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Showing posts with label Psalm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Psalm. Show all posts

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Simple Encouragement - True Friends vs. Enablers - Purity 549

Simple Encouragement - True Friends vs. Enablers - Purity 549 

Purity 549 10/14/2021  Purity 549 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s sunset photo of a pathway through Breitbeck Park near the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography.  As awesome as this sunset photo displays the glory of God’s creation, I like to point out the dedication of the photographer to his craft that is unseen and behind the scenes. For those who don’t know, Rocco Saya recently broke his leg near this scene and his injury was sever enough to require a metal rod to be surgically implanted in his leg back in mid-September and he is still on the mend but his love for his craft compels him to capture the beauty that surrounds him.  

It’s Thursday, and I share photos that highlight paths on this day because it is on Thursdays that I originally started my recovery journey back in 2015 and since then have applied the principles of Christian Discipleship (Living by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit or “walking in the Spirit”) to other areas of my life to increasingly experience my freedom in Christ. 

I also share photos of pathways on Thursdays to invite people to join me on the path of Christian Discipleship by attending the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course that I am facilitating at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY at 6:30pm this evening.   For those who are not local to Hudson, I podcast a version of the class and encourage you to check it out, in addition to the other discipleship classes we offer on the mt4christ247 podcast.   

I always like to point out that discipleship is born out of our love for God. Just like Rocco Saya loves photography and is dedicated to his craft despite injury, the Christian should pursue the things of God and be dedicated to learning and apply His wisdom to their lives because of their love for the Lord and to not let the things of this world or the lies of the enemy distract them in their pursuits. I was reminded of how enticing the things of this world could be and how they could lead us to distraction just last night.

Next week I will be on the prayer team for the Freedom in Christ Ministries’  “Fall Practicum”,  a training seminar for Community Freedom Ministry Associates (CFMA’s), and my time will be consumed by ministry work from Monday to Wednesday. I teach and launch the podcast for the Freedom in Christ Course on Thursdays.  So looking ahead, I realized yesterday afternoon that I should utilize my rare free time last evening to record the podcast for next week’s lesson to stay ahead and not have to scramble to get it done at the last minute next week.

But after a day at work, I fixed myself some dinner and decided to turn on the television. I enjoyed the break apparently because I decided that the podcast could wait because I needed some “me time” and was contemplating what to watch next and what to eat next.  The old slothful pattern of binge eating and watching T.V. was ready to be deployed!

However, I was contacted by a Christian friend and in our conversation I confessed my situation and to their credit they encouraged me to do the podcast for the discipleship class even though it meant that our chatting would have to end if I were to pursue that path.  

They probably won’t think much of what they did for me, but I just have spell it out for all of us to appreciate the selflessness and care behind such a simple encouragement.   

I don’t know about you, but I have had several relationships in the past where I was in similar situations and things went differently.  

In the past I would have responsibilities or aspirations for self-improvement of other goals and in the course of life I would become stressed.  In the past I had no real relationship with God and didn’t know the benefits of having a daily spiritual practice, so when I got stressed I would look to other things, like alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or entertainment, or all of the above, to comfort me or relieve the stress.  When the stress came, I would go to those other things and my noble intentions regarding my responsibilities would go out the window.  

In the past, I had people in my life who would enable my patterns to continue. They wouldn’t encourage me to do the “better things” that I wanted to or should do.  They would agree with me about the difficulties of life and my choices to blow things off or push them out to the last minute.  When I was stressed about those responsibilities, or plans to better myself,  or just in general, they would encourage me to relax and seek my comfort in those unhealthy habits because “nobody was perfect”. While their advice was understandable and may even seem practical and merciful, if often lead to increase stress at latter times and the continuation of habits and cycles that would keep me enslaved to the status quo.    No improvement or betterment can be expected if we comprise our core values and goals.  

We can’t guess the motivations of “enablers”. I would suspect most enablers are acting out of ignorance and just want to maintain the “peace” out love for the troubled people in their lives. But like the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said of the false prophets of his day, enablers are trying to proclaim “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. Their advice to “let people be” in their homes is contributing to the tumultuous conditions in which they live because they have compromised what should be core values, such as “sobriety” “responsibility” and “accountability”, to indulge someone’s “weakness” or “sin”.  FYI, drunkenness, slothfulness, gluttony, and failing to do what we are supposed to do are things God warns us to avoid in the Bible.        

Enablers or those who are codependent may play a more active or sinister role in encouraging their loved ones to go astray.  Their need for love and attention may drive them to distract their loved ones away from their responsibilities or goals simply because they want to be cared for or made to be the center of attention.  

Others have discovered that their loved one’s addictive tendencies make them easy to manipulate and control and may actively tempt and offer their loved one’s the things that lead them to distraction or keep them locked into their patterns of behavior or their addictive cycles.   

So when my friend didn’t say “oh that’s okay” to my choice to slack off or encouraged me to put things off to spend time chatting with them, they really showed their love for me.  They showed that they understood what I really cared about and instead of encouraging me to take a path that might lead to problems later they encouraged me to be proactive and responsible to give me a measure of peace next week instead of having it right now.  

Luckily, Ithe Lord has helped me to mature since my dark days of addictions and reactive emotions, and when my friend made the simple suggestion to do what I said I wanted to do, it was all the accountability prompting that I needed.  I decided that after the current episode of the TV sitcom I was watching was over I would record the podcast for next week.  

And you know what, that exactly what I did.  The overeating slothful pattern that wanted to run its program was stopped dead in its track.  I am no longer a slave to those cycles, but I have to be intentional and diligent to pursue the better things, the things of God, and to recognize what I am doing from moment to moment and to discern whether or not I am “on track”  or have veered off course.   And as last night taught me, we should be honest and report what we are doing to our friends that can encourage us to pursue our goals rather than wallow in self pity or indulgence.   

So keep walking and talking with God. He will lead you in the way you should go and to people who will encourage your progress on the path of Christian Discipleship.  Life is hard enough so we should trust the Lord and be wise when we choose our traveling companions on our life’s journey.  We don’t want “yes” men or women who will indulge our worst tendencies and we don’t want those who will seek to manipulate or control us by offering us “peace, peace” when there is no peace.  The Lord won’t lead you astray so be sure to consider his wisdom when you evaluate the possible relationships in your lives and choose the people who are seeking the Lord and who really want what’s best for you and your purpose in God’s kingdom.

 

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 139:7-10 (NLT2)
7  I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
8  If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9  If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10  even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

 

Today’s verse simply reminds us that God is omnipresent and He is available to us personally.  

This passage teaches us that no matter where we go God is there. For the Christian that is a great comfort because we have found peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ and need not fear that Lord “sees us when we’re sleeping or know when we’re awake.”  

God is not Santa Claus however and for those who are not at peace with Him this passage tells us He is also the one who will send us to hell (the grave in the NLT) – Satan is not the king of Hell. God sends people there and His wrath is what is poured out on those sent there.

So there is no escaping God, but the good news is that we don’t have to escape Him. He gives mercy, grace, and forgiveness to all who put their faith in Christ.  

Instead of being freaked out that God is everywhere, the Christian can instead find comfort that His heavenly Father is always with them and, as this passage indicates, can receive His guidance and strength when we seek Him. 

So rejoice over your peace with God through your faith in Christ and recognize that the Lord is always with you by speaking to Him and by asking for His guidance and strength.  He is with us. He loves us. And He will give us the guidance and strength to make it through this life and to fulfill our purpose for Him.  

 

  

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 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:

II. Characteristics

Sonnets and love songs are filled with sentiments of a love that last forever. In fact, we all want love that lasts forever. The problem is we all want it now. Some people are so desperate for love, they begin to play games—unhealthy games of flattery and flirtation, risky games of seduction and sex. They are unwilling to wait for God's perfect timing and plan.

Do they not realize God's Word contains guidelines for great relating...and dating? He wants you to rely on Him to meet the needs of your heart and to wait on Him to provide all your relationships. Because the Lord knows you best, you can look to Him to lead you each step of the way. The book of Proverbs cautions those who try to plan their own course....

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

A. What Characteristics Should You Seek in Someone You Date?

When Bryan posts a sonogram picture of his baby on Facebook, many of his friends instantly like the photo and congratulate the father-to-be. For them, the innocent image is a sentimental expression of joy for a brand new life—but for Frieda, it's a slap in the face.

The fact is...Bryan is Frieda's ex-boyfriend, and the baby is not hers. Although it's been a year since they "officially" dated, they continue to talk off and on and never have severed all ties. They've always kept their options open about maybe getting back together—someday. Yet Bryan's recent actions reconfirm Frieda's gnawing concern about Bryan: a lack of integrity. He has a new girlfriend, she's pregnant with his baby...yet he chose to reveal this news to the world—and Frieda—on Facebook!

Character counts. What characteristics are you looking for in someone you would date? Do you know your non-negotiables? Even more so, make sure you know which characteristics you desire in a mate before you begin to date...and then prioritize developing those same characteristics yourself....

"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

The Character Checklist for Dating

Place a check mark () beside each character trait you need to see in the person you feel drawn to date. Does your prospective date...

  • □ Demonstrate wisdom and discernment?
  • □ Have a heart to do what is in your best interest?
  • □ Possess a sensitive conscience in regard to right and wrong?
  • □ Refuse to use you or others to gain status?
  • □ Have the approval of the significant people in your life?
  • □ Have a reputation of keeping commitments?
  • □ Display follow-through in meeting obligations?
  • □ Show respect toward authority?
  • □ Have a positive outlook on life?
  • □ Exercise discipline and self-control?
  • □ Manage money well?
  • □ Maintain eye contact when talking with people?
  • □ Interact courteously and honestly with others?
  • □ Have an active Bible study and prayer life?
  • □ Share your personal values?
  • □ Show evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their life?...

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)


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

 

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

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Friday, October 8, 2021

Bridging the Gap between Friendship and Marriage- Purity 544


 

Bridging the Gap between Friendship and Marriage- Purity 544

Purity 544 10/08/2021  Purity 544 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the entrance and exit to the Buskirks Bridge in Buskirk NY was taken by yours truly as yesterday’s journey caused me to take a new step on to an uncertain path that is undertaken with the assurance of love and the hope of faith.  

Did you know, if you fake the g out of the word Bridge, you get the word Bride? How about that! 

Well when I took this photo yesterday on this side of the Buskirk Bridge, I had no idea that I was going to ask TammyLyn Seguin to be my bride before the day’s end. 

Oh don’t get me wrong, we have known each other since the spring and have grown in our relationship as fellow travelers on the path of Christian Discipleship, and then as close friends,  and have recently revealed to one another the depths of our love for one another and the desire to be joined together in marriage and not be parted until the Lord calls one of us home.  Through our discussions we decided that we were more than friends and because we wanted to follow the Lord’s will for our lives we both agreed that the next steps beyond friendship would be a quick transition marriage that may cause the casual observer a case of whiplash from the rapid transitions of our relationship.

Living together or having a relationship of casual or not so casual sex wasn’t an option for us and is not an option for those who truly wish to follow the Lord’s plan for relationships between men and women. Y’all better watch out because I’m pretty sure we will have some victims of collateral damage from all the shots fired from that statement.    

Our society has compromised so much on sexual ethics and relationships that a man and a woman agreeing to marry before having sex or living together seems like a radical idea these days but is actually what the Lord would encourage us to do: to value ourselves and one another by making a covenant of love and commitment before giving away what is supposed to be reserved for husband and wife.  

So TammyLyn and I had already decided that this period of “boyfriend and girlfriend” would be brief and had even decided on a tentative wedding date before yesterday.  I had only to get an engagement ring and decide upon when and where I would propose.  

I had even discussed with a secret co-conspirator in TammyLyn’s family a tentative plan to propose to TammyLyn at a family outing at Whiteface Mountain this weekend. In fact that was the plan. I expected to receive the engagement ring today, Friday, and then pop the question on Saturday. 

Which brings us to yesterday and today’s photo. On this side of the Buskirks Bridge, I was proposing on Saturday.  On the other side of the bridge, I contacted the jewelry company that was making the ring to find out when I could expect delivery and discovered that I had mistyped my email address into the order and that I was to receive the ring by 4:30pm on Thursday instead, a day early.  

As anyone who has read this far probably knows, I teach a discipleship class on Thursdays at Rock Solid Church. It was through my podcast and teaching these classes that I met TammyLyn. TammyLyn has been the most faithful of all the students who has been in my classes, driving an hour to attend and sometimes being the only person to attend the class in person!  So yeah, we could have been officially “in a relationship” for a much longer time but we both had some soul searching and growth to do in the months since we met to realize that we both wanted the same things and that our love for one another was great enough to be committed to overcome the challenges of bringing our two lives together with marriage.

So yesterday, when I got the news that I would have the ring in hand and that I would be seeing TammyLyn at class, I felt a heavy conviction in my spirit that “today was the day” that I was going to ask TammyLyn to be my wife. 

I considered the date.  The date was 10/7.  And if we look at those numbers we see:

a 1 which is the number for God the Father.

a 7 which is the number of perfection, and the number for the Holy Spirt

a 0 which is like a ring, a circle that has no beginning or end. 

If we add these together we get an 8 which is the number for Christ the Redeemer and just so happens to look like an infinity symbol when you put it on its side.    

These considerations further convinced me that “today was the day”.   So I prepared myself and on the way home, I got the feeling to stop for gas at a gas station that charges a little more for gasoline and one I normally wouldn’t stop at. But I was low on gas and didn’t want to risk running out and breaking down on the way to my marriage proposal. So I filled up.  



As I pulled out of the gas station, all the doubts that “today was the day” disappeared as I just so happened to pull into traffic behind a red pick-up truck that had a large “jewel’ decal on its back window that looked a lot like an engagement ring.  If I needed a final sign, God in His sovereign timing provided it.  As I drove most of the way down Route 9J, a symbol that represented marriage was placed right before me.  

When we “walk in the Spirit” God reveals Himself and His will for our lives in all kinds of ways. Sometimes He gives us a conviction to change. Sometimes we just feel overcome by peace, joy, or love when we worship Him. And other times the Holy Spirit will give us an intuition or a compulsion to do something good that will bless someone else and usually blesses us too.  

So, yesterday, even though I had a bunch of ideas about how things were “supposed to” play out with my engagement with TammyLyn, when I felt my heart and spirit lead me to take a more immediate, more sudden, and more spontaneous route to our betrothal I felt compelled to follow it.  

In further consideration, this new “sudden” plan would actually be appropriate in that I would be proposing to the woman I loved in the place and context with which we first met and as it turns out it would also just happen to be the place where we first kissed.  

So what are you going to do? Do you do what your spirit is telling you to do or do you do what has been planned or is more traditional or expected? 

Well, since I have been trying to follow the Lord’s will for my life with increasing progress and dedication since 2010, I have learned that while we may not fully understand what will happen from “following the Spirit” and know all the possible implications and consequences for doing so, the Spirit of God hasn’t led me astray yet.

I value the relationship that God has with me and I have seen the fruits for faithfulness in the past.  So yesterday, when I felt that familiar leading of the Spirit, I decided I not only felt compelled to follow the call, but I wanted to make TammyLyn my fiancĂ© with all my heart and soul.  In this instance, doing the will of the Lord was also going to give me the desires of my heart.  

So last night just before class was to begin, I told TammyLyn about the significance of the day with my numerical ponderings and then, on bended knee, presented her with the engagement ring I had just received an hour or so before, and asked her to marry me.   She speechlessly nodded her ascent to the question and when prompted verbally said “Yes” to being my wife.

So brothers and sisters, walking in the Spirit down the path of Christian Discipleship is not an easy road to follow but I can tell you that it’s a journey that is paved with peace, joy, and love and when you keep walking and talking with God and follow His leadings you will find that He is indeed working all things together for your good. 

The Lord will never leave us or forsake us and through the fellowship of the saints and forming other godly relationships He will provide you with company for your life’s journey.  So keep going with God and see what He has for you on the other side of the bridge from today to tomorrow and from here to eternity.


If you can believe it I ran out of index cards for Bible verses! So I will be drawing verses from a gift I received from my beloved TammyLyn, although we were “just friends” at the time she gave it tom me. The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men is the resource and:

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 147:10-11 (NLT2)
10  He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might.
11  No, the LORD’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.

.

Today’s verse tells that the Lord isn’t really delighted by the strength of human might but is delighted by those who fear Him and put their faith in His unfailing love. 

The idea that God helps those who help themselves is not really drawn from scripture. While God does have a cooperative relationship with us in which He expects us to be responsible for “our part”, ultimately our acceptance by the Lord is not something that we earn through our efforts or the strength of human might. 

By faith we are saved, and if we understand what “walking in the Spirit” really means we also understand that our victories, our overcoming, and our progressive sanctification are also brought to us by faith.   When we believe we are set free, suddenly the shackles come off and if we “keep on believing”, we keep on receiving an abundant life of freedom that is defined by the fruit of the spirit.  

To fear God is to recognize His power and to respect it, to recognize His truth and to believe it, and understand His will and to perform it.   But it also involves recognizing God’s love for us and to accept it and share it.   

So stop trying so hard to “do something” and start fearing the Lord and put your hope in His unfailing love that has the power to heal and transform your life.  Our walk with God is a love relationship so show your love for Him by respecting who He says we are and by doing what He calls us to do.   We are not to be afraid of the Lord. We are to have a deep reverence and love for Him that takes what He says very seriously and causes us to obey what He calls us to do and just so happens to lead to a life of peace, joy, and purpose.    

 

 

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 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:

B. What Is Contemporary Courtship?

Emily's friends sometimes wonder if Andrew is for real. When she first tells her friends about him, they ask if he is crazy...or if Emily is the one who has lost her mind. They think one—or both—live in the past and has no sense of the reality of today!

The cause for concern is because Emily and Andrew have committed to court instead of date. But this is no nineteenth or twentieth century form of courtship...this is contemporary courtship.

Andrew has asked her parents for the privilege of courting their daughter, assuring them that his intentions are sincere and honorable. And they have agreed, knowing their daughter is fond of Andrew. Likewise, they, too, admire Andrew, having spent considerable time with him to ascertain his beliefs, his aspirations, and the strength of his character and belief in God.

During this time of courtship, Andrew and Emily will spend time together, but they agree to remain accountable to both sets of parents. Surely God will bless them for honoring this significant commandment...

"Honor your father and your mother." (Exodus 20:12)

Since emotions come and go, passionate love may be here today and gone tomorrow. Divorce courts are full of statistics verifying the impermanence of romantic love. However, the pleasures and promises of a lasting marriage are built on more than passing passions. Common ground, such as having the same spiritual and cultural foundations, is a basis for more permanence in marriage. For this reason, courting is on the increase with teenagers and young adults in many places of the world.

  • Courting is a term used when a man seeks to gain the attention and favor of a woman with the ultimate intent of engagement and marriage.
  • Courting puts a strong emphasis on spending time in group settings to see whether there are multiple areas of common ground.
  • Courting provides the opportunity to publicly practice and display...
    • —Moral values and spiritual foundations
    • —Personal likes and dislikes
    • —Social and relational skills
    • —Maturity and experience
    • —Physical/sexual restraint

The Bible asks this rhetorical question...

"Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" (Amos 3:3)


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

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

 

 

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2 - Purity 537

 

Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2   - Purity 537

Purity 537 09/29/2021  Purity 537 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a roadside meadow and tree line underneath a cloud filled September sky comes to us from yours truly as I felt moved to just stop and grab this moment of simple scenic beauty while I was driving through the Westerlo NY area on September 21st, which was if you don’t recall, the last day of summer of 2021.  

I share it for its simple beauty but also because it features a road which represents moving forward and making progress.  It’s Thursday and I share pictures of pathways or roadways of some sort today as a reminder or an encouragement to take the opportunity to step on, or keep walking on, the path of Christian Discipleship that is defined by a life walking in the Spirit and which leads to the growth of the fruit of the Spirit and increasing levels of maturity in our Christian faith.  It just also happens to be the path that leads to freedom. 

I teach am teaching the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course from Freedom in Christ Ministries this evening at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY and invite anyone local to join us at 6:30pm.  For those not within driving distance of the church, I have already uploaded a podcast version of the teaching for the first three lessons and will be uploading the fourth installment after tonight’s class. So if you want to be encouraged in your faith, to learn something new, or to be equipped with the tools to overcome, or to help others overcome, personal and spiritual conflicts join us for class.

Well yesterday, we started a series in where we started an investigation in to the question of “What is a Christian?” or “Is this person a Christian?” And as the Children’s show “Blue’s Clues” was in the news recently because they celebrated 25 years of programming, I was motivated to channel the inquiring spirit of Blue and that inquisitive theme to help us look at the questions of our faith and to help us examine the “clues” that would tell us if people we encountered were “real” or authentic Christians.   

Yesterday we looked at the significant “clue” of church membership or attendance as a good indicator but not a guarantee of whether someone was an authentic Christian. 

So today when I asked “Blue” (FYI, one source states that Blue signifies the Healing Power of God (https://www.color-meanings.com/biblical-meaning-colors/) which “clue” we would be looking for today, in my imagination, “Blue” was holding a small mirror.  

In our dialog, with me asking questions and Blue murmuring as she does, I was able to discern that before we started looking for anymore “clues” about other people’s authentic Christianity,  Blue wanted me to make sure I was a real Christian!  

So I thought about the question? What in my life made me know I was a Christian?  Now while our self-examination may prove helpful to determine whether those around us are Christians, it is the question of our identity as a Christian that is really the most important thing that we can investigate and confirm.  

Blue really turned the tables on us today because while we started to look for “clues” in the outside world about other people, she wanted us to “play fair” and put ourselves to the test too.     

So if someone were to ask you when you became a Christian or how you became a Christians, what would you say, boys and girls?    

Well the “state of grace” that determines whether or not someone is a Christian has to do with whether or not we are “saved” from God’s wrath by having a reconciled relationship with God through putting our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord in Savior.  

Romans 10:9 (NKJV) tells us
9  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Now this verse tells us that we are “saved” only if we confess (agree with) that Jesus is our Lord and that we believe in our heart that He was raised from the dead, meaning that we believe that Christ’s dying on the Cross was meaningful, that it paid the cost of our sins, and that Christ’s resurrection proved that He was the Son of God and God the Son.  Confessing with our mouths “the Lord Jesus” means we not only publicly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ as our Savior, but agree to live according to what Jesus taught, to be obedient.  The Apostle Peter, who was able to walk on water when he obeyed Christ’s call to “come” wrote:

1 Peter 1:13-15 (NKJV)
13  Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14  as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15  but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,.

I point to this verse and the fact that our conduct should be changed when we become Christians because many people don’t understand the implications of “confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus” and I wanted to make it clear that there is more than just “saying a prayer” to being a Christian. 

But let’s make first things first.   Although we as Christians are supposed to become holy in our conduct, our entrance into God’s kingdom starts with that verbal confession. We must name and proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior before we can successfully live like a Christian.  

We can’t become holy first, nor are we required to.   That’s like going through boot camp before you sign up for military service.  It doesn’t work that way.  You sign an agreement with the service and then the kind and gentle drill sergeants will train and encourage you to become a soldier.  Like military service, when you sign up to be in Christ’s army you are literally signing your life away.   

So if we are looking in the mirror, and trying to determine if we “look like a Christian”, we should stop and ask ourselves: “Have I honestly confessed the Lord Jesus with my mouth, and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead? Did I sign my life away to be saved and agree to make Jesus my Lord?”   

For me, I can point to a specific time and place when I did that. I heard a gospel message on the radio and because of it I really believed “in my heart”, not just intellectually, that God had raised Christ from the dead and that if I made Christ my Lord I would be saved.

So have you ever done that, boys, and girls?

If you don’t believe in your heart that Christ was raised from the dead by God,  that whole idea will just seem like nonsense to you, and you will be hesitant to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.

You won’t want to tell your friends, coworkers, or family. You won’t want to tell anyone about this crazy story of how a man dying on the cross has meaning and purpose. That Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is used to cause a reconciliation with an unseen God and man and that it gives eternal life to anyone that names Jesus their Lord and Savior.

So, hopefully most of you reading with this will say you have done this. You have confessed the Lord Jesus.  If you haven’t and want to, say this prayer:

Dear God,

I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from you grave. I trust Jesus alone as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Well if you said that prayer, you just signed “your life away” and joined God’s kingdom as His beloved child.  You are a Christian. You no longer have to fear death because you have been forgiven of all your sins and have eternal life.

From this point forward, because you named Jesus as your Lord, you should endeavor to follow the One who saved you by reading the word of God and applying its teachings to your life, step by step, one day at a time. 

Our Christian faith is not about perfection its about progress.  We don’t beat ourselves up when we fail, we pick ourselves up because God’s forgiven us and is encouraging us to walk into the abundant life that He wants us to experience.

So keep walking and talking with God, our faith doesn’t have to be complicated it just has to be continuous. So rejoice in your salvation and take another step today towards the good things that God has prepared for you.  

        

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
11  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

 

Today’s verse teaches us why we should read the Bible and meditate on its truth.  

Well as we may have welcomed some  people into the kingdom today, they may be wondering “Now What?” 

Well the good news is that you can rest.  You no longer have to fear what happens when you die. You have been given eternal life because of God’s grace. You didn’t have to earn it. You should be filled with joy and gratitude for having been shown the truth of the gospel and for receiving forgiveness and new spiritual life.   

The next step? We should learn about the God who gave us mercy and grace by reading His word. Start with the New Testament to learn all about Jesus and pay attention to His teaching to learn how we should behave as Christians.  Think about those truths as you go about your day and try to live according to them.  

That’s what today’s verse is teaching us and motivating us to do. For if we hide the truths of God’s word in our heart, we might not sin against God.”   I like the fact that the verse says might. I like to imagine that God understands that we won’t be perfect in our walk but still encourages us to express our love for Him by reading His word, meditating on it, and doing what it says. 

So if you don’t have a regular practice of reading and meditating on God’s word, start today and commit yourself to a regular practice of drawing close to God by studying His word.   

The Bible is true, and today’s verse encourages us that if we hide its truth in our hearts we just might not sin against God.  So put the word to the test by hiding it in your heart, and experience its power to transform your mind and change your behavior, not because you are trying hard but because you are learning to be the person that God has made you to be and because He has given you the power to become it,

 

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 Blended Family’s

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:

The Blended Family

God's Recipe for Success

by

June Hunt


Introduction

Do you feel that the mix of your family is basically a mess? If you mix flour, sugar, eggs and oil together... it takes some work to get them to blend. But when the mixture is exposed to the heat of an oven for just the right amount of time, a chemical reaction occurs that bonds the separate ingredients into a delicious dessert. Likewise, when members of a blended family are subjected to the heat of new living conditions and differing personalities, it takes some work to come together as a connected family unit. Each individual needs to make every effort to promote peace and build one another up so that the family will be bonded in love and in unity.

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." (Romans 14:19)


I. Definitions

Blended families, with their many challenges, have been around for a long time. They are formed for different reasons. When a spouse with children remarries after the death of a partner, the situation is difficult. But when the family unit becomes a blend of his children, her children and their children, the recipe for success requires a great deal of understanding and forgiveness.

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)

A. What Is a Blended Family?

  • The blended family is a family unit in which one or both of the spouses have been previously married and bring a child or children to the relationship.
  • The word blended means "mixed together." It suggests a combining of separate units into an integrated whole.
  • The stepfamily is a family unit in which at least one spouse has a parental relationship with a child based on marriage, not blood.

B. What Is a Nuclear Family?

The nuclear family is a traditional family unit composed of...

  • one husband and one wife
  • one marriage
  • one or more children from one union

C. God's Heart on Remarriage

  • Remarriage is permitted when the marriage covenant is broken by...
    • death
      "By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man." (Romans 7:2-3)
    • —defilement (adultery)
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
    • —desertion and divorce (a controversial position)
      Only because of a hardened heart on the part of the one who leaves—God's heart is one of reconciliation.
      "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." (1 Corinthians 7:15)
  • Remarriage is not permitted...
    • to an unbeliever
      "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:39)
    • to a former spouse who has married another
      "If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
    • —to a divorced person whose spouse has not broken the marriage covenant
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
  • Remarriage is not God's preferred state for everyone.
    "I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:7-9)


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