Showing posts with label Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Show all posts

Friday, February 10, 2023

The Baptism of Holy Spirit – Will You Seek Him and “Go There”? - Purity 963

The Baptism of Holy Spirit – Will You Seek Him and  “Go There”?   - Purity 963

Purity 963 02/10/2023 Purity 963 Podcast

Purity 963 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the flock of ducks floating towards the edge of a partially frozen lake underneath the sun setting into the trees on the horizon comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene during my spontaneous visit to Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville NY on February 8th.   

I had never seen or even heard of Green Lakes State Park before that day but when a Google search for nearby state parks told me of its existence I decided to believe that it was real and went out to see it for myself.   Here I present some photographic evidence of its existence and can assure you that it the state park and lake really are there but would also suggest that you go and see it for yourself to have an experiential knowledge of it to remove any doubts. Once you “go there” and experience it for yourself, it is unlikely that anyone would be able to convince you that it isn’t real and you may actually testify of its existence and encourage others to trust you, and the other information out there about it, and tell them to go and see it for themselves.  

Well, it’s Friday, thank God, and it is my prayer that anyone who reads or hears this message would have a great weekend and that they would trust me when I tell them that God is real and that they should consider seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  

Who, Whoa, WHOA!  Easy now M.T., you are letting your charismatic craziness show a little bit here!   My Pastor tells me that ALL Christians receive the Holy Spirit, and thus the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, the moment they put their faith in Christ!  I don’t need anything other than what I received when I first believed! I have the Holy Spirit, I guess, so why would I seek something I already have?

Well, just like I can show you photos of Green Lake State Park, tell you about it, and you can research information about it online to give you an intellectual understanding about Green Lake State Park, your “knowing” Green Lake State Park would undoubtedly be increased and benefitted by actually “going there” and visiting it for yourself.   Until then you may be a “believer” in Green Lake State Park, but your stepping our in faith to actually go there and diving into the experience of Green Lake State Park would make put you in a relationship with Green Lake State Park. From the day you go to Green Lake State Park, you will have an experiential knowledge of it and relationship to it. After your visit, you can say you spent time there, experienced and related to it, and “know it”, because you have been there.   

And while I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that every person who puts their faith in Jesus Christ as LORD (all caps) and Savior, receives the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, I would have to tell you that there is more to receive from Him and to discover what I mean requires that you seek to develop your relationship to Him.  

The Holy Spirit is a person and is perhaps the most mysterious member of the trinity.

Acts 11:15-17 (NKJV) testifies to the fact that Jesus spoke of those who trust in Him being baptized with the Holy Spirit.  In This passage the Apostle Peter says:
15  And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.
16  Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
17  If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?"

So this confirms we receive the Holy Spirit but other passages in the Bible indicate that there may be more to our relationship with the Holy Spirit than just receiving His indwelling presence on the day of our salvation. 

In John 14:26 (NKJV) Jesus indicates the Holy Spirit will teach us and cause us to remember things -
26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Romans 8:26-27 (NKJV) indicates He helps us by interceding for us - He prays for us. The Apostle Paul writes
26  Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

In Acts 1:8 (NKJV) – Jesus indicates The Holy Spirit will give us power and boldness to share our faith – Christ said
8  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

In 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NKJV) – The Apostle Paul tells us that The Holy Spirit gives us freedom.  It says
17  Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

In John 16:13-14 (NKJV) Jesus states that He will guide us and will show us things to come.
13  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

All of these passages indicate that there is an experiential aspect to our relationship to the Holy Spirit. I can attest to the fact that The Holy Spirit is a real person who help you in your faith walk and can show up in your life in very dramatic ways.   This passage in Acts indicates that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit can reveal His manifest presence.

Acts 19:1-6 (NKJV)
1  And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples
2  he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."
3  And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism."
4  Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus."
5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6  And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Holy Spirit showed up and stuff happened. But if you notice, these believers had to be told about Him and be willing to receive Him.   Jesus indicates that we are supposed to ask for Him. 

Luke 11:13 (NKJV)
13  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

So, have you asked for Him? Do you relate to Him? Have you experienced Him.  

For most of us, we were brought into Christianity by proxy – our parents took us to church and for many of us our faith was pretty shallow.  

“My parents are Christian – so I guess I’m a Christian. Sure, I believe… I guess?”

You guess!?!?   

Our culture may have caused us to never genuinely to seek the Lord for ourselves.  We may have never actually made Jesus the LORD (all caps – again) of our lives.  We may have never received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit because we didn’t know that was a “thing” or we may have never experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives because we never sought Him or asked for Him to come into our lives.    

Hearing about the “Baptism of Holy Spirit” may fill us with curiosity or skepticism because we never heard of it and the people who speak about it may seem a little unbalanced because they “speak in tongues”.   Believe me, I completely understand.  I was extremely skeptical about anyone speaking in tongues and it was only after I got to know some of the people in my life that claimed to experience the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that I became curious enough to investigate it and seek it for myself.   

I researched the Baptism of the Holy Spirit quite a bit and found all kinds of teachings about Him and how one could receive Him There are plenty Christians historically and currently who speak on the “second blessing” of the Holy Spirit’s Baptism and experiencing His manifest presence of love and joy and the sign of speaking in tongues at times.  So were all of these accounts that I read about something that people just made up? Or Was it real?

Of all the lessons and “how to receive the Holy Spirit” recipes out there, one can easily be confused or even more skeptical about there even being a “baptism of the Holy Spirit” beyond “just believing”.   But after having experienced His presence for myself, I can tell you that, in my case anyway, we receive Him when we:

·       Surrender to the Lord’s will

·       Repent of our sins

·       Pray by faith.

·       Ask for Him to come.

 I really believe that we receive the Holy Spirit when we believe – He is with us the moment we put our faith in Jesus, but the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which I would say is a maturation of our relationship with Him, and is an experience of His presence manifesting outside of the four walls of our body.  The Shekinah Glory of the Lord surrounds you and pours over you giving you a supernatural experience – direct contact with the living God in the terra firma, of unbelievable joy and love – and I did speak in tongues.

I believe that the experience of the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and “speaking in tongues” are signs to show us the experiential reality of God and is given to those seek Him to encourage them and embolden them to serve the Lord and witness of Him through the earth.   The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I believe, is given to us for a reason – to give us an unshakable faith that propels us to continuously speak of the Lord’s goodness and the desire to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.   

The experience happened to me, and I have written about it before, so if you are curious, dive into the archives of the blog.  

For those who want to research it I would recommend looking up Derek Prince, Andrew Murray, Charles Finney, Perry Stone, Pastor Bob Engelhardt of the Catskill Mountain Christian Center, and maybe reading “The Holy Spirit, My Senior Partner” – By David Yongii Cho. They will all give you plenty of information about it.  However, just like reading about Green Lake State Park, you won’t discover the Baptism of the Holy Spirit unless you “go there” -by believing it’s real, (you have to have faith) and by asking and seeking Him for yourself.  

A great way to start the journey of receiving an experiential knowledge of our Lord is by simply walking and talking with Him.  As Christ said in:

Matthew 7:8 (NKJV)
8  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

So ask, seek, and knock if you have too, and see what happens in your life when you “go there.”


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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

James 1:19 (NLT2)
19  Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Today’s Bible verse is great practical advice for those who seek to walk by faith on the path of Christian discipleship.  Our faith should change us and the way it does is by obeying the word of God. We must actually practice what the word teaches us.

And if we want to experience the fruit of peace in our lives, James 1:19 will certainly help us on our way. 

Reactive emotions like anger are often expressed with a quick verbal response of indignation.   So, before we “go there” with an angry outburst, the word of God directs us to slow our roll, by being quick to listen, rather than being quick to speak.  

So when we are talking to anyone about anything we should practice active listening, where we pay close attention to what is said, and pausing before we speak.  If we listen intently the likelihood of a misunderstanding is decreased and if we pause before we speak the likelihood of saying anything regrettable is decreased.  

So practice James 1:19, and see how paying attention to what others say and taking the time to consider our responses can help you to avoid anger and experience peace.


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.





“For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be the glory for ever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

Has God fore-ordained everything that comes to pass? Has He decreed that what is, was to have been? In the final analysis this is only another way of asking, Is God now governing the world and everyone and everything in it? If God is governing the world then is He governing it according to a definite purpose, or aimlessly and at random? If He is governing it according to some purpose, then when was that purpose made? Is God continually changing His purpose and making a new one every day, or was His purpose formed from the beginning? Are God’s actions, like ours, regulated by the change of circumstances, or are they the outcome of His eternal purpose? If God formed a purpose before man was created then is that purpose going to be executed according to His original designs and is He now working toward that end? What saith the Scriptures? They declare God is One “who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11).

Few who read this book are likely to call into question the statement that God knows and foreknows all things, but perhaps many would hesitate to go further than this. Yet is it not self-evident that if God foreknows all things, He has also fore-ordained all things? Is it not clear that God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be? God’s foreknowledge is not the cause of events, rather are events the effects of His eternal purpose. When God has decreed a thing shall be He knows it will be. In the nature of things there cannot be anything known as what shall be unless it is certain to be, and there is nothing certain to be unless God has ordained it shall be. Take the Crucifixion as an illustration. On this point the teaching of Scripture is as clear as a sunbeam. Christ as the Lamb whose blood was to be shed was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet. 1:20). Having then “ordained” the slaying of the Lamb, God knew He would be “led to the slaughter,” and therefore made it known accordingly through Isaiah the prophet. The Lord Jesus was not “delivered” up by God foreknowing it before it took place, but by His fixed counsel and fore-ordination (Acts 2:23). Fore-knowledge of future events then is founded upon God’s decrees, hence if God foreknows everything that is to be, it is because He has determined in Himself from all eternity everything which will be—“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18), which shows that God has a plan, that God did not begin His work at random or without a knowledge of how His plan would succeed.

God created all things. This truth no one, who bows to the testimony of Holy Writ, will question; nor would any such be prepared to argue that the work of creation was an accidental work. God first formed the purpose to create, and then put forth the creative act in fulfilment of that purpose. All real Christians will readily adopt the words of the Psalmist and say, “O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all.” Will any who endorse what we have just said, deny that God purposed to govern the world which He created? Surely the creation of the world was not the end of God’s purpose concerning it. Surely He did not determine simply to create the world and place man in it, and then leave both to their fortunes. It must be apparent that God has some great end or ends in view worthy of His infinite perfections, and that He is now governing the world so as to accomplish these ends—“The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa. 33:11).

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:9, 10). Many other passages might be adduced to show that God has many counsels concerning this world and concerning man, and that all these counsels will most surely be realized. It is only when they are thus regarded that we can intelligently appreciate the prophecies of Scripture. In prophecy the mighty God has condescended to take us into the secret chamber of His eternal counsels and make known to us what He has purposed to do in the future. The hundreds of prophecies which are found in the Old and New Testaments are not so much predictions of what will come to pass, as they are revelations to us of what God has purposed SHALL come to pass.

What then was the great purpose for which this world and the human race were created? The answer of Scripture is, “The Lord hath made all things for Himself” (Prov. 16:4). And again, “Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11). The great end of creation was the manifestation of God’s glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth His handiwork”; but it was by man, originally made in His own image and likeness, that God designed chiefly to manifest His glory. But how was the great Creator to be glorified by man? Before his creation, God foresaw the fall of Adam and the consequent ruin of his race, therefore He could not have designed that man should glorify Him by continuing in a state of innocency. Accordingly we are taught that Christ was “fore-ordained before the foundation of the world” to be the Saviour of fallen men. The redemption of sinners by Christ was no mere after-thought of God: it was no expediency to meet an unlooked-for calamity. No; it was a Divine pro-vision, and therefore when man fell he found mercy walking hand in hand with justice.

From all eternity God designed that our world should be the stage on which He would display His manifold grace and wisdom in the redemption of lost sinners: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:11.) For the accomplishment of this glorious design God has governed the world from the beginning, and will continue it to the end. It has been well said, “We can never understand the providence of God over our world, unless we regard it as a complicated machine having ten thousand parts, directed in all its operations to one glorious end—the display of the manifold wisdom of God in the salvation of the Church,” i.e., the “called out” ones. Everything else down here is subordinated to this central purpose. It was the apprehension of this basic truth that the apostle, moved by the only Spirit, was led to write, “Wherefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10). What we would now contemplate is the operation of God’s sovereignty in the government of this world.[1]

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

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“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), 117–120.


Friday, October 7, 2022

Acting on “Good Thoughts” - Walking in the Spirit - Purity 856


Acting on “Good Thoughts”  - Walking in the Spirit - Purity 856

Purity 856 10/07/2022 Purity 856

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun setting the misty clouds of morning ablaze for God’s glory comes to us from yours truly as I was racing to work yesterday and took some “blind shots” as I drove up the overpass of 787 North on my way to work.   I didn’t know what I would get at the time, but I trusted that something good may come from my efforts and I was blessed with this scene of the clouds and fog enshrouding Rensselaer being illuminated by the sun with a sliver of the Hudson River reflecting the shore line, with the cold hard gray wall and guard rail of the overpass in the foreground highlighting the contrast between the splendor of God’s creation and what man can create.   

Don’t get me wrong while the beauty of God’s creation will always be superior to what man can create, God put man on the earth for a purpose and while that guard rail may not be pretty, it keeps us safe and is part of a structure that is extremely useful for travel and for giving us a different perspective that just wouldn’t exist if men didn’t make it.  

Well, it’s Friday and it is my prayer that all my friends have a good and quick workday as some of us will be enjoying a three day weekend on the other side of our 9 to 5. 

This morning, while I was working out the worship song I was listening to caused me to think of a brother who recently asked for a moment to talk about his walk of faith and how negative thoughts have been plaguing his mind as he seeks to follow the Lord’s will for his life.  

The Holy Spirit put it on my heart to share that song with him as an encouragement. So I stopped what I was doing and immediately emailed my friend and brother in Christ a link to the song on YouTube.   Even though it disrupted my workout, I “answered the call” that I felt the Holy Spirit put on me this morning. And I didn’t regret it.  

And this is a good example of how the Holy Spirit may work in our lives.  We suddenly get a thought to help someone or to do something for someone that we could easily dismiss as “a nice thought”.  But if we are seeking to do the Lord’s will for us, we have to realize that these “nice thoughts” may be the Lord inviting us to “do good works”.  The question is: will we just dismiss those nice thoughts or will we act on them?   

Back in my pre-Christ days, in the midst of euphoric experiences brought upon me through the use of psychedelic drugs, on occasion I would get some grand altruistic vision to do go something good for others or to clean up my act.  In the heights of my euphoria I thought “I could do that!” but do you know what happened? Absolutely nothing. 

In fact it was worse than that. Perhaps this was the spiritual forces of darkness discouraging me or just my habitual low self-esteem that plagued me back then, but on the summit of my altruistic vision I would have the realization that I wasn’t a “good person”. I was a drunk and a drug addict. I was high! And the ideas that I could do anything “good” was ridiculous.

So the joy of the experience of imagining myself doing something good, came grinding to a halt, as I realized that I was just some guy high in a basement, up late reveling on drugs and alcohol, by himself, while his wife and children slept upstairs.  This guy was “crazy” if he thought he could do anything good. 

And so I would turn my attention to something else and forget about the “good things” that I could do.   

Like I said, whether it was me recognizing the facts, my low self-esteem, or the spiritual forces of darkness seeking to keep me in bondage to my addictions,  I didn’t do the good things that I had thought of and I was in that basement for years.  

But God, right?  Yeah.  While I do work out in a basement during the week, I no longer spend time hiding away in my “man cave” reveling and entertaining myself.   God called me out of the darkness and now when I get a thought to do something good, I act on it. I do it as soon as possible.   And I have learned that regardless of the results of my actions, I have never regretted doing the good things that I felt compelled to do.  

And sometimes, one good thing leads to another. 

So after I emailed my friend that link to a song on YouTube, I remembered that I wanted to compile a playlist of Christian worship music that inspired me on my journey to victory and freedom in Christ to share with the participants of the Freedom in Christ course that I facilitate. So, this morning’s work out was cut short and I rushed upstairs to get it done, now!

So I did and I have already shared it on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit and I am sharing it here:

You see, one of the things that I discovered on the path of Christian Discipleship is that our worship is a weapon and it is a spiritual practice that increases our joy and our love for our Heavenly Faither.  

How does this “martial art of the Christian disciple” work?  

It’s simple.  You get alone. You play Christian worship music that moves you. You sing the songs and think about the Lord and what He has done, in general and in your life specifically.   You can do this while driving to work or you can do this in the privacy of your own home.   I also recommend “singing with feeling”, preferably as loud as you can.  

Perry Stone says that when we open our mouths in worship, singing and crying out to the Lord it “rolls away the stone” and allows the Holy Spirit to come out and opens us up for His infilling.   And based on my experience and growth through worship, I would say that Perry Stone sums it up pretty good.  

I have experienced the manifest presence of God at various times in periods of worship and prayer.  When we draw close to God and give Him thanks and praise, He draws close to us, and sometimes in dramatic fashion.  

I have no doubts because I know God lives because I experienced His presence.  

So there’s the playlist, and my advice: SEEK the Lord, repent of your worldly ways, make a commitment to follow Him, worship Him, and ask for The baptism of the Holy Spirit and see what happens.  When we keep seeking, when we keep asking, when we keep knocking, eventually the door to God in our lives will swing wide open and reveal to us the manifest presence of God and the reality of what a relationship with God really means.  

Through the Holy Spirit, God will reveal biblical truths to you in ways you never knew when you have a practice of Bible study. He will compel you to do good things that we may not be comfortable with.  And He will touch our hearts and minds when new surrender to Him in worship.   

So keep walking and talking with God, because when you experience His presence  you will realize that you have never been alone and that He is waiting for you to answer His call to the new and abundant life that He has for you.  



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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 57:2 (NLT2)
2  I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.

Today’s Bible verse encourages us to cry out to the Lord Most High and to take joy in the fact that He is the one who will fulfill His purpose for us.  

I posit that our relationship with God is an interactive and cooperative experience.  We do our part by seeking to know God through His word and by applying it to our lives, but God is the one who brings the results for our efforts and the blessings we could have never expected.

God is sovereign. That means He reigns, and He determines the course of His creation and human history. History is HIS STORY.  What has come to pass was ordained by God. He even uses evil for good.

So if you want to know what God’s will is, look at what has happened.  Our pasts reveal the consequences of our actions, for good and bad choices, but they also reveal the path that God has put us on.  Why were we born into this age? Why were we placed in our families in this part of the world.  God determined it. 

So where should we go?  

God invites everyone to have peace with Him through Jesus Christ and to follow Him to find their purpose.  And as today’s verse indicates God will fulfill it for us. 

IF we follow the Lord we will find His “good”, “acceptable” or “perfect: will for our lives (Romans 12: 2) So which will it be? That is determined by how we follow the Lord, by how much we “renew our minds” and present our bodies as living sacrifices for righteousness (Romans 12:1-2).    So we have free will and the more we follow the Lord the more “perfect” our purpose will be.  

But if we don’t make peace with Him by placing our faith in Christ, the purpose He will fulfill for us is to receive His just wrath, to be punished and to be separated from Him for all eternity. As we chose to reject His love and wisdom in life, we reject His presence after life and reap the consequences of our rebellion and sin.  

So don’t do that, submit to God and make peace with God through Christ and follow Him to experience the good things He has for you.

And the best thing about it all is that He fulfills our purpose, so we can answer the calls that God puts on our life and leave the results up to Him. His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, Amen.



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.

Chapter Six

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Beatitudes

Jesus on the mountain, the crowd, the disciples. The crowd sees: There is Jesus with his disciples, who have joined him. The disciples—not so long before, they themselves were fully part of the crowd. They were just like all the others. Then Jesus’ call came. So they left everything behind and followed him. Since then they have belonged to Jesus—completely. Now they go with him, live with him, follow him wherever he leads them. Something has happened to them which has not happened to the others. This is an extremely unsettling and offensive fact, which is visibly evident to the crowd. The disciples see: this is the people from whom they have come, the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is the chosen community of God. It is the people as church [Volkskirche].[2] When the disciples were called by Jesus from out of the people, they did the most obvious and natural thing lost sheep of the house of Israel could do: they followed the voice of the good shepherd, because they knew his voice. They belong to this people, indeed, especially because of the path on which they were led. They will live among this people, they will go into it and preach Jesus’ call and the splendor of discipleship. But how will it all end? Jesus sees: his disciples are over there. They have visibly left the people to join him. He has called each individual one. They have given up everything in response to his call. Now they are living in renunciation and want; they are the poorest of the poor, the most tempted of the tempted, the hungriest of the hungry. They have only him. Yes, and with him they have nothing in the world, nothing at all, but everything, everything with God. So far, he has found only a small community, but it is a great community he is looking for, when he looks at the people. Disciples and the people belong together. The disciples will be his messengers; they will find listeners and believers here and there. Nevertheless, there will be enmity between the disciples and the people until the end. Everyone’s rage at God and God’s word will fall on his disciples, and they will be rejected with him. The cross comes into view. Christ, the disciples, the people—one can already see the whole history of the suffering of Jesus and his community.1

Therefore, “Blessed!” Jesus is speaking to the disciples (cf. Luke 6:20ff.). He is speaking to those who are already under the power of his call. That call has made them poor, tempted, and hungry. He calls them blessed, not because of their want or renunciation. Neither want nor renunciation are in themselves any reason to be called blessed. The only adequate reason is the call and the promise, for whose sake those following him live in want and renunciation. The observation that some of the Beatitudes speak of want and others of the disciples’ intentional renunciation or special virtues has no special meaning. Objective want and personal renunciation have their joint basis in Christ’s call and promise. Neither of them has any value or claim in itself.

Jesus calls his disciples blessed. The people hear it and are dismayed at witnessing what happens. That which belongs to the whole people of Israel, according to God’s promise, is now being awarded to the small community of disciples chosen by Jesus: “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” But the disciples and the people are one in that they are all the community called by God. Jesus’ blessing should lead to decisions and salvation for all of them. All are called to be what they truly are. The disciples are blessed because of Jesus’ call that they followed. The entire people of God is blessed because of the promise which pertains to them. But will God’s people, in faith in Jesus Christ and his word, now in fact seize the promise or will they, in unfaith, depart from Christ and his community? That remains the issue.[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

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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), 100–102.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch – It’s the Holy Spirit, Charlie Brown! - Purity 547

The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch – It’s the Holy Spirit, Charlie Brown! - Purity 547                                          

Purity 547 10/12/2021 Purity 547 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a misty morning, fog covered pumpkin patch in Johnsonville NY comes to us from yours truly as I simply had to stop on the side of the road to capture this October scene on the morning of the 7th day of the 10th month.  

The fog wasn’t as thick as pea soup, but you can see that it was substantial as the pumpkin patch was covered in mystery and even the brilliance of the morning sun was shrouded by it. If you have been following the recent events in my life, you may also know that this pumpkin patch and the sun’s brilliance wasn’t the only thing shrouded in mystery on the morning of the seventh.

Although I may have been able to guess that the fog would clear and the sun’s brilliance would dominate creating a pleasant October day, at the time when I took this photo I had no idea that I was to receive information that would lead me to propose to my fiancé later the same day.  

In the aftermath of joy, at her acceptance of my invitation to become my wife, my future life partner and I took some time yesterday to discuss how God had moved in each of our lives to bring us together and how we could have never guessed the far reaching consequences to decisions that we each had made months ago that would eventually lead to us meeting, becoming friends, and agreeing to marriage.  

As two travelers on the path of Christian Discipleship, we had only intended to be faithful to God’s call on our lives individually seeking to serve Him and to know Him more.  In our seeking the Lord, we met each other and as our initial impressions and misconceptions about one another were clarified so we could see the truth about who we each were, we realized that we were both the “sincere” Christians who could fulfill our mutual desires for a Christian spouse.    

Not only did our recent paths lead us to one another for marriage, but the Lord was also working in both our lives to deepen and mature our faith in Him individually.  In the preceding months, I was maturing in my faith by establishing and leading a Christian Discipleship Ministry, starting a podcast, and receiving healing and instruction about the pains of divorce and the contemplation of moving on. 

At the same time, my fiancé was being drawn to trust in the Lord at a deeper level. She was challenged to step out of her comfort zone by going out of her way to seek instruction and to apply the things she “always knew” in her mind about the Christian faith at a heart or experiential level.  Beyond reading a book or gleaning a few insights from a Bible study. she also learned about the truth of the Lord’s presence in her life by asking for and receiving the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. She also experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in her life to aide her through the Steps to Freedom in Christ to resolve personal and spiritual conflicts to help her to know experientially her freedom in Christ.  

We both marveled over how the Lord worked in each of us individually and how he brought us together.  We can now see how the “blessings” that we each experienced was the result of each of us choosing to “seek the Lord” through surrender and obedience to His ways and repentance from the things of this world that held us back.  

We both recognized that the blessings didn’t come overnight and that our walks were a process of pursuing the Lord’s will for our lives and were marked by our individual desires to do His will with no expectation of specific results.  

I pointed out that although my fiancé had received a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s presence in her life, it didn’t come out of nowhere. Before she “received”, she had repented by making a decision to seek the Lord’s will for her life and to be faithful to follow where He led her.  And after hearing about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, she researched what was said about it and most importantly “sincerely” asked the Lord to receive it.  Shortly after her asking, she received.     

Being October, I made the silly analogy that it was like Charles Schultz’ Peanut’s character, Linus Van Pelt seeking to have visitation from the Great Pumpkin.  Linus’ Great Pumpkin theology stated that the GP only “rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is most sincere”. 

Our seeking the Lord, our repentance, our obedience, and our faithfulness to preserve in “walking in the Spirit” and asking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit demonstrates our “most sincere” hearts for the Lord.  

While I can’t codify or write a prescription for how you experience this encounter with the Lord’s presence, all the testimonies that I have heard, including my own, in which someone receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit have the common elements of:

1.    Seeking the Lord (learning and sincerely seeking God’s wisdom and ways from the study of the Bible , and His presence in prayer and worship)  

2.    Repentance (turning from sin, or surrendering from habit that draw us from God, choosing to forsake the world’s ways for the spiritual path of Christian Discipleship)

3.    Prayer  (communing with the Lord in prayer and specifically asking to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, including thanksgiving, worship, and praise).       

Beyond this, I point out that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is given as a sign that is to confirm our faith beyond any and all doubts and that naturally leads to an increased desire for sanctification and service to the Lord.  

I like to be clear and point out that we are not running after experiences, we are seeking the Lord and His will for our lives. While we may have moments of intense peace, love, and joy in the Lord’s presence as we walk out our faith, the purpose of our walk is not “good feelings”. The Lord calls us to follow Him and leads us into “good works” that He has prepared for us to walk into.  

So seek the Lord with a “most sincere” heart and follow the path that He guides you in. Generally, I would say the Lord will guide you to His word, repentance, and good works that will bring Him glory.  

So keep walking and talking with God because even though we may not be “overcome by the Spirit” in a dramatic way every day of our journey,  when we are faithful to follow the Lord we know that He will never leave us or forsake us and that because He is omnipresent, we are always living in His presence.

To see Him in our lives, we only need to look through the mist of the world’s lies and see the brilliance of the Son of God who saves all who put their faith in Him and who calls his disciples to experience the abundant new life that His sacrifice on the cross paid for.      

(There is more content to help you walk out your journey of faith at MT4Christ dot org. You can also subscribe to the mt4christ247 podcast to hear this message, our discipleship classes, and our weekly Bible Study, on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Amazon Podcasts, as well as Audible and Podbean).

#Christian #christianity #encouragement #freedominchrist #christiancounseling #jesuschrist #mt4christ #discipleship #victoryoverthedarkness #Dating #mt4christ247podcast 

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT2)
12  Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
13  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.


Today’s verse points to the individual responsibility of every Christian to obey the Lord with the simple desire to do that which pleases Him.  

Today’s verse speaks of the integrity of the Christian disciple.  The Philippians “always followed” Paul’s instructions when he was present with him, but he is clear to point out to them that just because he is “out of sight, and out of mind” it doesn’t mean that you stop obeying the Lord’s will for your life.

One definition of integrity that is thrown around Christian circles is that integrity is “doing the right thing when no one is watching.”  In truth, because God is omnipresent and omniscient, Someone is always watching: God.  

But the idea behind that definition of integrity, is the proving of the “sincerity” of our beliefs or Christian faith.  Do you really believe what you say you believe or are you just “putting on a show”?  When no one is watching, are your actions consistent with your faith?  

But I always like to make sure that Christians understand that “doing the right thing”, even when no one is watching, isn’t necessarily going to confirm your faith.  

“Doing the right thing” is great but are you doing it for the right reasons? 

Today’s verse encourages us to “follow instructions” but it also points to our proper motivation: our relationship with the Lord.   We are to have “deep reverence and fear” for the Lord which I would equate to “proper understanding and respect for the Lord”. 

Deep reverence comes from properly understanding that God is who He says He is: the eternal, unchanging, all powerful, all knowing, loving, good, and holy Creator of all things.

Fear comes from respecting who God is and realizing that the proper response to Him as our Sovereign King, who graciously made a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to Him, is obedience and love.

When we are in relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.   Thus as verse 13 says:

“God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”


Our “doing the right thing” is only a demonstration of our faith when we “do it for the right reason”: loving God, having the heartfelt desire “to do what pleases Him,”.  


So as disciples of Jesus Christ, the buck stops here. We individually must “do the right thing” which is to obey the Lord’s instructions – not out of a fear of punishment – we have been forgiven and promised eternal life after all-  but out of our desire to do what pleases God. We are motivated to keep walking in the spirit not to please men, or even with the hope to receive rewards, we surrender our lives to the Lord’s ways and service because we love Him.     


So rejoice in the new life that was graciously bought for you, do what is pleasing to the Lord, and be assured that not only are you doing the right thing when no one else is around, you are doing it for the right reason, your love for the One who made it all and gave it all for you.  




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


Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

E. What Is the Progression of Courtship?

Kyle no longer feels nervous when he knocks on Jennifer's door. When her mother or father answers, he is invited in immediately—no longer an intruder who might steal away their little girl. Now his presence is welcome as if he were one of the family. For months on end, Kyle has earned an invisible emblem of honor by proving himself trustworthy. Likewise, Jennifer feels comfortable in his company, at ease and safe under his caring protection.

Progressing from acquaintance to friendship to something more has moved at a snail's pace...but both know this has been time well invested in their future. And now the time has come for the next step in their courtship. With the blessing of her parents, Kyle kneels down and takes Jennifer's hand in his...asking her to be his bride, for he knows the treasure he has found in Jennifer and...

"He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 18:22)

The primary difference between dating and courtship lies in the intent of the relationship.

For many, the dating relationship is driven by romantic connection for the sole purpose of enjoyment. Casual daters "try on" other people to see how well they fit—their looks, their personality, their style. Dating can sometimes be more centered on self. And while there may be awareness that marriage could be considered, the presiding purpose for casual dating is immediate pleasure.

In a courting relationship, both people understand that the purpose of the relationship is to consider marriage. Courting takes a long-term view. It's not simply a Christian way of dating, nor is there anything "casual" about the approach. Courting is best suited to those who are spiritually and emotionally ready for marriage—those who give sincere love—not based on emotion, but on devotion....

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." (Romans 12:9)

The Progression of Courtship

  • Commitment to Christ
    • Be confident of who you are in Christ: Your identity, love, significance, and security are in Him.
    • Look for a mate among like-minded individuals, equally committed to Christ.
  • Integrated Interests
    • Serve the Lord in ministry, utilizing your God-given talents and gifts.
    • See who works alongside you in ministry, serving in similar areas.
  • Address Appropriate Areas
    • Lay the foundation for relationship by ensuring your emotional healing from past pain.
    • Prepare for building a relationship by developing spiritual maturity and godly character.
  • Find Friendship
    • Acquaintance: Focus on being content in Christ and serving God as a single person.
      • Refrain from emotional intimacy.
      • Casual interaction is acceptable, but avoid one-on-one activities.
    • Casual Friendship. Participate in church activities with other individuals in group settings.
      • Refrain from emotional intimacy.
      • Share surface feelings but avoid one-on-one activities.
    • Close Friendship. Share God's vision, discover spiritual gifts, limit intimate one-on-one talk.
      • Share deeper feelings but limit emotional involvement or attachment.
      • Focus on external social activities instead of one-on-one intimate activities.
      • Side hugs are acceptable.
    • Intimate Friendship: Engage in spiritual talk at its deepest, most intimate level. Discuss possibility of marriage and the purpose of courtship as related to your love for God. Discuss the need for spiritual accountability.
      • Share your innermost thoughts, fears, failures, hopes, and dreams.
      • Support each other in times of crisis, pain, and joy. Limit one-on-one emotional interaction.
      • Side hugs and holding hands are acceptable.
  • Acquire Accountability
    • —Begin to become one spiritually, spending one-on-one time in shared prayer and in church.
    • —Commit your courtship to glorify God and help each other grow in Christ.
    • —Start pre-engagement counseling. Seek parental or godly counsel for accountability.
  • Promising Purity
    • —Discuss and document boundaries and limits of a pure relationship.
    • —Increase one-on-one emotional time together.
    • —Side hugs, holding hands, short kisses are acceptable. Limited cuddling.
  • Entering Engagement
    • —Continue becoming one spiritually through prayer, Bible study, church attendance; seek shared ministry opportunities.
    • —Spend one-on-one time sharing deep emotional feelings through vulnerable communication.
    • —Increase holding hands, light kissing and hugging (with caution), and nonsexual touching (not intimate areas).

As the relationship moves toward marriage, continue growth and maturity in becoming unified through prayer, Bible study, church involvement, and ministry. Relate at the deepest spiritual level. Make more and more decisions together as one in Christ. Set aside time each day to share feelings and reflect Christ's love....

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus." (1 John 4:16-17)

Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

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


Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship