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Monday, October 11, 2021

When It’s All Been Said and Done – Are they a Christian in the Dark? - Checking the Clues 10 - Purity 546


 
When It’s All Been Said and Done – Are they a Christian in the Dark?  - Checking the Clues 10 - Purity 546     

Purity 546 10/11/2021     Purity 546 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the view of from the top of Whiteface Mountains that apparently captures “aspects of positive and negative space” comes to us from a friend who quickly  became a fiancé when it became clear that we both viewed each other with love and could both “see” that we would like to spend the rest of our lives together as man and wife.  

But just as the view from the top of Whiteface Mountain was somewhat hazy when I joined my fiancé and several members of her family to take a gondola ride to the summit on Saturday, the view of the future, how we will work out the details of our wedding, and how we will live as husband and wife are still “up in the air” and unclear.  The prospects of the changes on the horizon are both exciting and somewhat alarming as the consequences of two becoming one in the bonds of marriage will have far reaching and unforeseen circumstances.  

Although I will keep it real in admitting that some friends and family have voiced their surprise, concern, and objections, over our “whirl wind” decision to marry,  I must admit that I have had a lot of peace in the process of making my friend a fiancé and meeting the people that will be a part of our new family as the vast majority of my prospective in-laws have been warm, friendly, and receptive.     

I was also surprised by how at peace you could be when you make other decisions that will change how you have lived for years in significant ways.   I have been on the worship team as an audio-visual technician at Rock Solid Church for nearly ten years and decided yesterday to inform the team of my decision to marry in the near future and of my intention to find a replacement for my position and to no longer serve on the team after the first of January to be available to worship the Lord at my wife’s side every Sunday no matter where we find ourselves in our new life.          

As I was driving to my fiancé’s place after attending her brother’s Christian “growth group”, Robin Mark’s “When it’s All Been Said and Done” popped up in the older playlist I had selected and I was shaken by how the lyrics, flutes, and strings seemed to convey the revelation of an all knowing and sovereign God that knew that this present course was to be a part of my life’s journey long before I could ever dream of these changes coming to pass.  The lyrics say:

“When it's all been said and done

All my treasures will mean nothing

Only what I have done

For love's rewards

Will stand the test of time”

I was quite moved in my spirit, hearing these lyrics, and realizing that finding a woman who is the answer to my prayers for a Christian life partner was in God’s plans and that one of the consequences for my decision to live by faith in the power of the holy Spirit was to come into one of “love’s rewards” that will stand the test of time.  

The sweeping changes that lie ahead in my life reveal that although we try to “see around the corners” of the future when we “walk in the Spirit” by predicting and speculating about where “this” is all leading, we actually are totally dependent on God’s plan for our lives and the way that He shapes our journey as I am realizing that all my presumptions and expectations for the my latter days of my life were based on incomplete information. Only God knows our futures perfectly.

With this latest revelation this morning, I have been greeted in my imagination by children’s televisions Blue and Dr. Suess’s Sam I am who have informed me that this 10th installment of our current series of “Checking the Clues” of a potential life partner’s authentic Christian faith will be the last. 

Blue informs me that after today we will have given enough “clues” for our friends to use to find a Christian spouse, and that today’s inquiry from Sam I am, will equally apply to us as advice and encouragement on the path of Christian Discipleship, as well as a possible category for evaluating someone else’s faith life.   

For his final question, Sam I am advises us to think deeply and to consider his inquiry from multiple points of view and then asks:

“Are they a Christian in the dark?”  

As I contemplate the idea of darkness and my walk of faith, there are a few things we should consider in terms of evaluating “Christian authenticity” in someone’s life.   The word says that we will know Christ’s disciples by their fruit so if we are evaluating a potential life partner’s faith life we should observe their attitudes and actions even in “darkness” to see if their faith is evident.  

The first consideration of darkness comes straight from

1 John 1:6 (NKJV)  which says:
6  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
  

So, if our potential life partner who claims to be a Christian is “walking in darkness”, they are lying and not practicing the truth.  

So what is darkness here? The NLT translates this verse to convey “spiritual darkness” which would be revealed by someone who has doubts about or fails to believe the doctrines of grace or who holds beliefs that are not Christian.  The degree of authentic Christian faith is directly proportional to the level of someone’s belief and trust in what the Bible teaches. The more doubt or holding of views outside of scripture the more “spiritual darkness” there is in someone’s life.  

I wanted to point out the spiritual aspects and the importance of belief in considering someone’s faith first because we are saved by, and called to live by, “faith”.   If people reveal that they don’t really believe the Bible or hold beliefs that contradict it, their “Christian” faith isn’t as authentic as they may think.  

The second aspect of darkness that can be drawn from the context of John’s epistle is the “darkness” of sin.  If someone claims to be a Christian but lives a lifestyle that includes behaviors that are “sinful”, their Christian faith is either not authentic or is immature. 

If we have our eyes open, we can see the darkness of unbelief or sin in their lives.  While it is everyone’s own decision who they marry, if the desire is live as Christians, we would want to avoid potential partners who live in darkness.  

The second aspect of “darkness” that I can see as a Christian counselor is the “darkness” of depression.   If your potential life partner who claims to be a Christian, has a negative view of life, and seems to dwell in a den of depression we must be discerning in determining if we want to walk out the rest of our days with someone who we may have to constantly encourage and whose Christian faith may not be as authentic as we may think. 

The word commands us to rejoice and speaks about the joy of the Lord as the Christian’s strength.  Someone with a negative view on life or that suffers from depression may be immature or disingenuous in their faith or has failed to apply their faith to their lives or may suffer from demonic oppression.

Am I saying that Christians can’t be depressed? Absolutely not! But I am saying you may want to really consider all the possibilities in choosing a life partner who suffers from depression, including the possibility that their faith may not be authentic.  

As someone who has experienced with suffering from depression individually and has had relationships with individuals who have suffered from depression, I try not to address hypothetical scenarios when evaluating depression in Christians. I don’t know any hypothetical people and neither do you. While I admit the real need for medications to treat depression in some cases, I profess the universal need of all real-life “Christians” to repent, renew their minds with the word of God, and to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  

If your potential life partner suffers from depression and is unwilling or unable to use their “Christian faith” as part of their condition’s treatment you may be receiving a “clue” of the true condition of their faith and the difficulties that would lie in being in a committed relationship with them.  

So consider and choose according to where the Lord leads you in this area. As someone who was in relationship with depressed individuals, I can assure you that living with depression is difficult for both parties and is even worse when you are unequally yoked.  

The final take on “darkness” that we will consider is the “darkness” of times of uncertainty or suffering.    The authenticity of, and great value of, our Christian faith is often best proven in times of suffering and times of uncertainty.  How people deal with suffering and uncertain outcomes can help us get an indication of what they truly believe.  

Ideally, Christians would meet suffering and uncertainty with faith. So if your potential life partner is faced with suffering or uncertainty and their response fails to demonstrate aspects of Christians spiritual practices, we may see that their faith is immature or non-existent.  

Again, we are not measuring everyone by the levels of their faith to guess their final destination in eternity, our purposes in this series and in this blog in general is to encourage discernment in our relationships as well as our faith walk. 

We have come to know the incredible power of God that can help us to overcome the problems that we face on earth through walking in the Spirit on the path of Christian Discipleship. So we encourage Christians to believe that the word of God is true, apply it to their lives, and to live continually seeking the Lord and living by faith.   

The best way to find an authentic Christian to be a life partner is to be authentic Christian yourself. So keep walking and talking with God because if you truly live by faith you will rejoice and have joy in your life whether you walk out the rest of this life with a Christian spouse or with just the Holy Spirit by your side.  Either way, God will never leave us or forsake us.       

    

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 12:6 (NLT2)
6  In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.

Today’s verse encourages us to use the gifts that we have been given and to speak the truth in accordance with our faith.   

Paul’s epistle to the Romans informs us that we all have been given different gifts that are given to us by God and that they are to be used.   So while we might not consider ourselves as especially gifted or talented in the spiritual realm or in general, today’s verse tells us that we have some God given gifts that we should utilize for God’s glory.   

Every Christian can do something to give God glory with the gifts they have been given.  Our particular gifts are given to us to fulfill our purpose in Christ.

If you are not sure what your gifts are you can ask other people in your life what they think your gifts and strengths are or you could seek out a “spiritual gifts test” to tell you what your gifts are.   But the key to remember is that once you learn what your gifts are, is to be diligent to use them!   

The gift of prophecy, which in the New Testament context includes preaching, encouraging, and exhorting, is mentioned here and Paul encourages us to prophesy in proportion to our faith.  

Now while we may be hesitant to drop a “Thus sayeth the Lord” future prediction”, we can all preach, encourage, or exhort to some extent, according to the measure of our faith.  

Our preaching can simply include our personal testimony or insights we have gained from the word. So yes, everybody could preach.  

Likewise, if we have come into the Christian faith by making Jesus our Lord and Savior, we should be able to encourage or exhort others to do likewise or to trust the Lord for other areas of life.  

So determine what God has gifted you with and use them for His glory.  God saved us for a reason, and He gave us certain talents and abilities to help us to fulfill our purpose in Him. Listen for the call of God on your life to use your gifts because if you step out in faith and bless others and give glory to God, you just may find yourself prophesying to others to do the same.

 

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:

. What Is the Difference Between Infatuation and True Love?

Laura is in love! Laura is in love with love. And although she frequently dates, Laura rarely relates. The few boyfriends she's had in the past throw in the towel within a short period of time because dating Laura is almost exclusively about... Laura.

When meeting a new man, Laura enjoys laughing and flirting...wining and dining...dancing and romancing. But soon the fantasy fades and reality sets in with an oblivious lack of commitment to moral character. Suddenly Laura—or more often the man—loses interest. But Laura doesn't let her heart languish for long....Almost immediately she is looking again for something she labels as "love." What irony in this truth...

"The heart of fools is in the house of pleasure." (Ecclesiastes 7:4)

Everyone has felt infatuation to one degree or another. Everyone has experienced "puppy love" at one time or another. Did you ever take the long way around in order to walk by a certain someone or that someone's desk...or locker...or house? Did you take special care to look especially attractive on days when you thought your paths might cross? Did your heart skip a beat when you looked up and unexpectedly caught a glance from him...or her? Is that feeling actually love...or is it love's pseudopersona...infatuation'? Sometimes it's difficult to discern—especially if the one you have these feelings for doesn't seem to feel the same way.

  • Infatuation is a form of emotional obsession, an expression of excessive admiration or foolish love void of sound judgment.
    • —Infatuation is a powerful feeling, but it is based more on the idea of someone than it is on who the person actually is.
    • —Infatuation does not last because it's not based on reality.
  • Love seeks the highest good of another person, does what is in the best interest of another person. People throughout the ages have asked, "What is true love?" Our most authoritative source for understanding the true nature of love comes from God as revealed in His Word.
    • —Love is an action.
      "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13).
    • —Love is a decision.
      "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
    • —Love is work.

"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).

Love and relationships take effort. There is no fairy-tale formula for true love. God's Word, along with time and maturity, will give you the ability to discern fantasy from reality. Until then, waiting for sound reasoning will guard your heart from being hurt. ...

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Proverbs 4:23)

Infatuation vs. Love

In differentiating between love and infatuation, consider these differences...

Infatuation

Love

• Sudden

• Gradual

• Highly emotional

• Faithfully consistent

• Idealistic

• Realistic

• Based on feelings

• Based on commitment

• Weakened by separation

• Strengthened by separation

• Seeking to find happiness

• Seeking to give happiness

• Focusing on external looks

• Focusing on internal character

• Seeking to get

• Seeking to give

• Possessive

• Freeing

• In love with "emotion"

• In love with "devotion"

God, the Source of love, tells us through His written Word...

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.... let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3:16-18)

Live-In Boyfriend

Question: "My live-in boyfriend says he loves me, but just isn't ready to marry. We're already living as though we are married. What can I do to change his mind?"

Answer: If your boyfriend can sexually "have his cake and eat it too," what is his motivation for getting married? When you engage in the sexual acts of love outside of marriage, you are minimizing the essence of love. According to God's Word, neither of you is truly showing love to the other when you engage in premarital sex. Begin now by either moving out or having him move out.

If your boyfriend really loves you, he will want you (not just sex) and will be willing to wait until the wedding vows are said.

"It [Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking." (1 Corinthians 13:5)


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

Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Evidence to Convict – Checking the Clues 9 - Purity 545


The Evidence to Convict – Checking the Clues 9 - Purity 545                                                                   

Purity 545 10/09/2021 Purity 545 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo from inside the Buskirks Covered Bridge comes to us from yours truly as I decided to take a photo from the inside looking out to the light of day on Thursday.  The function and form of the bridge does have its own beauty but pales in comparison to the brightness of the natural light of the sun that shines and invites us out of the darkness.  

As I am away again this weekend, I am experiencing firsthand the darkness that can exist when your technology is compromised, and you have to scramble to use the resources you have before they run out.  I am on battery power because the absent minded MT packed “everything he needed” except the power cable to his laptop and finds the local alternatives to be sorely lacking.  

So today’s message will be brief.  

Despite this technological limitation and the ire that arises at its consideration, we are still able to have a measure of peace because despite this minor frustration, God is still on the throne and has blessed us in so many ways that this inconvenience is put in its place next to all the good that God has done for us.  

And that’s a key to “walking in the Spirit”: putting things in their proper perspective.  Regardless of negative circumstances, Christians should be thankful for all they have received and have a baseline of joy and peace that they can tap into at all times.  The way we tap into the peace and joy that never runs out is to remember that God Himself has saved us and assures us that He is working all things together for good. So we should count our blessings. 

It’s Saturday, and I pray that my friends will use their faith and the power to change their circumstances to have a peaceful and joy filled weekend.       

Even with my mild annoyance this morning, my imagination is once again visited by children’s television Blue who is reminding me of the current series we are doing on examining the “clues” of the authenticity of someone’s Christian faith.  This morning Sam I am must have taken the day off because he is curiously absent, but Blue has put her “paw print” on several of the items in the home I am staying in making me wonder if these multiple clues are in retaliation for skipping the current series yesterday to share the testimony of my marriage proposal.  

In my mind’s eye, I can see blue paw  prints on a Bible, several Christian DVDs, various pictures, and wall hangings that proclaim Bible verses or other general encouragements related to the Christian faith, and several Christian books and daily devotionals.  

As I contemplate these multiple “clues” all over this house, I realize that Blue is pointing to the fact of their presence in this place to “clue” us into the fact that they serve as evidence that the person who lives here has an awful lot of things in their home that indicate that they are indeed an authentic Christian.  

So, as I will remind you, the purpose of our current series is to help us to try to determine if someone who is presenting themselves as a Christian is someone who indeed “practices what they preach” and lives out their faith in a real way for the purposes of selecting a Christian life partner.  While these outward signs are no guarantee of the inward condition of the heart of the person that lives here, the preponderance of the “evidence” would certainly indicate that they are an enthusiastic follower of Jesus Christ.  

While the diligent investigator should use more than one source of evidence to “prove their case”, the presence of Bibles, Christian media, and Christian images and decorations in someone’s home are a great thing to discover if we are trying to see if our subject’s faith is authentic.     

So if you are interested in someone and want to make sure they are walking the walk as well as talking the talk, take a visit to where they live and see if the décor and media they display give some “evidence” that they dedicate time and monetary resources to items that can be used as part of a Christian lifestyle.  

If someone is living out their faith, they will have some physical evidence in their lives of the spiritual reality of their Christian faith.

Even when you take it on the road, if you are a Christian, you will pack some things that will give you away as a Christian because no matter where we go we will endeavor to stay connected to our Lord with our spiritual practice and seek to share the knowledge of His mercy, grace, and love with those we encounter on the path of Christian Discipleship.

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Matthew 25:21 (NKJV)
21  His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

Today’s verse describes a good ending from one of Jesus’s parables about the kingdom of God. 

In the parable Jesus describes a man who gives three of his servant’s some talents to invest.  Today’s verse is the master’s response to the servant to whom he gave five talents and who was able to trade with them wisely and receive another five talents.

The wise and industrious servant is rewarded with high praise and increased responsibilities and the invitation to “enter into the joy” of his lord.  

So through the parable, Christ is pointing to God as encouraging His followers to be faithful over the “few things” that He has provided and to try to be wise and increase them with the assurance that we will be pleasing to the Lord and invited to share in His joy.      

So, no matter what “few things” the Lord has given us as His servants we should be faithful to use them to give glory to the Lord. 

But remember, we are not saved by or performance. So yes we are to try to help to build the kingdom of God by using our “talents” for God’s glory but because we have made Christ our Lord and Savior we have already been invited into the “joy of the Lord” and we can live every day in it by walking and talking with God.

 

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:

C. What Is Love?

Who doesn't love the word love? Book titles that include the word love typically guarantee increased sales. The same is true for song titles. Yet there is much confusion on this subject because we are limited to only one word in the English language for love, which has numerous meanings. If you say, "I love my fiance....I love my job....I love my coffee," obviously you are not referring to the same kind of love. On the other hand, the Greek language has multiple words for love—with multiple meanings.

The highest form of love is agape—unconditional love that seeks what is in the best interest of the other person. This is where all relationships should begin and end. A second love emotion is phileo—an affectionate emotion based on genuinely liking the other person—the type you have with a close friend. In today's culture, most dating begins with eros—passionate emotion that usually involves romance. (Some couples never get beyond eros.)

The Bible is absolutely clear about what we are to prioritize—in all our relationships, including dating....

"Follow God's example...walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not he even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." (Ephesians 5:1-3)

  • Agape is unselfish love, unconditional love—a commitment to seek what is best...and the highest good...for another person, regardless of the response.
    • Agape originates with God.
      "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:10-11).
    • Agape is the source of our ability to love others selflessly.
      "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7).
  • Phileo is affectionate love, brotherly love, mutual enjoyment. Phileo is true friendship. The love of "liking." Philadelphia is known as the "city of brotherly love."
    • Phileo can be love for another that is as deep as love for yourself.
      "After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself" (1 Samuel 18:1).
    • Phileo seeks to strengthen the other person spiritually.
      "Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God" (1 Samuel 23:16).
  • Eros is passionate or physical/sensual love. It is the Greek word from which we get English words such as "erotic." Eros can be passionate, romantic love, but it can also be the feeling of strong emotion without a romantic focus. eros has a positive and negative connotation to it. Positively, eros can describe the romantic love shared between a husband and wife. Negatively, eros can describe sinful behavior like lust and sexual immorality when expressed outside the bounds of marriage. eros finds its proper expression within marriage, but within a dating relationship, we must be cautious about eros love.
    • eros within marriage is designed by God for physical and emotional pleasure. Although the term is not used in Scripture, the idea seems to be present in the book of Proverbs....
      "May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love" (Proverbs 5:18-19).
    • eros within a dating relationship is designed to be morally pure without passionate lust. You can have passion for a person without having passionate lust. Physical purity is necessary for spiritual purity. The idea of eros—in the negative sense referring to sexuality immorality—is something we should avoid in order to maintain sexual purity....
      "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)


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 fiancé 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.

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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. 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship