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Showing posts with label Deuteronomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Deuteronomy. Show all posts

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Just Breathe… and Follow Him - Purity 939

 

 Just Breathe… and Follow Him - Purity 939

Purity 939 01/11/2023 Purity 939 Podcast

Purity 939 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of an ascending boardwalk bridge bathed in sunlight underneath a clear blue sky comes to us from a friend who shared this scene from “Port A” back on May 7th of 2022 with the simple caption: “Ahhhhh… just breathe”.  

Well it’s Thursday again, and as is my habit I share my friends’ photo as a visual representation of the path of Christian Discipleship and I share her sentiment to encourage anyone who would hear or read this message to pause and rest in the moment and to consider drawing closer to God with the way you live your life.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a life of peace and joy is the tendency for us to think of our relationship with the Lord as being separate from the rest of our lives. Our society and even our “church culture” can paint the picture that God is to be enjoyed in the four walls of a church and be left there to be visited once a week or on special occasions.  The belief that there has to be a separation of “church” and the rest of our lives seeks to put God in a box but invariably keeps the ones who hold such a view in a doubleminded world view and limited in their faith and in experiencing the fruit of the Spirit from growing in their lives.   

Such a categorization and division of the holy and the secular would have us serving two masters and unfortunately the time spent in each realm would reveal that we might relate to the world more than we do to God.  

So how do we resolve this?

Do we pack up our stuff and camp out on the church’s front lawn or let the pastor know that we are officially drawing closer to God so we will be setting up house in whatever space they can provide us?  

While those ideas would certainly show where your heart is, a better idea would be to welcome the Lord to move in with you and to ask Him to go with you as you walk through life.  

The good news is that you won’t be disrupting God. He’s omnipresent, everywhere at once, so He doesn’t even have to pack a bag to be your travelling companion through life.  The truth is that if you have made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit  lives in you already and He will be happy to pour out into all the aspects of your life.

Now the idea of going on some spiritual journey might be a little scary to some, as we don’t know what that is like or because we fear what the Lord will have us do. Or we could fear that following the unseen God is just crazy.  To that I would echo the Lord’s sentiments from His word in:

Joshua 1:9 (NKJV) where God said
9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

And

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV) where Moses encouraged:
6  Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

And in case you are one of those “that was written to the nation of Israel” guys. Here is a verse directly concerning “us” -  the church, Christians:

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) where Paul, writing about Christians said:
7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

It is the Same God from the Old to the New Testament, and His word encourages that:

God is with us wherever we go, So let’s talk to Him. 

God will never leave us or forsake us, So let’s draw on His presence, strength and guidance to lead us.  

And God’s Spirit lives in us, to give us the power to overcome our fears, to love like He loves,  and He assures us that following Him can be done with a sound mind.   

So just breathe and follow Him.

I’m sharing a link from open bible dot info’s list of “Do not fear” verses on the blog today (https://www.openbible.info/topics/do_not_fear)  to encourage you and to assure you that you need not fear developing your relationship with the Lord.   He will teach you through His word and His presence, if you just stop, take a deep breath and decide to follow where ever He leads you. 

Don’t worry. He will most likely lead you to a body of Bible believing Christians where you can grow and discover His purpose for your life.   

If you are local to the capital district I am sharing the link to this week’s “Pray Together prayer event. ( https://starpoint.church/events/?fbclid=IwAR2Bi4rGW8KfvIZKXwIe8njRlmmYvMb8MRTESB5b2WDLvRdCytqKB9_oQ-g?sapurl=LytlMzE4L2xiL2V2Lyt3MzNoM3ljP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZSZyZWNlbnRSb3V0ZT1hcHAud2ViLWFwcC5saWJyYXJ5LmNhbGVuZGFyJnJlY2VudFJvdXRlU2x1Zz0lMkI5emdrZ3I1) Consider it my invitation to you to “Come and See” what the Lord may do in this event.   And to possibly join one of the four churches represented here.  

If you are not local and yearn for a deeper walk with God and to experience your freedom in Christ, I am sharing a link to Freedom in Christ Ministries where you can boldly step out and join an online class (https://www.ficm.org/courses/level-1-get-started/ ). I will be leading the Freedom in Christ course for Men, on Tuesday nights, but there are many to choose from and I know that any one of them can help you in further developing your relationship with God. Classes begin near the end of the month, so sign up today.   

Whether you can make it to the local prayer event, sign up for a class, or not, let me encourage you to “just breathe” and to make the daily decision to keep walking and talking with God and to discover the life of abundant peace and joy, and the other fruit of the Spirit, that He has for you.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ephesians 3:19 (NLT2)
19  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Today’s verse encourages us that we are made complete when we experience God’s love that provides us with all the fullness of life, even though it may be too great to understand.  

I remember a worship song that considered the question of God’s Amazing love.   There are others but Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Love” states: 

“I'm forgiven because You were forsaken,

I'm accepted, You were condemned.

I am alive and well, Your sprit is within me,

Because You died and rose again.

Amazing love,

How can it be?

That You, my King would die for me?

Amazing love,

I know it's true.

It's my joy to honor You,

In all I do, I honor You.”  

(https://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/c/chris_tomlin/amazing_love.html)

It's difficult to understand why God would send His Son to die us, but He did and He did it because of His love for us. 

And when we know God’s love, and make Jesus our Lord and Savior, it fills the empty our lives that only God was meant to fill.  God’s love gives us the fullness of life and so I echo Paul’s prayer that even though you may not be able to fully understand it: I pray that you experience the love of Christ and allow Him to give you the fullness of life and the power that only comes from God.

___________________________________________

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 A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God”

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 SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER THREE

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN ADMINISTRATION continues

3. God governs the children of men

We fully appreciate the fact that this is the most difficult part of our subject, and, accordingly, it will be dealt with at greater length in the pages that follow; but at present we consider the fact of God’s government over men in general, before we attempt to deal with the problem in detail.

Two alternatives confront us, and between them we are obliged to choose: either God governs, or He is governed; either God rules, or He is ruled; either God has His way, or men have theirs. And is our choice between these alternatives hard to make? Shall we say that in man we behold a creature so unruly that he is beyond God’s control? Shall we say that sin has alienated the sinner so far from the thrice Holy One that he is outside the pale of His jurisdiction? Or, shall we say that man has been endowed with moral responsibility, and therefore God must leave him entirely free, at least during the period of his probation? Does it necessarily follow because the natural man is an outlaw against heaven, a rebel against the Divine government, that God is unable to fulfil His purpose through him? We mean, not merely that He may overrule the effects of the actions of evil-doers, nor that He will yet bring the wicked to stand before His judgment-bar so that sentence of punishment may be passed upon them—multitudes of non-Christians believe these things—but, we mean, that every action of the most lawless of His subjects is entirely beneath His control, yea that the actor is, though unknown to himself, carrying out the secret decrees of the Most High. Was it not thus with Judas? and is it possible to select a more extreme case? If then the arch-rebel was performing the counsel of God is it any greater tax upon our faith to believe the same of all rebels?

Our present object is no philosophic inquiry nor metaphysical causistry, but to ascertain the teaching of Scripture upon this profound theme. To the Law and the Testimony, for there only can we learn of the Divine government—its character, its design, its modus operandi, its scope. What then has it pleased God to reveal to us in His blessed Word concerning His rule over the works of His hands, and particularly, over the one who originally was made in His own image and likeness?

“In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). What a sweeping assertion is this! These words, be it noted, were addressed, not to one of the churches of God, not to a company of saints who had reached an exalted plane of spirituality, but to a heathen audience, to those who worshipped “the unknown God” and who “mocked” when they heard of the resurrection of the dead. And yet, to the Athenian philosophers, to the Epicureans and Stoics, the apostle Paul did not hesitate to affirm that they lived and moved and had their being in God, which signified not only that they owed their existence and preservation to the One who made the world and all things therein, but also that their very actions were encompassed and therefore controlled by the Lord of heaven and earth. Compare Dan. 5:23, last clause!

“The disposings (margin) of the heart, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:1). Mark that the above declaration is of general application—it is of “man,” not simply of believers, that this is predicated. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps” (Prov. 16:9). If the Lord directs the steps of a man, is it not proof that he is being controlled or governed by God? Again: “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand” (Prov. 19:21). Can this mean anything less than, that no matter what man may desire and plan, it is the will of his Maker which is executed? As an illustration take the “Rich Fool.” The “devices” of his heart are made known to us—“And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there I will bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” Such were the “devices” of his heart, nevertheless it was “the counsel of the Lord” that stood. The “I will’s” of the rich man came to nought, for “God said unto him, Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee” (Luke 12).

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Prov. 21:1). What could be more explicit? Out of the heart are “the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23), for as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). If then the heart is in the hand of the Lord, and if “He turneth it whithersoever He will,” then is it not clear that men, yea, governors and rulers, and so all men, are completely beneath the governmental control of the Almighty!

No limitations must be placed upon the above declarations. To insist that some men, at least, do thwart God’s will and overturn His counsels, is to repudiate other scriptures equally explicit. Weigh well the following: “But He is one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13). “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa. 33:11). “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). “For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” (Isa. 14:27). “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). There is no ambiguity in these passages. They affirm in the most unequivocal and unqualified terms that it is impossible to bring to naught the purpose of Jehovah.

We read the Scriptures in vain if we fail to discover that the actions of men, evil men as well as good, are governed by the Lord God. Nimrod and his fellows determined to erect the tower of Babel, but ere their task was accomplished God frustrated their plans. God called Abraham “alone” (Isa. 51:2), but his kinsfolk accompanied him as he left Ur of the Chaldees. Was then the will of the Lord defeated? Nay, verily. Mark the sequel. Terah died before Canaan was reached (Gen. 11:31), and though Lot accompanied his uncle into the land of promise, he soon separated from him and settled down in Sodom. Jacob was the child to whom the inheritance was promised, and though Isaac sought to reverse Jehovah’s decree and bestow the blessing upon Esau, his efforts came to naught. Esau again swore vengeance upon Jacob, but when next they met they wept for joy instead of fighting in hate. The brethren of Joseph determined his destruction but their evil counsels were overthrown. Pharaoh refused to let Israel carry out the instructions of Jehovah and perished in the Red Sea for his pains. Balak hired Balaam to curse the Israelites but God compelled him to bless them. Haman erected a gallows for Mordecai but was hanged upon it himself. Jonah resisted the revealed will of God but what became of his efforts?

Ah, the heathen may “rage” and the people imagine a “vain thing;” the kings of earth may “set themselves,” and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Christ, saying, “Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us” (Psa. 2:1–3). But is the great God perturbed or disturbed by the rebellion of his puny creatures? No, indeed: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision” (v. 4). He is infinitely exalted above all, and the greatest confederacies of earth’s pawns, and their most extensive and vigorous preparations to defeat His purpose are, in His sight, altogether purile. He looks upon their puny efforts, not only without any alarm, but He “laughs” at their folly; He treats their impotency with “derision.” He knows that He can crush them like moths when He pleases, or consume them in a moment with the breath of His mouth. Ah, it is but “a vain thing” for the potsherds of the earth to strive with the glorious Majesty of Heaven. Such is our God; worship ye Him.

Mark, too, the sovereignty which God displayed in His dealings with men! Moses who was slow of speech, and not Aaron his elder brother who was not slow of speech, was the one chosen to be His ambassador in demanding from Egypt’s monarch the release of His oppressed people. Moses again, though greatly beloved, utters one hasty word and was excluded from Canaan; whereas Elijah, passionately murmurs and suffers but a mild rebuke, and was afterwards taken to heaven without seeing death! Uzzah merely touched the ark and was instantly slain, whereas the Philistines carried it off in insulting triumph and suffered no immediate harm. Displays of grace which would have brought a doomed Sodom to repentance failed to move an highly privileged Capernaum. Mighty works which would have subdued Tyre and Sidon left the upbraided cities of Galilee under the curse of a rejected Gospel. If they would have prevailed over the former, why were thy not wrought there? If they proved ineffectual to deliver the latter then why perform them? What exhibitions are these of the sovereign will of the Most High?[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)

“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), 47–51.


Saturday, December 31, 2022

At Year’s End – A Time of Reflection and Rejoicing. - Purity 929

 

At Year’s End – A Time of Reflection and Rejoicing. -   Purity 929

Purity 929 12/31/2022 Purity 929 Podcast

Purity 929 on YouTube: 


YouTube flipped the Thumbnail on its side once again,
 I think we have been flipped towards the right, to the left, and upside down at least once this year... 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of a boardwalk pathway that offers one last turn before the promise of coming into the bright light at the end of the road comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene at what was the first of several parks that my wife, TammyLyn, and I would visit in the Tampa Bay area while on our honeymoon back of February 20th. 

Well this is IT, the last day of 2022, and we are less than 20 hours (at the time I write this) before we say good bye to the year passed and say “Hello” to 2023!  

Before I launch into a recap and reflection of what has transpired in 2022’s 525,6000 minutes and testify to another year of walking in the Spirit and enjoying another season of knowing God’s love, and so much more, I would like to share a list of questions that I saw shared online that I thought could be a good vehicle for anyone reading or hearing this message to reflect on the past 365 days to “remember the times” because as the following Bible verses indicate, we should remember and learn from our lives as we go (https://www.openbible.info/topics/remembering) .  

Deuteronomy 32:7 (NKJV)
7  "Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:

Deuteronomy 6:12 (NKJV)
12  then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Psalm 77:10-12 (NKJV)
10  And I said, "This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." 11  I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12  I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.

 And as Paul told those he was departing in

 Acts 20:35 (NKJV)

35  I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

So I give you these questions to ask yourself and to consider as we mark another year of life and remember the times, mourn the losses, celebrate the victories, try to learn from our experiences, and thank the Lord our God for it all.  

The questions I saw in a meme posted on FB by Soul Shepherding (https://www.soulshepherding.org/ - https://www.facebook.com/soulshepherding/ ) asked: 

·       What did God bring to you through in 2022?

·       What did God teach you? 

·       How did you experience God’s love?

·       What are your favorite memories?

·       What are you most proud of?

·       What energized you? What drained you? 

·       How did your relationship with God evolve?

·       What are you hoping for in 2023? 

·       What is one thing you want to do differently or one area you want to grow in? 

While I am not familiar with the Soul Shepherding ministry, their website invites you to “Thrive with Jesus in life and leadership” and I like the “loaded questions” they ask in this list because unlike the general niceties or nostalgia you could undoubtedly receive from secular or mainstream media outlets today, Soul Shepherding rightly recognizes the central importance that God should have as we reflect and consider our progress through this life.   

What did GOD bring you through?  What did HE teach you? How did you experience GOD’s love? How did your relationship with GOD evolve?

If these questions leave you grasping at straws, let me encourage and assure you that God does indeed exist, He does care about our lives, and is actively involved in His creation and in and through the lives of men and women on the earth. We can walk with Him through life. We can learn from Him. We can experience His love. And we can have a relationship with Him.  

So I ask you to consider those questions, and encourage you to continue or to begin that relationship with God and to live your life “walking in the Spirit” – in the “context of  an in the presence of God” – according to His will and ways as revealed in the Bible.

I believe we all have a relationship with God from the moment we have life, but without Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, it is a contentious relationship. Our sin and decision to live independently of Him separates us from God and while our lives are spent in His creation and in His Omnipresence, if we don’t make peace with Him through Jesus, our lives will ultimately be dissatisfying as we will eventually age, die, and face God’s judgment and wrath.

Our hearts tell us when we do wrong and the word of God tells us that no amount of our good works makes up for our sin. God’s word clearly tells us that it is through faith alone in Christ alone that we are saved. 

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) tells us
8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  

In these three verses we learn the method of our salvation ( by grace through faith in Christ) and our purpose: to do the good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in. Sounds like a plan to me! 

After most of my life living in sin and rebellion and suffering the negative consequences and tragic losses, I sought the meaning and purpose of life, in all the wrong places, but God was gracious and revealed to me the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ back in 2010, and I have been trying to be authentic in my faith, with varying degrees of success ever since.  Through the years the Lord has bring me through a lot, He has taught me a lot,  I have experienced His love in countless ways, and my relationship with Him has continued to evolve.   And 2022 has been yet another amazing year “walking in the Spirit”!

On January 1st, 2022 – I married the love of my life, TammyLyn.  She is the Christian wife that I prayed for and that God literally delivered to me!  In February we honeymooned in Tampa Florida and have spent the year growing closer to God and one another as we continually pray together and for one another and worship together at Starpoint Church every week.

Throughout the year we have enjoyed various travels and family events. We love to go on day trips and  hikes locally throughout the year visiting various parks and nature trails nearby and in the summer we enjoyed a symphony concert performance on the lawn at Hudson Crossing Park in Schuylerville NY and travelled to Newry Maine for the 2 day, River Rock Music Festival where we enjoyed a plethora of Christian Musical Artist including : Dante Bowe, Big Daddy Weave, Micah Tyler, Blanca, and my favorite – Jon Reddick. We also spent time together volunteering for Operation Adopt a Soldier, supporting the good work they do to support our troops with our time, marching in parades and serving at various functions throughout the year.  Although work and familial circumstances from our previous lives has us living with a two household system, we have spent every moment we could in 2022 learning to live with and love one another and I am amazed at how our love for one another continues to deepen.  

As for my work, my “day job” as a telecommunications tech, in May I celebrated 25 years working for the company and have become accumulated in my relatively new job function as a maintenance tech for the Albany garage and I am content with where the Lord has put me. The work can be frustrating and challenging at times but it proves to continue to provide great opportunities to grow in knowledge and experience in terms of the job and a great place to practice my faith as I “keep walking and talking with God” throughout my work day, asking for His strength, guidance, patience, and help as needed.

As for my passion – “my ministry” in its various forms – I am happy to report that 2022 has been a banner year for stepping out in faith in many ways.

This year I was honored to assume the role as a “Online Course Leader” for Freedom in Christ Ministries, leading 3 sessions of the Freedom in Christ Course in the winter, spring, and fall – and independently lead graduates from the winter and springs sessions through  The Grace Course during the Summer.  2023 will see me continue in this role as I am scheduled to lead a Men’s Freedom in Christ Course on Tuesday evenings, beginning on January 31st – any man interested in joining the course can register at the link I am sharing on the blog (https://www.ficm.org/ficm-courses/freedom-in-christ-course-spring-2023/) , beginning on January 5th, as registration has been temporarily suspended for the holiday season.  

I have been honored to serve Freedom in Christ Ministries in this capacity and have been blessed to have encouraged men from all over the United States to learn who they are in Christ and to experience their freedom in Christ by leading them through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  The experiences I have had and witnessed in the lives of the men in these course has been simply amazing and has confirmed my faith and the Lord’s presence in our lives time and time again.   I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do through this ministry this year!   

As for the mt4christ.org blog, I am happy to report that today will be the 394th blog entry for year, as I have been committed to answer the call to journal my progress as I walk in the Spirit and encourage others to travel the path of Christian Discipleship through the “Purity” series of semi daily encouragements and by providing Arthur Cincotti’s semi-weekly Bible Study outlines, and various announcements and excerpts of Christian resources to encourage others in their faith walk.  The mt4christ blog was born from my desire to encourages others to live for Christ and was reborn and revitalized when others encouraged me to keep encouraging them. The blog is part of my daily spiritual practice 6 days a week and is a labor of love and just another expression of how I “keep walking and talking with God.” So as long as the Lord wills it,  I will continue.   

Additionally, the mt4christ247 podcast enjoyed it’s second, and first full year, of existence in 2022 and despite my hopes for the Lord to use it far and wide, I am happy to report that people continue to download it and that the “curious” or the “faithful few” who clicked on it resulted in a modest increase in the total number of downloads from 2021 to 2022, with 4767 downloads this year up from last years 4048 downloads, for an all-time total of 8815.  I’m not sure what these numbers mean but I am humbled and encouraged that there are numbers to report on! So whether you are a faithful listener or have just downloaded a single episode somewhere along the lines, I want to say: THANK YOU and MAY THE LORD RICHLY BLESS YOU!

I have always said that if my messages, blog or podcast, even encourage a single person to seek and follow the Lord, I am content.  In truth the blog and the podcast, encourages ME, so regardless of numbers, followers, or subscribers, unless the Lord indicates I should stop, I will keep putting a voice to my text for those who are curious or who would rather listen than read.  

Another interesting development began this year, as I began using Zoom for the work I did for Freedom in Christ in 2022 and I further understood and  realized that Podbean created a video version of my audio podcasts, I made the decision to “really launch” the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel and began the project of taking all the Community Freedom Ministry Classes that I podcasted in 2021 and all of the Bible Study with the Cincotti “programs” we had done and uploaded them to YouTube.  The Cincotti’s and I also made the decision to use Zoom to record our Bible Studies beginning in 2022 and actually were bold enough to release the video of our sessions beginning in April, eventually releasing all of the previous video sessions, later as “throwback episodes”. 

So if you were not aware, go to https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247    to check out all of the archives of our Bible Studies, audio and video, and the discipleships classes I taught at my local church in 2021.  

But that’s not all, I also eventually decided to upload the Purity Series to YouTube and now do that every day, including the links to the YouTube on the blog!

In the Fall I also felt moved to produce a 19 episode series based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship” – a video series where I present the text of that classic Christian work with the use of Power Point presentations and offer my encouragements.  

And as always I share all the mt4christ blog posts I create on social media regularly to reach who I can.  I even created a list of links to help anyone to join the reddit “subs” I have created, or to follow  the podcast, or me on social media. Go to this link to find those links: (https://www.mt4christ.org/2022/09/mt4christ-links.html)

In November, I also travelled to Buffalo to serve as a Altar Counselor for the Evening with David Jerimiah where I ministered to people as they came forward at the end of the service. 

Locally, I joined the prayer team at Starpoint Church in Clifton Park and will continue to serve there 2023. 

Although I have written much of what has happened in the last year, there was even more I am sure that I have forgotten about. 

As for my plans for the new year, you can read all about it as I live and experience and report about it on the blog. 

My life and relationship with the Lord is a never ending adventure of joy, hope, and peace that spills over into all the areas of my life. and I encourage all who read this to join me by making the decision to seek the Lord and to follow wherever He leads you.  

And of course, I wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!  

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

Well, I’m short on time this morning because I think I wrote “too much” and I had to find a “new resource” to share  so I’m taking a vacation from sharing the “Bible Verse of the Day” but I do encourage you to read the Bible every day, for yourself.

I am including a link to Ligonier Ministries: “Bible Reading Plans for 2023” ( https://www.ligonier.org/posts/bible-reading-plans?fbclid=IwAR0aVs0a31ebdwexS1-N9i-dwV5v45fVTH5zoKCHsnmCPJnDks9fY9AjWsQas an encouragement to read the word this year - to have a plan, if you need one, to draw close to God through His word to experience the power that He wants to unleash into your life.  

___________________________________________

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 begin sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God”

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

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

INTRODUCTION continues

We readily acknowledge that life is a profound problem, and that we are surrounded by mystery on every side; but we are not like the beasts of the field—ignorant of their origin, and unconscious of what is before them. No: “We have also a more sure Word of Prophecy,” of which it is said ye do well that ye “take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19). And it is to this Word of Prophecy we indeed do well to “take heed,” to that Word which had not its origin in the mind of man but in the Mind of God, for, “the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit.” We say again, it is to this “Word” we do well to take heed. As we turn to this Word and are instructed thereout, we discover a fundamental principle which must be applied to every problem: Instead of beginning with man and his world and working back to God, we must begin with God and work down to man—“In the begining God!” Apply this principle to the present situation. Begin with the world as it is today and try and work back to God, and everything will seem to show that God has no connection with the world at all. But begin with God and work down to the world, and light, much light, is cast on the problem. Because God is holy His anger burns against sin; because God is righteous His judgments fall upon those who rebel against Him; because God is faithful the solemn threatenings of His Word are fulfilled; because God is omnipotent none can successfully resist Him, still less overthrow His counsel; and because God is omniscient no problem can master Him and no difficulty baffle His wisdom. It is just because God is who He is and what He is that we are now beholding on earth what we do—the beginning of His outpoured judgments: in view of His inflexible justice and immaculate holiness we could not expect anything other than what is now spread before our eyes.

But let it be said very emphatically that the heart can only rest upon and enjoy the blessed truth of the absolute sovereignty of God as faith is in exercise. Faith is ever occupied with God. That is the character of it; that is what differentiates it from intellectual theology. Faith endures “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27): endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heartaches of life by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind. But so long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself there will be neither rest for the heart nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings—whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr’s stake—we shall be enabled to say, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places” (Psa. 16:6). But that is the language of faith, not of sight or of sense.

But if instead of bowing to the testimony of Holy Writ, if instead of walking by faith, we follow the evidence of our eyes, and reason therefrom, we shall fall into a quagmire of virtual atheism. Or, if we are regulated by the opinions and views of others, peace will be at an end. Granted that there is much in this world of sin and suffering which appalls and saddens us; granted that there is much in the providential dealings of God which startle and stagger us; that is no reason why we should unite with the unbelieving worldling who says, “If I were God, I would not allow this or tolerate that,” etc. Better far, in the presence of bewildering mystery, to say with one of old, “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because Thou didst it” (Psa. 39:9). Scripture tells us that God’s judgments are “unsearchable,” and His ways “past finding out” (Rom 11:33). It must be so if faith is to be tested, confidence in His wisdom and righteousness strengthened, and submission to His holy will fostered.

Here is the fundamental difference between the man of faith and the man of unbelief. The unbeliever is “of the world,” judges everything by worldly standards, views life from the standpoint of time and sense, and weighs everything in the balances of his own carnal making. But the man of faith brings in God, looks at everything from His standpoint, estimates values by spiritual standards, and views life in the light of eternity. Doing this, he receives whatever comes as from the hand of God. Doing this, his heart is calm in the midst of the storm. Doing this, he “rejoices in hope of the glory of God.”

In these opening paragraphs we have indicated the lines of thought followed out in this book. Our first postulate is, that because God is God He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases; that His great concern is the accomplishment of His own pleasure and the promotion of His own glory; that He is the Supreme Being, and therefore Sovereign of the universe. Starting with this postulate we have contemplated the exercise of God’s Sovereignty, first in Creation, second in Governmental Administration over the works of His hands, third in the Salvation of His own elect, fourth in the Reprobation of the wicked, and fifth in Operation upon and within men. Next we have viewed the Sovereignty of God as it relates to the human Will in particular and human Responsibility in general, and have sought to show what is the only becoming attitude for the creature to take in view of the majesty of the Creator. A separate chapter has been set apart for a consideration of some of the difficulties which are involved, and to answering the questions which are likely to be raised in the minds of our readers; while one chapter has been devoted to a more careful yet brief examination of God’s Sovereignty in relation to prayer. Finally, we have sought to show that the Sovereignty of God is a truth revealed to us in Scripture for the comfort of our hearts, the strengthening of our souls, and the blessing of our lives. A due apprehension of God’s Sovereignty promotes the spirit of worship, provides an incentive to practical godliness, and inspires zeal in service. It is deeply humbling to the human heart, but in proportion to the degree that it brings man into the dust before his Maker, to that extent is God glorified.

We are well aware that what we have written is in open opposition to much of the teaching that is current both in religious literature and in the representative pulpits of the land. We freely grant that the postulate of God’s Sovereignty with all its corollaries is at direct variance with the opinions and thoughts of the natural man, but the truth is, we are quite unable to think upon these matters: we are incompetent for forming a proper estimate of God’s character and ways, and it is because of this that God has given us a revelation of His mind, and in that revelation He plainly declares, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8, 9). In view of this scripture, it is only to be expected that much of the contents of the Bible conflicts with the sentiments of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God. Our appeal then is not to the popular beliefs of the day, nor to the creeds of the churches, but to the Law and Testimony of Jehovah. All that we ask for is an impartial and attentive examination of what we have written, and that made prayerfully in the light of the Lamp of Truth. May the reader heed the Divine admonition to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).[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)

“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), 19–23.


Saturday, December 3, 2022

I am Free and I am Home - Purity 905

 I am Free and I am Home -  Purity 905 

Purity 905 12/03/2022 Purity 905 Podcast

Purity 905 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the pink and purple clouds of sunrise from the point view of the backyard of my countryside home in Easton NY comes to us from TammyLyn Clark who was tending to her pets when see looked to the right to see this beautiful sunrise. 

Well It’s the first Saturday of December 2022, and it is my prayer that all who read or hear this message will not be so busy in your holiday shopping and preparations for Christmas that you miss out on  the beauty of the season.

I don’t know what it is about December but just last night I was marveling over how I was just over come by peace and love just sitting at the dinner table in the presence of my wife preparing dinner while Christmas music played.  December, for me anyway, brings with it a sense of things wrapping up, or things coming to an end, of a sense that “we made it through another year”, and that we are in the “home stretch”. And this culmination of the year and Christmas celebration brings with it an emphasis on the things that are important: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the love that we enjoy with our loved ones that are reflected by songs like “I’ll be home for Christmas” or “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” or “The Christmas Song”, you know, the one with “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”. So last night I was feeling like an old nostalgic, sappy mess, as I was just “feeling the love” pour out of me as I listened to the music and stared at my wife.

I am so grateful for my wife and this morning I was reflecting on our lives together and just got that Michael BublĂ© Song: Home that ends with: 

… you always believed in me

Another winter day
Has come and gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I'm surrounded by
A million people I
I still feel alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I've had my run
Baby, I'm done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It'll all be all right
I'll be home tonight
I'm coming back home.”

 

As much as I absolutely adore my place “down by The River” in Stuyvesant, my home is wherever TammyLyn is and the reason I can say that is because no one, other than God, has loved and accepted me as much as she has.  And most importantly, she loves and accepts me for who I am in Christ and encourages me in my walk of faith, even though it was contrary to the way most of the world walks.

 

It increasingly pains my heart to see how most of the world is enamored with the things of this world and how all of us, before coming to Christ, build up our identities around our preferences, activities, and hobbies, and thus separate ourselves from the Lord by living independently of Him.  

 

My decision to follow the Lord has not been without its costs. I have been rejected, insulted, abandoned, and betrayed because of my faith. I always have accepted the losses because I know that the value of the things I have lost or the relationships that have been broken pale in comparison to the immense value of my relationship with God and my eternal destiny with Him, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t hurt.  However, regardless of the pain, that suffering makes the decision to follow the Lord to be even more compelling.

 

“I didn’t suffer all of this, to walk away from the Lord now!”

 

Plus, the Lord delivered me out of so much darkness, that I simply can’t imagine ever going back to the ways things used to be in my life. Occasionally, I’ll be tempted to “give it a rest” or to second guess some of the choices I have made on the path of Christian Discipleship but when I honestly evaluate the situations I faced and the outcomes that have resulted on this faith walk,  I quickly dismiss those thoughts because I simply can’t imagine an alternative road that would have been any better.  

 

Part of that journey is TammyLyn.  The Lord revealed to me that there was simply “no other” woman for me and that her coming into my life was a result of my faithfulness to follow Him and that our coming together as man and wife has elevated my life to heights of joy, love, and purpose that I simply could not have imagined.   

 

And it is because of our faith in Christ that we have a “home” in each other.  

 

It was my decision to be faithful to launch a discipleship ministry, and her decision to seek the Lord in her life that brought us together. 

 

And it was only with the understanding that this decision to follow the Lord would define the rest of our lives, that we became man and wife. 

 

And now we are just doing it. 

 

Last night, after dinner and spending time together, I felt the pull of sleep coming on hard but was reminded by TammyLyn that we hadn’t read the second chapter of the gospel of John yet, as our plan is to  read through that book before Christmas.  

 

So we opened up our Bible’s and read it.  That might not seem like much, but it displays the reason why there was “no other” for me but TammyLyn.  Simple faith, dedication to follow the Lord, come what may, is what I needed in a wife and the Lord gave it to me in TammyLyn.  

 

After emerging victorious over my addictions and all the brokenness of my past because of the Lord’s presence in my life, there was simply nothing and no one that I would allow me to compromise my decision to follow Him.  I was prepared to go the rest of my life alone rather than stop being the person God wanted me to be. 

 

In TammyLyn, I don’t have someone to support me in my decisions to follow the Lord, I have someone to actively encourage and inspire me to be faithful and to be bold and courageous to pursue all that the Lord has for me.  

 

I am free and I am home, in Christ of course, but the Lord was gracious to send me a woman to share this life of freedom, peace, and joy with.  

 

SO to anyone out there who is alone, let me encourage you not to ever compromise your relationship with the Lord by becoming involved with someone who doesn’t know Him or who isn’t actively seeking to obey Him.   Paying the Lord lip service doesn’t cut it for a life partner.  It’s better to walk alone rather than to walk through life with someone who is just pretending to love God and who is actually consumed with themselves or the things of this world.  

 

The Counting Crows song “A long December” is a melancholy song that reflects the winding down spirit of the year, where we might be suffering pain, exhaustion, or loneliness causing us to “laugh a little slower”, or “talk a little lower” but it also speaks the hope that the next year will be better than the last.   

 

I don’t know if you really know who you are in Christ. I don’t know how free you are. I don’t if you have a “home” where you can authentically live out your faith and experience all those things, but I can tell you without a doubt that if you keep walking and talking with God, this year can be better the last because the longer we walk according to His wisdom and ways and stay in His presence, the more we leave the darkness of our old lives behind and the further we step into the plans that He has for us.   

 

So rejoice and take some time to “feel the love” of the season and pour out the love God has given to you to all the people in your life.  It is a “wonderful life” only when we acknowledge it as a gift from God and fully realize the value of it when we are redeemed in Christ.

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Mark 10:42-45 (NLT2)
42  So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.
43  But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,
44  and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.
45  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 Today’s verses show us that the power and authority we receive through Jesus, is best used in the service of others and that our greatness in His kingdom will reflect what we give rather than what we receive.  

Teachings like this from Jesus, I believe, are met with the highest levels of skepticism imaginable because they are so counter intuitive to the way our world system operates.  

The corporate world will occasionally try to adapt the principle of being a “servant leader” by encouraging managers to invest in their team members and to develop the people on you “team” but generally the higher levels of corporate power are accomplished by Machiavellian ends justifying their means and some cutthroat power moves.  

One of the men from a Freedom In Christ course that I lead testified of his corporate success being cut short when he rose through the ranks up to a certain point only to discover that he was determined to be “too nice” for upper management and was fired, leaving him feeling betrayed and utterly disillusioned with the business world.  

He rebounded eventually but his testimony revealed that he was quite shaken by the experience of learning the truth of how things “really were” in the world.   

“Nice guys finish last” isn’t a phrase I just made up and there are lots of people who can testify of their experience where this seems to be true.  

But Jesus says otherwise.  Why? Because He is the Truth, He knows the Truth about final outcomes. 

There are tons of verses in the Bible about this paradox of how the wicked seem to prosper but other verses show us that the wicked will receive justice: like

Deuteronomy 32:35 (NLT2)
35  I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.’

 

And

 

Romans 12:19-21 (NLT2)
19  Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.
20  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
21  Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

So we overcome evil by doing good and as today’s verse teach us we will be considered great in God’s kingdom through being a servant to others like the way Christ was a suffering servant for us.

___________________________________________

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 Eight

Preliminary Questions, concludes

 

All this makes it abundantly clear that we cannot play off the narrative of the calling of the disciples against other parts of the gospel account. It is never a question of our having or taking on the same identity as the disciples or other people in the New Testament. The only issue of importance is that Jesus Christ and his call are the same, then and now. His word remains one and the same, whether it was spoken during his earthly life or today, whether it was addressed to the disciples or to the paralytic. Then and now, it is the gracious call to enter his kingdom and to submit to his rule. The question whether I ought to compare myself with the disciple or with the paralytic poses a dangerous and false alternative. I need not compare myself with either of them. Instead, all I have to do is to listen and do Christ’s word and will as I receive them in both of these biblical accounts. Scripture does not present us with a collection of Christian types to be imitated according to our own choice. Rather, in every passage it proclaims to us the one Jesus Christ. It is him alone whom I ought to hear.[9] He is one and the same everywhere.

Thus, when we ask the question of where we can hear Jesus’ call to discipleship today, there is no other answer than this: listen to the word that is preached, and receive the sacrament. In both of these listen to Christ himself. Then you will hear his call![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), 203–204.