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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2 - Purity 537

 

Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2   - Purity 537

Purity 537 09/29/2021  Purity 537 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a roadside meadow and tree line underneath a cloud filled September sky comes to us from yours truly as I felt moved to just stop and grab this moment of simple scenic beauty while I was driving through the Westerlo NY area on September 21st, which was if you don’t recall, the last day of summer of 2021.  

I share it for its simple beauty but also because it features a road which represents moving forward and making progress.  It’s Thursday and I share pictures of pathways or roadways of some sort today as a reminder or an encouragement to take the opportunity to step on, or keep walking on, the path of Christian Discipleship that is defined by a life walking in the Spirit and which leads to the growth of the fruit of the Spirit and increasing levels of maturity in our Christian faith.  It just also happens to be the path that leads to freedom. 

I teach am teaching the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course from Freedom in Christ Ministries this evening at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY and invite anyone local to join us at 6:30pm.  For those not within driving distance of the church, I have already uploaded a podcast version of the teaching for the first three lessons and will be uploading the fourth installment after tonight’s class. So if you want to be encouraged in your faith, to learn something new, or to be equipped with the tools to overcome, or to help others overcome, personal and spiritual conflicts join us for class.

Well yesterday, we started a series in where we started an investigation in to the question of “What is a Christian?” or “Is this person a Christian?” And as the Children’s show “Blue’s Clues” was in the news recently because they celebrated 25 years of programming, I was motivated to channel the inquiring spirit of Blue and that inquisitive theme to help us look at the questions of our faith and to help us examine the “clues” that would tell us if people we encountered were “real” or authentic Christians.   

Yesterday we looked at the significant “clue” of church membership or attendance as a good indicator but not a guarantee of whether someone was an authentic Christian. 

So today when I asked “Blue” (FYI, one source states that Blue signifies the Healing Power of God (https://www.color-meanings.com/biblical-meaning-colors/) which “clue” we would be looking for today, in my imagination, “Blue” was holding a small mirror.  

In our dialog, with me asking questions and Blue murmuring as she does, I was able to discern that before we started looking for anymore “clues” about other people’s authentic Christianity,  Blue wanted me to make sure I was a real Christian!  

So I thought about the question? What in my life made me know I was a Christian?  Now while our self-examination may prove helpful to determine whether those around us are Christians, it is the question of our identity as a Christian that is really the most important thing that we can investigate and confirm.  

Blue really turned the tables on us today because while we started to look for “clues” in the outside world about other people, she wanted us to “play fair” and put ourselves to the test too.     

So if someone were to ask you when you became a Christian or how you became a Christians, what would you say, boys and girls?    

Well the “state of grace” that determines whether or not someone is a Christian has to do with whether or not we are “saved” from God’s wrath by having a reconciled relationship with God through putting our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord in Savior.  

Romans 10:9 (NKJV) tells us
9  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Now this verse tells us that we are “saved” only if we confess (agree with) that Jesus is our Lord and that we believe in our heart that He was raised from the dead, meaning that we believe that Christ’s dying on the Cross was meaningful, that it paid the cost of our sins, and that Christ’s resurrection proved that He was the Son of God and God the Son.  Confessing with our mouths “the Lord Jesus” means we not only publicly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ as our Savior, but agree to live according to what Jesus taught, to be obedient.  The Apostle Peter, who was able to walk on water when he obeyed Christ’s call to “come” wrote:

1 Peter 1:13-15 (NKJV)
13  Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14  as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15  but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,.

I point to this verse and the fact that our conduct should be changed when we become Christians because many people don’t understand the implications of “confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus” and I wanted to make it clear that there is more than just “saying a prayer” to being a Christian. 

But let’s make first things first.   Although we as Christians are supposed to become holy in our conduct, our entrance into God’s kingdom starts with that verbal confession. We must name and proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior before we can successfully live like a Christian.  

We can’t become holy first, nor are we required to.   That’s like going through boot camp before you sign up for military service.  It doesn’t work that way.  You sign an agreement with the service and then the kind and gentle drill sergeants will train and encourage you to become a soldier.  Like military service, when you sign up to be in Christ’s army you are literally signing your life away.   

So if we are looking in the mirror, and trying to determine if we “look like a Christian”, we should stop and ask ourselves: “Have I honestly confessed the Lord Jesus with my mouth, and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead? Did I sign my life away to be saved and agree to make Jesus my Lord?”   

For me, I can point to a specific time and place when I did that. I heard a gospel message on the radio and because of it I really believed “in my heart”, not just intellectually, that God had raised Christ from the dead and that if I made Christ my Lord I would be saved.

So have you ever done that, boys, and girls?

If you don’t believe in your heart that Christ was raised from the dead by God,  that whole idea will just seem like nonsense to you, and you will be hesitant to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.

You won’t want to tell your friends, coworkers, or family. You won’t want to tell anyone about this crazy story of how a man dying on the cross has meaning and purpose. That Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is used to cause a reconciliation with an unseen God and man and that it gives eternal life to anyone that names Jesus their Lord and Savior.

So, hopefully most of you reading with this will say you have done this. You have confessed the Lord Jesus.  If you haven’t and want to, say this prayer:

Dear God,

I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from you grave. I trust Jesus alone as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Well if you said that prayer, you just signed “your life away” and joined God’s kingdom as His beloved child.  You are a Christian. You no longer have to fear death because you have been forgiven of all your sins and have eternal life.

From this point forward, because you named Jesus as your Lord, you should endeavor to follow the One who saved you by reading the word of God and applying its teachings to your life, step by step, one day at a time. 

Our Christian faith is not about perfection its about progress.  We don’t beat ourselves up when we fail, we pick ourselves up because God’s forgiven us and is encouraging us to walk into the abundant life that He wants us to experience.

So keep walking and talking with God, our faith doesn’t have to be complicated it just has to be continuous. So rejoice in your salvation and take another step today towards the good things that God has prepared for you.  

        

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
11  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

 

Today’s verse teaches us why we should read the Bible and meditate on its truth.  

Well as we may have welcomed some  people into the kingdom today, they may be wondering “Now What?” 

Well the good news is that you can rest.  You no longer have to fear what happens when you die. You have been given eternal life because of God’s grace. You didn’t have to earn it. You should be filled with joy and gratitude for having been shown the truth of the gospel and for receiving forgiveness and new spiritual life.   

The next step? We should learn about the God who gave us mercy and grace by reading His word. Start with the New Testament to learn all about Jesus and pay attention to His teaching to learn how we should behave as Christians.  Think about those truths as you go about your day and try to live according to them.  

That’s what today’s verse is teaching us and motivating us to do. For if we hide the truths of God’s word in our heart, we might not sin against God.”   I like the fact that the verse says might. I like to imagine that God understands that we won’t be perfect in our walk but still encourages us to express our love for Him by reading His word, meditating on it, and doing what it says. 

So if you don’t have a regular practice of reading and meditating on God’s word, start today and commit yourself to a regular practice of drawing close to God by studying His word.   

The Bible is true, and today’s verse encourages us that if we hide its truth in our hearts we just might not sin against God.  So put the word to the test by hiding it in your heart, and experience its power to transform your mind and change your behavior, not because you are trying hard but because you are learning to be the person that God has made you to be and because He has given you the power to become it,

 

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 Blended Family’s

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:

The Blended Family

God's Recipe for Success

by

June Hunt


Introduction

Do you feel that the mix of your family is basically a mess? If you mix flour, sugar, eggs and oil together... it takes some work to get them to blend. But when the mixture is exposed to the heat of an oven for just the right amount of time, a chemical reaction occurs that bonds the separate ingredients into a delicious dessert. Likewise, when members of a blended family are subjected to the heat of new living conditions and differing personalities, it takes some work to come together as a connected family unit. Each individual needs to make every effort to promote peace and build one another up so that the family will be bonded in love and in unity.

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." (Romans 14:19)


I. Definitions

Blended families, with their many challenges, have been around for a long time. They are formed for different reasons. When a spouse with children remarries after the death of a partner, the situation is difficult. But when the family unit becomes a blend of his children, her children and their children, the recipe for success requires a great deal of understanding and forgiveness.

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)

A. What Is a Blended Family?

  • The blended family is a family unit in which one or both of the spouses have been previously married and bring a child or children to the relationship.
  • The word blended means "mixed together." It suggests a combining of separate units into an integrated whole.
  • The stepfamily is a family unit in which at least one spouse has a parental relationship with a child based on marriage, not blood.

B. What Is a Nuclear Family?

The nuclear family is a traditional family unit composed of...

  • one husband and one wife
  • one marriage
  • one or more children from one union

C. God's Heart on Remarriage

  • Remarriage is permitted when the marriage covenant is broken by...
    • death
      "By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man." (Romans 7:2-3)
    • —defilement (adultery)
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
    • —desertion and divorce (a controversial position)
      Only because of a hardened heart on the part of the one who leaves—God's heart is one of reconciliation.
      "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." (1 Corinthians 7:15)
  • Remarriage is not permitted...
    • to an unbeliever
      "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:39)
    • to a former spouse who has married another
      "If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
    • —to a divorced person whose spouse has not broken the marriage covenant
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
  • Remarriage is not God's preferred state for everyone.
    "I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:7-9)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: The Blended Family: God's Recipe for Success.

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


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