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Showing posts with label Bonhoeffer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bonhoeffer. Show all posts

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Bonhoeffer's Discipleship: Lesson 17 - The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship - The Saints - Part 1


 
What better day to present a lesson on the Saints! Thursdays were the nights I taught recovery ministry and initially launched the Community Freedom Ministry that led to me expanding my blog to the podcast and YouTube channel.  

So I find it oddly appropriate and I am happy to announce that I have completed and uploaded  Lesson 17 of “Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship” : an informal study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship – with Lesson  17  “The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship” – The Saints - Part 1   

 

 

Here is a link to the audio podcast: Lesson 17 Podcast

Here is a link to the video on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel:  





It is my prayer that this series will encourage people to read Bonhoeffer’s work but more importantly I hope the lessons encourage people to deepen their faith in Christ by pursuing a life of Christian Discipleship. 

God bless you all. 

 

M. T. Clark  



Power Moves from the Weakest of the Weak - Purity 909


Power Moves from the Weakest of the Weak -  Purity 909    

Purity 909 12/08/2022 Purity 909 Podcast

Purity 909 on YouTube:  


 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pathway leading to the shores of Lake Ontario and to the Webster Pier, just off camera, to the right, comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene at Webster Park while on my meandering journey to Buffalo back on November 10th. 

Well, It’s Thursday again and as is my habit I share photos of pathways on Thursdays, originally because that was the night I used to teach at Celebrate Freedom and encourage people to come and “get set free” from whatever “hurts, habits, and hang ups”, but although that recovery ministry is now disbanded, I still encourage people to get on, or to stay on, the path of Christian Discipleship because I have learned that the Lord calls us to allow Him into all the areas of our lives and doesn’t call us to recover, He calls us to be healed and set free from all the things that would keep us in bondage, especially the lies of the enemy and the world system that propagates them.   

I encourage people to stay the course of Christian discipleship, because frankly, I need to hear these encouragements myself!  While I have been set free from many of the things that used to tie me in knots in the past, to the point where I am utterly amazed at the extent of what the Lord has done in my life, I have come to recognize that I am still a work in progress and could easily be a Romans 7 Christian and lament:

Romans 7:19 (NLT2)
19  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

My eating habits and spending habits are still areas of my life in which I could say I want to do what is good but don’t!   At Parties or Special occasions I will release the restraints and sabotage my health goals by overeating or choosing to eat foods that I know are laden with sugar or carbohydrates, the elements that help our bodies store fat! (https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_7frg4jjd) 

Last night, I went to my church’s Christmas holiday party for men, Starpoint Church’s “Men’s Sock Exchange” for the second year in a row and while I brought an appetizer that consisted of only of meat and cheese, pizza and cookies also happened to be on the buffet line and against my better judgement I threw caution to the wind and had some of each, and even took two slices of pizza home to eat before bed!

So back to the drawing board today.  The good news is that other than Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, I don’t have any more holiday parties on the schedule and with this latest failure I am motivated to “correct the course” as I realized that in truth I have been a little mindless in my eating as I have been enjoying mQuest bars, which are nutritionally okay, two and three at a time, and the other night I decided to get in the “holiday spirit” by eating some Planter’s “Brittle Nut Medley” that I had bought for someone as a gift!  DOH! So yeah, we have to be careful to stay aware of what we are doing because our flesh will cause us to slip up and excuse these “little indulgences” until the point where we are living in denial and sabotaging ourselves.  

I confess all of this, because that’s what I do, and with the hopes that I will now repent. I have already brought it to the Lord in prayer and will lean on His strength to try to right the ship.   Because man, I can be disciplined at times, but boy can I be weak at other times.  

But I am not beating myself up about it, I just plan on doing what is right today, and will endeavor to do what is right tomorrow. That’s all we can do, one day at a time, one moment at a time.  And the best way to stay on course is to keep walking and talking with God as we go.  I noticed I didn’t really consult with the Lord in all these instances of failure… how about that.   In all seriousness, I plan on seriously repenting and to start journalling my food intake to try to keep self-aware.  I planned on doing that but the app I used in the past to do that changed and made it “hard”.  I know “lame excuse” but I see the root of my failure, a lack of self-awareness.

Anyway last night, the men’s sock exchange was a fun event. It gives Christian men an opportunity to fellowship, to eat, and to have some fun with the “white elephant gift exchange” game, where the men can choose to keep the gift they receive or “steal” someone else’s gift.  So when you get a gift you don’t know if you are going to keep it, unless it’s a lame gift, in that case you are pretty guaranteed that it’s yours, but you never know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  

The order of the game is determined by a random draw of numbers, and goes sequentially from 1 to whatever, I think there was 30 people there last night.   A few additional rules for the game include that number 1, the first person to select a gift has the option to steal a gift at the end of the game, because they didn’t have a choice being first,  also in our version it was determined that you could only steal one particular gift 3 times. If something was stolen twice, the third thief would get to keep it as that item was considered “frozen” or “gone”.   Also the person who was “victimized the most, who had been stolen from more times than anyone would also get a “special prize” – which turned out to be gift card to Starbucks.   

Last year, I went home with a pair of Rudoph socks after having stolen a “good pair” of work sock from someone else, getting my just deserts right near the end of the game. So I was a little weary of what to expect and was trying to let go of any expectations of getting anything good and just have fun watching things take place.  

I was even more weary after I saw my number, 11!  I figured there was no way to “win” with 11 because if I got anything good there would be almost 20 thieves who could take it from me!  

Sometimes, these games can be pretty sedate as you can have a crowd who wants to “play fair” but I have noticed that after the first person steals a gift, the stealing increases.  The first few guys just picked presents but number 7 decided to steal a gift, a nice set of hiking socks, from one of the guys that went before him so the “game was a Foot”.  The next couple of guys just picked gifts, but number 10 decided to steal from number 7, the thief had lost his ill gotten gains.   

So it’s my turn, and I can see the opportunity before me.  I could pick a gift and hope for the best, or I could take control of the situation and be assured of my final outcome right here, right now! 

So, I stand up and walk over to number 10 and say: “I’m not getting “zonked” again this year!” and steal the Eddie Bauer, 6 pack of Moisture wicking, odor control, arch support, men’s hiking socks, for myself.  Game recognizes game, and all the men given me a hearty round of applause, for real!  

This is what we call a “power move”. It’s like a prison inmate going up and hitting the biggest baddest dude in the yard on his first day in the penitentiary.  You establish your reputation for being strong or wise by some act that demonstrates “your power”. 

So even though, I was feeling pretty weak with number 11, I seized the day and felt pretty “powerful doing it”! I may not be able to wear these hiking socks until the spring but when I do I can remember this moment and laugh and take a little pride in how I “beat them” at their own game.   

This is a silly example of course, and I know that I am quite weak in many ways, but this little anecdote from last night’s party demonstrates a basica principle of life and Christian discipleship.  The Lord has put us where we are in life, in this time and season, and as we go we will be presented with opportunities and choices of what to do.   And its up to us to:

1.    Be aware – if I wasn’t paying attention to the rules or what was going on I could have missed this opportunity to “get something good”

2.    Remember our pasts and learn from them -  The sting of last year’s “zonk” was at the forefront of my mind and I was trying to avoid a similar outcome

3.    Hope -  Although, with my disappointing number draw,  I was hopeful that “some how and in some way” I’d get something good

4.    Act – although the circumstances fell in my favor, we call that being “blessed” in Christian circles, - I still had to be “bold and courageous” and act.  

And these are  our walking instructions on the path of Christian discipleship. 

Be Aware

Remember Our Pasts, and what we have learned from  the word of God in our pasts, – and learn from It 

Hope – and Pray

Act – DO SOMETHING – When the time is right, Get ‘er done. 

So although we can be weak at times, even us weaklings can pull off a power move on occasion, but I have to remind you just how weak we are and that the best way and the most power we can draw from is found when we follow the Lord. 

So keep walking and talking with God, He will help you in your weakness and when you walk in His ways you can know His awesome power that launches you into a new life of freedom and  victory

 

Unfortunately, I am weak and short on time so I will have to share a Bible verse from the NLT Promise book for men tomorrow..


___________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we 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 Ten

The Body of Christ, continues

 

The earthly body of Jesus is crucified and dies. In his death the new humanity is also crucified and dies with him. Since Christ had not taken on an individual human being, but rather human ‘form’, sinful flesh, human ‘nature’, all that he bore, therefore, suffers and dies with him. All our infirmities and all our sin he bears to the cross. It is we who are crucified with him and who die with him. True, Christ’s earthly body dies, but only to rise again from death as an incorruptible, transfigured body. It is the same body—the tomb was, indeed, empty!—and yet it is a new body. Jesus thus brings humanity not only into death with him, but also into the resurrection. Thus even in his glorified body he still bears the humanity which he had taken on during his days on earth.

How then do we come to participate in this body of Christ who did all this for us? For this much is certain: there is no community with Jesus Christ other than the community with his body! It is in this body alone that we are accepted and able to find salvation! The way we do gain a share in the community of the body of Christ is through the two sacraments of his body, that is, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In a very transparent allusion, John the Evangelist reports that from the crucified body of Jesus Christ there issued water and blood, the elements of both sacraments (John 19:34, 35). This testimony is confirmed by Paul when he ties membership in the body of Christ strictly to these two sacraments. The sacraments have their origin and goal in the body of Christ. Sacraments exist only because there is a body of Christ. There they begin and end. The word of proclamation alone is not sufficient to bring us into community with the body of Jesus Christ; the sacrament is necessary too. Baptism incorporates us as members into the unity of the body of Christ. The Lord’s Supper keeps us in this community (κοινωνία) with Christ’s body. Baptism makes us members of the body of Christ. We are “baptized into” Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3); we are “brought into one body by baptism” (1 Cor. 12:13). In our death in baptism, the Holy Spirit thus appropriates to us personally what Christ in his body has gained for the whole of humanity. We receive the community of the body of Christ in the same way the disciples and followers of Jesus received it in the early days, and this means that we are now “with Christ” and “in Christ,” and that “Christ is in us.” Once the body of Christ is properly understood, the meaning of these expressions becomes perfectly clear.

It is true that all human beings as such are “with Christ” as a consequence of the incarnation, since Jesus bears the whole of human nature. His life, death, and resurrection are thus real events which involve all human beings (Rom. 5:18ff.; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:14). Nevertheless, Christians are “with Christ” in a special sense. What for the rest of humanity becomes a cause of death is for Christians a gift of grace. In baptism they are assured that they have “died with Christ” (Rom. 6:8; Col. 2:20), are “crucified with him” (Rom. 6:6), “buried with him” (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12), and “planted together [with him] in the likeness of his death” (Rom. 6:5), and that they will therefore also live with him (Rom. 6:8; Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:12; 2 Tim. 2:11; 2 Cor. 7:3). The reason that “we are with Christ” is that Christ is Immanuel, “God with us.” Only if we come to know Christ in this way does our “being with Christ” become a gift of grace. We are then “baptized into Christ” (είς), into the community of his suffering. We become ourselves members of this body, and the community of those who are baptized becomes a body which is none other than Christ’s own body. They are thus “in Christ” (έν), and “Christ is in them.” They are no longer “under the law” (Rom. 2:12; 3:19), no longer “in the flesh” (Rom. 7:5; 8:3, 8, 9; 2 Cor. 10:3), no longer “in Adam” (1 Cor. 15:22). With their entire existence and throughout all expressions of their life they are henceforth “in Christ.”

Paul can describe the miracle of Christ’s incarnation in an almost infinite variety of perspectives. Everything we have said thus far may be summed up in the phrase: Christ is “for us,” not only in his word and his attitude toward us, but in his bodily life. Christ stands bodily before God in the place that should be ours. He has stepped into our place. He suffers and dies for us, and is able to do so because he bears our flesh (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1:4; Titus 2:14; 1 Thess. 5:10, etc.). The body of Jesus Christ is “for us” in the strictest sense of the word—on the cross, in the word, in baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper. All bodily community with Jesus Christ rests on this fact.[1]

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

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

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

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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), 215–217.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Overcoming 101 - Saying Goodbye and Getting Over “The Hump” - Purity 908

 


Overcoming 101 - Saying Goodbye and Getting Over “The Hump”  -  Purity 908

Purity 908 12/07/2022 Purity 908 Podcast

Purity 908 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of Bell Mountain from the shores of Chatuge Lake comes to us from a friend who shared this scene from Hiawassee Georgia on social media back on November 27th.   This particular friend’s travels have been highlighted often on the blog and its been a while since I have used any of his “stuff” but I wanted to let them know that “I see you, brother” and to thank him for his generosity in sharing his experiences with his friends.  

Well, it’s Wednesday again and I share our adventurous friend’s photo of Bell Mountain today to visual represent our arrival at the first “hump day” of December and to highlight the enduring quality of friendship and the personal mountains of adversity that we have to face in life on the path of Christian Discipleship.   

In all honesty, I have never personally met the photographer of today’s work. I made his acquaintance on social media a few years ago and have been following him ever since.  His journey, that I can see, has been an epic one.  From our view of his life, we have “seen” him retire and move from his home in Hillsdale in Upstate NY to hop around all over the place, settling for a time in Kentucky, Florida, and now North Carolina. And even though those were the states he has set up “camp” for a while, he has traveled to all the nearby places in between.  The only thing that hasn’t changed is his faithfulness in sharing the things he sees along the way.  If I am ever at a loss for the photo of the day, he is someone I can look to and can usually count on to have something to “use”.  So, thanks Fred, God bless you and your travelling spirit.   

Friends are people we can count right. Friends are people that we have a bond with that can endure separations and time.  As a CFMA, an encourager, for Freedom in Christ Ministries and as a former teacher, and the last director, of Celebrate Freedom my former church’s, now defunct, recovery ministry.  I have made a lot of friends through the years.  I have increasingly and continually found my freedom in Christ through the years  and since 2015, the year I went into recovery, I have been sharing the message of the hope for a new life of peace and abundant joy that is found through faith in Christ alone.

I have encouraged and walked with a lot of people on the path of Christian Discipleship and unfortunately as I keep walking and talking with God I eventually am separated from their company.  As a facilitator of the Freedom in Christ course, I meet new people and walk with them for 12 weeks or so and then have to wish them well as our paths divert.  However, I consider all the people I have known through my old church, and the people I have met through recovery ministry, and the volunteer work I do at Freedom in Christ ministries as my bothers and sisters in Christ, but also as my friends.  While we may have parted company, for whatever reasons, I still consider them to be my friends no matter how long we have been separated. As I leave the people I meet on the path of Christian Discipleship, I leave with the encouragement that they reach out to me to keep in touch or if they need or want to talk.  

With my two household existence, and my secular and ministry work, my availability is something that is hard to pin down on a regular basis, and let’s face it, if you are walking in the Spirit, the Spirit will move you to places you don’t expect! But I always encourage the people I meet along the way to reach out to me periodically or if they are in need because I want to be a friend they can count on.  

We in the body of Christ need each other.  I know how lonely this road of following the Lord can be and I want to be thought of as someone who is faithful to encourage others who decide to pick up their cross and follow the Lord.  

So Monday morning, an old friend from the past reached out to me to confess that he wanted to talk. I was running out the door to work at the time and suggested they just text me or record a voice message to give me a heads up to tell me what was going on and I would respond in kind later.   But they sheepishly replied to never mind and wished me a “Merry Christmas”.   

So as I was driving down the highway, the Holy Spirit indicated to me to reach out and call them.  My new car likes to highjack my phone and I still don’t quite understand how it works. So I reached out and eventually figured out how to speak though my car and learned that my friend had made some bad turns, suffered the consequences of poor decisions, and wanted some advice about what to do.   

Part of my friend’s testimony though revealed to me the root issue of all his problems: his rebellion.  We walked together for a time in the past but we separated because he went against several of his friends’ advice and got involved in a relationship that proved to be toxic. He also hid his relapse in drug and alcohol use.  He has been running ever since and predictably everything has become a huge mess.      

In his statements to me, in asking for help mind you, he was trying to establish his rights and his freedom to “have a beer” at the end of the day and was lamenting over the how he has been misused or wrongly accused  by the state and the other people in his life.  In essence, he was making the claim that he could do what he wanted and that he was a victim of circumstances.  While he was asking for help, he seemed to deny that he was the problem.   

So what do you do? Agree with him and tell him “the world sucks” or “Yeah, you do what you want!” I don’t think so!

I reminded him of how when he was clean and sober, he was thriving in life and I told him flat out that he had to “say goodbye” to the past, say “goodbye” to the beer, and to start following the Lord again.  I told him that there simply is no other way but the Lord’s way and that half measures don’t work. If he wanted true freedom and peace, he had to follow the Lord and do His will.   

Amazingly, he thanked me and said that he knew that he could count on me to “tell it like it is” and he made the decision to start following the Lord again.  

He has texted me over the last couple of days and says he  feels better and he indicates that he is going to change his story from being a cautionary tale to one that tells of a turn around and a new life of victory.   

I sent him a YouTube video of Bethel’s King of My Heart and an encouraging word to let the Lord rule his heart, just this morning.  

It doesn’t cost a thing to send him an encouraging word but I know just how valuable it is to have a friend in your corner when you decide to “climb that mountain” of problems that you have to overcome when you decide to be real with God and follow where He leads.      

I’m not sure what will happen with my friend but I am praying that he stays faithful to seek the Lord and to surrender his will to God.  It’s hard going on this path of Christian Discipleship but if you keep walking and talking with God, you’ll get over that hump and eventually you will leave the darkness of you old life behind as the Lord will fill your life with meaning and purpose that will just happen to lead you on a journey that never ends whose road is paved with peace, love, and joy.  

So turn it around and follow the Lord into all He has for you.  He did it for me and He is faithful and trustworthy to do it for you, too.     

 

  

--------------------------------------------------------

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

This morning’s meditation verses is:

Isaiah 59:2 (NLT2)
2  It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

 Today’s verse speaks of the spiritual reality of how our sins disrupt the harmony of our relationship with God. 

As born again believers who have put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, nothing can separate us from the love of God or break our relationship with Him.   But when we come into a covenant relationship with the Lord through Jesus Christ, there is an expectation that you are going to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk” of a Christian disciple.   It is expected that when we come to faith in Jesus Christ that we repent. We are expected to turn from our sinful and selfish ways and to start living our lives according to God’s will and ways.  

So what happens, when we don’t?   Well it feels like God has left us because our sin separates us from fellowship with Him.  we don’t experience His presence or blessing because WE have walked away from Him by sinning.  

One of the principles of prayer is to be “right with God” if we expect to have our requests heard and fulfilled.  Today’s verse indicates our prayers won’t “be heard”, fulfilled, because of our sin.   

But the good news is that God will hear us and be with us the moment we repent. Our fellowship with God is re-established the moment we confess our sins to Him and ask for His help. 

So don’t treat your faith like some game where you can “sin-confess”, “sin-confess”, Instead be faithful to never leave the Lord’s side by turning from sin and walking where He would direct you.     

___________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we 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 Ten

The Body of Christ

The first disciples lived in the bodily presence of and in community with Jesus. What is the significance of this fact, and in what way does this community still exist for us? Paul states that through baptism we have become members of the body of Christ. This statement sounds very strange and incomprehensible to us, and thus requires a thorough explanation.

It tells us that those who are baptized are still meant to live, even after the Lord’s death and resurrection, in the bodily presence of and community with Jesus. For those who belong to him, Jesus’ departure does not mean a loss but rather a new gift. For the first disciples the bodily community with Jesus did not mean anything different or anything more than what we have today. Indeed, for us this community is even more definite, more complete, and more certain than it was for them, since we live in full community with the bodily presence of the glorified Lord. Our faith must become fully aware of the magnitude of this gift. The body of Jesus Christ is the ground of our faith and the source of its certainty; the body of Jesus Christ is the one and perfect gift through which we receive our salvation; the body of Jesus Christ is our new life. It is in the body of Jesus Christ that we are accepted by God from eternity.

Since Adam’s fall God sent the divine word to sinful humanity, in order to seek and accept us. This is why we have received God’s word, to reconcile our lost humanity with God. God’s word came as promise and as law. For our sake God’s word became weak and lowly. But human beings rejected this word, refusing to be accepted by God. They offered sacrifices; they performed good works which God was supposed to accept in their stead, thereby letting them go free.

Then the miracle of all miracles takes place. The Son of God becomes a human being. The Word became flesh. The One who had dwelled from all eternity in the Father’s glory, the One who was in the form of God, who in the beginning had been the mediator of creation so that the created world can only be known through him and in him, the One who was very God (1 Cor. 8:6; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6ff.; Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:16; John 1:1ff.; Heb. 1:1ff.)—this One takes on humanity and comes to earth. He takes on humanity by taking on human qualities, human ‘nature’, “sinful flesh,” human form (Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6ff.). Now it is no longer only through the word of preaching that God accepts humanity, but also in the body of Christ. God’s mercy sends the Son in the flesh, so that in his flesh he may shoulder and carry all of humanity. The Son of God accepts all of humanity in bodily form, the same humanity which in hate of God and pride of the flesh had rejected the incorporeal, invisible word of God. In the body of Jesus Christ humanity is now truly and bodily accepted; it is accepted as it is, out of God’s mercy.

When contemplating this miracle, the early church fathers insisted passionately that while it was necessary to say that God had taken on human nature, it was wrong to say that God had chosen a single, perfect human being with whom God would then unite. God became human. This means God took on the whole of our sick and sinful human nature, the whole of humanity which had fallen away from God. It does not mean, however, that God took on the individual human being Jesus. The entire gospel message can be understood properly only in light of this crucial distinction. The body of Jesus Christ, in which we together with all of humanity are accepted by God, has now become the foundation of our salvation.

The flesh borne by Christ was sinful flesh—yet borne without sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15). Wherever his human body is, there all flesh is being accepted. “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” Only by bearing all our infirmities and sorrows in his own body was Jesus able to heal the infirmities and sorrows of human nature (Matt. 8:15–17). “He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” He bore our sin, and was therefore able to forgive sin; for in his body our sinful flesh had been “accepted.” This is why Jesus accepted sinners (Luke 15:2): he bore them in his own body. In Jesus the “acceptable (δεκτόν) year of the Lord” had dawned (Luke 4:19).

The incarnate Son of God was thus both an individual self and the new humanity. Whatever he did was at the same time also done on behalf of the new humanity which he bore in his body. He is thus a second Adam, or the “last” Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). For Adam too was both an individual self and at the same time the whole of humanity. Adam also bore the whole of humanity in himself. In him all of humanity has fallen; in “Adam” (which in Hebrew means “human being”), humanity as such has fallen (Rom. 5:19). Christ is the second human being (1 Cor. 15:47) in whom the new humanity is created. He is the “new human being.”

It is only with this perspective in mind that we are able to understand the nature of the bodily community which the disciples enjoyed with Jesus. The bond between Jesus and the disciples who followed him was a bodily bond. This was no accident but a necessary consequence of the incarnation. A prophet and teacher would not need followers, but only students and listeners. But the incarnate Son of God who took on human flesh does need a community of followers [Nachfolgergemeinde] who not only participate in his teaching but also in his body. It is thus in the body of Christ that the disciples have community. They live and suffer in bodily community with Jesus. By being in community with the body of Jesus they are placed under the burden of the cross. For in that body they are all borne and accepted.[1]

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

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

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

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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), 213–215.


Monday, December 5, 2022

Roughing it Through - Purity 906


Roughing it Through -  Purity 906

Purity 906 12/05/2022 Purity 906 Podcast

Purity 906 On YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo comfy beach furniture in the foreground of palm trees, blue skies, and the blue water of the Caribbean Sea comes to us from a friend who is “roughing it for a bit” while on a December vacation at the Westin Cozumel in San de Miguel de Cozumel, Mexico.   Looking at this scene, I can almost feel the warm Caribbean breeze coming off of the water and can imagine the smell of coconuts or pineapple from suntan oil or a virgin Pina Colada.  

But to paraphrase a line from the rapper, ICE-T from the intro of his song Body Count: “Stuff ain’t like that! It’s real messed up”!  

Yup, It’s Monday and the 5th day of December in Upstate NY and while I am going to delight over the fact that there is no snow in the forecast in my neck of the woods, I’m not on vacation in the Caribbean, so it’s back to work and I can only expect to be enjoying the brisk air of the great outdoors with a current temperature of 22 degrees, and an expected high of 44 degrees, and sunny skies!   

But seriously, the joy of the Lord is my strength, and because of Him I can simultaneously have joy for my friend in the Caribbean, not envy, and actually find joy on Monday morning for the relative “goodness” of my forecast because I know it could always be worse! For December in NY, I’ll take it!

I am well rested this Monday morning after a weekend with my wife at our countryside home and am filled with the joy and anticipation of my own Christmas vacation that is only a couple of weeks away.  

So to remind you all of a couple of the letters on our Joy finding acronym,  MT has found joy this morning in 4 out of the 5 letters of “GAMES” - 

1 – G – Gratitude - for right now – feeling good physically, emotionally, and spiritually at this present moment while writing, thank you very much

2 – A- Anticipation – looking forward to things in the future, like the temperature rising today, and my Christmas vacation in a couple of weeks! 

3 – M – Memories – reflecting on good things in the past, like my past weekend with my wife! 

4 – E- Experience – I have joy in the experience of writing and recording this journal/ blog/podcast entry! and can plan other experiences that give me joy! 

The “S” is singing – and I will spare you that, I guess, but I will probably do that on the drive to work!

No wonder why my life is filled with joy! But as I stated, while anyone can work “GAMES” to get joy out of their experience of life, when you have a relationship with the Lord, through faith in Jesus Christ, you have the joy of the Lord and the peace that goes beyond all understanding because YOU KNOW – you are forgiven, you are loved, and YOU’RE “GONNA LIVE FOREVER…. Gonna Live For Ever”  Okay got the singing out of the way too!

And speaking of getting things out of the way…. 

I know… what about those times in life when people, things, or circumstance are “rough”, and it is difficult to find joy?  When “stuff ain’t like that” when they are “real messed up”?    When are people, places ,or things blocking your goals?  

Well,

James 1:2-5 (NLT2) tells us
2  Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
4  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
5  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

The joy of trials of course can only be experienced when you go through them with God, when you ask Him to give you strength and wisdom, He will help you either to overcome or to endure them and sometimes it’s a little bit of both.  

On Saturday, my wife, stepdaughter, and I faced the “negative circumstances” of a rainy day, blocking our goal, to enjoy some time doing some holiday themed outdoor activities.  But when that negative circumstance faced us, I recalled the indoor holiday splendor of Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield Massachusetts and suddenly we were on a road trip and was pleasantly surprised to watch my wife and stepdaughter who are “not into candles” have their minds changed by the quality scents that they discovered at Yankee Candle Village! Afterwards, we stopped at Friendly’s and overindulged with food and ice cream.  So although we faced the negative circumstances, we discovered something spontaneous that salvaged the day but as the darkness fell, we were ready get home to relax.  

Unfortunately, however, we weren’t done with facing obstacles to our “goals”.  With thoughts of “That was fun, but I just want to go home” dancing in our heads we began our return trip, getting on MA 112,  where we discovered a tree in the middle of the road blocking our way!

I don’t know if you are familiar with travelling through Massachusetts and Vermont in the Green Mountain Area of New England, but it probably won’t surprise you that there are not a whole lot of options for alternate routes.  But when we saw that we couldn’t go forward my wife did the best that she could to navigate using my phone to find us a way around the blocked road. 

SO we back tracked a way and started taking side roads that quickly turned into winding dirt roads! But the GPS eventually self-corrected and announced that it found a way! So we followed it and reemerged on MA 112, hoping we were past the obstacle we encountered.    

But the first road sign I saw was very familiar and the next one confirmed to me that we were going right back to where we started!  So with no confidence that we would find a way around the tree I just drove towards it hoping that someone had called the county or state to remove it.  

But it hadn’t been that long, and cars were lined up on either side of the tree.  Unbelievably, I just started responding, by putting on a head lamp I keep in my car and leaving the car and walking up the hill to “go help”!

As I walked up, the person in the car ahead of me, said “If they need help moving things, let me know!”  “Okay…” I thought… focusing on the massive trees that had fallen in the road.  

I was member of the line crew for a few years and did “pole break” callouts at night before so I guess this wasn’t my first rodeo with picking up the broken things before and I as I walked up to the scene decided to take of my glasses, as I wasn’t going to be doing any reading, and I didn’t think it would fill the men I encountered with confidence when “Jerry Lewis” or “Poindexter” showed up to help!

When I got on the scene one man was standing watching as another man was struggling to pull his chainsaw out of the huge tree in which it was stuck. In fact there were 2 chainsaws stuck in the tree, the second chainsaw guy had apparently left to go get chains or a bigger saw or something, leaving a bystander to watch this other chainsaw guy to struggle.  

I just started to “do what I could” to “get the stuff out of my way”.  So I just started grabbing tree limbs and broken off sections of trees and throwing them into the darkness on the side of the road.  The bystander immediately got the idea to do the same.  So while chainsaw guy was playing tug of war with tree to get his saw free we were able to clear a quarter of the road on the left side.  Another guy showed up stating he had a truck and a chain that could be used to pull the tree and left to go get it and bring it up.  While truck guy was gone, other men showed up to clear branches, and thank God – chainsaw guy got his saw loose and revved it up and used better tactics to make “big tree” into smaller pieces. 

Truck guy showed up and even though we didn’t end up using his truck or chain it was a good thing that he did.  Chain saw guy was making good progress but there was a huge branch of the tree still overhead and he wasn’t clearly. While the other men were either just standing around or were clearing branches, I and truck guy voiced our concerns that chainsaw guy was about to risk injury by not thinking and just cutting.  Luckily he listened to “truck guy’s” suggestion to “Cut it from the other side” because  he was planning to cut by reaching up – something you shouldn’t do.  So he got safely out of his own way and with a decisive cut, the overhead tree like branch came safely crashing down!

Chainsaw guy just had to do one more cut and I and one of the first guys on the scene who had helped me move a few other sections of tree prior to this were able to lift up the last piece and clear the road. Throughout, I just kept working and throwing everything into the project, clearing everything from mini trees to twigs off the road and encouraging the other men, with a “That’s it brother”  or a “Way to go” where appropriate.    

With the road cleared,  we all celebrated for a second and then we were off to our vehicles, an impromptu band of brothers had “got ‘er done” with never introducing ourselves or knowing where we were from.  As I ran back to my car, “Truck guy” gave me a hearty “Good job” and other motorists shouted their “thanks”.   I was pumped by the adrenaline of the moment and just very satisfied with my efforts and by the fact that we could get out of there.

So in life, you may run into obstacles that you can get around.  We avoided a rainy day by finding something indoors to do.  But even though we tried to get  around that tree, there was no way to go but to go through it.  

And that’s life, we face life head on, and we use our wisdom and abilities to deal it with the best we can.   I know that this story sounds like a great tale of men overcoming the elements, but I won’t beat my chest and say, “we did it”.  Because I know the One who is really in charge, and I know that He was with us.  Nobody got hurt. Believe me, people could have.  While “Truck guy” didn’t get to use his truck or chain, God put him there to speak wisdom into the situation. 

While I was, saying “Yo! Brother, watch you’re back!’, truck guy’s experience and direction gave chainsaw guy a moment to think and to be safe.  As chainsaw saw guy took his instructions, and the other men just stood around at a distance, truck guy and I looked at each other and smiled and shook our heads, knowing that we just might have been instrumental in saving chainsaw guy embarrassment or injury. 

So while some people, may doubt that God had anything to do with this situation, I point out our safety and success here all under His watch and he was instrumental in bringing all of these men together to “do good” for others.  

So, I know it’s Monday and we may have to “rough it for a bit”, for real, but let’s remember that “all we can do is all we can do “and no matter what we face, when we keep walking and talking with God, we can endure or overcome whatever obstacles we face in life, and we can do it with joy!

--------------------------------------------------------

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Hebrews 6:10-12 (NLT2)
10  For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.
11  Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.
12  Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

 Today’s verses encourage us because it points out the fact that “GOD knows, and He will not forget” how hard we work and how we love and care for others.  

Often in life, we can feel that nobody appreciates what we do, how hard we work or how much we do to take care of others. Those feelings of not being appreciated can make us feel like we are being taken for granted and cause us to become depressed.  

But today’s verses tell us that God sees what we do, that He will not forget our efforts to work and love others, and that we should continue to “keep doing what we are doing” because He sees it and will reward us. We will inherit the promise of God because of our faith and endurance.  

So have faith, endure all things on your plate, and keep working and keep loving others because its’ the right thing to do, according to God, and because we can trust that God won’t forget it and will lead us to “good things” in His kingdom, forever and always.

___________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we 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

In the Synoptic Gospels the concept of discipleship can express almost the full breadth and content of relations between the disciple and Jesus Christ. In the Pauline texts, however, this concept recedes almost completely into the background. Paul’s primary concern is not to proclaim the story of the Lord’s earthly life to us, but rather his presence as the risen and glorified Lord, and his work for us. This requires him to develop a new and distinctive terminology. Paul derives this new terminology from the special nature of his subject matter; its purpose is to capture what unites the proclamation of the one Lord who lived, died, and rose again. To express the full witness of Christ requires more than a single set of terms. Paul’s terminology thus confirms that of the Synoptic Gospels, and vice versa. Neither terminology is intrinsically preferable to the other. After all, we do not “belong to Paul, or to Apollos, or to Cephas, or to Christ”; instead, our faith rests on the unity of the scriptural testimony to Christ. If we hold that the Christ Paul proclaims is still present to us in the same way, whereas the Synoptic Gospels testify to a presence of Christ which we no longer know, we break up the unity of scripture.[2] True, many regard the use of such language as reflecting thought that is grounded in history and in keeping with the Reformation. But in fact, it is just the opposite, namely, religious enthusiasm of the most dangerous kind. For how do we know that Christ is still present with us today in the way that Paul proclaims? How else, but from scripture itself? Or should this perhaps be the place to talk about an experience of Christ’s presence and reality that would be free and independent of the word of scripture? But if it is indeed scripture alone that assures us of Christ’s presence, then it must be scripture as a whole, the scripture which also testifies to the ongoing presence of the synoptic Jesus Christ. The synoptic Christ is neither more nor less distant from us than the Christ of Paul. The Christ who is present with us is the Christ to whom the whole of scripture testifies. He is the incarnate, crucified, risen, and glorified Christ; and he encounters us in his word. The different terminology with which the Synoptic Gospels and Paul communicate this message does not undermine the unity of the scriptural testimony.

What the Synoptics describe as hearing and following the call to discipleship, Paul expresses with the concept of baptism.

Baptism is not something we offer to God. It is, rather, something Jesus Christ offers to us. It is grounded solely in the will of Jesus Christ, as expressed in his gracious call. Baptism is essentially a paradoxically passive action; it means being baptized, suffering Christ’s call. In baptism we become Christ’s possession. The name of Jesus Christ is spoken over baptismal candidates, they gain a share in that name; they are baptized “into Jesus Christ” (είζ, Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27; Matt. 28:19). They now belong to Jesus Christ. Having been rescued from the rule of this world, they now have become Christ’s own.

Baptism thus implies a break. Christ invades the realm of Satan and lays hold of those who belong to him, thereby creating his church-community [Gemeinde]. Past and present are thus torn asunder. The old has passed away, everything has become new. The break does not come about by our breaking our chains out of an unquenchable thirst to see our life and all things ordered in a new and free way. Long ago, Christ himself had already brought about that break. In baptism this break now also takes effect in my own life. I am deprived of my immediate relationship to the given realities of the world, since Christ the mediator and Lord has stepped in between me and the world. Those who are baptized no longer belong to the world, no longer serve the world, and are no longer subject to it. They belong to Christ alone, and relate to the world only through Christ.

The break with the world is absolute. It requires and causes our death. In baptism we die together with our old world. This death must be understood in the strictest sense as an event that is suffered. It is not as if we were asked to bring about this death ourselves through various kinds of sacrifice and renunciation. That would be an impossible attempt. Such a death would never be the death of the old self which Christ demands. The old self cannot kill itself. It cannot will its own death. We die in Christ alone; we die through Christ and with Christ. Christ is our death. It is for the sake of community with Christ, and only in that community, that we die. In baptism we receive both community with Christ and our death as a gift of grace.[12] This death is a gift of grace which we can never create for ourselves. True, in this death judgment is passed on the old self and its sin. But out of this judgment rises the new self which has died to the world and to sin. This death is thus not the final, angry rejection of the creature by its creator but rather the gracious acceptance of the creature by the creator. This death taking place in baptism is the gracious death which is ours through the death of Christ. It is the death in the power and community of the cross of Christ. Those who become Christ’s own must come under his cross. They must suffer and die with him. Those who are granted community with Christ must die the grace-filled death of baptism. That is the rule of the cross of Christ under which Jesus places his disciples. Christ’s death and cross were cruel and hard; however, because of our community with him, the yoke of our cross is easy and light.[15] The cross of Christ is the gracious death, which we die once and for all in our baptism; the cross to which we are called is our daily dying in the power of the death accomplished by Christ. Baptism thus means to be received into the community of the cross of Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:3ff.; Col. 2:12). The believer is placed under the cross of Christ.[1]

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

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

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

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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), 205–209.