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Showing posts with label Testimony. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Testimony. Show all posts

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Freedom in Christ Lesson 3 - Choosing to Believe the Truth

The Bible tells us: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).


Lesson 3 Podcast: Lesson 3 - Choosing to Believe the Truth Podcast

Freedom in Christ Lesson 3: Choosing to Believe the Truth  

Questions before instruction for contemplation : Do you believe that an atheist has more or less faith than a Christian? What about a Hindu or a Muslim? What about someone who “just doesn’t know”?   

 Focus Verse:

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Objective: To understand that everyone lives by faith in something or someone and that faith in God is no more than finding out what is already actually true and choosing to believe and act on it.   

Focus Truth: God is truth. Find out what He said is true and choose to believe it, whether it feels true or not, and your Christian life will be transformed.  

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Ephesians 3:16-19 (NKJV)
16  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) 17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Faith Is Simply Believing What Is Already True

 The Bible tells us: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).

Faith is just finding out what is already true and making a choice to believe it

Faith is simply recognizing what is already actually true.

Hebrews 13:7 (ESV) 7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 

Everyone Lives and Operates by Faith 

The Critical Issue Is Who or What We Believe In  

Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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Pause for Thought 1

Questions:

“If you want to know what someone really believes, don’t listen to what they say, but look at what they actually do.” Spend some time thinking about or discussing this thought with others. 

God asks us to believe what the Bible says is true, even when it might not feel true. Share about a time when you chose to override your feelings and acted by faith instead. 

“It takes more faith to believe that there is no God than to believe in God.” What do you think about this statement?   

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M.T. Clark's Testimony: 

As you get to know that God, the object of your faith, really can be trusted with absolutely anything, you will trust Him for bigger and bigger things. But start where you are right now.

Have you ever wondered how Abraham could contemplate sacrificing his son Isaac? He had come to learn through experience that God was loving and could be trusted.

You start with what God has said is true and you choose to believe it. Don’t start with what you feel — you’ll be all over the place! You don’t feel your way into good behavior — you behave your way into good feelings. Your feelings will follow in due course.

I’m not at the Abraham level of faith yet but as I look back I can see that God has deliberately engineered circumstances to build my faith. If I look back to the when I first got saved, for example, I can see that the Lord led me on a journey that increased my faith. I had a lot of problems that I was hoping God would help me with. I found it a frustrating process because I didn’t seem to make much progress at first. I knew Jesus was the answer for my problems, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what I should do apart from praying for God to take my problems away and that didn’t seem to change anything.

Of my many problems, I would say the most obvious one was my drinking problem. Unfortunately, although I asked God to instantly take it away from me. It didn’t work that way.  

But One day I was serving in my local church when the pastor made an announcement that they were starting a recovery ministry. I sensed that God was telling me that this new ministry was for me and to put my pride aside and to go to the first meeting.

Odd really — but I took a small step of faith and went. The pastor who ran it actually thought I came to the first meeting to volunteer to help with the ministry because I was a Bible college student and a member of the worship team. But I explained that I wasn’t there to help but to get help.  

That was the start of a radical change in the direction of my life as it turned out — I had no idea at the time. I made it through the program but thought that I still had work to do to truly discover the freedom in Christ that others talked about having.

Later I discovered Neil Anderson’s book the Bondage Breaker and it made a lot of sense. I was intrigued with a process in the back called “The Steps to Freedom in Christ” which claimed to help people resolve personal and spiritual conflicts. Every story in the Bondage Breaker, ends with people being set free by doing the Steps to Freedom in Christ, so when I got to the end, I knew that I wanted to try the Steps for myself.

I prayed through the Steps as instructed and I really felt the chains coming off as I dedicated myself to God’s kingdom and renounced all the bondages of the past.  When I was done I was surprised by the silence I had in my thought life. All the condemning thoughts that I was used to were gone! I had a mental stillness and clarity that I had never really known.  I was free and I knew it.  

Since then I was given the authority over the recovery ministry and decided that our local church community, those who needed recovery or not, would be better served by learning to realize their freedom in Christ. So I started a Community Freedom Ministry under the authority of our local church leadership and with the guidance and training from Dr. Neil Anderson’s Freedom in Christ Ministries. A CFM teaches the freedom message that is based on the word of God and is found in Dr. Anderson’s best-selling books, where we encourage people to claim their freedom as Christians by going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.      

As I look back at all that I have walked through to come to this point, it really helps my faith. I now know that I never need to manipulate events but can trust God to deliver what He promises. I just need to wait. God has been gracious enough to me to show me clearly that He is real. I think He is ready to do that in all our lives. We simply start where we are and do what He has told us to do no matter how small it seems.

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Pause for Thought 2

Questions:

What are some of the ways our faith grows?

In what circumstances or season in your life have you noticed your faith grow the most?

What are some of the ways you have discovered that help you get to know God better?   

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Faith is Demonstrated by Actions

James 2:17-18 (ESV) 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

 No matter what we say, it’s what we do that shows what we really believe.

M. T. Clark's Faith in Action 

When my marriage failed and it became clear that I was to divorce, a lot of things were unpleasant, and the future was uncertain.  When out divorce agreement was finally signed, I realized that the conditions were not in my favor, and I was going to have to figure out a way to pay support and find a new place to live for me and my kids to call home. 

The financial burdens from attorney fees, debt, and support payments made it necessary to get a second job.  I also had to help my teenage children learn to drive, one of which was suffering from diabetes and was in therapy because of the instability in their life caused by both their parent’s divorce and difficulties with a personal relationship with their significant other. In the same time period, the other child saw their dreams of starring in their high school musical and figuring out their future after high school go up in smoke because of the shutdowns and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even though I didn’t know what was to become of myself and my children, I put my faith in the Lord and prayed everyday to give me the strength to carry on and to help deliver us from the toxic environment we were living in.   

As I worked two jobs, I encouraged my children the best I could and helped them get their licenses which was really needed because I was so busy with work.  The second job provided much needed income to help me to start a plan to get money for down payment and closing costs for a new house.  My meager planning would have resulted in my being able to begin to look for a house in June of 2020. 

But God, in the 9 months from October 2019 and June of 2020, the Lord strengthen and guided me to trust His still small voice to do things and to make financial moves that I didn’t really understand at the time but ultimately resulted in all my legal fees to being paid, the obligation to pay a portion of my ex’s legal fees to be paid, for all my personal debt to be paid, to provide for enough money for a down payment and closing costs to a new house, along with money to pay for needed repairs and renovations to the new place, along with new furniture for the new place.  

While my plans would have, allowed me to begin looking for a new house in June 2020, God’s plan had me essentially debt free and moving into a new house on the 25th of June, my birthday, in 2020, all during the Covid 19 pandemic.  

Oh by the way, I was also working on my master’s degree in Christian counseling during all this, eventually finishing my master’s thesis in my new home on October 31st, 2020.  I celebrated All Hallows’ Eve, or Reformation Day, knowing the full power of the Lord’s ability to take a seemingly hopeless situation and to turn it around for His glory.

My children and I now have a home that is defined by peace and stability. My one child no longer needs therapy, and both are currently flourishing and are enrolled in college.  

While I don’t know where our futures will take us, I know that I will continue to have faith and trust the Lord to be with us wherever we go.  

So, you can see that the question of how much faith you have is in your hands. It all depends on choosing to believe the truth and putting it into practice. 


If you want to know what you really believe, look at what you do

The outcome of your Christian life is in your hands.

 

The truth is that there’s no one here who can’t become a mature, fruitful disciple. There’s no one here who can’t resist temptation, get out of hopelessness, leave behind negative behavior and past influences and move on. You don’t need some special anointing from God or others. You just need to know what is already true, choose to believe it, and act on it. 

Now, we have another list of truths from the Bible that will help us with this. It’s called The Twenty “Cans” Of Success and I have provided it as a handout. Let’s read it aloud together. 

1.    Why should I say I can’t when the Bible says I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength? (Phil 4:13)

2.    Why should I lack when I know that God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus?  (Phil 4:19)

3.    Why should I fear when the Bible says God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind? (2 Tim. 1:7)

4.    Why should I lack faith to fulfill my calling knowing that God has allotted to me a measure of faith? (Rom12:3)

5.    Why should I be weak when the Bible says that the Lord is the strength of my life and that I will display strength and take action because I know God?  (PS 27:1)

6.    Why should I allow Satan supremacy over my life when He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world? (1 John 4:4)

7.    Why should I accept defeat when the Bible says that God always leads me in triumph? (2 Cor 2:14)

8.    Why should I lack wisdom when Christ became wisdom to me from God and God gives wisdom to me generously when I ask Him for it? (1 Cor 1:30, James 1:5)

9.    Why should I be depressed when I can recall to mind God’s loving kindness, compassion, and faithfulness and have hope? (Lam 3:21-23)

10. Why should I worry and fret when I can cast all my anxiety on Christ who cares for me? (1 Peter 5:7)

11. Why should I ever be in bondage knowing that, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom?  (Gal 5:1)

12. Why should I feel condemned when the Bible says I am not condemned because I am in Christ? (Rom 8:1)

13. Why should I feel alone when Jesus said He is with me always and He will never leave me nor forsake me? (Matt 28:20; Heb 13:5)

14. Why should I feel accursed or that I am the victim of bad luck when the Bible says that Christ redeemed me from the curse of the law that I might receive His Spirit?  (Gal 3:13-14)

15. Why should I be discontented when I, like Paul, can learn to be content in all my circumstances? (Phil 4:11)

16. Why should I feel worthless when Christ became sin on my behalf that I might become the righteousness of God in Him? (2 Cor 5:21)

17. Why should I have a persecution complex knowing that nobody can be against me when God is for me?  (Rom 8:31)

18. Why should I be confused when God is the author of peace, and He gives me knowledge through His indwelling Spirit? (1 Cor 2:12; 14:33)

19. Why should I feel like a failure when I am a conqueror in all things through Christ? (Rom 8:37)

20. Why should I let the pressures of life bother me when I can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its tribulations? (John 16:33)

We’ll have one more list to share with you later in the course. Keep in mind that there’s nothing magical about reading these lists out. The truth in them will only have an effect on your life to the extent that you decide to believe it. But reading the lists out loud — as soon as you wake up in the morning for several weeks — is a great way to commit yourself to affirm and believe the truth. Many people have said that their lives have been completely transformed just by doing that.

Elijah said: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).

Will you take this opportunity to make a new commitment to base your life completely on what God says is true, regardless of your feelings and regardless of the opinions of others?

Reflection

 Objective: To help people grasp the truths in the “20 Cans of Success” list at a deeper level.


Read the 20 Cans of Success. Pause after each one and ask yourself why that truth is or could be particularly meaningful to you.  

Which truth is most significant to you? Write it down and personalize it, for example, “Why should I, MT, say I can’t when the Bible says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?  Take time to digest and enjoy this truth, asking God to help you receive it in your spirit.   

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Witness: 

Think of someone you know who is not yet a Christian. What does the Bible say about why they don’t yet believe see 2 Corinthians 4:4, Romans 10:14-14)? 

Write a prayer you could pray that specifically asks God to do something about the things that are stopping them from believing. Then take God at his word and pray it.

In the Coming Week:

Every Day Read the 20 “Cans” of Success List out loud. Then pick one of the truths that is particularly appropriate to you and make a decision to believer it regardless of your feelings or circumstances. If you can find a way of stepping out in faith some practical way based on that truth, so much better! 

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 Thank You for your interest! 

We pray that you have made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior of your life and will now choose to believe the Truth of God's Word and live by acting on it. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Getting to Know You – Courage at the Fire - Purity 530


Getting to Know You –  Courage at the Fire - Purity 530

Purity 530 09/22/2021  Purity 530 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of some hay bales in the foreground of a stunning view of the Catskill Mountains from the vantage point of Johnny Cake Hill Rd in Westerlo NY comes to us from yours truly as I decided to head for the Helderbergs on the last day of the Summer of 2021.  When you are given the freedom of movement, you should take advantage of it to go out there and see what you can see. It is often when we decide to be spontaneous and take a random turn that you can feel liberated and discover some beauty you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

God has given us the physical capability of movement to explore our world, but He has also given us minds to think and explore the possibilities of life and to consider things from different perspectives.  As we must deal with changing seasons and situations in life, it can be a good idea to step back and look at the situations in your life from an elevated position where you can see it all from a distance where you are not focusing too much on any one thing in particular and where you can objectively view it all to plot your course into the future with some clarity.  That’s why it is beneficial to periodically take breaks to reflect on where you have been and to reassure yourself of where you are going.

Last night, I met with my divorce support group at one of the member’s houses around a bonfire. It is always a blessing when a group of Christians get together to support one another in their journey through life.  As our group has been meeting for a few months now, the group is growing closer, and people have come to feel that they want to share more of their experience, so we have a better idea of who they are and what they have been through.  

Last night in the normal course of business of the meeting, one of the women announced to the group that she wanted to share more of her story and confessed that although she had talked about her recent divorce, she had been married once before. This woman is the  only person in our group who is childless and had shared previously how she had wanted children but had suffered miscarriages. 

Last night she confessed that in her first marriage one of her miscarriages was the direct result of an incident of domestic violence. She didn’t say this, but in essence, her ex-husband had killed their baby.

In the movies there is stirring music to accompany such a confession to help express the shock and the weight of such a traumatic revelation but in real life there is just stunned silence when people don’t know what to say. It was sort of an awkward moment that was compound by the fact that this woman shared it in a transition point in the meeting where the ingredients for smores where being passed out and she was interrupted right from the start of her testimony.  The interruption was jarring, and she had to be encouraged to “say what she was going to say” only to reveal a traumatic event from her past that demanded our attention and compassion.  

She said she felt foolish for sharing it and questioned why she did it. I was seated next to her so I spoke up and said that her sharing that with us was very brave, that the group was there to support her, and that it helped us to get to know her better, and her words would encourage the rest of the group to know that our group was a safe place to talk about anything from our pasts.   I also said that her testimony proved how good God was because even with that terrible loss and pain in her life, she had survived and has gone on the be an encouraging presence for faith at her local church. 

Things settled after her testimony but as the night went on other members of the group admitted that they had been in relationships where they encountered domestic violence and manipulative control.  But each one of them also spoke of how they escaped it and have found peace on the other side of their pain because of their individual efforts to free themselves and because of their faith in God.  

There were other testimonies about surviving various trials in life and how people had forgiven things that seemed unforgivable, and they all pointed to God’s presence in the lives of the people through their faith in Jesus Christ.   

It’s Wednesday today, and the first day of Autumn, we have made it to the midpoint of the week and another season of life.  The people who sat around that fire last night experienced a lot during this past summer season.  Some finalized their divorces, others had disasters with their homes or had family members suffer illness or injury, some have moved, and others had children leave home for college.

As we have shared our lives with one another we have drawn closer together and we have grown stronger than where we were only a few months ago because of it and because each one of us has encouraged one another to trust the Lord and to continually go to Him for guidance and strength.  

So as we enter Autumn, take a moment to have a look around at where you are today. While the distant past and the summer of ’21 that we leave behind has left its marks on us, the Lord is calling us forward. Because of the design of His creation, the Lord leaves us no choice but to go forward in time. But when we decide to trust our lives in His hands by making Christ our Lord and Savior, we don’t have to fear the future or be victims of the past.

Our living relationship with God gives us the power to heal and to overcome whatever situations the world may dish out.   So keep walking and talking with God, we might not be able to see too far into the future but if we walk with Him every day we can be assured that we are going in the right direction and that our destination is going to be a good one.     


Short announcement: Apparently we used the last memory verse flash card from Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries provided resource:  “Freedom: Our Life in Christ” Memory Verse Cards set yesterday, so we are drawing from my stack of index cards again.    

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NKJV)
4  knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.

Today’s verse very briefly but profoundly tells us what we should know. 

Often in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles to the church, Paul can have some long sentences that are packed with theological truths that can easily be missed in the overall context of what he is saying.  I have learned to take two approaches to scripture reading to help with my understanding.  

As I often have stated context is king, and we don’t necessarily just want to grab a Bible verse without understanding what else is being said around the verse and to understand setting when the verse was written.   Unpacking the context and historical implications of scripture can give us a wide view to understand what the Bible is teaching us. 

The second approach I use at times is to just look at the bare facts, or the words, in scripture. In this method I will look past all of Paul’s adjectives and adverbs and additional clauses and just sort of look at the nouns and verbs to get to the “bottom line” of what the Apostle, and God through him, is saying.  

With today’s verse, we use the second approach to focus on it.  We the “beloved brethren” are beloved, and we are to know our “election by God.”  

God voted for me and you to be elected to His kingdom! He picked us. The Maker of all things picked us to be His and to be with Him forever. The One who is all powerful and all knowing picked us!

This small verse also declares us as “beloved”. God loved us enough to have Christ come to earth and suffer and die to save us.  We are beloved.  

So as we usually look to the larger context of scripture, let’s remember that we can also benefit greatly from studying the minute details in scripture.  

The details that we are beloved and elected by God is no small thing and if we can hold onto that knowledge as part of our identity on a daily basis, we can face the rest of our lives with peace and hope. 

The peace comes from knowing we are picked by God and are His beloved sons and daughters.  The hope comes from knowing that some day we will see Him face to face and that every day we live is an opportunity to walk into the purpose that He has prepared for us.  

So keep walking and talking with God because when you do its hard to forget you have been chosen by Him before time began and that He loves you dearly.

 

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:

 

C. How to Have a Transformed Life

But only hours after the race is over . . . there are rumblings . . . of a ruse.

Is Rosie Ruiz really the female victor of the 1980 Boston Marathon? A couple of men spot her running through a crowd of spectators while the race is still going on, and in the most bizarre twist of the apparently brazen plot, Rosie is spotted riding the subway during the race! One woman recounts that Rosie isn't even sweating.

As it turns out, after exiting the race Rosie does indeed board a subway and gets off about a mile from the finish line to sprint her way to "victory." Bill Rodgers is asked how he feels now looking back at the post-race celebration that turned out to be a shameful sham. "Wow, it was weird," he recalls, shaking his head. "It was really weird." It's as if she believes her own con, according to Bill. And then she tells him several days after the race: "I want to bring out the truth." All the while, Bill says, she looks as sincere as a nun.

Rosie Ruiz desperately needs . . . a transformed life.

Scripture is clear about the root of Rosie's troubles. . . .

"Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy."

(Proverbs 12:20)

Reaching the Target: Transformation!



 Target #1—A New Purpose: God's purpose for me is to be conformed to the character of Christ.

"Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son..." (Romans 8:29).

—"I'll do whatever it takes to be conformed to the character of Christ."

Target #2—A New Priority: God's priority for me is to change my thinking.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).

—"I'll do whatever it takes to line up my thinking with God's thinking.

Target #3—A New Plan: God's plan for me is to rely on Christ's strength, not my strength, to be all He created me to be.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 ESV).

—"I'll do whatever it takes to fulfill His plan in His strength."

 

My Personalized Plan to Be a Boundary Builder

Use the following acrostic of the word boundaries as a tool to help you become an effective boundary builder.

I will...

Begin to build healthy boundaries

  • —God loves me and wants me to have healthy boundaries.
  • —It's not too late to begin learning how to set new boundaries.
  • —Change will be difficult, but I know the Lord will be my strength.
    "The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives"
    (Proverbs 16:17).

Overcome the fear of others' disapproval of my boundaries

  • —Personalize and memorize:
    "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).
  • —Personalize and memorize:
    "We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts" (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
  • —Personalize and memorize:
    "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Understand that boundaries are biblical

  • —God established boundaries from the very beginning.
  • —God has personal boundaries.
  • —God expects me to live my life according to the boundaries He has laid out for me in Scripture.
    "I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44).

Notify others of my boundaries (family, friends, coworkers)

  • —Recognize my resources and responsibilities.
  • —Communicate clearly what my convictions are.
  • —Share sensitively the reasons I am establishing healthier boundaries.
    "Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the Head, that is, Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).

Develop relationships with people who have healthy boundaries

  • —Seek out people to be around who have healthy boundaries.
  • —Ask God to bring mature people into my life to befriend me and help me.
  • —Become more aware of boundary violations and address them—a sign of being healthier!
    "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm" (Proverbs 13:20).

Admit my limitations and keep on trying

  • —Identify people I need to forgive who have violated my boundaries.
  • —Ask forgiveness of those I have offended by trampling over their boundaries.
  • —Commit to keep starting over again when I fail.
    "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).

Realize that boundaries were formed from infancy and that it will take time to learn how to set and maintain new ones

  • —The bonding process in infancy is the most powerful influence on boundary building, but it doesn't mean I can't build healthy boundaries as an adult.
  • —Identify and evaluate the boundaries I formed in childhood and determine which ones may be counterproductive in my life now.
  • —Make a plan to replace the harmful, unhealthy boundaries I formed in childhood with new, beneficial ones.
    "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Identify healthy boundaries for myself and commit to maintaining them

  • —Communicate my boundaries.
  • —State what I will do if people cross my boundaries.
  • —Follow through when my boundaries are crossed.
    "My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know" (Job 33:3).

Encourage my family members to establish boundaries

  • —Share my decision to establish healthy, beneficial boundaries
  • —Express my gratitude for their differing but meaningful roles in my life
  • —Invite them to join with me as I seek to please God and be the person He created me to be
    "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. . . . Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..." (Romans 15:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

See my identity in Christ

  • —God chose me.
  • —God adopted me.
  • —God redeemed me.
    "He chose us in him before the creation of the world. . . . In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. . . . In him [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding" (Ephesians 1:4-8).

Potential Angry Reactions from Others

Question: "How should I handle potential angry reactions from others when I attempt to set boundaries?"

Answer: There are typically two different methods that people utilize in an effort to get others to do what they want them to do or not do what they don't want them to do. While there is nothing fun about them, they are referred to as "games."...

  • The Guilt Game
    • —As you start to establish healthy boundaries, others may try and make you feel guilty. That is false guilt.
    • —You may be accused of not loving others because of putting up boundaries. That is false guilt.
    • —If you begin to feel that others may not love you or if you begin to question whether you really do love them because of your boundary building, pray this Scripture. . . .
      "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. . . . in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4).
  • The Blame Game
    • —As you begin to establish boundaries and to take charge of your life, others may become angry with you for having to adjust to the "new" you. This is a ploy to get you to go back to your old ways of being manipulated and controlled through guilt.
    • —Having healthy boundaries means not manipulating others and not being manipulated by others. To be the slave of another's emotional game playing is a sign of having no boundaries.
    • —Be faithful to remember: A properly focused conscience that knows the will of God will do what is right.
      "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2).

Starting Good Boundaries

Question: "How do I begin the process of setting good boundaries?"

Answer: The best way to start the boundary-setting process is by consulting with the Creator and reading His Word for living a life that is both pleasing to Him and fulfilling for you. Before you build a city, you lay a solid and steadfast foundation, and that foundation is the Word of God.

Another important step is consulting with several people you know who have firmly established, biblical boundaries. Glean some sound advice from them as to where you should start. Be sure to...

  • Step 1: Pray for the Lord to reveal to you your need and how to move forward.
  • Step 2: Pinpoint where your boundaries are weak.
  • Step 3: Partner with someone who will hold you accountable.
  • Step 4: Prepare to see changes in your relationships with others.
  • Step 5: Permit yourself small rewards along the way. Boundary building is hard work!
  • Step 6: Provide a support system of friends and family for when you go into potential "danger zones" that can trigger old responses.
  • Step 7: Prioritize the people or areas that you want to set boundaries for—don't try to tackle all of them at one time.

As you commit your plans and efforts to God and as you begin the process of working with your accountability partner, remember...

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor."

(Ecclesiastes 4:9)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – 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, July 14, 2021

Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God - Purity 470


Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God

Purity 470 07/14/2021   Purity 470 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo from atop Giant Mountain, the twelfth-highest peak in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Park in upstate NY, comes to us from a friend’s recent summit of the peak that is also known as "Giant of the Valley” due to its stature looking over Keene Valley and St. Hubert’s to the west.  Our adventurous friend truly made the most of their day as they also summited nearby Rocky Peak Ridge, and then spent the remainder of the day boating on Lake George!  But here up above the clouds on top of Giant Mountain, our friend took a moment to sit and take a rest with their companion to enjoy a bird’s eye view of God’s creation.      

I share today’s photo because of the epic view but also because it reminded me of a couple of phrases from scripture that speak of the peace we have when we come into relationship with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.  

Seeing our friend’s companion’s feet stretched out on Giant Mountain with a few wispy clouds below I thought of the phrase in the Bible that refers to Christians as being seated in the heavenlies with Christ. The exact passage is:  

Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

When we were dead in our sin and God made us alive through Christ, He made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Positionally speaking, we are already citizens of heaven. We have been adopted into God’s royal family.  We have been saved and never need to fear death again. We are assured of a good place with God in eternity because of Christ.  

That realization, and this photo, made me think of Christ’s promise to give us rest. The exact passage I was thinking of is: 

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Our lives on earth are hard. We have to somehow figure out who we are, what we like, and how we can include those things in the process of deciding how we spend our time and how we provide for ourselves. We also must take all of that into consideration when we choose to leave our original family to establish a life of our own and choose whether or not to have a family of our own.  That’s a lot to figure out and we have to do it all in environment in which everything changes over time, including ourselves.  

A lot of people can look at those last few statements and say that they more or less define our entire lives but there is more to our lives than just the things of this earth. 

God sent Christ to earth to tell us that and to make a way for us to somehow rise above it all with His offer of rest and eternal life.  Figuring out the mysteries of life’s meaning and purpose by our own efforts and reasoning is exhausting and ultimately a fruitless pursuit. 

To find a meaning and purpose in life that is meaningful, we have to ask the One who made all existence what He says. God sent Jesus tell us what life is all about and Jesus said:

Matthew 11:29 (NKJV)
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

While we can find some measure of rest from sitting a top a mountain glorying over our accomplishments, or by discovering optimal relaxation in a “sleep number bed”, the rest that comes from being at peace with God is beyond compare.  

So no matter where you find yourself on this “hump” day, remember that if you are in Christ, God has made you to sit in the heavenly places.  You have the assurance of life everlasting with the One who overcame the world.  Remember that and rest.     

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NKJV)
7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

Today’s verse calls us to a life of holiness and makes it clear that if we reject this instruction we reject God.    

In today’s seeker friendly churches with their hearts set on not offending those who they wish to bring into the kingdom of God, the preachers of the modern gospel are kind and compassionate but often exclude the message of holiness when they are presenting the benefits of the grace that saves.     

Quite honestly, when I heard the gospel message that saved me I heard about God’s love and forgiveness and was amazed by the grace that saved a wretch like me but I in no way thought, or heard in the message that saved me, that I would be called to change.   

I figured the thing that was so amazing about the gospel was that God knew all about me and accepted me, warts, and all! There was no way that God would expect me to change.  I figured my job would be just to tell people how awesome God was for the rest of my life, and I would just sit quietly in the back of the church praying prayers of thanksgiving and staying out of everyone else’s way.  

But God does call all His Children to holiness.

In the “body of Christ” I would say that there is definitely a sliding scale on holiness that is dependent on each individual’s understanding and convictions.  

The way I look at it the deeper your relationship and knowledge of the Lord is the deeper your conviction and desire to be holy will be. 

Repentance is a dirty word in some circles. I know it was a word that I didn’t want to hear when I first got saved. When I heard it I thought I had been a victim of the old “bait and switch”. 

“You said I was saved! You said I was forgiven of all my sins, even my future sins! So what’s this noise about repentance?! What are you talking about? I don’t need to repent! I did that when I said the prayer! I’m good. Thanks but no thanks! I’ll just be over here chilling with Jesus.”  

The thing is I was actually “chilling with Jesus” and the Holy Spirit too.   And guess what, they encouraged me to read the word of God and I saw the truth that God had indeed saved me and made me His child but although He found me in darkness, He didn’t want me to stay there, and He gave me the power to leave it all behind.

So I began to repent and have been experiencing victory after victory and have enjoyed an increasing freedom in Christ with each stronghold that I overcome.  I leaned on the Lord and took things one thing at a time and walked with the Lord one day at a time and sure enough every step with God took me closer into His light and further from the darkness.        

We are all called to holiness when God calls us into His kingdom. If you accept Christ you are saved but accept the Lord’s call to holiness too. That’s His plan for your life.

The abundant life the Christ promised is significantly different from our lives that we knew before Christ. To experience it, that means we must change from the ways we have always been and start living by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.  

When you reject the call to Holiness, you reject the fullness of the life that God has for you. By rejecting holiness, we are saying we know better than God.  I assure you that no matter how bright or special you may be, that is not the case.  

So humble yourself before the Lord, ask Him to help you and guide you out of your former or current darkness and into His light.  Your victory has been given to you already. You just have to trust the Lord and walk into it with Him as your guide.

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:

How Can I Turn Bad Goals into Good Goals?

Let me ask you a faith-stretching question: If God wants something done, can it be done? In other words, if God has a goal for your life, can it be blocked, or is its fulfillment uncertain or impossible?

I am personally convinced that no goal God has for my life is impossible or uncertain, nor can it be blocked. I can't imagine God saying, "I've called you into existence, I've made you My child and I have something for you to do. I know you won't be able to do it, but give it your best shot." That's ludicrous! It's like saying to your child, "I want you to mow the lawn. Unfortunately, the lawn is full of rocks, the mower doesn't work and there's no gas. But give it your best shot." When an authority figure issues a command that cannot be obeyed, the authority of the leader is undermined in the minds of those who are in submission.

God had a staggering goal for a young maid named Mary. An angel told her she would bear a Son while still a virgin, and her Son would be the Savior of the world. When she inquired about this seemingly impossible feat, the angel simply said, "'Nothing will be impossible with God'" (Luke 1:37).

You wouldn't give your children tasks they couldn't possibly complete, and God doesn't assign to you goals you can't achieve. His goals for you are possible, certain, and achievable. We need to understand His goals for our lives and then say with Mary: "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

Goals Versus Desires

To live successful lives, we need to distinguish a godly goal from a godly desire. This liberating distinction can spell the difference between success and failure, inner peace, and inner pain for the Christian.

A godly goal is any specific orientation that reflects God's purpose for your life and is not dependent on people or circumstances beyond your ability or right to control. Who do you have the ability and right to control? Virtually no one but yourself. The only person who can block a godly goal or render it uncertain or impossible is you. If you adopt the attitude of cooperation with God's goals as Mary did, your goal can be reached.

A godly desire is any specific result that depends on the cooperation of other people, the success of events or favorable circumstances you have no right or ability to control. You cannot base your success or sense of worth on your desires, no matter how godly they may be, because you cannot control their fulfillment. Some of your desires will be blocked, remain uncertain and eventually prove to be impossible. Let's face it, life doesn't always go our way and many of our desires will not be met.

We will struggle with anger, anxiety, and depression when we elevate a desire to a goal in our own minds. By comparison, when a desire isn't met, you will only face disappointment. Life is full of disappointments and we all must learn to live with them. However, dealing with the disappointments of unmet desires is a lot easier than dealing with the anger, anxiety and depression of goals that are based on wrong beliefs.

Does God make a distinction between a goal and a desire? Yes, I think He does. "'For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,' declares the LORD God. 'Therefore, repent and live'" (Ezekiel 18:32). It is God's desire that we would all repent and live, but not all will.

John wrote, "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin" (1 John 2:1). Certainly, the integrity, sovereignty and success of God is not dependent upon whether or not we sin. God has no blocked goals. It is God's desire that everyone repent, although not everyone will.

Then does God have any genuine goals—specific results that cannot be blocked? Praise the Lord, yes! For example, Jesus Christ will return and take us home to heaven to be with Him forever—it will happen. Satan will be cast into the abyss for eternity—count on it. Rewards will be distributed to the saints for their faithfulness—look forward to it. These are not desires that can be thwarted by the fickle nature of a fallen humanity. What God has determined to do, He will do.

When you begin to align your goals with God's goals and your desires with God's desires, you will rid your life of a lot of anger, anxiety, and depression. The homemaker who wants a happy, harmonious family is expressing a godly desire, but she cannot guarantee that it will happen. Her goal is to become the wife and mother God wants her to be. The only one who can block that goal for her life is herself.

She may object, "But what if my husband has a midlife crisis or my kids rebel?" Those kinds of problems are not blocking her goal to be the wife and mother God called her to be. Such trials will surely test her faith. If anything, difficulties in the family should further encourage her commitment. If her husband should ever need a godly wife and her children a godly mother, it is in times of trouble. Family difficulties refine her goal of being the woman God wants her to be.

The pastor whose success and sense of worth are based on his goal to win his community for Christ, have the best youth ministry in town or increase giving to missions by 50 percent, is headed for a fall. These are worthwhile desires, but no pastor should deem himself a success or failure based on whether or not they are achieved. His goal is to be the pastor God called him to be. No member of his church or community can block that goal.


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