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

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Misconceptions, Deal Breakers, and Love of God - Purity 551


 Misconceptions, Deal Breakers, and Love of God - Purity 551 

Purity 551 10/16/2021 Purity 551 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of  “Happy Cows at Sunset in October” comes to us from Johnk Family Farm LLC in Greenville, NY.   I don’t know when I decided to “Like” Johnk Family Farm on FB but was pleasantly surprised when this photo of a trinity of bovine beauties grazing under a blazing sun and blue skies “popped up in my feed”.  While I question the hashtag for “sunsets” that accompanied this photo’s post, I had no doubts about its simple beauty and was moved to share it today.

It’s the weekend again, and I once again find myself in the “primitive” conditions of “cow country” at my fiancé’s home in Greenwich NY where we are just down the road from one of the largest “dairy farms” that I have ever seen! Okay, I initially wrote “cow farms” and then questioned myself “Is that what you call them?”

When I was getting to know the friend that would eventually become a “girlfriend” and a then quickly a fiancé, I had  the very wrong impression about her that she was a “country girl” or “a farm girl”.   This impression was a cause for concern because although I may have not been born in one of the five boroughs of NYC, and only hailed from the small town of Hudson NY, I considered myself more “city” than “county”.  

Even though I was attracted to my future fiancé from the first time she walked into my discipleship class back in the spring of this year, my covert investigations and observations lead me to the false conclusion that she was a “hayseed” and because of that impression I had my doubts about whether we could or should be a couple.  

Although I had my misgivings about the possibility of a romantic relationship with her, we became friends and began dialoging via FB messenger and increasingly began to share our lives with one another. I was conflicted because I really “liked her” but was trying to keep it “just friends” because of my standing as “the teacher”, because of our apparent “cultural differences”, and frankly because of the perceived complications that come with a divorcee that has multiple children.   But the more we got to know one another the deeper our friendship grew and eventually led to me suggesting that we have dinner at her place. 

In hindsight it may seem odd that I who was very concerned about being “just friends” would suggest having dinner in the intimate setting of her home, alone, but what may be even more surprising is the high levels of fear and anxiety I had in contemplating going to the dinner that I suggested!  Comments about “being open to the possibility of “being lovers” and “having a wonderful evening” in our conversations leading up to our first “dinner together”, had me freaking out.  ”, I had insisted  “It wasn’t a date“ because I have dinner with friends all the time, ya know” but in the hours leading up to our meal I was wrestling with my convictions of being chaste friends and the romantic possibilities that could happen when two vulnerable adults who were close friends and had mutual attraction for one another got together.

So being filled with fear and anxiety brought on by a fair share of sexual temptation, I turned the corner to go down the road to my future fiancé’s home for the first time only to discover one of the largest cattle farms I had ever seen. Upon seeing that farm, my impressions of Tammy Lyn’s “country girl” or “farm girl” status seemed to be completely confirmed! “Evidence!”  

Oh by the way, the fact that my fiancé had decided to go by her first and middle name and to take away the space between those names in some post-divorce reinventing of herself didn’t help my false impression of her as a country girl.  “TammyLyn” makes you think of the “country” penchant for “two-name names” like  “Ellie-Mae” or “Bobbie-Sue”.  

But in actuality, her first name is Tammy, and her middle name is Lyn and all her life, prior to her divorce, her family and friends only called her “Tammy” as I have been reminded by her family.  But in her liberating herself from her troubled marriage, “Tammy” took on qualities of bravery and independence that transformed her into a “different person” and she became “TammyLyn” to mark that change.  

Some people may think that is strange, but I totally understand it as I have decided to go by MT instead of “Marc”  in the aftermath of becoming a born again Christian, going through recovery, and liberating myself from my own troubled marriage.   Not surprisingly, TammyLyn and I fully support and insist that one another be referred to as their “new names” when introducing each other to family and friends and avoid referring to each other by our “old names” because we recognize the fact that “those people” are in many ways no longer with us. 

So, yeah as I pulled down the road to “TammyLyn’s” house, the farm was just the “deal breaker” I needed to dispel all thoughts of giving in to sexual temptation or entering into a romantic relationship for me as I envisioned some sort of “Hee Haw shot gun wedding  and getting’ hitched at a celebration that would feature moonshine and chewing tobacco and a reception that would feature a country western band that would sing about “friends in low places” and the fact that country girls “think my tractor’s sexy”.      

So I walked through the door to our first meal freed from the ideas of becoming more than friends and actively sought to look for more clues that TammyLyn was not right for me.  There wasn’t much to “hold against her” but “my mind was made up”. We were “no go” for romance.   So we had a pleasant meal as friends, but I was sure to make a hasty exit at the end of the meal for fear that I would be seduced by TammyLyn’s “country charms”, which in actuality didn’t manifest in any way, shape, or form because it was a fiction based on circumstantial evidence.

In the days following that first meal, TammyLyn and I had some very deep and revealing conversations that revealed the errors in my interpretations and conclusions about who TammyLyn is as a person and exposed the fact of our deep affections for one another. Together we acknowledged how our lives were “complicated” and our discussions revealed that they weren’t as complicated as I had thought as we were both in love with one another and equally committed to working through whatever issues that may arise to be together. We discussed that a casual relationship outside of the bonds of marriage was against our intentions to live as Christians and we agreed in principle to be married before we officially announced we were “in a relationship”. The period of boyfriend and girlfriend was only two weeks and now we are betrothed to one another, and both confess to one another how we can’t imagine being with anyone else for the rest of our lives. 

So here I sit in the midst of “cow country” perfectly at peace, because although my fiancé lives in the country, is a vegetarian, and is into essential oils, she is not a “country or farm girl”.   Her current location down the road from the “dairy empire” is out of convenience and cost more than cultural identity and she currently has a month to month lease and is considering moving to a less rural location.  

You know, before coming to Christ, you really could have had some different impressions of who I was as a person.  Thank God it didn’t exist at the time but if FB had been a thing when I was growing up and there was an online archive all the twists and turns of my journey out there on the web for people to look at you could have all types of ideas of who I was.  And the fact was, unlike my ponderings over TammyLyn’s “country girl” status, your impressions of me probably would have been pretty accurate. Depending on what era of my life you were looking at you could have concluded that I was a “fraternity guy”, “a drunk”, “a family man”, or maybe even a “a Buddhist” but it is doubtful you would have found much to lead you to label me as a “Christian”. 

But you know who would have seen that?  God.  With God there are no wrong impressions.  He knows us perfectly, warts and all.  And He loves us. Unlike us, who have certain conditions that we would consider “deal breakers” for being in a loving relationship, God loves us all unconditionally. 

God also can see our futures. The word says that He sees the end from the beginning, and He is not surprised by how things will play out in time and space.  So even though I was outside of the love relationship that He knew I would one day enter into by making Jesus my Lord and Savior, He knew I would come to Him someday.

God also knew that I would choose to repent of my sins, be transformed from my former life of addiction and reactive emotions and choose to follow Him on the path of Christian Discipleship.  He knew I would seek to know Him more through studying His word and get degrees in Biblical Studies and Christian Counseling.  He also knew that would lead to my deciding to begin a Community Freedom Ministry at my local church which would lead to me starting a podcast to share the teachings from the discipleship classes I would do on Thursday nights.  

And as amazing as it sounds God knew that a woman who was trying to draw closer to Him would find that podcast and eventually feel compelled to drive an hour to attend the classes in person.

The love of God has no conditions and while He loves all of us, He works all things for good only for those who love Him and are called to His purpose.  TammyLyn and I love Him, and we answered the call to know Him more and to be used for His purposes and even though it took some work to get beyond my misconceptions and fears, God knew that the love that He poured into us would flow between us as we would eventually find one another and choose to honor His plan to agree to become husband and wife with Him at the center of our relationship.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Life is a journey and a mystery, but God knows where it is going. If we our faith in Christ, love God, and follow the call to His purposes we will find that no matter how crazy our walk is or how wrong we were in our ideas about things, He will show us the truth and lead us to an abundant life of purpose and meaning that we will show us who we were always meant to be.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

James 5:16 (NLT2)
16  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Today’s verse reminds us of the true purpose of confession and reminds us of the power of the fellowship of the saints  and communication with God.  

Today’s verse in James paints a picture of Christian fellowship and practice.  Repenting of our sins and living according to God’s way of life are a revolutionary choice that flies in the face of worldly wisdom.  

Our current culture tells us that as long as we are not overtly harming other people virtually all forms of behavior are permissible.  The word of God teaches that some things are just “sin” and just should not be done.   God writes His law on our hearts so try as we might to dismiss “biblical morality” if we are honest with ourselves we know what is “right” and would have to admit that no matter what society’s views on certain behaviors are now, that some things are wrong.  And Christians don’t base their sense of right and wrong on feelings or the views of society, they base what is sin by the wisdom of God’s word.   

So when Christians sin, they know that they have gone against the commands of the One who gave them life itself and the One who died to give them eternal life.  This realization fills us with guilt and shame and should draw us to repentance. 

So today’s verse teaches that we are to seek the comfort of the community of believers to confess their sins and to be prayed for.  

The confession of sin is not for forgiveness. Christ’s work on the cross has covered all our sins so if we understand that we know that no matter what we do our sins are forgiven and cannot separate us from the love of God. 

However, our harmonious relationship with the Lord is compromised and so confession of our sins to the saints we are in fellowship with serves two purposes. 

1.    Our heartfelt confession reestablishes our harmonious relationship with God.   We properly confess when we “agree’ with God that what we did was wrong and when we make the profession and make the intention to not repeat our sin. 

2.    Our confession to our fellow Christians makes us accountable to them to be true to our confession by seeking help to overcome our struggles with sin through community, instruction, and accountability relationships.

So these two factors that are the result of confession lead us to be “healed”.  

Today’s verse also points to the power of prayer to assist us in our walk.  Our prayerful communications with God can be powerful when we ask God for strength and guidance to walk away from our sins. Our prayers form the basis for our continuing relationship with God as we seek to be in contact with our heavenly Father to lead us through life.

Today’s verse also indicates that our righteous standing with God can give us powerful results.  A committed Christian in relationship will know the will of God  is consistent with His word and thus will not only have a clear channel of communication to the Father because of the lack of sin in their life, they will also direct their prayers to be pleasing to the Lord.  

So this weekend be sure to connect with a local fellowship of believers where you can pray for one another and form relationships in which you can unburden yourselves through confession and receive support as you conform your attitudes and behaviors to align with God’s word.  As we have been forgiven, we can walk in righteousness and know that our heavenly Father hears us and is encouraging us to keep living according to His ways, but we are not called to go it alone and need to be a support to and be supported by other Christians.

 

 

 

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

 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

 

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

C. What Do Women Want?

Emotionally healthy women will be attracted to different qualities in men in contrast to women who struggle with emotional immaturity.

Because men generally possess more physical strength than women, self-control can be a determining factor in how safe a woman feels with a man. He doesn't have to be a knight in shining armor who tries to rescue and protect all women everywhere, but he does have to be a safe man. He must provide a sense of physical security if he has any hope of developing a dating relationship. The importance of this point to God is obvious in Peter's words to husbands....

"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." (1 Peter 3:7)

  • Self-control is defined as "restraint exercised over one's own impulses, emotions, or desires."
  • Self-control "involves mastery of oneself, one's passions, one's egocentrism, one's lust for attention, power, and dominance."

The Bible describes a man who lacks self-control....

"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." (Proverbs 25:28)

In addition to self-control, a woman generally prefers to go out with a man who is...

  • Balanced—practices moderation in all areas of life, enjoys a variety of activities but avoids extremes
  • Boundaried—knows when and how to say no, sets appropriate limits in relationships and is not easily manipulated
  • Conscientious—thinks before speaking, chooses words that don't harm or offend others
  • Consistent—remains the same in the dark as in the light, whether at work, play, school, home, or on a date
  • Dependable—fulfills commitments and makes appointments, follows through on agreements and keeps his word
  • Even-tempered—keeps his temper under control in stressful situations, remains calm and levelheaded when under duress
  • Health-conscious—maintains a balanced routine of good eating, exercising, and sleeping habits
  • Honest—values integrity and deals truthfully with others
  • Relational—nurtures relationships and maintains friendships
  • Respectful—treats others politely, exhibits good manners, is courteous, considerate, honors and values others
  • Responsible—holds down a regular job, meets financial obligations, avoids excessive spending, and maintains a clean and orderly living environment
  • Self-assured—projects confidence and inner strength, knows who he is and accepts himself without being conceited or egocentric
  • Self-aware—recognizes his strengths and admits areas of weakness, guards against falling into sinful patterns or being trapped by temptation
  • Sensible—demonstrates good sense in decision making and expresses emotions in a balanced way
  • Spiritual maturity—commits to regular Bible study and prayer, actively participates in church, pursues opportunities to serve others
  • Unselfish—considers her needs just as important as his, makes adjustments in the little things
  • Well-groomed—attends to personal hygiene and appearance, dresses neatly
  • Wise—listens to advice and seeks counsel of trusted confidants
  • Zealous—is fervent in devotion to God, family, and friends, and is committed to developing godly character

The Bible paints a beautiful picture of the defining characteristics of someone who maintains a close walk with the Lord....

"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers."

(Psalm 1:1-3)

Widowhood and Remarriage

Question: "Since my husband's death, I have not been open to dating. I feel guilty when I enjoy being around another man. Are these feelings appropriate?"

Answer: Yes. If you find yourself having feelings for another man, it may mean you are healing from the loss of the loving relationship you had with your husband and your heart is naturally opening up again to the possibility of a new relationship. It is not unusual for devoted, surviving spouses to initially feel guilty when experiencing these feelings for the first time, especially if they have not fully grieved their losses and released their former marriage and mate to God. Ask God to confirm in your heart:

  • If your feelings of guilt are the result of unresolved issues from your previous marriage.
  • If it is false guilt. The Bible clearly states that you are free to pursue new relationships and to remarry.

When mates who've been in loving, caring marriages die, the surviving mates are often more likely to explore the possibility of remarriage because they've experienced the joy and fulfillment such a partnership can bring. Conversely, those who had difficult marriages may be less open to remarriage. In either case, the Bible states...

"By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.... But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man." (Romans 7:2-3)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

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

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Friday, October 15, 2021

Angry? – Doesn’t “It Take Two to Make a Thing Go Right"? - Purity 550


 Angry? – Doesn’t “It Take Two to Make a Thing Go Right?” - Purity 550 

Purity 550 10/15/2021   Purity 550 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of Cave Run Lake in Salt Lick Kentucky comes to us from a friend who retired and left the Empire State behind but who still enjoys going out to see, and who likes to share, the wonders of God’s creation and the peaceful easy felling that one can experience in the stillness that God makes available to those who seek it.   My friend shared two photos from their visit to Cave Run Lake and while both were of the same scene they each had their own appeal, and I was challenged to decide which one to share. So don’t be surprised if we should suddenly visit Cave Run Lake again in the days ahead to show the photo not seen, but I decided to share this one because of the reflection of the sun in the water and I like that little “bansai-esque” tree/bush that is in the left foreground near the lake’s shore.  Little things can mean a lot I guess and sometimes it’s the small details in the big picture that make us feel a sense of peace and wonder that reminds us that we are not alone.

Yesterday, I shared a testimony of a friend’s simple encouragement and how it motivated me to choose to an activity that would lead to delayed peace and contribute to one of my goals rather than taking some free time and using it for purposeless self-indulgence that would give some immediate relaxation but would leave things undone and possibly create a future crisis.   In examining that friendly advice and the implications we could draw from it; I discussed the effect that “enablers” could have on our lives and how they could knowingly or unknowingly contribute to our worst tendencies and keep us locked in reactive patterns that would hinder attaining our goals.  The discourse apparently struck a chord with one FB friend because I got an “angry” face emoji response!

Now I have not interviewed the friend, but I know some of their life history and I know they were in at least one relationship that could have been described as codependent because it was marked by episodes of peace and harmony and episodes of anger and strife as addiction was a central theme to their relationship. 

So while my friend could have felt moved to “angry face” emoji my post because they didn’t like the photo of the day, I am assuming that my descriptions of how “enablers” cause us harm while claiming to love us, stirred up some old memories of those “good old – bad old days” for my friend or caused them to be “angry” for me after hearing about how I too had suffered in relationships with enablers. 

In this culture of fear of causing offense, I could have been filled with worry that I had offended my friend, but when you know the person and their story, you can see that the “anger” they are responding with isn’t directed at you and isn’t necessarily a “bad thing”.  

I’m guessing of course, but my friend wasn’t angry at me. They were angry at the pain and suffering that people can put each other through.  

While we can be angry and wonder why “people” have to be this way. I would point out that the fault doesn’t necessarily lie with just one side of a codependent relationship.  

The problem with the addictive/codependent relationship is that one party or both parties, are addicted to a substance or activity and the other, or both parties, are “addicted” to the other person.    

One party is seeking pleasure in a thing and the other person is seeking pleasure in a person. If you can’t see it, they are both wrong.   A study of the scriptures and an examination of the factors at play here would indicate that they are both “worshipping idols” instead of God.    That’s why even though a new covenant was being established with the incarnation and earthly ministry of Jesus,  Christ reminded His disciples that the first commandment was still to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”.  

So any relationship between two people, no matter how troubled or peaceful, can only be truly peaceful when both parties are seeking to honor Jesus’ great commandment to love God. When God is at the center of a relationships both parties will live according to His guidance and seek to love, honor, and obey one another with the emphasis doing God’s will for their lives which would include loving and serving one another.  In this scenario the love of God can flow in a circle, where the people send their love to the Lord in worship, receive from Him, and express to one another continually.   Instead of being stuck in reactive patterns where there is an imbalance because one party is putting their needs above another, when God is involved the couple’s focus is on serving Him and the other rather than serving themselves individually.

That’s the way it “should be” and my friend’s “angry emoji” reveals that, while they may or may not realize how important our relationship with God is to our personal sense of peace and purpose, they know that the enabler/codependent dysfunctional relationship isn’t “right”. Thoughts about their experiences in a codependent relationship made them angry, or the realization that I had also suffered in a similar situation made them “angry” for me.  

God gave us our emotions to show us that something was not “right”.  Anger shows us that one of our “goals was blocked”.  The “goal that is blocked” by codependency is a peaceful harmonious relationship.  

While Rob Base rapped about how “it takes two to make a thing go right”, his lyrics were rather self-aggrandizing, and he didn’t really tell us much about having a successful personal relationship.  

Unfortunately, because we can’t make someone “do what we want, all the time” or make them “love God to love me”, the goal to have a “happy relationship” is beyond our individual control.  We can only control our side of the fence and be true to the goal of “being the person that God made me to be”. 

So in our pursuits to find a peaceful committed relationship, we should seek a life partner who is committed to seeking the Lord and being the person that God made them to be.

If its’s “too late” and you are in relationship with someone’s whose focus is not on the things or God, your personal goal to be the “person that God wants you to be” becomes even more important.  God wants you to be forgiving and loving. Your partner without God needs that in their life and your commitment to be the person God wants you to be may have a tremendous impact on your partner and cause them to seek the Lord and be changed by Him.

 While I am not advising to stay in an abusive relationship, when we are committed to some one we take the good with the bad and if the love is real we will work together to overcome problems and disagreements to establish a relationship of peace and love that lasts a lifetime.

But when things aren’t right, get “angry” that things are not going according to God’s design, and get help to institute measures of protection and accountability to break the patterns of dysfunction and to establish a relationship of mutual love and respect with God at the center or to find peace by “setting the captives free”. 

God doesn’t want us to suffer in what are supposed to be “love relationships”.  So keep walking and talking with God, He will give you the wisdom and strength to correct all the problems of your life, but you have to take you, or whoever or whatever you are worshipping, off of that pedestal and recognize His way as the way that is right and that He is the only One worthy of worship.  

When you surrender to the Lord, He may ask you to change the way you think and He may ask you to let go of some baggage that you didn’t think you could live without, but even though there may be a period of adjustment, when you walk with the Lord you realize that burdens disappear and the path He sets you on leads to increasing peace, love, and joy.

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT2)
9  Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.
10  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
11  Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?
12  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Today’s verse reminds us that we need not be alone in this world and that a companion and friends are a good thing to have for our journey of faith.  

Our loved ones and friend can help us succeed and they can help us in times of trouble. The confines of a committed relationship and the fellowship of the saints offer warmth and protection.    

As I stated above, the important factor of our relationships with one another is the presence of God in them. When all parties are in agreement with the Lord and seeking to do His will for their lives, harmony and peace can be the result. 

Peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ should be the prerequisite for all relationships because it is only when we find the new life that God gives us through our Savior that we can be complete. 

Only the Lord can fill the “God shaped hole” in our lives and when He does we can give all of ourselves to the purpose of loving others and sharing the love of God. To give we must receive. To love we must know what love is.

But today’s verses tell us that we are not just to bask in the love of God by ourselves. We are share the love of God with others.  

I have recently become engaged to be married and these verses today come to us from a book that my fiancé gave me and quite frankly when I saw what verses came next in the book and contemplated the fact that I was going to be reunited with her later today, they really ripped my heart out.  

We have both suffered in our lives and God has brought us together to help each other succeed, to help each other in times of trouble, to keep each other warm, and to love one another. God is at the center of our relationship and while we often praise one another, we invariably remind one another that is the only One worthy to be praised.

So take the love that God has given you and take some time this weekend to share it with your friends, family, other saints, or your life partner.  Two are better than one, but we are only made complete through having faith in the Son.

  

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

 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

 

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

B. What Are the Differences Between Worldly Dating and Godly Courtship?

Josh has done both. He has dated and doesn't want to do it again until he's ready for a serious relationship—until he's ready for marriage. After breaking his girlfriend's heart, he decides dating—even so-called Christian dating—isn't for him. Hearts are too fragile and a relationship should be more about how long to make it last and how deep it can go than how far you can get and what you can take from another person.

People think he's crazy, but he's determined to do things God's way. He'd rather work on getting his own life together than mess up someone else's. He finds great joy and fulfillment in living his life to give God glory and serve others. Shifting his focus to pleasing God and blessing others rewards him with true peace and pure joy. Josh discovers the richness of relationships when he prioritizes giving rather than receiving.

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:10-11)

Worldly Dating vs. Godly Courtship

Worldly Dating

Godly Courtship

• Focuses on finding the "right" person

• Focuses on being the "right" person

• Begins with romantic attraction

• Begins with common values and interests

• Pursues pleasure as the ultimate goal

• Pursues marriage as the ultimate goal

• Driven by feelings and impulses

• Driven by rational, long-term objectives

• Values experience more than maturity

• Values maturity more than experience

• Expects sexual involvement

• Respects sex as sacred; purity is paramount

• Relies only on self

• Relies on wise counsel and accountability

• Discontent without a love interest

• Content with the love of Christ

• Evaluates others in artificial environments

• Learns who others are in real-life situations

• Accepts flirting as a means to an end

• Rejects flirting as a hurtful habit

• Prioritizes pleasing self

• Prioritizes pleasing the Lord

• Relies on relationships to find purpose

• Relies on God to give purpose

• Takes from others out of emptiness

• Gives to others out of spiritual fullness

"Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:22)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

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

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Simple Encouragement - True Friends vs. Enablers - Purity 549

Simple Encouragement - True Friends vs. Enablers - Purity 549 

Purity 549 10/14/2021  Purity 549 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s sunset photo of a pathway through Breitbeck Park near the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography.  As awesome as this sunset photo displays the glory of God’s creation, I like to point out the dedication of the photographer to his craft that is unseen and behind the scenes. For those who don’t know, Rocco Saya recently broke his leg near this scene and his injury was sever enough to require a metal rod to be surgically implanted in his leg back in mid-September and he is still on the mend but his love for his craft compels him to capture the beauty that surrounds him.  

It’s Thursday, and I share photos that highlight paths on this day because it is on Thursdays that I originally started my recovery journey back in 2015 and since then have applied the principles of Christian Discipleship (Living by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit or “walking in the Spirit”) to other areas of my life to increasingly experience my freedom in Christ. 

I also share photos of pathways on Thursdays to invite people to join me on the path of Christian Discipleship by attending the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course that I am facilitating at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY at 6:30pm this evening.   For those who are not local to Hudson, I podcast a version of the class and encourage you to check it out, in addition to the other discipleship classes we offer on the mt4christ247 podcast.   

I always like to point out that discipleship is born out of our love for God. Just like Rocco Saya loves photography and is dedicated to his craft despite injury, the Christian should pursue the things of God and be dedicated to learning and apply His wisdom to their lives because of their love for the Lord and to not let the things of this world or the lies of the enemy distract them in their pursuits. I was reminded of how enticing the things of this world could be and how they could lead us to distraction just last night.

Next week I will be on the prayer team for the Freedom in Christ Ministries’  “Fall Practicum”,  a training seminar for Community Freedom Ministry Associates (CFMA’s), and my time will be consumed by ministry work from Monday to Wednesday. I teach and launch the podcast for the Freedom in Christ Course on Thursdays.  So looking ahead, I realized yesterday afternoon that I should utilize my rare free time last evening to record the podcast for next week’s lesson to stay ahead and not have to scramble to get it done at the last minute next week.

But after a day at work, I fixed myself some dinner and decided to turn on the television. I enjoyed the break apparently because I decided that the podcast could wait because I needed some “me time” and was contemplating what to watch next and what to eat next.  The old slothful pattern of binge eating and watching T.V. was ready to be deployed!

However, I was contacted by a Christian friend and in our conversation I confessed my situation and to their credit they encouraged me to do the podcast for the discipleship class even though it meant that our chatting would have to end if I were to pursue that path.  

They probably won’t think much of what they did for me, but I just have spell it out for all of us to appreciate the selflessness and care behind such a simple encouragement.   

I don’t know about you, but I have had several relationships in the past where I was in similar situations and things went differently.  

In the past I would have responsibilities or aspirations for self-improvement of other goals and in the course of life I would become stressed.  In the past I had no real relationship with God and didn’t know the benefits of having a daily spiritual practice, so when I got stressed I would look to other things, like alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or entertainment, or all of the above, to comfort me or relieve the stress.  When the stress came, I would go to those other things and my noble intentions regarding my responsibilities would go out the window.  

In the past, I had people in my life who would enable my patterns to continue. They wouldn’t encourage me to do the “better things” that I wanted to or should do.  They would agree with me about the difficulties of life and my choices to blow things off or push them out to the last minute.  When I was stressed about those responsibilities, or plans to better myself,  or just in general, they would encourage me to relax and seek my comfort in those unhealthy habits because “nobody was perfect”. While their advice was understandable and may even seem practical and merciful, if often lead to increase stress at latter times and the continuation of habits and cycles that would keep me enslaved to the status quo.    No improvement or betterment can be expected if we comprise our core values and goals.  

We can’t guess the motivations of “enablers”. I would suspect most enablers are acting out of ignorance and just want to maintain the “peace” out love for the troubled people in their lives. But like the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said of the false prophets of his day, enablers are trying to proclaim “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. Their advice to “let people be” in their homes is contributing to the tumultuous conditions in which they live because they have compromised what should be core values, such as “sobriety” “responsibility” and “accountability”, to indulge someone’s “weakness” or “sin”.  FYI, drunkenness, slothfulness, gluttony, and failing to do what we are supposed to do are things God warns us to avoid in the Bible.        

Enablers or those who are codependent may play a more active or sinister role in encouraging their loved ones to go astray.  Their need for love and attention may drive them to distract their loved ones away from their responsibilities or goals simply because they want to be cared for or made to be the center of attention.  

Others have discovered that their loved one’s addictive tendencies make them easy to manipulate and control and may actively tempt and offer their loved one’s the things that lead them to distraction or keep them locked into their patterns of behavior or their addictive cycles.   

So when my friend didn’t say “oh that’s okay” to my choice to slack off or encouraged me to put things off to spend time chatting with them, they really showed their love for me.  They showed that they understood what I really cared about and instead of encouraging me to take a path that might lead to problems later they encouraged me to be proactive and responsible to give me a measure of peace next week instead of having it right now.  

Luckily, Ithe Lord has helped me to mature since my dark days of addictions and reactive emotions, and when my friend made the simple suggestion to do what I said I wanted to do, it was all the accountability prompting that I needed.  I decided that after the current episode of the TV sitcom I was watching was over I would record the podcast for next week.  

And you know what, that exactly what I did.  The overeating slothful pattern that wanted to run its program was stopped dead in its track.  I am no longer a slave to those cycles, but I have to be intentional and diligent to pursue the better things, the things of God, and to recognize what I am doing from moment to moment and to discern whether or not I am “on track”  or have veered off course.   And as last night taught me, we should be honest and report what we are doing to our friends that can encourage us to pursue our goals rather than wallow in self pity or indulgence.   

So keep walking and talking with God. He will lead you in the way you should go and to people who will encourage your progress on the path of Christian Discipleship.  Life is hard enough so we should trust the Lord and be wise when we choose our traveling companions on our life’s journey.  We don’t want “yes” men or women who will indulge our worst tendencies and we don’t want those who will seek to manipulate or control us by offering us “peace, peace” when there is no peace.  The Lord won’t lead you astray so be sure to consider his wisdom when you evaluate the possible relationships in your lives and choose the people who are seeking the Lord and who really want what’s best for you and your purpose in God’s kingdom.

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 139:7-10 (NLT2)
7  I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
8  If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9  If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10  even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

 

Today’s verse simply reminds us that God is omnipresent and He is available to us personally.  

This passage teaches us that no matter where we go God is there. For the Christian that is a great comfort because we have found peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ and need not fear that Lord “sees us when we’re sleeping or know when we’re awake.”  

God is not Santa Claus however and for those who are not at peace with Him this passage tells us He is also the one who will send us to hell (the grave in the NLT) – Satan is not the king of Hell. God sends people there and His wrath is what is poured out on those sent there.

So there is no escaping God, but the good news is that we don’t have to escape Him. He gives mercy, grace, and forgiveness to all who put their faith in Christ.  

Instead of being freaked out that God is everywhere, the Christian can instead find comfort that His heavenly Father is always with them and, as this passage indicates, can receive His guidance and strength when we seek Him. 

So rejoice over your peace with God through your faith in Christ and recognize that the Lord is always with you by speaking to Him and by asking for His guidance and strength.  He is with us. He loves us. And He will give us the guidance and strength to make it through this life and to fulfill our purpose for 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 sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

 

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

II. Characteristics

Sonnets and love songs are filled with sentiments of a love that last forever. In fact, we all want love that lasts forever. The problem is we all want it now. Some people are so desperate for love, they begin to play games—unhealthy games of flattery and flirtation, risky games of seduction and sex. They are unwilling to wait for God's perfect timing and plan.

Do they not realize God's Word contains guidelines for great relating...and dating? He wants you to rely on Him to meet the needs of your heart and to wait on Him to provide all your relationships. Because the Lord knows you best, you can look to Him to lead you each step of the way. The book of Proverbs cautions those who try to plan their own course....

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

A. What Characteristics Should You Seek in Someone You Date?

When Bryan posts a sonogram picture of his baby on Facebook, many of his friends instantly like the photo and congratulate the father-to-be. For them, the innocent image is a sentimental expression of joy for a brand new life—but for Frieda, it's a slap in the face.

The fact is...Bryan is Frieda's ex-boyfriend, and the baby is not hers. Although it's been a year since they "officially" dated, they continue to talk off and on and never have severed all ties. They've always kept their options open about maybe getting back together—someday. Yet Bryan's recent actions reconfirm Frieda's gnawing concern about Bryan: a lack of integrity. He has a new girlfriend, she's pregnant with his baby...yet he chose to reveal this news to the world—and Frieda—on Facebook!

Character counts. What characteristics are you looking for in someone you would date? Do you know your non-negotiables? Even more so, make sure you know which characteristics you desire in a mate before you begin to date...and then prioritize developing those same characteristics yourself....

"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

The Character Checklist for Dating

Place a check mark () beside each character trait you need to see in the person you feel drawn to date. Does your prospective date...

  • □ Demonstrate wisdom and discernment?
  • □ Have a heart to do what is in your best interest?
  • □ Possess a sensitive conscience in regard to right and wrong?
  • □ Refuse to use you or others to gain status?
  • □ Have the approval of the significant people in your life?
  • □ Have a reputation of keeping commitments?
  • □ Display follow-through in meeting obligations?
  • □ Show respect toward authority?
  • □ Have a positive outlook on life?
  • □ Exercise discipline and self-control?
  • □ Manage money well?
  • □ Maintain eye contact when talking with people?
  • □ Interact courteously and honestly with others?
  • □ Have an active Bible study and prayer life?
  • □ Share your personal values?
  • □ Show evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their life?...

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship