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Showing posts with label Substance Abuse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Substance Abuse. Show all posts

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Not Forgotten: The One Who Remembers You - Purity 467

Not Forgotten: The One Who Remembers You

Purity 467 07/10/2021   Purity 467 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo of a dazzling sun in an ethereal sky over green hills and trees comes to us from a friend who knows to keep their eyes open to the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis and caught this pic in their travels to destinations unknown.  The reason I phrase this description of my friend and this location this way is because of the simple fact that although I know that this photo was taken on or around the first of July, the source of the photo has simply slipped my mind. (Update- My friends at Dave Baun Photography have since reminded me it was their photo taken in transit on a bicycling excursion in South Australia!- Thanks Dave!)

Part of my process in my quasi-daily encouragements is to “borrow” pictures that friends share on social media as they come up in my experience of scrolling through posts. When I see something good, I will try to make a mental note of its source and I save it to my phone.   When I sit down to compose each day, I scroll through the images and use whatever one that speaks to me.   The thing is I have a lot of friends, thank you Lord, and they share a lot of photos.  Sometimes the locations and friends are easily remembered. I would say I remember the context of the photos almost 100% of the time but this morning this photo grabbed my attention and for the life of me I can’t remember where it came from or who shared it!

Instead of skipping it, I got the impression that the Lord wanted me to share this one if for no other reason to point to Him as creator and to Him as the one who has perfect knowledge of each and every one of us.   

So friends, if you posted this photo on or around the first of July, let us know, if you do, it will not only satisfy our curiosity but will also allow us to be grateful for your friendship and your willingness to share your life experiences with your friends who are less than perfect.       

Although I forgot who shared this photo, the good news is that there is someone who knows the photographer and deeply cares about their life.  I am speaking of course of God.  He not only created the subject matter in the photo, but he created the person who captured it.  

As individuals, we are all a little bit different from one another and at times we may feel that we are nobody special, but God doesn’t see us that way at all.   God knows who we are and all we have walked through in this life.  He knows all the special days in your personal history, and He shares in our joys and sufferings.  He knows our talents, failings, feelings, and thoughts and no matter what we think or do He still loves us.     

So my failure to specifically remember the friend who shared this photo shows us that our human relationships will be imperfect. We will disappoint, and possibly upset, one another. At times we won’t be available for our friends or family when they need us.   Sometimes we will just plain forget about them.   

But the Lord, of course, never will.  He will never forget about you, and He is the only One who will always be available for you.  The Lord is the only One who will never leave us or forsake us.  

So while you are traveling to your next destination, enjoy the world that the Lord has made for us and be sure to let Him know that you know that He is there and that He cares.    

Speaking of being on the road, I mentioned that yesterday’s photo of a sunset on the shores of Lake Ontario from the vantage point of Lighthouse Christian Camp in Barker NY filled me with “go fever”, an impulsive desire to “do something” and “go somewhere”.

So strong was this wanderlust that I actually contacted the camp about renting one of their cabins, imagining myself as taking a Kerouacian Big Sur trip to the Great Lake to rest and write.  I got the information, and the rates were cheap, and I was ready to book.  

But then I thought soberly about the details and realized I was just planning this impromptu trip to “have an experience for summer” and possibly to avoid the loneliness of another staycation.   Also my aim to combine ministry preparation work and being at leisure seemed to promise more stress to my life if I added a 5-hour drive and dealing with meager accommodations to the mix.  

Then I thought of my home “Down by the River”.  It has everything I need. It may be simple, but I love the place.  I also thought that there are attractions to see and things to enjoy that are a lot closer to home. So before the people called me back to confirm my reservations, I cancelled.  

Sometimes we are overcome by a sense of lack, that we need something to satisfy or fulfill us.  Some turn to drugs and alcohol. Some turn to relationships. Some turn to find a measure of peace in the great outdoors or by traveling.   

I realized that my relationship with God is what fulfills me more than anything else and that I didn’t necessarily need to run off and “do something” just to do it. God is with me. It’s not like I would have found Him waiting for me on the shores of Lake Ontario, although I’m sure we would have enjoyed ourselves there! 

I realized that the most important thing in my life was Him and that my desire to work on the teachings for a discipleship class I will be teaching in the fall was the thing I wanted to do the most next week.  I realized that with God I lack nothing, and I didn’t want to waste anytime on my vacation in transit when I could find rest at home and peace in His presence. 

So, my physical body may not go far from home next week, but I am sure that the Lord is going to show me some things that will be worthwhile. He always does.  He knows me better than I know myself. He never forgets about me, and He always leads me to something good.

(There is more content to help you walk out your journey of faith at MT4Christ dot org. You can also subscribe to the mt4christ247 podcast to hear this message, our discipleship classes, and our weekly Bible Study, on Apple, Google, and Amazon Podcasts, as well as Audible and Podbean).

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This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Today’s verse speaks about our purpose in life, to give God glory.  

The context that precedes today’s verse involves dealing with the “weaker’ brother.  Back in Paul’s time there was pagan worship of idols. One of the practices of pagans included the sacrifice, cooking, and feasting of animals in honor of their pagan God.  Sometimes the pagans would offer their pagan god a meal and leave out food for them to consume.  After pagan worship was over, some industrious pagans would take meat that was not used and sell it at market.  Many religious people of the Jews considered this meat to be defiled, unclean, and unusable. 

However, Christ himself taught that there is no unclean meat in the new covenant which He established, check out Acts 10 for the Lord’s interaction with Peter.  

Anyway, some Christians armed with the truth that Christ revealed realized that this meat was okay to eat.  Others, remembering the Old Testament provisions, didn’t think the meat was okay to eat and that it would be a sin to do so.  

Instead of Paul recommending that we berate those who didn’t grasp the truth that no meat is unclean, he stated that those with knowledge should treat their weaker brothers with compassion and change their behaviors for their sakes.  If eating pagan meat was going to be a problem for some in your company, you should abstain for their sake.  

This provision could also apply to alcoholic beverages. Drunkenness is to be avoided but it is not a sin to drink alcoholic beverages. However because of the damage that the abuse of alcohol can wage, some like myself, recommend and practice complete abstinence of alcohol.  

For some in recovery, they can’t be around alcohol for fear of relapse.  I have recently confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not one of these people. The Lord has delivered me from the temptation and given me freedom.  

But for the sake of those “weaker” brothers who either struggle with a history of alcoholism or for those who morally object to drinking alcohol, the mature Christian who enjoys the occasional potent potable should be compassionate and not partake in their company.  Their restraint would show their companions compassion and give glory to the Lord.

Anyway, Paul concludes with today’s verse, that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do we are to do it for the glory of the Lord.  

The principle is that our purpose is to always honor and glorify the Lord with all our actions, up to and including sacrificing our personal enjoyment for the sake of others.  

We have been freed from the law of sin and death, but we are not to use our freedom in a manner that would offend or to cause another brother to fall into temptation and sin.  

With the great freedom that Christ has given us, we have a great responsibility to love the Lord our God by loving our neighbors as ourselves.  We wouldn’t want others to do things that would potentially harm us, and we likewise are to demonstrate the love of the Lord by doing the same for them.    

I love this verse because it really speaks to the all-encompassing nature of our faith. That from the simple acts of eating and drinking, we can give glory to God. 

From this verse, we can understand that our entire lives are to be lived in a manner that gives God glory. Everything we do in our lives matters.   So let’s live our lives in the way that will give God the most glory by being aware of what we are doing, why we are doing it, and the potential consequences to ourselves and others.  

 

 

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 7.

 

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:

Feelings Are God's Red Flag of Warning

From birth, you have been developing in your mind a means for experiencing these eight values and reaching other goals in life. Consciously or subconsciously, you continue to formulate and adjust your plans for achieving these goals.

Sometimes, however, your well-intended plans and noble-sounding goals are not completely in harmony with God's plans and goals for you. How can I know if what I believe is right? you may be wondering. Must I wait until I am 45 years old or until I experience some kind of midlife crisis to discover that what I believed in these eight areas was wrong?

I don't think so. I believe God has designed you in such a way that you can know on a moment-by-moment basis if your belief system is properly aligned with God's truth. God has established a feedback system designed to grab your attention so you can examine the validity of your goals and beliefs. When an experience or relationship leaves you feeling angry, anxious or depressed, those emotional signposts are there to alert you that you may be cherishing a faulty goal based on a wrong belief.

Anger Signals a Blocked Goal

When your activity in a relationship or a project results in feelings of anger, it is usually because someone or something has blocked your goal, something or somebody is preventing you from accomplishing what you wanted. How do you feel in a traffic jam when it is preventing you from getting to an important meeting on time?

Suppose a wife and mother says, "My goal in life is to have a loving, harmonious, happy Christian family." Who can block that goal? Every person in her family can block that goal—not only can, they will! A homemaker clinging to the belief that her sense of worth is dependent on her family will crash and burn every time her husband or children fail to live up to her image of family harmony. She could become a very angry and controlling woman or a defeated victim of life's circumstances. Either option could drive family members even farther away from her and each other.

What if a pastor's goal is to reach his community for Christ? Good goal? It is a wonderful desire, but if his sense of worth and success as a pastor is dependent on that happening, he will experience tremendous emotional turmoil. Every person in the community can block his goal. Furthermore, two old board members may even try to block his goal. Pastors who believe their success is dependent on others will end up fighting with their boards, controlling members, praying their opposition out of the church or quitting.

"Whatever is not from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23); therefore, an outburst of anger should prompt us to reexamine what we believe and the mental goals we have formulated to accomplish those beliefs.

My daughter, Heidi, helped me with this process one Sunday morning while I was trying to hustle my family out the door for church. I had been waiting in the car for several minutes before I stomped back into the house and shouted angrily, "We should have left for church 15 minutes ago!"

All was silent for a moment, then Heidi's soft voice floated around the corner from her bedroom: "What's the matter, Dad; am I blocking your goal?" That is the question you need to hear right before you preach!


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

 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Beyond Covid 19, Addiction, and Divorce: Hope for a New Life : Purity 444


Beyond Covid 19, Addiction, and Divorce: Hope for a New Life 

Purity 444 06/14/2021 Purity 444 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of sunset over Saratoga Lake from the vantage point of Doc Brown’s at Browns Beach Marina in Saratoga Springs comes to us from yours truly as I spent this past Saturday evening enjoying the company of new friends and the festive atmosphere of a Skeeter Creek musical performance.   I haven’t been to an outdoor concert of any size in years and the experience was great on so many levels. 

First, in what I will declare as the dwindling days of Covid-19, it was awesome to be out in public with so many people to enjoy the wonderful weather and good times at an outdoor concert.  The lead singers of Skeeter Creek commented more than once about how good it was to be out performing and getting to see old friends that they had been separated from.  The mini concert was a celebration of life and the general lack of masks made us all remember what things were like before 2020 and gave us the hope that despite the persistent fear that still exists many of us are going to live our lives much like we did before the pandemic.   

Second, it was a personally great for me in terms of my new life and leaving the darkness of addiction behind.  Even though I was in a festive party atmosphere where alcohol was flowing, I honestly felt no temptation to drink and felt comfortable in my own skin.  I was relaxed and was able to dance and sing along with the band as I discovered that I don’t need booze to be uninhibited and enjoy the company of others.  I give all the glory to God, of course, because through the years He has helped me to mature to this level through faith in Christ and the renewing of my mind.  I’m so glad that I went out because this experience proves to me that the Lord really has taken “the hooks of addiction” out of me and I can live the rest of my life with confidence and don’t have to limit where I can go to enjoy life and to share the hope and love that Christ put in me.  

And finally, the experience was good for me relationally, meaning I could go out with no expectations or overwhelming desire to find romance.   To be honest, in the wake of my divorce, my devastated heart cried out for me to fill the void that my divorce from my ex created.  

To be totally transparent, I have already been disappointed a couple of times by what I considered to be adequate candidates for the position of “new wife” as I was politely but definitively rejected.

In hindsight, I am relieved that I didn’t have success because in both cases I had ignored incompatibility issues or had invested myself way too deeply emotionally before establishing an actual relationship.  I was willing to look past red flags to the exclusion of reason or to quote the wisdom of Air Supply’s 80’s hit, I was “making love out of nothing at all.”

So with those disappointments, and some close self-evaluation, I have come to a place where I am comfortable with myself and don’t have to find a romantic partner to be complete.  So while I could appreciate the beauty of the women that were around me at this event, I didn’t feel the need to chase after them as I would have in the single days of my past. I realized that in the past I had to put in much effort to get involved in my romantic entanglements and that because I wasn’t looking for “Ms. Right Now” I was safe from repeating mistakes of the past.

 I was also strangely relieved in the fact that I am not completely irresistible to women and didn’t have to worry because nobody was interested in me anyway.  That’s not false humility, that’s just reality and I’m okay with that.  Again, I would have to give God the glory for bringing me to this place of peace.  From this sense of peace and contentment, I will choose to follow His lead for the rest of my life and will see whether His plan includes a new spouse or not.    

So don’t be afraid to go out and have some fun this summer, but when you do make sure you get right with God and honestly examine where you are in life.  If we start a pursuit of happiness that we think will be fulfilled by experiences or relationships that don’t include God, we will eventually be disappointed as we either compromise who He has made us to be, or we make choices that lack the wisdom and discernment that He can give us when we walk with Him.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Today’s verse is the last verse in the book of Matthew, directly relates to my current ministry, and provides us with eternal comfort.      

In the previous verse, 19, Jesus directs us to go into all the nations to make disciples and to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.   

While I have led corporate prayers of salvation/rededication in different settings over the years, no one has reported that my efforts lead them to a saving relationship with Christ.  Also, other than myself, and my kids, in the family swimming pool during the early days of my salvation, I haven’t baptized anyone.  

So while I can’t make the claim that I was integral in “making” disciples, I can say I have been active in teaching “believers” to observe all the things that Christ has commanded us to do over the last 6 years.  

While our previous ministry was deemed a recovery ministry, the reasons why we needed to deviate from calling ourselves a Celebrate Recovery ministry was because from the start our ministry at Rock Solid Church didn’t fit that simple categorization because we included aspects of Christian discipleship that went beyond AA’s 12 Steps or Celebrate Recovery’s 8 principles.   

My participation in the Celebrate Freedom Recovery Ministry, and the transition to the Community Freedom Discipleship Classes at Rock Solid Church has all been motivated by my desire to teach believers in Christ to become disciples of Christ and to experience their freedom in Christ in the process.  

And as Christ’s words in theses verses at the end of Matthew indicate, He calls us all to teach others what He has commanded us to do.   That goes for every Christian.  In Christ we all have infinite value to those around us because what we know has the potential to pull someone from utter destruction or to lead a Christian into a deeper relationship with God.   

So make sure that you speak up when people need to hear the truth or the words of encouragement that the Lord has given you.   His last words in this verse assure us of His presence in our lives even to the end of the age, so we are to take comfort in that promise and do our best to bring others to know it too.

 

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 3.

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 3

See Yourself for Who You Really Are

Claire attended a church college ministry I was involved in several years ago. On a physical, material level, Claire had absolutely nothing going for her. She had a dumpy figure and a poor complexion. Her father was a drunken bum who had deserted his family. Her mother worked two menial jobs just to make ends meet. Her older brother, a drug addict, was always in and out of the house.

When I first met Claire, I was sure she was the ultimate wallflower. I didn't think there was any way she could compete for acceptance in a college-aged society that is attracted to physical beauty and material success. To my pleasant surprise, though, everybody in the group liked Claire and loved to be around her. She had lots of friends, and eventually she married the nicest guy in the college department.

What was her secret? Claire simply accepted herself for who God said she was in Christ, and she confidently committed herself to God's great goal for her life: to love people and grow in Christ. She wasn't a threat to anyone. Instead, she was so positive and caring toward others that everyone loved her.

Derek, a man in his early 30s, was enrolled in our missions program at Talbot School of Theology several years ago. I barely knew Derek until he attended a conference where I spoke about the critical importance of understanding our spiritual identity in Christ. The next week he came to see me and tell me his story.

Derek grew up with a father who demanded perfection in everything his son did. Derek was an intelligent, talented young man, but no matter how hard he tried or how well he succeeded, he seemed unable to please his father. The man continually pushed his son for better performance.

Striving to fulfill his father's expectations, Derek earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and qualified for flight school. He achieved what most young men only dream about: becoming a member of the elite corps of Navy fliers.

"After I completed my obligation to the Navy," Derek told me, "I decided that I wanted to please God with my life. But I saw God as a perfectionistic heavenly shadow of my earthly father, and I figured the only way I could fulfill His expectations for me was to become a missionary. I'll be honest with you. I enrolled in the missions program for the same reason I went to Annapolis: to please a demanding Father.

"Then I attended your conference last Saturday. I had never heard that I am unconditionally loved and accepted by my heavenly Father and I never understood who I already am in Christ. I've always worked so hard to please Him by what I do, just as I struggled to please my natural father. I didn't realize that I already please Him by who I am in Christ. Now I know that I don't have to be a missionary to please God, so I'm changing my major to practical theology."

Derek studied for a practical theology degree for about a year. Then he had the opportunity to serve on a short-term missions team in Spain. When Derek returned from his trip he burst into my office and excitedly told me about his ministry experience in Spain. "I'm changing my major again," he concluded.

"To missions, right?" I responded with a smile.

"Right," Derek beamed. "But I'm not going into missions because I need God's approval. I know God already loves and accepts me as His child. Now I'm planning to be a missionary because I love Him and want to serve Him."

I told Derek, "That is the fundamental difference between being driven and being called."


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


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Purity 385: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Purity 385 04/06/2021 Purity 385 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo comes from our friends at Community Life Church as they shared this sunrise view from Mike’s Point in Catskill New York as the Catskill Ecumenical Council of Churches held an Easter Morning Sunrise Service at 6:30 am this past Sunday.

You have to love the spirit of unity and the enthusiasm that the six churches of the council displayed in coming together to celebrate Christ’s resurrection as well as the wonderful view of God’s creation in their local community.    

I share photos from friends all over the country and from around the world to show the beauty of God’s handiwork and to highlight the fact that God’s presence is still active in the world and He is seeking to give us the peace and hope that is possible through the work that Christ did during his earthly ministry to bridge the gap between God and man.   

Faith in Christ has the power to save and transform our lives, and having personally experienced God’s love, mercy, and grace, I am not surprised that this group of Christians decided to brave the crisp temperatures at 6:30 am in Greene County to come together to worship the Lord and give Him the glory for their resurrected lives.     

That’s right, when we place our faith in Christ, we share in His death and resurrection. So keep walking and talking to God, because when our faith is certain and our doubts are diminished, we can experience the assurance of life everlasting and the power to endure and overcome the negative circumstances of this life with a peace that goes beyond all understanding.

(An Audio version of this message is available at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, you can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D).) There is more content at the restricted blog. Follow me on Twitter or MeWe for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 14:2 (NKJV)
2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Today’s verse displays some of Christ’s parting words to the Apostles before He was to be crucified.  While the Apostles struggled to understand what Christ was talking about in the moment, we have the benefit of knowing that Christ overcame death itself.  As puzzling as these words were to the Apostles, they are a comforting promise of the reality of the afterlife for all those who have placed their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  

When we trust in the gospel narratives and what they tell us about what Jesus said and how He rose from the dead, we should be not only comforted of a good place to go to when we die, Hello Mansions!, but we should be empowered by the fact that we as Christians have the promise of essentially overcoming death.  

We get to share in Christ’s example as one who clearly died but some how rose to life again.  Christ’s resurrection shows us that, although the people alive at the time may have thought that Jesus was dead and gone, He was actually fulfilling the words of this verse. Although He appeared to be dead and stiff, He was active and alive in the spiritual realm (1 Peter 3:18-22, 4:6, Ephesians 4:8-10) preparing a place for us and announcing the good news of His victory to the faithful departed.    

I always say that context matters and as good as verse 2 is at assuring us of a good place being prepared for us. Verse 3 assures of Christ coming again and receiving us.  

John 14:3 (NKJV)
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Where He is, we will be also. So whether we see Christ after we pass into eternity, or if He should surprise us with His return to earth while we are still alive, we will be with Him. Jesus is Emanuel- God with us. 

So remember that we have the promise of eternal life and the assurance of His return to reclaim the earth, but we also have the benefit of His presence in our lives of faith and that we can be with Him when we pray, remember His life and words, and when we seek to live according to His example.  He will never leave us or forsake us, and He will be with us always, even to the end of the age. 

I invite all to mt4chritst.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we will conclude sharing from Dr. June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys on “Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work:

H. How to Realize the Power of Prayer ... On Behalf of the One Addicted

Josh Hamilton and his friend Johnny Narron are out on the road, and while many of Josh's teammates are having a beer at the hotel bar, the secluded pair are drinking "living water" (John 4:10). Abundantly supplied by their Lord and Savior, Josh and Johnny are studying the Word of God and find themselves refreshed by its truths and precepts. Johnny is determined to keep praying and to keep standing by Josh during every step of his difficult journey.

"I'm there for Josh, always. When he gets antsy, he'll come up to me and say, 'Johnny, let's do a devotional.'" And once again, the two drink "living water" and find their spiritual thirst exceedingly quenched.

As testimony to the tremendous power of prayer, Josh and Katie have founded Triple Play Ministries to handle their numerous speaking engagements highlighting their story of restoration and redemption. And, while conducting Christian baseball camps for kids, Josh explains, "The biggest thing we want to do is to share Jesus Christ with people."

Concerning Josh, Johnny is obedient to the following Scripture, and many, many people are blessed. ...

"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right."
(1 Samuel 12:23)

As you appeal to God on behalf of your loved one ...

  • Pray with thanksgiving for what God has done for both you and your loved one.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

  • Pray for God to reveal any harmful responses on your part.

"You desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place" (Psalm 51:6).

  • Pray for a sincere love for the struggler and that both of you would love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ..." (Matthew 5:44).

  • Pray for strongholds to be broken and for the ground given to drugs to be reclaimed by God.

"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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 10:4-5).

  • Pray for faith that, with God, lasting change can occur, and God will be glorified.

"... all things are possible with God" (Mark 10:27).

  • Pray for the struggler to be filled with the knowledge of God and to live a life worthy of Him and pleasing to Him.

"... we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience ..." (Colossians 1:9-11).

  • Pray with consistency and persistence, realizing the supernatural power of God is essential in the life of your loved one.

"... pray continually ..." (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

"If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Our all-American hero, Mickey Mantle, became a new creation as he approached his death. Mickey died at the age of 63, but his final months were not marred by his trademark foul-mouthed, falling-down-drunk behavior. One writer described the "new" Mickey Mantle: "In those last days and weeks, even as his body was breaking down, Mickey Mantle had acquired, quietly and with almost an ethereal elegance, a strength and dignity he did not know he possessed. He faced his own death with that strength and became a new kind of hero."

This new strength and dignity did not come from Mickey Mantle himself, but from the Lord Jesus Christ, who forgave all of Mickey's sins and gave him the free gift of eternal life. ...

"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground."
(Psalm 143:10)

You may say, "I can't. ... I've tried. ... I just can't do it!"

Well, maybe it's true that you don't have the stamina to stop ... and stay stopped.

But understand that Christ hasn't called you to stay sober alone.

The Bible reveals this secret ...

"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."
(1 Thessalonians 5:24 NASB)

— June Hunt


·  For further information on drugs see U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, "Drug Information" (Washington, D.C.: DEA, n.d.), http://www.justice.gov/dea/concern/concem.html and National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Commonly Abused Drugs" (Washington, D.C.: NIDA, n.d.), http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/DrugsofAbuse.html.

See Jay Johnson, Jane Carlisle Maxwell, and Marian Leitnerschmidt, A Dictionary of Slang Drug Terms, Trade Names, and Pharmacological Effects and Uses (Austin, TX: Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, 1997), http://www.tcada.state.tx.us/research/slang/terms.pdf.


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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

 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Purity 384: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Purity 384 04/05/2021 Purity 384 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of a sunset that looks like a painting rather than a photo was captured by a friend in Culpepper, Virginia last week. Although it’s the beginning of a new week, the sun has set on the holiday weekend where Christians remembered Jesus’ resurrection.      

As much as we may dread the end of the weekend and the special time to enjoy the company of our friends and family around such a joyous occasion, sometimes its just a great relief to leave the pageantry and hoopla behind and get back to our normal routines. 

Sometimes in our celebrations and mini vacations around the holidays, we abandon our routines that were put in place for a reason and overindulge in things that would normally be abstained from.    

While I didn’t lose all my senses and jump back into addictive substances of years gone by, my self-awareness did reveal that I have a real problem with “Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs” which acted as a “gateway drug” to other sugar filled treats! 

So I’m glad the holiday weekend is over!  It is my hope that I can leave my “chocoholism” behind and not look back as one of my goals is to establish a lifestyle of health that is complimented by making wise choices when it comes to food.   

This weekend there were many references to Christ’s pronouncement that “It is finished” when He died on the cross.  Jesus’s words are absolutely true of course. His work on the cross did pay for our sins and was the means by which we could be forgiven and have his righteousness imputed to us when we put our faith in Him.

But the resurrection points to the new life that we have in Him and while we can take great comfort in the fact that “it is finished” in one sense, it’s not over yet in another sense. 

Christ saves us where we are, but it doesn’t mean that He necessarily wants us to stay there.  When I put my faith in Christ, my life was consumed with addictions and other sins that were clearly outside of the boundaries of a Christian life. While I could have rested on the fact that “it is finished”, God called me to repentance and amazingly, after a few years of confusion and deeper levels of darkness, I answered the call and decided to trust God to lead me out of the shadows.

You have no idea how dark your life is until you decide to walk into the light. And as benign and harmless as “Reese Peanut Butter Eggs” may seem, that spirit of seeking comfort from substances instead of from God, reminded me of the dark days of the past and the fact that the world is full of temptations whose purpose is to pull us away from our relationship with God and the revelation of the truth that we have received.  

So, I am excited that the Christian holiday season is officially over and although “it is finished”, our commitment to living a Christian life has truly just begun as we enter the spiritual “no man’s land” of the rest of the year where there are virtually no compulsory Christian holidays until we sing “Silent Night” again in December.  

The question is “Will you attempt to crucify the flesh, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus” or will you go silent in your proclamations of faith and slowly slip into the darkness and compromise of a world system that is designed to quench the fire that the Holy Spirit has given you.  

I know I was thrilled after my salvation and was content to sit in the joy of the shadow of the cross but the Lord didn’t call us to life so we could just sit there. He called us to life to progressively put away our personal darkness and to shine the light that gives glory to God for the rest of the world to see.

 

(An Audio version of this message is available at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, you can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D).) There is more content at the restricted blog. Follow me on Twitter or MeWe for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Corinthians 9:7 (NKJV)
7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

Today’s verse is often used to encourage Christians to fulfill their duty to invest in their local church body with their tithes and offerings.   While our financial contributions to the local assembly are a blessing that keeps on giving, the enemy, that original spirit of rebellion embodied in Satan Himself, uses the call for tithes and offerings to turn people away from the church, making it easy to make accusations that “the church only wants your money”.

 

This verse can also be used by the legalist to impose a standard of giving that fuels the fires of disunity and self-righteousness at the same time.  

 

So I will choose to tread lightly as I attempt to encourage us all to give. 

 

Everyone has different situations that they are living under and may not have the means or spiritual maturity to be in a position to give as they would like to.  

 

The key, I think, to this verse is to look at the spirit with which we are called to give.

 

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart” indicates that there is not a one size fits all standard for giving that we must meet and that the call to give is highly personal to each individual.  The following phrases to give “not grudgingly or of necessity” supports this principle that we should seek to give from our hearts rather than out of a commandment for “God loves a cheerful giver”.   

 

I would also highlight that God doesn’t need your finances. He’s God, He owns everything and is the Great Provider.   We can’t pay off God for all that He has given us. Instead of your dollars and cents, He would undoubtedly prefer that you give Him your hearts. 

 

Giving our time, attention, service, honor, glory, and love to God through our faith and relationship with Him is the means through which we can grow to become a cheerful giver.  When we grow closer to Him, we will discover that there is nothing that we won’t freely give to Him for His purposes.  

 

So give yourself to God and all that He calls you to do. As you continue to walk in the Spirit, you will experience the fruit of the Spirit of joy that makes cheerful giving a real possibility. 

 

I invite all to mt4chritst.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we will share from Dr. June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys on “Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work:

G. How to Conduct a Crisis Intervention... with the One Addicted

Perhaps the most powerful act on behalf of a substance abuser is a crisis intervention — it is effective 80% of the time. And the most powerful aspect of a crisis intervention is the group dynamic — there is strength in numbers! When people individually try to stop an addict's behavior their appeals usually fall on deaf ears. (This was the case for Josh Hamilton, with family members virtually losing all hope for recovery.)

Individually, concerned loved ones can be powerless — as a group, they become powerful. A group can be empowered and used by God to move the seemingly immovable. God's Word lays out the blueprint for such an intervention. ...

"If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'"
(Matthew 18:15-16)

As you contemplate a crisis intervention ...

  • Pray for wisdom and understanding from the Lord.

"The Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:6).

  • Educate yourself regarding crisis intervention programs. Attend meetings on chemical dependency (for example, Overcomers Outreach, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and Narcotics Anonymous). Read materials on intervention and visit treatment facilities.

"The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out" (Proverbs 18:15).

  • Call a counseling office and request a referral to a Christian leader trained in intervention procedures.

"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed" (Proverbs 15:22).

  • Meet with an intervention specialist, if possible, to plan the approach. Discuss treatment program options, preadmission plans, procedures, insurance, and the impact of treatment on the addict's employment.

"Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise" (Proverbs 19:20).

  • Enlist the aid of key people who have been affected by the addict's harmful behavior and are willing to confront (caring family members, friends, coworkers, a doctor, employer, spiritual leader).

"A truthful witness saves lives ..." (Proverbs 14:25).

  • Hold a first meeting, in absolute confidentiality and without the addict present, in which these key people rehearse (if possible with the trained leader) what they will say, how they will say it, and the order in which they will speak when confronting.

"Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted ..." (Proverbs 27:5-6).

  • Hold a second meeting, this time with the addict present, where each key confronter, one at a time, communicates genuine care for the addict and shares the rehearsed confrontations (The Six Ps of an Appeal).

"The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit" (Proverbs 15:4).

The Six Ps of an Appeal

  1. The Personal

Affirm rather than attack.

o  — "I want you to know how much I care about you (or love you) and how terribly concerned I am about you."

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29).

  1. The Past

Give a recent, specific example describing the addict's negative behavior and the personal impact it had on you.

o  — "Dad, last night I felt so embarrassed and humiliated when you slurred your speech in front of my friend."

"An honest witness tells the truth ..." (Proverbs 12:17).

    • Be brief, keeping examples to three or four sentences.

"The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered" (Proverbs 17:27).

  1. The Pain

Emphasize the painful impact the addict's behavior has had on you. Use "I" statements.

o  — "I was devastated and deeply hurt because of the way you yelled at me."

"The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction" (Proverbs 16:23).

  1. The Plea

Make a personal plea for your loved one to receive treatment.

o  — "I plead with you to get the help you need to overcome your addiction. If you are willing, you will have my help and my deepest respect."

"The tongue has the power of life and death ..." (Proverbs 18:21).

  1. The Plan

Be prepared to implement an immediate plan if treatment is agreed on.

o  — "Your bags have been packed, and you have been accepted into the treatment program at            .

"Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?" (Proverbs 24:11-12).

  1. The Price

If the agreement is refused, detail the repercussions.

o  — "We cannot allow you to come home or to be with our family until you have been clean and sober for (name a specific period of time )"

"Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path; the one who hates correction will die" (Proverbs 15:10).

The Don'ts of Dialogue

We can be on the side of right, yet our actions can be wrong. Many times we can influence a person to want to change, not by what we say but by how we say it. The Bible says, "If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently" (Galatians 6:1).

  • Don't involve yourself in name-calling, preaching, or being judgmental — focus on behavior.

·    — "Last night, I felt belittled when you called me those vile names."

"Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue" (Proverbs 11:12).

  • Don't come to the defense of the addict when others are confronting. Instead, affirm their feelings.

·    — "It's understandable that his actions were extremely hurtful to you."

"There is a ... time to be silent and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).

  • Don't argue if your facts are disputed — simply state the facts.

·    — "I'm hearing you say your words weren't cutting. We'll just agree to disagree."

"The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome ..." (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

  • Don't overreact — keep your emotions under control.

·    — If verbally attacked, calmly state your position. If opposed again, calmly repeat the same words again ... and again. "This is in your best interest."

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires" (James 1:19-20).

  • Don't give ultimatums unless you are prepared to follow through with them — hold your ground.

·    — If your loved one, who hasn't followed through and finished what was promised says, "Let me come back this one time — I've learned my lesson! I promise not to do it again." You say, "No, you cannot come back until you have completed treatment."

"All you need to say is a simple 'Yes' or 'No'" (James 5:12).

  • Don't shield your loved one from facing the consequences of addiction — maintain your integrity.

·    — "I will not lie to your boss again."

"A man reaps what he sows" (Galatians 6:7).

  • Don't accept promises with no commitment for immediate action — words without actions are worthless.

·    — If the response is, "I can't go now, but I promise to go next month." Your role as the boundary setter is to convey the repercussion.

"The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps" (Proverbs 14:15).

This second meeting concludes with the addict either immediately entering a treatment program or experiencing the consequences of refusing treatment. ...

"Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue."
(Proverbs 28:23)

Helping Grandchildren

Question: "What can I do to help my grandchildren whose parents are both alcoholics and are violent and combative when intoxicated?"

Answer: Several options could be considered.

  • Ask several significant people to be a part of a crisis intervention.
  • Report the situation to a local CPS office (Child Protective Services).
  • Report drunk and disorderly conduct to the local police department.
  • Petition the court for custody of minor children.
  • Confront the parents regarding their behavior and your concerns for their children. Address the very real possibility of CPS taking them. Urge the couple to enter a treatment program.

Prayerfully consider which option would hold the greatest possibility for effecting change and develop a plan. Consult a counselor, a shelter, or a knowledgeable person for advice. Remember ...

"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed."
(Proverbs 15:22)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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