Saturday, December 31, 2022

At Year’s End – A Time of Reflection and Rejoicing. - Purity 929


At Year’s End – A Time of Reflection and Rejoicing. -   Purity 929

Purity 929 12/31/2022 Purity 929 Podcast

Purity 929 on YouTube: 

YouTube flipped the Thumbnail on its side once again,
 I think we have been flipped towards the right, to the left, and upside down at least once this year... 

Good morning,

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 ( .  

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.

 And as Paul told those he was departing in

 Acts 20:35 (NKJV)

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.  

The questions I saw in a meme posted on FB by Soul Shepherding ( - ) asked: 

·       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. 

Ephesians 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 ( , 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 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    to check out all of the archives of our Bible Studies, audio and video, and the discipleships classes I taught at my local church in 2021.  

But that’s not all, I also eventually decided to upload the Purity Series to YouTube and now do that every day, including the links to the YouTube on the blog!

In the Fall I also felt moved to produce a 19 episode series based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship” – a video series where I present the text of that classic Christian work with the use of Power Point presentations and offer my encouragements.  

And as always I share all the mt4christ blog posts I create on social media regularly to reach who I can.  I even created a list of links to help anyone to join the reddit “subs” I have created, or to follow  the podcast, or me on social media. Go to this link to find those links: (

In November, I also travelled to Buffalo to serve as a Altar Counselor for the Evening with David Jerimiah where I ministered to people as they came forward at the end of the service. 

Locally, I joined the prayer team at Starpoint Church in Clifton Park and will continue to serve there 2023. 

Although I have written much of what has happened in the last year, there was even more I am sure that I have forgotten about. 

As for my plans for the new year, you can read all about it as I live and experience and report about it on the blog. 

My life and relationship with the Lord is a never ending adventure of joy, hope, and peace that spills over into all the areas of my life. and I encourage all who read this to join me by making the decision to seek the Lord and to follow wherever He leads you.  

And of course, I wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!  


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” ( 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 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.




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).[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 (

“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

[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 19–23.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Demonic Oppression, Addiction, and Freedom - Purity 928

Demonic Oppression, Addiction, and Freedom -   Purity 928

Purity 928 12/30/2022 Purity 928 Podcast

Purity 928 on YouTube:

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a green ghostly entity floating through the night sky is not the disembodied soul of a long lost loved one, a demonic spirit, or an intergalactic cruise ship. No today’s photo are of the Northern Lights and it comes to us from my sister-in-law, who is on a post-Christmas vacation with my brother in Iceland!   There are more on the blog today, here:

Well, it is THE last Friday of 2022 and very soon just like those Northern Lights, this year will slowly fade away as tomorrow evening the countdown will begin and 2022 will come to an end.  

While I talked about how some are mourning the bad fortunes of the year that is ending and looking to the new year with fear, I guess since coming to Christ I would be considered an optimist – what some would call a “glass half full” person, but I would have to disagree.  Because I know who I am in Christ and have experienced and continue to walk in my freedom in Christ, if we use the “glass analogy” – I would insist that you call me a “glass full” guy for what we would see as a glass filled to the half way point with some liquid, I would insist that because God is omnipresent, everywhere at once, the “empty” portion of that glass is actually full with the unseen presence of the Lord. So because there is a God who lives – there is NEVER a real or “conceptual” glass that is half full or half empty – of liquid, “good things”, “blessings” or “hope”. God fills in the empty spaces. God gives us “good things”, “blessings” and “hope” that not only fills the glass but who’s presence and love spill over to fill the entire universe.  

God is all around us. If you have put your faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, The Holy Spirit indwells you and the word of God encourages us to be “filled with the Spirit” continually. And this indicates that God’s presence is also yet another paradox of our faith.  He is omnipresent – everywhere at once, all the time – but if you have ever experienced the manifest presence of the Lord or the “refilling of the Holy Spirit” in your life, you can understand experientially how God can be “more present” at particular times depending on the circumstances and according to His purposes.  

Anyone who has said “And God showed up…” as part of their testimony, knows what I am talking about.   Don’t take the word of me and other “ultra-Christian Pollyanna optimists” for it.  Scripture tells us repeatedly all about how the Lord makes his presence immediate and powerfully experienced.  

 In the Old Testament, the patriarchs and prophets demonstrated the presence of the Lord by speaking for Him with a “Thus saith the Lord…” and to prove they were legit, the Lord backed up His words with miraculous signs and wonders and magnificent victories over “impossible odds” to show everyone that God was “with them”. He was present in a major way.  

In the New Testament, God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.  God wanted to demonstrate the He was with us in such an extreme way that people could physically reach out and touch Him, and sometimes with miraculous results.  

When Christ ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to be “God in us” and the book of Acts documents how the Holy Spirit was poured out not only on the faithful Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah but also upon the Gentiles demonstrating that God would be “with” and “dwell within” everyone who put their faith in Jesus.  

God is not just in a church building, in the Bible, or “somewhere out there” – He is everywhere and His presence, love, and power can be experienced by us when we call on Him and when we follow Him.  

Sometimes when we have a bad year or things go wrong, people ask “where is God in all this?” 

To them I would marvel.. “Right here, right now. Don’t you see Him?”

Things aren’t worse because of Him. The good things, heck all the things, we experienced before this latest calamity were because Him. This is His created universe and He shapes its history. And although this world is broken by sin and death, He has a plan for that.  His word tells us that if we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we will have power over sin and we will never die. In Christ, we receive a new life of freedom that never ends. 

So if you ask me where God is in all of this… I have to ask you: “Where are you?”

The joy of the Lord is our strength.  But if you are not with Him, if you are not In Christ, you won’t know His joy, His love, His peace, or His strength.  

If you are focused on this world and this present moment only, You don’t know the future hope that trumps everything.

God is with us… but are you with God? Did you seek the truth in His word? Did you put your faith in Jesus? Are you walking and talking with Him?      

I hate to sound trite but when we understand the Lord’s kingdom, there are no tragedies.  The dead go where they have chosen to go and our sufferings on this planet are temporary.  This is true for all of us but for those in Christ there is hope as our futures are guaranteed and we will one day experience the reality that God was working all things together for our good, because we love him for loving us and we have been called for His purposes.    

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV) encourages us:
16  Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

So start walking by faith, believe what the word of God tells us, and start living according to the reality of what you already have received by the power of the Holy Spirit lives in you. 

But as someone who struggled with just about everything in life, you may be like I was: afflicted with doubts, disbelief, low self-esteem, the sins of this world, or just plain old selfishness.  

But just as I have found my freedom, you can find yours by abandoning the course of your life that has led you to question where God is and to instead seek Him and commit yourself to finding Him and receiving all those “good things” that the word of God promises you.  

If you have “believed on the Lord Jesus”, you are already there.  If you put your faith in Jesus, you just need to follow Him by agreeing with His word and living according to it.  

If you haven’t put your faith in Christ, you can do that – Right Now – with an act of faith – say a prayer – and ask for the Lord to forgive you and to make Jesus your Lord and Savior.  

For the both of you, now you have to renew your mind and resist the devil.   

Oh yeah, this might not just be a matter of memorizing some Bible verses and deciding to be a “good boy or girl” now.  

The difficulties that we have in “believing”, “obeying”, and “repenting” can the result of a combination of things including: 

·       The world - Bad examples – corrupted environment – worldly influences /philosophies – the world taught us some bad ways to think, believe, and live and we need to reject those lies and commit ourselves to believe and live by the truth of God’s word.

·       The flesh -  our individual biological makeups may give us certain advantages or disadvantages – talents or predispositions that have either made us weak toward sins of the flesh or strong in the sin of pride – both are bondages that teach us to live independent of God – but can be retrained – With the power God gives us, our weakness can be overcome and our strengths can be used for good

·       Spiritual forces of darkness – demons – who accuse, condemn, tempt, and deceive us  - whose sole mission is to lead us away from the Lord and who uses the world and flesh to lead us astray.   By Christ’s authority, we can cast out demons.      

I was reading Karl Payne’s book, “Christians, Demonization, and Deliverance” yesterday and his work provided me with food for thought, weapons for spiritual warfare, and the follow insight.  

Payne suggests a deviation from the common “possession/oppression” paradigm.  This paradigm suggests that only Non-Christians could be “possessed” – completely controlled by demons, and that Christians could be “oppressed” – tempted, accused, deceived – by the spiritual forces of darkness.  

The remedy for both of these situations is faith in Christ and “putting on the whole armor of God” and using the word of God as an offensive weapon, like Jesus did in wilderness, rebuking the devil when he shows up with some timely Bible verses and either fleeing from sin or standing firm to deny the lies and temptations that the enemy brings.   Christians the world over have used these tactics of spiritual warfare with great success.  

However, Payne’s book documents the fact some Christian’s battles with the enemy are unrelenting, thus his suggestion for a third category of demonic involvement: “demonization” – where people who have put their faith in Christ – Christians – have unwittingly given a ‘foothold” to the enemy – and have unknowingly given the spiritual forces of darkness a “place” in their lives – where they are free to remain and to wage a war of unrelenting torment.   

Demonization would be categorized by Christians who can never maintain freedom from besetting sins or who never mature in their faith because of demonic interference and continuous interior dialogs of condemnation. 

Payne asked us to wonder:

 Why is it that some Christians can have victory over addictions or other sins of the flesh, while others can’t? 

Why is it that some Christians have a rich relationship with the Lord while others continuously remain unsure of their place in His kingdom?

Why is it that some Christians can pray with confidence and others don’t think their prayers go anywhere? 

Why is it that some Christians love to read the Bible and others find no joy in it at all?   

While it certainly is possible that these differences can be explained by individual biological or volitional differences, Payne suggests that we should also consider the demonic as a contributing cause in these struggles.   

But there is good news to this dilemma as well.   As state above Christ has given us the power to overcome the spiritual forces of darkness. So even in this troubling “worst case scenario”, we can have hope.  

Ask me how I know…

In the 38 years prior to coming to Christ, I was inundated with the sins of the flesh, a rebel spirit, addictions, anxiety, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, hopelessness and depression.   

While I was “saved” in 2010, I still struggled mightily with the sins of the flesh, doubts, and those negative mind states despite having a strong commitment to learn all I could about my faith and was actively attending and serving in my local church.   As I continued to seek the Lord and His will for my life, I made some progress but it wasn’t until I trusted the Lord with my addictions by going to a Christian recovery group did the real work of repentance and spiritual warfare begin.  

I don’t remember where in my journey that I read Dr. Neil Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker. It was probably after I had a year of sobriety but I refer to those days as the “white knuckling days” where I had to constantly be on guard against temptation and feared an eventual relapse.  

But in Anderson’s book, I discovered “the Steps to Freedom in Christ” which is a series of prayers, proclamations, and renunciations that guides you through a repentance process where you commit yourself to Christ and where you renounce the spiritual forces of darkness and resolve any conflicts of unconfessed sins, pride, rebellion, ancestral baggage, and the bitterness of unforgiveness.    

While I can’t say I ever thought I was “demonized” before going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ, I admit that I was at least “oppressed” by the enemy afterwards because the condemning, blasphemous, tempting dialog of mental chatter that seemed to be a part of “me” was gone! 

Anderson states that many of the Christians that He leads through the Steps to Freedom in Christ are amazed at the peace and the “silence” they experience.  And that was me.  To this day, I can stop what I am doing and just listen to the silence – of no thoughts, no condemnation, no “noise” and I know that I am still free. The Lord has not only lead me out of the darkness of the flesh but he put a stop to the mental torment that I always thought was “just me beating myself up.”   

Since then I have become trained to lead others through the Steps to Freedom in Christ I have seen the enemy face to face in others and have seen people get set free when they came to know who they are in Christ and when they used the authority that Christ gave them to walk out of the darkness.  

So if you had a bad year or a bad life, if you just can’t “believe like others do”, or if you are filled with fear or depression, let me encourage you that the “glass is full” when you make Christ your Lord and savior and when you choose to follow Him into the abundant life of freedom and victory that He has for you.  

It’s going to be a new year, so why not make it the one where overcome the struggles? With God you are never alone but we also need others to help us along the way.   So while I would first recommend becoming a part of a Bible believing church where you can worship and serve, I would also encourage your freedom by pursuing the wisdom and methods that have helped me at Freedom in Christ Ministries ( There you can find a free book “Restored” that can tell you all about the Steps to Freedom in Christ, or you can even join an online course that will guide you through the process with a trained encourager. 

The biggest lie that the enemy every told us is that somethings are just “impossible” and that somethings will “never change”, but with God you can find your freedom and discover all the “impossible” things you can accomplish with your new life in Christ.


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” ( 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 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.




Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? That God reigns supreme in Heaven is generally conceded; that He does so over this world, is almost universally denied—if not directly, then indirectly. More and more are men in their philosophizings and theorizings relegating God to the background. Take the material realm. Not only is it denied that God created everything by personal and direct action, but few believe that He has any immediate concern in regulating the works of His own hands. Everything is supposed to be ordered according to the (impersonal and abstract) “laws of Nature.” Thus is the Creator banished from His own creation. Therefore we need not be surprised that men, in their degrading conceptions, exclude Him from the realm of human affairs. Throughout Christendom, with an almost negligible exception, the theory is held that man is “a free agent,” and therefore, lord of his fortunes and the determiner of his destiny. That Satan is to be blamed for much of the evil which is in the world is freely affirmed by those who, though having so much to say about “the responsibility of man,” often deny their own responsibility, by attributing to the Devil what, in fact, proceeds from their own evil hearts (Mark 7:21–23).

But who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? Attempt to take a serious and comprehensive view of the world. What a scene of confusion and chaos confronts us on every side! Sin is rampant; lawlessness abounds; evil men and seducers are waxing “worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3:13). Today, everything appears to be out of joint. Thrones are creaking and tottering, ancient dynasties are being overturned, democracies are revolting, civilization is a demonstrated failure; half of Christendom was but recently locked-together in a death grapple; and now that the titanic conflict is over, instead of the world having been made “safe for democracy,” we have discovered that democracy is very unsafe for the world. Unrest, discontent, and lawlessness are rife everywhere, and none can say how soon another great war will be set in motion. Statesmen are perplexed and staggered. Men’s hearts are “failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:26). Do these things look as though God had full control?

But let us confine our attention to the religious realm. After nineteen centuries of Gospel preaching, Christ is still “despised and rejected of men.” Worse still, He (the Christ of Scripture) is proclaimed and magnified by very few. In the majority of modern pulpits He is dishonored and disowned. Despite frantic efforts to attract the crowds, the majority of the churches are being emptied rather than filled. And what of the great masses of non-church goers? In the light of Scripture we are compelled to believe that the “many” are on the Broad Road that leadeth to destruction, and that only “few” are on the Narrow Way that leadeth unto life. Many are declaring that Christianity is a failure, and despair is settling on many faces. Not a few of the Lord’s own people are bewildered, and their faith is being severely tried. And what of God? Does He see and hear? Is He impotent or indifferent? A number of those who are regarded as leaders of Christian-thought told us that God could not help the coming of the late awful War, and that He was unable to bring about its termination. It was said, and said openly, that conditions were beyond God’s control. Do these things look as though God were ruling the world?

Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? What impression is made upon the minds of those men of the world who, occasionally, attend a Gospel service? What are the conceptions formed by those who hear even those preachers who are counted as “orthodox?” Is it not that a disappointed God is the One whom Christians believe in? From what is heard from the average evangelist today, is not any serious hearer obliged to conclude that he professes to represent a God who is filled with benevolent intentions, yet unable to carry them out; that He is earnestly desirous of blessing men, but that they will not let Him? Then, must not the average hearer draw the inference that the Devil has gained the upper hand, and that God is to be pitied rather than blamed?

But does not everything seem to show that the Devil has far more to do with the affairs of earth than God has? Ah, it all depends upon whether we are walking by faith, or walking by sight. Are your thoughts, my reader, concerning this world and God’s relation to it, based upon what you see? Face this question seriously and honestly. And if you are a Christian you will, most probably, have cause to bow your head with shame and sorrow, and to acknowledge that it is so. Alas, in reality, we walk very little “by faith.” But what does “walking by faith” signify? It means that our thoughts are formed, our actions regulated, our lives moulded by the Holy Scriptures, for, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). It is from the Word of Truth, and that alone, that we can learn what is God’s relation to this world.

Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God or the Devil? What saith the Scriptures? Ere we consider the direct reply to this query, let it be said that the Scriptures predicted just what we now see and hear. The prophecy of Jude is in course of fulfillment. It would lead us too far astray from our present inquiry to fully amplify this assertion, but what we have particularly in mind is a sentence in verse 8—“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion and speak evil of dignities.” Yes, they “speak evil” of the Supreme Dignity, the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Ours is peculiarly an age of irreverence, and as the consequence, the spirit of lawlessness, which brooks no restraint and which is desirous of casting off everything which interferes with the free course of self-will, is rapidly engulfing the earth like some giant tidal wave. The members of the rising generation are the most flagrant offenders, and in the decay and disappearing of parental authority we have the certain precursor of the abolition of civic authority. Therefore, in view of the growing disrespect for human law and the refusal to “render honor to whom honor is due,” we need not be surprised that the recognition of the majesty, the authority, the sovereignty of the Almighty law-giver should recede more and more into the background, and the masses have less and less patience with those who insist upon them. And conditions will not improve; instead, the more sure Word of Prophecy makes known to us that they will grow worse and worse. Nor do we expect to be able to stem the tide—it has already risen much too high for that. All we can now hope to do is warn our fellow-saints against the spirit of the age, and thus seek to counteract its baneful influence upon them.

Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? What saith the Scriptures? If we believe their plain and positive declarations, no room is left for uncertainty. They affirm, again and again, that God is on the throne of the universe; that the sceptre is in His hands; that He is directing all things “after the counsel of His own will.” They affirm, not only that God created all things, but also that God is ruling and reigning over all the works of His hands. They affirm that God is the “Almighty,” that His will is irreversible, that He is absolute sovereign in every realm of all His vast dominions. And surely it must be so. Only two alternatives are possible: God must either rule, or be ruled; sway, or be swayed; accomplish His own will, or be thwarted by His creatures. Accepting the fact that He is the “Most High,” the only Potentate and King of kings, vested with perfect wisdom and illimitable power, and the conclusion is irresistible that He must be God in fact as well as in name.

It is in view of what we have briefly referred to above that we say, Present-day conditions call loudly for a new examination and new presentation of God’s omnipotency, God’s sufficiency, God’s sovereignty. From every pulpit in the land it needs to be thundered forth that God still lives, that God still observes, that God still reigns. Faith is now in the crucible, it is being tested by fire, and there is no fixed and sufficient resting-place for the heart and mind but in the Throne of God. What is needed now, as never before, is a full, positive, constructive setting forth of the Godhood of God. Drastic diseases call for drastic remedies. People are weary of platitudes and mere generalizations—the call is for something definite and specific. Soothing-syrup may serve for peevish children, but an iron tonic is better suited for adults, and we know of nothing which is more calculated to infuse spiritual vigor into our frames than a scriptural apprehension of the full character of God. It is written, “The people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits” (Dan. 11:32).

Without a doubt a world-crisis is at hand, and everywhere men are alarmed. But God is not! He is never taken by surprise. It is no unexpected emergency which now confronts Him, for He is the One who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). Hence, though the world is panic-stricken, the word to the believer is, “Fear not!” “All things” are subject to His immediate control: “all things” are moving in accord with His eternal purpose, and therefore “all things” are “working together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” It must be so, for “of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). Yet how little is this realized today even by the people of God! Many suppose that He is little more than a far-distant Spectator, taking no immediate hand in the affairs of earth. It is true that man is endowed with power, but God is all-powerful. It is true that, speaking generally, the material world is regulated by law, but behind that law is the law-Giver and law-Administrator. Man is but the creature. God is the Creator, and endless ages before man first saw the light “the mighty God” (Isa. 9:6) existed, and ere the world was founded, made His plans; and being infinite in power and man only finite, His purpose and plan cannot be withstood or thwarted by the creatures of His own hands.[1]

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

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 Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 15–19.