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Showing posts with label Purpose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Purpose. Show all posts

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Live it! - The Appropriate Response of Faith – - Purity 639


Live it! - The Appropriate Response of Faith – - Purity 639

Purity 639 01/27/2022   Purity 639 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a dirt road running through a forest of tall pines comes to us from August of 2021 as a friend shared this view while out in God’s magnificent creation.   I suspected that this photo comes to us from a friend in California but the more I look at it I suspect that this scene was captured by a friend visiting somewhere in the Adirondacks or some other area of upstate NY.  I offer my apologies for not recalling the particular place or person who captured this scene and offer that anonymous friend the opportunity to enlighten us or to remain silent.    The choice is yours.

Well. It’s Thursday and I shared this particular photo of a pathway through a forest as my thematic encouragement to start or to continue following the pathway of Christian Discipleship, to walk in the Spirit, or to live out your Christian faith every day.

Life is all about the choices we make, and I recommend that anyone hearing or reading this message make the choice to not only place their faith in Jesus Christ for the benefits of the forgiveness of sins and the eternal life that is promised to those who put their faith in Him but to also take your faith to the next logical conclusion: to live your life according to God’s wisdom and ways.  

The word of God says that Christians will be known by their fruit and by the love they have for one another that implies that we will not be just known for “what we believe”.  Faith in Jesus Christ is not just the holding of certain doctrinal beliefs that we will mentally assent to.  Our faith in Christ and who He has made us to be will be reflected in the way we behave and live our lives. 

If there is no “fruit”, no evidence of our “firmly held beliefs” in our lives, others, and we ourselves may question whether or not we really are a Christian.  

Christianity isn’t a political party.  It’s a kingdom and we are members of its royal family through adoption.  The question is: have we in turned adopted the ways of the King?  Are we serving and representing the kingdom as we should?    

When Christ called the Apostles, they immediately stopped what they were doing and chose to follow Him without conditions or pondering the truth of His ministry or call on their lives.  They knew Jesus was the Messiah and they did the only appropriate thing to do when God calls you: they chose to follow.  

So how does one follow the Lord?

I know when I came to faith in Christ I was extremely weary of where I chose to go to church and whose leadership I would decide to trust. 

The unseen God is certainly working in and through some people on the earth but because of the fallibility of men and the existence of Christian counterfeits, false converts, and the agents of darkness I had to decide to be discerning in who or what I listened to.  

The good news is that the Lord gave us a source for His truth that we could judge the true vs the counterfeit: the Holy Bible.  The obligation however is that we know what it says and what it means in order to know if someone is corrupting its wisdom for their own purposes.

Also if someone is putting up another source of truth in addition to the Bible, we have to realize that their additional sources of truth are attempting to say that the word of God isn’t sufficient and whatever they are trying to teach is a deception, whether they are aware of it or not.   

So we really have to be diligent in terms of knowing what Christ would have us do and then seek to do His will to represent Him.  

One of the best ways of learning what we are to do is by learning what the word of God says about who we are in Christ and then living according to that biblical truth.  So instead of putting our allegiance in some church organization or some charismatic “anointed” pastor, we should seek the truth of God’s word about us and seek to live our lives according to that truth.  

While we should connect to a local church, to learn, serve, and worship in a community of Bible believing Christians, we must not rely on others to walk out our faith for us. We can’t be spiritually lazy.  We are the seek the Lord for ourselves and find the purpose that He has for our lives.    

The call of God is as compelling on our lives today as it was for the Apostles in the early church and just like it was then we are to answer God’s call on our lives and follow Him where He will lead us.   

Generally, God will lead us to repent of our sin and call us to conform to the image of Christ by renewing our minds with the wisdom of the word of God and then apply what we learn to our lives as we seek to do the good works that the Lord would have us do.  

That means transformation and purpose. That means seeking God continually and learning more about Him and His purpose for us on the earth.  That means that there is a relationship between you and the Lord who created all things and that means you have a part to play in His grand design.  

So instead of debating whether or not you “really believe”, demonstrate your faith by choosing to believe the Lord’s call on your life is “for real” by  living according to your faith.  

If you know you are a part of God’s kingdom because of your faith in Jesus Christ, shouldn’t you seek to live according to the purpose for your life?  If you think about it, our obedience to God’s call on our life is the only appropriate response of our faith.  

So do the appropriate thing and seek to follow the Lord’s direction for your life. His ways are higher than our ways, but He invites us to know them and to walk with Him. So answer the call today and everyday to draw a little closer to God than you were yesterday.  If you do that God will reveal Himself to you in amazing ways and you will discover that He will bless you with a life that leaves the darkness of this world behind as He increasingly welcomes into the light of a new and everlasting life where the fruit of the Spirit will grow and and your love for God and others will define the rest of your life.  

 

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Acts 1:8 (NLT2)
8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Today’s verse are the words of the Resurrected Christ, who speaks of the power that the Holy Spirit will bring to the lives of those who follow Him to go and share the gospel throughout the earth.  

The Holy Spirit had not yet come into the world and Christ was pointing to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would enter into all those who put their faith in Christ to empower them for ministry and righteous living for evermore.   

How can a Christian change from who they used to be? How can they leave sin behind?  How can they have the boldness to tell others about Jesus? 

All of these things can be done through faith in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit!  When we believe and put our faith and trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us and to give us the power to overcome.  

When we receive Christ, we receive the Helper, and the Holy Spirit is given to us to empower us to live the Christian life.  

This power isn’t for selfish gain. No matter how we individually may benefit from the transformation that the Holy Spirit gives us, it is done for God, His glory and His purposes and today’s verse points to the purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit and His power: to make Jesus Christ known throughout the earth.  

The power to change us is for a purpose to give glory to God. Our testimony of victory is a testimony for God. We become the evidence and the witnesses for the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.   

So choose to follow where the Holy Spirit seeks to change your life and where He calls you to go.  The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit has the power to do mighty things in our lives but the most powerful thing we can do for the kingdom of God is to take the power we receive and use it to share the love of God and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

So feel the power and use the power of the Holy Spirit to help you but also utilize it to boldly proclaim the goodness of God and the truth of Jesus Christ to the world that desperately needs the power and love of God too.


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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we  continue sharing from Chapter 6.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

SELF-SUFFICIENCY HAS A PRICE

After Jesus fed the 5,000, He sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee while He went up to the mountain to pray. In the middle of the sea, the disciples encountered a storm: “And seeing them straining at the oars...He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.”119 The Lord intends to pass by the self-sufficient. Go ahead and row against the storms of life. He will let you until your arms fall off, but those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

The only answer the world has for those who are caught in the storms of life is “Row harder, or give in to the pressure and learn to live at sea!” The devil says, “You can do it by yourself, but if you need a little extra power, I can arrange that for a small price.” Pride says, “I think I can get out of this by myself. All it requires is a lot of hard work, human ingenuity, and maybe a little luck.” God says, “I won’t interfere with your plans. If you want to try to save yourself, solve your own problems or meet your own needs, you have My permission. But you won’t be able to, because in the final analysis, you absolutely need Me, and you necessarily need each other.” Fallen humanity is on a sinking ship that is going nowhere without God.

Pride can sneak up on the best of us. King Uzziah was a godly man who reigned for 52 years,120 and “he did right in the sight of the Lord.” His accomplishments were exceptional. He built a strong army and fortified the city. “Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong. But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God.”

The more we are able to accomplish, the more susceptible we are to pride. More than one Christian leader has fallen when he started receiving glowing accolades for his work. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”121

FALSE AND TRUE HUMILITY

What is humility? Is it groveling around in poverty, proclaiming our worthless state? No, that is counterfeit humility that leads only to defeat. Paul says, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in selfabasement.”122

Humility is not saying God is everything and we are nothing. That is a form of false humility. Christ didn’t die on the cross for nothing. He was crucified to redeem a fallen humanity. Throughout the New Testament, we are admonished to build up one another, and we are strongly warned against any attempt to tear down one another, including ourselves.

Paul tells us, “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”123 That is not a call for self-abasement; it is a call for sound judgment. Paul says of himself, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”124

We are what we are by the grace of God! To deny that would be to discredit the work that Christ accomplished on the cross. To believe that we are more than we are, or to believe that we are products of our own doing, is to join the ranks of the deceived millions who have fallen victim to pride.

Humility is confidence properly placed. So Paul says, “Put no confidence in the flesh.”125 But we ought to have all the confidence that our faith can muster in God and in what He can do through us. We should all want ourselves and all the children of God to reach their highest potential in Christ. “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.”126 Pride says, “I did it.” True humility says, “I did it by the grace of God.”

Cowering in some corner in unbelief or groveling around in mock humility in utter defeat brings no glory to God. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”127

The glory of God is a manifestation of His presence. When we glorify God in our bodies, we manifest His presence in the world. The only way we can glorify God in our bodies is to live victorious lives and bear much fruit. And the only way we can live victorious lives and bear much fruit is to abide in Christ.128 That is why we must come to terms with our pride—so we can be established in Christ, “in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”129

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

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

(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.

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

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Preoccupied with Occupation - Sometimes the Clothes Do Not Make the Man - Purity 595


 Preoccupied with Occupation - Sometimes the Clothes Do Not Make the Man  - Purity 595

Purity 595 12/07/2021  Purity 595 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the silhouette of a group of fishermen in the waning hours of daylight under an October sky comes to us from a friend’s vacation to the Florida Keys from a couple of months ago.   The people in the photo could just be pleasure cruisers on vacation like my friend but I declare them to be “fishermen” to highlight our minds’ tendency to label and identify our experience and to open the door to examine how we identify ourselves by the things we do.    

When I saw this photo originally, I immediately thought of the old nursery rhyme “Rub-A-Dub-Dub” which says:

“Rub-a-dub-dub,

Three men in a tub,

And who do you think they be?

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker,

And all of them out to sea.”

Ironically, I didn’t remember that last line about them being out to sea, which actually makes my thinking of this nursery rhyme even more appropriate.  But yeah, it’s funny how the mind makes associations to things and the nursery rhyme points to our penchant for classifying people by their occupations.   

A “full time employee” spends 40 hours a week doing their job so its only natural to identify people by their occupations. It’s one of the first things we go to when we introduce ourselves or when we meet someone new. 

“Drone”, “Bumbling fool”, “Corporate sellout”, or “Master of my own Domain” are fun ways to answer the question of what your occupation is but if you are coy or vague when questioned about your “career”, inquirers may even be bold enough to say, “What exactly is it that you do?”

We love to label people and put them in a box.  Our occupations indicate the type of people we are, the amount of money we make, and what our skills are.  

Some people are very proud of their accomplishments and rightfully so.  Our occupations may have required years of study, training, and hard work to arrive at and people deserve a measure of respect for choosing the hard path that led them where they are. Our jobs are serious business after all.  

Even the Bible identifies people by their occupations. David was a shepherd, Luke was a doctor, Matthew was a tax collector, and Peter was a fishermen.   What we do while we are on the earth defines us to some extent but what God says about us will ultimately be the most important thing. 

God wants us to be more than our jobs. As Christians, He calls us to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and with integrity and even though we may have an occupation before we come to Christ, the new life He gives us tends to change things.  

David went from a lowly shepherd to the anointed King of Israel.

Peter went from a fisherman to a Fisher of Men, as he led thousands to come to faith in Jesus on the Day of Pentecost. 

Matthew went from someone who kept “account of the books” to write a book of the account of Jesus’ earthly ministry, death, and resurrection.

Luke went from a physician to men’s bodies to write a book that would give mankind the answers to give them the healing of eternal life.     

When we come into relationship with the Lord by putting our faith in Jesus, He gives us a purpose beyond our occupations. We become light bearers and carry the hope for everlasting life.  The quality of our lives takes on greater purpose and meaning when we follow the Lord’s call to represent Him wherever we are.

Paradoxically, if we only worry about our careers and what we can accomplish for ourselves and how we can accumulate wealth, we will find ourselves spiritually destitute.  The wealth, prestige, and accolades of the world will mean nothing if we don’t have peace with God and if Jesus doesn’t know us on judgement day.  

Christ came to set us free from the “works of the devil” and to make us new creations.  

When I thought about these concepts of work, identity and how Christ makes us new, I thought of the old George Michael song, NO not LAST CHRISTMAS, which is quite popular this time of year… No I was thinking of Freedom! ’90, yeah I’m old, and that line that says: “Sometimes the clothes do not make the man”  It’s really a great song about reinventing or being true to yourself but let’s find and live out our “Freedom! 2021” in Christ.

Our relationship with God forever changes our identity.  We are more than our jobs.  When we place our faith in Christ, we are adopted into God’s royal family, and we become ambassadors to His kingdom.  Now that’s a job that we can be simultaneously proud of and be humbled by.   

Because we were sinners saved by grace who are now saints who sin, we may not feel we are qualified for our new positions, but God knew us before we were born and chose us to be His. He knew what our skills were going to be and what our limitations are, but He chose us anyway.  He knows us personally and even though we may feel we are not worthy of it, He has a new life of purpose and meaning for us to walk into.   

Unlike George Michael’s song that spoke about somehow living up to the image of himself that “rock and roll TV” created and his desire to “take these lies and make them true somehow”,  we as Christians are called to align ourselves with God’s word, our identity in Christ, and His purpose for His kingdom.   We are to take these TRUTHS of what God says about us as His redeemed and adopted children and make them REAL in our lives! 

Somehow? It’s a not as mysterious as all that. We are to be true to who we are in Christ and walk in the Spirit to receive God’s guidance and direction for where we should go and what we should do. 

Our Biblical examples of David, Peter, Matthew, and Luke don’t speak of instant attainment of their purpose for God’s kingdom.  None of their journeys were a quantum leap to victory, nor were their paths suffering free, but all of them knew that God was real and that He was faithful to His promises and even though their lives of faith weren’t perfect, they knew that they could be used for God’s glory and lived their lives with that higher occupation in mind.  

So, whether you’re a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker, know that in Christ you are more than what your earthly occupation is.  Your job isn’t a mistake. God has put you there to represent Him. So do your job to the best of your ability and with the integrity that would show those around you that you have been set apart by God to give Him glory.  

We are more than our jobs. We are ambassadors for God’s kingdom, and we are to listen for His call on how we should represent Him and be open to new assignments if He should call us out of our “lowly” positions to ones that will allow us to rise to the heights that He has called us to fulfill for His honor and glory. 


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Peter 1:4 (NLT2)
4  And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

Today’s verse reminds us that in Christ we have been given great and precious promises and that one of the purposes of receiving those promises is to share them. 

In Christ, we receive eternal life. In Christ we are set free from sin and death.  Those  and the many others that are detailed in scripture are great promises.  When we come to faith in Christ we are given the riches of His grace. We go from spiritually dead to spiritually alive. 

Individually, these are awesome. All our fears should rightfully fade into obscurity as we realize that we are accepted and secure in our new relationship with God because of Christ.  

But we are also significant. We are not just given “presents”. We are given an identity and a purpose, and we are called to live out our lives in God’s presence.  

Today’s verse shares two aspects of our purpose. 

The first aspect of our purpose is to share His divine nature. 

We can share God’s divine nature in two ways.

1.    We can be conformed to the image of Christ and share His nature by being joyous, peaceful, good, patient, self-controlled, kind, faithful, gentle, and loving to others around us.  

2.    We can also share in His divine nature by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to welcome others into His kingdom.

The second aspect of our purpose is our sanctification, that process of repenting of our sin and progressively living according to God’s way instead of our former ways.    We can “escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” by living according to who we are in Christ rather than who we used to be.  

 

So, enjoy the precious promises that God has given to us because of our faith in Jesus Christ.  Our journey of faith isn’t just enjoying the presents that we have been given by ourselves.  Like most good gifts, we will enjoy the promises of God even more when we share them with others.   

 

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 A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 11, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 11

THE LOGIC OF THE INCARNATION

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh.

1 TIMOTHY 3:16

Probably no other doctrine in the entire Word of God carries in it greater difficulties than the doctrine of the incarnation. Paul called it the “mystery of godliness,” and later writers either passed over its difficulties without trying to explain them or else involved the whole thing in a maze of explanations that offered little real help to an understanding of it. And we can easily see why this is so.

The incarnation brings to us the essential mystery of being. It touches almost every phase of human thought and makes demands upon philosophy and metaphysics, as well as upon theology. The great doctors have felt this deep mystery whenever they have come to the consideration of the subject and have tiptoed along the borders of it with deepest reverence. That is proper and right; such an attitude well becomes us who are but dust and ashes.

At the risk of being charged with inexcusable boldness, we venture the assertion that while the incarnation is mysterious, it is not illogical or contrary to reason. We would not presume to settle with a pen stroke those profound and awful mysteries that have stilled the voices of the ages and brought men and angels to their knees in worship; but we would dare to say that in our opinion the act of becoming man was altogether reasonable from God’s standpoint. It placed no strain upon the divine nature and admitted into the scheme of God nothing unnatural or inconsistent. The reasons for so believing are these:

Man was originally made in the image of God. “God created man; in the likeness of God made he him.” This is a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith. It is not necessary to understand all that is included in this doctrine, for even here we run into some real theological problems. But faith can soar where reason can never climb, and it is only necessary that we believe the truth. Its power over us depends upon our believing it, not upon our understanding it. The fact is all that matters: man was made in the image of God.

Now, if man was made in the image of God, then God must certainly carry something of the image of man. (That sin has marred the image and introduced a foreign and destructive element into human nature does not detract from the force of the argument.) If a boy looks like his father, it must surely follow that the father must look like the boy. Somewhere within man’s nature, twisted and deformed as it may be, there is godlikeness. This will not be seriously questioned by anyone who knows his Bible. No student of Christian theology would deny this as a fact, though he might reject the conclusions we draw from the fact.

If in the infinite condescension of God, mankind was made with a nature somewhat like its Creator, then is it not reasonable that God could clothe Himself with human nature in the mystery of incarnation, and all within the framework of easy possibility without the embarrassment of uniting things unlike each other?

When the ancient Word stood up in human flesh, He felt at home. He was not out of His element, for had He not heard the Father say, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”? There was no jar, no wrench caused by the forced union of dissimilar natures.

It is our humble opinion that the “exile” element in the earthly experience of our Lord has been greatly overplayed. That He was sad and lonely and far from home, a stranger in a strange land, is an idea that has grown up around the beautiful and simple fact, but it is not necessarily a part of the fact. So far as we can recall there is nothing in the record to give the impression that His presence in human flesh was an unnatural or painful experience. He happily called Himself “the Son of Man,” not an exile among men.

All this is not to attempt to take away from the valid mystery that surrounds the incarnation or to lessen the awe with which we contemplate the wonder of the Word becoming flesh to dwell among us. It is rather to clear away unauthorized notions and give the beauty of the incarnation a chance to make its own impression upon us. That impression will be deep enough without our adding anything to it.

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

---------------------------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

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Stepping Out – Are They a Christian in a Boat - Purity 548


 

Stepping Out – Are They a Christian in a Boat - Purity 548                                                                      

Purity 548 10/13/2021  Purity 548 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a blue cloud filled sky over the Adirondack Mountains which is reflected in a lake, pond, or stream comes to us from a pair of friends who took “another fall trip deep into the Adirondacks” to enjoy the sights and the rewards of trout fishing.  Subsequent photos from our friend assure us that they are not a “catch and release” fisherman and the Lord provided a bounty on this fishing trip that would not only nourish their souls but also their bodies.    

With the holiday Monday, we find ourselves already at the “hump” of midweek so although the peaks of the Adirondacks in this photo are not prominent, they are present and make this photo’s selection appropriate for “hump day”.  

With the recent revelations of the changes that will be coming in the days and years ahead due to my engagement and future wedding and marriage, I have been overcome by a sense of wonder of how a life that has been surrendered to God can move in all kinds of directions.  

Like our friend who doesn’t “catch and release” the trout he catches on his autumn fishing trips, God doesn’t “catch and release” those He chooses to come into His kingdom. Since coming to Christ, I have endeavored to increasingly surrender my life to His ways and His purposes and along the way have often speculated on the direction that the Lord was leading me in.  

I confessed last evening to a fellow traveler on the path of Christian Discipleship how I thought that the move to my new house “down by the river” would lead to an assignment from God to co-pastor a church that was just down the road a piece. I also admitted to how I had “felt moved” to apply for an executive position at a local rehabilitation agency in Columbia County because I anticipated that the Lord would choose to move me out of my corporate job and place me in a career that would serve the recovery community.  

At the time, I could see both of these directions as real possibilities for the Lord to move me in.  In hindsight, I was working with incomplete information and making “best guesses” as to where the Lord might be sending me on this journey called life.  As it turns out neither “revelation” came to pass, and I no longer “feel” that the Lord is calling me to those vocations.  

That’s the great testing of God’s will for your life: If it doesn’t happen, it wasn’t God’s plan for your life.   Unfortunately, you only discover that something wasn’t God’s will for your life, AFTER you have tried and failed, hoped, and prayed, and envisioned the next steps with excitement and expectancy. 

Disappointments, regrets, and dreams that failed to come true are actively used by the enemy to drive us into depression, idleness, and separation from God.   One of the enemy’s favorites lies to whisper in our ears is the painful speculations over “what could have been”. 

“Oh what could have been, if only MR or Mrs. Blank would have loved me?” “

Oh what could have been if I had gotten that job?”

“Oh what could have been “IF ONLY”…..”

The enemy takes those hurts and uses them:

1.     To beat up the individual as lacking or inadequate, hello condemnation!

2.    To blame God for not granting us the “desires of our hearts”

3.    To convince us that there is no God, and we are all alone in our suffering and inadequacies.  

But on the flipside of those disappointments of “what could have been” and those “if only” speculations, is the fact that we can see the will of God reflected in what we don’t get, where we have been, and in in the present moment and where we find ourselves.  

“Que sera, sera” – Whatever will be, will be -  may sound like a listless or fatalistic way to face the future if we just “wait and see” what will happen in our lives but the truth of God’s sovereign will should give us great peace and challenge us to boldly pursue what we think the Lord is calling us to.     

I know the series of “Checking the Clues” is over but this morning in my ponderings of future possibilities in the days ahead considering “where will I live”, “where will I go”, and “what will I do”, I imagined Dr. Seuss’ Sam I Am appearing to ask another “Green eggs in Ham” question in regards to our faith life:

“Are they a Christian in a Boat?”

As the previous series taught us about examining the “clues of authentic Christian faith”, when we ask a question about someone else’s faith walk, the question invariably is posed to ourselves as well.    

So contemplating Sam I am’s inquiry about “boats”, I envisioned the Apostle Peter calling out to Jesus Christ walking on the sea of Galilee and saying: "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." To which Jesus only gave the single word of assurance to “Come!”

Would you step out of the boat onto shifting seas, based on one word from Christ? Would you take the risk of falling? Would you dare to possibly look foolish and get “all wet” in another failure?

Are we a Christian if we just sit in the safety of “the boat”?

Or are we to step out in faith to whatever the Lord calls us to, even if it’s scary or uncertain?

I’ve told you about some of my speculations regarding my faith walk that didn’t come to pass.  As the song says, “The futures not ours to see”, but that doesn’t mean we are not to try to discern where the Lord is calling us to go. While we are operating with incomplete information, we have to make our best guesses about what the Lord would have us do.  

The dreams and hopes we have may not come true, but our failures and disappointments will be a part of our journey that leads us to God’s will for our lives.

Just because “whatever will be will be”, it doesn’t mean that we are not to call on the Lord and ask Him if we are to step out into new possibilities.  

Some may look at Peter’s fear and failure to walk successfully on the water as a reason to not take any chances, but the thing is although Peter may have looked foolish in the eyes of man, he learned what it was like to boldly step out in faith and most importantly he learned that even if he fell the Lord would always be there to catch him.   

The same Peter who denied the Lord Jesus out of fear of persecution, was convinced by the Resurrected Christ that Jesus wouldn’t just catch him in this life. Seeing that Jesus was the Son of God and God the Son, caused the one who ran away to come back and lead the church and to face a martyr’s death knowing that Jesus would catch him on the other side of this life too.   

So keep walking and talking with God. If you feel that the Lord is calling you somewhere or to some new opportunity, answer the call and “step out of the boat” knowing that even your failures will be part of God’s plan for your life.   The futures not ours to see but when we are in Christ we know that where we have been, where we are now, and where we will be will all be for our good, will be a part of God’s will for our lives, and will be for His purposes.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Matthew 28:20 (NLT2)
20  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Today’s verse reminds us of what we are to pass on to those we teach and assures us of the Lord’s presence in our lives.  

In the previous verse the Lord commands us to : “Go…. and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Beyond baptizing them, we are to teach the disciples that we make “to observe all the commands ” that Jesus gave us.   These words of Christ command us to know what He taught the Apostles and to “obey”, or apply, the teachings to our lives.  As disciples we don’t just know intellectually what Jesus taught, we are to live by what he taught.

Also we are not pick and choose what teachings of Jesus we are to obey; we are to obey all the commands Christ gave to us.   

So the picture Christ is painting for His followers is to live a devout and holy life.   

Jesus knew that the world hated Him for what He taught and tried to live out in their presence so His final words in the gospel of Matthew are designed to assure us that He will be with us “even to the end of the age.”  

Teaching others to and choosing to observe all the things that Christ commanded for ourselves may not be an easy path to walk upon, but Christ’s death, resurrection, and words assure us that it is the right way to go and that He will be with us all the days of our lives. 

So know the word of God and the teaching of Christ that are contained within it. Observe all that Christ commanded us and go and make disciples of all the nations knowing that when the end of the age comes, Christ will be with us, always and forever.  

  

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:

F. What Is God's Heart on Dating and Courtship?

God is the author of relationships, a fact clearly revealed in His relationship with the first man and woman He created. He spent time with them daily and knew them intimately. His heart is for every person to have a relationship with Him, not just as Creator but as Friend, as a close companion. And He is also deeply interested in our relationships with one another and has revealed His heart... His thoughts...His desires for us in His Word.

Since dating is essentially an activity in which relationships are formed and either valued and nurtured or devalued and destroyed, God is thoroughly tuned in to our dating experiences and nothing escapes His eyes....

"Does he not see my ways and count my every step?" (Job 31:4)

God's Heart on Dating

  • God desires that believers date only those who have yielded their lives to Christ and are in right relationship with Him.

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?...Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

  • God desires that we know, practice, and recognize the attributes that accompany someone who loves the Lord and His people, and choose to date only such a person.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

  • God desires that we and those we date live according to His Word and be committed to purity.

"How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word" (Psalm 119:9).

  • God desires that we and those we date be sanctified—set apart for God, set apart from sin—by avoiding sexual immorality.

"It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality" (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

  • God desires that we learn and practice self-control both in our minds and bodies, especially regarding those whom we date.

"Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable" (1 Thessalonians 4:4).

  • God desires that we and those we date flee sexual lusts and pursue purity of mind and heart along with peace, faith, and love.

"Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).

  • God desires that we make a habit of regularly confessing our sins and viewing ourselves and those we date as forgiven by God, purified of all unrighteousness, and worthy of being treated with respect.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

  • God desires that we speak the truth in love to one another and grow to become mature in Christ.

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).

  • God desires that we encourage one another and build each other up.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

  • God desires that we sharpen one another in character and in our spiritual walk.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17).


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

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

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship