At Year’s End – A Time of Reflection and Rejoicing. - Purity 929
Purity 929 12/31/2022 Purity 929 Podcast
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Today’s photo of a boardwalk pathway that offers one last turn before the promise of coming into the bright light at the end of the road comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene at what was the first of several parks that my wife, TammyLyn, and I would visit in the Tampa Bay area while on our honeymoon back of February 20th.
Well this is IT, the last day of 2022, and we are less than 20 hours (at the time I write this) before we say good bye to the year passed and say “Hello” to 2023!
Before I launch into a recap and reflection of what has transpired in 2022’s 525,6000 minutes and testify to another year of walking in the Spirit and enjoying another season of knowing God’s love, and so much more, I would like to share a list of questions that I saw shared online that I thought could be a good vehicle for anyone reading or hearing this message to reflect on the past 365 days to “remember the times” because as the following Bible verses indicate, we should remember and learn from our lives as we go (https://www.openbible.info/topics/remembering) .
Deuteronomy 32:7 (NKJV)
7 "Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:
Deuteronomy 6:12 (NKJV)
12 then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Psalm 77:10-12 (NKJV)
10 And I said, "This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." 11 I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.
35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
So I give you these questions to ask yourself and to consider as we mark another year of life and remember the times, mourn the losses, celebrate the victories, try to learn from our experiences, and thank the Lord our God for it all.
· What did God bring to you through in 2022?
· What did God teach you?
· How did you experience God’s love?
· What are your favorite memories?
· What are you most proud of?
· What energized you? What drained you?
· How did your relationship with God evolve?
· What are you hoping for in 2023?
· What is one thing you want to do differently or one area you want to grow in?
While I am not familiar with the Soul Shepherding ministry, their website invites you to “Thrive with Jesus in life and leadership” and I like the “loaded questions” they ask in this list because unlike the general niceties or nostalgia you could undoubtedly receive from secular or mainstream media outlets today, Soul Shepherding rightly recognizes the central importance that God should have as we reflect and consider our progress through this life.
What did GOD bring you through? What did HE teach you? How did you experience GOD’s love? How did your relationship with GOD evolve?
If these questions leave you grasping at straws, let me encourage and assure you that God does indeed exist, He does care about our lives, and is actively involved in His creation and in and through the lives of men and women on the earth. We can walk with Him through life. We can learn from Him. We can experience His love. And we can have a relationship with Him.
So I ask you to consider those questions, and encourage you to continue or to begin that relationship with God and to live your life “walking in the Spirit” – in the “context of an in the presence of God” – according to His will and ways as revealed in the Bible.
I believe we all have a relationship with God from the moment we have life, but without Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, it is a contentious relationship. Our sin and decision to live independently of Him separates us from God and while our lives are spent in His creation and in His Omnipresence, if we don’t make peace with Him through Jesus, our lives will ultimately be dissatisfying as we will eventually age, die, and face God’s judgment and wrath.
Our hearts tell us when we do wrong and the word of God tells us that no amount of our good works makes up for our sin. God’s word clearly tells us that it is through faith alone in Christ alone that we are saved.
2:8-10 (NKJV) tells us
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
In these three verses we learn the method of our salvation ( by grace through faith in Christ) and our purpose: to do the good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in. Sounds like a plan to me!
After most of my life living in sin and rebellion and suffering the negative consequences and tragic losses, I sought the meaning and purpose of life, in all the wrong places, but God was gracious and revealed to me the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ back in 2010, and I have been trying to be authentic in my faith, with varying degrees of success ever since. Through the years the Lord has bring me through a lot, He has taught me a lot, I have experienced His love in countless ways, and my relationship with Him has continued to evolve. And 2022 has been yet another amazing year “walking in the Spirit”!
On January 1st, 2022 – I married the love of my life, TammyLyn. She is the Christian wife that I prayed for and that God literally delivered to me! In February we honeymooned in Tampa Florida and have spent the year growing closer to God and one another as we continually pray together and for one another and worship together at Starpoint Church every week.
Throughout the year we have enjoyed various travels and family events. We love to go on day trips and hikes locally throughout the year visiting various parks and nature trails nearby and in the summer we enjoyed a symphony concert performance on the lawn at Hudson Crossing Park in Schuylerville NY and travelled to Newry Maine for the 2 day, River Rock Music Festival where we enjoyed a plethora of Christian Musical Artist including : Dante Bowe, Big Daddy Weave, Micah Tyler, Blanca, and my favorite – Jon Reddick. We also spent time together volunteering for Operation Adopt a Soldier, supporting the good work they do to support our troops with our time, marching in parades and serving at various functions throughout the year. Although work and familial circumstances from our previous lives has us living with a two household system, we have spent every moment we could in 2022 learning to live with and love one another and I am amazed at how our love for one another continues to deepen.
As for my work, my “day job” as a telecommunications tech, in May I celebrated 25 years working for the company and have become accumulated in my relatively new job function as a maintenance tech for the Albany garage and I am content with where the Lord has put me. The work can be frustrating and challenging at times but it proves to continue to provide great opportunities to grow in knowledge and experience in terms of the job and a great place to practice my faith as I “keep walking and talking with God” throughout my work day, asking for His strength, guidance, patience, and help as needed.
As for my passion – “my ministry” in its various forms – I am happy to report that 2022 has been a banner year for stepping out in faith in many ways.
This year I was honored to assume the role as a “Online Course Leader” for Freedom in Christ Ministries, leading 3 sessions of the Freedom in Christ Course in the winter, spring, and fall – and independently lead graduates from the winter and springs sessions through The Grace Course during the Summer. 2023 will see me continue in this role as I am scheduled to lead a Men’s Freedom in Christ Course on Tuesday evenings, beginning on January 31st – any man interested in joining the course can register at the link I am sharing on the blog (https://www.ficm.org/ficm-courses/freedom-in-christ-course-spring-2023/) , beginning on January 5th, as registration has been temporarily suspended for the holiday season.
I have been honored to serve Freedom in Christ Ministries in this capacity and have been blessed to have encouraged men from all over the United States to learn who they are in Christ and to experience their freedom in Christ by leading them through the Steps to Freedom in Christ. The experiences I have had and witnessed in the lives of the men in these course has been simply amazing and has confirmed my faith and the Lord’s presence in our lives time and time again. I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do through this ministry this year!
As for the mt4christ.org blog, I am happy to report that today will be the 394th blog entry for year, as I have been committed to answer the call to journal my progress as I walk in the Spirit and encourage others to travel the path of Christian Discipleship through the “Purity” series of semi daily encouragements and by providing Arthur Cincotti’s semi-weekly Bible Study outlines, and various announcements and excerpts of Christian resources to encourage others in their faith walk. The mt4christ blog was born from my desire to encourages others to live for Christ and was reborn and revitalized when others encouraged me to keep encouraging them. The blog is part of my daily spiritual practice 6 days a week and is a labor of love and just another expression of how I “keep walking and talking with God.” So as long as the Lord wills it, I will continue.
Additionally, the mt4christ247 podcast enjoyed it’s second, and first full year, of existence in 2022 and despite my hopes for the Lord to use it far and wide, I am happy to report that people continue to download it and that the “curious” or the “faithful few” who clicked on it resulted in a modest increase in the total number of downloads from 2021 to 2022, with 4767 downloads this year up from last years 4048 downloads, for an all-time total of 8815. I’m not sure what these numbers mean but I am humbled and encouraged that there are numbers to report on! So whether you are a faithful listener or have just downloaded a single episode somewhere along the lines, I want to say: THANK YOU and MAY THE LORD RICHLY BLESS YOU!
I have always said that if my messages, blog or podcast, even encourage a single person to seek and follow the Lord, I am content. In truth the blog and the podcast, encourages ME, so regardless of numbers, followers, or subscribers, unless the Lord indicates I should stop, I will keep putting a voice to my text for those who are curious or who would rather listen than read.
Another interesting development began this year, as I began using Zoom for the work I did for Freedom in Christ in 2022 and I further understood and realized that Podbean created a video version of my audio podcasts, I made the decision to “really launch” the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel and began the project of taking all the Community Freedom Ministry Classes that I podcasted in 2021 and all of the Bible Study with the Cincotti “programs” we had done and uploaded them to YouTube. The Cincotti’s and I also made the decision to use Zoom to record our Bible Studies beginning in 2022 and actually were bold enough to release the video of our sessions beginning in April, eventually releasing all of the previous video sessions, later as “throwback episodes”.
So if you were not aware, go to https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247
Well, I’m short on time this morning because I think I wrote “too much” and I had to find a “new resource” to share so I’m taking a vacation from sharing the “Bible Verse of the Day” but I do encourage you to read the Bible every day, for yourself.
I am including a link to Ligonier Ministries: “Bible Reading Plans for 2023” ( https://www.ligonier.org/posts/bible-reading-plans?fbclid=IwAR0aVs0a31ebdwexS1-N9i-dwV5v45fVTH5zoKCHsnmCPJnDks9fY9AjWsQ) as an encouragement to read the word this year - to have a plan, if you need one, to draw close to God through His word to experience the power that He wants to unleash into your life.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we begin sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
We readily acknowledge that life is a profound problem, and that we are surrounded by mystery on every side; but we are not like the beasts of the field—ignorant of their origin, and unconscious of what is before them. No: “We have also a more sure Word of Prophecy,” of which it is said ye do well that ye “take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19). And it is to this Word of Prophecy we indeed do well to “take heed,” to that Word which had not its origin in the mind of man but in the Mind of God, for, “the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit.” We say again, it is to this “Word” we do well to take heed. As we turn to this Word and are instructed thereout, we discover a fundamental principle which must be applied to every problem: Instead of beginning with man and his world and working back to God, we must begin with God and work down to man—“In the begining God!” Apply this principle to the present situation. Begin with the world as it is today and try and work back to God, and everything will seem to show that God has no connection with the world at all. But begin with God and work down to the world, and light, much light, is cast on the problem. Because God is holy His anger burns against sin; because God is righteous His judgments fall upon those who rebel against Him; because God is faithful the solemn threatenings of His Word are fulfilled; because God is omnipotent none can successfully resist Him, still less overthrow His counsel; and because God is omniscient no problem can master Him and no difficulty baffle His wisdom. It is just because God is who He is and what He is that we are now beholding on earth what we do—the beginning of His outpoured judgments: in view of His inflexible justice and immaculate holiness we could not expect anything other than what is now spread before our eyes.
But let it be said very emphatically that the heart can only rest upon and enjoy the blessed truth of the absolute sovereignty of God as faith is in exercise. Faith is ever occupied with God. That is the character of it; that is what differentiates it from intellectual theology. Faith endures “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27): endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heartaches of life by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind. But so long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself there will be neither rest for the heart nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings—whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr’s stake—we shall be enabled to say, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places” (Psa. 16:6). But that is the language of faith, not of sight or of sense.
But if instead of bowing to the testimony of Holy Writ, if instead of walking by faith, we follow the evidence of our eyes, and reason therefrom, we shall fall into a quagmire of virtual atheism. Or, if we are regulated by the opinions and views of others, peace will be at an end. Granted that there is much in this world of sin and suffering which appalls and saddens us; granted that there is much in the providential dealings of God which startle and stagger us; that is no reason why we should unite with the unbelieving worldling who says, “If I were God, I would not allow this or tolerate that,” etc. Better far, in the presence of bewildering mystery, to say with one of old, “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because Thou didst it” (Psa. 39:9). Scripture tells us that God’s judgments are “unsearchable,” and His ways “past finding out” (Rom 11:33). It must be so if faith is to be tested, confidence in His wisdom and righteousness strengthened, and submission to His holy will fostered.
Here is the fundamental difference between the man of faith and the man of unbelief. The unbeliever is “of the world,” judges everything by worldly standards, views life from the standpoint of time and sense, and weighs everything in the balances of his own carnal making. But the man of faith brings in God, looks at everything from His standpoint, estimates values by spiritual standards, and views life in the light of eternity. Doing this, he receives whatever comes as from the hand of God. Doing this, his heart is calm in the midst of the storm. Doing this, he “rejoices in hope of the glory of God.”
In these opening paragraphs we have indicated the lines of thought followed out in this book. Our first postulate is, that because God is God He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases; that His great concern is the accomplishment of His own pleasure and the promotion of His own glory; that He is the Supreme Being, and therefore Sovereign of the universe. Starting with this postulate we have contemplated the exercise of God’s Sovereignty, first in Creation, second in Governmental Administration over the works of His hands, third in the Salvation of His own elect, fourth in the Reprobation of the wicked, and fifth in Operation upon and within men. Next we have viewed the Sovereignty of God as it relates to the human Will in particular and human Responsibility in general, and have sought to show what is the only becoming attitude for the creature to take in view of the majesty of the Creator. A separate chapter has been set apart for a consideration of some of the difficulties which are involved, and to answering the questions which are likely to be raised in the minds of our readers; while one chapter has been devoted to a more careful yet brief examination of God’s Sovereignty in relation to prayer. Finally, we have sought to show that the Sovereignty of God is a truth revealed to us in Scripture for the comfort of our hearts, the strengthening of our souls, and the blessing of our lives. A due apprehension of God’s Sovereignty promotes the spirit of worship, provides an incentive to practical godliness, and inspires zeal in service. It is deeply humbling to the human heart, but in proportion to the degree that it brings man into the dust before his Maker, to that extent is God glorified.
We are well aware that what we have written is in open opposition to much of the teaching that is current both in religious literature and in the representative pulpits of the land. We freely grant that the postulate of God’s Sovereignty with all its corollaries is at direct variance with the opinions and thoughts of the natural man, but the truth is, we are quite unable to think upon these matters: we are incompetent for forming a proper estimate of God’s character and ways, and it is because of this that God has given us a revelation of His mind, and in that revelation He plainly declares, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8, 9). In view of this scripture, it is only to be expected that much of the contents of the Bible conflicts with the sentiments of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God. Our appeal then is not to the popular beliefs of the day, nor to the creeds of the churches, but to the Law and Testimony of Jehovah. All that we ask for is an impartial and attentive examination of what we have written, and that made prayerfully in the light of the Lamp of Truth. May the reader heed the Divine admonition to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts
(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com.
These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247
Email me at email@example.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship