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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Blue, Are they a Christian in a Car? – Checking the Clues 8 - Purity 543


 

Blue, Are they a Christian in a Car?  – Checking the Clues 8  - Purity 543

Purity 543 10/07/2021 Purity 543 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a trail somewhere in upstate New York comes to us from a friend who decided to get out there last Saturday to enjoy the blue skies of the second day of October and to see the beginnings of the changing fall foliage.  Note to self: caption photos the moment to “save them” because you are too old to remember where they come from a week after the fact.  If the friend who captured this scene would like credit for sharing it or would like to tell us where this trail is in upstate NY, feel free to send us a comment and we will clue ourselves and everyone else in. 

If you haven’t guessed yet, the path of Christian Discipleship is not the path of perfection, but it is a path that can lead to progress.  While my memory doesn’t seem to be making much progress, I have increasingly learned of my need to write things down. But although I have “learned” and now “know” that I need to note my photo sources, it really won’t matter unless I “practice” what I know to be true by doing it!  

Today’s Thursday, and the reason I share photos of roadways, paths, or trails on Thursdays is to encourage my friends to take a step into the spiritual realm by developing a lifestyle of “walking in the Spirit”  where we learn about the God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the wisdom that is contained in the Word of God and then actually put what we come to “know” into practice by applying it to our lives.  

The abundant life that Christ gives to us is something that we have to walk into by believing what the word of God says about us and about how we are supposed to live and by demonstrating that we believe it through our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.   

Currently, I am leading the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course at Rock Solid Church in Hudson on Thursday evenings for anyone local and provide a podcast version of the material that is presented, for those who aren’t. So I invite you to “come and see”, or learn and experience, the transformed life of peace and joy that is possible through following Christ’s lead on the path of Christian Discipleship.    

As our current series has been examining the possible “clues” that a potential life partner’s Christian faith is authentic and would make a good Christian spouse, our imagination has conjured children’s television’s Blue and Dr. Seuss’ Sam I am to help us in our investigations to determine if someone really is who they say they are.  

As we have been slowly progressing through Sam I am’s litany of questions, today we consider the question:

Are they a Christian in a car?

Now I know, you may be thinking what in the world do cars have to do with the authenticity of someone’s Christian faith. 

Well, as I have stated previously, our examinations are not to determine if the people we are interested in for a possible relationship are going to heaven, we are trying to determine what kind of character they have and to see if that is consistent with the teachings from the word of God that would lead us to expect the growth of the Spirit in a believer’s life that would include: peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, patience, gentleness, and self-control.    

So what better place to get a revealing look at someone’s character than behind the wheel of car in the various challenging situations that we can encounter on the road.     

Now to be clear: the way we drive or behave DOES NOT determine whether someone is an authentic Christian,  but like I said it could possibly tell us a lot about their character, personality, and maturity level.   Besides if you are thinking about spending the rest of your life with someone, you will have to live with how they are on the road as well as in the home so its not a bad idea to get a good look at who we are becoming involved with behind the wheel of a car.  

As we go for a ride, or take a drive with our potential partner questions we may ask ourselves in this area include: 

Are they a safe driver or are they reckless? Do they obey the rules of the road, or do they speed and break other rules of the road? Do they wear a seatbelt? Are they an angry driver? Do they swear? Are they patient? Are they a courteous driver? Are they aware or are they distracted? Are they on their phone?  

And finally, do I want to be in a car with this person every where I go for the rest of my life?           

Now if you have noticed in this series of “checking the clues” , we encourage everyone to take a long look at the attitudes and behaviors that other people display and to consider what that indicates about their character or the “authenticity” of their Christian faith life but at the same time, in this context we put the final determination of “what this all means” upon the person making the decision about forming a committed relationship.  

I am not creating a list of standards that people must measure up to, but I am attempting to encourage people to be discerning and to make conclusions based on their observations.    

In terms of faith, there are many different levels maturity that are possible in the wide spectrum of those who would identify themselves as “Christian”, so when we are looking to make a match for life we want to try to make sure we know where our future spouse is on that spectrum and make an informed decision when we decide to marry.

Likewise with driving behaviors and attitudes, there is a wide variety of the different skills and attitudes that can be played out on the road. So we should know who we will be driving through life with and get an idea how bumpy our journey may be if we decide to make this person “the one”.   

Ideally, a “Christian” driver would obey the traffic laws and be a safe, patient, and courteous driver.   Again, I said ideal!  Many of us will fall short of perfection in this area, including myself!   

And that’s really what being a Christian is all about. We will not be perfect.  We will struggle with demonstrating the attributes of an ideal Christian disciple but because we are “disciples” that mean we are learning. 

When something on the road makes us impatient or angry and we act poorly, or it is brought to our attention that we are being unsafe or are doing something wrong, we can choose to learn from our mistakes and ask God to help us change. With God any thing is possible, He can even correct our bad habits on the road.  

Now, don’t beat yourself up if you are not a perfect driver or a perfect Christian. Oh and you shouldn’t do that to your fellow drivers or fellow Christians either.  Our journey of faith is not one of perfection but with Lord we can make progress and when we are trying to choose a life partner we are best served when we choose one that can progress with us, both through our lives and in our faith.    

So keep walking and talking with God. Keep your eyes open when you are out on the road and in your relationships. If we listen to the Lord’s wisdom, He will show us the way to go and He will help us to read the “clues” of who we are supposed to walk or drive through life with.

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NKJV)
16  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Today’s verses point to a supernatural event that contradicts the scientific world view but should give the Christian great hope and assurance.    

These verses describe the return of Jesus in the event that is often referred to as the rapture.  

Christianity isn’t just a cute philosophy of life with rules of conduct that teach us to be nice people.  The doctrines of the Resurrection of Christ and of the dead and of the Day of the Lord simply blows the doors off the idea of a “common sense” faith.  

“It’s simple. Do good to others as you would have to them do to you”  is basically Christ’s second commandment but obviously does not encompass the entirety of our faith.  

In fact the general principle of the “golden rule” can be adopted by anyone regardless of their choice of religion or belief in God.  

But things like the Resurrection of the dead and the Rapture cause a major division between faith streams and even among different denominations of “Christians”.  

At the forefront of the controversy is Christ Himself. These verse mention Christ specifically. The “Lord Himself” will descend from heaven and the “dead in Christ” will rise and then we, meaning Christians, “who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord”.

This is a little more than “be nice to your neighbor”. This describes Christ coming back for His people before God pours His wrath out on the earth.  It is a wonderful promise for the Christian but horrible news for everyone else.  

I’m currently reading Revelation, today chapter 16, and I can tell you that it describes some horrible events that will come to pass and that the only safety is through a reconciled relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

While science states that the universe will just run down like an old clock with everything dying as the last star fades to black, the Word of God tells us that God will reclaim the earth, pour out His wrath on it and create a new heaven and a new earth where those who put their faith in Christ will dwell with the Lord in eternity.   

These “end times” verses in the Bible, is God telling us the truth of what will come to pass. While we as Christians should rejoice that we will be saved from God’s wrath, the knowledge of these verses should motivate us to speak the truth in love and tell other people of the grave danger they are in without a relationship with Jesus Christ.  

So don’t worry about the future, God has plan for the Christian that is good but at the same time be sure to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many as you can. Our voices can be used by God to bring people from death to life.  So tell your loved ones, neighbors, and friends that God loves them and there is eternal safety available to all who make Jesus their Lord and Savior.

 

 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 begin sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

 

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:

"First seek the counsel of the Lord." (1 Kings 22:5 NIV)

A date usually describes a specific point in time... often a significant appointment on the calendar. However, different kinds of dates exist in our world. A great date for her could be described like this...

Following a delicious dinner, their evening continues with a romantic carriage ride beneath a starlit sky. Aware of only each other, the couple's short ride ends as the two draw close, their eyes meet and lips touch in a tender good-night kiss. (Ahhh!)

Or a great date for him could look like this...

They're cheering in the stands—he scrambles... throws... scores! As the whistle blows, the two among 2,000 are jumping, yelling, and high-fiving. Food, football, and first place—nothing could be better! Exiting the arena, they huddle close, dodging the winter air. And at the car, he can't wait, "When can I see you again?" (Wow!)

Oh, yes—two great dates! Some singles see dating as a demoralizing waiting game... others as a desperate mating game. In utter desperation, they assume, I must have someone to meet my needs. But God's view is different. He is the One who promises to meet our deepest needs, thus we need not view dating as a last-ditch effort to get our needs met. Being our Need-Meeter is His job.

Our job is to become mature—to grow in Christlike character. Therefore, dating is an opportunity to develop social skills, self-control, and healthy relationships that selflessly seek the highest good of another person.

Rather than scanning the social landscape for a "perfect match," we need to view dating as an ideal time to focus on becoming the person God intends us to be. For many, this journey will someday end in marriage. For some, it will not. But, when done God's way, dating develops godly character and forms friendships that flourish. Ultimately, His promise to be our Need-Meeter takes the "desperation" out of dating. The Bible says...

"My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

I. Definitions

Whether you are 16 or 26 or 62, traveling the dating terrain can lead all the way to "heartbreak hotel" more often than "happily ever after" Why then do so many people keep dating?

Many who are lonely think marriage provides the missing piece of the puzzle. Others just want to have fun and get acquainted with a variety of people. Most believe dating will prepare them for marriage because the world presents marriage as the preferred social "norm."

But, does dating truly fulfill all these expectations?

Many people are afraid—fearful they will pick the wrong person. How do they overcome this fear? The answer lies in not focusing on finding the kind of person you want to date but on becoming the person God wants you to be as a date. If God plans for you to marry, be at peace—He promises to bring the right person across your path....

"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)

A. What Is Dating?

Imagine their surprise! Doug and Donna's 12 year-old announces that a boy at school wants to take her to a movie. The couple exchange glances... then her dad reminds their daughter of the rule: She's not allowed to date until she turns 16. Wanting God's best for Susie, her parents encourage her to pursue friendships for now.

The concept of dating is definitely up for discussion—to prepare Susie for the future—but the consent to date is decidedly off the table...and will be for a few more years. Meanwhile, Doug and Donna demonstrate respect within their own relationship, and Doug helps Susie "practice" dating by taking her out on daddy/daughter dates. In this way, Susie will understand her worth in her parents' eyes and learn how to relate in social settings without anxiety and pressure. This helps Doug and Donna guide their daughter to become mature as they themselves seek God's wisdom on dating....

"For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:6)

Nowhere in the Bible does God say that we—His carefully planned creations—are to live isolated from one another. In fact, after creating Adam, the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). Then God created Eve for Adam to marry.

But how do you know if marriage is God's plan for you? And if it is, how do you know whether you have found the right person to date? Even more importantly, how do you become the right person to date? Purposeful dating can help you discover some of its benefits.

  • Dating is a relationship between a male and a female who participate in prearranged social activities.
  • Dating means setting aside time for social interaction with someone of the opposite sex. Dating describes male/female companionship that can move beyond close friendship into a romantic relationship.
  • Dating provides the opportunity to...
    • —Learn how to communicate with the opposite sex
    • —Help define what traits you do and don't desire in a future mate
    • —Come into contact with potential marriage partners
    • —Grow socially and emotionally, intellectually and spiritually

Knowing the truth of God's love takes the desperation out of dating, as Scripture clearly states...

"So we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them." (1 John 4:16 NCV)

Necessity of Dating

Question: "Although I'm in my late twenties, I have never dated. I don't feel romantically drawn to women (and I'm not gay). How important is dating?"

Answer: Dating is not essential for great relating, but dating offers a practical option if your desire is to eventually get married.

God has a wonderful plan for your life and His plan is perfect—whether you remain single or marry. Wonderful marriages are often built between people who have never or have seldom dated... until God at a point in time causes their lives to intersect. God makes it clear in His Word that the sexual relationship is reserved only for marriage. As you stay focused on deepening your relationship with the Lord and increase your ability to care for others, He will bring into your life that which fulfills the deepest desires of your heart....

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).


Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

 

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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