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Showing posts with label Spiritual Warfare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spiritual Warfare. Show all posts

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Happiness and Joy? – All Things for Good - Purity 533


Happiness and Joy?  – All Things for Good   - Purity 533

Purity 533 09/25/2021  Purity 533 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a stunning view of a massive cloud formation over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico comes to us from a friend who spent the first day of Autumn at Honeymoon Beach near Clearwater Florida.  I just love the sense of wonder and peace that this photo conveys and considering the marvelous developments in my life recently I thought a view from Honeymoon beach was wholly appropriate as I am filled with peace, joy, and wonder in contemplating a future with my beloved, Tammy Lyn.

While our story as a couple has just begun and may appear to be a sudden happenstance, the truth is that when we step back to look at the course of events in both our lives we can now clearly see that our converging paths were on a collision course and that we are destined to walk together. 

When we recognize that God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, we can see how the various twists and turns and ups and downs of our journeys were ultimately leading to today. 

I was speaking to a brother in Christ last evening as we have drawn closer in friendship.  We have recognized that our journeys are similar and that we each have a burning passion for sharing the truth of God’s word and the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ in common.  We shared more of our testimonies with one another and we laughed at how both of us have had moments in our lives before coming to faith in Christ where God’s providential hand was at work blessing us and protecting us even before we agreed to trust in Him. Even though we were lost at the time, God knew we were His and He cared for and protected us right up to the day when we finally surrendered and made Jesus our Lord and Savior.  

Just following the twists and turns of one person’s life can make your head spin with amazement as in spite of rebellion, brokenness, and tragic events, that person was able to find their way to salvation and then follow the Lord in His purpose for them. 

So, you can imagine how overjoyed and in awe I am when I consider the fact that God was with both Tammy Lyn and me throughout our lives working all things together for our good and how He guided our paths to one another. 

I told Tammy Lyn after we confess our love for one another that I was experiencing happiness! Happiness is based on experiencing positive circumstances in your life.  I said that because of my faith in Christ I had the joy of the Lord in my life even when circumstances weren’t so great but now the Lord saw to it to bring us together and I had both happiness and joy!

So as we go into the weekend, I encourage all my friends to draw close to God because regardless of the situations and circumstances that we are facing in this season of life, when we have a relationship with the Lord through faith in Jesus Christ we can have joy!

The joy of our salvation, the joy of His presence, the joy over His provision, the joy over our deliverance, the joy over our healing, the joy over His wisdom, and the joy over His love are all available to experience when we are walking in the Spirit.     

So try to arrange the situations and circumstances of your life to find a little happiness this weekend. You can do that by getting together with friends and family, doing a favorite activity, visiting a favorite haunt or a new place, or just by treating yourself and getting some rest and relaxation.  But in that pursuit of happiness, make sure that you bring the Lord along so He can add His joy to your experience.    

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 2:18 (NKJV)
18  Therefore we wanted to come to you--even I, Paul, time and again--but Satan hindered us.

Today’s verse speaks of spiritual reality of the enemy’s ability to affect even the lives of the most dedicated Christians.  

There is a commonly held belief that the Christian’s “state of grace” makes them untouchable from any negative affects of demonic influence. The rationale behind this is  belief is that because Christians receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit at salvation that the enemy can not oppress a Christian.   

Today’s verse indicates that this doctrine of freedom from demonic oppression or influence for the Christian is not true.   If the Apostle Paul who was blessed with a missionary spirit like no other and the gifts of healing and miracles is testifying to the fact that He was hindered by Satan, we should listen and believe that we must be on guard against the schemes and the attacks of the evil one.   

Today’s verse is not the only verse that testifies of the reality of Satan and other demonic entities and their ability to affect Christians.  Paul’s command to put on full armor of God in Ephesians makes no sense if we truly believe that the enemy can’t affect us.  James’ instructions to resist the devil so that he will flee from us doesn’t make any sense if we are untouchable.   The indication is that if we don’t put on the armor of God and resist the devil bad things will happen to even us Christians.  

The examples of Judas, Christ’s betrayer (John 13:21-30(, Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), and the Apostle Peter (Matt 16:23) all show that Satan can affect believers by implanting his thoughts, temptations, condemnations, accusations, and lies into our minds. 

So I committed today’s verse to an index card to point to yet another verse in the Bible that clearly demonstrates the spiritual realities that are unseen but can affect our Christian walk.

For a thorough discourse on this spiritual warfare and overcoming the enemy, I would recommend Dr. Neil Anderson’s the Bondage Breaker, and if you would like you could listen to our lessons on His book on the mt4christ247 podcast.  

So be on guard to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Evaluate the thoughts that run into your mind and if they don’t agree with the word of God refute them with God’s truth and your intention to live for Him. 

The ultimate victory has been won by Christ, but we will need to submit to God and resist the devil as we walk out our purpose in Christ.  When we focus on the truth of God’s Word and who we are in Christ the enemy is defeated and we can overcome life’s problems and negative mind states to enjoy the growth of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

So keep walking and talking with God.  Enjoy the victories you have won but keep moving forward in the upward call of Christ to take back more ground from the enemy and claim it for God’s kingdom.  

 

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:

F. How to Maintain Your Boundaries

On the day that Rosie Ruiz steals the spotlight at the 1980 Boston Marathon, the rightful female winner, who maintains boundaries and rightly deserves attention, is virtually snubbed by the media.

Jacqueline Gareau of Canada crosses the finish line in two hours, 34 minutes, and 28 seconds and indeed is the fastest woman at the world-renowned race. She is a French-Canadian who has been described as an object of grace over the years, bearing no ill will toward Rosie and living life in full optimism.

"I just laugh," the 60-year-old former competitor reflects. "It doesn't bother me. I really don't think about her anymore."

But marathon great Bill Rodgers is quick to defend Jacqueline, believing she got robbed of her rightful honor. The Boston Athletic Association is eager to stand by her side as well. Jacqueline is awarded two gold medals, and Bill observes: "It was her ultimate biggest win and I doubt the public is aware of her. She lost the moment. I always say that the most famous marathoner of all time is Rosie Ruiz. I guess infamous is more accurate."

Bill models the call of the following Scripture concerning Jacqueline. . . .

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves."

(Romans 12:10)

After setting boundaries, it is very common for the people around you to test them to see whether you really intend to keep them in place. They have been accustomed to getting what they want, so they will try very hard to get you to go back to your past behavior. However, remember that just like in any sport, boundary lines are in place to help everyone. Remember this counsel from God's Word...

"My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' and to insight, 'You are my relative.'"

(Proverbs 7:1-4)

  • Pay attention to your feelings and watch for early warning signs that let you know you are beginning to lose sight of your boundaries.
    • —Remind yourself why you personally set the boundary in the first place.
    • "I set the boundary because _________________."
    • —Remember, repercussions are okay. . . . They exist because difficult people choose to violate the boundaries . . . not because you set the boundaries.
    • —Rehearse what the Word of God says. . . .
    • "I can do all this through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13).
  • Plan ahead by role playing with a friend . . . or even just by yourself in front of a mirror . . . how to say no.
    • —Begin with simple situations where saying no has little impact; for example, saying no to a telemarketer who calls during your favorite television show. "I'm sorry but I don't have time to talk with you. I'm sure your cause is a worthy one but I must say no. Thank you for calling . . . good-bye." If they are persistent, just repeat what you have already said and gently hang up the phone.
    • —Be aware of how you feel after hanging up the phone. Thank God by reaffirming that the boundary
    • was good for you.
    • —Believe that as you continue to enforce your boundaries . . . it will get easier to exercise self-control and maintain your boundaries.
    • "gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:23).
  • Recognize that any feeling of guilt over setting your boundaries is false guilt because you have not done anything wrong. It is okay . . . and even healthy for you to establish and maintain personal boundaries.
    • —Appreciate the importance of consistency with your boundaries in helping others honor them.
    • —Apply the repercussions when your boundary has been violated.
    • —Always keep the end goal in mind as you persevere.
    • "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (Hebrews 10:36).
  • Rejoice as you continue to keep your personal boundaries and find yourself "set free"!
    • —Trust that God will give you strength for this journey.
    • —Think about the other people in your life and honor their boundaries . . . recognizing that their boundaries are important to them . . . and are not a negative statement about you. Don't take boundaries set by others personally. Their personal boundaries are set to protect them, not to offend you.
    • —Thank God that He gave you such value when he sacrificed His only Son for you. Therefore, you are worthy . . . as His child . . . to protect yourself with boundaries.
    • "And pray that we may he delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one" (2 Thessalonians 3:2-3).


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

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

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Fear – Overcoming the “Little Death” with God - Purity 488


 
Fear – Overcoming the “Little Death” with God           

Purity 488 08/04/2021   Purity 488 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a roaring campfire on the shores of one of New York’s finger lakes, presumably, comes to us from a friend’s recent get together from a couple of weeks ago.  I just love the contrast of colors in this photo with the blazing fire and how it lights up the foreground of this scene, and the flood lights on the shore, the fading light of dusk in the sky, and the distant lights on the opposite shore. The whole scene is just a picture of a wonderful summer evening that is made even better by the gathering of friends to enjoy it.     

Yes, we are not alone. The Lord goes with us, and He provides us with companions for our paths through life to appreciate and draw close to for friendship and in times of need.

It’s Wednesday and this campfire will serve as today’s blazing hump to get over as we look to move into the second half of the week.  As I have stated over the last two days, August will prove to be a month of transition for many of us as more things than just the season will change as we draw ever closer to Labor Day.  

With change comes uncertainty and with uncertainty one possible emotion we may experience is fear.   As I attempt to take one day at a time and remain in the peaceful presence of the Lord, concerns over the future and how I am perceived by others drew me into an absolute paranoid panic attack that took on the surrealistic views of a bad LSD trip yesterday for a few minutes as compounding uncertainties and insecurities were stoked to create a perfect fire of fear that left me feeling groundless as irrational thoughts of persecution and impending doom had me grasping for something I could be sure of.    

When you get hit by sudden irrational fears we should realize that we may have unwittingly left the door open to allow the influences of dark demonic forces in our lives to take away our peace.  I may have made some poor entertainment choices recently by watching some horror genre shows of no redeeming value.

My dreams over the last two nights had some demonic cameos in them, one being a black snarling wolf like dog that was threatening to break free of its leash and another being an impish midget character that seemed to be sowing the seeds of discord among gathering of friends.   Neither of these images were in the material I viewed, leading me to believe that these weren’t just drawn from what I watched but their sinister and unfamiliar nature makes me suspect that they are the results of a spiritual attack.

 

The dreams and this panic episode remind me how vulnerable we can be to dark influences.  While stress can certainly bring on panic attacks, I know the enemy loves to take our peace as well.

I know that will probably freak people out or cause them to think of that claim as ridiculous, but I would ask you:  when we suffer from panic attacks who benefits?  Do we want to feel this way?  Do these instances of irrational fears cause us to think constructively? Are the contents of these episodes based in truth or are they a skewed view of reality?  Does it take away our trust and confidence in the Lord? Do we totally forget about the Lord in the overwhelming fears of what is presented to us?  Often panic attacks are just all emotion, feelings of insecurity and unease, without any logical cause. Could these triggered emotions point to a demonic influence assailing us?   

As scary as these thoughts may be, and how undiscernible a spiritual attack may be to identify, the good news is that the remedy of all fear is the love that is found in our relationship with and our identity in the Truth, Jesus Christ.  

I was reminded of the David Lynch’s 1984 film, Dune which contains a scene in which the hero, Paul Atreides played by Kyle MacLachlan, is put through a test in which he must face his fears.  The scene is a great analogy for spiritual warfare and walking by faith because it depicts Paul Atreides’ thoughts regarding fear.  Dune’s writer, Frank Herbert, original quotes from the scene in his book show us Paul’s thoughts saying:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”    

I love that quote and the scene in the movie.  It shows us how we must choose to persevere through the fears we face and how we will remain after our fears pass. 

But as much as I love the scene and quote, it is not held up by the authority or the power that comes to us through our relationship with God.  Yes, we must endure but can we, in and of ourselves?   Quite frankly, no.  By ourselves and even with others, our strength will give out and eventually we will perish.  

But with God, we live not only to see another day, but we also live forever. It is only in the security of our relationship with God through our faith in Jesus Christ that we can ever truly silence fear because He has power over all things, including life and death. 

So as I cycled through moments of panic contemplating an uncertain future, I recalled that while there will be many things that are currently unknown and that will be beyond my control in the days, months, and years that lie ahead, there is one thing I could be sure of: My Lord will never leave me or forsake me.  And as I reminded myself that with Him, I could endure even the bleakest worst-case scenario, I was able to find my way back to the light of His truth and love, escaping the irrational fears that overcame me.     

Believe me, fear and panic attacks are nothing to take lightly. As soon as we feel that we are past one episode, they may come crawling back as our flesh or the devil will chime in with prophecies of impending doom and dread to test our defenses.   

The spiritual warfare advice that is commonly given is to put on the whole armor of God, that is a word picture in Ephesians, that reminds us to stand in the different aspects of our faith in Jesus Christ: our salvation, our righteousness, our truth, our faith, our peace, our prayers, and the word of God, our wisdom.   

So to remain in the peace that our Lord wants us to live in we must continually remind ourselves of our identity in Christ and use it to defend against the emotions and troubling thoughts that would seek to take it away.

Fear is a liar. Combat it with the truth and stand firm in knowing our faith in Christ puts us on the Rock that can not be shaken.  

So I declare today to be a worry-free Wednesday. If you are shaken, go to a friend and let them know what you are going through. They can help remind you of what is true and assure you of the reality of your surroundings. We need one another and that’s what friends are for, to lean on and to support as we walk through this life.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to those in your life and to ask for help.  That’s why God put us all here together.

And if no one is around, talk to the Lord. He is your ever-present companion. Talk it out and agree with what God says about you. Expose the lies with the Truth and you can even walk through the valley of the shadow of death without fear.     

                                                                  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NKJV)
3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.

Today’s verse reminds us of the clear and present danger that exists for those outside the faith.  

Talk about switching gears.  If there is any need for proof that I don’t plan these messages ahead of time, today is a good example.   Hey guys, relax, have no fear and then “sudden destruction comes upon them” and “they shall not escape”. 

Ok, so there is quite a contrast here this morning but as God’s word is consistently true and trustworthy the context and proper understanding of the Word of God always resolves seeming contradictions.   

This verse is warning of the suddenness of the coming of the Day of the Lord and the fact that it will result in the judgement and destruction of those who do not believe, as the following verses assures the followers of Christs, the saints in Thessalonica and everywhere throughout history, that our fate is not the same as those outside of a covenant relationship with the Lord.  

Through faith in Jesus Christ, Christians do escape the destruction of the Day of the Lord as our transgressions have been covered by the work of Christ on the cross and through the imputation of His righteousness upon us when we place our faith in Him.    

This section of scripture is a dire warning to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who don’t believe and to encourage Christians to diligently live out their faith.  

As scary as the idea of the end time’s Day of the Lord can be, it should not scare Christians but it can be a source of great comfort, reminding us of our personal deliverance from God’s wrath and of the inevitability of God’s delivery of perfect justice to the world and the total defeat of the forces of evil, and it should also motivate Christians to represent God’s kingdom and seek to bring more people into God’s grace and mercy though sharing the gospel and living by faith.

So yes the world can be a scary place, and the idea of a future judgement can be scary too. But we as Christians, know the One who has overcome the world and are in a secure relationship with the King who will one day make all things right as Jesus will rule and reign in a new heaven and a new earth for ever and ever.    

 

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 10.

 

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:

Your Emotions Reveal Your Beliefs

Your emotions play a major role in the process of renewing your mind. In a general sense, your emotions are a product of your thought life. If you are not thinking right, if your mind is not being renewed, if you are not perceiving God and His Word properly, it will show up in your emotional life. If you fail to acknowledge your emotions appropriately, you may become spiritually vulnerable.

One of the best scriptural illustrations of the relationship between beliefs and emotions is found in Lament. 3. Notice Jeremiah's expression of despair as he wrongly perceives that God is against him and that He is the cause of his physical problems:

I am the man who has seen affliction because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, like those who have long been dead (Lament. 3:1-6).

Listen to his feelings of entrapment and fear:

He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He is to me like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in secret places. He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate. So I say, "My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord" (Lament. 3:7-11, 18).

If your hope was in God, and these words were a correct portrayal of God, you would be depressed, too. What was Jeremiah's problem? What he believed about God wasn't true. God wasn't the cause of his affliction. God didn't make him walk in darkness. God wasn't a wild beast waiting to devour him. Jeremiah wasn't thinking right or interpreting his circumstances right, so he wasn't feeling or living right.

Then, surprisingly, Jeremiah began to sing a different tune:

Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I have hope in Him" (Lament. 3:19-24).

What a turnaround! Did God change? Did Jeremiah's circumstances change? No. What he thought about God changed and his emotions followed suit.

You are not shaped as much by your environment as you are by your perception of your environment. Life's events don't determine who you are; God determines who you are, and your interpretation of life's events determines how well you will handle the pressures of life.

We are tempted to say, "He made me so mad!" or "I wasn't depressed until she showed up!" That's like saying, "I have no control over my emotions or my will." In reality we have very little control over our emotions, but we do have control over our thoughts, and our thoughts determine our feelings and our responses. That is why it is so important that you fill your mind with the knowledge of God and His Word. You need to see life from God's perspective and respond accordingly.

Remember, if what you believe does not reflect truth, then what you feel does not reflect reality. Telling people they shouldn't feel the way they do is a subtle form of rejection. They can do little about how they feel. It would be better to say, "I can sense your pain and anger, but I'm not sure you understand the whole situation or have all the facts. Let me share my observations and then let's see how you feel."

For example, suppose your dream of owning your own home was in the hands of a lending institution that was screening your application for financing. All your friends are praying for the loan to be approved. You arrive home one evening to find a message on your phone's answering machine that you didn't qualify. How would you feel? Angry? Depressed? Frustrated?

Now suppose you are getting ready to break the bad news to your spouse that your dream house is still only a dream. Then you listen to the next message on the machine that tells you the first message was a mistake. You actually did qualify! How would you feel now? Elated! What you first believed didn't reflect truth, so what you felt didn't reflect reality.

Imagine the real estate agent, who knows that you qualified, stopping by to congratulate you before you heard the second message on the machine. He expects to find you overjoyed, but instead you are in despair. "Why are you depressed? You should be happy." His encouragement is meaningless until he tells you the truth about your loan.

The order of Scripture is to know the truth, believe it, live accordingly by faith, and let your emotions be a product of your trust in God and your obedience to Him. What kind of a life would you live if you believed what you felt instead of the truth? Your life would be as inconsistent as your feelings.

Right after the Fall God said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?" (Genesis 4:6, 7). In the New Testament Jesus said, "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them" (John 13:17). In other words, you don't feel your way into good behavior; you behave your way into good feelings.


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

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Bondage Breaker Lesson 7


 Listen to Lesson 7 of the Bondage Breaker Discipleship Class

I mentioned a few other resources in tonight's lesson so I share their images here for those interested:  







The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google, Amazon, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Apple Podcasts and at Audible.com.    See Podcast Links and Subscribe! 

 
Thank you for listening - please share this information - people need to know the truth of who they are in Christ and the reality of the spiritual war we are faced with.   

If you would like our class materials sent to you at no cost, contact us at mt4christ247@gmail.com 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Shining Through: The Power of His Truth and Love - Purity 464

 

Shining Through: The Power of His Truth and Love

Purity 464 07/07/2021 Purity 464 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo of the setting sun shining through an otherwise tall and impressive pine tree comes to us from a friend in Hudson NY who takes to the airwaves each week to discuss the problems and situations here on earth and in their local community but who also always keeps their eyes on the sky to rejoice over God’s creation and encourages others to find joy in the people and things that God has provided in their lives.     

I must admit the three-day weekend had some unexpected results. Yesterday I discovered that the peace of a three-day weekend can evaporate in a few seconds as we have to resume our normal work week lives.  As someone who teaches about walking in the Spirit, I was able to recognize old familiar patterns of frustration and dissatisfaction when my work tablet was also apparently a little sluggish from the extra time off.  

In the past, these first frustrations of morning would have undoubtedly escalated into a “bad day” of reactive emotions of depression and/or anger as the enemy would have peppered me with questions like: “Why doesn’t this stupid thing work?”, Why do I have to deal with this? or “Why do I have to work?”  If I were pressed for answers to these questions, the enemy would have provided some discouraging first person words like: “I hate my job!” or “I hate my life!”  

When we are not walking with the Lord, these little frustrations go can global and if they do, we see life as a big problem and we don’t see any meaning in our sufferings and the enemy will encourage us to do something impulsive or irresponsible.   The problems in our life become a big daunting obstacle, like a huge pine tree standing in our way.   

But if we have made peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, we know the truth and love of God that transcends the problems here on earth.  Like today’s photo shows us that the brilliance of the sun can shine through a pine tree to the extent that the pine tree seems to disappear, the brilliance of the truth of who we are in Christ and the love of God can shine through the dark clouds of our problems. 

So instead of losing my cool over my sluggish work tablet, I took a breath, and I thanked the Lord for the job that provides for my family. I reminded myself how fortunate I was to be garaged at home. I reminded myself that I was fortunate to have my current job and its particular function.  I encouraged myself to be patient with my sputtering electronic device and reminded myself that a few extra minutes would not make a difference one way or another.   And sure enough, the issues with the tablet resolved themselves rather quickly when I let go of the expectation that it needed to work “NOW”.  

So as we ascend the hump of midweek, remember that no matter if you can see it or not the sun is shining, the world is turning, and things will carry on much like they have in the past.  God is in control, and nothing happens on His watch that He doesn’t know about. 

The state of the world may be beyond our control but when you make peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells you and He gives you the capacity to develop His fruit: which include peace, patience, and self-control.  

We may have to renew our minds according to God’s truth and we may fight off the enemy with his lies, temptations, accusations, and condemning thoughts but as long as we let the truth and love of God shine into our lives we can overcome even the largest obstacle and often we discover the shortest path to victory goes right through it.   

Trust in the Lord and think about who you are in Him, and He will see you through.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NKJV)
5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

Today’s verse speaks about the supernatural power inherent in the gospel of Jesus Christ and of the integrity that believers should display.  

When the gospel of Jesus Christ is received a supernatural event takes place as the non-believer comes to know the truth of God and is brought to spiritual life as their spirit is quickened by the entrance of the Holy Spirit into their being.  

Paul says that the gospel didn’t come to the believers in Thessalonica in word only. “In word only” indicates that although someone can hear the good news of Jesus Christ and may even be able to repeat it to others and have a claim to the intellectual knowledge of what the message is supposed to mean, they don’t feel any pull to make Jesus their Lord and Savior.  They “understand” what you are saying but they don’t receive it personally.   

On the contrary, the Thessalonian believers received the gospel with:

·       Power – The gospel made a major impact on their life. They knew in their hearts that the gospel was true and gladly accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Power also indicates that their lives were transformed as they repented of their former ways to follow the Lord. 

·       The Holy Spirit - To receive the gospel “in the Holy Spirit” – indicates receiving spiritual life that is marked by His fruit.  Joy, Peace, and Love are often an overwhelming experience of those who receive the gospel.  The seeds of the other fruit of the Spirit, that of goodness, kindness, faithfulness, patience, and self-control are also planted and begin to grow in the new believer. 

·       Assurance – Receiving the gospel with assurance means that we experientially know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the Life and that by placing our faith in Him we have been forgiven of our sins and brought into the kingdom of God.  We receive the assurance of God’s presence in our lives and our ultimate victory over death with God’s gift of eternal life.

The remaining phrase of this verse, which says “as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.”, shows us that Paul and his companions were men of integrity.  Their walk matched their talk. Their lives were an expression of their faith.   When you live a righteous life by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit you are beyond reproach as everything you do is motivated by the desire to represent and serve the kingdom of God.  Your life becomes an example of the gospel.  

So remember the power you have received and live your life as a shining example of God’s goodness, mercy, and grace.  Living by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit allows us to experience the benefits of the fruit of the Spirit but our lives can also be used by God to bring more people into the kingdom to give Him glory.  

 

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 in Chapter 6.

 

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:

What Happens When I Stumble in My Walk of Faith?

Have you ever thought God is ready to give up on you because, instead of walking confidently in faith, you sometimes stumble and fall? Do you ever fear that there is a limit to God's tolerance for your failure and that you are walking dangerously near that outer barrier or have already crossed it? Many Christians are defeated by that kind of thinking. They believe God is upset with them, that He is ready to dump them or that He has already given up on them because their daily performance is less than perfect.

It is true that the walk of faith can sometimes be interrupted by moments of personal unbelief, rebellion or even satanic deception. During those moments, we think God has surely lost His patience with us and is ready to give up on us. We will probably give up if we think God has. We stop walking by faith in God, slump dejectedly by the side of the road and wonder, What's the use? We feel defeated, our purpose for being here is suspended and Satan is elated.

God Loves You Just the Way You Are

The primary truth you need to know about God for your faith to remain strong is that His love and acceptance are unconditional. When your walk of faith is strong, God loves you. When your walk of faith is weak, God loves you. When you are strong one moment and weak the next, God still loves you. God's love for you is the great eternal constant in the midst of all the inconsistencies of your daily walk.

When Mandy came to see me, she appeared to have her life all together. She was a Christian who was very active in her church. She had led her alcoholic father to Christ on her father's deathbed. She was an attractive lady who had a nice husband and two wonderful children, but she had attempted suicide at least three times.

"How can God love me?" Mandy sobbed. "I'm such a failure, such a mess."

"Mandy, God loves you, not because you are lovable, but because it is His nature to love you. God simply loves you—period, because God is love."

"But when I do bad I don't feel like God loves me," she argued.

"Don't trust those feelings. He loves all His children all the time, whether we do good or bad. That's the heart of God. When the 99 sheep were safe in the fold, the heart of the shepherd was with the one that was lost. When the prodigal son squandered his life and inheritance, the heart of his father was with him, and he lovingly welcomed his son home. Those parables reveal that God's heart is full of love for us even when we are lost."

"But I've tried to take my own life, Neil. How can God overlook that?"

"Just suppose, Mandy, that your son grew despondent and tried to take his own life. Would you love him any less? Would you kick him out of the family? Would you turn your back on him?"

"Of course not. If anything I'd feel sorry for him and try to love him more."

"Are you telling me that a perfect God isn't as good a parent to you as you, an imperfect person, are to your children?"

Mandy got the point. She began to realize that God, as a loving parent, loves and forgives His children.

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