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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Blue, Are they a Christian with a Fox? – Checking the Clues 7 - Purity 542

Blue, Are they a Christian with a Fox?  – Checking the Clues 7  - Purity 542

Purity 542 10/06/2021 Purity 542 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a “Turn around somewhere in Grand Gore” comes to us from a friend whose view on life can usually be counted on to brighten our day.  The pickings have been somewhat slim lately when it comes to selecting the photo of the day, perhaps because I am looking at social media less or perhaps it’s because of the shift in the seasons. But this morning as I felt hard pressed to select a photo and looked back in the archives and was seeking to remember the source of one I was thinking of sharing. I went to the photographer of this photo’s FB page.  In my search I found this beauty of a shot that was shared back on September 24th and thought it was a terrific change of pace as the last two days in upstate NY have been rainy and overcast.  

It’s funny because I only know this person through social media, a common interest, and through their posts, I have a sense of their quirky sense of humor and their adventurous spirit. So when I looked to get a new view, I immediately decided to check their FB page.  You have to love it when you have people in your life, no matter how small the scale, that can brighten your day. It is my prayer that the blue sky, green meadow, evergreen mountains, and shining sun in my friend’s photo brighten your day.

But as I hope for sunshine and blue skies to greet us all on this sixth day of October, Blues Clue’s Blue and Dr. Seuss’ Sam I am,  are back in my imagination to continue our examination of different aspects of the Christian Faith that can give us a “clue” that someone we suspect of having faith may truly be an “Authentic” or “Real” Christian.   

As a reminder, I have several single Christian friends who have recently prayed for a Christian life partner which motivated me to think about what “clues” would be helpful in  determining if a potential suitor was a “sheep or a goat”.  

In some of the scariest verses in the Bible (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 13:25-27), Jesus Himself proclaims that there will be some people who claim to be Christians but who will be exposed for their false faith.  

I understand the difficulties is determining someone’s righteous standing with God, but for our purposes we are only looking for “clues” and “fruit” in someone’s life that would indicate that they MAY have an authentic Christian faith.  Our examination is not condemning anyone to hell but could prove helpful in avoiding the hell of being unequally yoked.  

Everyone should be wise and discerning in choosing an “authentic” life partner, whether Christian or not.    But I’m a Christian and so are my friends who are praying for a Christian life partner so we are looking for possible “clues” in someone’ attitudes and behaviors that would indicate their Christian faith is “real”.  

As Sam I Am has intruded into the Blue’s Clues universe with his line of inquiry, today we consider the question: “Are they a Christian with a fox?”

Well, foxes are like wolves, right? And the image of a wolf in sheep’s clothing is often used to demonstrate someone who is not who they say they are and who may even have malevolent intent . And no offense, but  if you are trying to convince a Christian that there are other ways to live outside of the ways that are prescribed in the word of God, you may not realize it, but you are pushing the rebellious agenda of the spirit of antichrist and your “well intentioned” advice is actually malevolent.  Shots fired.     

So for this question,  the “fox” would represent a non-Christian or some one who claims to be a Christian but is entrenched in a lifestyle that is more sinful than saintly.  Questions in this scenario that we might ask are:

Does our potential life partner’s faith change with the company they keep?   

Do they dabble in sin because of “peer pressure”?

Do they have close friends that are clearly not Christians or who are involved in activities that are against the word of God?     Is their family Christian?

Are their attitudes affected by their “fox friend’s opinions” or are they based on the wisdom of the word of God?

When they are “in the world”, do they represent the kingdom of God or are they just “regular” folk?  

Do their “fox friends” know they are a Christian? Does anybody?

Again these questions are not intended to cause division or to indicate that someone is “bad” – These same questions could be asked in regard to any faith stream, interest, philosophy of life, political standing, or moral code.  They are not “Christian judge-y” questions.  They are questions that all people should ask about anyone they may want to be in relationship with when trying to determine if you would make a “good couple”.

For our purposes our Christian faith and lifestyle is important to us, and we don’t wish to cause ourselves or the other person any unnecessary heartache by forming a relationship that will be contentious.    

As a Christian who teaches about living as a disciple of Christ’s teachings, we seek to find peace in our relationships, but we also want to have peace with the Lord by living according to His ways and not the world’s ways.      

When we say we are a Christian but don’t live according to God’s ways, we are unstable in all our ways and may discover that our “Christian label” that we wear on special occasions may “not stick” when it comes to eternity.  

God calls us to a holy life so when someone says they are a Christian but who demonstrates that their attitudes and behaviors change when they hang out with their “fox friends”, we have to ask ourselves: “Are they for real?” and “Do I really want to be in a relationship with someone who may be a phony in the one area that I consider to be the most important aspect of my life?”  

As you can see, our line of questioning always considers ourselves and where we stand with God as much is it tries to determine if the other person is who they say they are.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  Be wise in the ways you walk out your Christian faith and remember that the best way to find a “real Christian” is to be one yourself and to not compromise your convictions for convenience.     


This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 2:22 (NKJV)
22  Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Today’s verse tells us what to avoid, what to pursue, and the company we are to keep.  

I swear I didn’t set this up, but today’s verse goes right in line with what we were examining in terms of Christians with “fox friends”.   

We all sin and fall short of the glory God. Before Christ, we sinned a bunch and didn’t think anything of it and while we are forgiven of every sin we will ever do, including future sins, Paul’s letter to Timothy tells us that Christians are not to persist in their “youthful lusts”. 

As Christians we are to repent, which means we are to change our minds about how we think about those “youthful lusts” and turn from them. We are to stop doing the sins of our past and instead choose, every day, to pursue “righteousness, faith, love” and “peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  

So not only are we supposed to reject our old sinful ways and abstain from doing them, we are to seek to do the things of God, acts of righteousness that will build up our faith and give us a sense of peace while experiencing the love of God and the fellowship of the saints.

Yes, the word of God says to hang out with “those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart”, indicating that we are not only supposed to be in fellowship with Christians but that we are to seek “authentic” – “pure”  Christians that we be a blessing to us in our pursuits of righteousness rather than those “carnal Christians” that will lead us  back to our “youthful lusts”.  

So don’t feel bad about being wise in who you decided to spend time with and be in relationship with.  While we are to be a light of the world to the unbeliever, the word of God shows us that we are to be faithful to the Lord’s commands to be “pure” and to avoid associations that will lead to conflict, compromise, or sin.  

So, “pursue righteousness… with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” and you will discover that when you do, the temptation to fall into “youthful lusts” will be much less and that you will experience the benefits of “faith, love, and peace.

 

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 conclude sharing 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:

F. Blended Family Bonding

Build a solid relationship with your spouse.

  • Base your relationship on Christ.
  • Face difficulties with a united front.
  • Move to a neutral home if possible.

"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24)

Observe family traditions and holidays with flexibility.

  • Be aware of various family expectations.
  • Be considerate of children who are caught in the middle.
  • Be willing to sacrifice personal expectations for holidays.

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:10)

Nurture the children's nuclear family relationships.

  • Respect the missing parent's rights.
  • Encourage communication with all grandparents and relatives.
  • Encourage holiday cards, birthday gifts and thank-you notes.

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12)

Determine to stand firm.

  • Don't relax your standards.
  • Don't be sensitive to rejection.
  • Don't expect a problem free family.

"The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.... Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul." (Proverbs 29:15, 17)

Initiate family structure.

  • Work toward a biblical authority structure.
  • Have well-defined boundaries.
  • Maintain consistent discipline.
  • Be united in decisions.

"The Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." (Proverbs 3:12)

Negotiate mutual ground.

  • Encourage open and honest communication.
  • Have frequent family meetings and devotions.
  • Talk, talk, talk with each other!

"I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought." (1 Corinthians 1:10)

Grow in dependence upon Christ.

  • See your personal identity in Christ.
  • Don't depend on others for happiness.

"Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6-7)

Insights for the Instant Parent

  • Realize that becoming an instant parent is a challenging task.
  • Remember that you're not replacing a parent; you're offering a new relationship.
  • Reinforce your commitment to the marriage for the benefit of the child.
  • Regard your role as God's example of what a marriage is intended to be.
  • Rebuild a gradual authority system to function by Biblical guidelines.
  • Reflect the love of God by providing security for the child.
  • Refuse to judge or criticize the missing parent.
  • Resist the temptation to withdraw emotionally if you are not immediately accepted.
  • Resolve to pray for the child and for your marriage.
  • Relinquish your right to be respected and loved—it may take a very long time.

"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

A blended family is like a jagged jigsaw puzzle.

If you force the pieces to fit, you destroy the potential design.

If you wait for God to work it, the picture comesin time.

June Hunt

Selected Bibliography

Adkins, Kay. I'm Not Your Kid: A Christian's Guide to a Healthy Stepfamily. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.

Brown, Beth E. When You 're Mom No. 2: A Word of Hope for Stepmothers. Ann Arbor, MI: Vine, 1991.

Cerling, Charles. Remarriage: Opportunity to Grow. Old Tappan, NJ: Power, 1988.

Cresse, Michelle. Jigsaw Families: Solving the Puzzle of Remarriage. Lynnwood, WA: Aglow, 1989.

Frydenger, Tom, and Adrienne Frydenger. The Blended Family. Old Tappan, NJ: Chosen, 1984.

Frydenger, Tom, and Adrienne Frydenger. Resolving Conflict in the Blended Family. Tarrytown, NY: Chosen, 1991.

Houck, Don, and LaDean Houck. Remarried with Children: a Blended Couple's Journey to Harmony. San Bernardino, CA: Here's Life, 1991.

Houmes, Dan, and Paul Meier. Growing in Step: A Christian Guide to Stepparenting. Richardson, TX: Today, 1985.

Hunt, Angela Elwell. Loving Someone Else's Child. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1992.

Hunt, June. Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Forgive... When You Don't Feel Like It. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Handle Your Emotions. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Hunt, June. Seeing Yourself Through God's Eyes. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008

Marsolini, Maxine. Blended Families: Creating Harmony as You Build a New Home Life. Chicago: Moody, 2000.

Solomon, Charles. The Rejection Syndrome. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1982.

VanVonderen, Jeff. Families Where Grace Is in Place. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1992.

 

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

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

 

 

 

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