M.M. & Jesus Forever – Clear Communication: Christian Love & Friendship- Purity 527
Purity 527 09/18/2021 Purity 527 Podcast
Today’s photo of a cumulus and cirrus cloud filled blue sky comes to us from a friend who was out tending to their property back in August and who took a moment to take a few shots of the heavens as they were taking care of business on the earth. There are two other photos on the blog today that feature these skies and a few more red barns if you want to check them out go to the “restricted” blog mt4christ dot org.
I had to look up the names of the different types of the clouds in this photo, as my meteorology 101 knowledge from a class back in my undergrad days in the 1990’s has faded over the years and was hazy to begin with as my collegiate days were a little “dazed and confused”.
What I discovered or relearned was the cirrus clouds, featured at the tops of these photos, are the short, detached, hair-like clouds found at high altitudes. These delicate clouds are wispy, with a silky sheen, or look like tufts of hair. In the daytime, they are whiter than any other cloud in the sky. While the sun is setting or rising, they may take on the colors of the sunset.
And the cumulus clouds, featured on the bottom of the sky in these photos, are detached, individual, cauliflower-shaped clouds that look like big balls of cotton in the sky and are usually spotted in fair weather conditions. The tops of these clouds are mostly brilliant white tufts when lit by the sun, although their base is usually relatively dark.
I was moved to know the names of the clouds by curiosity and my desire to be clear in my descriptions of them, so now you know what these two types of clouds are called, and you can impress your friends with your new limited cloud knowledge!
Speaking of friends and the desire to be clear in our communications, it’s the weekend and today I will be getting together with my friend at the property featured in today’s photos to enjoy each other’s company and to discuss various aspects of Christian discipleship.
Part of our dialog, as two single Christians, has been our common desire to follow the Lord’s will for our lives in terms of relationships. The biblical principle for sexual ethics is clear and simple but is in stark contrast with the loose attitudes regarding sex that is common in society at large and even within the church. The Bible’s guidelines for approved use for sexual conduct is within the confines of a marriage between a husband and wife, a man and a woman.
So, that means if your desire is to be within the Lord’s guidelines for sex, there is to be no sexual activity outside of marriage. Any sexual coupling or individual sex acts are “missing the mark” of God’s design for the use of sex for pleasure and the healthy expression of love in a marriage.
So as two people who have had their fair share of sexual experiences that
“missed the mark” in the past and have suffered guilt, shame, and broken
relationships as a consequence of them, my friend and I support one another in our
mutual intention to with hold ourselves until we are able to find a Christian
spouse. We have both confided to one
another that our desires for love and affection and the temptation to
compromise are a struggle that is real but is one we can endure because of our
love for God, our desire to do His will, and the fact that we have a wealth of experience
from our pasts that testify to negative consequences of giving in and “sinning
against our own bodies”, as the new testament describes the negative effects of
fornication in the unseen spiritual realities.
While fornication can have negative physical and emotional effects, the Bible informs us there are also unseen spiritual consequences to consider. The sexual union is said to make two become one flesh. This verbiage points to a “spiritual bonding” that takes place that is commonly called “soul ties”.
Ever wonder why you can’t stop thinking about “old what’s her name” or “old what’s his name” from your past sexual history? It’s because you formed “soul ties” with them! The good news is that you can renounce and break those through repentance and prayer. The Steps to Freedom in Christ, Dr. Neil Anderson’s discipleship counseling tool, includes a step that can resolve the issues of our sexual pasts.
Because my friend and I understand these problems that sexual relationships can cause, we are walking in faith to keep ourselves free from the bondage of sexual sin and are resolved to remain free by remaining single or by waiting until a suitable Christian spouse is found. Talk about crucifying the flesh!
But not only is this a spiritual war with our own desires, we also must be on guard about others who may cause us to go astray.
I had one friend who met a man on Christian mingle and they decided to be friends. So they got to know one another and spend time together. Although my friend tried to make it clear that she was only considered this man as a friend, he grew emotionally attached and ended up confessing his love for her. When she didn’t immediately reciprocate his feelings, he became angry, and their friendship has taken a break as he “figures himself out”. Although it was a “Christian site” that brought the two together, his faith has seemed to also suffer, or has been exposed as immature or false , as he has appeared to walk away from the church he was attending.
I had another friend who met another man on a “Christian dating site” who suddenly showed up at her church. They have decided to be friends and she is being clear in communicating her intention to not compromise and is looking for a committed relationship that would be consummated in marriage. The jury is still out on this situation, but I have advised my friend to be observant to see if this man’s “Christianity” is genuine, to see how long he will walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
Last night, I had dinner with a friend of the opposite sex who attends my discipleship class. We have been clear in our intentions to be friends, but my accountability partner advised me of the potential for trouble and of the possibility of how our meetings could be perceived as an unwholesome relationship and or a conflict of interest.
My accountability partner’s comments convicted me and afterwards I have restated my intentions for our friendship to be only that and that I will endeavor to be more conscious in my communications to not be “too familiar”. The other person thought I was over analyzing and assured me that I had been clear about our relationship but as someone who has a history of relationship dysfunction, I want to make sure that I’m sure!
Texting is an imperfect form of communication and can easily lead to misunderstandings and confusion. Although “heart emoji’s” are a simple way to relate that we “love” what someone is saying, or “love that”, we must be aware that they can easily be misinterpreted by oneself, or by the other person, to mean “I love you”.
As friends share, we can become attached, and lines can easily get blurred, so we must remain consistent and keep our communications and interactions within boundaries that are within the confines of Christian morality. As a person who tries to encourage people to live a life of Christian discipleship, I don’t want my communications to be misconstrued or for any of my conduct to be considered untoward.
As I contemplate all this and try to stay true to remain pure until marriage or until Jesus calls me home, I can only imagine what people must have said about Jesus and all the women disciples that He had.
Dan Brown’s, the author of the Davinci Code, speculations fictionally hypothesized that Christ and Mary Magdalene had children and the blood line of Christ had continued into the future.
Scripture in Luke 7: 36-50, gives the account of Christ having his feet washed with the tears and hair of a sinful woman and how it shocked the Pharisee that was hosting the dinner where the incident took place.
Jesus was a friend of sinners and loved His disciples to the end. For those on the outside looking in it may have looked like something funny was going on.
But scripture documents that although Christ was tempted in all ways, He did not sin.
As His disciples we have overcome the power of sin and death when we put our faith in Christ. We have been given the power to say no to sexual sin and can develop the fruit of the Spirit of self-control to establish and maintain victory in that area. We don’t have to give in to temptation and we can keep our relationships pure.
But we must recognize that we must be wise and clear in our communications and be above board in our conduct. We want to bear witness of the power of God in our life and we don’t want to hurt our testimony for Christ by falling into sin our by appearing to have questionable relationships.
So stay grounded in the truth of who you are in Christ by walking the walk as well as talking the talk of a Christian. Be careful of what you say, how you say it, and about the relationships you have. We don’t want the world to be concerned with “what’s going on with those two” unless they are talking about us and Jesus. So keep walking and talking with God and shine a light of pure righteousness with your words and actions to bring Him glory.
Today’s meditation verse is drawn from” from the Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries provided resource: “Freedom: Our Life in Christ” Memory Verse Cards set:
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 John 1:7 (NASB)
7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Today’s verse encourages Christians to live according to the ways of Christ that show we have been cleansed from all sin and to fellowship with one another.
There is safety in numbers. Today’s verse gives us instruction to live our lives like Jesus would, “to walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, but it also tells us to be in fellowship with one another. Why?
We are never meant to do the Christian life on our own. Christ directed His disciples to go out in pairs and to later gather as a corporate body so we could support one another in our Christian walk and to help each other to be built up in our Christian faith.
As fallible humans, we are not perfect. We need to remind ourselves and one another about the right way to live our lives according to the word of God and we also need one another to recognize when we are being deceived and begin to go astray.
The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin the moment we place our faith in Christ but as the example of Christ’s washing the feet of the Apostles in the Upper Room teaches us, sometimes we need to wash the dirt of the world off us: to be cleansed and set free from incidental sins.
We are saints that sin, but scripture teaches us that our harmony with God can be restored even if we sin by confessing our sin to God, as
1 John 1:9 (NKJV) tells us:
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Scripture also teaches us, in James 5:16 that we can be “healed” of our sinful afflictions when we confess to one another. That points to accountability and fellowship.
So walk in the Light as He is in the Light, but if you sin confess it to God to have your harmony with Him reestablished and confess it to your brothers and sisters in Christ so you can be accountable and to begin the process of being healed of it.
In recovery circles, they say we are only as sick as our secrets, so tell the truth, walk in the light, spill the beans and tell your secret, confess your sin to God and other Christians that you trust.
When you do that the darkness will flee as the light of God comes into your life, and your “sickness” will be healed, as your faith will make you well!
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:
D. What Is the Root Cause of Bad Boundaries?
Inside the handle of Boris Onishchenko's epee is a layer of leather that conceals a complex wiring system.
When a pressure pad is pressed, it automatically triggers the scoreboard sensors that a "hit" has been made. The root cause of bad boundaries for Boris is the desire to win at all costs, to expand his Olympic medal collection even if it means meddling with his epee.
The British fencing team manager, Mike Proudfoot, says Boris' method for cheating is "a real engineering job. Not just a ham amateur's effort. They had to dismantle the weapon to discover it." Not only is Boris disqualified from further Olympic competition, the entire Soviet pentathlon team is forced to withdraw. Jim Fox respects boundaries by playing by the rules and helps lead his teammates to Olympic Gold!
Scripture strongly conveys...
"If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!"
God is love, and He made us for loving relationships. His love is the basis for our boundaries and the glue that holds our relationships together. His plan includes time for infants to receive this love as they bond with their parents to form attachments that lay the foundation for future boundaries.
When you love others, bond with them, express your own boundaries, and help them to achieve healthy boundaries, you exhibit God's love in action. Relationships are vitally important for people to survive and thrive.
The Bible abounds with Scriptures about love because God is love. . . .
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. . . . Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
3 God-Given Inner Needs
In reality, we have all been created with three God-given inner needs: the needs for love, significance, and security.
know that someone is unconditionally committed to our best interest
"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12).
- —Significance—to know that our lives have meaning and purpose
- "I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me" (Psalm 57:2 ESV).
feel accepted and a sense of belonging
"Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge" (Proverbs 14:26).
The Ultimate Need-Meeter
Why did God give us these deep inner needs, knowing that people and self-effort fail us?
God gave us these inner needs so that we would come to know Him as our Need-Meeter. Our needs are designed by God to draw us into a deeper dependence on Christ. God did not create any person or position or any amount of power or possessions to meet the deepest needs in our lives.
If a person or thing could meet all our needs, we wouldn't need God! The Lord will use circumstances and bring positive people into our lives as an extension of His care and compassion, but ultimately only God can satisfy all the needs of our hearts. The Bible says...
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
The apostle Paul revealed this truth by first asking, "What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" He then answers his own question by saying he is saved by " . . . Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24-25).
All along, the Lord planned to meet our deepest needs for...
"I [the Lord] have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3).
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'" (Jeremiah 29:11).
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deuteronomy 31:8).
The truth is that our God-given needs for love, significance, and security . . . can be legitimately met . . . in Christ Jesus! Philippians 4:19 makes it plain. . . .
"My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."
Since actions are based on beliefs, boundaries reflect what we believe. If our beliefs are wrong, our subsequent thoughts and behaviors will be wrong, and our boundaries will also be wrong. In other words, bad boundaries result from bad thoughts that come from bad beliefs. It is always wise to give thought to the basis for your boundaries because what you think in your heart reveals what sort of person you are. . . .
"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he."
(Proverbs 23:7 NKJV)
• Wrong Belief:
"If I set boundaries I will push people away and I will never get the approval and acceptance I need in order to feel good about myself, nor will I receive the love, significance, and security I need."
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship