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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Are You for Real? – By Their Fruit You Will Know Them - Purity 512


 Are You for Real? – By Their Fruit You Will Know Them                                                                             

Purity 512 09/01/2021  Purity 512 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the last sunset of August ’21 over the Hudson River on the shores of Castleton-on-the-Hudson, NY comes to us from yours truly as I pulled over on the ride home last night to capture it.  While I got the setting sun sandwiched between these clouds, what isn’t in this scene was the amazing monolithic cloudscapes that were further to the left that looked like castles in the sky. 

My vantage point for those sights wasn’t ideal and I didn’t even bother with trying to capture it knowing that my phone’s camera wouldn’t have really done it justice.  Some things you just have to see for yourself.

Last evening I was welcomed into a Christian friend’s home for dinner and after the meal I enjoyed their family’s company, joking and chatting with their children. Their eldest son at one point was disobedient to his mother who decided not to force the issue and create a confrontation “in front of company”.  Parents have to be wise about when and where to “fight their battles” and know how kids can melt down at a moment’s notice.

It was a minor issue, to pick something up and put it in its proper place, but I took note of it, and while talking with their son I asked him if He was “for real” in terms of being a Christian.  I explained to him that I had made a lot of mistakes in my life and often chose to do things that I knew that were wrong and I suffered greatly for my poor decisions.  I told him that the value of being a Christian was in knowing what the right thing to do was,  and in actually doing it, and that if we knew what was right and didn’t do it, we would be “fake” Christians.  I explained that “fake” Christians are people who say they are Christians but who don’t live like it and suffer because of it.  I confessed that I didn’t know it at the time, but I was “fake Christian” in the past.    

My friend’s son then showed my his “Action Bible” – a graphic novel - comic book version of the Bible that some of the people that have worked on Marvel Comics produced and told me that he reads it all the time. I assured him that I thought that was great, but we also had to show that we are Christians in how we live. He agreed and assured me he was a “real Christian.” I told him that was great and suggested that he “honor his mother” by picking up and putting away the item that his mother asked him to pick up.  He agreed and did so.  His mother thanked him and then confirmed and testified that her son did choose to read his “Action Bible” on his own and she was amazed by and proud of how often she found him reading it. 

And that was it, no harsh rebuke, just a conversation from older Christian, who learned from trial and error, trying to show a young boy the better way to go by putting his faith into “Action”.  

Unfortunately, I have known and still know many “Christians” older than this boy that have not matured in their faith by putting it in action.  Recently, I have had people tell me about how a certain “brother” who has somewhat racy or angry material on their Facebook account and has many female “friends” that share provocative photos of themselves and have hundreds of “followers”.   

Christ said that we would know His disciples by their fruits, by their doing His commandments, and by their love for one another.  The epistles, the letters in the Bible addressed to the church, repeatedly encourage those in Christ to repent of their sins and flee sexual immorality.  

When we encounter people like our fleshly “brother”, we have to wonder are they a “real Christian”.   There are two possibilities in situations like this. 

1.    They don’t believe. They may say they do but God knows their hearts and they have never truly placed their faith in Christ. They are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They profess to be a Christian and enter a church community and look to see “what’s in it for them”.  Invariably, they “take what they can get”, grow dissatisfied, and move on to the next church or abandon any semblance of being a Christian all together, usually with tales of the ill treatment they received at the last church they were part of or how they had “tried Christianity”.   

2.    They do believe. They did make Christ their Savior, but they are in bondage and don’t know their freedom in Christ. Their attendance may vary but they remain in the church. They aren’t going anywhere and that’s just the problem.  They stay mired in their problems and never seem to mature in their faith by putting it into action by living it in any consistent manner. They seem to decide that their faith is good, but it can only take them so far in life and they will have to do the rest on their own.      

As someone who was on the outside of the church for my most of my life, believe me that people could have described me as either one of the above examples.  I left Christian churches twice and went into a false religion for years.  After I got saved in 2010, I still had worldly ideas and fleshly ways, I never wanted to repent and frankly didn’t think I could. 

But with God all things are possible.  But the thing is, we have to be “real” honest with Him and ourselves and decide to be “real” Christians by choosing to surrender our ways for His. When we trust the Lord, we walk out of the darkness of our former sinful lives, and we discover that His ways are best.  

I have compassion for anyone who struggles with believing in God or who is living in bondage to fleshly ways but just like when I tried to impart some wisdom to my friend’s son, I can listen to their story but eventually I would have to ask them: “Are you for real?” and then I would explain how God was real and how He really made a way for us to find peace with Him and that through faith in Christ we could “really” live an abundant life.   

So, answer the Lord’s call on your life to follow Him. He calls everybody to repentance but only a few will trust Him and experience the peace, love, and joy that He freely gives.  So keep walking and talking with God. Examine your life and see what needs to be given to Him to heal. God is the creator, and He gives us a new life and a purpose in Christ.  He invites you to find it. He invites you to be “Real” and to be His forever.     


This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 1:8 (NKJV)
8  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,

Today’s verse points to the fact that Christians will invariably suffer because of their faith. 

Yeah, the Christian life is not all sunsets and rainbows.  The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to Timothy from jail. He wasn’t being poetic when he referred to himself as “His prisoner”.  The suffering Paul experienced was because he wasn’t “ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” and boldly shared the good news of Jesus Christ.  

He didn’t do anything wrong. He was trying to tell people the truth that He had learned from the resurrected Christ, Himself.  So Paul did good but suffered for it.  But he knew what really mattered and instead of deciding to remain silent, or to ask for mercy and release by offering to recant, he encourages Timothy and all of us to “share in the sufferings of the gospel.”

What is he nuts?  Well no, he’s not.  Making peace with God and overcoming sin and death are worth the “sufferings” of this world.  While we don’t know how we may suffer by sharing the gospel of Christ, when we realize and experience its truth we are compelled to share it out of our love for God and out of our concern for others.   

When we become Christians and tell people the truth, we will be rejected but people without Christ are in grave and need to be saved. Being used by God to bring someone from death to life is worth our suffering. 

So don’t be ashamed of your faith. Live your life according to God’s ways and be an example of the “power of God” to transform someone’s life.  Be an ambassador of peace and hope by explaining that God has a plan for this chaotic world and that He offers the gift of eternal life and peace with Him freely through faith in Jesus Christ. 

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 13.

 

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:

Concepts for Counseling

When I taught pastoral counseling, I asked the students to describe on a sheet of paper the personal problem they would have the greatest difficulty sharing with another individual. When I sensed the anxiety level in the students had peaked, I told them to stop. They were relieved to learn I didn't really want them to share with someone else what they wrote. I seriously doubt if they would have written down their worst offense. I only wanted them to experience what it would feel like to disclose potentially damaging or embarrassing information about themselves. I am sure you understand how hard that would be.

Then I asked the students to describe the kind of person with whom they could share that intimate information. What kind of person would he or she have to be or not be, do or not do. Then I had every student share the number one criteria for sharing with another individual, while I wrote their responses on the board. The list usually included compassion, confidentiality, love, maturity, trust, lack of criticism, competence, ability to help, as well as others. Then I asked whom that list described and they always answered, "God."

Finally I completed the exercise by asking, "If you haven't before, would you now commit yourself to become that kind of person?" If you are not that kind of person, nobody will be willing to share anything with you. If others won't share their real problem, you can't help them.

Allow me to ask you the same question: Would you be willing to commit yourself to becoming the kind of person in whom someone could confide? In other words, would you commit yourself to being like Christ? Whether you sit on the platform or in the pew, whether you sit at a desk in a counseling office or at a dining-room table, God can use you to minister to people if you are willing to be a compassionate, caring confidant.

Christian counseling seeks to help people resolve personal and spiritual conflicts through genuine repentance and faith in God. The goal of Christian counseling—whether done by a pastor, a professional counselor, or a friend—is to help people experience their freedom in Christ so they can move on to maturity and fruitfulness in their walk with Him. Allow me to give you five practical tips for the formal or informal counseling you may do within your Christian relationships.

1. Help People Identify and Resolve Root Issues

Psalm 1:1-3 compares the mature Christian to a fruitful tree (see Figure 13-C). The fruitfulness of the branches above the ground is the result of the fertility of the soil and the health of the root system. The growing Christian is firmly rooted in Christ.

People usually seek counseling because something is wrong with their daily walk. Instead of being fruitful, their lives are barren. As with a tree, the presenting problem is seldom the root cause for their barren lives. They are not bearing any fruit because something is wrong with the root system.

I have developed "Steps to Freedom in Christ" designed to help Christians resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts. They are available in most Christian bookstores and can be obtained from the office of Freedom in Christ Ministries. The theological basis and practical use of these steps is explained in my book Helping Others Find Freedom in Christ (Regal Books).

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


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