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Showing posts with label Purity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Purity. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Miracles – God Breaks Through to You - Purity 493

 

Miracles – God Breaks Through to You

Purity 493 08/10/2021 - Purity 493 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo comes to us from yours truly as I took a moment yesterday to look up and appreciate the day that God had made.  I honestly think I got a tap on the shoulder from the Holy Spirit because I was somewhat consumed with finishing the task at hand and although I had taken a short break to hydrate and cool off I wasn’t really looking to “rest in the Lord”.  

But as I was seated in the passenger seat of my van I got an impression to “look up” so I did and I took in the scene before me. It was just some undeveloped land on Capricorn Lane in Delmar, NY  but the skies were blue, there was a slight breeze in the air and there was that one cloud, in the center here, that just seemed to remind me that God was with me.  It reminded me of the “cloud by day” that the Israelites followed through the wilderness, and it reminded me of the fact that we are to seek God’s presence and follow His guidance. 

I worked hard yesterday but it was a “great day” as I my day was full of purpose and peace. The purpose was the simple work at hand. The peace was provided by my being absorbed by it and being reminded of God’s presence in my life and in others as I finished listening to Eric Metaxas’ audiobook “Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” while I worked.    

The way we build our faith is to never leave it. I encourage people to continually seek the Lord because He is always there for us and there simply is no end to depths in which we can learn about Him and deepen our relationship with Him.  And yesterday as I listened to the amazing testimonies of God’s interactions with others, I realized that my listening to this audiobook was a purposeful leading from the Lord. He wanted me to be reminded of how He can touch our lives.   So as I have listened to this amazing book since last week, I have not only rejoiced over the miracles that He has worked in other people’s lives, but I was also reminded of how He has worked in my life and continues to be with me.    

When we walk in the Spirit, the Lord leads us beyond doctrinal stances and a set of beliefs.  He shows us that He is real, alive, and present in our lives.  Our walk of faith becomes an epic journey that is akin to an ongoing drama that has “new episodes” every day. “New characters” and “storylines” are introduced all the time. “The show” of our lives of faith is so good, and frustrating at times, because the drama is continuous and compelling, but you don’t know really where the “show” is going. 

Some characters come in and you think that they are going to be “on the program” and play a major part in future events and then they “exit stage left”.  News about characters from the past, that have been “off screen” come in sometimes announcing blessings and other times announcing death.  

And through it all, a life of faith has the most compelling character of all: God, who can do amazing things but who is confident enough in Himself to allow us to be our own writers and directors of our actions and dialog and just when we think that we are running our shows “solo” we are reminded that our little program is only a part of the epic “entertainment universe” that the Lord is continually producing and directing with His divine care and vision.  

So direct your life as you see fit, but I encourage you to build your relationship with the Creative Genius who “runs the studio”.  He not only can inspire you to make your life the best show it can be, but He also knows where “all this” is going and on occasion He will provide “special effects” like no one else, filling your heart with wonder, awe, and joy.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:6 (NLT2)
6  Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.

Today’s verse gives us direct guidelines for our conduct and warns of the consequences for stepping out of bounds.      

I committed the NLT version of this verse to an index card because I love how the NLT made the sentiments expressed in this section of scripture very clear.  The previous verses in this text specifically state that the will of God is “your sanctification” and tells us to abstain for sexual immorality (verse 3) .  The Apostle Paul then waxes poetically a little bit, talking about possessing his “own vessel in sanctification and honor” and not to “defraud his brother in this matter” in the NKJV version of this verse .   Today’s verse in the NKJV says:

1 Thessalonians 4:6 (NKJV)
6  that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.

As amazing as it may seem I have seen commentators say “defraud” refers to business dealings.  While we should be honest with all people in any of our business dealings, verse 3 and verse 6 are part of the same sentence and the “business” that Paul is talking about is sexual immorality.   So the NLT makes it clear that the “vessel” we are to keep in honor is our “bodies”.  Don’t be putting your vessel next to someone else’s vessel.  This is a simple instruction to be pure sexually and not to commit adultery.  

What is also important here is that Paul, who understands that our sins can not take away our salvation or separate us from the love of God, still warns of the negative consequence of sin, saying that God will avenge it. 

Just because we are forgiven of our sins, doesn’t mean we are free from suffering the consequences of it. Broken families, broken relationships, shame, financial loss, loss of employment, illness, freak accidents, injury, and death are all possible consequences that we face under the rule of a sovereign God. These calamities of experience are possible for all of us regardless of our activities.  The question is do you want to possibly invite God’s chastisement and vengeance upon your life by violating yourself and someone else in sexual sin? 

Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. Obviously this verse is used to draw people to put their faith in Christ, but I feel it should also warn us of the severity of sin as bringing “little deaths” into our lives such as disrupting our harmony with God and all those possibilities of chastisement.  

Sexual ethics are at the fore front of our Christian faith. That is why Christian groups separate men and women and only encourage accountability relationships and close friendships to be between Christians of the same sex.  

The 80’s movie “When Harry Met Sally” discussed the impossibility of men and women being friends with no sexual interest.  The movies premise was proven as Harry and Sally eventually had sex and became a couple.    

As Christians, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we should take great care in keeping other Christians of the opposite sex at arm’s length as men and women will be tempted to emotional and sexual intimacy.   Close friendships should be with same sex brothers or sisters in Christ.  Married Christians should keep a hedge of protection around their spouses and be accountable to one another and be aware of each other’s relationships.   

I have had several friends fall into sin when they made “friendships” with members of the opposite sex.  I have seen friendships broken when one party falls in love with the other. I have even seen lives torn apart when single “Christians” pair up and are so caught up in each other that they walk away from God causing an epic disaster of their relationship and their faith. 

I have seen married Christians show a lack of judgement by pouring affection and attention into single or other married Christian of the opposite sex, blind to the disruption it is causing in their marriage and how it appears to other people. I have seen Christian displays of affection last a little too long.  I have seen “massages” that are simply inappropriate and that are sending a wrong message.     

So love your neighbor but keep your distance from neighbors of the opposite sex and keep your hands to yourself.  Seek friendships with members of the same sex and make your brothers and sisters in Christ accountable by giving them a “heads up”  when their behaviors or relationships seem to be taking a fleshly or intimate turn into a direction they shouldn’t be going. 

We have hearts to love one another but we are only human and if we don’t embrace the Lord’s call to be sanctified and abstain from sexual immorality we could slowly be pulled into temptation, sin, and the negative consequences that result from being foolish.

 

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 11.

 

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:

Bad Things Do Happen to Good People

Your story may not be as severe as Cindy's, but all of us have some hurtful, traumatic experiences in our past that have scarred us emotionally. You may have grown up with a physically, emotionally or sexually abusive parent. You may have been severely frightened as a child. You may have suffered through a painful relationship in the past: a broken friendship, the untimely death of a loved one, a divorce. Any number of traumatic events in your past can leave you holding a lot of emotional baggage. Those experiences are buried in our memories and available for instant recall.

For example, you reacted emotionally to the topic of rape when you read Cindy's story at the start of this chapter. If you or a close loved one have been recently raped, just reading the story sent you soaring to an eight or nine on an emotional scale of ten. You immediately felt a surge of anger, hatred, fear or righteous indignation. However, if you have only read about rape victims but have never been one, met one or counseled one, your response was be more like a two or three on the emotional scale.

Something as simple as a name can prompt an emotional response. If your kind, loving grandfather was named Bill, you probably have a favorable emotional reaction to other people named Bill. However, if you had a teacher named Bill who was a tyrant or if the school bully was named Bill, your initial reaction to the Bills in your life is probably negative. If your spouse suggests, "Let's name our first child Bill," you might react, "Over my dead body!"

I call the residual effect of past traumas primary emotions. The intensity of your primary emotions is determined by your previous life history. The more traumatic your experience, the more intense will be your primary emotion. Notice the sequence of events:

Previous Life History

(Determines the intensity of primary emotions)

Present Event

(Triggers the primary emotion)

Primary Emotion

Mental Evaluation

(The management stage)

Secondary Emotion

(The result of your thought process and primary emotion)

Many of these primary emotions will lie dormant within you and have little effect on your life until something triggers them. Have you ever started a topic of conversation that upset someone and sent him storming out of the room? What set him off? you wondered. He was set off by the topic of your conversation. You touched the "button" that connected him to his past. Just touching the emotional core may bring tears to a person's eyes. The trigger is any present event that can be associated with past conflicts.

For instance, a lady once told me, "Every time I hear a siren, I freak out!"

"How long has that been going on?" I asked.

"About 10 years," she responded.

"What happened 10 years ago?" I asked.

"I was raped," she said.

Obviously, she heard a siren when she was victimized and 10 years later the sound of a siren triggers an emotional response.

Most people try to control their primary emotions by avoiding any people or events that trigger them. "I'm not going to go there if he is going to be there." "I can't watch that kind of a movie because it comes too close to home." "I don't want to talk about that subject."

The problem is, you can't isolate yourself completely from everything that may set off an emotional response. You are bound to see something on TV or hear something in a conversation that will bring to mind your unpleasant experience. Something in your past is unresolved and therefore still has a hold on you.


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, July 30, 2021

Suddenly Mourning – Draw Close to God - Purity 484


 Suddenly Mourning – Draw Close to God  

Purity 484 07/30/2021  Purity 484 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo come to us from our friend Shane Onufrock who enjoyed this sunset while on vacation at Ocracoke Island in North Carolina on Tuesday with his dog PJ.  I normally don’t share the names of my friends in my daily posts but in this case I make an exception.  Unfortunately, this is one of the last photos that Shane will take of PJ, as the Onufrock’s beloved four-footed family member was lost to a tragic accident on Wednesday.  Shane expressed how much the shock and pain of this loss has rocked his family with the simple lament “God this hurts so much.”  

I share my friend’s love of his dog and the pain of his loss in hopes that you will join me in praying for comfort and peace for Shane and his family in the wake of this tragic and devastating loss.  As a Christian, I know that God hears our prayers and I know that He can provided us with comfort, peace, and strength to walk through the dark valleys of life. 

I also know that in times of mourning, the best gifts we can give to those who are suffering is our presence and care. We should avoid philosophizing a meaning to the loss and instead just be present and available for our friends who are suffering by listening and offering to help in whatever way we can.  

The cup of suffering will pass to us all at one time or another and the best thing we can do is to foster a deep relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ and to develop caring friendships of substance that won’t cut and run when the going gets tough.  

Christ Himself knew the pain of loss and wept. God understands our pain and offers us the peace that goes beyond understanding and the strength to walk through to brighter days that are in the distance beyond the shadows of mourning.    

So, be kind to one another, show your appreciation to your friends, your family, and yes even to your pets.  The relationships we cherish in our lives and the love that we have are a gift from God and when walk with Him He can ease our pain when we suffer loss and give us hope for the days ahead and the eternal life that we will share with Him where there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more sorrow, and no more death.

     

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 6:20 (NKJV)
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

Today’s verse reminds Christians that we belong to God and that our lives are to be a living sacrifice to give Him glory.   

The preceding verses in this section of scripture remind us of the spiritual reality that we are temples of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and we are not to use our bodies for sexual sin.   

In light of our modern society’s liberal views on sex, the biblical guidelines for keeping all sexual activity in the approved confines of marriage has taken a major blow as even professing Christians are involved in sexual relationship or who regularly practice masturbation with no serious conviction or intention to stop their sexual sin.      

Those outside the faith generally agree that if the activity is consensual there is nothing wrong with sex or masturbation.  Christian’s who practice the same sexual activity outside of marriage hold similar views and either dismiss the word of God’s commands to flee sexual immorality or merely lean on the grace of God to cover their multitude of sins with a licentious attitude and the self-admonition that they are powerless to change and they believe sexual purity is impossible.  

However celibacy is possible.   Humorously, a Google search of “Is celibacy possible?” will reveal a good deal of negative articles that question whether celibacy is bad for your physical and mental health but if you scroll through a few of those you will find material that states that people do indeed practice celibacy and recommend it.  And I am actually one of them, although if the right Christian woman would come along I would make her my wife and that change pretty quick.

Listen, before coming to Christ, I had sex that wasn’t under a marriage covenant and masturbated.  No matter how thrilling and pleasurable those experiences were, there was always a measure of guilt and shame that followed, usually right after giving in to sexual temptation.   Why do we feel guilt and shame if we “can do whatever we want”? 

For all mankind, any guilt and shame that we feel in regard to sex outside of marriage is part of our make-up that beyond society’s standards and rules, which are slipping more and every day, God has given each of us a conscience that tells us in our hearts what is right and wrong.   However, we can deaden our conscience with repeated sin.  

For the Christian, we are spiritual made a live with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence upon salvation, so we usually feel a higher degree of sensitivity to sin because the Holy Spirit is convicting us to drive us to repentance because our sin is no longer compatible with who we are in Christ.  

However, even the Christian can “quench the Spirit” or “grieve the Holy Spirit” with repeated sin. 

From my own experience as a carnal Christian in the early years of my faith, I can tell you that we can be spiritually blinded to the severity or meaning of our sins and still be convinced that we have “surrendered all to God”.  

But the good news is that if we choose to seek the Lord and deepen our relationship with Him, the Holy Spirit will give us revelations of our spiritual state and draw us and empower us to repentance.   

Today’s verse reminds us that when we made Christ our Lord and Savior we belong to Him now. We have been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. 

Today’s verse also makes it clear that we are to give our bodies & spirits to the Lord to glorify Him. 

How do we glorify the Lord with our bodies? 

We glorify Him by not giving our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness.

We glorify Him by turning from our sexual sins and any sins that involve the use of our bodies.

But hear me when I say this, you will struggle mightily to obey the “rules” of not sinning on your own.  

Our repentance comes through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit.   

We not only have to believe that God set us free from sin and death when we became His, we also have to live according to that belief.  The best way to live according to our faith is by having a daily spiritual practice in which we draw close to God by reading His word, by maintaining a continuous conversation of prayer with God throughout the day, and by choosing to live according to God’s ways rather than the ways of the world.  

Our victory comes from knowing we are bought and paid for by God, that we are His children now, and by choosing to commune with the Lord to live the life that He has prepared for us.  

 

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 9.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Renewing the Mind

Do we have to remain victims of these mental strongholds for the rest of our lives? Absolutely not! If we have been trained wrong, can we be retrained? If we have learned to believe a lie, can we now choose to believe the truth? If we have programmed our computers wrong, can they be reprogrammed? Absolutely, but we have to want to renew our minds. How? Our lives are transformed as we renew our minds through the hearing of God's Word, Bible studies, personal discipleship and Christ-centered counseling (see Romans 12:2). Because some of these strongholds are thoughts raised against the knowledge of God (see 2 Cor. 10:5), learning to know God as a loving Father and yourself as His accepted child is a starting place.

More is going on in your mind than prior negative conditioning. You are not just up against the world system in which you were raised and the resultant flesh patterns you have chosen to adopt. You are also up against the devil who is scheming to fill your mind with thoughts that are opposed to God's plan for you.

In addition to previous thoughts that formed mental strongholds, we have the present-day responsibility to manage our thoughts according to 2 Cor. 10:5: "We are taking every thought [noema] captive to the obedience of Christ." Why do these thoughts need to be taken captive? Because they are contrary to God's ways and they may be the enemy's thoughts.

Notice how Paul uses the word "thoughts" (noema) in 2 Corinthians in relation to Satan's activity. In 2 Cor. 3:14; and 2 Cor. 4:4, Paul reveals that Satan is behind the spiritual hardness and blindness of unbelievers: "But their minds [noema] were hardened.†.†.†. The god of this world has blinded the minds [noema] of the unbelieving."

Paul also states that Satan is deceiving and dividing believers: "I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds [noema] should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). We are not ignorant of his [Satan's] schemes [noema]" (2 Cor. 2:11).

Satan's strategy is to introduce his thoughts and ideas into your mind and deceive you into believing they are yours. It happened to King David. Satan "moved David to number Israel" (1 Chron. 21:1), an act God had forbidden, and David acted on Satan's idea. Did Satan manifest himself to David and audibly say, "I want you to number Israel"? I doubt it. David was a godly man and he wouldn't have obeyed Satan. What if Satan slipped the idea into David's mind in first-person singular? What if the thought came to David as, "I need to know how large my army is; I think I'll count the troops"? These were David's thoughts; at least he thought they were, but that isn't what Scripture says.

If Satan can place a thought in your mind—and he can—it isn't much more of a trick for him to make you think it is your idea. If you knew it was Satan, you would reject the thought, wouldn't you? When he disguises his suggestions as your thoughts and ideas, however, you are more likely to accept them. That is his primary deception.

I doubt that Judas initially realized it was Satan's idea to betray Jesus, but Scripture clearly reveals it was. "And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him" (John 13:2). Judas probably thought he was prompting Jesus to deliver Israel from the Romans. The fact that Judas was a thief was what made him vulnerable to Satan.

Ananias and Sapphira might have thought it was their idea to withhold some of their offering while getting the strokes and attention from others who believed they had given everything. If they knew it was Satan's idea, they probably wouldn't have done it, but Scripture clearly reveals the source of their thoughts. "Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land?'" (Acts 5:3).

One of our Talbot students brought Tina to me for counseling. Tina was experiencing tremendous emotional difficulty as the result of an incredible background. As a child and teenager, she had witnessed sacrificial and ritual abuse and had repeatedly been violated sexually by her father, her brother and her brother's friend. She watched as her little pet puppy dog was sacrificed as a burnt offering in satanic worship.

Her hope for escaping her background was to enter the field of psychology. She finished her master's degree and tried to enroll in a doctoral program, but her personal life was in shambles.

I shared with Tina that Jesus Christ could set her free if she would open her life to Him. "Would you like to make that decision for Christ?" I asked.

She shook her head. "I'll do it later."

Having heard Tina's story, I was suspicious of what was going on in her mind. "Tina, are you hearing opposing thoughts to what I have been saying? They could be threatening you or me."

"Yes," Tina answered, her face blanched with shock and amazement.

"You're being told a lie, Tina, and Satan is the father of lies." I shared with her further from God's Word, and within 10 minutes she gave her heart to Christ.

If Satan can get you to believe a lie, you can lose some element of control in your life. Suppose I was devious and persuaded you to believe a lie. Would believing that lie have some effect on your life? Suppose I started a rumor that your spouse was unfaithful; and you heard it. Would believing that lie affect how you felt about your husband and how you related to him? Therefore, if you fail to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, you may be allowing Satan to influence your life in a negative direction.


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