Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Instant Liberation in Two Words: “I Quit!” - Purity 824

 Instant Liberation in Two Words: “I Quit!” - Purity 824

Purity 824 08/31/2022  Purity 824 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo a of a the “hump” of a “rainbow in the hollers” comes from a friend who called West Liberty Kentucky home for a spell and shared this photo back on June 3, 2021.  But moss doesn’t grow on a rolling stone and the holler’s appeal didn’t last long and instead of staying put, our friend jettisoned his home in the holler and took to beaches of Florida for a spell and now has set his stakes in a new home in southwest North Carolina!  But that doesn’t mean he is done traveling because I just saw him share scenes from somewhere in Georgia just the other day that may be featured in a future post. 

Well, It’s hump day again, and as we seek to surmount the midpoint of another work week to move on into Labor Day weekend, I think we should all rejoice over the freedom that the Lord gives us to change our situations and the fact that He gives us our self-worth that is not dependent on where we are or what we are doing. Our changing circumstances don’t change who we are in Christ.   

In life we make our best decisions with the information we have at the time.  We may think a home in the hollers, a beach in Florida, or a place somewhere else may satisfy us at the time, only to discover that we want to try something else.  Moving can be an ordeal but I for one can attest to the sheer joy that comes from leaving your past behind and finding peace in a new home.  

Likewise professionally, we can decide to step out and try something new with the hopes of forging a prosperous future only to discover that the deal that seemed too good to be true was too good to be true and that the offers and promises that were made before we committed ourselves quickly changed almost as soon as we did.  

In a teaching on Jesus vs The Culture, Dr. Frank Turek asked if it was ethical for a business to change the conditions of someone’s employment after they were hired after they had committed themselves and turned down other offers. The people gathered for his class unanimously agreed that it was unethical to do that. 

But Turek’s question shows that things like this happen in the world of business, to lure people into filling a job unscrupulous employers will make promises that they have no intention of keeping and will eventually change the rules of the game after they hire someone and figure they now “own them”.   

Unfortunately, many people face this type of treatment and feel that they have no recourse but to stay because they need the money or the benefits or are told that the negative circumstances are only temporary.   

However, the Lord has given us free will and if we walk with Him we can be assured that He will be with us whether we decide to endure in our “raw deal”  or if we choose to utter the two word phrase that leads to instant liberation: I quit!

I think we all know people who have suffered in negative work circumstances at some point in their work histories and we listen to their complaints and laments with compassion but are puzzled at why they continue to stay.  Don’t they know they can quit?

There is no shame in quitting, regardless of reasons, but if we were lied to or if we are being abused or micromanaged, we have the right to set ourselves free.  

Unfortunately, this issue is close to home for me because my wife TammyLyn recently took a chance at a new career only to discover that her employers were dishonest about their expectations of her work hours and the level of authority she would have as the general  manager of their restaurant.

They expected her to turn Hell’s kitchen into heaven but didn’t give her the power to do it as they almost immediately undermined her authority, arbitrarily changed policies, gave preferential treatment to certain employees, allowed a hostile work environment to fester, made insulting abusive personal comments to employees, allowed rank insubordination to go without consequence, and tried to make her personally responsible for each and every aspect of the business, even when she wasn’t there! 

My wife was the general manager for less than a month and last night I fully supported her decision to resign immediately.  

I, of course, sought to support my wife in her new venture by becoming a delivery driver for the restaurant. I figured if she was there that was where I wanted to be.  But she isn’t there anymore, so I quit too!

No matter how bad things get in life we have the option of quitting. He have the option of leaving.  If we have been lied to, or abused, or disrespected and hurt,  the Lord doesn’t necessarily want us to stay in that.  

Christ came to give us life and life more abundantly and if people are making our lives hell on earth we can shake the dust off our feet and leave.  

Frank Turek’s point in asking that question about a business changing the terms of a contract after someone was hired was to ask about the changes in personal relationships: in marriages.  That if someone promises to love, honor and obey someone for life and abuses the promises of the relationship, and the abuse continues or the commitment is betrayed, we can try to work on the problems with counseling but if the other party refuses to repent, we can leave.  Ask me how I know.    

When we decide to follow the Lord with our lives, we make the decision to live in righteousness and the world may not always like that.  People will hate us for it or they may see our Christian character as something they can use for their own purposes.   

While we are to love our enemies and to endure through suffering at times, we are not expected to propagate or allow someone else’s sin to continue unchecked or without consequence.  If you lie to me or are sinning against me, I can forgive you, but it doesn’t mean I have to stay in relationship with you.  

So if that’s you, quit. Walk away.  Forgive them for they know not what they do, but shake the dust off your feet and surrender them to the Lord, as He says you are worthy of love, dignity, and respect, and no matter what the Lord will be with you where ever you go. 

So keep walking and talking with God.  When we trust the wrong people or suffer abuse, He will help us to recover and to find a new place where we will be provided for and where we can find our purpose in Him.  



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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NKJV)
12  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Today’s verses encourage us to call upon the Lord, to pray, and to seek the Lord with the assurance that He will hear us and we will find Him.  

In life we can learn from our mistakes. When things go south we can really beat ourselves up for the mistakes we make.  But the Lord is with us and the book of Jerimiah is a rough portion of scripture in which the prophet delivers searing messages to the nation of Israel about impending judgement that will come because of their disobedience.  But even in this book of the Bible where there is so much “bad news” ,  the Lord reminds the faithful that even in their struggles that He is still with them and that His strength and guidance can still be found when they call upon Him, pray to Him and seek Him.  

So maybe things have gone wrong.  Things didn’t work out the way we hoped.  

So what do we do now that our dreams have gone up in smoke? 

We do what we always to as followers of Christ.  Just like Jesus, we go to the Father, We pray and we gather strength and wisdom from Him, knowing that He is the one who defines us and He is the one who determines our worth.  No matter what we do or how we may fail or suffer, God has accepted us as His children because of our faith in Jesus and He is with us.  

So call on the Lord, pray to Him, and seek your will for your life. He hears you and He will help you to find Him when you search for Him with all your heart.



As always, I invite all to go to 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Reasserting the Pauline Emphasis

I am thus hesitant to use the Pauline references to the “principalities and powers” as the fundamental basis for developing a theology of society. On the one hand, a different foundation to social ethics is needed than that which is provided by those who take a structural interpretation of the powers. On the other hand, I believe it is essential to take the principalities and powers into careful consideration when discussing social evil. Robert Webber is correct when he notes, “A theology of society needs to deal with the problem of the demonic.”

There is no doubt Paul envisioned the work of evil spirits to extend beyond their hostile influence on individuals and the church. In Paul’s letters, however, the emphasis is clearly on their malevolent activity in preventing people from becoming Christians and hindering their growth in Christian virtue. The major issue of concern for Paul, therefore, is not so much the relevance of the powers with regard to social justice, but their implications on salvation history and Christian behavior.

In Paul’s eyes the powers unleash their greatest hostility when they hinder the proclamation of the gospel. They use the flesh and, indeed, the structures of the world to blind people from discovering the truth about God’s redemptive work in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s concept of ministry included no injunction for Christians to work toward reforming the social or political order. As E. Earle Ellis explains it, “As a reality of the resurrection age Christian ministry has for Paul an evangelical, Christ-imparting relationship to the community of the dying.” The proclamation of the gospel takes on decisive importance because it has other-worldly, eternal implications. Those who affirm faith in Christ are rescued from the deadly clutches of Satan’s kingdom and delivered from the community of Adam, which is moving toward its death.

This consideration does not mean that Christians are released from any obligation to society at large. Second to Jesus’ command to love God with full devotion is his command to love our neighbors. Paul reiterated this command when he called Christians to love their neighbors (Rom 13:8–10) and to do good to all people (Gal 6:10).

The Influence of the Powers on the World

The question we now ask is specifically how do the powers influence the world system with its manifold structures? I suggest two ways of describing the evil work of the powers on the social order.

First, it is essential to return to Paul’s emphasis on the direct work of the powers in the lives of individuals. According to Paul, spiritual warfare involves direct demonic enticement to individuals to violate God’s standards of holiness and act in ways contrary to his revealed will. Extrapolating from this explicit principle of operation to a larger scale, we must remember that people control governments, corporations, media and various other structures of our existence. If the powers of darkness can gain significant influence over the lives of key people, through them they can create oppressive dictatorships, evil drug rings, exploitative multinational corporations and all kinds of horrific, destructive mechanisms bent on destruction and terror.

The powers are not merely “up there” in the heavens waging war among themselves. They are here, very close to us, trying to influence our affections and our decisions.

Paul’s Jewish predecessors and contemporaries thought in these terms. For example, the first-century A.D. section of a Jewish document, entitled Ascension of Isaiah, reflects on why one of the kings of Judah was able to lead the whole city into apostasy:

And Manasseh abandoned the service of the Lord of his father [Hezekiah], and he served Satan and his angels, and his powers.… And he rejoiced over Jerusalem because of Manasseh, and he strengthened him in causing apostasy, and in the iniquity which was disseminated in Jerusalem. And sorcery and magic, augury and divination, fornication and adultery, and the persecution of the righteous increased through Manasseh. (Ascension of Isaiah 2:2–5)

In this text it is clear that the powers of darkness are viewed as independent agents who worked directly on the leader of a country to create a regime of terror and evil. Many similar references could be cited, but this is adequate to illustrate the simple concept of an evil spirit working through an individual who wields significant civil authority. The same principle could be applied to many different spheres and social/political structures.

In the twentieth century we have witnessed the extensive repression and exploitation that corrupt rulers can wield over millions of people. Mention the names of Adolf Hitler, Nicolae Ceausescu, Idi Amin, Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein, and one easily sees images of untold atrocities. Certainly, Satan and his forces make people of such power the objects of particular attack because of their political authority. Could it be more than coincidental that reports of these leaders’ involvement in the occult so often surface after they have fallen from power? Certainly, Satan has only to exploit the desires of their depraved natures to bring about his destructive aims. More direct Satanic influence, however, can sometimes be observed.

Second, I suggest that Paul’s concepts of “world” (kosmos) and “this age” (aiōn) correspond most closely with what many modern interpreters describe as structural evil. Paul described unredeemed humanity as trapped in a pattern of transgression and sin against God because “the age (aiōn) of this world (kosmos)” so heavily influences them (Eph 2:2). Becoming a Christian involves being crucified to the world (Gal 6:14) and being rescued from the present evil age (Gal 1:4). When Paul spoke of “the world” in a moral sense, he was thinking of the totality of people, social systems, values and traditions in terms of its opposition to God and his redemptive purposes. The structures of our existence, to a large extent, represent the composite result of human ideas, affections and activity. Both people and their ideas can have an evil bent. Yet they are also capable of redemption and purification. In his insightful book on social ethics Stephen Mott draws the correct distinction between the powers and the world. He notes, “The kosmos, a more pervasive theme in the New Testament than the powers, represents the social structuring of evil without necessitating recourse to the symbolism of supernatural personages.”28 He draws attention to the fact that the principle of sin has a serious impact on our social order: “If sin is as pervasive as we say that it is, … then it will affect not only our personal motivations, decisions, and acts, but also our social life. It will powerfully influence our customs, traditions, thinking, and institutions. It will pervert our kosmos.”

Not only does sin have a degenerative effect on the social order, but so also do the powers of darkness. The powers exert their influence to corrupt the various social orders of the world as a further means of drawing humanity away from God. Working through people, the powers can pollute a society’s traditions and values. They can influence authors, television producers, political thinkers and analysts, pastors, university professors, composers, artists, screenplay writers, economic policy makers, architects of defense strategies and journalists. Through a unified networking influence, it is not difficult to imagine how the powers can influence the direction of an entire culture. In one decade something may be considered morally outrageous and in the next morally acceptable through a changed public opinion.

The powers themselves, however, are not the structures. Although the powers do their best to influence the structures, evil still resides in the structures only insofar as the people involved are evil. Just as a glove has no ability on its own to carry out a task, ideologies, economic systems and the like have no power apart from the people who subscribe to them and enforce them. A tradition ceases to be a tradition when people no longer pass it on.

It is with good reason that Paul calls Satan “the god of this age (aiōn)” who “has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel” (2 Cor 4:4). We could legitimately say “Satan is the god of many of the structures that order our existence.” Through coordinating the activity of his innumerable powers of darkness, Satan attempts to permeate every aspect of life in his indefatigable attempts to oppose God and his kingdom. The work of the evil one moves far beyond the simple notion of tempting an individual to sin. Satan appears to have a well-organized strategy. He aims strongly at the people with power and influence. The moral lapse of one pastor can send one church reeling. Inciting the moral lapse of numerous prominent ministers devastates Christians all over the country and makes society perceive the fragrant aroma of the gospel as a stench to be avoided.

The powers do indeed influence society and its institutions. We must be careful not to assume, however, that the demonic has polluted all institutions, social structures, traditions and philosophies. As Stephen Mott points out, there is a battle for the control of God’s creation. Institutions are integral to human life. “Institutions function both to enslave and to liberate human existence. The powers are always present along with enslavement and death in small or large degree; but their real existence is behind the scenes in a system of hostile values vying for control of the life of the world.”

According to Paul, God calls Christians to be rescuing agents. The evil-infected institutions of this present age have trapped people, who are blinded from seeing Christ’s redeeming love. Since the institutions of this world (kosmos) and the structures of the present age (aiōn) are destined to perish, our highest priority is to help people find ultimate freedom from the deadly constraints and terror of the present age and experience the untold blessings of the age to come, and to be liberated from the world and its hellish prince and be inundated with the love, joy and peace of God’s kingdom.

By no means is this an encouragement for Christians to escape completely from the present world and withdraw from involvement in the social order and the structures of our existence. Jesus called us to be salt and light, to show the same loving compassion for our neighbors that led him to lay down his life for the lost. God demands that Christians engage in social action based on their love for humanity, their call to be salt and light, and their responsibility to be careful stewards of the creation.

Christians still live in the present evil age—in fact, they live in two ages. The kingdom of God and the blessings of the age to come have broken into the present age in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit and the gifts, the grace of God and the power of the age to come are bestowed on us through relationship with the Lord Jesus. We are called to carry on the redemptive mission that Christ called us to and that Paul modelled for us by his own life and ministry. We are called to demonstrate Christ’s love.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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Email me at 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 ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 201–205.


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Grand Theft Donkey or a Mission From God? - Purity 823

Grand Theft Donkey or a Mission From God? - Purity 823

Purity 823 08/30/2022  Purity 823 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a fiery sunset over a river pathway comes to us from an anonymous friend who shared this scene on social media on or around June 21st, 2021.  The details behind this scene have been lost to time, or at least from my memory, but the sheer beauty that was captured demanded to be released from the confines of my phone’s photo archive. 

But If the photographer would like to share their identity or the location of their photo, contact me and I will update this post.  Or I will change the photo, and text, if I am stepping out of bounds again.  

Just like the disciples sent to take a pair of donkeys for Christ to ride into Jerusalem on I felt the Lord had need of it and will seek forgiveness from any offended party, if necessary, because I know that because of God’s grace and my faith in Jesus Christ, I am secure in the forgiveness of the Lord.  I might offend people but I know I am “good” with God.  In truth, God made all things so they sort of belong to Him.  I’m just trying to use what He made to give Him some glory. 

While I am not necessarily encouraging others to be reckless by “asking for forgiveness, rather than permission” with a grace covering, sometimes we have to take risks and be bold rather than cower in fear of what others may say.  And not for nothing, Christ didn’t exactly tell the disciples to ask “pretty please with sugar on top” when they procured those donkeys.

Matthew 21:1-3 (NKJV) says
1  Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
2  saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.
3  And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."


In essence, Christ told the disciples to “get ‘er done”.  No seeking of permission here. Not only that, his wording sort of indicates not to take “No” for an answer. “IF anyone says anything to you… say “the Lord has need of them and they will immediately send them.”  

Of course, this was the Lord’s will, the donkeys would be a part of fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah. 

Matthew 21:4-5 (NKJV)
4  All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
5  "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.' "

So Jesus knew that nothing would stand in their way, or at least would not successfully stand in their way.   And although the disciples may have been doubtful.

Matthew 21:6 (NKJV) tells us
6  So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.

The disciples got it done.  And the rest is Palm Sunday History!

So be bold and courageous!

But also be prepared to discover that we don’t have the perfect knowledge of Jesus and all the things that we think that would be “good for God and us!” will probably not fulfill prophecy and may not necessarily be God’s will.  

You may run into resistance. You may be rejected. You may fail and be humbled.  

But guess what? You never know until you try. And a large part of living by faith and walking in the Spirit is in deciding to act on what we believe to be God’s will for us without being sure.  

When we step out in faith, we may fail or we may succeed, but we will never know and we never grow unless we try to follow what we believe to be God’s guidance.   

As someone who has run into a fair amount of “walls” when I thought I could “see” around the next corner, let me encourage you to “go for it” or to “do it afraid”, because whether it is the “lady or the tiger” on the other side of the door of faith that you choose to walk through, it will be used by God as part of your journey. 

Either we will rejoice of the good things we discover though our acts of faith, or we will be humbled and reminded of just how much we don’t know and how much we desperately need the Lord in our life.    

That’s walking in the Spirit! No matter what we encounter, God is with us and will use our successes or our “trials and errors” to bring us closer to Him. 

So keep walking and talking with God and follow those intuitions and promptings to do something you wouldn’t normally think to do.

Yesterday, I had a service call to an older gentleman who had health problems and had difficulty navigating the stairs to his upstairs apartment so he threw down his keys.  When I got inside and asked about the trouble he was having with his phone service, I got a long list of complaints about his physical well-being.  He seemed like a nice enough guy but when customers start telling you their life story or problems, you usually want to get about your business and get out of there and I did.  

But while I was in my van waiting on the phone with tech support to fix his problems, I got a “feeling” to talk to this man about the Lord.  And at first I’m like, “Sure…Lord. That guy? Oh brother…”

But after I finally got his problem fixed and was back in his apartment to tell him I was done, I looked around and noticed a Bible and some “Our Daily Bread” devotionals.  So after I wrapped up my spiel about the phone service being fixed. I mentioned his Bible and we proceeded to have a conversation about God in which this man told me even more of his story. 

It turns out this man, “John” was 79 years old and is a Viet Nam veteran. John had always lived fast. He like to smoke and drink and actually owned two “hot rods” in his youth.  But about 16 years ago during a routine check up it was discovered that he had a tumor in his heart.  His health problems caused him to “settle down” and downsize.  He sold house and his hot rods and moved to the more manageable apartment that I found him in.

His tumor was taken care of by surgery but when that happened, John decided that beyond medical expertise he “needed HELP” because he knew if he died he wouldn’t be going to a good place.  So he sought the Lord and he found the help he needed at a nearby church.  

John still smokes but He stopped drinking and now all his old friends complain that he “found religion” but even though John recently suffered a stroke and other aches and pains, he testified that he has peace and because of his turning to God and putting his faith in Jesus Christ, he knows that he will be with the Lord when he dies and won’t be going to the bad place.  

So I told John that I don’t normally about God to all my customers but that when I was sitting in the van the Lord “told” me to talk to him. And so I encouraged John and told him that even though he is suffering and alone a lot of the time, that I believed that the Lord sent me to tell him, that God was with him and he wasn’t alone.  

John thanked me and I wished him a good day.   

And as I walked back to my van, I felt the “Holy Spirit come over me”  as I was greatly encouraged by being bold enough to step our in faith and to encourage this man I never met.

This is walking in the Spirit. We do what the Lord puts on our hearts even if we its awkward and we aren’t sure of what will happen.   For every misstep or offense we may encounter, there will be times like yesterday when we can know that we stepped into God’s will for our lives, to know Him and to make Him known. 

So be bold. Be courageous. Take what the “Lord has need of” and bring it to where He tells you to go.   We can always apologize if we get it wrong but honestly, because of Christ, we are forgiven, so even if we mess up it’s okay, and amazingly even our blunders will be used to make us rely on Him more and grow into the people He wants us to be.  So “grab that donkey” and let’s go.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 145:18 (NKJV)
18  The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

Today’s verse reminds us that the Lord is near to all who call upon Him and that sincerity matters.  

God knows us. He knows our hearts. He knows our minds.  And He knows who are His children.  

For us in the New Testament era, today’s verse describes our status as God’s adopted children when we put our faith in Christ. When we call upon the Lord, and call upon Him in truth, meaning when we sincerely put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God is not only near to us, His Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit – comes to indwell us.  

You can’t get any closer to God than that, right? 

Wrong! You can get closer to God!

Yes, The Holy Spirit is with everyone who puts their faith in Christ, but we can are brought closer to God when we surrender to His will for our lives and decide to live for Him. 

If you doubt that, take a look around at the folks who identify as Christian.  While all of us are in Christ, some of us have more spiritual maturity than others.  Some call on the Lord all day long, but haven’t answered the call to follow Him in repentance!

So, let’s be real. Let’s be true and be sure to call on the Lord to know His presence but to also be true to the call that He puts on our lives to follow Him.  


As always, I invite all to go to 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Recent Work of Walter Wink

Walter Wink, professor of biblical interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary, is currently undertaking an extensive analysis of the powers in a projected trilogy of books. Wink’s study represents the quest of a person intent on discerning the nature of structural evil in light of the biblical evidence. His experience of living for a period of time in Latin America and witnessing extensive social and political oppression appears to have moved him profoundly. In the process Wink has neither abandoned the modern world view nor adopted a belief in the real existence of personal evil spirits and angels. Rather, he endeavors to probe more deeply into the meaning of the spiritual and reaches the conclusion that principalities and powers are “the inner and outer aspects of any given manifestation of power.” He continues, “As the inner aspect they are the spirituality of institutions, the ‘within’ of corporate structures and systems, the inner essence of outer organizations of power. As the outer aspect they are political systems, appointed officials, the ‘chair’ of an organization, laws—in short, all the tangible manifestations which power takes.”

Wink’s interpretation of the powers is already wielding significant influence on evangelical thinkers, especially those working in the area of social ethics. His thought-provoking and influential work demands a focused critique. I have provided a substantive response to Wink’s position in another context.15 I will summarize a few important observations here.

First, as we saw in chapter thirteen, Wink admits the bias with which he approaches the text. He concedes he cannot bring himself to believe in the actual existence of evil spirits. This bias constrains him to find another explanation for the phenomena that Paul refers to as “principalities and powers.” Discontent with the inadequacy of the “structures” interpretation to explain the invisible inner aspect of material reality that is associated with the principalities and powers, Wink applies the unique understanding of myth as explained by psychologist Carl Jung to interpret the powers. By doing this he preserves something uniquely “spiritual” to the powers. He describes the ontological status of the principalities and powers, not as real angelic or spirit entities, but as “an inner spirit or driving force that animates, legitimates, and regulates its physical manifestation in the world.” For Wink the heavenly powers are not merely human projections of material existence that serve to validate institutions. They are real and are experienced in the sense that they are the interiority or the spirituality of earthly institutions, systems and forces.17

If I could agree with Wink at his starting point of denying the real existence of evil spirits, I would find his explanation to be quite plausible. Since I do believe in the real existence of this realm, however, I find his explanation of the powers unnecessary and even erroneous. If the powers are indeed creatures with intelligence and will, they are not part of myth (in the sense propounded by Wink). Therefore, it is inappropriate to apply the Jungian psychological category of myth to interpret their meaning.

Second, Wink has suggested that Paul himself had already taken key steps toward demythologizing the language of demons, spirits and devils by interpreting them into the abstract categories of sin, law, flesh and death. In my analysis of the language of power in the New Testament, I can see no basis for suggesting that Paul was intending his readers to understand his references to the powers in a symbolic sense. When he spoke about the principalities and powers, he was referring to real, living entities who brought terror and inflicted harm. On this topic all his readers, regardless of religious affiliation, would have understood him. Furthermore, if Wink is right, then the church has misunderstood Paul through the time of the Reformation.

Third, Wink arrives at his interpretation of the powers partly based on his analysis of the language of power in the New Testament. Noticing that a word like authority can be used by the same writer in reference to Satan and also with reference to human authorities, he concludes that the language of power in the New Testament is imprecise, liquid and interchangeable. In fact, he later argues that one term can be made to represent all the uses. In applying these preliminary conclusions to the powers, Wink sets forth the following thesis: “Unless the context further specifies (and some do), we are to take the terms for power in their most comprehensive sense, understanding them to mean both heavenly and earthly, divine and human, good and evil.” Consequently, as he approaches a text like Colossians 1:16 or 1 Corinthians 2:6–8, he concludes that both the human and demonic are intended.

I am quite uncomfortable with his treatment of the language of power. His method of analysis sidesteps the concerns of modern linguistic theory. I believe that he commits a methodological error known as an “illegitimate totality transfer.” This error occurs when a total series of relations in which a word is used in the literature is read into a particular case. Each context must determine which meaning, among the range of possible meanings, is appropriate to that context. In other words, if my wife says, “Look at those animals!” on the one hand, she may be referring to a display of lions in the zoo. On the other hand, she may be at home looking out the window at a group of rowdy kids across the street. She could never have both in mind at the same time. In this instance, the same word is used with reference to two distinct categories of species. I believe a similar use of language occurs in the New Testament with the words for principalities and powers.

Wink has not produced any context that clearly demonstrates that an ancient writer could have in mind both the human and demonic at the same time when that writer used power language. On the contrary, contexts outside the New Testament seem plainly either-or and never both-and. The Jewish intertestamental literature has a lively concept of the demonic (in the sense of personal spirit-beings) as does the Hellenistic magical tradition (which Wink neglects).

Fourth, although his final volume dealing with how to engage the powers has not yet appeared (at the time of this writing), Wink does provide some insight in his first two volumes on how Christians should respond to the powers today. He appears to move the discussion beyond the mere physical response to the powers, which many interpreters who take a purely “structural” interpretation of the powers emphasize. Wink suggests that both the outer and inner aspects of the powers need to be addressed; Christians need to respond to the powers both on a physical and a spiritual plane. For Wink there is still the need for social struggle through protest marches and boycotts to engage the powers. Yet at the same time, Christians need to challenge the “within” of a system or institution. At this point Wink suggests that Christians pray and exercise faith in God, trusting him to change the spirituality of the institution. Nevertheless, he still places a greater emphasis on our physical response to the power structures. He comments, “It is precisely the outer changes we make that challenge, lure, and goad the oppressor toward inner change.”[1]


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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

Email me at 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 ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 198–201.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Re-emerging to Work with Gratitude - Purity 822

 Re-emerging to Work with Gratitude - Purity 822

Purity 822 08/29/2022  Purity 822 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a view of the beach at Rapid Bay from the inside of a cave comes to us from Dave Baun Photography ( who reports that this location is one of his favorite places to drive to in South Australia and even know there is quite a bit of cave rock obstructing our view, we can see enough to understand why.  

Well it’s Monday again and as we emerge from the safe confines of the weekend to reemerge to the bright lights of the world of the working, I am encouraging everyone to face the day with an attitude of gratitude because even though my staycation is over, in reflecting on my “life of work” this morning, I realize how blessed I have been to be able to work over the years to provide for myself and my family to bring me to where I am today.  

So even though I suppose I could be facing the day with a sour puss because my time off has expired, simply reflecting upon the twists and turns of all the different jobs I have had has me counting my blessings today instead.  

As much as I recognize the truth that God is sovereign and is in control, I also recognize that because He gives us free will much of our lives are the result of our choices and that obviously includes where we find ourselves on our life’s career path. 

While our eternal destiny depends on our covenant relationship with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, I believe our professional lives are a combination of our efforts and God’s providence.    

We can choose to quit. We can choose to never apply. We can choose to be a diligent worker or we can choose to be less than that and reap the benefits or consequences of our performance.  So there is lots we bring to our career path. 

However, for us to believe that we are somehow “self-made” men or women is to display the heights of ignorance, pride, or self-deception.  

God made us. God choose when we would be born and where we would begin our lives.  God gave us our “able bodies” that allow us to work.  God gave us our brains to think and store intelligence. God also gave us our temperament – those inborn talents and personality or attitudinal predispositions that make us uniquely who we are. And God may have made also all in His image but He didn’t make us equal or the same in all these different areas, all of which play a huge part in what type of career we have now. 

Also because I know that God shapes the history of the world according to His overall purposes, His will be done, I have to believe that there are also no “lucky breaks”.  Remember God put you where you were and made you who you are, so you getting the job you have today may not be a miracle but we would be foolish to think that God’s providence didn’t play some part in where you are today.  

However, because of our free will to act foolishly and “miss the mark”, we can’t assume that where we are today is God’s perfect will for us either.  We may have been tempted or deceived by some aspect of our career path that led us to do what we do now.   We may have been tested and we may have not chosen wisely. 

For instance,

1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NLT2)
9  But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
10  For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Pursuing riches is just one way we could have possibly wandered from God’s plan for us and may have resulted in “many sorrows”.  

In my path, I resisted working for the phone company. In my youth, I didn’t want to follow in my mother’s footsteps and I applied for all kinds of positions without any success.  

I had a heart to help people and became a residential counselor for the psychiatrically disabled.  I did that for two years and that is where I met my ex, and no she didn’t live there – shots fired.  But I loved my ex and wanted a family and the low income I made as a counselor would have meant a life of financial struggles and so remembering my middle class existence I decided to “go corporate” and the last 25 years of work for “the phone company” was a result of my desire to have a family.

And of course, as many know, that had mixed results.  After 19 years, my marriage ended in divorce but my kids stayed with me. They are twenty somethings and struggling with the decision of what to do with their professionally  and we live together in a little house down by the River. 

My life was tumultuous at times through those 25 years at my job, that was full of changes itself, but I have no regrets.  My job provided the means to house my family, raise my kids, and have quite a number of wonderful years even though it didn’t work out like I hoped when I started way back when.     

I don’t regret my career because it was instrumental in bring to where I am today and while I would never think of it as God’s perfect will for me, when I go to work today I will give it my best effort to do a good job. 

Our choices are sometimes regrettable but the good news is that God gave us free will and if we find ourselves in a place we don’t want to be we can change it. So if you are dragging into Monday hating your life, pray and allow God to direct your next steps.  He may call you to endure or He may encourage to boldly go where you never thought to go.  

When we are in Christ, we are never without hope or without the help of the Lord. So we follow His path and where ever we go we do our best to represent Him by doing the best we can and by helping and supporting the other people we encounter along the way. 

So let’s go to work. Let’s do the best job we can do today to represent the God who made us and to share His love.  And let’s keep walking and talking with Him to follow where He would have us go.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 2:13 (NLT2)
13  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Today’s verse encourages us that God is working in us to want to do and to give us the power to accomplish what please Him.  

Hey, God is with us. If you put your faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells you!  The Holy Spirit will convict us and encourage us to stop doing the things that displease God and will encourage us to do the things that please Him.  

In discerning the spirits, we need to know that the Holy Spirit is not a condemning voice. Those would be the spiritual forces of darkness.

Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

 So the Holy Spirit in us would encourage us to change from our worldly ways to follow God’s ways but He wouldn’t beat us up about it. God wants us to freely choose to be with Him and He likewise wants us to choose for ourselves His path for living.   

God does not have a nagging or condemning voice. He invites us to trust Him and live according to His ways with love.  We might consider it a “tough love” at times because of the mess we have made that we have to climb out of but while God will lead you into a path that doesn’t compromise on holiness and righteousness, He will never beat you into submission. God knows what’s best for us and He will encourage us to take a path that may include some suffering but it will be for our overall good.  

The good news is that, like today’s verse tells us, He not only gives us the desire and the encouragement to do what pleases Him, He also gives us the power to accomplish it.  

That power isn’t usually some miraculous sign or wonder, God’s power in us comes from trusting in Him and asking for His strength and guidance.   His intuitions will lead us to good things we wouldn’t have thought of. His strength will cause us to endure and overcome things we never thought were possible.   

So don’t doubt it. God is working in you. He is giving you the desire and provides the power to do what please Him.


As always, I invite all to go to 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

15 The Powers and Society

In the Pauline letters the emphasis is on the threat the powers pose to the individual Christian and to the church. This threat comes in a large measure from the temptation of the flesh. It also comes from a larger organized front, which Paul characterized as “the world.” We will now look closely at the nature of “the world” as Paul envisioned it and determine how the powers influence the world and work in conjunction with it to lead humanity astray.

Recent Interpretations of the Powers

Since World War 2, there has been a growing trend among scholars in the West to interpret Paul’s references to principalities and powers almost exclusively as the structures of our existence. The powers of darkness are “demythologized” and described in terms of religious structures (especially tradition), political and economic structures (as, for example, imperialism, nationalism, dictatorship, socialism and capitalism), the set of values held by a given social grouping (accepted morality, public opinion and interest, ideas of social status, concept of justice and so on) and intellectual structures (ologies and isms). All of these structures and values exert a controlling influence on society. They are also capable of becoming evil (“demonic”) and may stand in the need of redemption. Many of those who interpret the powers along these lines emphasize political structures. Responding to the powers thus becomes a mandate for political activism. In commenting on Ephesians 3:10, for instance, one writer remarks, “Announcing Christ’s lordship to the powers is to tell governments that they are not sovereign … to witness in a biblical way to the principalities and powers is to engage in dangerous, subversive political activity.”

For many of these interpreters a major factor that leads them to a “structural” interpretation is the modern Western world view, which denies the reality of the actual existence of evil spirits. In chapter thirteen, I attempted to show that there is ample reason for revising the modern world view to affirming the actual existence of evil spirits and angels. If this premise is accepted, there is no need to demythologize the powers in order to interpret their meaning for us. Our task needs to be focused on determining how the powers influence “the world” in its variety of expressions; that is, through political structures, values, traditions and so on.

Evangelical scholars identifying the powers with structures often express their concern to grapple with the question of structural evil as part of a quest to develop a biblical basis for social ethics. This is a commendable goal and one that evangelicals have neglected. I would suggest, however, that it is erroneous to equate the powers with the structures. As I will argue, we ought to distinguish between the powers of darkness and the structures of our existence. The two categories are ontologically distinct. One is personal, the other is nonpersonal; one possesses intelligence and the ability to will, the other does not. Truer to Paul’s letters is to say that the powers exert their influence over the structures of our existence than to make the powers coextensive with the structures.

Not all evangelicals writing on this topic equate the powers with structures. In his book on social ethics Robert Webber contends that the powers are spiritual beings at work in the world, that they are nonmythological, and that they have an ontological point of reference in time, space and history. In the course of his discussion of the powers, however, their ontological distinction from the structures of existence becomes blurred. At the end of his analysis he states that there really is no firm distinction, but rather a dual reference at each occurrence: “The word powers is used in two different ways: it may refer to the spiritual powers of evil or to the powers which we have called ‘the structures of existence.’ ”

For Webber the powers even have a positive side: “We know that the powers are God’s creation which serve as agents to provide order, guidance, and meaning.” In this latter comment he is clearly referring to the structures of our existence, not evil spirits. But the problem with this view is that he confuses the terminology and inaccurately identifies Paul’s “principalities and powers” terminology with the concept of structures. This problem is not just with words; it is also a conceptual problem. An evil spirit is not nationalism; a demon is not a tradition; the principalities and powers are not structures. I would contend that there may be a relationship, however, between an evil spirit and nationalism, in that an evil spirit may incite excessive patriotism.

The primary practical danger in limiting our interpretation of the powers to the structures is that it is reductionistic. It unreasonably restricts how we understand the work of the devil in Paul’s day and in our day. Specifically it overlooks the direct and immediate work of an evil spirit in the life of an individual—either through overt demonization (“giving a place to the devil”) or the devil’s classic work of directly tempting people to sin.

Evangelicals (especially Pentecostals and Charismatics) have traditionally had a much easier time reckoning with the work of Satan on an individual level as opposed to a societal level. In light of this problem the many recent works dealing with the topic of the relationship between the powers and the structures of our existence is a necessary corrective to an individualistic outlook.

In my analysis of various writers on this topic, I have found two Pauline texts that surface as crucial to the debate but which are frequently misunderstood. They are Ephesians 2:2 and 3:10. I offer two necessary correctives to some of the current discussion about the relationship between the powers to the structures of our existence.

1. The references to “air” and “spirit” are not references to “spiritual climate.” When Paul spoke of “the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Eph 2:2), a number of interpreters have assumed he was speaking of something like “the climate of opinion.” Some would go so far as to suggest that Paul was referring to culture or world view. This view does not have a long history in the interpretation of this passage. The origin of this idea can be traced back to an essay written by Heinrich Schlier in 1930, later translated into English and published as a small book. Schlier explained that the “air” and “the spirit” of this passage is “the general spiritual climate which influences mankind.” He said it exercises a control, a domination that usually begins “in the general spirit of the world, or in the spirit of a particular period, attitude, nation or locality.… Men inhale it and thus pass it on into their institutions and various conditions.… It is so intense and powerful that no individual can escape it.”

This view has had an undue amount of influence on the course of subsequent treatments on the theme of principalities and powers. The single greatest difficulty with this view is that it would have been unintelligible to a first-century reader. I have argued in detail in another context that Paul is using spirit here in the sense of a personal being. Likewise, Paul intended air to be understood in a literal sense; both Jews and Gentiles commonly regarded the air as a dwelling place for evil spirits. The following lines from various Greek magical papyri illustrate this perspective:

For no aerial spirit which is joined with a mighty assistant will go into Hades.

Protect me from every demon in the air.

I conjure you by the one who is in charge of the air.

A first-century A.D. Jewish document aligns itself with this concept: “For the person who fears God and loves his neighbor cannot be plagued by the aerial spirit of Beliar since he is sheltered by the fear of God” (Testament of Benjamin 3:4).

In Ephesians 2:2, the reference to spirit is simply a reference to a personal evil force, and the reference to air is representative of the common belief that demons inhabit the air. One simply cannot press the reference to air in this context to find a precise metaphysical description of the dwelling place of an evil spirit.

2. The church is not called to proclaim a message to the powers. In Ephesians 3:10, some have seen a divine mandate for the church to preach to the powers. In this passage Paul explained that God’s “intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” This passage is not a warrant for raising a prophetic voice against the corrupted structures of our existence. In the context of Ephesians and of Pauline theology as a whole, the passage is merely asserting that the very existence of the church testifies to God’s wisdom. This passage confirms that God has foiled the wisdom of the demonic powers, who thought they could end God’s redemptive plans by inciting the political and religious leaders to put Jesus to death (1 Cor 2:6–8). God raised Jesus from the dead, and he became the head of a worldwide body of believers who would spread the good news of his offer of salvation everywhere. As 1 Corinthians 4:9 asserts (as well as numerous Jewish documents), the angels carefully observe the affairs of humanity. The evil angels, the principalities and powers, now see Jesus actively redeeming the lost through the church.

The only message the church is called to proclaim is the gospel, and that gospel to people all around the world who have not heard its good news of liberation and deliverance from captivity in Satan’s kingdom. Both the existence of the church and the continued evangelistic growth of the church demonstrate to the powers that they are in fact powerless to impede the redemptive work of God.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

Email me at 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 ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 194–198.