wife.”

• “Then what would happen?”

— “My wife would go to pieces!”

• “So, why haven’t you done this before now?”

— “I don’t want my wife to go to pieces. I don’t want to devastate her.”

If you can get the struggler to reason through the devastating repercussion on his wife by using this series of questions, then you are well on your way to helping him save his life. You are in a position to help him find a real solution to his painful situation. You could also share these verses compassionately. ...

“Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. ... Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:28, 33)

The husband doesn’t have the right to destroy what is considered one body in God’s eyes. ...

“They are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:6)

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

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


God bless you all!


Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( and Google podcasts (

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


 Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship