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Showing posts with label Relationships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Relationships. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Skillfully Dealing with “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” of Thanksgiving- Purity 895


 Skillfully Dealing with “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” of Thanksgiving- Purity 895   

Purity 895 11/22/2022 Purity 895 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blazing cotton candy sunset sky over my favorite portion of I-787 South, highlighting the glass domed peak of the building at 625 Broadway in downtown Albany, comes to us from yours truly as I tried my best to capture some of the beauty of this spectacular November sky from my securely mounted iPhone as I drove home from work yesterday.  The beauty of God’s creation is all around us at all times and as much as we may enjoy the warmer temperatures of Summer, yesterdays sunset reminded me that we don’t get sunsets quite like this during those warmer months. Even though they don’t happen every day in late Autumn or throughout the winter, the history of my blog will testify to the truth that some truly magical celestial moments happen during these colder days of the year.  

Well, it’s Tuesday and for nearly all of us, today is “Hump Day” because Thanksgiving is only 48 hours away, making this first part of the week a 3 day work week.  

As I write these words, I am excited at the prospect of all of us coming together with family and friends to reunite in a celebration of Thanksgiving.  I myself will be celebrating Thanksgiving at my brother-in-law’s place, who I see quite regularly as we go to the same church and I attend the “growth group” he leads for our church. So while I will not be reuniting with people I haven’t seen in a while, I am filled with joy at just contemplating all the people who will be.  Over the next couple of days, people will be travelling from near and far to enjoy the company of their friends and family and I just have great joy contemplating the way God has knit us all together in relationships of love.   It makes me think of Peter’s words on the Mount of Transfiguration.  When Peter witnessed Christ in unveiled glory miraculously joined by Moses and Elijah, he:

Matthew 17:4 (NKJV)
4  … said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

Peter certainly didn’t understand what was happening but he knew it was good to be together and he wanted this magical moment to last.   

And that’s how I feel right now just thinking about people coming together in the next 48 hours to talk, to laugh, to hug one another, to be together, and to love one another in peace and thanksgiving.   I know my visions may seem Pollyanna-ish and may be distorted Hallmark movie fantasies but even though all our interactions over the next few days aren’t guaranteed to be perfectly harmonious, the love that lies at the foundation of them all will still be there even if we won’t be able to express it perfectly. 

Let’s face it people, even family people, can drive you nuts. But usually there is more good than bad in our familial dealings, otherwise we wouldn’t get together, right? I hope that’s the case, anyway. Otherwise, maybe next year we should investigate establishing boundaries to limit or keep the dysfunction at bay.

So as we gear up for the good, the bad, and, oh My – help us Jesus, the ugly that we may encounter over the next few days, let’s promise one another that we will try to be the light that God wants us to be. Let’s agree that we will be the one’s that try to establish peace, whenever possible, with our family and friends, where necessary, as ambassadors for God’s kingdom.   

Remember some basics, presented from God’s word, on how to deal skillfully with “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Thanksgiving.”

Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)
1  A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

James 1:19 (NLT2)
19  Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

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.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 (NLT2)
14  Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
15  See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
16  Always be joyful.
17  Never stop praying.
18  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

And finally,

Luke 23:34 (NLT2)
34  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” …

While I hope you have some mountain top moments of joy over the next few days that will make you want the moments to last forever, we have to remember that those we encounter over the next few days may not know the “peace that goes beyond all understanding” and may be bitter, angry, or hurting”.  So let’s do our best to minister to them, but also remember not to be dragged into contentions or squabbles. Let’s walk that line with skill and let’s not forget that while Christ also commanded us to love our enemies, we are not Jesus.  So know your limitations, speak an encouraging word, but if necessary, don’t forget to call on the Lord to show you the way of escape.   

If we remember who we are in Christ, we will be grounded in peace no matter what we face, but wisdom may demand we extract ourselves from difficult situations or endure them with patience.  There are no pat answers on how to deal with difficult situations but if we are diligent to forgive others and show love, we just may have something to be thankful for after this latest holiday passes.  

Keep walking and talking with God, and He will see you through.

 

 

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Colossians 2:13 (NLT2)
13  You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.

Today’s verse reminds us that before Christ we were dead! But because we put our faith in Jesus, God has made us alive with Christ and has forgiven all our sins.   

To be forgiven is huge gift from the Lord but our salvation is not just a “pardon” from the penalty that we would have rightly had to suffer.  In Christian teachings there are many illustrations about going to court and having Jesus show up to pay our fine so we could be set free. While that is a useful way to explain the atonement, that picture is somewhat  incomplete in expressing the new life we have in Christ.  

Today’s verse indicates that our sinful nature has been cut away and that God gives us new life with Christ. What we receive when we put our faith is more than just a pardon, it is a new existence with new capabilities that we didn’t have before. But to experience the new existence, the new life in Christ and to realize the power of our new capabilities, we have to believe that this verse is true, that this verse and all the other one’s about the new life in Christ, is true about us.   

When we put our faith in Jesus, we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who makes us spiritually alive, and powerful.  After we become Christians, we are guaranteed eternal life with God forever and we have the power to say no to sin, for good.   But we have to believe it and act on it.  Sometimes transformation comes quickly, sometimes it comes in time, but it always comes from faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.  

So believe and receive what the Lord has done for you. Keep walking and talking with God, and obey the call He puts on your life.  We can trust the Lord because we were once dead but He has made us alive and He wants us to thrive. Go with God.

 

___________________________________________

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

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 7

The Community of Disciples Is Set Apart

The Great Separation concludes

Verse 22. Confessors and doers are separated from each other. Now the separation is driven in as far as it can go. Here, finally, those speak up who have survived the test up to now. They belong to the doers, but now they make demands based upon their deeds instead of upon their confession. They have done deeds in the name of Jesus. They know that confession does not justify; hence, they went out to make the name of Jesus great among the people by their deeds. Now they come before Jesus and refer to those deeds.

Jesus reveals to his disciples here the possibility of a demonic faith, point that they are indistinguishable from the deeds of true disciples of Jesus. They do works of love, miracles, perhaps even sanctify themselves, and yet deny Jesus and discipleship. It is just as Paul says in chapter 13 of the First Letter to the Corinthians about the possibility of preaching, prophesying, having all knowledge, even all faith to remove mountains—but without love, that is, without Christ, without the Holy Spirit. Yes, even more than this: Paul must even consider the possibility that the works of Christian love themselves, giving away one’s goods, even so far as martyrdom, can be done—without love, without Christ, without the Holy Spirit. Without love—that means that in all those actions the deed of discipleship does not take place, that deed, whose doer is finally none other than the one who calls us, Jesus Christ himself. That is the deepest, least comprehensible possibility of the satanic within the congregation, the ultimate separation, which, of course, does not take place until the last judgment. But it will be a final one. Those following Jesus must ask what is the ultimate standard of measure of who will be accepted by Jesus and who will not. Who remains and who does not? Jesus’ answer to those who are rejected at the end says it all: “I never knew you.” That is the final secret, which has been kept from the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount up until its end. That alone is the question, whether we were known by Jesus or not. To what should we hold fast, if we hear how the word of Jesus draws the separation between the community and the world, and then within the community until the last judgment? If nothing is left to us, neither our confession nor obedience? Then the only thing left is his word: I have known you. This is his everlasting word, his everlasting call. The end of the Sermon on the Mount connects here with its beginning. His word at the last judgment—it is issued to us in his call to discipleship. But from the beginning to the end, it remains his word, his call. Those who in discipleship hold fast to nothing except this word and let everything else go will be carried by this word through the last judgment. His word is his grace.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 179–181.    

Thursday, November 17, 2022

This is US! - Purity 891

 

This is US!  -  Purity 891   

Purity 891 11/17/2022 Purity 891 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the pathway to the marker at the end of the at the Irondequoit Bay Outlet Pier under blue & cirrus cloud filled skies comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene during my recent road trip to Buffalo. I’m including a selfie of myself on the blog to prove to myself, and anyone else who would doubt it, that I was there.  



Well, It’s Thursday again and as I share today’s photo of a pathway to that red and white marker as my subtle encouragement to anyone who should see or hear this message to stay on, or to get on, the path of Christian Discipleship.  

Whoever thinks that our Christian faith, our life in Christ, is boring undoubtedly has bought into the lies, or the limited view that God is continued to the pages of scripture or within the four walls of a church building, or even worse that He doesn’t intervene in the lives of men and has not decided to seek the Lord and His will for our lives.  

Our faith is a living relationship with the God of all creation who graciously gave us a “heads up” and revealed the truth of His plan of redemption, to put our faith in Jesus Christ alone, and who invites us to follow Him to discover our purpose in His kingdom.  

Ours is a personal God and before you start thinking that your purpose in Christ is to do a whole lot of good works for His glory, make sure you understand that our relationship with God is like any other relationship and that the main point of it is to spend time with one another, to spend “quality time” with God.  

While I am a big proponent of developing a daily spiritual practice of prayer and Bible Study, I also want to echo the sentiments of Dallas Willard from his book, Divine Conspiracy, where he said that our relationship to our Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, with God benefits from “quality time”, where we seek to know the Lord and be in His presence with great intensity where we spend extended periods of time in silence and solitude and in the disciplines of prayer, bible Study, service, or worship.

My trip to Buffalo was a mini mission trip with a set destination and purpose but during the trip I followed the Lord’s call of where to pull over and spend some time with Him.  I left the road periodically take walks, see the sights, and appreciate what I was experiencing and thanked God for bringing me where I was and thanked Him for being with me.  

I gloried over the magnificence of His creation and reflected on all the people, places, and things that we have encountered since “we got together”. The change in my life has been so significant since that day I said “Yes” to Jesus that sometimes I am simply overwhelmed and have to remind myself, “Yup, that happened. I was there and You were with me. We did that!  This is me! This is US! ”  And I am not ashamed to say it, I absolutely love what God has done with my life. 

Although I am sure that I may be considered strange by some, I don’t care. The story God has written in my life since that day my idea to mock a Christian message got turned on its head and resulted in my tearful proclamation of Jesus as my Lord and Savior, is simply amazing and perhaps the most surprising thing about it is that the tale of my new life in Christ simply does not end.  

It's one thing to another to another when you are walking in the Spirit and while everyday may not be filled with travelling adventures to distant lands, because I seeking to know Him and His presence, in prayer and Bible study or in just meditating, thinking about Him, there are always moments where I have joy or peace because I literally keep walking and talking with God through my day.  

Before Christ, I used to talk to myself, sometimes out loud, and would just think about what I wanted to do or what the grand exalted “I” thought about life.  My internal dialog and external musings were always focused on the small world of “Me-ville”.  What do I want? What did they do to ME? How dare they get in MY WAY. Or Why don’t they leave ME alone. Or I hate them!”

Like I used to say in recovery ministry, before Christ we are all opera singers: “ME, ME, ME, ME!” Passionate, self-obsessed, overly dramatic opera singers!

Okay I am sure there are some of you out there who are thinking this doesn’t apply to you. You are thinking that you don’t think too highly of yourselves and that you aren’t so vain as that.  But the bad news is that pride is a stick with two ends, if we don’t think highly of ourselves, we are holding the opposite end of the “pride stick”  “Nobody loves ME” I’M no good. Nobody helps ME.   SO for you although your voice may be low, you are also singing “me, me, me”, maybe just in lower case letters and a whispering tone.  

But when you put your faith in Christ, if you know who you are in Christ and realize that the Holy Spirit dwells in you,  you are no longer an “I” or a “ME”, capital or lower case letters.   

In Christ we become an “US”,  it’s not longer “ME against the world”, Tupac. When you make peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord is with you! He will never leave you or forsake you and because He is omnipresent, He is with you and available to you no matter where you go!  

Christianity is the story of US, You and God, and all the rest of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  While we might not always seem to be “in this together” on the human realm with the church and all of its expressions, if we are indeed in Christ, we are in this all together,  but the most important aspect of our new life in Christ is our direct and personal relationship with God.  

A lot of people point to the unity of the body of believers to be the most important thing or that loving others is the end all of what we are to do as Christians, and in many ways it is, but how do you “get there”.   

Christ directs us to love God first, and then love our neighbors as ourselves.  

So we have to first develop our love for God otherwise our love for our neighbors will just be some act, some duty to perform that we would rather not do.  

But when we love the Father, Jesus, & the Holy Spirit, when we love God, He gives us His eyes and His heart.   We  can be kind, forgiving, compassionate, and loving to others because we have received God’s abundant love and when we know it that love can pour out on others.  

So get intense about your relationship with the Lord. Spend some quality time with Him. Press into your spiritual practices to know the Lord more and to give Him and opportunity to change your heart and mind.  Keep walking and talking with God and one day you will be utterly amazed at where you have gone together and what you have experienced together.  One day you will see the changes He has done in you, and you will be thrilled to say “This really is me! This is what God has done in my life! This is US!”

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

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 3:16 (NLT2)
16  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Today’s verse is one of if not the most popular verses in scripture because it speaks the truth of who Jesus is and what happens when we believe in Him.  

Jesus is the Son of God, His One and Only Son, and He came to earth to teach about God’s kingdom and to command us to repent and to put our faith in Him.  

And as today’s verse tells us, when we put our faith in Christ we will not perish but will have eternal life.  

In this one verse, Jesus confirms Himself as God and He confirms the spiritual destiny for all mankind.  If we believe in Him, we have eternal life. If we don’t, we perish in places he described as dark and painful.

So let this good news be something to give you assurance, if you have faith in Christ, that you will live with Him forever,  And also let it encourage you to share this good news and bad news to warn those that don’t know Jesus so they can be saved and not perish.    

 

 

___________________________________________

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

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 7

The Community of Disciples Is Set Apart

The Disciple and the Unbelievers Continues

When we judge, we encounter other people from the distance of observation and reflection. But love does not allot time and space to do that. For those who love, other people can never become an object for spectators to observe. Instead, they are always a living claim on my love and my service. But doesn’t the evil in other people necessarily force me to pass judgment on them, just for their own sake and because of our love for them? We recognize how sharply the boundary is drawn. Love for a sinner, if misunderstood, is frightfully close to love for the sin. But Christ’s love for the sinner is itself the condemnation of sin; it is the sharpest expression of hatred against sin. It is that unconditional love, in which Jesus’ disciples should live in following him, that achieves what their own disunited love, offered according to their own discretion and conditions, could never achieve, namely, the radical condemnation of evil.

If the disciples judge, then they are erecting standards to measure good and evil. But Jesus Christ is not a standard by which I can measure others. It is he who judges me and reveals what according to my own judgment is good to be thoroughly evil. This prohibits me from applying a standard to others which is not valid for me. When I judge, deciding what is good or evil, I affirm the evil in other persons, because they, too, judge according to good and evil. But they do not know that what they consider good is evil. Instead, they justify themselves in it. If I judge their evil, that will affirm their good, which is never the goodness of Jesus Christ. They are withdrawn from Christ’s judgment and subjected to human judgment. But I myself invoke God’s judgment on myself, because I am no longer living out of the grace of Jesus Christ, but out of a knowledge of good and evil. I become subject to that judgment which I think valid. For all persons, God is a person’s God in the way the person believes God to be.

Judging is the forbidden evaluation of other persons. It corrodes simple love. Love does not prohibit my having my own thoughts about others or my perceiving their sin, but both thoughts and perceptions are liberated from evaluating them. They thereby become only an occasion for that forgiveness and unconditional love Jesus gives me. My refraining from judgment of others does not validate tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner; it does not concede that the other person is somehow right after all. Neither I nor the other person is right. God alone, God’s grace and judgment is proclaimed to be right.

Judging others makes us blind, but love gives us sight. When I judge, I am blind to my own evil and to the grace granted the other person. But in the love of Christ, disciples know about every imaginable kind of guilt and sin, because they know of the suffering of Jesus Christ. At the same time, love recognizes the other person to be one who received forgiveness under the cross. Love sees the other person under the cross, and that is what enables it to have true sight. If my intent in passing judgment were really to destroy evil, then I would seek evil where it really threatens me, namely, in myself. But the fact that I seek evil in another person reveals that in such judgments I am really seeking to be right myself, that I want to avoid punishment for my own evil by judging another person. All judging presupposes the most dangerous self-deception, namely, that the word of God applies differently to me than it does to my neighbor. I claim an exceptional right in that I say: forgiveness applies to me, but condemnation applies to the other person. Judgment as arrogation of false justice about one’s neighbor is totally forbidden to the disciples. They did not receive special rights for themselves from Jesus, which they ought to claim before others. All they receive is communion with him.

But it is not only judging words which are forbidden to the disciples. Proclaiming salvific words of forgiveness to others also has its limits. Jesus’ disciples do not have the power and the right to force them on anyone at any time. All our urging, running after people, proselytizing, every attempt to accomplish something in another person by our own power is in vain and dangerous. In vain—because swine do not recognize the pearls thrown before them; dangerous—because not only does this defile words of forgiveness, not only does it make the other person I am to serve into a sinner against holy gifts, but even the disciples who are preaching are in danger of being needlessly and pointlessly harmed by the blind fury of hardened and darkened hearts. Squandering cheap grace disgusts the world. Then the world will turn violently on those who want to force on it what it does not desire. This signifies for the disciples a serious limitation on their work. It agrees with the directive in Matthew 10 to shake from their feet the dust of any place that does not hear the word of peace. The driving restlessness of the group of disciples, who do not want to accept any limitation on their effectiveness, and their zeal, which does not respect resistance, confuses the word of the gospel with a conquering idea. An idea requires fanatics, who neither know nor respect resistance. The idea is strong. But the Word of God is so weak that it suffers to be despised and rejected by people. For the Word, there are such things as hardened hearts and locked doors. The Word accepts the resistance it encounters and bears it. It is a cruel insight: nothing is impossible for the idea, but for the gospel there are impossibilities. The Word is weaker than the idea. Likewise, the witnesses to the Word are weaker than the propagandists of an idea. But this weakness liberates them from the sick restlessness of a fanatic; they suffer with the Word. Disciples may retreat, or even flee, as long as they are retreating and fleeing with the Word,[224] as long as their weakness is the weakness of the Word itself, as long as they do not abandon the Word in their flight. They are nothing but servants and tools of the Word, and should not want to be strong when the Word is weak. If they wanted to force the Word onto the world by all means, then they would make the living Word of God into an idea, and the world will justifiably fight back against an idea which cannot help it at all. But it is as weak witnesses that they do not flee, but remain—to be sure, only where the Word is. Disciples who would know nothing about this weakness of the Word would not have come to know the secret of God’s lowliness. This weak Word, which suffers contradiction by sinners, is the only strong, merciful Word, that can make sinners repent from the bottom of their hearts. The Word’s power is veiled in weakness. If the Word came in full, unveiled power, that would be the final judgment day. The great task of recognizing the limits of their mission is given to the disciples. But when the Word is misused, it will turn against them.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 170–173.


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Epic Journey Continues - Relationships Dynamics Inventory – Purity 884

 

The Epic Journey Continues - Relationships Dynamics Inventory   Purity 884

Purity 884 11/09/2022 Purity 884 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the afternoon sun shining through a hazy sky over the Hudson River, and Schodack Creek, and my driveway comes to us from yours truly as I stopped to capture the view from my front yard upon return to my home “Down by The River” back on October 30th.  

Well, it’s Wednesday, and I am hitting the road to go to the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY tonight after work as part of a spiritual journey that will culminate in my volunteering for the ministry that delivered the radio message that saved my soul back in 2010.   I will be serving at an Evening with David Jerimiah at the Key Bank Center in Buffalo on Friday and letting the Spirit guide me between now and then. So I am excited and short on time.  

This morning I utilized some information one of the participants from the Freedom in Christ course provided in the chat last night to create the Following “Relationship Dynamics Inventory”   and because I took the time to make it I am sharing it today on the blog and podcast.  So here goes: 

“Relationship Dynamics Inventory”

As we seek to walk in the Spirit and become aware of the lies we have believed and recognize the things we may have done, or have failed to do, or that we may have experienced from our parents/caregivers/family/loved ones/friends growing up, we have to take an honest inventory of our pasts and our past performance. 

A Freedom In Christ Course Participant shared the following list that he received from a ministry that seeks to reconcile relationships and to help people to honestly look at the things they have done or have been perceived to have done.

 

·       Lack of interest in things that are special to me

·       Breaking promises

·       Criticizing unjustly

·       Allowing my brothers or sisters to put me down

·       Misunderstanding my motives

·       Speaking carelessly

·       Punishing me for something I’d already been punished for

·       Telling me that my opinions don’t really matter

·       Giving me the feeling that you never made mistakes

·       Not being gentle when pointing out my weaknesses or blind spots

·       Lecturing me and not understanding that all I need is some support

·       Never saying, “I love you’”

·       Not spending time alone with me

·       Being insensitive and rough

·       Being thoughtless.

·       Never saying, “Thank you”

·       Speaking harsh words

·       Being inconsistent

·       Being taken for granted

·       Being told how to do something that I was doing on my own

·       Nagging me

·       Bossing me

·       Feeling unnoticed and unappreciated

·       Being ignored

·       Not being considered a thinking/feeling person

·       Being too busy to care for me

·       Being too busy to listen to what I have to say.

·       Dismissing my needs as not important, and yours are more important

·       Bringing up mistakes from the past

You can utilize this list by providing it to your children, spouses, family, or friends to allow them an opportunity to honestly assess you without fear of reproach and with the intention of reconciliation and rebuilding and healing broken or troubled relationships.

You can also use it for self-evaluation or evaluation of your relationship dynamics with parents, children, extended family, spouses, significant others, or friends.  

The basic principles of Christian Discipleship recommend that you repent of any known sins, study God’s word to renew your mind, develop a daily prayer practice, and to seek the community, counsel, and accountability of other mature Christians.

I would recommend that you also utilize the teachings presented in the Freedom in Christ Course and Victory Over the Darkness (regarding Handling Emotions Well, Forgiving From the Heart, Relating to Others, with the focus of working on one’s own character and seeking to meet the needs of others, without expectation) to help you in the process of evaluation and sanctification, before attempting any reconciliation.

For resources from Freedom in Christ Ministries go to: https://www.ficm.org/

This document is merely a tool to use for evaluation and should be used with wisdom and discretion.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.  

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Yeah I know that is one harsh list of things we may have to face. The participant in our Freedom in Christ course actually provided that to his wife and children to get the hard truth of how they felt he was doing as a husband and father.  Talk about humbling.  

But sometimes we need the hard truth to help us to change and there is no truth harder or more true that the word of God.  When we are faced with our failures and sins and relationship blunders, hope can be found in seeking the Lord and in repentance.  

The Lord can help you to change. He can transform your life. And while He can’t change what happened in the past He can help you move past it and correct your course going forward.  

So look in the mirror and see how you are doing, but be sure to look in God’s word and see who God made you to be. If you are in Christ, you are new creation but you have to believe it and you have to start living like it, preferably in all the areas of your life.  

But God is gracious and patient and He will meet you where you are and guide you little by little, one day at a time, into the new life that He has for you. 

But you have to be honest and have to surrender and decide to follow Him.  So as I will be letting the Spirit lead me over the next couple of days to Oswego tonight and Key Bank Center at 3:30pm on Friday without much of a plan for in between, let me encourage you that even if you may not be 100 percent sure where the Lord will take you, you can trust that if you are following Him that it will eventually lead to a good place. 

So turn from the past and the ways of the world, and follow the Lord into a life that is EPIC and abundant with meaning and purpose and filled with the fruit of the Spirit.  

The EPIC journey the moment you follow Him. So put your faith in Christ and go.

 

 

 

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 24:12 (NLT2)
12  Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

Today’s verses  reminds us of the sometimes painful realization that the Lord is all knowing and He will repay people as their actions deserve.  

Yeah, God knows everything including what we know and don’t know.  So that is why I recommend to all those I encourage to be honest with the Lord because there is no fooling Him.  

Also God is holy and will repay everyone as their actions deserve.  Without Christ as our Lord and Savior, that means hell.   

So put your faith in Christ and avoid any chastisement by being honest, by not making excuses, and by living according to the Lord’s wisdom and ways.

 

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

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 6

On the Hidden Nature of the Christian Life

The Hiddenness of Prayer continues

“Your will be done on earth as in heaven.” In the community of Jesus Christ, the disciples have completely surrendered their will to God’s will. They pray, therefore, that God’s will be done on the whole earth. No creature should obstruct it. But because the will of evil still lives even in the disciples trying to tear them out of their community with Jesus, they must also pray that the will of God rule in them more completely every day and break down their resistance. Ultimately, however, the whole world shall bend to the will of God and gratefully worship God in distress and in joy. Heaven and earth shall be subject to God.

Above all, Jesus’ disciples should pray for God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will. Of course, God does not need these prayers, but through them the disciples themselves participate in the heavenly treasures for which they are praying. Also, such prayers may hasten the end of time.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” As long as the disciples are on earth, they should not be ashamed of asking their heavenly Father for the things they need for their bodily life. God who created human beings on earth intends to preserve and protect human bodies. God does not intend that God’s own creation become disdained. Disciples pray for bread to be shared. None of them will be given it alone. They also pray that God give daily bread to all of God’s children on the whole earth, for they are all sisters and brothers in the flesh. The disciples know that the bread which grows from the earth comes down from heaven and is God’s gift alone. That is why they do not simply take their bread; they ask for it. Because it is bread from God, it comes anew every day. The disciples do not pray for advance supplies, but for the daily gift from God today, which sustains their lives in the community of Jesus and for which they praise God’s gentle goodness. This petition is proof of the disciples’ faith in God’s living action on earth doing what is best for them.

“Forgive us our sin, as we forgive those who sin against us.” The disciples’ daily sorrow is the recognition of their guilt. They, who could live without sin in community with Jesus, sin daily in all sorts of ways: they lack faith, are lethargic at prayer, lack bodily discipline, and give in to self-indulgence, envy, hatred, and ambition. So they must pray daily for God’s forgiveness. But God will only hear their prayer when they forgive each other’s guilt in a loving and willing way. Together, they bring their guilt before God and pray together for grace. May God forgive not only me my sins, but us our sins.

“Lead us not into temptation.” The temptations of the disciples are various. Satan attacks them from all sides and tries to bring them down. False security and godless doubt tempt them severely. Knowing of their weakness, the disciples do not provoke their being tempted in order to prove the strength of their faith. They ask God not to tempt their weak faith and to protect them in the hour of temptation.

“But deliver us from evil.” The disciples’ final prayer is to be that someday they be delivered from this evil world and inherit the kingdom of heaven. This petition is for a blessed end[188] and for the salvation of the Christian community at the last days of this world.

“For yours is the kingdom …” Daily the disciples receive this certainty anew from their communion with Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of all their petitions. In him God’s name is hallowed; in him God’s kingdom comes; in him God’s will is done. For his sake the bodily life of the disciples is preserved; for his sake they receive forgiveness for their sins. In his power they are protected from temptation; in his power they are saved unto eternal life. His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever in communion with the Father. The disciples are certain of this.

As if to summarize the prayer, Jesus states once again that everything depends on receiving forgiveness, and that this forgiveness can only be received when living in the fellowship of other sinners.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 156–158.

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Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship