Blue, Are they a Christian in a Box? – Checking the Clues 6 - Purity 541
Purity 541 10/05/2021 Purity 541 Podcast
Today’s photo of an almost other worldly sunrise comes to us from the Adirondack Aerial & Ground Imagery Showcase Page (https://www.facebook.com/stephen.j.lemieux) as they summited Cascade Mountains on October 1st beginning their ascent at the, MT like rising, hour of 3:30 am. The early bird gets the worm and the images like this one show us that God puts on a show with His creation every day, but it may require a little effort on our part to see it.
Recently, I learned that a friend who prided themselves on being a strong parent and encourager of the downtrodden was shaken by relationship problems and is struggling with depression. Their perspective has shifted and while they had encouraged others to carry on and pull themselves us from their own bootstraps that now have a better idea of what it is like to feel the sadness and hopelessness that depression can bring to your doorstep.
As someone who suffered from depression for a couple of years in the wake of, my infant son, Holden’s death in 2002, I too understand what it can feel like when the winds of changing circumstances blow cold and make you question the meaning and purpose of it all and how the trappings of our culture and society push us to get past our losses and just get on with life and how the things that seemed so important before seem empty and meaningless.
And guess what? The things of this world and the societies that man has built are meaningless. Everything man builds falls apart. Even this world will pass away. But there is One thing that doesn’t change or pass away: God. He is the author of creation, and He will shape the course of the coming of a new heaven and a new earth.
The One who assigns meaning and value to our lives is God. And the only way to find true peace is to establish a relationship with Him, and securing everlasting life, by putting your faith in Jesus Christ. Once you do that you are given assurance that no matter what comes to pass here on earth, you are secure in His love for eternity.
So if we are basing our identity as being a “strong” mom or dad, we are believing the lie of our own self-sufficiency. We can be “strong” right up to the day we die but without God it will all be for nothing as our making ourselves our own God will consign us to Hell with Satan and all the other rebels who deceived themselves into thinking they didn’t need God and where powerful in and of themselves.
The Bible says that when we are weak we are strong, because in our weakness we are forced to acknowledge that we can’t control everything and we can have moment of clarity that tells us that we need God and surrender ourselves to His plan for us, salvation through faith in Christ and relying on His wisdom and strength instead of our own in our daily lives.
So, these thoughts were at the fore front of my mind when “Blue” and “Sam I am” revisited my imagination this morning on our continuing quest to examine the questions of our Christian faith in terms of determining the authenticity of someone’s Christianity as we seek a “real Christian” for a life partner.
As we more or less addressed, Sam I am’s next inquiry regarding houses and mouses, yesterday when we looked at whether or not someone would be a Christian “here or there” by looking at the degree of shifting from the sacred to secular from Sunday to Monday, and from church to home, today we take on Sam I am’s next inquiry regarding boxes.
We are not asking about where people will eat green eggs and ham. We want to know if someone will be a Christian when they are “stuck” in a circumstance where all seems hopeless and there is no escape. Will their faith in Christ still live when they are trapped in an unpleasant circumstance and there doesn’t seem to be any way out?
As someone who has walked through some very dark days with difficult, trying, and painful situations of hardship and turmoil, the answer would seem obvious. Mother Theresa apparently said ““You will never truly realize God is all you need until He becomes all you have.” So as someone who lived without God through one of the worst losses someone can experience, I can tell you that your Christian faith, your relationship with God is the most important thing about us and can provide us with the strength to endure the most horrific and terrible circumstance and some how provide a hope and a peace in the midst of great suffering.
I don’t wish pain or suffering on anyone but a litmus test of someone’s Christian faith is the crucible of suffering. I was regular church going Episcopalian when my son died, but my faith was very immature and was more of a “hope so” faith rather than a “know so” faith. So when my son died, I was angry at God because he didn’t keep up his side of the bargain. I guess I thought the “deal was: “I go to church and “try to be good”, but fail often, and God would bless me and protect my family and I from suffering”. So in my anger and depression, I more or less went back to my atheistic leanings and decided there was no God or that I didn’t want anything to do with Him if there was a God.
Now granted, after about 8 years of wandering in depression and error, the Lord called me to a living faith in Jesus Christ that was based on the truth of God’s word rather than immature, superstitious, and sentimental ideas, or feelings about God, but in those dark days I would say “my faith” was shown for what it was: at best, shallow and immature, at worst: false. To be honest prior to 2010, I don’t know if I would have made it into God’s kingdom if I had been called into eternity, but I know for sure now.
So if I had claimed to be a “Christian” back in 2002, which I would have backed away from by classifying it by my denominational title, my actions of abandoning the church and any conversations with God in prayer would have revealed my spiritual status as far from authentic.
While we might cut me some me some slack, we really shouldn’t. Why? Because it is our faith, our relationship with God, which can be the means to our victory. Our faith is antidote for all the world’s suffering. So when we throw away the solution to our problems because of our hurt, we show that we really didn’t understand what we had, or it reveals we never really had it.
The person I know who is acknowledging the reality of the darkness of depression is revealing that they either have forgotten or don’t know the reality of who they are in Christ and instead of clinging to the Lord and being given strength and wisdom for their walk they are lamenting over their personal inability to overcome.
We were never meant to walk alone. We are called to come to God and if we are focusing on our hurt and our inability to rise above we have forgotten about His healing and the victory that given us over sin and death. Our status as accepted by God and victorious over sin and death should trump any negative circumstances that this world has to offer.
When our world is shaken, we are stand on the rock of God’s word and proclaim the truth of who we are in Christ. We should do everything we can to try to better things each and every day but the only way we will be able to do so with peace, and even joy, in the midst of our trials is to continually go to the Lord in prayer, receiving His strength, wisdom, and love.
So when the going gets tough, a real Christian will get going to their heavenly father. They will pray. They will read His word. They will thank Him for what He has done, for being present, and for what He will do in the future. They will lean on the Lord, and they praise His name even through tears of heartache and pain. Someone maintaining and practicing their faith in the midst of trials is a great “clue” that are an authentic Christian.
When we get thrown into a “box”, we may not know when we will get out but if we have a relationship with the Lord through faith in Jesus Christ, we won’t be alone in that box. If we are in Christ, we will be like Paul and Silas singing like madmen in the middle of the night while locked in a prison with all the other prisoners shouting out us to shut up and telling us that we are crazy. We will rejoice in our salvation and praise the Lord regardless of the box that we find ourselves in and we will keep on singing until the Lord breaks down the walls and delivers us to a new life of freedom and victory that we simply could not see or even hope for if wasn’t for God’s presence in our lives.
So, keep walking and talking with God. Everyday you draw closer to Him the more you will grow strong in the power of His might, by relying on and trusting in Him. In Christ we have the victory, so don’t forget. If you find yourself in a box, remember that He is with you and no matter what comes to pass He will see you through.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Romans 6:12 (NLT2)
12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.
Today’s verse instructs us to not give in to sinful desires because of the bondage that results.
I like the New Living Translation’s simple rendering of this verse that says:
Romans 6:12 (NKJV)
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
The stark contrast between versions reminds us to have access to more than one version of the Bible on hand because although we could make the case that both versions essentially say the same thing, they say it in different ways.
The NLT is the version that was developed to be easier to read and is considered a “youth” translation and as much as I like it, when I am taken by the simple truth in the NLT I will go to the NKJV to see what the word “really says” because the NLT is structured to draw out the simple truths and in that intention it sometimes changes the words or the order of the words to make the message in the Bible clearer for a youthful or seeking audience.
Both versions tell let sin control us, to reign in our mortal bodies, or to give into sinful desires, that we should obey its lusts.
The truth of this verse is telling us that the consequence of giving into sin is bondage to it. So we are warned and if we are wise we will accept the Bible’s counsel and not give in to temptation and sin because we are clearly told that there is a danger that we will be ensnared by our sin and our lives will be controlled by it.
So read the Bible and apply its wisdom to your life. Check out the different versions of the Bible. Avoid the ones put out by cults. Do your research to know the source of the translation you are interested in. And when you come across an interesting version be sure to consult one of the more traditional versions, like the NKJV, to see how it lines up with the traditional teaching, a good translation will never take you too far from the translations that are drawn from the original Greek and Hebrew meanings.
So be studious with your Bible study, but remember we are not so much concerned with the different nuisances of the way things are said in the Bible as much as we are called to apply the wisdom of the word to our lives.
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 The Blended Family’s God’s Recipe for Success.
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:
D. Preparing Children for Your Remarriage
- Meet alone with your own children.
- Communicate your unconditional love for them.
- State your belief that remarriage is God's direction for your life.
- Share the positive future you see for them.
- Encourage them to be open and to share their feelings.
- Explain that the stepparent will not replace their natural parent.
- Make your marriage commitment clear.
- Ask for their help in this transition.
- Communicate their secure position.
- Let them know that Christ will be the center of their new family.
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (Proverbs 16:24)
E. The Shared Custody Shuffle
Many have found that a shared custody arrangement is not always in the best interests of a child. Children seem to have more difficulty being constantly on the move. But if you do share custody, it is important to remember to do the following when a child returns to your home:
- Stop what you are doing.
- Greet with a warm hug.
- Allow reentry time.
- Give focused attention.
- Ask nonthreatening questions.
- Expect children to try to manipulate your feelings.
- Don't assume all they say is true.
- Distance yourself emotionally from any anger.
"A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!" (Proverbs 15:23)
Biblical Counseling Keys: The Blended Family: God's Recipe for Success.
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