Gone with the Wind – Collision Course with Christ - Purity 701
Purity 701 04/09/2022 Purity 701 Podcast
Today’s photo of an epic shot of tree under a cloud filled sky of blue and gold, atop a hill on the “Knapp Kin Farm”, with the setting sun cresting on horizon, comes to us from our brother, friend, and Bible study author, Arthur Cincotti. This one is “hot off the presses” as I received it last night and thought to myself: “It looks like Arthur made the weekend edition!” and had a good laugh about it because it is a running joke between us about how Arthur covets to have his photographic visions featured as the “photo of the day”.
Well, It’s Saturday and we made it to the weekend. Even though rain is in my local forecast, it is my prayer that all who read or hear this message have a wonderful “Palm Sunday” weekend where you will use the next two days to enjoy yourselves and take time to thank the Lord for all He has provided in your life.
A life of contentment comes from being grateful for the things we have and from giving thanks to the God who gave us life and who is directing the course of history, resulting in all the “days of our lives”. Arthur’s sunset shot reminded me of some of the epic landscape scenes from “Gone with the Wind” and it has me considering the landscape of my life and how it truly has been a dramatic journey that could rival that of Scarlet O’Hara, or that of Forrest Gump!
Although “Gone with the Wind” and Forrest Gump featured stories of the main characters going through various times and season throughout history, the thing that stood out in those dramas perhaps more than the changing events from one era to another was the relationships that developed, ended,or endured through the years of the character’s lives.
Over the last two days, my job has brought me to two very different locations that caused me to remember different chapters of my life that are now in the distant past but play a part in the person I am today.
I am a field technician for a telecommunications company, aka a telephone repair guy, and my job can take me to anywhere in the greater Capital district where a phone is connected. On Thursday I had a trouble report for the St, Anthony of Padua Shrine in downtown Troy. Before realizing my mistake and going to the shrine’s office building where the phone trouble actually was, I foolishly just walked into the shrine which was completely empty and reverent.
Although I almost immediately realized my mistake, I walked from the back of the shrine all the way up to the front, on the left side of the altar. Even I wasn’t foolish enough to go down the middle aisle! I think the middle aisle at Catholic Churches is reserved for the most bold and holy to walk down. The sheepish sinners who don’t attend services every week tend to use the entry points on the left or right sides of the sanctuary.
Even though I had never been to this particular shrine/church, I was impressed by its pristine facilities and reverent atmosphere. I had grown up in the Catholic Church so I was filled with feelings of nostalgia over seeing the old familiar sights of a catholic church. The candles, the colorful stained glass window displays, the stations of the cross that ran along the aisles, the altar, and various statues of saints gave me that old familiar feeling of fear and awe that told me that I was on holy ground and I best be quiet, reverent, and respectful. Before leaving I mentally apologized for my intruding to the empty sanctuary.
The phone trouble turned out the be in the central office, so I just had to put in a trouble ticket for a central office technician to wire the dial tone on the frame and was done. But before I was left I went back into the sanctuary’s alcove and grabbed one of the free “2022 Catholic heritage” calendars that I had saw on the way out. The cover art of a pristine Jesus was calling for me to take it home and I couldn’t resist.
I have a real heart for my catholic roots that fills me with a strange mix of longing, sadness, and horror. The catholic church was proficient in teaching me that I was a sinner but it didn’t adequately teach me that I was saved through my faith in Jesus Christ alone.
It had taught me all about the reverent worship and traditions of the mass but my experiences there also taught me about hypocrisy and surface level faith that didn’t survive beyond the four walls of the church.
It didn’t teach me that many of it’s traditions have no Biblical basis and were basically established by some church official who thought it was a good idea.
It hadn’t taught me about idolatry or that we don’t need an intercessor to speak to the Lord on our behalf.
It didn’t teach me that I was loved, accepted, secure, or significant in Christ and that I could boldly walk down the center aisle, regardless of my past sins, to approach God on His throne.
In considering all the things I have learned through the study of God’s word and what I didn’t learn in the Catholic church, I am filled with sadness because, just like the reformers must have thought back in the times of Martin Luther, “it didn’t have to be this way”.
Instead of “reforming” and repenting of its doctrinal errors, the leadership of the Catholic church stood by their traditions even though some of them confound the gospel of grace and are in conflict with Biblical principles.
My mom, dad, and all my brothers and their families are still catholic so it is my hope that somehow their “confirmation” of faith in Christ will put them in a state of grace. I hope their simple “I do.” that they delivered in response to the Bishop’s question of
“Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
Will be enough to make them to become a part of the bride of Christ, the church in His eyes. Sometimes I think the less you know about what the Catholic church teaches the more likely you are to be saved…
I have cleaned up my act now and it saddens me that I could be a “good catholic” if I wanted to be, but I know that it is better to choose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and try to live by the truth of the word of God rather than by the arbitrary rules that were created by men.
It angers me that Christianity has been so divided at times and I almost wish for a return to the cathedrals of the ages of the past if it could mean that we would have one church, but honestly I would rather have a million different denominations of Christianity that attempted to be authentic in their faith and in their attempts to obey the word of God rather than have a single body that was defined by hypocrisy, error and compromise.
I know that God is merciful and gracious, and I pray that all who hear or see this message, especially Catholics, would make a simple confession to make Christ their Lord and Savior and to study the Bible and let the Lord’s word direct their path.
Well, that was Thursday, and on Friday I had an almost polar opposite trip down memory lane, as I was called to a telephone trouble at a fraternity house of RPI.
The phone facilities in the fraternity house were in the basement and to gain access I had to go through a couple of stale beer smelling bar rooms to get the communications terminal.
For those who don’t know, I pledged a fraternity in SUNY Oswego in 1991 and enjoyed all the benefits of membership for the remainder of my college career. Wild escapades, hazing, secret initiation rights, , women, drugs and alcohol were all part of the rock n roll fantasy existence of my college days and coming into a fraternity house all these years later caused me to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly of my youthful exuberance. Such joy, such loneliness, such great friendships, and so many broken things both materially and relationally.
My fraternity house was burned to the ground by an angry neighbor who was never arrested for the arson they perpetrated. And although the fraternity carried on and got a new smaller house, there really is no going back to my “college home” again. Those days are gone. And as much as I fondly remember my brothers and other friends from those days, I don’t miss the pain of suffering from addiction, loneliness, confusion, ignorance and rejection I experienced in those days.
When I saw that frat house, part of me lamented of the way I had lived while another part of me wished I could do it all over again. But I realized that there is no going back and that I couldn’t take the wisdom I have now back to those days. The times were different, the technology was different, but most importantly I was different. I didn’t know Christ and if I did I may have not met all the people who I still consider to be friends.
All these nostalgic musings of the Catholic Church and the subsequent age of total depravity of my college days are marked by errors and regrets but I honestly would have it no other way. Everything I suffered and learned from in those eras of my life put me on a collision course with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If I wasn’t so lost, maybe I would have never sought the Lord and maybe I would have never found Him.
But now I have the best of all possible worlds I guess. I sinned. I suffered. But I was saved.
And through it all I met so many people along the way. I made so many friends and acquaintances that made my life the epic drama that it has been. We have had moments of joy, hilarity, love, and loss. Many of the people I have met have faded into the past and left the stage, but others have endured to remain constant characters in my life. And whether those relationships are active, over, on hold, or to be continued, I thank the Lord for giving me company through the many years of my life.
God made us and He put us in this particular time and season. And through a combination of our free will and His sovereign will, we have encountered all the people of our lives during all the days of our lives. He provided us with the people who challenged us, who encouraged us and who loved us.
While we can remember our pasts with fondness, we should never dig in our heels to try to stay in a season that is “Gone with the Wind”, instead we should remember where we came from, learn from our mistakes, and walk into the remaining mystery of life with God as the source of our wisdom and strength.
So keep walking and talking with God. Take time to praise His name on Sunday – Hosanna in the Highest, right! but also take time to enjoy the things and people you have in your life right now because in this life that always moves forward through time and space we never know what characters will make a dramatic exit or which ones will stay and remain.
Today’s Bible verses comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Matthew 19:29 (NLT2)
29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.
Today’s verse are the words of Jesus that acknowledge the cost of our faith and the promise of a great reward for our faithfulness.
Hey, we talked about those changing times and seasons of life and all those characters that would come and go, and today’s verse is most appropriate to that theme because when we make Jesus our Lord and Savior, we are almost guaranteed to suffer the loss of some pre-Christ relationships.
I have suffered some major relationship losses because of my decision to follow Christ. It wouldn’t be a stretch for me to agree with today’s verse when it speaks of giving up houses, property, and relationships for the Lord’s sake.
My conversion to the life of a disciple of Christ has been so dramatic and transformative that I can barely recognize myself at times! Wow, this IS ME! So I can’t necessarily blame some people who loved the wild funny sarcastic party animal for rejecting the “born again…M.T.??? What the hell does that mean?:”
I would try to defend myself and say that I haven’t changed all that much but that would be a lie. I have been given a new life in Christ and the manifestation of that new life is constantly unfolding as I surrender more and more of myself to be conformed to the image of Christ. Believe me, I marvel at how the Lord has been sanctifying me little by little as I agreed to follow Him.
My interests and hobbies of the past have been replaced by a zeal to know God more and to live according to His wisdom. The good news is that this path of Christian Discipleship isn’t a chore. It isn’t a drudgery. It is the pathway of peace and joy that doesn’t require substances to alter my mental state or arranging circumstances to make me happy.
So as today’s verse is telling us the truth when it tells us that we will be rewarded a hundred times for the things we give up or loss for the Lord’s sake. Duh, these are the words of Jesus. He is the Truth the Way and the Life so obviously what He says is true.
But if you are doubtful let me assure you, your new life in Christ will be worth whatever losses you may have to suffer to follow Him. Not only do we get eternal life through our faith in Christ, but when we apply His love and wisdom to our lives we can experience all the fruit of the Spirit in our lives here and now.
We all must decide how we will spend our lives and where we will spend eternity. If you choose your dysfunctional or even really nice relationships over Jesus, there will be hell to pay. But if you choose to honor God by placing your faith Jesus, although you may suffer earthly losses, you will be given so much more when you are given the honor of entering the kingdom of God and becoming a member of His royal family.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation.
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 his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
K. How to See That Success Is Just a Choice Away
Life and death … blessings and curses …
God places before His people, the nation of Israel, two distinct paths leading in entirely different directions. They are free to choose which path they will follow, but they must also be prepared to accept the consequences.
God longs for the Israelites to choose “life”—loving Him, obeying Him—and thus receiving from Him boundless blessings. But should they choose “death”—forsaking Him, failing to honor His hallowed name—then cursing and great disaster will befall them.
You, too, have two distinct paths before you … choosing to seek God’s help in overcoming your overeating habits and finding victory or choosing to stop overeating in your own strength and facing defeat after defeat. As with the Israelites, God wants you to “choose” Him, and you’ll soon discover that success is just a choice away.…
“Now choose life, so that you … may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life …”
My Daily Choices for Change
Decide each day to accept this challenge for change. Accept the challenge to make these daily choices—realizing success is just a choice away.
Life is a series of choices, therefore …
• I choose to give control of my life to the Lord Jesus Christ.
• I choose to change my eating through the power of Christ within me.
• I choose to live to please God, not to please my appetite.
• I choose to make wise choices when tempted to eat unwisely.
• I choose to make right choices when tempted to eat excessively.
• I choose to glorify God with how I treat my body.
• I choose to focus not on food but on faithfulness to the Lord in my life.
• I choose to let God be my God—not to let food be my god.
Although I’ve failed in the past, with God’s help I don’t have to fail in the future!
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
There is only one God.
So if food is your god,
then God is not your God.
“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do,
do it all for the glory of God.”
(1 Corinthians 10:31)
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts
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Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 40–42.