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

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Walking Beyond Belief – Practicing What He Teaches- Purity 968

Walking Beyond Belief – Practicing What He Teaches- Purity 968

Purity 968 02/16/2023 Purity 968 Podcast

Purity 968 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo a pathway stretching out and disappearing into a forest green comes to us from Fred Dimmick who captured this peaceful scene while hiking in Meeks Park in Blairsville GA earlier this week.  

Well, It’s Thursday again and as is my habit I share this quaint pathway to not only inspire you to spend some time in nature but also use it to represent the pathway of Christian Discipleship that I encourage everyone I can to get on and to stay on.   

Yesterday, I returned to my place down by the River after spending 8 business days in Syracuse receiving training for new skills for my job.  So today I go back to work where I will discover whether or not I will be called upon to demonstrate my new found knowledge and training in a “real world situation”.    

Ironically, my experience parallels quite nicely with the material that the Men’s Freedom in Christ Course was discussing last night as we were talking about the importance of demonstrating our beliefs with actions.

In our Christian walk, it is important not only to say we believe what God’s word says but to really show we believe it by applying God’s knowledge to our personal experiences.  One definition of wisdom is the application of knowledge and last night our session challenged us all to be wise by applying God’s knowledge to our lives.   

Even though I spent 8 days learning new things for my job and demonstrating that I understood how things work in a controlled lab environment of training, time will tell whether or not I will get to demonstrate my knowledge and skills in the real world.   My employer may call me to use those skills today or they may choose to be content with the fact that I received the training and call me to just keep doing what I have been doing before.  However, although I suppose there would be some value in me knowing about these different areas of my job, my training really won’t be valuable unless I go out and actually use this new knowledge and practice these new skills.   

Similarly, the participants of the Freedom in Christ course may receive some benefit from learning the materials of the Freedom in Christ course but the true value of the lessons of the course won’t be fully realized unless they apply the teaching to their lives. That’s what being a disciple of Jesus Christ is all about. We not only seek to learn from Christ’s example and teachings but we seek to represent Him and God’s kingdom from not only applying those teachings to our lives but from also teaching others what we have learned.  

Christ’s last words in the gospel of Matthew specifically instruct us to do this:

Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
19  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

So the point of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not only to learn and apply the knowledge we have received, our ultimate purpose is to learn and live the lessons from Jesus Christ so well that we become living examples of His wisdom and power to the point we are proficient enough in His way of life that we would be able to teach and encourage others to do likewise.   

While I review the material presented in the Freedom in Christ course each week, a good deal of time I speak consists of me presenting examples from my and other Christians lives that demonstrate us acting out our faith in the way we live. I do this to encourage the participants that they can actually live a Christian lifestyle, that they can actually do it.  

The Freedom in Christ course is progressive. The first week teaches that the Bible is true and can be trusted. The second week teaches what the Bible has to say about who we are “in Christ”, about what has taken place when we put our faith in Jesus. And the third week, challenges the participants to make the decision to actually believe the truth by acting on the things they have been taught.  

And last night I heard the men testify about how even the act of believing what they have learned is an action.  More than one man testified to how they previously “knew” these things about their Christian faith, but now were being deeply impacted by this knowledge because they not only considered that these things about those who are in Christ are not only true in general, but were true about them – individually – personally. 

These truths of the Christian faith are now being taken “to heart” because they are making the decision to believe that these things are not just general truths about their faith, but are things that are true about them because they have faith!   

The fundamentals of who we are in Christ can be summed up with the words accepted, significant and secure. In essence the participants are being changed because they personalized the truth.   

Before, in theory, although it might not have been clearly spelled out or understood in these terms they “believed”:

“Christians are accepted, secure, and significant because of their faith in Jesus Christ”. 

But now they have considered and are being asked to understand that:

I am accepted, secure, and significant because of MY faith in Jesus Christ.  

It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch does it? But the difference that these men are experiencing is great because they are “receiving” what they are choosing to believe. 

And let’s not get it twisted, this “isn’t the Jedi mind trick” here, where we just say something and try to apply it to our lives.  This is the application of the TRUTH that comes from God – this has spiritual power to affect our lives because our Creator blesses His creation when we live in accordance with His Truth, when we are One with Him – in a harmonious relationship with Him and His truth.   

When we agree that we are accepted by God, because of what He has done, we experience His acceptance because when we put our faith in Christ, we already have it! We are not “making this up” – We are realizing and receiving what God has already given to us but what we have been kept from because of our ignorance or failure to “believe it”.   

Now “just believing” can have power, I have seen it.  The peace and joy that comes over a Christian when they realize that it really is “finished”, as Christ said, is real and awesome, but the strength of our joy and our peace if “we just keep on believing” can weaken when we don’t seek to live out who we are in Christ.  

When we fail to seek the Lord through the practices of our faith (through prayer, bible study, worship, and acting on it with the way we live) the enemy will come in an accuse us and deceive us that what may be true about Christians isn’t true about us, and our resolve will be shaken because we won’t have anything to demonstrate that what God says about us is true.  

Every disciple of Christ will be able to testify of what has changed and be able to show the fruit of their new life in Christ, but “believers” in Christ may be shaken from the truth of God’s word because they haven’t acted on it by actually practicing what is preached.

So let me encourage you to take the next step beyond “just believing”, by walking and talking with God everyday and seeking to know Him more through His word and by applying it to your life.   

With declaring Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we receive a new life but we will fail to experience it unless we make the decision to actually use our new knowledge in skills and the “real world”.  So let’s be real Christians by really believing what the word of God says about us and by making the daily decision to live according to what it says.



Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 John 4:4 (NLT2)
4  But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

Today’s Bible verse encourages us that because we have put our faith in Christ – we have ALREADY won the victory over the world because we have the Spirit of God living in us and thus His Spirit confirms in our spirit the truth that we are children of God.  

We belong to God because we put our faith in Christ. We have been adopted into God’s family.  We are His children and because HE is the source of all power and authority , we are victorious over anything that would oppose us because no matter how things play out in our lives, nothing will separate us from Our Heavenly Father.  

We don’t have to fear anything because God has given us the victory.  So live like a victor, not a victim, and know that you belong, in Christ you are a winner, and His Spirit lives in you to guide and strengthen you through life.  



As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.





God’s method of dealing with the wicked: continues

3. God exerts upon the wicked a directing influence so that good is made to result from their intended evil.

Once more we revert to the history of Joseph as a case in point. In selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites his brethren were actuated by cruel and heartless motives. Their object was to make away with him, and the passing of these travelling traders furnished an easy way out for them. To them the act was nothing more than the enslaving of a noble youth for the sake of gain. But now observe how God was secretly working and over-ruling their wicked actions. Providence so ordered it that these Ishmaelites passed by just in time to prevent Joseph being murdered, for his brethren had already taken counsel together to put him to death. Further; these Ishmaelites were journeying to Egypt, which was the very country to which God had purposed to send Joseph, and He ordained they should purchase Joseph just when they did. That the hand of God was in this incident, that it was something more than a fortunate co-incidence, is clear from the words of Joseph to his brethren at a later date, “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Gen. 45:7).

Another equally striking illustration of God directing the wicked is found in Isa. 10:5–7: “O Assyrian, the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation. I will send him against a hypocritical nation, and against the people of My wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.” Assyria’s king had determined to be a world-conqueror, to “cut off nations not a few.” But God directed and controlled his military lust and ambition, and caused him to confine his attention to the conquering of the insignificant nation of Israel. Such a task was not in the proud king’s heart—“he meant it not so”—but God gave him this charge and he could do nothing but fulfill it. Compare also Judges 7:22.

The supreme example of the controlling, directing influence which God exerts upon the wicked, is the Cross of Christ with all its attending circumstances. If ever the superintending providence of God was witnessed it was there. From all eternity God had predestined every detail of that event of all events. Nothing was left to chance or the caprice of man. God had decreed when and where and how His blessed Son was to die. Much of what He had purposed concerning the Crucifixion had been made known through the Old Testament prophets, and in the accurate and literal fulfillment of these prophecies we have clear proof, full demonstration, of the controlling and directing influence which God exerts upon the wicked. Not a thing occurred except as God had ordained, and all that He had ordained took place exactly as He purposed. Had it been decreed (and made known in Scripture) that the Saviour should be betrayed by one of His own disciples—by His “familiar friend”—see Psa. 41:9 and compare Matt. 26:50—then the apostle Judas is the one who sold Him. Had it been decreed that the betrayer should receive for his awful perfidy thirty pieces of silver, then are the chief priests moved to offer him this very sum. Had it been decreed that this betrayal sum should be put to a particular use, namely, purchase of the potter’s field, then the hand of God directs Judas to retun the money to the chief priests and so guided their “counsel” (Matt. 27:7) that they did this very thing. Had it been decreed that there should be those who bore “false witness” against our Lord (Psa. 35:11), then accordingly such were raised up. Had it been decreed that the Lord of glory should be “spat upon and scourged” (Isa. 50:6), then there were not found wanting those who were vile enough to do so. Had it been decreed that the Saviour should be “numbered with the transgressors,” then unknown to himself, Pilate, directed by God, gave orders for His crucifixion along with two thieves. Had it been decreed that vinegar and gall should be given Him to drink while He hung upon the Cross, then this decree of God was executed to the very letter. Had it been decreed that the heartless should gamble for His garments, then sure enough they did this very thing. Had it been decreed that not a bone of Him should be broken (Psa. 34:20), then the controlling hand of God which suffered the Roman soldier to break the legs of the thieves, prevented him from doing the same with our Lord. Ah! there were not enough soldiers in all the Roman legions, there were not sufficient demons in all the hierarchies of Satan, to break one bone in the body of Christ. And why? Because the Almighty Sovereign had decreed that not a bone should be broken. Do we need to extend this paragraph any farther? Does not the accurate and literal fulfillment of all that Scripture had predicted in connection with the Crucifixion, demonstrate beyond all controversy that an Almighty power was directing and superintending everything that was done on that Day of days?[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog ( ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 128–130.


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Yeah, I’m an idiot but God loves me anyway. - Purity 907

Yeah, I’m an idiot but God loves me anyway. -  Purity 907    

Purity 907 12/06/2022 Purity 907 Podcast

Purity 907 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pink, blue, and yellow sunset over the Hudson River from the vantage point of Route 9’s overpass on the Rensselaer side of the Dunn Memorial Bridge comes to us from yours truly as I did my best to capture the glory of the moment from my rearview mirror mounted phone as I drove home yesterday evening.  

Well, It’s Tuesday again, and I for one am happy to leave Monday behind because even though I was able to complete all my work yesterday, I had a serious case of the “Mondays” as I made a couple of mistakes that will forever mark the 5th day of December 2022 as a day that will live in infamy.  Okay, I think I should say goodbye to you now because yesterday’s debacle may cause you to decide to look elsewhere for any advice or encouragement for the path of Christian Discipleship but if nothing else my confession this morning will serve as evidence as my intention to live a life of honesty and transparency.  

Yesterday, while at work I locked myself our of my van and had to call my foreman to send some to let me back into it.  

“Hey that’s no big deal, people make mistakes MT. It could happen to anybody.”  

I wasn’t finished.  While at work yesterday, I locked myself out of my van, twice!


Yup! Twice.   Sure everybody makes mistakes, but when you do it twice in the same day people have to wonder about your mental and emotional well-being! 

So let me assure you I wasn’t depressed or anxious about any on going issues in my life. I wasn’t super busy either. 

In reassessing each instance of stupidity, I now see the common thread that led to my embarrassment. In each case, I put the keys down, once in the ignition & once in the cup holder, in preparations of leaving where I was but in each case I made a quick decision to “do one more thing, really quick” more or less that caused me to leave the vehicle and lock myself out.  I wasn’t really in a hurry, okay. In fact it was because I wanted to be thorough in performing my work that I found myself locked out of my van. 

In the first instance, even though I had been given the “green light” to leave my first job, an install for a business, by one of the staff on hand, I decided to wait until the acting manager showed up to ask where exactly their “new phone” line was supposed to go. 

So when I saw a man who looked like he might be person I was looking for go inside, I called the contact number I had and ended up speaking to him.  Sometimes with business customers, the staff and even management aren’t aware of what is going on with the business’ requests for service and that was the case yesterday.  So when this manager said, “Why don’t you come inside, so we can figure this out?” I complied quickly but left my keys in the ignition! Doh!”  

After finishing inside, I discovered my mistake, called for help, and ended up slinking back inside the business to get out of the cold. I got in undetected and hid/waited in an unoccupied space until my rescuer called to let me know he was outside.  I figured why bother the staff and embarrass myself with sharing my problem and as far as the business customer is concerned, this little drama never happened, so keep that between us, lol!

Anyway later in the day, I had an “easy” trouble – to fix a customers call forwarding.  They needed the calls on a particular line to be forwarded to a new number but it “wasn’t working”.  I had “some trouble” programing the new number at the  central office so I went into my van to call the “Testing center” who can sometimes “fix” over the phone.  And I was only on the phone with them for a minute or so and they told me that they fixed it. They also pointed out that the “trouble” in the CO was due to sequence in which I performed the steps, just something to “remember next time”.

I was ready to close the job and get new work when I started to doubt.  Even though the person on the phone told me the trouble was fixed, I wanted to “make sure” it was fixed.  So one minute, I am about to close the job, and the next I am going into the central office to set up the call forwarding, in the proper sequence, to confirm, for myself, that the problem was indeed fixed.  I figure it would only take a minute. SO I grabbed my “butt set” and frame clip and went to “get er done.”

But I only took a few steps to the door when I realized that my pockets felt a little light.

Oh NO!

Yup, I left the keys in the cup holder of the van and had locked myself out, AGAIN! 

So I called for help, and eventually got back into the van and back to the garage at the end of the day, SO GLAD, that the day was over.  

As you might suspect, there was a full frontal assault of condemnation in each instance, and I credit the Lord for showing me who I am in Christ as the only way I am still not beating myself up this morning.    

When you make a mistake like this, repeatedly, its hard to have any confidence that you are a capable human being.  Your failures show your inadequacy and the enemy is there to accuse and to drive us into fear or depression because of them.  

But luckily, this isn’t my first rodeo with dealing with condemnation and the Lord has shown me the way to overcome. Not surprisingly, the way to peace is to focus on Him rather than us and if we are being condemned by ourselves or the enemy, it doesn’t matter, we can still point to what is true about Him to restore us.  

Yeah, I’m an idiot but God loves me anyway. Thank You God, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit.  

While the world can and will rightfully judge my inadequacies and choose to reject me, the Lord accepts me for who I am, warts and all, failures and all.  

While others may want to distance themselves from me when I mess up, The Lord draws closer to me.  

And while bad things have happened to me, and mostly because of me, and will continue to happen to me, God is working all things together for my good. He has provided for me and given me good things in this life that I don’t deserve and, by God, for reasons I don’t quite understand and don’t want to question, He will continue to lead me into good things in the future, including His eternal kingdom.  

During the processing of yesterday’s trauma, I went to my go to Bible verse to silence the voices of condemnation, if you don’t know it you haven’t been following me for long,

Romans 8:1 (NKJV) says
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

And those words reminded me that there was no condemnation for me, because I am in Christ Jesus. I am forgiven. I am accepted and loved by God.  I am not judged by my performance or lack thereof. Even though I didn’t feel worthy, when I spoke it, I knew it was true.   

In fact, as I received peace and joy over the reminder of who I am in Christ, I laughed and thought: 

“Even though there very well  SHOULD BE condemnation… There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus!

So if you have made same mistake twice in the same day, I’m right there with you, brother!   And it is my prayer that you know who you are in Christ and that you know that regardless of what you do, if you are in Christ you are: 







I am Including the link (  to the free resources page of Freedom in Christ Ministries, where you can download a copy of  “Who I AM in Christ” List from FICM Today in case you don’t know, or you have forgotten who you are in Christ.  

I also wanted to announce that registration for many new courses, including the Freedom In Christ Course, that l Iead on Tuesday nights in 2023, are now open at FICM. The link for that is on the blog as well: . Just find the course that is right for you and click on the “More Info & To Sign Up” tab to reserve your spot. Space is limited and registration closes on December 17th, so make plans to grow more and to learn more about your faith and yourself in 2023 by signing up today!

While we may always make mistakes this side of heaven, when we are walking and talking with God, we can move past them.  If we fall down, God is always there to pick us up and to encourage us in the way we should go but we won’t receive His joy and peace unless we know who we are in Christ and remember to keep on walking and talking with Him.   




Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verses are:

1 John 3:17-19 (NLT2)
17  If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
18  Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
19  Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

 Today’s verses encourage us to show our love for others by acting.

While money can be a sore subject in faith circles, let me apply a little healthy shame: Most of us have enough money to live well, and there are many in need, so let’s face it we should be compassionate and give, something!

If you are flat broke, I get it. But most of us aren’t and can give something. In fact if you are not giving regularly to your church, to ministries, or to charities, I have to encourage you to do it because verses like today’s verses indicate that a Christian should not be just one who says they care but is someone who actually shows it in action and giving is the easiest way to act.  

Don’t get it twisted, I would rather you serve your church or the community at large in some manner to put your feet on the street in service to the Lord but if you can’t do that I would ask you to show your love for others by giving to the less fortunate in some way.  

I look at my own life and my unwise spending and am literally ashamed at times of how badly I mismanage my life but the money I give to my church, spend on ministry expenses, or donate to charities are the expenses that I can look at and feel good about. It might not be much but at least I give something to someone rather than to myself.  

Today verses tell us to enter into the life of discipleship with action, to DO SOMETHING, to share and to show God’s love in us with other people in our lives.  So let your heart lead you to step out and give or to do something for someone, somewhere, for the glory of the Lord.  


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship

Chapter Nine

Baptism, concludes

The death of baptism means justification away from sin. In order to be freed from their sin, sinners must die. Whoever has died is justified from sin (Rom. 6:7; Col. 2:20). Sin no longer has any claim on those who are dead; with death the claim has been met and has ceased to exist. Justification from (άπὸ) sin can thus take place only through death. Forgiveness of sin does not mean that the sin is overlooked or forgotten; rather, it means that the sinner is really put to death and thus separated from (άπὸ) sin. However, the only reason the sinner’s death means justification and not condemnation is that this death is suffered in communion [Gemeinschaft] with the death of Christ. Being baptized into the death of Christ is what brings forgiveness of sins and justification and a complete separation from sin. In calling his disciples into the community of the cross, Jesus gave them the gift of justification, of death and forgiveness of sins. The disciple who followed Jesus in the community of the cross received no other gift than the believer who was baptized according to Paul’s teaching.

Although baptism requires a passive role on our human part, it must never be understood as a mechanical process. A look at the relation between baptism and Spirit makes this abundantly clear (Matt. 3:11; Acts 10:47; John 3:5; 1 Cor. 6:11; 12:13). The gift received in baptism is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is Christ himself dwelling in the hearts of the believers (2 Cor. 3:17; Rom. 8:9–11, 14ff.; Eph. 3:16f.). Those baptized are the house in which the Holy Spirit dwells (οίκεῖ). It is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ remains present with us, and that we are in community with him. The Holy Spirit gives us a true understanding of Christ’s nature (1 Cor. 2:10) and of his will; the Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of all that Christ has said to us (John 14:26); the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13), so that we may not be lacking in the knowledge of Christ, and may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God (1 Cor. 2:12; Eph. 1:9). The Holy Spirit does not create uncertainty in us, but certainty and clarity. We are thus enabled to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25; Rom. 8:1, 4), taking confident steps. After his ascension, Jesus did not withdraw from those who belong to him that measure of certainty which the disciples of Jesus enjoyed during their earthly community with him. By sending the Holy Spirit into the hearts of those who are baptized, the community with Jesus has in fact become so intimate that the certainty of knowing him is not only preserved, but increased and strengthened (Rom. 8:16; John 16:12f.).

In calling the disciples, Jesus demanded a visible act of obedience. To follow Jesus was a public act. In just the same way baptism is a public act, for in baptism we are incorporated into the visible church-community [Gemeinde] of Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:27f.; 1 Cor. 12:13). The break with the world which has taken place in Christ can no longer remain hidden; it must become externally visible through active participation in the life and worship of the church-community. Christians who are actively involved in the church-community take a step out of the world, their work, and family; they visibly stand in the community with Jesus Christ. They take this step on their own as individuals. But they regain what they have given up—brothers, sisters, houses, fields.[20] Those who are baptized live in the visible church-community of Jesus Christ. What that means and entails must be examined in the following two chapters on the “body of Christ” and the “visible church-community.”

Baptism and the receiving of its gift take place only once. No one can be baptized twice with the baptism of Christ.[13] The fact that this gracious act of God is unique and cannot be repeated is what the Letter to the Hebrews is trying to express in that mysterious passage about the impossibility of a second repentance after baptism and conversion (Heb. 6:4ff.). All those who are baptized are participating in Christ’s death. Through his death, they have received their death sentence and have died. And just as Christ died once and for all (Rom. 6:10), and just as there can be no repetition of his sacrifice, so do those who are baptized suffer their death with Christ once and for all. Now they are dead. The daily dying of the Christian is now merely a consequence of the one death that has already taken place in baptism, just as a tree dies whose roots have been cut off. Those who have been baptized live henceforth under the motto: “Consider yourselves dead to sin” (Rom. 6:11). They know themselves only as those who have already died, as those who have already undergone everything that is necessary for salvation. Those who have been baptized draw their life not from a real repetition of Christ’s death, which would have to be accomplished ever anew as an act of grace. Instead, their life springs from looking back again and again, placing their faith in Christ’s death as an act of grace which has already been fully accomplished in their baptism. They live out of the once-and-for-allness of Christ’s death.

The fact that baptism can take place once and only once has important consequences with regard to infant baptism. The question is not whether or not infant baptism is really baptism. But precisely because it is indeed baptism, that baptism that takes place only once and cannot be repeated, infant baptism requires certain restrictions in its use. True, it was certainly not a sign of a healthy church life when, in the second and third centuries, believing Christians postponed their baptism until they reached old age or were already on their deathbeds. But this practice nonetheless speaks of a clear insight into the nature of baptismal grace, an insight which is widely lacking today. With regard to infant baptism this means that the sacrament should be administered only where it is certain that the act of salvation already accomplished once and for all will be repeatedly remembered in faith. And that can only be the case in a living church-community. Infant baptism without the church-community is not only an abuse of the sacrament. It also betrays a reprehensible thoughtlessness in dealing with the children’s spiritual welfare, for baptism can never be repeated.

For those who were called, Jesus’ call was equally unique and unrepeatable. Whoever followed him had died to their previous life. This is why Jesus had to require his disciples to leave all they had. Both the finality of their decision and the complete sufficiency of the gift they received from their Lord needed to be clearly expressed. “But if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?”[26] It could not be stated any more pointedly than this that Jesus’ gift was offered and received once and once only. Having taken their life from them, he now sought to give them a life that was full and complete. And so he gave them his cross. That was the gift of baptism to the first disciples.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 209–212.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Stuck in the Middle with You – Psalm 118 – Purity 758

Stuck in the Middle with You – Psalm 118 – Purity 758

Purity 758 06/15/2022  Purity 758 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo  an out cropping of rock and a natural water fall comes to us from a friend who recently decided to stretch their legs and remember a departed loved one by hiking the Catskill Mountains, as they brought a photo of their friend with them and took photos of it at various locations along the way, stating that the Catskills were the closest place to heaven in Greene County and that they were enjoying treasured memories of days gone by and sharing the magnificent views they encountered with thoughts of their friend every step of the way.

Well its Wednesday and I share this photo taken along the trail heading up a mountain to remind us all of the natural beauty that is out there waiting to be discovered and to remind us that we are headed up the “hump” of the midpoint of the work week.  

Speaking of work, I was out late last night at my second job as a Psychiatric Tech for the Mobile Crisis Assessment Team and am scrambling to “get er done this morning” as I am seeking to simultaneously encourage my friends on the path of Christian Discipleship and activate my new iphone, which is an early birthday present to myself as I hit the big “5-0” in 10 days.   This hurried multi-tasking might prove to be foolish especially considering the fact that  I didn’t get home until after midnight and have already altered my regular routine by “sleeping in” and forgoing my normal exercise regimen and will have to satisfy my craving for God’s word by revisiting some of the content of yesterday’s Bible study by sharing Psalm 118.  

As always the Lord knows our situations and as “coincidence has it” it turns out that Psalm 118 is completely appropriate for sharing on “hump day” because if you didn’t know it, Psalm 118:8 is the middle point in the Bible! That’s right if you take the content of the Bible and divide it in half you would see Psalm 118:8.  Don’t ask my what industrious Bible scholar determined that but I will take it on faith that this Bible fact is true.  

But is it meaningful? Is the middle verse in the Bible say something that would satisfy the curious or indicate that the Bible is not just some book but is the inspired word of God.  Well let’s look at it and you tell me what you think:

Psalm 118:8 (NKJV) says
8  It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.

I don’t know about you but that sort of gives me goose bumps. Imagine it. Someone decides to give the Bible a shot and opens it to the middle point of the scriptures and this is what they find! “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.”  I don’t know about you but that would cause me to keep reading.  

And that’s what happened to me when after 38 years of doing things my way in a life of ups, and downs, and error and confusion, I heard a gospel message that adequately explained to me., as if for the first time, the fact that it Christ died for my sins and it only required a simple act of faith, by making Jesus my Lord and Savior, to receive the free gift of God’s forgiveness, eternal life,  and entrance into His kingdom. 

After I said yes to Jesus, I was far from perfect but I had a perfect hunger to pursue the truth of who Christ was and how I should live after I had received such an awesome gift.   So I started reading the Bible to figure this thing out and to try to be an authentic Christian. 

And if you are new to the Bible, I would say that the midpoint in the Bible is a great place to start your journey to get to know God more as the use of some of the verses from Psalm 118 in the New Testament, make it the most quoted psalm in the New Testament.  Let’s read it and you will see why:  

Psalm 118:1-29 (NKJV)
1  Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
2  Let Israel now say, "His mercy endures forever."
3  Let the house of Aaron now say, "His mercy endures forever."
4  Let those who fear the LORD now say, "His mercy endures forever."
5  I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
6  The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7  The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
8  It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.
9  It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.
10  All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
11  They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
12  They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
13  You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the LORD helped me.
14  The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.
15  The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
16  The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
17  I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD.
18  The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.
19  Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the LORD.
20  This is the gate of the LORD, Through which the righteous shall enter.
21  I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation.
22  The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.
23  This was the LORD'S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.
24  This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
25  Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.
26  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.
27  God is the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28  You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.
29  Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

There are some familiar verses in that psalm for sure and even though it is in the new Testament its content points us right to Jesus Christ as the Messiah.   

And although I am running and gunning this morning with a hectic pace, that’s all I want to do, point my friends to Jesus Christ: to not only admire Him as a good example but to trust, believe and obey Him as one of His many disciples.  

The entrance into the kingdom through a prayer or and act of faith that specifically claims Him as your Lord and Savior is only the beginning of our new and eternal life in Christ.  

And even thought the road as a Christian may be difficult at times,  when you are walking and talking with God and have made Christ the Lord of your life, you can somehow have peace in the midst of any storm, as God Himself through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, is stuck in the middle with you.   

So if you are in a hurry or not, keep going on your search to discover who God is, who you are, and what the purpose He has for you in this life.  As Psalm 118:says, if you can’t trust me, trust in the Lord because: “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 John 4:17 (NLT2)
17  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that we can face the Lord with confidence on the day of judgement when we “live like Jesus in this world”  and that our love grows “more perfect” as we live in God.   

So much for “just believing”.  Phrases like “just believe” or “just have faith” will undoubtedly be good encouragements as we attempt to live out our Christian faith authentically but those phrases are not to be intended to be the one or final instruction.

As today’s verse indicates, we are to have a lifestyle and a mindset of Christian as we are directed to “live like Jesus here in this world.” We are supposed to follow Christ in the way we live.  

And not only will we benefit from making “good choices” as a natural result of cause and effect relationships, when we decide to follow Jesus and live “in God” (talk about an immersive experience) we will have confidence in our security when the day of judgement comes but our love will grow “more perfect”.  

God’s love is perfect and when experience it we know that to be true. God is the higher love that Steve Winwood was looking for. “Bring me a higher love!” Well, Steve if you live “in God” by following Christ’s example in the way that you live in this world, the higher love will be brought right to your doorstep every day you Abide in Him.  

So let’s be encourage to become “more perfect” in love by sharing the love that we have received from God in the way we live here on the earth.  We can have confidence that when we are in Christ we have nothing to fear and we have been given an incredible purpose to experience and to share the love of God.

As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Burning of the Magical Books in Ephesus: Acts 19

Luke also gives us an incredible account about a situation involving magic during Paul’s ministry at Ephesus (Acts 19:13–20). It reinforces the impression that Ephesus was a center of magical practices during the first century. Luke tells us about some itinerant Jewish exorcists, who attempted to use the name of Jesus as part of their exorcism on a man troubled with an evil spirit. Tragically unsuccessful, they were physically assaulted by the demon-controlled man so that “they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” As a result, numerous people brought out their books of magical formulas and incantations and burned them. The combined value of the books was estimated by Luke to be worth as much as 50,000 days’ wages.

This account is very important for understanding the social and religious situation of the early Christian churches. Luke here gives the distinct impression that those who were burning their magical texts were already Christians. He observes, “Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly” (19:18–19a). It underlines the temptation faced by early believers to return to their former practices, in particular, magic.


Luke is concerned to show that the gospel of the Lord Jesus and the power of God are indeed mightier than any opposition. Luke also clearly ties magical practices and divination to the work of Satan and his powers. In all of these instances the work of the devil through these people hindered the progress of the gospel. The power of God working through his messengers needed to confront and overcome Satanic opposition.

Each of these accounts in the book of Acts also raises issues that are relevant to understanding better what the apostle Paul has to say about principalities and powers. It helps us clarify the felt needs of the readers Paul addressed in his letters. They would naturally be filled with questions as they sought to make sense of Christianity in light of the religious and magical environment in which they lived. They would ask questions such as: How should converts from a background in the occult and spiritism live in light of their newfound faith in the Lord Jesus? What should they believe about the powers they once thought served them and the powers they feared? Were some of them still to be considered good and others evil? Where does Christ stand in relation to these spirit beings and supernatural powers? Can one still be devoted to Christ and wear an amulet for protection? How should the church respond to non-Christians involved in spiritism?

Knowing the questions that would undoubtedly have been on the minds of new believers in the first century will help the New Testament come alive when we consider the things Paul has to say about principalities and powers.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 33–34.