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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Low “Causeless” Depression and Praising God Always – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1211

 

Low “Causeless” Depression and Praising God Always – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1211

Purity 1211 11/30/2023 Purity 1211 Podcast

Purity 1211 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the silhouettes of trees on the edge of farmland on Waite Rd with the light of sunrise on the horizon comes to us from yours truly as I captured this haunting sunrise scene while out walking the dog this past Sunday morning.  

Well, It’s Thursday and I share this pathway photo that is mostly “off road” as a visual encouragement to get on or to stay on the path of Christian discipleship and to remind us of all that no matter how dark things may get there is always hope when we have faith in Jesus, the light of the world.  

Sometimes I wonder if it is really necessary to continue sharing the same messages that encourage people to know who they are in Christ and to make their lives an ongoing spiritual practice where their hearts and minds are directed towards the things of God and where they literally walk and talk with God in their daily lives.  “Keep on Walking and Talking with God” isn’t just some quaint phrase of general encouragement, it's an exhortation to be taken quite literally.  I know I say that quite often and the reason I do is because a deep personal relationship with God is what can help you to overcome the pains and difficulties that we face with life here on earth. 

And I keep saying that because I see what happens when Christians don’t do it. They make foolish choices. They fall into sin. And sometimes, they just become incredibly depressed under the “unbearable lightness of being”.

Mentioning that phrase is not a recommendation of the movie or book with that title by the way. I don’t recall the story or plot but I’m pretty sure the people in it were not trying to be the people God created them to be by living as followers of Jesus Christ.  That sentiment “the unbearable lightness of being” comes from an atheistic worldview that whimsically appreciates the beauty in the world amongst the tragedy, but subtly sells the lie that there is no ultimate meaning to life so you might as well live it up and give into whatever sensual desires you have, even if they are sin.   

It’s a lie. But with the mundanity of life and the suffering in the world – it’s easy to get drawn into it.  Laments like “Why do things have to be this way?” or “Why am I not happy?” or “Oh what’s the point.” Can subtly erode our peace and cause us to “just feel low” and make us experience what we may think of as “Causeless Depression” – where we just feel down  - where nothing is wrong but where we are incredibly sad or “just low”.  

The Christian Disciple’s remedy for depression is the affirmation and appreciation of who we are in Christ and the realization that God has a plan, and that life has meaning. If we are depressed we need to remind ourselves of God in our life and draw into His presence. Our thoughts impact our emotions, so we need to think about and talk to the Lord.   We can take our depression to Him and come away with joy. However, we may have to do more than hope and pray and meditate on the truth. We may have to do something drastic and proclaim the truth in song.  We need to praise the Lord despite the storm, the tragedy, or just that seemingly “unbearable lightness of being”. 

Right after Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness – a pretty low time in which he had victory, why?, because he combatted the enemy with the truth of God’s word – hello? Anyway, after that, He was “filled with the Holy Spirit’s power” and went into the synagogue in Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61, which said:

Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV)
18  "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."

Jesus then said:

 Luke 4:21 (NKJV)

21   Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

 We don’t have to feel oppressed or depressed. We who have placed our faith in Jesus can experience the freedom (the liberty) Christ has given us, every day.   And the scriptures that Jesus read from give us a clue of how we can experience it.  After the “acceptable year of the Lord”

 Isaiah 61:2-3 (NKJV) goes on to say

2  …. And the day of vengeance of our God;

 That refers to Christ second coming, where He will make everything right and exact vengeance on wicked… 

But the text than says:

Isaiah 61:2-3 (NKJV)

….To comfort all who mourn,
3  To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

And so this text indicates that we can take off “the spirit of heaviness” with the garment of praise.  To receive our beauty for ashes, and oil of joy for mourning – we are subtly directed to praise the Lord.  

We are forgiven, free, and have eternal life in Christ. The big old bad world isn’t so bad in the light of that truth, but we have to resist the devil and fight the world by speaking the word of God and proclaiming it in song!   Paul tells us to do this in

Ephesians 5:18-20 (NKJV)
18  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19  speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20  giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

That’s how we live in the Spirit and take off the spirit of heaviness,  We praise. 

I was inspired to write this because I encountered a Christian who has been suffering from a “seemingly causes less depression” and they experienced some relief through praise. In their case, I commended their efforts, but they admitted to not being out of the woods yet and still felt “low”.  So I recommended they go through the Steps to Freedom in Christ – to proclaim their faith and to confess and renounce any and everything in their life that may be giving the enemy a foothold in life.  Although I gave them a copy of the Steps to Freedom in Christ months ago, they never prayed through them. So I recommended doing that and to continue meditating on who they are in Christ and to PRAISE THE LORD in song.    

I was also encouraged that other Christians who are in the encouragement business agree with me and am sharing Mindful of Christ’s Word for Wednesday from this week, where Lauren Roskilly   encourages us to “Always Praise God” Referencing:

Job 1:20 (ESV)
20  Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped

Lauren writes:

“Praise God Always

Job, is a man who went through all kinds of trouble and trials, he had his family, livelihood and much more taken away from him. He was, what some may deem, “at rock bottom!” Imagine if you went through everything Job did.

How would that make you feel?

Angry? Depressed? Grief? Sad? Lonely? Anxious? Hurt? Rejected?

And I wouldn’t blame you! Job felt most of these too, well, he is human as well!

BUT despite all of this and how he felt about his situation, he still knew the Lord; Job, fell to the ground and worshipped.

But remember, He wants us to worship Him at all times and through all things; the good and the bad. Life is full of ups and downs, so it’s helpful to remember that trials and problems are to be expected. We are on a sinful earth, after all! But, the one thing in this world that is consistent, good, perfect, and awesome is God, the Father, the Creator, and His Son, Jesus, our Savior and He is worthy to be praised.

So, next time you are feeling, what we might deem to be, negative emotions, or are going through particular trials, I challenge you to throw on the worship music & praise the Lord.

Here’s a playlist I prepared earlier ‘Mood Boosting Worship Songs.’ (https://mindfulofchrist.net/mood-boosting-worship-songs/) Enjoy!

Blessings

Lauren x”

Thank You Lauren! “Praising the Lord” is the proper response to negative emotions and negative circumstances, even with serious hardships like the one's Job experienced.   When we place our focus on God and follow Him, praise will come spontaneously sometimes – but we may have to really put forth an effort to do it.  So do it! Praise and worshipping the Lord is the appropriate response for knowing the LORD, so always remember that God is bigger than all the situations in the world or even “causeless depression” and when we draw close to Him, He will lift us up and give us beauty for ashes and joy where there was only pain.  

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

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 verses come from the section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

Ezekiel 34:1-16 (ESV)
1  The word of the LORD came to me:
2  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?
3  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.
4  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.
5  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.
6  My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
7  “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
8  As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep,
9  therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
10  Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
11  “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.

12  As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
13  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14  I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.
15  I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD.
16  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

Today’s verses fall under the fourteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

 14. God condemns and warns unfaithful shepherds.

Today’s verses are a warning to false teachers and a reminder to us that God came to save the lost by sending the Good Shepherd in Jesus Christ.   

This passage tells us that God sees everything and that He will repay those who don’t follow Him and abuse his sheep. It tells us of His great love to “leave the 99” to save the one lost sheep, that Jesus talked about in the gospels. 

Some people wrongly think that God was different in the Old Testament than He was in the New Testament but passages like this really show that God has always been the same.  He is holy, just, and loving and while He will condemn and warn the wicked, and will judge and punish them who die in their sins, He also calls all of us to repentance and seeks to save us because of His love for His sheep.

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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 ONE -  WAITING

DAY SEVEN

God’s Holy Present

Serve the opportune time.” The most profound matter will be revealed to us only when we consider that not only does the world have its time and its hours, but also that our own life has its time and its hour of God, and that behind these times of our lives traces of God become visible, that under our paths are the deepest shafts of eternity, and every step brings back a quiet echo from eternity. It is only a matter of understanding the deep, pure form of these times and representing them in our conduct of life. Then in the middle of our time we will also encounter God’s holy present. “My times are in your hand” (Ps. 31:15). Serve your times, God’s present in your life. God has sanctified your time. Every time, rightly understood, is immediate to God, and God wants us to be fully what we are.… Only those who stand with both feet on the earth, who are and remain totally children of earth, who undertake no hopeless attempts at flight to unreachable heights, who are content with what they have and hold on to it thankfully—only they have the full power of the humanity that serves the opportune time and thus eternity.… The Lord of the ages is God. The turning point of the ages is Christ. The right spirit of the ages is the Holy Spirit.

Dear parents … I don’t need to tell you how much I long for freedom and for you all. But over the decades you have provided for us such incomparably beautiful Christmases that my thankful remembrance of them is strong enough to light up one dark Christmas. Only such times can really reveal what it means to have a past and an inner heritage that is independent of chance and the changing of the times. The awareness of a spiritual tradition that reaches through the centuries gives one a certain feeling of security in the face of all transitory difficulties. I believe that those who know they possess such reserves of strength do not need to be ashamed even of softer feelings—which in my opinion are still among the better and nobler feelings of humankind—when remembrance of a good and rich past calls them forth. Such feelings will not overwhelm those who hold fast to the values that no one can take from them.

Letter to Bonhoeffer’s parents, written from

Tegel prison, December 17, 1943

For I hear the whispering of many—

terror all around!—

as they scheme together against me,

as they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, O Lord;

I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hand;

deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

Let your face shine upon your servant;

save me in your steadfast love.

Psalm 31:13–16[1]

 

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

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 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

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



[1] 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), 14–15.


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Rejection’s Lies - Purity 1210

Rejection’s Lies - Purity 1210

Purity 1210 11/29/2023 Purity 1210 Podcast

Purity 1210 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a darkened highway in the foreground of the Schodack Creek, and the Hudson River down the road a piece, at twilight time comes to us from yours truly as I purposely took a moment to appreciate my river view after returning home from work yesterday.  

Well, It’s Wednesday and although I didn’t share any mountainous humps to visually represent our arrival at the midpoint of another work week, I figured I would share  one of the latest photos I have taken as a “check in” for current events.  While you can’t assume that my circumstances or mood matched the tranquility of this twilight photo, I’m happy to report that I was fully at peace when I decided to appreciate where the Lord has placed me, down by the River.  

Speaking of check in’s and being moved by the Lord, I am happy to announce that the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group at Starpoint Church will resume meeting this evening and I am excited to see how the Lord will use tonight’s lesson to encourage those who come in their faith.   

Tonight’s topic is “Identity” and the focus of the lesson will be on what our identity is as “born again” followers of Jesus Christ and how the acceptance of our new identity can be a major key to experiencing victory over and freedom from our hurts, habits, and hang-ups, and can be the foundation on which a life of peace and joy can stand and walk.   The focus is “on being a Christian” and making that mean something in regard to how you think, feel, and live.  

The reason I started this blog was because I discovered the truth of how I was actually a new creation after I put my faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that when I decided to follow the Lord with the way I live my life I received healing, freedom, and a life that was defined by peace and joy more than anger, anxiety, depression, and darkness.   So this is my continuous message of hope. This is my ministry of encouragement. 

Among other things tonight’s lesson should convey that our new identity in Christ means that we are accepted, by grace, because of our faith in Jesus Christ, and that we don’t have to perform to be accepted.  

When fully realized, that is a game changer because it encompasses the love of God and goes contrary to just about everything the world teaches us.   We don’t earn our way into God’s kingdom.  It’s a gift given to us by God. That can be hard to understand because the world is full of rejection and standards to meet in order to be accepted. We have to earn our place in many places in the world. We have to accomplish things in order to get things and sometimes, in the world that includes love.  If we act foolishly and fail to perform, we run the risk of being rejected in the world but while God will encourage us to “do what is right” according to His word – to be wise and righteous – if we put our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior – God will continue to accept us even if we mess up. God doesn’t make us earn His love.  

I have faced a lot of rejection in my life.  Hey, not all the guys make “the team” right? Some guys don’t have “the right stuff” or don’t know the “right people” or come from the “right side of the tracks” and even though your performance may earn acceptance in some circles, there are some places where you will never be accepted no matter what you do.  If someone doesn’t love you, there may be nothing that can change that.  

As a teenager, my first love, or obsession, was with a young lady that shall remain nameless, who I honestly didn’t think much of upon first meeting her, but we became friends and talked and as I got to know her a little, I realized that she had captured my attention and my heart.  We had one “date” at a pizza place but although I went into that meal with a great deal of hope, the topic of conversation made me realize that she only considered me to be a friend.  Friend-zoned, oh yes. But I was really dumb and instead of taking her no as an answer, I decided and even told her that I would earn her love and that she would change her mind.  She didn’t. Things ended very badly.   And despite the disaster and the end of all contact with her, a part of me held on to the idea that “unrequited love was the best love” because it didn’t come easy – that love had to be some epic quest.   And so that wound of rejection, created so many strongholds its not even funny, such as:

·       You’re not good enough.

·       No one will love you for who you are.

·       You are deficient, fat, ugly, stupid, crazy, bad, and or just plain evil.

·       You have to earn love.  

·       Nobody “worth anything” would want you.  

But to my credit I still believed in love and tried again, got “friend zoned” again and that relationship – although it never went anywhere took a considerable time, and a good amount of heartache and frustration to end.

But after that and similar rejections, oh brother, my broken heart made me “cold as ice” and I went from some one earnestly was seeking love to someone who saw love as a lie and decided to never let anyone close to my heart and to just seek shallow physical relationships.  And it was all because of how I saw myself as someone that people would reject and as someone who had to “earn it”. 

That’s why tonight’s lesson on Identity, and knowing who we are in Christ, is so important – it tells you the truth about the world and about the ultimate things of God’s kingdom and how they relate to you personally.  After you put your faith in Jesus, you can know that you are loved, accepted, significant, and secure – and living from that point of view puts things in the proper perspective of God’s view on things – the view that matters the most and ultimately will be the only view that matters.   

So let me encourage you to check out the “Who I am in Christ” statement sheet pdf from Freedom in Christ Ministries (https://www.ficm.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/who-i-am-in-christ05.pdf). It will tell you who you are in Christ and it’s all good news! When you meditate upon and accept those statements as “true about you” and live according to those truths, you can have peace and joy because you will know that you don’t have to earn anything from God and that He will always love you not matter what and will live with you forever.  

So, renounce the lies that the world has told you and agree with the truth of who you are in Christ and live it! Keep walking and talking with God because He has good things to say about you and will guide you to experience just how true all those statements about your identity in Christ are.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

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 verses come from the section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

Ezekiel 33:7-9 (ESV)
7  “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
8  If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
9  But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

Today’s verses fall under the thirteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

 13. Office bearers must warn the wayward.

Today’s verses indicate that we have an obligation to tell people to repent.  As much as we want to love our neighbors as ourselves, we have to share the hard truth from the word of God that would define much of what we believe and do in the world to be “sin”.  

Ezekiel shared the message, so we don’t have to worry about someone’s blood being required at his hand.  That may be difficult to discern the meaning of, is God saying we could lose our salvation if we don’t tell the wicked to repent?   

I take the view that statements like these in God’s word aren’t prescriptive but are descriptive.  For instance, the verses regarding drunkenness in 1 Corinthians 6 and other places that say that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God may cause some to think that if a Christian were to get drunk they could lose their salvation. 

But I believe that these verses indicate a general truth in regard to the sincerity of someone’s faith and whether or not they are a “true convert”. If your life reflects your faith in drunkenness more than in God, it may indicate that you are fooling yourself – although you say you believe, your actions reveal what you really believe – that God’s word is useless, and you are not a “slave to” or follower of Jesus Christ.  

Likewise, if we say we believe the word of God but never tell anyone the truth about sin and warn them to repent, it may indicate we believe “the word of God is useless” and we really don’t believe – because we don’t profess the truth or show our love for others by sharing it with them.  

So speak the truth in love and try to reflect that you really love the Lord by obeying His word.

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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 ONE -  WAITING

DAY SIX

Silence: Waiting for God’s Word

We are silent in the early hours of each day, because God is supposed to have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep, because to God also belongs the last word. We are silent solely for the sake of the word, not in order to show dishonor to the word but in order to honor and receive it properly. Silence ultimately means nothing but waiting for God’s word and coming away blessed by God’s word.… Silence before the word, however, will have its effect on the whole day. If we have learned to be silent before the word, we will also learn to be economical with silence and speech throughout the day. There is an impermissible self-satisfied, prideful, offensive silence. This teaches us that what is important is never silence in itself. The silence of the Christian is a listening silence, a humble silence that for the sake of humility can also be broken at any time. It is a silence in connection with the word.… In being quiet there is a miraculous power of clarification, of purification, of bringing together what is important. This is a purely profane fact. Silence before the word, however, leads to the right hearing and thus also to the right speaking of the word of God at the right time. A lot that is unnecessary remains unsaid.

Today is Remembrance Sunday. Will you have a memorial service for B. Riemer? It would be nice, but difficult. Then comes Advent, with all its happy memories for us. It was you who really opened up to me the world of music-making that we have carried on during the weeks of Advent. Life in a prison cell may well be compared to Advent: one waits, hopes, and does this, that, or the other—things that are really of no consequence—the door is shut, and can only be opened from the outside.

Letter from Bonhoeffer at Tegel prison to

Eberhard Bethge, November 21, 1943

For God alone my soul waits in silence,

for my hope is from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my deliverance and my honor;

my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;

pour out your heart before him;

God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 62:5–8[1]

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

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 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

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



[1] 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), 12–13.

 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Simple Beauty and the New Beginning of Spiritual Life - Purity 1209

Simple Beauty and the New Beginning of Spiritual Life - Purity 1209

Purity 1209 11/28/2023 Purity 1209 Podcast

Purity 1209 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a leafless tree on the side of Waite Rd set against the backdrop of a cloudless blue sky comes to us from yours truly as I took a moment to capture this scene during a late afternoon stroll back on Saturday, November 18th. 

Well, It’s Tuesday and I love today’s photo because of its simple beauty and how it highlights how something so commonplace, like a tree on the side of the road, can be appreciated for what it is. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think that the amount of beauty we see in the world is in direct proportion to how often we look at things with appreciation and the joy of living.  

Experiencing beauty is the simple act of observation accompanied with appreciation and when we look at the world in the context of being fully accepted for who we are by God, in Christ and that all of existence is a gift from our heavenly Creator Father God, its difficult to not have an abiding sense of peace and joy.     

With that world view the cares of this world are put in their proper perspective and even the most negative circumstances can be met with the acceptance of knowing the Sovereign God of all creation is with us and will be with us in and through all the days of our lives on earth and beyond in God’s eternal kingdom.  

Many loved ones in my life are going through some pretty significant changes lately and while the circumstances of their lives may never be the same again, I have hope for them because I know that endings are a new beginning to the next chapter of your life  and that if you seek Him, you can find God’s presence and help in every season.  I have encouraged friends always to keep walking and talking with God because I know He loves us and will comfort and guide us in the way we should go. 

So if this holiday season has brought you to an ending – with the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the breaking of a relationship, or just at the realization that something has to change in your personal life,  let me encourage you to seek the Lord and to consider His ways for walking through life.   

The Bible is filled with God’s story and His solution for a new and eternal life. In case you don’t know it: the solution is “faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and surrendering to His will for your life. That’s IT, my dear friends, but in order to experience the abundant life that God has made available to us,  we have to continuously seek the Lord and follow Him.  So turn away from the world and all of its comforts and hurts and seek God’s presence and peace instead.  Turn from your selfish and sinful ways and get to know the Lord and His ways. Read the Bible, pray, join into a community of Christians who show and share God’s love, appreciate the blessings that you receive every day, and share your experience with others. 

The idea of following a “spiritual path” through life may seem totally impractical or foreign to all that you know but when you have come to an ending it is best to accept it and follow the Lord into the new beginning He has for you where He will give you a pathway for living that provides peace, meaning, and purpose.   Seek the Lord.

 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

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 verses come from the section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

Acts 20:28 (ESV)
28  Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

Today’s verse falls under the twelfth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

 12. Elders are God’s appointed shepherds placed over the flock of Jesus Christ.

Today’s verse describes “the best practice” of the church of God – to pay careful attention to yourself and all the members of the body of Christ and to care for one another.  This simple instruction shows us the balance of the spiritual life we are supposed to live.  We are to pay attention to ourselves and to others. 

In terms of our personal walk of faith, we have to make sure we are right with God by paying attention to our attitudes, emotions, and behaviors and by conforming them to follow God’s way for living.   We examine our lives and try to follow God’s ways for living.  

But we aren’t in this thing just by ourselves. We also are to love and care for others by encouraging them to walk with us as we seek to follow Jesus.  We don’t just accept people as they are in the body of Christ, we encourage them to be the people that God created them to be. 

But to truly show our care for the church of God, whether we are working on ourselves or trying to help others, we offer our help with kindness, patience, gentleness, and love.

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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 ONE -  WAITING

DAY FIVE

A Soft, Mysterious Voice

In the midst of the deepest guilt and distress of the people, a voice speaks that is soft and mysterious but full of the blessed certainty of salvation through the birth of a divine child (Isa. 9:6–7). It is still seven hundred years until the time of fulfillment, but the prophet is so deeply immersed in God’s thought and counsel that he speaks of the future as if he saw it already, and he speaks of the salvific hour as if he already stood in adoration before the manger of Jesus. “For a child has been born for us.” What will happen one day is already real and certain in God’s eyes, and it will be not only for the salvation of future generations but already for the prophet who sees it coming and for his generation, indeed, for all generations on earth. “For a child has been born for us.” No human spirit can talk like this on its own. How are we who do not know what will happen next year supposed to understand that someone can look forward many centuries? And the times then were no more transparent than they are today. Only the Spirit of God, who encompasses the beginning and end of the world, can in such a way reveal to a chosen person the mystery of the future, so that he must prophesy for strengthening believers and warning unbelievers. This individual voice ultimately enters into the nocturnal adoration of the shepherds (Luke 2:15–20) and into the full jubilation of the Christ-believing community: “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us.”

A shaking of heads, perhaps even an evil laugh, must go through our old, smart, experienced, self-assured world, when it hears the call of salvation of believing Christians: “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For a child has been born for us,

a son given to us;

authority rests upon his shoulders;

and he is named

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His authority shall grow continually,

and there shall be endless peace

for the throne of David and his kingdom.

He will establish and uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

from this time onward and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Isaiah 9:6–7[1]

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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

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These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

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



[1] 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), 10–11.