Learning and Loving in Failure - Purity 1217
Purity 1217 12/07/2023 Purity 1217 Podcast
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Today’s photo of a pink and purple sunrise sky over the lands near my countryside home in Easton NY comes to us from TammyLyn Clark as my beloved wife captured this scene and shared it on social media, yesterday morning.
Well, It is Friday, and I can’t wait for the workday to be done so I can be back with TammyLyn at our countryside home once again. There is nothing like being in the company of those you love and last night I had a bittersweet moment as I said goodbye to my friends from Deeper Walk’s School of Prayer Ministry as our classes came to an end. It was really bittersweet in more ways than one as I will miss seeing them each week and as I had the unenviable position of wishing them congratulations on their successful certification while I have additional work to do to make the grade. I meet with the school’s leadership on Tuesday to receive the development plan that I will have to follow to receive certification, but last night was all about celebrating what we have learned at the school and about one another.
Yesterday morning I reached out to my classmates in a group email to give them the news that I didn’t get certified because I wanted them to know, because it didn’t feel right to hide it – going into our “graduation celebration”. I didn’t want to go into our last meeting and “put on a happy face” with the secret of my failure between us. I felt I had come too close to my classmates over the last 9 months to not tell them the truth even if it was painful or personally embarrassing.
I also wanted to reach out to share the news of my “delay in certification”, that feels like rejection, or failure, for those few who also didn’t make it. In setting up my meeting for next week, my instructor indicated that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get certified, so I shared my bad news in the email also as an attempt to offer comfort and encouragement to whoever else didn’t get their certificate. Based on last night’s meeting though it appeared to me that most of my classmates did pass, as the group was asked by a show of hands “who has received their certificate in the mail already?” I was shocked to see what appeared to be a sea of hands raise up and enthusiastically wave their indication that , yes, they had received their “golden tickets”, making me feel all the more foolish for offering my support to the “others” which may indeed only been one other who I didn’t see wave their hand. I’ll have to go to the videotape to get a head count of those who didn’t make it to be sure but in considering the idea of “others who didn’t make it” , I had speculated over who “they” may be and I have to be honest in admitting that I was a little shocked, jealous, but pleased to see that some of the people I thought may have to do more work, were joyously indicating their success.
OOF, misery loves company and I guess a part of me wanted to have my failure validated as “common” with more of my classmates NOT making it. But they did! And I’m glad they did. While it makes my failure all the more embarrassing and rarer, I am genuinely happy that the people I consider to be my friends didn’t have to go through what I went and am yet to go through. When you love somebody you want them to prosper and can take joy in their success even when you can’t share in it personally.
And honestly, that’s what I did last night. Because I had revealed my undisclosed failure, I was able to go into our last meeting with no bitterness or fear and was able to really enjoy our farewell proceedings and honestly congratulate and thank everyone for being a part of my life journey over the last nine months. The people I have met through the Deeper Walk School of Prayer Ministry are dear to me and I was blessed to discover that they appreciated me too.
Before the meeting, my email disclosing my failure was responded to by a few who graciously offered their support and kind words of encouragement. Last night during the meeting, I received private chats messages from others thanking me for my contributions to the group and offering their love and support. And most shocking of all, one of my fellow students went out of their way to say kind words about me in front of everyone during the Zoom meeting and the instructor of the class, who didn’t certify me – mind you – shared some very encouraging words about me too.
So even though I didn’t make the grade and have more work to do if I want to receive my “golden ticket” of certification, I felt that my time in the school was well spent as I have learned a lot – far more than the lesson material – and feel that being humbled in this way was perhaps the best thing to help me grow, more than if I had just “passed with flying colors”. I had idolized the people at Deeper Walk and was somewhat prideful about getting that certification and I think it was fitting to receive this humble pie, to show me that everything I have received has come from God and I shouldn’t idolize or put pride in anything other than Him.
This chapter and over and to be continued and even though it was a shock a disappointment, I will always think of my time at the Deeper Walk School of Prayer Ministry and the people I was able to meet there as a significant part of my Joyful journey through life and my getting even closer to God.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.
( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )
This morning’s meditation verse come from the section on Church Discipline.
Romans 15:14 (NIV2011)
14 I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Today’s verse is the first of two verses that fall under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church Discipline
1. Discipline begins with personal admonition.
Today’s verse encourages those in the body of Christ that we are more than capable to instruct one another when we are full of the goodness and knowledge that comes from knowing the Lord. God’s ways are higher than our ways and when we come to faith we need faithful men and women who have walked with the Lord to show us how to live as Christians.
I benefited from Deeper Walk’s School of Prayer Ministry, but before that I have had the privilege of being educated and ministered to by a whole cloud of witnesses in the body of Christ – my Bible College program, Master’s program in Christian Counseling, Training with Freedom In Christ Ministries, my personal Mentorship by Pastor Bob Costello, and countless Christian podcast, articles, and books have instructed me in the goodness and knowledge of what it means to be a Christian and to be free in Christ. And while none of the people I have encountered along the way were perfect – their desire to show and share the love and wisdom of the Lord came from a heart filled with God’s perfect love.
While our resource rightly calls it “discipline” because we need to be diligent in applying God’s ways to our lives, learning the Christian way of life should always include the fruit of the Spirit of patience, goodness, faithfulness, and love. Yes we need to know a lot, but our following Jesus will also cause us to love a lot if we are being truly instructed in His goodness and knowledge.
So seek knowledge and wisdom but be sure to apply it to your heart to really know the Lord.
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 are sharing from “God is in the Manger- Reflections on Advent and Christmas” – By Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.
God is in the Manger – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
ADVENT WEEK TWO - MYSTERY
The Mysteries of God
No priest, no theologian stood at the manger of Bethlehem. And yet all Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of all wonders: that God became human. Holy theology arises from knees bent before the mystery of the divine child in the stable. Without the holy night, there is no theology. “God is revealed in flesh,” the God-human Jesus Christ—that is the holy mystery that theology came into being to protect and preserve. How we fail to understand when we think that the task of theology is to solve the mystery of God, to drag it down to the flat, ordinary wisdom of human experience and reason! Its sole office is to preserve the miracle as miracle, to comprehend, defend, and glorify God’s mystery precisely as mystery. This and nothing else, therefore, is what the early church meant when, with never flagging zeal, it dealt with the mystery of the Trinity and the person of Jesus Christ.… If Christmas time cannot ignite within us again something like a love for holy theology, so that we—captured and compelled by the wonder of the manger of the Son of God—must reverently reflect on the mysteries of God, then it must be that the glow of the divine mysteries has also been extinguished in our heart and has died out.
Wonder is the only adequate launching pad for exploring this fullness, this wholeness, of human life. Once a year, each Christmas, for a few days at least, we and millions of our neighbors turn aside from our preoccupations with life reduced to biology or economics or psychology and join together in a community of wonder. The wonder keeps us open-eyed, expectant, alive to life that is always more than we can account for, that always exceeds our calculations, that is always beyond anything we can make.
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
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My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ), 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
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 28–29.