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Saturday, October 2, 2021

Blue, Can you be Born Twice? – Checking the Clues 4 - Purity 539


 
Blue, Can you be Born Twice?  – Checking the Clues 4   - Purity 539

Purity 539 10/02/2021   Purity 539 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of an amazing sunrise sky over what is presumably one of the peaks of the Kentucky Appalachians Mountains comes to us a friend who moved from the Empire State to make the Bluegrass State their home but even though the sights may be different they still have their eyes on the sky and have an appreciation for the beauty of God’s creation and in sharing its wonder with their friends on social media.  

Well, it’s Saturday and while things may be significantly different for me this morning as I am a houseguest of my beloved, TammyLyn, some things don’t change even if we find ourselves in new and unfamiliar settings.  As our friend in Kentucky discovered that the sun still rises everyday and they can expect God to provide them with the opportunity to experience its wonder, I discovered that even though I didn’t set an alarm or make any concrete plans for my “morning process”, I still rose long before the sun came up to connect with the Lord and to share a reason to be encouraged and to have hope for those who know there is a God and who have chosen to follow a spiritual course with their lives by making Jesus their Lord and Savior and to consider and follow the wisdom that is found in God’s Word. 

While my bearings have been thrown off this morning and I am surrounded by a curious pair of cats and dog who seems to only be calmed by constant human contact, my heart and my thoughts are still drawn to share a few insights and encouragements  and to wish my friends a peaceful day and weekend.   

As I sit in darkness, I could imagine that my canine companion is that children’s television superstar, Blue, and we have begun a new day to look for another “clue”  that would help us to determine whether someone we are interested in as being a life partner is a “real” or authentic Christian.  

Like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson,  the Blue in my imagination and me go where the “clues” take us and where “the game is afoot” and persist even when the trail runs cold.   As we looked to a different process to draw today’s Bible verse, Blue and I have stumbled across another possible “clue” that could help us to find a “real “Christian”.    

As investigators of spiritual truth, we have to have “an ear to hear” and we need to listen to the word’s that the subjects of our investigations use and how they refer to themselves. 

I must admit that even though I was pretty sure that I had found a faithful Christian woman to make my wife for the rest of of my days, the investigation is ongoing, and I am ecstatic to report that in terms of faith and a desire to follow the Lord, my continual conversations, and interviews with TammyLyn has only discovered more “clues” that my “girlfriend” really is who she appears to be. Our talks  and my probing questions have only confirmed that she is an authentic Christian.   

So I would recommend talking about the things of God with your potential partner to reveal the depths of their theological understanding and their devotion to love the Lord and endeavor to follow His ways for their life.   

So today’s “clue” is a verbal one and ironically it has not been one that I have heard  spoken by my girlfriend.  So I will have to see how she comes down on this particular phrase and whether or not she uses it in referring to her faith. 

As today’s Bible verse will reveal the source of today’s inspiration for investigation, we address the question of being “born again” as a “clue” to someone being a Christian.  

Okay, I know this is a pretty “specific” phrase that we are looking to hear coming from our potential significant other, but I would say that its specificity and the rarity of its use in casual conversation make the phrase “born again” to be a really good clue to indicate that a person is a Christian.  

I mean you don’t really hear the phrase “born again” used in concert with any other faith system, so if we hear someone refer to themselves as “born again” we can quickly ascertain a few things.   S

Someone using the phrase “born again” to describe their Christian faith most  likely:

·       Believes in the Bible or attends a church that professes to. 

The phrase “born again” isn’t some made up term that someone created to describe a higher level of Christianity. It is a phrase that Jesus used, in the Bible.  So, anyone calling themselves a “born again Christian” either is a “Bible believing Christian” themselves or has been taught by “Bible believing Christians”.   

Also People who call themselves “born again” most likely:

·       Have a lifestyle that includes regular worship and spiritual practices.   

The term “born again” is not a casual term and those who use it probably don’t have a casual faith life.  My understanding of the term “born again” was that some who was “born again” had a devout faith life. “Born again” Christians were those devoutly crazy members of the body of Christ who not only went to church on a regular basis, they also were known to actually read the Bible, prayed out loud sometimes, and would share the gospel with others, in public.    

And finally, the phrase “born again” also described people who

·       Tried to abstain from sin and practiced a Biblical moral code.  

Not only did those crazy “born again’s” believe in the Bible and have a lifestyle with regular spiritual practices, but they also tried to “be holy” by having a strict moral code with clear standards that were based on the Bible’s teachings. They would also actually “practice what the preach” by living a morally upstanding life.   

So if in our investigations, we hear the phrase “born again” being used to describe someone’s faith, we can either rejoice that we have found someone who will join us enthusiastically as we try to walk the path of Christian discipleship or be apprehensive at the thought that our new “born again” love interest may have “more faith” then us because the term “born again’ generally describes someone who has Biblically based faith that is supported by regular spiritual practices and strong moral convictions.   

However, just as there are genuine forms of currency that are very valuable, there can also be counterfeits.   So while I would say that as much of the term “born again” could indicate an authentic Christian faith, unfortunately it is possible that people professing to be “born again” could only have an outward showing of piety covering a hidden agenda that could include sinful proclivities or Machiavellian methods of manipulation.

So, while we may think that we have hit the motherlode by finding a “born again Christian, we still have to remember Jesus’ teachings that not only will His disciples follow His commandments, but they would also be know for their love for one another and that the proof of someone’s authenticity is in the fruit of righteousness in their lives. 

So keep walking and talking and God, show yourself to be “born of the Spirit” by seeking the Lord, following His ways, and by sharing His love with others on the earth.   

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 3:7 (NKJV)
7  Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'

Today’s verse contains the words of Jesus and instruct that we must be born again. 

Well, now you know what motivated, our “Blue’s Clue of the Christian Faith” for this morning. Because of my decision to take advantage of my love’s gracious invitation to weekend at here house, I was miles away from my stack of index cards from which I normally draw the “verse of the day” from.  So this morning I decided to utilize one of the many daily devotional eBooks that I own to randomly select a verse for today. 

So I to give credit where credit is due I drew today’s verse from “365 Days in The Presence of God: Daily Devotions from the Sermons of Dr. Frank Ray.”  365 Days in His presence seemed to be in line with my theme of Christian Discipleship 24/7 so even though I don’t know Dr. Frank Ray or his work, his 2004 devotional book is credited for giving us John 3:7 today.      

Anyway, John 3 is the chapter in the Bible from which the term “born again” comes from and as today’s verse states Jesus doesn’t indicate that “being born again” is a matter of debate.  We must be born again.  

To understand what this phrase means, we should examine the context in which Christ used it.  

In this section of scripture, Jesus is meeting with Nicodemus and discussing spiritual truth. As a Pharisee,  Nicodemus was well versed in the Old Testament scriptures and attempted to live his life according to the law.  So in terms of knowing the law and the things to do, Nicodemus had a wealth of instruction, but Jesus challenge this Pharisee’s knowledge by stating that in order to see the kingdom of God, he must be “born of water and the Spirit”.  While we could think of this phrasing to be ultra-spiritual and mysterious, as their conversation progresses, Christ makes the requirements of salvation clear in verse 16:

John 3:16 (NKJV)
16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

In this discourse, Christ makes it clear that salvation, entrance into the kingdom of God, and everlasting life are not earned through the keeping of the law. It is through faith in Christ, by believing in the only begotten Son, that men will not perish but have everlasting life.  

So as much as we pointed out what the term “born again” may look like in the life of a believer with the outward signs of a profession of belief of the truth of the Bible, performing spiritual practices, and having strong moral convictions, none of these things make us “born again”.  It is only through faith that we are born of the Spirit.  

So do not marvel, that Christ says that we must be born again. When we place our faith in Christ we receive a new and eternal spiritual life that we didn’t have before. The term “born again” is representative of that new life and points to the fact that as Christians we are new creations and have freedom from sin and death.  

So remember, we don’t earn our place into the kingdom. God shows us the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we place our faith, or believe, in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and are forever changed.   While our enjoying the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is dependent on our faith and our following the Lord’s wisdom and ways, we are born of the Spirit by simply believing in the Son. 

So keep walking and talking with God, rejoice this weekend at the fact that nothing can separate you from the love of God and that you have everlasting life but remember that the Lord has an abundant life for you to walk into while you are still here on the earth and the way that we find it is to listen to His voice in the Word of God and with our spirit and to follow Him where He leads.  

 

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:

III. Causes

Some recipes are not as easy as they seem, especially when many ingredients are added to the mixture. And in situations where there has been a divorce, more than just the members of the family are involved. Other parents from other marriages are blended into the mix. A major difficulty will be establishing lines of authority for children who spend a great deal of time with a natural parent. Children also resent leaving a parent who now is not part of the new family makeup. If there can be open lines of communication among all the adults involved, children will be able to accept guidelines for their behavior more readily.

"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)

A. Major Causes of Failure

  • First Marriage
    • —immature spouse
    • —sexual difficulties
    • —relatives
    • —value systems
    • —social adjustments
  • Second Marriage
    • —child rearing
    • —financial difficulties
    • —relatives
    • —value systems
    • —sharing tasks

B. The Stepfamily Sabotage

Your emotional health is of critical importance when you are faced with the new challenges of parenting, the pain of separating from past marriages and the stress of interacting with ex-spouses. Your responses to the challenges will greatly affect the failure or the success of your new family. Although no two families are alike, all will have varying degrees of the following emotions:

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!" (Isaiah 43:18)

  • Loss
    • —All members are dealing with the loss of the nuclear family.
    • —Children are grieving the loss of a parent.
    • —Spouses are grieving the loss of significant relationships.
  • Fear
    • —Children fear loss of affection.
    • —Children fear the unknown.
    • —Spouses fear a second failure.
    • —Stepparents fear rejection.
  • Anger
    • —Both children and stepparents may be angry over lack of acceptance.
    • —Children may be angry over too little or too much discipline from stepparent.
    • —Stepparent may be angry over additional financial commitments and responsibilities.
    • —Both children and stepparents may be angry over unfulfilled expectations, dreams and goals.
  • Guilt
    • —Children feel guilty over divided loyalty.
    • —Children feel guilty about being responsible for the failure of the first marriage.
    • —Children feel guilty about not accepting and loving the stepparent.
    • —Spouses feel guilty over the divorce and its effect on the children.
    • —Spouses feel guilty over giving priority to bonding with the new spouse.
    • —Spouses feel guilty over not loving stepchildren.

"Therefore, 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." (Hebrews 12:1)

C. Root Cause of Marriage Failure... The Second Time Around

 

Wrong Belief:

"I must be perfect in this new marriage in order to project a healthy family image and to prove my success as a marriage partner and as a parent."

Right Belief:

I cannot be a perfect parent or make others happy all the time. I will rely on the Holy Spirit, who gives me the wisdom and love to respond in a Christlike manner in all my family relationships.

"I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)


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

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

 

 

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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