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Showing posts with label Proverbs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Proverbs. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

One Small Change – Walk in the Spirit - Purity 535

One Small Change  – Walk in the Spirit    - Purity 535

Purity 535 09/28/2021  Purity 535 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a sunrise over the Atlantic comes to us from a friend’s recent weekend getaway to an undisclosed location on the Maine Coastline where they were able to “unwind and regenerate”.  While this photo is of a sunrise with the promise of a new day, I can’t help but feel a melancholy feeling for the loss of summer when I look at this beach scene.   We have entered Autumn and not only that but if you haven’t been keeping track we are only a few days away from October! 

I didn’t go to the stores this weekend, but I would imagine that the seasonal merchandise is shifting and while Halloween stuff has already been on the shelves I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Thanksgiving and Christmas items are creeping there ways on to the shelves.        

The rapidity of the changing months and seasons make it clear to me that we must be intentional in terms of what our goals are and what direction we want to go.  

A friend recently shared an article on social media that said in effect that if we want to make a change in our lives, we have to change it.   The simple advice was pointing out that although we can desire certain things or conditions in our lives if we don’t take action to procure them we will never experience or obtain them. 

The article indicated that wanting change or wishing for change wasn’t enough.  The author suggested enacting a plan of action by choosing to choose one new habit or one new change that  you could introduce to your life on a daily basis that would contribute to an overall goal of a changed life.   

Some of the suggested habits the article mentioned were:


Waking up early.

Exercising.

Eating healthier.

Giving up alcohol.

Watching less television.

Writing in a daily journal

Meditating.

Cleaning and organizing your home.

Playing music.

Creating art.

And developing a keeping a budget.


 

 As someone who always wanted to make positive changes in my life I know that the advice to add one new change to your life and to do it every day is a good one.  After so about 4 weeks of doing a new activity it becomes ingrained in our routine as a habit and we can “keep the change”. So adding a new activity and being diligent about it is important.  Your new choice can gradually improve the quality of your life experience and the results and benefits of your choice will be compounded over time.  

However, as follower of Jesus Christ on the path of Christian Discipleship, I would recommend that the one habit you introduce to effect change in your life is to establish and develop your relationship with God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ.   

I had tried unsuccessfully throughout my life to give up alcohol and to eat healthy and exercise.   In the past I would establish a habit in each of these areas and had periods in my life where I enjoyed success but inevitably my mind, will, and emotions would be directed to the unhealthy ways that I had emerged from.  

The benefits of the changes I had made were not enough to “change me”.  In my mind, I “knew” that I was a person that loved my old ways and even though I had success I had a feeling that I was “living a lie”.  I wasn’t a sober person or a healthy person. I really liked to get drunk, overeat, and be lazy.   If I wanted to be “true to myself” and be “happy”, I would eventually have to go back to my indulgent ways because that’s who I was.  

All my life it was like that, with ups and downs and no stability and no peace.    

Well, after I put my faith in Christ, I found the supernatural peace and power that comes from being aligned with the Creator of All things but there is a catch.  We can only experience His peace and power if we believe and agree with what the Word of God says in regard to who we are in Christ and how we are to live our lives.  

The process of renewing your mind to believe what the Bible says about our identity and changing our behaviors to coincide with our identity in Christ is often called “walking in the Spirit”.  When we “walk in the Spirit” we choose to make a new habit of believing what the word of God says about us.   

One of the first things that stands out in my experience of the “renewing of my mind” was when I read Romans 8:1 which says:

Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

 

My mental dialog in the past was filled with condemning thoughts when I indulged the desires of my flesh. While I found pleasure in becoming intoxicated from drinking alcohol or overeating in the moment, I always condemned myself when I felt the pain of withdrawal or the stress of carrying too much weight. The fact that I was powerless to change even though I could see and experience how I was suffering only resulted in more condemning thoughts where I would think of myself as “a drunk”, “stupid”, “weak”, or “bad”. I thought those adjectives described who I was as a person.   

 

But the Holy Spirit revealed to me in Romans 8:1, that while those things may have been true for most of my life, something had changed.  I had heard a gospel message and sincerely surrendered to God and put my faith in Jesus Christ.  So I was “in Christ” now and this verse and the Holy Spirit in me told me that there was “no condemnation” for me. 

 

Those condemning thoughts were not longer true about me because I had been given a new spiritual life when I placed my faith in Jesus!

 

But this verse also told me that in order to experience this “no condemnation” I had to “walk in the Spirit” – by believing I had been changed in an instant at my salvation and by living according to the word of God and my identity in Christ.  

 

By simply adding this “one new habit” of agreeing that there was “no condemnation” for me, the Holy Spirit empowered me to walk away from my lifelong dependence on alcohol, my indulgences in sexual immorality, and now has empowered me to transform my body through exercise and changing the way I eat.    

 

So if you want to change your life, you have to change your life.   But there is no greater way to change your life than by giving your life to God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ and living according to who you are in Christ.  

 

Walking in the Spirit leads to the growth of the fruit of the Spirit which includes peace, joy, love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control.  If you want a change in your life make Christ your Lord and Savior and walk in the Spirit.  

 

Making this one small change will not only lead to benefits to your physical and emotional health. Walking and talking with God in a harmonious relationship that is established with faith in Jesus gives you a new spiritual life that gives you the peace that goes beyond all understanding that results from being forgiven of all your sins, being assured of life eternal in God’s kingdom, and being given the power and purpose to leave behind the condemnation that was inherent in our lives when we walked in the flesh.

 

So make that one change of turning to God and do it every day. The path of Christian Discipleship may not be an easy road to travel but it leads to the abundant life of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health that God made us to experience.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 27:9 (NKJV)
9  Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.

  

Today’s verse speaks of the power of friendship to delight us when we receive hearty counsel.  

Solomon asked God for wisdom and God made him the wisest man on the earth. Solomon wrote a book. Actually he wrote two: Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and they are two of the three books that are considered by Bible scholars to be the “wisdom literature” In the Bible.    

While some can look at the book of proverbs and state that it is filled with “common sense”, there really is nothing “common” about it because the source of Solomon’s wisdom was God. 

So while today’s verse seems to be a general statement on the value of friendship that is characterized by one in which good counsel is given because of its divine source we should also consider it an instruction that teaches us that we are created to be in relationships with others and that we are to be discerning in choosing friends that give “hearty counsel”. 

The word translated “hearty” in Hebrew is “nep̄eš”  (neh-fesh) which means: “soul, self, or life,” with the secondary meaning being “that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man”.  

So the hearty counsel mentioned in this verse was “soul counsel” – counsel “that breathes” “life” into the “soul”, the inner being of man.  

So the friends that we should seek out are the ones who give us the counsel that will breathe life into us, the counsel that is based on the word of God.  

So be wise like Solomon and seek out friends that you delight in because your relationship is built on counsel that will breathe life into one another by encouraging one another with the divine wisdom of the word of 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 to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

H. How to Communicate Boundary Changes

Following the Rosie Ruiz scandal, numerous racing offiicials have made boundary changes with marathon runners to better ensure ethical behavior on the race course.

Besides increased video surveillance, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) Race Timing Systems track where runners are for certain checkpoints. A transponder is attached to the athlete and emits a unique digital code that is picked up by radio receivers along the race course.

Transponders are available in various sizes and shapes and can operate at many different frequencies.

Stronger boundaries are established . . . to foster sure victories.

Scripture directs that honesty and integrity should characterize all that we do. . . .

"For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man."

(2 Corinthians 8:21)

Life is made up of different seasons that sometimes require transitional conversations in order to ease the discomfort that change often creates. When grown children leave home, and especially when they get married, they are entering into a new season of life that not only impacts them but their parents as well.

It is during these times that relationships necessarily change and therefore need to be redefined. Having loving conversations with parents regarding boundary changes during these periods can be extremely helpful and meaningful, encouraging growth and solidifying the relationship.

Our roles are changing, and we want to proceed with sensitivity and a tender heart. Pick your battles. Show respect and honor.

If you realize that you have not made the separation from your family of origin to your new family, you may need to communicate your boundaries.

  • Define your new relationship:
    "Mom and dad, I love each of you. I am thankful to have you as my parents. I am thankful that I was raised by you. Now that I am married, I am making a new family. We will communicate with you, visit you, and always love you. But there will be some changes in traditions because I am establishing traditions with my new family."
  • State what is acceptable and what is not:
    "It is not acceptable for you to talk with me in that tone of voice." Or, "It is not acceptable for you to talk with my family if you use unkind words or speak in that tone of voice. If you choose to cross this boundary, the repercussion is that we will leave."
  • Separate from your family of origin:
    "I realize this is the way we always did things growing up. We share great memories, and I want many of those same ways for my family. I am married now, and we are creating some of our own ways of doing things that work for our family."

In Your Marriage

Marriage is the union of two people . . . "and the two will become as one flesh" (Mark 10:8). Boundaries are about defining your respective selves.

Marriage can become a fertile ground for boundary issues to sprout and grow if not properly addressed. A healthy marriage consists of two complete people who together create a place of love.

They do not need each other to be complete, but they share a complete love and union between themselves.

  • State what you need:
    "I love you and love our time together, but I also need time to be by myself and explore interests of my own."
  • Establish boundaries about how you will be treated:
    "I love you and want our marriage to work, but if you choose to treat me in this way, there will be consequences. If you __________________, I will __________________."
  • Define how you want to be talked to:
    "I will not be talked to in this hateful way, especially in front of the children. If you choose to speak to me disrespectfully, I will ask you to leave our home until you can speak in a kind voice."

"Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband."

(Ephesians 5:33)

In Your Friendships

  • Define your relationship:
    "I am glad we have so much in common, especially our love of scrapbooking and our faith in Christ."
  • Establish boundaries:
    "It's great that we can get together once a month to share dinner and scrapbooking ideas at each other's home. Let's meet at my house next Thursday."
  • Reinforce limitations:
    "I'm sorry you can't meet this week, but Thursday evening is the only time I have available."
  • Maintain boundaries:
    "I truly can't meet another day this week, so let's get together at our regular time next month."

"A friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17)

In Your Parenting

  • Establish limits:
    "You may use your inside voice when you play in our home and your outside voice when you play in the yard."
  • Define consequences:
    "You have chosen to __________________, and the consequence is __________________."
  • Train for delayed gratification:
    "I know you want this toy now, but you will have to wait until you have saved up enough money from doing chores."
  • Explain appropriate behavior:
    "In our home we use our hands to help and love; we do not hit."

"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord (Psalm 127:3 NASB)

In Your Workplace

  • Stay within the parameters of your job description:
    "I was hired to do this job description. I am being asked to do things that are not a part of this job description. I understand when occasional things come up, but it is becoming the >"norm>" and not the exception. If I cannot do my job as defined in my job description, I will need to contact the Human Resources Department."
  • Define your work space:
    "This is the office area where I need to work. If you would like to come in, please set up an appointment or knock. It's important that you not just walk in because I have much work to do and must finish it when I'm here. Thank you for respecting this boundary so we can work together as team players."
  • Work within the boundaries of your hours:
    "First, I want you to know how grateful I am for all that I have learned since I've been here and for the opportunity to contribute to (company). I would like to mention an item for your consideration. (State request.) I was hired to work 'X' number of hours per week. I understand when there are occasional emergencies or deadlines. I want to be a team player, but four out of the last six weeks I've worked overtime. I want to keep the boundaries of my work time and family time. I need you to respect this boundary."

"Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation" (Romans 4:4).

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Our Independence Day: Real Freedom in Christ - Purity 461


Our Independence Day: Real Freedom in Christ

Purity 461 07/03/2021  Purity 461 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo of a towering cloud rising into the blue skies over, and reflected in a pond on, the grounds of the Byodo-in Temple in Kahaluu, Oahu, Hawaii comes to us from a friend’s recent visit to the most recent addition to the union that is our United Sates. This scene is beautiful but has some ominous undertones if you consider the context of world history and the spiritual realities that surround the replica of the Japanese temple and the shape of that cloud.     

As my fellow Americans and I celebrate our Independence Day this weekend, we are often reminded that freedom isn’t free and a mushroom shaped cloud over the grounds of a Japanese Buddhist Temple can remind us of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the extremes that can be required to secure freedom and peace.  Our country’s history is written in the blood of those who paid the ultimate cost to win and maintain our freedom.  Freedom can come at a terrible cost and the suffering can be far reaching as the hell of war consumes the just with the unjust, the innocent and the guilty.

Unfortunately, evil forces continue to thrive in our world and the sacrifices of human lives in maintaining and securing our freedom is still a present-day reality as our armed forces are still deployed in various parts of the world in the name of freedom and securing our country’s interests.   

So is freedom worth the cost? 

Absolutely. The evil regimes that have been vanquished in the past and the atrocities that occur when totalitarian governments go unchecked show us that our freedom as a country is worth dying for.  So this weekend, Americans should celebrate their freedom and remember how precious it is.  

Likewise in spiritual realm, our freedom was paid for by the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross.   Because of Christ’s sacrifice, all who place their trust in Him receive eternal life and freedom from the kingdom of darkness.  

Christians are freed through faith in Christ from sin and death.  No matter what they may suffer on earth, they are secured in God’s love.

Just as Hawaii is the most recent state to join the union in 1959, I sometimes I feel like the newest Christian to join God’s kingdom in 2010.  

Today’s photo taken on the grounds of a Buddhist temple, remind me of the spiritual darkness that I was living in for years before I discovered that the true path to enlightenment doesn’t lead to some mystical state of self-actualization above heaven and hell, it leads to a covenant relationship to the Creator of all things through faith in Jesus Christ.   

I was a practicing Buddhist for five years before the Lord used a “chance” encounter with a radio gospel message that told me of the Lord’s love and forgiveness and delivered me from a religion that had no God and who’s tenants were based on the individual’s efforts to become godlike and act as a savior for all sentient beings.

 I often tell people if you want to know where the god is in Buddhism, just take a look at the one sitting on the meditation cushion.  As selfless as Buddhist practitioners profess to be, their aspirations are to attain godlike insights and power and to rescue the world themselves by breaking through to the other side of a state they call nirvana.  

Unfortunately, Buddhism and every other world religion that doesn’t recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior is, by definition, antichrist.  Satan and his spiritual forces of darkness seek to take mankind with them on the road to perdition and influence men to worship any and everything other Jesus, who suffered, died, and was resurrected to prove that He is the Son of God and to pay for the sins of the world.  

Freedom from sin and death only come through Jesus Christ.  So as we celebrate our Independence from foreign powers here on earth, Christians should also celebrate their independence from the Satanic forces that previously enslaved them by proclaiming their total dependence on the grace of God and by sharing the good news that Christ’s sacrifice provides for our ultimate and eternal freedom and is available to anyone who puts their faith in Him.

     

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 

Today’s verse reminds us that the Lord is fearsome and awesome to behold and that those who dismiss the things of God are foolish.  

Okay I have heard several messages regarding this verse where the authors made great efforts to assure their listeners that they needn’t be afraid of the Lord and that the fear of the Lord is better understood to mean reverence or respect. 

The Hebrew word for fear in this passage, yir'â, does indeed have these definitions in Strong’s Concordance.  So they are correct. We are to have the utmost respect and reverence for the Lord our God.

So definitely maintain that respect and reverence for the Lord and demonstrate it by using His wisdom and instruction that is found in the Bible to guide your life.   If you don’t respect the Lord and utilize His wisdom and instruction you, as this verse says, are a fool.  

So why is it so foolish to despise the Lord’s wisdom and instruction?  

Well let’s take a look at the first few definitions from Strong’s concordance for “, yir’â,, the word for fear that is apparently the beginning of knowledge.  

The first few definitions are the following: “fear, terror, an awesome or terrifying thing”.

You see, the reason why it is so foolish to despise the wisdom and instruction of the Lord is because there are fearful, awesome, and terrifying consequences in store for those who do.  

The wisdom and instruction of the Lord would lead us to place our faith in Christ.   If we despise that wisdom and don’t make Christ our Lord and Savior, the word of God tells us that we will share in the suffering of the second death in the lake of fire for all eternity (Matt 25:41, Rev 20:10,14-15,21:8).  

If we don’t place our faith in Christ, we face God’s wrath.  Hear that: God’s wrath, not Satan’s wrath.  Satan is not the king of hell. He is just another prisoner waiting for his final judgement along with all other unbelievers (Rev 20;10). 

The reason why the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge is because a healthy fear of the wrath of God will bring us to faith in Christ and save us from eternal suffering and punishment.   Likewise, a healthy fear of God’s chastisement will also cause us to turn from our lives of sin and to choose to live a righteous life and enjoy the benefits of the fruit of the Spirit.  

So please respect and revere the Lord God almighty by living according to His wisdom and instruction, but please let’s keep it real by recognizing that if is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:31) when you don’t have a covenant relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ.  

So enjoy the freedom we have in Christ and be sure to share the good news that God has made a way for all to avoid His wrath and to experience a new life here on earth and forever with Him. 

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, beginning Chapter 6.

 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:

The Essence of Faith

Faith in God is indispensable to the Christian life. The author of Hebrews capsulized it by writing: "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Believing who God is, what He says and what He does is the key to the kingdom of God.

Consider how important the concept of faith is. You are saved by faith (see Ephes. 2:8, 9), and you "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). In other words, faith is the basis for our salvation and the means by which we live. If we are going to continue living free in Christ, we need to keep in mind three simple faith concepts.

1. Faith Depends on Its Object

The truth is, everyone lives by faith. The only difference between Christian faith and non-Christian faith is the object of our faith. The critical issue is what you believe or who you believe in. Telling people to live by faith is invalid if they have no understanding of the object of their faith. You can't have faith in faith. Faith has no validity without an object.

The truth is, we live every moment of every day by faith. However, some of our faith objects are valid but others aren't. For instance, suppose you are driving a car and see a green light. You would probably drive through the intersection without giving your action a second thought, and you would do it by faith. First, you believed the light was red in the other direction even though you couldn't see it. Second, you believed the drivers coming from the other direction saw the red light and would stop. That is a lot of faith, but if you didn't believe that, you wouldn't go through too many intersections or you would proceed very cautiously. We trust people or things that have proven to be reliable over a long time period.

What happens when the object of your faith proves unreliable? You give up on it—maybe not immediately, but how many failures would you tolerate before saying never again? Once faith is lost, it is very difficult to regain. Your ability to believe isn't the problem; it is the object of your faith that has proven to be untrustworthy.

If you have had a few auto accidents as a result of careless drivers, your ability to trust other drivers may be seriously shaken, and rightfully so. That is why our relationships are so fragile. One act of unfaithfulness can all but destroy a marriage. You can forgive your spouse and commit yourself to make the marriage work, but it will take months and even years to gain back the trust that was lost. You would be foolish to trust someone or something that has proven to be unreliable.

The most accepted faith object by the world's population is the fixed order of the universe, primarily the solar system. You set your watch, plan your calendar and schedule your day believing that the earth will continue to revolve on its axis and rotate around the sun at its current speed. If the earth's orbit shifted just a few degrees and the sun appeared two hours late, the whole world would be thrown into chaos. So far the laws governing the physical universe have been among the most trustworthy faith objects we have.

The ultimate faith object, of course, is not the sun, but the Son, because "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). The fact that God is immutable is what makes Him eminently trustworthy (see Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6). God cannot change, nor can His Word. "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8). This eternal consistency is why God is faithful and why we can put our trust in Him.

2. How Much Faith You Have Is Dependent Upon How Well You Know the Object of Your Faith

When people struggle with their faith in God, it is not because their faith object has failed or is insufficient. It is because they don't have a true knowledge of God and His ways. They expect Him to respond in a certain way or answer prayer a certain way—their way, not His—and when He doesn't comply they say, "Forget you, God." The problem is not with God. He is the perfect faith object. Faith in God fails only when people have a faulty understanding of Him.

If you want your faith in God to increase, you must increase your knowledge of God. If you have little knowledge about God and His Word, you will have little faith. If you have great knowledge of God and His Word, you can potentially have great faith. Faith cannot be pumped up by coaxing yourself, If only I can believe! If only I can believe! You can believe because belief is a choice we all have to make.

Any attempt to push yourself beyond what you know to be true about God and His ways is to move from faith to presumption. You choose to believe God according to what you know to be true from His Word. The only way to increase your faith is to increase your knowledge of God, who is the believer's only legitimate faith object. That is why Paul wrote that "faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17).

The only limit to your faith is your knowledge and understanding of God, which grows every time you read your Bible, memorize a Scripture verse, participate in a Bible study or meditate on His Word. Can you see the practical, tangible potential for your faith to grow as you endeavor to know God through His Word? It is bound only by the infinite nature of God! I doubt there is a Christian alive who has lived up to his or her faith potential based on what he or she already knows to be true.

It is important to know that God is under no obligation to humankind. We can't maneuver or manipulate God through prayer. He is under obligation to Himself and to remain faithful to His covenant promises and His Word. We have a covenant relationship with God that we can count on being true. If God declares something to be true, you simply believe Him and live according to what is true. If God didn't say it, no amount of faith in the world will make it so. Believing doesn't make God's Word true. His Word is true; therefore we believe it.

Let me illustrate how our faith grows. When my son, Karl, was a toddler, I would stand him up on the table and encourage him to jump from the table into my arms. He would waver in unbelief for a moment and then fall into my arms. Then I would stand back a little bit farther, which made the step of faith a little bit bigger. Then one day I took him outside and put him on the limb of a tree and encouraged him to jump. This was a greater leap of faith, but he did it. As he continues to climb the tree of life, however, can I always be the ultimate object of his faith? There was a time when Karl thought I could answer any question and defeat any foe.

We have an obligation as parents to do more than lead our children to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We need to help them understand their spiritual identity and heritage. The ultimate object of their faith changes when they become children of God. I can't go everywhere my children go, but God can and He does.

3. Faith Is an Action Word

When I was encouraging Karl to take a step of faith, did he believe I would catch him? Yes. How did I know he believed? Because he jumped. Suppose he wouldn't jump. Suppose I asked Karl, "Do you believe I will catch you, Karl?" and he answered, "Yes," but never jumped.

Does Karl really believe I will catch him if he doesn't jump? According to James, that is just wishful thinking. He says, "Faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, 'You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works'" (James 2:17, 18). In other words, really believing will affect one's walk and one's talk. If we believe God and His Word, we will live accordingly. Everything we do is essentially a product of what we have chosen to believe.


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, and Audible.com. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Purity 435: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Purity 435 06/03/2021  Purity 435 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of nuptial arrangements amongst the hills of Prattsville NY comes to us from a friend who appreciates second chances and who is taking a second chance on love.  

I met my friend in the mission field and they bore witness of the power of God’s amazing grace to heal and transform our lives.  After a life of brokenness, God literally saved their life. They found restoration and sought to serve the Lord by taking their talents at construction to help rebuild homes and a Christian school affected by flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana back in 2017.  My friend isn’t perfect, but they are faithful, and the Lord has led them into a new life, a new love, and a new family.  

It’s Thursday and as is my habit, I usually share a pathway photo to encourage people to get on the path of Christian discipleship by coming to my class tonight at Rock Solid Church. Tonight I’ll be teaching from Neil Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker, which deals with demonic influences and spiritual warfare.  

As scary as demons can be, I know many may look at this photo of a pathway to marriage with even more trepidation than at the prospect of casting out evil spirits.  

For singles, they may view marriage as a loss freedom as the institution requires a lifelong commitment to love and serve one’s spouse. 

The married among us know what happens after the wedding is over and might encourage people to walk that path but they are also likely to offer lots of advice on how to make it work. 

The divorced, like myself, may look at this with pain and fear as our best efforts to have a lifelong commitment were not successful and in the aftermath of divorce the question arises: will you walk down this pathway again? Will you take a second chance on love?

As someone who teaches about living according to our faith, the question of relationships post-divorce is simple.  As someone who is committed to follow the Lord’s guidance, I will remain single, or I get married.  That means that whatever relationships I pursue in the future will be with the intention of marriage. 

Yikes! Believe me, in the aftermath of divorce and with the temptation to just “have fun”, it’s a hard pathway to commit to but I hope to learn from the mistakes of the past because doing things my way lead to a lot of guilt, shame, heartache and regrets.

So it’s marriage or nothing, I guess. I believe in second chances.  I believe in love and am open to the possibility of loving someone with all that I have for the rest of my life.

But guess what, because of my faith in Christ the idea of remaining single for the rest of my life doesn’t fill me with dread.  I know the peace and love of the Lord and I am growing increasingly content with who I am.  I love myself and know that with God I will never be alone, and I will always be loved.  

The church is called the Bride of Christ, so when you put your faith in Jesus you enter into an eternal commitment of love and trust.  God will never leave us or forsake us, and He will work all things together for good for those who love Him.  

So are you looking for love in all the wrong places?  Do you find it difficult to love yourself?   

If those are the case, I encourage you to explore the relationship with the One that first loved you, Jesus Christ.  We have to get to know the One that loves us when we are unlovable.  We have to get to know the One who knows all our secrets and loves us anyway.   When we get to know Him, we will start seeing life the way He sees it and when we do, we won’t be looking for love in all the wrong places anymore.  When we see ourselves the way He sees us, we will love ourselves. 

God has a love story for you to live. God’s love story for you begins with Him. I can’t tell you if it will fix broken relationships, lead to marriage, or not but I know that when you see life according to the One who loves you and you follow where He leads, your story will be filled with peace, joy, and love.  

As I said yesterday, our faith is like a dance with God.  It may look like you’ve gone insane and are doing a Billy Idol and are “dancing by yourself” but when you get into tune with the Lord, you won’t care what other people think because your whole life will be an exuberant exhibition of love, meaning, and purpose.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 3:6 (NKJV)
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Today’s verse answers the age-old question of “What am I supposed to do?”  

In all your ways acknowledge God and He will direct your paths.  This is the description of the discipled Christian life.  In all our ways, we are to consider God and follow His direction. 

What are God’s directions? Well, luckily God gave us a book to guide us: the Bible! The Bible is a complex book with history, prophecies for the future, and guidance for living.  

If you find it difficult to “mine the wisdom from the scriptures”, jump to the end! Okay, maybe not all the way to the end, although the book of Revelation will give you the assurance that the only ones who will stand in the end are the ones who are standing with God. It may also challenge any “common knowledge” views of the spiritual realm as it vividly describes the creation of a new heaven and new earth and also shows that Satan is not the “king of Hell” but is going to be cast there against his will as punishment for all eternity.  

However, what I mean by jumping to the end is reading the Apostle’s letters to the church, the epistles of Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and John.  They all fall in the Bible between Acts and Revelation, and they are filled with information about the basis of our Christian faith and practical instruction on how to live a Christian life.  

So if you need a crash course in Christianity and Christian living, read the epistles and when you do take a notebook and make a list of all the things that the Holy Spirit brings to your attention. 

After you have an idea of what we are to believe and how we are to live, then you should apply that wisdom to your life.

If you want God to direct your path, you need to acknowledge Him in all your ways and then follow where He leads. 

And don’t worry about stepping off course. If you continue to acknowledge God in all your ways, He will lead you into all kinds of surprising ways as you become an extension of His will on earth, an agent for good, a person of peace and love.  

As always, 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 we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing in Chapter 1.  

 

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:

The Original Creation

To understand the gospel and who we are in Christ, we need to look at the creation account and the subsequent fall of humankind (see Figure 1-A). Genesis 2:7 reads: "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." This combination of clay and divine breath is what constitutes humankind.

Theologians have debated whether the individual members of Adam's race are made up of two or three parts. Those who hold to a trichotomous view believe we are comprised of a body, soul (containing mind, emotions and will) and spirit. Those who hold to a dichotomous view believe we are comprised of a material and immaterial part, an outer person and an inner person. They would understand the soul and the spirit to be essentially the same.


For the sake of our discussion, we are going to describe who we are from a functional perspective. Suffice it to say, we have an outer self, a physical body that relates to this world through the five senses, and an inner self that relates to God and is created in His image (see Genesis 1:26, 27). Being created in the image of God is what gives us the capacity to fully think, feel, and choose. After God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, Adam was both physically and spiritually alive.

Physically Alive

The physical life we inherited from Adam is best represented in the New Testament by the word bios. Bios describes the union of your physical body and your immaterial self—mind, emotions and will. To be physically alive means the soul or soul/spirit is in union with your body. To die physically means that you separate from your temporal body.

In the Bible, to die means to be separate from, and to be alive means to be in union with. Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (see 2 Cor. 5:8). Obviously, who you are encompasses more than your physical body because the body is left behind when you physically die and yet you will be present with the Lord.

Although your principal identity is more than physical, in this life you cannot exist without your physical body. Your immaterial inner self needs your material outer self to live and function in this world.

For example, your physical brain is like the hardware of a computer system and your immaterial mind is like the software. A computer can't function without software, and software needs a computer to function. You need your physical brain to control your movements and responses, and you need your immaterial mind to reason and make value judgments. The brain can't function independently of how it has been programmed. The finest organic brain can't accomplish anything in a corpse that lacks a mind. Your mind can be perfectly programmed, but if your brain is damaged by Alzheimer's disease you cannot function well as a person.

As long as I live in the physical world, I must do so in a physical body. As such, I am going to take care of my body as well as I can by exercising, eating right and so on. The truth of the matter is that my body is corruptible and it is decaying. I don't look the way I looked 20 years ago, and I don't have great prospects for the next 20 years. In 2 Cor. 5:1-4, Paul referred to the believer's body as a tent, the temporary dwelling place of the soul. Using his illustration, I must confess that my tent pegs are coming up, my poles are sagging and my seams are becoming frayed. At my age, I am just glad there is more to me than the disposable earth suit in which I walk around.

Spiritually Alive

We also inherited from Adam the capacity for spiritual life. Paul wrote: "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Cor. 4:16, NIV). He was referring to the spiritual life of the believer that doesn't age or decay as does the outer shell. To be spiritually alive—characterized in the New Testament by the word zoe—means that your soul or soul/spirit is in union with God. That is the condition in which Adam was created—physically alive and spiritually alive, in perfect union with God.

For the Christian, to be spiritually alive is to be in union with God. This spiritual life is most often conveyed in the New Testament as being "in Christ," or "in Him." Like Adam, we were created to be in union with God. As we shall discover later in this chapter, however, Adam sinned and his union with God was severed. It is God's eternal plan to bring human creation back to Himself and restore the union He enjoyed with Adam at creation. That restored union with God, which we find "in Christ," is what defines who we are as children of God.

Significance

In the original creation, humankind was given a divine purpose for being here. Humanity was given dominion over all the other creatures: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:26, 27).

Adam didn't have to search for significance. That attribute was the result of creation. Satan had to crawl on his belly like a snake in the presence of God. He was not the god of this world at that time. He usurped the authority given to Adam and his descendants after Adam sinned and lost his relationship with God.

Safety and Security

Not only did Adam have a sense of significance, but he also enjoyed a sense of safety and security. All his needs were provided. Genesis 1:29, 30 records: "Then God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food.'" Adam was completely cared for in the garden. All of his needs were provided. He could eat of the tree of life and live forever. He was safe and secure in the presence of God.

Belonging

Adam apparently enjoyed intimate, one-on-one communion with God, but something was missing. "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him'" (Genesis 2:18). Adam and Eve not only had a sense of belonging with God, but also with each other. When God created Eve, He established human community: a meaningful, open, sharing relationship with one another. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. They had nothing to hide. Their bodies consisted of no dirty parts. God created them male and female and told them to be fruitful and multiply. They could openly have an intimate sexual relationship with each other in the presence of God.


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, 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