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Showing posts with label Revelation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Revelation. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Light Shines in the Darkness - I Will Trust in Him - Purity 517


 Light Shines in the Darkness - I Will Trust in Him - Purity 517    

Purity 517 09/07/2021   Purity 517 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of shooting star over Grant Island, near Brantingham NY comes to us from SK Photography and Design. Our friend just happened to be “taking a night shot” when they serendipitously captured this soaring beauty in the sky and its reflection in the waters of Brantingham Lake below. I also just love how the lights on the lake light up the scene below and how the other stars that are not racing across the universe light up the sky above. And check out that swimming float on the right and the reflections on the lake that just invite us to take a nighttime dip!

I don’t often share evening photos but this one makes me think of that Neil Diamond song that says, “I thank the Lord for the night time.” because the beauty of His creation only needs a little light to reveal it. Similarly, we just need a little bit of God’s light to help us to walk through even the darkest times in our lives.

That Neil Diamond song confesses that the singer is thanking God for the nighttime in part because of the difficulties of the “up-uptight time” of the day.  Labor Day is over and as most of us return to work today some of us will be challenged by the increase in activity that occurs after a three day weekend and others may have to deal with new routines as “things change now” for whatever seasonal or arbitrary reasons that may apply. I will be experiencing a change of job duties going forward as of today and have a strange mix of excitement and dread.  Anxiety is a common response to the unknown that most of us experience when things change.  

Thankfully, this isn’t my first rodeo and I have some experience at riding the bucking bronco of changing circumstances at work. I have learned that the best tactic for coming to a new situation is to completely surrender to the change and to go into it with an agreeable, open, and humble attitude.  “I’m here to serve and to do the best I can” is our mantra.  Repeat: “I’m here to serve and to do the best I can” Not: “I hate my life!”

I used that second one as a veritable anthem through many transitional periods in my life and I discovered that, while my negative emotional state thought it was an appropriate summation of my experience, it just wasn’t true.  I don’t hate my life. And I don’t hate my job either. Like most of us, I just am not a big fan of change. 

But luckily my years of trial and error of stumbling through life and running into walls has taught me to meet new challenges by embracing the truth. The big Truth is that  Jesus is the way, the truth, in the life of course.  And its by that foundational truth that I can walk through life a whole lot more skillfully than I have in the past.  

The changing circumstances of life can dish out a heaping helping of suffering with all kinds of things that can go wrong, up to and including a sudden death.  But when you make Christ your Lord and Savior, all the possible troubles and tribulations that we can suffer are put in their proper perspective.  

Take the work example for instance, one of the worst case scenarios is to make some mistake and get fired, right? Well, when you have faith you know that the Lord will provide if that happens. But if we really are following the Lord that is not too likely because we will be actively seeking to do what’s right and to perform to the best of our abilities on a daily basis, right?   

So I will play the part of a humble servant because that’s the role God would want me to play. And the funny thing is that when you do that, with a heart to please God and to give Him glory, things usually work out.  But again, if they don’t, I will have the assurance of knowing that I was honest and obedient and tried to do everything His way.  

You see our faith in Christ isn’t just for eternity. Our relationship with God gives us the meaning and purpose we are to live by, right now. So no matter what comes my way, I try to align my thoughts, words, and actions to reflect that I am secure and accepted by my heavenly Father, who just happens to be the Highest Power above and beyond the universe itself.

Beyond work, the bad things that happen in life like sickness, loss, and death, we should  likewise process according to our relationship with God. Easier said than done, I know, if you don’t have a daily spiritual practice of communicating with Him, but that’s why you develop one. “Praying without ceasing” is just walking and talking with God on a continual basis, and as I said above, it doesn’t take too much of His light to strengthen us and show us the beauty in the darkness.   

So as we drive into a new day, think about inviting God along for the ride. He’s omnipresent. That means He’s available and His presence, strength, and wisdom can help us navigate through all the turns and bumps in the road on our journey of life.         


This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 2:25 (NKJV)
25  in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

Today’s verse provides instruction on how to we are to handle opposition and reveals the divine source that fuels the transformed Christian life.  

We recently reviewed 2 Timothy 2:26 which highlighted the fact that those who are outside of the Christian faith, or those who oppose it, are captives doing the will of the devil and need to come to their “senses”.  In presenting that portion of scripture we had to present the context that preceded it and we mentioned that our stance for dealing with opposition was to attempt to correct others with humility. 

Obviously that context, is shown here in verse 25. If we think about why we would try to be humble when trying to correct someone, we can see that there are good practical reasons.

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

So you see here, the word of God is consistent. If we are trying to correct someone we don’t want to stir up anger because angry people tend to be defensive and don’t want to consider a view that is different from their own.  So we should use a “soft answer” and a gentle demeanor that speaks the truth in love when we try to share the gospel or the Biblical principles for how to live. That proverb is also good advice to use if someone should bring accusations or criticism to our doorstep. 

So the principle to have a humble attitude can serve us well as we walk in the world to “win friends and influence people”, but I want to point out that when it comes to the gospel or calling the wayward towards repentance that we don’t just win a debate or convince someone to “do the right thing”.  

Someone putting their faith in Christ or turning from their sins requires the Holy Spirit to move in the person’s life.  God could use us for that purpose through our words and actions, but we must never forget that while the gospel and living a Christian life “just makes sense” to us, seeing the truth and accepting them is something that must be spiritually discerned.  The Holy Spirit is the one brings revelation and opens the eyes of the spiritually blind.   This fact should make acting in humility a little easier.  

Unfortunately, we can’t debate or argue someone into God’s kingdom. Christ’s first commandment is to love God and we can’t convince or force anyone to do that.   That’s why we need to act and speak in a way so we can have some assurance that at least those in opposition to us hear what we are saying and understand where we are coming from because if they have an “ear to hear” the Lord just may just take the opportunity to bring salvation or to “grant repentance”.

For the believer, who is mired sins of their pre-Christ worldly ways, this spiritual reality really comes to bear.  Why do some Christians struggle with sin continually while others seem to have a “moment of clarity” where they can walk away from their sin for good or who come to a point in their faith walk where their besetting sin falls away and its temptation loses its pull?  It is because the Lord grants repentance.   

So if you didn’t get that “instant repentance” it doesn’t mean that your case is hopeless.  God can still grant repentance to you if you chose to surrender to His will and ways for your life.  If you humble yourself and choose to follow the Lord and mature in your faith by putting His word in your mind and heart, you will be equipped to resist the devil, renew your mind, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  This method of walking with God to receive His repentance takes practice and patience.  

It involves discipline and intentionally, and repeatedly, redirecting our thoughts and actions to be in line with God’s ways but it is not just the Christian form of karate where you do all the work by the sweat of your brow.

Part of our daily spiritual practice needs to include prayer where you communicate to God your gratitude and your requests for His strength, wisdom, and love.  When we walk in the Spirit with a heart set on changing our ways for His and drawing closer to Him, we will come to a crossroads in our journey where we leave our besetting sin behind and realize that God, like a midnight surgeon, has “cut that out” of us.

Somewhere along our walk with the Lord, He will granted us repentance in that area and instead of being preoccupied with that fight, we can confidently claim our victory and turn to other areas in our lives to surrender to Him.  

So pray for those who oppose you and use a humble spirit when you try to correct them, realizing that it is only the Lord that will grant them repentance. 

And as you walk in the Lord’s direction try open your eyes, heart and mind to examine your experience and speak humbly to yourself to see what the Lord can help you to repent of. 

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: what do I have in my life that I have accepted as something that is “impossible to change” or that is something I “just don’t want to do (or can’t) do”? The places that “we don’t want to go to” or where we resist may be the areas that God alone can change, and He may be calling us to trust Him to do the impossible in our lives.  

So keep walking and talking with God, we’ve got places to go and people to see. And if we listen to the Lord’s call, he might just use us to bring a victory.

 

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  share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.

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

C. What Are Different Kinds of Personal Boundaries?

Lance Armstrong violates all kinds of personal boundaries when it comes to his association with Greg LeMond.

Among cyclists, Lance develops a reputation as a bully, and before his fall, people fear to cross him. At one point Greg says that Lance calls him and threatens to find ten people who will swear that he has doped. People associated with cycling even call Greg to intimidate him to not interfere with Lance.

Greg's wife, Kathy, says the darkest, most desperate attempt by Lance to shut up her husband was his offer of $300,000 to one of Greg's former teammates to vow he had seen Greg using drugs. The offer is declined, but Lance's bullying reputation is affirmed. "He crosses lines no others will cross," Kathy observes and experiences firsthand.

An Old Testament passage also provides an apt description that could apply to Lance. . . .

"Their feet rush into sin. . . . They pursue evil schemes (Isaiah 59:7)

Relational boundaries enable you to:

  • Stand up for yourself and speak your mind appropriately
  • Feel comfortable in giving honest feedback to others
  • Be firm with others in a loving and gentle way
  • Respect the rules of others and act in their best interest
  • Express the rules you have established for your relationships
  • Defend others and promote equality in relationships

God gives a model of how to do this in His Word. . . .

"Do to others as you would have them do to you."

(Luke 6:31)

Emotional and mental boundaries equip you to:

  • Evaluate the appropriateness of your emotions in light of God's Word and deal with them accordingly
  • Investigate truth for yourself and disengage from those who try to manipulate or hurt you and whose ideas and values are contrary to your own
  • Guard against letting emotions rule you by focusing your mind on God's thoughts and on His character
  • Keep your emotions governed by God's truths and His perspective on events in your life
  • Experience natural human emotions and agree or disagree with others without fear or shame
  • Respond emotionally to others and communicate your own thoughts and opinions in a Christlike way

God tells us to hold our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. . . .

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

(2 Corinthians 10:5)

Spiritual boundaries allow you to:

  • Experience a right relationship with God through trusting Christ
  • Live in a way that pleases and honors God
  • Distinguish God's will from the will of others that has been imposed on you
  • Commit to being controlled by Christ, not by people
  • Avoid spiritually abusive, manipulative, or divisive people
  • Lead a victorious Christian life

God has established spiritual boundaries through His Word. . . .

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

(Psalm 119:11)

Moral and ethical boundaries teach you to:

  • Know the difference between right and wrong
  • Appreciate the true value of people
  • Live a life of moral integrity
  • Be the same in public as you are in private
  • Discern the true character of a person
  • Evaluate the right way to think and act toward others

God calls us to do only what is right. . . .

"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it."

(Genesis 4:7)

Sexual boundaries authorize you to:

  • Determine whether or not you will allow a person to touch you sexually
  • Determine areas of appropriate sexual expression and activity
  • Determine how you will respond in the heat of passionate temptation
  • Determine personal purity that preserves sexual activity for a committed marriage relationship
  • Determine the parameters you will place on your thought life regarding sex
  • Determine what you will allow yourself to watch, listen to, and participate in that is of a sexual nature

God's Word clearly states these boundaries are not to be violated. . . .

"It is God's will that you should he sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable."

(1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)

Physical boundaries help you to:

  • Guard against abusive behavior
  • Prevent physical injury to yourself and to others
  • Protect yourself against threat or risk
  • Shield yourself from danger or harm
  • Avoid the appearance of impropriety
  • Maintain a sense of being separate, having your own personal identity

God's Word reminds us that our bodies belong to God. . . .

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

(1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Healthy Boundaries

Question: "What role do boundaries play in relationships, and just how important is it to establish boundaries?"

Answer: People with healthy boundaries understand the reality of our unique individuality and our need for mutually beneficial separateness. They know that we come into this world alone and we will enter the next world alone.

They accept that we are separate from one another . . . and yet we live with one another. We are individually responsible before God . . . and yet God holds us responsible for how we treat one another.

Clearly, although we are separate individuals, God made us to be in relationship with each other. The means by which we succeed at being both separate and together is established through healthy boundaries. Healthy people have healthy relationships because...

  • They realize that healthy boundaries are...
    • —To be modeled in our families
    • —To be developed in our closest relationships
    • —To be rooted in God's perfect will for us
  • They understand that healthy boundaries provide...
    • —Safety, security, and confidence in who we are
    • —The ability to say no to others without guilt or fear
    • —"Fences" to protect us, not to keep us away from one another

Healthy people have healthy boundaries. With boundaries we are able to juggle the two opposites of separateness and togetherness by creating and maintaining balance in our relationships. We do that by keeping God in His proper place and people in their proper place.

God comes first and people come second. . . .

"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

(Matthew 22:37-39)


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

 

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, June 28, 2021

Celebrate Life: Love God and Love People - Purity 456


 Celebrate Life: Love God and Love People

Purity 456 06/28/2021  Purity 456 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of my cousin and his sons on the shores of Big Bear Lake under cloudless blue skies with some of the peaks of San Bernadino Mountains in the background comes to us all the way from Big Bear Lake Village California.  My cousin’s lust for life is infectious and the only thing that could surpass it is his love for his family.   Here you can see that zest for life being imparted to the next generation as he celebrates the day with his sons.       

I don’t usually share photos with people in them because I seek to highlight the glory of God’s creation but after the outpouring of love that I have experienced over the past weekend I just thought that this photo captures the celebratory spirit that makes me want to give everyone a big high five! It also speaks of the fact that God purposely put us all here together to love one another.

My birthday was Friday, and I was blessed by many greetings and wishes for a happy birthday. We never know the impact we have on other people’s lives but occasionally you get indications that we do not walk through this world without affecting those around us.

For instance, one person shared that I was somehow instrumental in introducing them to the joys of classic hip-hop! Who knew?  Although I would rather be remembered for who I have become in Christ, I was touched by the fact that this person had fond memories of me from distant childhood.  

I spent the first evening in my 49th year enjoying the joys of a bonfire and a hot tub under a star filled sky with new friends as we shared each other’s company and encouragement.   

Saturday was a day relaxation and self-examination as I have successfully completed the first week of the Optavia 5 & 1 plan with a ten-pound decrease in weight as the result and started to do some of the “homework” to transform my mindset regarding optimal health as well as my body. 

My father is suffering from various pains and conditions that have be exacerbated by his unhealthy eating habits and it showed me the writing on the wall for what happens when we enter our later years if we let ourselves go too much. My father’s suffering influenced me to change.

So I decided to ask for help, signed up for this plan, got the support of a good friend, and now am in the process of changing my thoughts and habits about how I live and am setting the intention to flip the script and use and develop the self-control that God has increasingly blessed me with through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday was another day of celebration as Rock Solid Church had our annual summer picnic and I was one of several students of Vision Christian Bible College and Seminary to receive recognition for completing our course of studies.  In addition to the picnic and graduation ceremonies, our church family wished a heart wrenching but fond farewell to the Romano family who are pursuing the Lord’s call on their lives and moving to Florida. Christopher Romano is the president of Vision Christian Bible College and Seminary which is headquartered in Florida, and he is relocating there to work to expand the college and the Lord’s kingdom by focusing all his efforts on that calling.

The impact that we can have on one another’s lives couldn’t be better expressed than by the Romano family’s example, as Chris, Tara, and all their children have lived out their faith in our church community with love and service for the past 23 years.  The vast number of lives touched by this family is countless and will only increase as they take their kingdom mission to a new location and to undoubtedly new heights.   

So live your life in the pursuit of God and His kingdom because when you do, your life becomes an ongoing journey and celebration where you get to glory over all that God has created and provided; and as you go through this life, the love He has given you gets poured out on all those you meet along the way, leaving them forever changed.    

Someone said that Christ’s great commandments could be summed up with the simple instructions to love God and love people.  It’s one of those truths of the Christian faith that is simple yet profound in that if we do that with our lives we can not only be transformed from darkness to light ourselves, but we can spread the light of God’s love in ways we may never completely see or understand.  

So love God and love people. Celebrate the life He has given you and infect those around you with the great love that never dies.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Revelation 21:2 (NKJV)
2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Today’s verse shows us that God’s plan includes the creation of a whole new world in which God’s people will dwell with Him forever and ever – that comes down from heaven!

For several reasons people don’t understand that the cycle of life and death that has been evident on the earth since Adam’s fall is not the only story.   Our observations tell us that everyone dies eventually, and the common view of the future is that all will go into eternity never to be seen again. 

The science program “The Universe” on the History channel even had an episode in which they documented the “end of the universe” in which the last star burns out leave nothing but a dark and dead universe.   

The thoughts of our deaths and everything falling apart is troubling, so we don’t like to think about it.  Any concerns for the universe burning out of existence are tempered by the real and present danger that our own mortality presents.  

We are given a hundred plus years tops on this earth and then we go into what lies beyond this life.  Regardless of our view of the afterlife, the vast majority find comfort that we can live with by either imagining a good place of eternal spiritual life with no suffering or death or we can choose to imagine the cold comforts of extinction as all suffering is taken away as our consciousness blinks out of existence.   

But the word of God refutes both these ideas of an unending ethereal realm of spirits and the cold dark option of nothingness, the study of the Bible reveals that God will create a new heaven and a new earth for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ.   Our lives don’t end in heaven.  Everyone gathered into God’s kingdom now will one day inhabit the new Jerusalem.  

Many people are frightened by the book of Revelation because of the devastation that will occur on the earth as God pours out His wrath and judges the Anti-Christ, the False Prophet, and the unbelieving but their end is not our end. 

Revelation is good news because it tells us that the wicked will face justice and that God’s people will be set apart and experience a new creation and spend eternity with God with glorified bodies.  

Revelation is a comfort, but it is also difficult to contemplate how things will be for us “when the saints go marching in”.  Eternity is a long time, but we should be assured that the culmination of God’s plan for us will not be boring and that all things will work together for our ultimate good.  

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 5.

 

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

Three Persons and the Spirit

In 1 Cor. 2:14-3:3, Paul distinguishes among three kinds of people in relation to life in the Spirit: natural persons, spiritual persons and fleshly persons. The simple diagrams in this chapter will help you understand the differences pertaining to spiritual life that exist among these three kinds of individuals.

Ephes. 2:1-3 contains a concise description of the natural person Paul identified in 1 Cor. 2:14 (see Figure 5-A). This person is spiritually dead, separated from God. Living completely independent from God, the natural person sins as a matter of course.

The natural man has a soul, in that he can think, feel and choose. As the arrows on the diagram show, however, his mind, and subsequently his emotions and his will, are directed by his flesh, which acts completely apart from the God who created him. The natural man may think he is free to choose his behavior. Because he lives in the flesh, however, he invariably walks according to the flesh and his choices reflect the "deeds of the flesh" listed in Galatians 5:19-21.

Living in a stressful age and having no spiritual base for coping with life or making positive choices, the natural person may fall victim to one or more of the physical ailments listed on the diagram. Medical doctors tell us that more than 50 percent of the population is physically sick for psychosomatic reasons. Possessing peace of mind and the calm assurance of God's presence in our lives positively affects our physical health. "He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you" (Romans 8:11).

The natural person's actions, reactions, habits, memories and responses are all governed by the flesh. "Whatever is not from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). The natural person cannot help but struggle with feelings of inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, worry and doubt.

The spiritual man also has a body, soul and spirit. Yet, as illustrated in figure 5-B, this individual has been remarkably transformed from the natural person he was before spiritual birth. At conversion, his spirit became united with God's Spirit. The spiritual life that resulted from this union is characterized by forgiveness of sin, acceptance in God's family and a positive sense of worth.





The soul of the spiritual man also reflects a change generated by spiritual birth. He now receives his impetus from the Spirit, not from the flesh. His mind has been renewed and transformed. His emotions are characterized by peace and joy instead of turmoil. He is also free to choose not to walk according to the flesh, but to walk according to the Spirit. As the spiritual man exercises his choice to live in the Spirit, his life exhibits the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22, 23).

The body of the spiritual person has also been transformed. It is now the dwelling place for the Holy Spirit and is being offered as a living sacrifice of worship and service to God. The flesh, conditioned to live independently from God under the old self, is still present in the spiritual man, but he responsibly crucifies the flesh and its desires daily as he considers himself alive in Christ and dead to sin.

"That all looks and sounds great," you may say. "But I'm a Christian and I still have some problems. I know I'm spiritually alive, but sometimes my mind dwells on the wrong kinds of thoughts. Sometimes I give in to behavior from the wrong list: the deeds of the flesh instead of the fruit of the Spirit. Sometimes I entertain the desires of the flesh instead of crucifying them."

The description of the spiritual person is the ideal. It is the model of maturity toward which we are all growing. God has made every provision for us to experience personally the description of the spiritual person in His Word (see 2 Peter 1:3). However, most of us live somewhere on the slope between this mountaintop of spiritual maturity and the depths of fleshly behavior described in Figure 5-C. As you walk according to the Spirit, be assured that your growth, maturity and sanctification toward the ideal model are in process.


Notice that the spirit of the fleshly person is identical to that of the spiritual person. The fleshly person is a Christian, spiritually alive in Christ and declared righteous by God; but that is where the similarity ends. Instead of being directed by the Spirit, this believing man chooses to follow the impulses of his flesh. As a result, his mind is occupied by carnal thoughts and his emotions are plagued by negative feelings. Though he is free to choose to walk after the Spirit and produce the fruit of the Spirit, he continues to involve himself in sinful activity by willfully walking after the flesh.

The fleshly man's physical body is a temple of God, but it is being defiled. He often exhibits the same troubling physical symptoms experienced by the natural person because he is not operating in the manner God created him to operate. He is not presenting his body to God as a living sacrifice, but indulging his physical appetites at the whim of his sin-trained flesh. Because he is yielding to the flesh instead of crucifying it, the fleshly man is also subject to feelings of inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, worry and doubt.

Several years ago, I conducted a little personal research to discover how many Christians are still the victims of their flesh. I presented the same following question to 50 consecutive Christians who talked to me about problems in their lives: "How many of the following characteristics describe your life: inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, worry and doubt?" Every one of the 50 answered, "All six." Here were 50 born-again children of God who were so bogged down by the flesh that they struggled with the same problems of self-doubt that inundate unbelievers who live only in the flesh.

If I asked you the same question, how would you answer? From my counseling experiences, I imagine that many of you would admit that some or all of these six traits describe you. It is evident to me that a staggering number of believers don't know how to live their lives by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Are you struggling with feelings of inferiority? To whom or to what are you inferior? You are a child of God seated with Christ in the heavenlies (see Ephes. 2:6). Do you feel insecure? Your God will never leave you nor forsake you (see Hebrews 13:5). Inadequate? You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (see Phil. 4:13). Guilty? There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (see Romans 8:1). Worried? You can have the peace of God and learn to cast your anxiety upon Christ (see John 14:27; Phil. 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7). Doubt? God provides wisdom for the asking (see James 1:5).

Why is there often such great disparity between these two kinds of Christians: spiritual and fleshly? Why are so many believers living so far below their potential in Christ? Why are so few of us enjoying the abundant, productive life we have already inherited? We should be able to say every year, "I am more loving, peaceful, joyful, patient, kind and gentle than I was last year." If we can't honestly say that, then we are not growing.

"His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence" (2 Peter 1:3). Yet, countless numbers of Christians have been born-again for years—even decades—and have yet to experience significant measures of victory over sin. Ignorance, lack of repentance and faith in God, and unresolved conflicts keep people from growing.

The world and the flesh are not the only enemies of our sanctification. We have a living, personal enemy—Satan—who attempts to accuse, tempt and to deceive God's children. Paul wrote about Satan: "We are not ignorant of his schemes" (2 Cor. 2:11). Perhaps Paul and the Corinthians weren't ignorant, but a lot of present-day Christians surely are. We live as though the kingdom of darkness doesn't exist. Our naivete in this area is exacting a crippling toll that keeps many Christians from experiencing their freedom in Christ.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Praying in Your Happy Place - Grab Random Moments with God - Purity 455

 

Praying in Your Happy Place: Grab Random Moments with God  

Purity 455 06/26/2021   Purity 455 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the view from a paddle board on calm waters under a cumulus cloud dotted sky comes from a friend and faithful servant of God who resides in the United Kingdom. They captioned their post “Praying in my happy place”.   This scene was so stunning that one of their friends asked, “This is England?’ To which they responded: “yep you have to grab random moments but it’s England.”  

As we have made it to another summer weekend, I share my friends’ photo, caption, and comments to encourage all my friends to grab random moments and to pray in your happy place.   Our lives are meant to be enjoyed in God’s presence, where we can bask in the wonder and awe of who He is, who we are, and the experience He has brought us to.  

As fate would have it, I just happened to look at an email I receive from a local church community and amongst the various announcements and news, the author of the newsletter decided to share the following quotes from Thomas Merton (1915-1968), an American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and scholar of comparative religion.  I was moved to share them because I think they reflect how I feel about my walk of faith and can be an encouragement to my fellow travelers on the path of Christian Discipleship.  Merton wrote:

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your Will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

In Silence God ceases to be an object and becomes an experience.

When you see God in everyone, then they see God in you.

Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us and see the beauty in ordinary things.”

-Thomas Merton

These quotes really convict me to read the few Thomas Merton books I have in my vast e-book library.  I hope they encourage you to draw close to God and to possibly bring a revelation that our faith is much more than sitting in pews once a week.  Our faith, our membership in God’s kingdom, is a spiritual reality that can we enjoy every day and even more so on the weekends where we can grab random moments with God to pray in our happy place.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Revelation 4:11 (NKJV)
11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

Today’s verse focuses on the Lord’s function as creator and sustainer of all things, a function that makes God worthy of all glory, honor, and power.     

There are some foundational points of our faith that we should continually be able to draw strength, awe, wonder, and hope from.   

For example our salvation, the fact that we have been called out of darkness by God to live with Him forever, is one of those points.    

God as Creator is another one.  The Lord made all of existence. He made all things seen and unseen. He made all things physical and spiritual.  

It amazes me that learned people would contemplate and support a theory that the universe just formed itself out of nothing.  Better theologians and apologists than me have shown that the existence of anything logically requires a Being that is self-existent, someone who’s “effect” of existence didn’t have a cause. God is also called “the unmoved mover” by apologists to try to get this point across.  

After Hubble’s telescope revealed that the universe was continuing to expand, theorists could not logically support the long-held belief that the universe was constant, something that just always was. They had to admit that there was a single point in time and space from which creation sprang into existence, the event many call the singularity, which is simply reflected in scripture in:

Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The Bible is filled with verses that reflect the simple truth of God being the creator of all things. 

The question is:  If we logically agree with the fact that God created everything, will we seek His meaning and purpose for our lives?  

It seems like a “no brainer”, He made everything, including me, so yeah I will seek to know Him and live to meet His purpose.  

As we all know it is unfortunate that people use the free will that the Lord instilled in them to not only doubt the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, but they will even refute God’s existence and role as Creator.   What is plain to those who believe is not clear to those who don’t.  

So we as Christians should take great comfort from God’s creation and the fact that we know the Artist that designed the very fabric of our lives, but we should also endeavor to use His creation to show other’s the truth that there is a God who put this altogether and that He showed His love for use through Jesus Christ. 

The evidence for God is all around us. Enjoy what He has made for us and do your part to lovingly show how awesome and good He is.

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, beginning Chapter 5.

 

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

Chapter 5

Becoming the Spiritual Person God Wants You to Be

Before the turn of the twentieth century, an asylum in the suburbs of Boston housed severely retarded and disturbed individuals. One of the patients was a girl who was simply called Little Annie. She was totally unresponsive to others in the asylum. The staff tried everything possible to help her, yet without success. Finally she was confined to a cell in the basement of the asylum and given up as hopeless.

A Christian woman worked at the asylum, and she believed that every one of God's creatures needed love, concern and care. So she decided to spend her lunch hours in front of Little Annie's cell, reading to her and praying that God would free her from her prison of silence. Day after day the Christian woman came to Little Annie's door and read, but the little girl did not respond. Months went by. The woman tried to talk with Little Annie, but it was like talking to an empty cell. She brought little tokens of food for the girl, but they were never received.

Then one day a brownie was missing from the plate the caring woman retrieved from Little Annie's cell. Encouraged, she continued to read to her and pray for her. Eventually, the little girl began to answer the woman through the bars of her cell. Soon the woman convinced the doctors that Little Annie needed a second chance at treatment. They brought her up from the basement and continued to work with her. Within two years Little Annie was told she could leave the asylum and enjoy a normal life.

She chose not to leave, though. She was so grateful for the love and attention she was given by the dedicated Christian woman that she decided to stay and love others as she had been loved. So Little Annie stayed on at the institution to work with other patients who were suffering as she had suffered.

Nearly half a century later, the Queen of England held a special ceremony to honor one of the most inspiring women in the United States, Helen Keller. When asked to what she would attribute her success at overcoming the dual handicap of blindness and deafness, Helen Keller replied, "If it hadn't been for Anne Sullivan, I wouldn't be here today."

Anne Sullivan, who tenaciously loved and believed in an incorrigible blind and deaf girl named Helen Keller, was Little Annie. Because one selfless Christian woman in the dungeon of an insane asylum believed that a hopeless little girl needed God's love, the world received the marvelous gift of Helen Keller.

What does it take to be that kind of Christian? What is needed to move us beyond our inconsequential selfish, fleshly pursuits to deeds of loving service to God and others? What was the essence of Christian maturity that motivated Anne Sullivan's benefactress to such a significant ministry?

First, it requires a firm understanding of who you are in Christ. You can't become like Jesus unless you are His divine offspring. You have to be grafted into the vine because apart from Christ you can do nothing (see John 15:5).

Second, you must crucify daily the old sin-trained flesh and walk in accordance with who you are in Christ and "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).

Third, it requires the grace of God. "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14). We cannot live righteous lives by human effort based on external standards. Under the covenant of grace, we live by faith according to what God says is true in the power of the Holy Spirit.

To live under grace we need to learn how to walk or live by the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16-18). How do we walk by the Spirit? If I answered that question by offering three steps and a formula, I would be putting you back under the law again. The Holy Spirit is a He to whom we relate as our divine guide, not an it that can be boxed and quantified. We are talking about walking with God, which is a Father-and-son relationship.

The apostle John said of the Spirit: "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8). Being filled and led by the Spirit may take you places you never planned; but the will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you. I think we need to "pull in the oars and put up the sail." Let's explore some of the guidelines in Scripture for walking by the Spirit.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship