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Showing posts with label 1 Corinthians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1 Corinthians. Show all posts

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Does the Bible ACTUALLY Say That? Convicted to Follow and Live for Christ - Purity 1241

 

Does the Bible ACTUALLY Say That? Convicted to Follow - Purity 1241

Purity 1241 01/06/2024 Purity 1241 Podcast

Purity 1241 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blazing sunrise on the horizon and reflected on the hood of my Honda CRV as the day emerges over the morning traffic on Watervliet Avenue Extension in Albany comes to us from yours truly as I managed to capture this scene on the way to work yesterday morning  keeping  both hands on the steering wheel, while driving, and thinking “Kids, don’t try this at home!”  

Well, it’s Saturday and although I managed to capture this shot, I understand it wasn’t wise and distracted driving can lead to some serious negative circumstances, up to and including death.  So I am not condoning “driving photography” and part of the reason for this blog and podcast is to tell people to not do the things that I did, mostly before I put my faith in Christ or when I decided to trust God to take away my addictions to alcohol, drugs, sexual immorality, and food.   

So there are a lot of things I would tell you not to do that I have done before but the main reason that I blog, and podcast is to tell you to do the two things that I was given the grace of God to do, which were:

1.    Putting my faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior

2.    Surrendering to follow His will for my life, according to the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s leading.   

I share my testimony continuously to impress upon others that these two decisions encompass the meaning and purpose for which we were created.  Without Christ as Lord and Savior, we are lost for all eternity and so it follows that our seeking the Lord and finding it in our hearts and minds possible to make these decisions to give our lives over to the care and Lordship of Jesus is the only thing that will make our lives meaningful and these decisions are found to be wise as they put you on the path to discover a life that is filled with the fruit of the Spirit – of love, peace, joy, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control.   

My history testifies to the truth that I have made some foolish and regrettable decisions in my life, that I was blessed to not die in,  but my post-salvation life demonstrates that when you trust in Jesus and follow Him, you can have peace and joy as your life is transformed by God’s wisdom, grace, love, and presence. 

And the whole point of me reporting on my life to you, it to tell you: “You can do it too!” I am not special. I am not gifted or especially intelligent.  But when I had suffered enough and began to seek to understand what the purpose of life was, when I sought the truth, my haphazard searching eventually led to a moment where God revealed it to me – the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ – that explained the course of human history and where the future and eternity will lead us, which is all contained in the pages of the Bible – and it is also there where we can find what it means to do God’s will for our lives.  

This week I was encouraging people to turn from their “hurts, habits, and hang-ups” and mentioned the fact that “drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God” was the reason why I went into recovery.  I explained that I realized that my decision to be in bondage to alcohol showed disrespect for God’s word and could have possibly caused the Lord to declare that He never knew me when I tried to enter into His kingdom after I died.   I explained that it wasn’t my decision to quit drinking, it was the conviction from the word of God and the Holy Spirit in me that brought me to repentance.  

As I told my story, I was questioned: “Does the Bible ACTUALLY say that -That drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God?”   

I was momentarily taken aback because it was an honest question.  This person hadn’t read that in the Bible or hadn’t heard anyone ever say it to the point that it caused them to consider it seriously.   So I did a quick google search to pull up the reference in

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV) that tells us clearly:
9  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

It's right in the Bible, drunkards will not inherit the kingdom. Now I know God’s grace is amazing, and all our sins are forgiven when we put our faith in Christ, but the whole counsel of scripture – directs us to turn from our sins, not live in them. So as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I realized that the way I lived my life would demonstrate who I really put my faith in.  In good times and bad, who would I turn to: Booze Or Jesus? Who do I spend my time with? Booze or Jesus?  

Jesus’ earthly ministry is filled with moments where he called people out for their hypocrisy and where He told people to turn from their sins.  Knowing this about Jesus and the word of God that points out clearly the instructions and principles by which we are to live our lives, I realized the booze had to go. I didn’t want to live under its lordship anymore and so I chose to trust in God to give me the strength to live for Him and not myself or for the temporary pleasures that booze and fleshly selfish living could give me.  

I didn’t want to go to hell, and I wanted to stop suffering from the hell of my life of addiction so I have attempted to completely surrender to Jesus’ Lordship and God’s will for my life.  

But I remind myself and anyone listening – “I didn’t do this! The Lord did!” He saved me and He is guiding me to follow in His righteous ways through the word of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit in me. But I did choose and continue to choose to follow His ways. The Bible wasn’t going to read itself.  I had to choose to do that.  Going into recovery was a prompting from the word and the spirit – but I had to agree with and ACTUALLY do it.   It wasn’t necessarily easy to do these things – read and live according to God’s word – and I still am a work in progress, but I can tell you it is worth it and that YOU can do it too.  

So start or keep on walking and talking with God, He will save you through Jesus and He will make your life brand new when you choose to follow Him with the way you live. Let’s encourage one another to “do what’s right” and follow Jesus all the days of our lives. 

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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 verses come 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 Comfort.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV)
8  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Today’s verse falls under the 11th point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Comfort.

11. God’s grace is sufficient for every need.

Today’s verse tells us that we can “abound in every good work”  and that we live through the grace of God – we are enough – having all sufficiency in all things!  

That means that if there is something that God wants you to do, He will give you the grace and everything you need to accomplish it. Does that mean we can do absolutely everything we set our minds to? Well, no, that means that whatever it is that God has for you to do in life, as part of his plan, you will be able to accomplish.  

In my life, I had two big goals in 2023 that I felt that the Lord would bless that I wanted to accomplish: to be certified as a “Deeper Walk Prayer Minister” and to lose enough weight to successfully be removed from the need for my CPAP sleep apnea machine.  

And despite my hard work and very best efforts, neither one of those goals was accomplished.  

The leadership at Deeper Walk School of Ministry was concerned that I “overwhelm” people and delayed my certification. Because I overshared about some of my past experiences, over wrote (without asking for permission), tried to teach when I should have been quiet – I have to undergo additional prayer ministry and do more requirements to prove I’m worthy of certification, causing me to question whether or not I was ever supposed to pursue what I sought out in the first place!  It also caused me to realize that I had possibly made idols out of the idea of an accomplishment, people, and an organization to fulfill me and to set my future course.  I am convicted that whether or not I complete my certification with Deeper Walk, I may have been putting my faith in something other than God’s plan for my life by running after someone else’s approval and trying to be a part of their mission. God has His own plan for my life, and I no longer think that Deeper Walk is going to be a major part of that – but I have been wrong before – so I guess we will see where that goes in how the rest of my life plays out. 

Similarly, despite losing weight and lowering my BMI, a recent sleep study indicates that I have “positional sleep apnea” and no matter how much weight I lose, as long as I sleep on my back, I should use the CPAP machine when I sleep! So, I guess I will just go back and gain all the weight back….. NOT.  Hey I tried my best, and frankly I am not done yet in terms of being a good steward to my body and getting in the best physical shape possible, but I accept my limitations and if the tests say I need to use the CPAP machine, I surrender to their authority and will do so.   

So, be encouraged by today’s verse that tells us we can “abound in every good work”  and that when we live through the grace of God – we are enough – having all sufficiency in all things, but understand that God is sovereign and that HE calls the shots and understands the plan that He has for your life.   Your “all things” and God’s “all things” are different – and only the things that God has for you to accomplish will be impacted and overcome by the grace that He gives you.  

That means we have to do what we think we should do in terms of “good works” but it also means that we are to trust and accept the good works that are revealed to be from Him and the limitations on us that will prevent us from doing the “good works” that are not meant for us to do.  

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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 conclude our 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

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY

JANUARY 6

The Feast of Epiphany

The curious uncertainty that surrounds the feast of Epiphany is as old as the feast itself. We know that long before Christmas was celebrated, Epiphany was the highest holiday in the Eastern and Western churches. Its origins are obscure, but it is certain that since ancient times this day has brought to mind four different events: the birth of Christ, the baptism of Christ, the wedding at Cana, and the arrival of the Magi from the East.… Be that as it may, since the fourth century the church has left the birth of Christ out of the feast of Epiphany.… The removal of the birth of Christ from his baptismal day had great significance. In gnostic and heretical circles in the East, the idea arose that the baptismal day was actually the day of Christ’s birth as the Son of God.… But therein lay the possibility of a dangerous error, namely, a misunderstanding of God’s incarnation.… If God had not accepted Jesus as his Son until Jesus’ baptism, we would remain unredeemed. But if Jesus is the Son of God who from his conception and birth assumed our own flesh and blood, then and then alone is he true man and true God; only then can he help us; for then the “hour of salvation” for us has really come in his birth; then the birth of Christ is the salvation of all people.

Today you will be baptized a Christian. All those great ancient words of the Christian proclamation will be spoken over you, and the command of Jesus Christ to baptize will be carried out on you, without your knowing anything about it. But we are once again being driven right back to the beginnings of our understanding. Reconciliation and redemption, regeneration and the Holy Spirit, love of our enemies, cross and resurrection, life in Christ and Christian discipleship.

“Thoughts on the Baptism of Dietrich Wilhelm RĂ¼diger Bethge,”

May 1944

When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Matthew 2:9–12[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), 90–91.


Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Ascension - Choosing to Believe and Answering the "Upward Call of God”- Purity 1225

 

Ascension - Choosing to Believe and “Answering the Upward Call of God”- Purity 1225

Purity 1224 12/19/2023 Purity 1225 Podcast

Purity 1224 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a lake and its shoreline reflected in its waters while mist hovers above its surface comes to us from a currently unknown FB friend, I’m guessing Fred Dimmick, who shared this photo back on or around December 16th of 2022.  Whether it’s Fred or someone else, I wanted to say thank you and to remind us of all that the things we share with one another matter, and the things we believe in like friendship and beauty can have a major impact on the quality of our lives.

Well, It’s Tuesday, and today is the day of testing, and quite frankly it is a day that I wasn’t entirely sure that I would see even though I set my intention to come to it earlier this year.

 I took the day off from work today because I have a doctor’s appointment to pick up some testing equipment to do a “sleep study” later this evening.  Since 2013, I have used a CPAP – sleep apnea – machine when I sleep because I have always snored and when I complained of falling asleep in the afternoons, a sleep study revealed that I had periodic episodes in my sleep where I would stop breathing! The CPAP machine pumps air into my breathing passages to prevent that. One of the causes of sleep apnea is obesity, something I have been since childhood. However, after being diagnosed with sleep apnea about 10 years ago, I have decided to try to lose weight to be healthy and to possibly get off of the sleep apnea machine but my weight and BMI (body mass index) has yo-yo-ed over the years and even though I have made progress previously, I never got to the point that I felt I could attempt to get rid of the sleep apnea machine.  

But this year, I decided that I would make a push to reduce my BMI and weight – out of the Obese zone, and into the normal zone.  In my estimation, my best guess, if I wanted to try to get off the machine, I had to get down to 200 lbs. Even though that was my intention early in the year I was 240 lbs. in the early summer months and only after I got convicted about my food addiction, to treat it like an addiction, did I finally commit myself to be accountable to a “food addiction sponsor”, and monitor everything I ate with the my fitness pal App on August 18th.  Since then the weight has come off at about a pace of 2 pounds a week.  Over the weekend I was weighing in at 198 lbs., after Sunday’s candy binge, this morning I’m weighing in at 203 lbs.  Now before you think I ate 5 pounds of candy, let me assure you that my scale is terrible in terms of consistency – as I have previously reported massive swings in its results regardless of changes in my eating habits.  So although I was proud to break 200 lbs., I had a feeling that the scale might change its mind, and I ‘m not surprised to see myself back on the other side of 200lbs after my “food relapse” on Sunday.  

But regardless of my “Christmas themed” food relapse, I am in the best shape of my life and am hoping and praying that tonight’s sleep study will result in my being set free from the need to sleep with a CPAP machine.  Perhaps I should have waited until I get to my goal weight of 185 lbs., but my DOT health certification is due in January and it is my hope that I can get off the CPAP machine and get re-certified for 2 years with my DOT license, rather than the one year that is required for drivers with sleep apnea.   So we will see!

I also decided to take the day off today in order to get the next installment of the Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course ready for You Tube and for tomorrow night’s Celebrate Freedom Growth Group meeting.  The topic is “Ascension” – what I have decided to call making the decision to pursue progressive sanctification by faith- the decision to fight the next battle after one has experienced victory as a natural outflow of life in the Spirit.  Time is short and the lesson I prepared in 2020 is long and I am currently in the process of making massive edits to get it to “growth group” size – which is 5 pages, and so I am trying to flesh out what have been the keys of my progressive victories over first alcohol and drugs in 2015, then sexual addiction since 2018, and now food addiction in 2023. 

I’m not sure how the lesson will look in its final form, as I will be working on and completing it today, but in considering my walk and journey toward freedom, the thing that I have determined is fundamental to victorious Christian living, is faith – surprise! Just as we are saved through faith alone, we are also transformed through faith – although with winning victories over the things that kept us in bondage – it must be accompanied by volitional choices and our actions – which are driven by our faith – our decision to believe.  

As simple as it may sound that faith is the answer, the decision to choose to believe is far reaching as it applies to all the truth in God’s word.  In order for our faith to bear the fruit of the Spirit we must choose to believe:  

·       God is with us, cares about us, loves us, and will help us.

·       We have been given a new life and freedom already.

·       The word of God is true and true for us specifically.

·       Nothing is impossible with God.

·       The ways of the world are corrupted by man or the spiritual forces of darkness. 

Now before you get the idea that overcoming and experiencing life in the spirit is just a matter of positive affirmations, let me assure you that its not that simple – The Christian has been given two things that set them apart from anyone else – the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ. 

1 Corinthians 2:12,14, 16 (NLT2) tells us
12  And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 14  But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 16  ….But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

This passage highlights the unique gift that the Christian has been given because of His faith in Christ – we have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to help us to :know the wonderful things of God – and not just intellectually – experientially – and the “mind of Christ” to “understand what the Spirit means”. “Understanding” is beyond intellectual knowledge and is demonstrated with “practice”.  It’s one thing to know what something is- like a screwdriver -, it’s another thing to show our understanding by using it properly.

So we don’t just know those things that we “choose to believe” – we understand them – by choosing to live by them.

Knowing God loves us “intellectually” vs. experiencing and understanding God’s love, presence, and care is qualitatively different. 

Knowing about our identity in Christ intellectually vs. experiencing life through the context of who we are in Christ is different.  

And the idea of “ascension” is answering what Paul calls the “upward call of God” on our life.

Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)
13  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The idea of ascension is to keep pressing forward to know God more and to be conformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ – to be transformed by the renewing of our mind and through the power of the Holy Spirit who operates in us through faith.  We choose to believe that God is with us and surrender ourselves to continuously following His call on our lives.  

When we choose to believe God’s word and that He is with us and helping us, amazing things can happen and our lives go from bondage to the things of this world and the negative emotions that accompany circumstantial living to freedom to enjoy the good things God has already given us and the feelings of joy, peace, and love that flow into our lives when we walk in the Spirit. 

So choose to believe the Lord and follow Him into the upward call of ascension on your life.

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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 Discipline.

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 (ESV)
1  It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.
2  And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3  For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.
4  When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5  you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
6  Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
7  Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
8  Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—
10  not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
11  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
12  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
13  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Today’s verses fall under the eighth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church Discipline

8. Purge out the old leaven.

Today’s verses encourage Christians to not allow the sexually immoral who claim to be Christians to be within their fellowship.  This passage of scripture is extremely challenging for our modern society as sexual immorality is rampant and our sexual mores have continued to slide into liberalism but the idea behind the church discipline that Paul is pointing to is that “true Christians” within the church should practice sexual purity and be encouraged to repent when they don’t. We shouldn’t be proud that we have sexually immoral people in our churches so God’s grace and forgiveness should abound, we should exhort them to repent and expel those who don’t from the assembly of the church with the hope that they would turn from their sexual sins in order to be allowed back into the church.  That’s what Paul means in surrendering them to Satan, that the negative consequences of their sins would cause them to repent and follow the Lord with the way they live, instead of being a mockery of what Christians are supposed to be – set free and holy – of light, not of darkness.  

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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 THREE -  REDEMPTION

DAY SEVEN

God Does Not Want to Frighten People

The Bible never wants to make us fearful. God does not want people to be afraid—not even of the last judgment. Rather, he wants to let human beings know everything, so that they will know all about life and its meaning. He lets people know even today, so that they may already live their lives openly and in the light of the last judgment. He lets us know solely for one reason: so that we may find the way to Jesus Christ, so that we may turn away from our evil way and try to find him, Jesus Christ. God does not want to frighten people. He sends us the word of judgment only so that we will reach all the more passionately, all the more avidly, for the promise of grace, so that we will know that we cannot prevail before God on our own strength, that before him we would have to pass away, but that in spite of everything he does not want our death, but our life.… Christ judges, that is, grace is judge and forgiveness and love—whoever clings to it is already set free.

Repentance means turning away from one’s own work to the mercy of God. The whole Bible calls to us and cheers us: Turn back, turn back! Return—where to? To the everlasting grace of God, who does not leave us.… God will be merciful—so come, judgment day! Lord Jesus, make us ready. We rejoice. Amen.

Bonhoeffer’s sermon for Repentance

Sunday, November 19, 1933

From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Matthew 4:17[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), 46–47.


Friday, December 15, 2023

When You think of Me, Remeber Jesus - Purity 1222


 When You think of Me, Remember Jesus - Purity 1222 - Purity 1222

Purity 1222 12/15/2023 Purity 1222 Podcast

Purity 1222 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the slightly askew oil painting, “Ball at Sunset, 1990” by Scott Prior (https://scottpriorart.com/) comes to us from yours truly, and a generous donor to the Spring Field Museums, as I captured this work of art during my visit there last weekend.  The information card for this painting (it’s a painting!) states “Scott Pryor, who lives in western Massachusetts, is inspired by his family and everyday events. The artist works from life as well as photographs. He creates intimate and magical scenes with ordinary objects, revealing that beauty can be found in the simplest moments.”  This painting reminds me of summertime, childhood simplicity, raising my kids, and for some unknown reason, maybe because of the emotion it brings up, my wife and our countryside home.  I had to look twice at the information card because Prior’s work really does look like a photograph.  If you have the means, please support the artist by going to  https://scottpriorart.com/ - While I can’t make any claims about Prior’s faith life, I dare say we are kindred spirits of sorts as my sharing of the “photo of the day” was inspired to encourage my friends to see the beauty in the simplest of moments and to get to know the God that put all of it into being.  

Well, It’s Friday, thank God,  and I will be rejoicing at the end of the day because I will be reunited with my beloved wife, TammyLyn, and will possibly go see the Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night – movie as we are quickly approaching Christmas.   When we think of Christmas, we should remember Jesus. We really shouldn’t have to “Keep Christ in Christmas”  as that is what the holiday is all about. Jesus, the Light of the World, The Newborn King, is what we are to remember at Christmas.   

And as disciples of Jesus, that really is what we want people to remember when they think about us. When people think of me, it is my hope that somewhere in their thoughts or comments there is something about Jesus. Whether they love or hate me, it is my sincerest wish to have the Lord glorified by my life.  The blog, the podcast, the YouTube channel, and the ministry work I do is all intended – to not point to me – but to point to Jesus, as He is the One who gave me life and affected the transformation that has happened to me over the last 13 years.   My ministry name MT4Christ or MT4Christ247 is not intended to highlight M.T. Clark – it is supposed to highlight Jesus, and it is supposed to be a play on words and an encouragement to you, dear friends, to “Empty” yourselves “For Christ”, to fill you with the Holy Spirit and to lead you into the love and freedom of Christ and God’s purpose for your life.   That’s it,  

Last night, I gave honor to my departed friend and brother in Christ, Bill Hamm, by going to His memorial service. I was actually a little late in arriving because I wanted to pay my respects in a suit, to try to convey my feelings of respect and love for Bill, and how serious I felt about the loss of his departure. Silly perhaps, but that’s the way I felt, and even though I was a little late I was able to get there in time to hear Bill’s son, Jeremey deliver Bill’s eulogy, which was sweet, tender, funny, and inspiring all at the same time as Jeremy gave testimony to his father’s simple yet deep love for his family and friends, his nonnonsense working man’s integrity, and his faithful witness for Jesus Christ.

When I think about Bill Hamm, I remember Jesus because our relationship had Him at the center as Bill and I were two sinners, transformed into saints, who were just humble students of our Savior and tried our best to follow Him. 

After the service, I greeted Jeremy and Bill’s widow and expressed my condolences and my deep friendship with their father and husband, and I was humbled by something  Rebecca related to me that took me by surprise.  She told me that: “In one of Bill’s journals, Bill had written: “M.T. Clark = Jesus”.  I of course laughed and made light of it.  But I was actually deeply moved by it, and looked at Bill’s flower-surrounded memorial photo, and laughed and shook my head as The Lord moved the events of last evening to have Bill “speak to me”.  Speaking to Bill’s photo, I said: “Okay, Bill, you get the last laugh.  Here I come dressed up in a suit to honor you, and you turn the tables, and honor me! God bless you brother.”  

Bill and I had served in the church together, walked through my recovery and serving in the Celebrate Freedom together, and in some of the last days of our friendship, Bill had honored me by attending the last class I taught at Rock Solid Church, Freedom in Christ, and he apparently had listened to the podcast too.  Bill’s note in the journal wasn’t saying I was Jesus. The fact that Bill wrote “M.T. Clark” and not “Marc Clark” speaks to that.  M.T. Clark is the new creation in Christ.  So Bill’s note was in affect saying, “The reason there is an M.T. Clark is Jesus”.  Bill saw me come into the church in 2011 and he saw “Marc” (or as some called me to their children “Mr. Marc (SMH)) and Bill saw firsthand my journey into becoming the person I was as I left Rock Solid Church. He had seen the transformation. Like one of the Magi at Christmas time, He had witnessed “the birth of M.T. Clark” and when Bill thought of me, he apparently remembered Jesus and because I went to honor Bill last night, the Lord arranged for me to know it. 

We all have one life to live on this side of eternity and what we will be remembered for matters. Without Christ, your hobbies, preferences, interest, and accomplishments won’t amount to anything, only those who make Christ their Lord and Savior move on to eternal life and if we have received the gift of our salvation, we really should use our lives to honor God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  

So keep walking and talking with God, and don’t care if people love you or hate you for it but be sure to do what you can to encourage people to know, love, and follow Christ, and that someday when they think of you, they remember Jesus.

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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 Discipline.

1 Corinthians 5:11 (ESV)
11  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

Today’s verse fall under the fifth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church Discipline

5. Do not fellowship with one who will not repent.

Today’s verse advises us to not fellowship with those who are guilty of wanton sin and claim to be a Christian.   Get a load of that list – sex immoral (that’s anyone having any type of sex – outside of a marriage between one man and one woman), drunkards (oh yeah, let’s party), greedy and swindlers (the materialism in the American church may make you blush), and those “revilers” ( those angry people who criticize all the time).  

Okay, shots fired at the church, men and women down!  Considering the local congregations and the things I see and have seen in the building known as the church it is surprising that we get together at all because if we followed this principle, over half the people gathered in the church building would be prevented from crossing the threshold.  

While I completely understand how we want to encourage people to come to church and to “consider following Jesus” , our faith is supposed to be evidenced by our changed lives and if we welcome in people who agree nominally, in the name of, but not in the spirit of, Jesus and disobey virtually everything the word of God says about Christian living, we really need to consider if out “loving the sinner” is the tactic we should take.  While we don’t want to be legalists, we certainly don’t want to convey that regular unrepented sin is “okay because you have been forgiven”. That’s an error that can have serious consequences here on earth and possibly in eternity as other verses in the Bible indicate that people with this list of sin in their lives are fooling themselves to think that they are actually “in Christ”.  

So, listen to the Lord and don’t associate with people in known sin, but at the same time listen to the Lord in case He wants to use you to bring them back into the grace of His love and to guide them to repentance.   Light and darkness do not have anything to do with one another, but ours is also the faith of bringing people out of the darkness to live forever with the light of the world. So shine the light of Jesus and allow Him to move people to be born again, repent, and live.  

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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 THREE -  REDEMPTION

DAY FOUR

Look Up, Your Redemption Is Drawing Near

Let’s not deceive ourselves. “Your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28), whether we know it or not, and the only question is: Are we going to let it come to us too, or are we going to resist it? Are we going to join in this movement that comes down from heaven to earth, or are we going to close ourselves off? Christmas is coming—whether it is with us or without us depends on each and every one of us.

Such a true Advent happening now creates something different from the anxious, petty, depressed, feeble Christian spirit that we see again and again, and that again and again wants to make Christianity contemptible. This becomes clear from the two powerful commands that introduce our text: “Look up and raise your heads” (Luke 21:28 RSV). Advent creates people, new people. We too are supposed to become new people in Advent. Look up, you whose gaze is fixed on this earth, who are spellbound by the little events and changes on the face of the earth. Look up to these words, you who have turned away from heaven disappointed. Look up, you whose eyes are heavy with tears and who are heavy and who are crying over the fact that the earth has gracelessly torn us away. Look up, you who, burdened with guilt, cannot lift your eyes. Look up, your redemption is drawing near. Something different from what you see daily will happen. Just be aware, be watchful, wait just another short moment. Wait and something quite new will break over you: God will come.

You know what a mine disaster is. In recent weeks we have had to read about one in the newspapers.

The moment even the most courageous miner has dreaded his whole life long is here. It is no use running into the walls; the silence all around him remains.… The way out for him is blocked. He knows the people up there are working feverishly to reach the miners who are buried alive. Perhaps someone will be rescued, but here in the last shaft? An agonizing period of waiting and dying is all that remains.

But suddenly a noise that sounds like tapping and breaking in the rock can be heard. Unexpectedly, voices cry out, “Where are you, help is on the way!” Then the disheartened miner picks himself up, his heart leaps, he shouts, “Here I am, come on through and help me! I’ll hold out until you come! Just come soon!” A final, desperate hammer blow to his ear, now the rescue is near, just one more step and he is free.

We have spoken of Advent itself. That is how it is with the coming of Christ: “Look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Bonhoeffer’s Advent sermon in a London church, December 3, 1933

Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

Luke 21:28[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

(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), 40–41.