Posts Tagged ‘prostitute’


God calls us to change the way we look at people. Not to see them as Gentiles or Jews, insiders or outsiders, liberals or conservatives. Not to label. To label is to libel. “We have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them” (2 Cor. 5:16 NLT).

Let’s view people differently; let’s view them as we do ourselves. Blemished, perhaps. Unfinished, for certain. Yet, once rescued and restored, we may shed light, like the two stained-glass windows in my office.

My brother found them on a junkyard heap. Some church had discarded them. Dee, a handy carpenter, reclaimed them. He repainted the chipped wood, repaired the worn frame. He sealed some of the cracks in the colored glass. The windows aren’t perfect. But if suspended where the sun can pass through, they cascade multicolored light into the room.

In our lifetimes, you and I are going to come across some discarded people. Tossed out. Sometimes tossed out by a church. And we get to choose. Neglect or rescue? Label them or love them? We know Jesus’ choice. Just look at what he did with us.

Today’s devotional is drawn from Max Lucado’s Second Chances.


by Gary F.

Last time, we established the importance of relying upon God to change the way we think. We absolutely need the Lord to reprogram our thought patterns, unlearn coping techniques and establish a godly thought life. This week, we will give specifics about the components necessary to having our minds renewed.

Also, in part 1, the importance obedience was taught. This is foundational not just for achieving a renewed mind but in all aspects of our walk of faith. Once we learn these truths, the Lord will hold us accountable for putting them into practice.

New Wineskins

In the New Testament, Jesus gives us a rich picture of how this process of transformation takes place. In Mathew 9:17 Jesus teaches on the principle of the wineskins.

“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

The English translation does not indicate any difference between the “new” wine and the “new” wineskins, but the Greek does. These are two different words with two different
intrinsic meanings. The first word used is νέος  (NAY-os) meaning “new, or recently made”. Here “new” means a “new type, not being in existence for a long time.” Jesus said that it was foolish to put new (NAY-os) wine into old wineskins. The results would be burst wineskins and spilled wine.

This is the same Greek word used in 2 Cor 5:17,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Obviously, when we are born again, we still inhabit the same body. We have not changed into an alien life form with eight arms and six legs. That is not the “new creature” Paul is writing about.

Basically, we look the same but there has been an inner change that should affect every aspect of our being. Paul teaches that, before we are saved, we are (spiritually) dead. After our salvation experience, we are (spiritually) alive in Christ.

But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved                                                                                                         (Eph. 2:4, 5)

The second Greek word used in Matt. 7:19 passage is καινός  (kai-NOS). It is also translated as “new” but has a different emphasis. It means new in the sense of being unused.  Jesus said that new (NAY-os) wine needed to be put into new (kai-NOS), wineskins.

Many people traditionally interpret this passage as a contrast between the old covenant and the new covenant. The comparison is made between the Law and Grace. The new covenant cannot fit into the constraints of the old. The new covenant in which the Holy Spirit resides within the believer requires a new environment, new standards. This is a legitimate interpretation of the text. However, there is another.

The Jewish people of Jesus’ day were excellent stewards of their limited resources. They could be termed “conservationists”. They would recycle and reuse materials as much and as often as possible. Wineskins were items that could be reinvigorated rather than simply trashing them.

When a wineskin had grown stiff and hard, rather than throwing it out, they would perform a simple process to make it like new. The used wineskin would be soaked in water. After several days of rehydration, they would take oil and massage it into the wineskin until it became soft and supple. They would, literally, “renew” the wineskin. Therefore, an old wineskin had become a “new” (kai-NOS) wineskin that was unused in its refreshed condition.

This process requiring water and oil typifies the necessary elements in order for renewal to take place within the mind of the Christian. Water is symbolic of the Word of God. In Eph. 5:26,  Paul says that husbands are to wash their wives with “the water of the Word”. Oil is traditionally understood as being symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

In order to change, to be “transformed”, we must have our minds “renewed”. The Greek word in Rom. 12  is ἀνακαίνωσις   (ana-kai-NO-sis) from the root word in Matt 9:17 .
“Ana” means again and “kainos” means new. This literally means “to make new again”.

Obviously, God does not remove our brain and replace it with a fresh, new one. That would be an amazing form of brainwashing. But this concept of “renewing our mind” is a process that actually changes the way we think.

The world has warped our thinking. We become stiff and unfit for the Kingdom of God. We cannot know His will because our minds cannot contain the revelation of it. It is only through the power of the Word of God and the energizing of the Holy Spirit that our minds can be renewed. These two elements, working together, are the essential ingredients necessary for true transformation to come to pass.

Working Together

God has provided everything we need in order to change. Together, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit are absolutely necessary for true change to take place. We must use these two tools if we are to know His will on this earth.  The Word of God and the Holy Spirit must have free reign in our lives if we are to achieve His will in our lives and in this world.

The Word of God alone is not enough. The Holy Spirit alone is not enough. Both must be actively incorporated in order for true change (renewal) to take place. The old saying is true. “All Word and no Spirit, you dry up. All Spirit and no Word, you blow up. Both Word and Spirit, you grow up”.

Renewing the mind does not happen merely because one desires it. Renewing of the mind does not occur simply because one becomes a Christian. Renewing of the mind is a process begun with a deliberate decision to change – like the old joke about how many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one but the light bulb must really want to change. As a Bible Believer, you must really want to change. It must be a desire followed by a decision supported by action, reinforced by a commitment.

If the mind of the believer is not renewed, transformation will not take place. If transformation does not take place, the will of God will never be known in the fullest measure.  If the will of God is not fully known, we will live defeated, powerless lives, frustrated at our spiritual impotence and inability.

Blessings,

Gary F.


by Gary F.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  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.”                                                                                                            Rom. 12:1, 2

The problem with most Christians isn’t that they don’t want to change; it is that they don’t know how to change. The desperately want too be transformed but they are unfamiliar with the components necessary for change to occur. They do not know how the process of “renewal of the mind” takes place.

This is especially true for those of us who are in recovery. We are desperate. We want to change. We know it is possible for, “with God, all things are possible”
(Mt. 19:26). The question isn’t do we need to change? We know we do. We also know that we cannot change ourselves. We need God to change us.

As Christians, when we recognize the need for change, how do we accomplish it? How can we become different from the people we are now, to become the people God wants us to be? How can we possibly think differently than we do now?

Normally, our ability to change ourselves is limited to the strength of our will. We have some limited power to make ourselves into different people. The problem is that we are limited. Our power to change ourselves is, therefore, limited. God is not. He is unlimited. He is all-powerful.

True change at this mental or intellectual level can only come from a supernatural source. God has to rewire our brains and reprogram our thought life. Once we are firmly convinced that change must occur, then, the Lord is our only hope for real and permanent change.

One of the basic understandings of the workings of God is that nearly everything He does is a process. Creation was a process. Conversion is a process similar to sowing seed. Most people hear the Gospel several times before they receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Salvation is a process. Our faith is in process. We are to grow daily in our walk with the Father. Therefore, we are in process.

Paul wrote this in his epistle to the Romans

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  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.”                                     Rom. 12:1, 2

Having our minds renewed is also a process. It does not happen overnight. The ways in which we think are changed over time. As baby Christians, we still maintain many of the world’s methods and thought processes. We have been indoctrinated by the world system. So that we might know and do God’s will, even the way we think must, of necessity, change. This is called the “renewing of our mind”  process.

Before we go further into this study on “renewing of the mind”, we must lay down a fundamental truth. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus teaches the parable of the wise and the fooling man. The wise man built his house upon the rock. The foolish man build his house upon the sand. Most Believers are familiar with these passages.

However, when you ask most Christians, “what is the rock in this story?”, they would answer, “Jesus” and they would be wrong. Read carefully verse 24, “Whoever hears these words of mine and does them…”. Contrast that to verse 26, “…everyone who hears  these words of mine and does not do them…”.

What was the difference between the two builders? Was it the storm? The winds and the rains?  No. It was the foundation of doing what Jesus said  or not doing what Jesus said. The rock isn’t Jesus. It is obedience to the Word of God.

Both builders heard the words of Jesus. One man man who heard and did and built on rock. The other man heard and did not do and built upon sand. The difference is either obedience or disobedience. The key here is that we are to act upon the truth the Lord teaches us.

Why is that principle important? James writes that we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (Jas. 1:22). To hear—which implies to understand— and not put that truth into practice is like building your house on sand.

In these lessons, you will learn what it takes to have your mind renewed. It is of utmost importance that you put into practice these truths. If you do, you will be building on a solid foundation making your recovery all the more certain.

                                                TO BE CONTINUED…


Would we actually help one another? 

Those who have seen The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King will understand this meme.


A short while ago I watched the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and made two short videos, Deepest, Darkest Secret and Drax’s Wisdom.  As I continued to watched the movie various “father wound” scenes stood out to me.  As I have stated before, now that I’m in recovery the Holy Spirit has allowed me to see movies differently and notice subtle (and sometimes blatant) recovery tones within the movie. 

The plot of this movie has been pasted below courtesy of Wikipedia:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his mysterious parentage.

What I saw in this movie was a humorous example of characters suffering from the “father wound” and how it manifests itself in their lives as adults.  This movie, although not therapy-accurate, brings humor to the Father Wound which affects many men and women.  Hopefully, those who are in recovery can see the humor in this movie as much as I do.  This video has a limited amount of comments to allow the viewer to come up with their own opinions.

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Matthew 5:38–42: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Many of us have known people who, after years of being passive and compliant, suddenly stop acting like a victim. This reactive phase of boundary creation is a first step to get a person out of the powerless, victimized place in which they may have been forced by physical or sexual abuse, or by emotional blackmail or manipulation. We are happy that they are no longer victims. But when is enough reacting enough?

Reaction phases are not the same as maturity; they are necessary but not sufficient for the establishment of boundaries. Even though in finding our boundaries, we might find ourselves reacting. Eventually, we establish connections as respectful equals. This is the beginning of establishing proactive, instead of reactive, boundaries.

In Matthew 5:38–39, Jesus compared reactive persons to those who are freely and proactively setting their own boundaries. Through his teaching, we see that power is not something we demand or deserve; it is something we express. How does withholding a counterstrike after we’ve been harmed show our power? The ultimate expression of power is love. Proactive people are able to love their neighbors as themselves (see Mark 12:31) and respect others (see 1 Peter 2:17). They are able to die to self (see 1 Peter 2:24) and not repay evil for evil (see Romans 12:17). They have gotten past the reactive stance of the law — “eye for eye, and tooth for tooth” — and are able to love rather than react.

When we truly have the power of self-control, another person’s evil does not mean that we “have to” get revenge. We are free to do something more redemptive and more constructive. In that way, we have power to turn bad situations into good ones and not be dragged down into the mire of bad behavior.

This devotional is drawn from Beyond Boundaries, by Dr. John Townsend


Samson

His name means: “Little Sun”

His work: To deliver Israel from the Philistines. His character: Samson’s erotic attachments to foreign women eventually led to his death. A man of mythic strength, he was inwardly weak, given to anger and unfaithful to his Nazirite vows. His prayers as well as his actions against the Philistines seem to have been motivated by the desire for personal vengeance. His sorrow: To have been blinded and imprisoned by his lifelong enemies. His triumph: To have killed more Philistines by his death than he had while living. Key Scriptures: Judges 13-16

A Look at the Man

One of the first Bible stories children hear is the story of Samson, the man who defeated his enemies with a superhuman feat of strength. But it is such an unsavory story that we find ourselves leaving out certain details, for example, Samson’s boasting, his visits to prostitutes, or his murderous rage. Even the man’s prayers were selfish, focused as they were on his own desire for revenge rather than on God’s glory.

Why would God, knowing the future, choose such a person to play such a role, even sending an angel to announce his birth? The question is not easily answered. But it is certainly true that Samson would have been a better man had he paid attention to the call God had placed on his life. Instead, he seems to have squandered the promise of his life by living it in a self-centered, self-directed way.

Ironically, the pattern of his life formed a vivid picture of Israel’s own unfaithfulness during a period when it seemed incapable of resisting the allurement of foreign gods. And so the people God had set apart and called his own, the nation he intended to build up and make strong, grew progressively weaker in the land he had promised.

Samson’s story reminds us of God’s faithfulness, of his ability to deliver his people regardless of the circumstances and despite their sins. It also reminds us of what can happen when we allow ourselves to become attached to things and people, however enticing, that might end in our own self-destruction.

Reflect On: Judges 16:23–31 Praise God: For his sovereignty. Offer Thanks: For God’s strength working within you. Confess: Any promises you have made to God and not kept. Ask God: To make you a person who is strong on the inside.

Today’s reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store.