Showing posts with label End Times. Show all posts
Showing posts with label End Times. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Look on Your Works and Despair but look on God’s Work and Rejoice! - Purity 902

Look on Your Works and Despair but look on God’s Work and Rejoice! -  Purity 902        

Purity 902 11/30/2022 Purity 902 Podcast

Purity 902 On YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the Hudson River being diverted into what becomes Champlain Canal underneath a sunset sky featuring pink clouds reflected in the surface of the waters as the Hudson pours into itself comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene on Saturday’s walk at Hudson Crossing Park in Schuylerville.  If you’ve never been there, this is quite a scene to behold as the workings of man and the creation of God come together to give the Lord glory as this manmade dividing line creates a waterfall where naturally there wouldn’t be one.  Unpictured in this photo there are also large stone monoliths in the waters of the Hudson towards the right  that once were the supports of a trolley bridge that is no longer there. I am including a couple of photos that attest to there existence on the blog today if you want to see what I’m talking about.  Without the bridge, these stone pillars seem to be the remnant of some long lost pagan society but instead of pointing to some pagan god, they actually bear witness of the futility of the works of man’s hands as time has erased what these pillars were placed for.  

They look like something out of the Lord of the Rings, and they remind me of the Percy Byshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” which says: (

“I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”


As mighty as that trolley bridge must have seemed in its hay day, it now itself has faded away leaving behind the stone pillars that man travelled over.  Just like the mighty works of King Ozymandias, the trolly bridge that once crossed the Hudson River is gone and testifies to man’s inadequacy to create anything that will last forever.  


Well it’s hump day and I thought today’s photo was a good visual representation of us pouring over the midweek summit of the last day of November of 2022.  The month of November couldn’t last either and tomorrow we enter into Christmas month, December, and as we do should recall the actual King of Kings, Jesus Christ, and not Ozymandias – sorry whoever you were. 


I looked it up, and apparently Ozymandias was a Greek Name for the pharaoh Ramesses II who ruled Egypt from 1279-1213 B.C.. Although He ruled for 66 years, a long time for sure by human standards, he is just a footnote in human history and his power is gone.  Other than being remembered by Shelley’s poem, the historical record, and statue fragments and relics in museums, Ramesses and his kingdom didn’t last.


Remembering someone like this, a king who ruled for nearly seventy years, and who has been forgotten by most of us could cause us to despair.  I’m not a king and there are no statues of me, and it is doubtful that any of my writings will be remembered over three thousand years from now.  Time passes so quickly and where will we be in another 50 years?  While I could live to see 100 the insurance actuaries would bet against it.  If no one remembers my name or work, what will happen?  I don’t even know the names of my great grandparents! Will I just disappear forever as my bones turn to dust and all the things I touch with my hands also fades away?  


Pretty depressing thoughts right?


So, why am I filled with joy? Because I know the Truth! Capital T, Truth – Jesus Christ!


Yeah, the telling of history and what we can figure out through our own observations can lead us to draw some very logical and very dismal projections for the future.  The History Channel’s show, The Universe – has an episode called the “Death of the Universe”, I recall that spelled out the scientific “facts” that the stars would some day burn out and the universe will fade to black, leaving everything and everyone dead.  


But while this is very logical, the thing that people forget is that our existence doesn’t make any sense!  The universe exploded into being out of nothing and is still expanding. God is still creating, and He sent Jesus Christ to tell us that what seems natural and logical will be interrupted by the One who built this thing in the first place.   Revelation speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, AFTER Jesus returns and rules the earth for a thousand years!


So hold on to your hats, they say it ain’t over until it is over, and apparently life will never end as God is eternal and is over and above the created universe. And those who enter into His eternal kingdom, by putting their faith in Jesus Christ ALONE, will be with Him for eternity.  Not 66 years, forever! And ever!


I always point to Christ’s words in John 11, where He said


John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
25  … "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"


Well, do you?  Because you should, Christ proved He was God after saying this by raising Lazarus from the dead!  And that wasn’t enough, shortly thereafter, Christ Himself was raised from the dead!  Hey guys, that’s God over there! Jesus is the Son and God the Son. 


Believe on Him and live, dig on His mighty works and tremble!  But you don’t have to be afraid! He calls us to believe in Him and live! If we are trembling it should be in response to the incredible joy that comes from knowing that we found the answer to everything.  We found eternal life, in Christ.  


So as we leave what is forecasted to be the “November Rain” behind today, let’s rejoice because we know the Truth, we know the real King of Kings, and when we know that we can peace and joy all the days of our lives here on earth because we know there is more to this life than meets the eye and we have been blessed to know this.  


So keep walking and talking with God. He doesn’t go away and when we put our faith in Christ, we don’t go away either. So you might as well get to know the One who will never leave us or forsake us and the One who gave us a hope for all time by learning about Him and telling Him the things He already knows about you.



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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Matthew 16:25 (NLT2)
25  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Today’s verse reminds us that we cannot hold on to our lives and it is only in surrendering our lives to God that we will not lose the life we have.  

Enough said?  No matter what we build in this life, time and history shows us that the material things we create, all our stuff, will most likely turn to dust. 

Scripture tells us that our works don’t cut it, it is through faith alone, in Christ alone, that we are to be forgiven of our sins and given new eternal lives.  

So what are you living for?  Some fat retirement? To leave some money for your kids, who will spend it?  While that is a nice thing to do, it’s impact will be finite. The money will be spent and no matter how cherished and cared for your family heirlooms are, eventually they will be given to someone who doesn’t know you and doesn’t care and will sell them or throw them in the trash. 

Don’t put your faith in your stuff! That’s hanging on to your life! These things are idols and need to see as that. 

I have a lot of things I like and would be sad to part with them but if God told me to get rid of them? See ya!  Including my life…..

Whoa… Don’t get it twisted I am not running after martyrdom anything like that but if we properly understand who we are in Christ and the implications of eternity in God’s kingdom, we will realize that we don’t really “own” anything. Everything has been given to us through God.   

So start giving up your life for the Lord’s sake, and you won’t waste your life in silly pursuits that won’t last. You will save your life in the pursuits that give God glory and, not for nothing, could result in sweet eternal rewards, just sayin’…

But God is His own reward. He is the only thing that matters, and we will spend eternity with Him, so surrender to His will and discover what life is all about and watch as the fruit of the Spirit grow in your life.  



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

Today we continue sharing from 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 Messengers

(An Interpretation of Matthew 10)

The Decision

“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

¶ “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.[35] Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:26–39).

The messenger stays with the word and the word stays with the messenger now and forever. Jesus encourages his messengers three times with the call “be not afraid!” Whatever happens to them now in secret will not remain in secret, but will be revealed before God and the people. The most secret suffering inflicted on them has the promise to be revealed as a judgment over the persecutors and as glory for the messengers. Likewise, the messengers’ witness will not remain hidden, but become a public witness. The gospel should not become some sectarian affair. Instead, it is meant to be preached in public. Today it may still have to live off in a corner here and there. But in the last days this preaching will fill the whole globe either for salvation or for condemnation. The Revelation of John prophesies: “Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people” (14:6). Therefore, “be not afraid!”

Human beings should not be feared. They cannot do much to the disciples of Jesus. Their power stops with the disciples’ physical death. The disciples are to overcome fear of death with fear of God. Disciples are in danger, not from human judgment, but from God’s judgment, not from the decay of their bodies, but from the eternal decay of their bodies and souls. Anyone who is still afraid of people is not afraid of God. Anyone who fears God is no longer afraid of people. Daily reminders of this statement are valuable for preachers of the gospel.

The power which is given to people for a short time on this earth is not without God’s knowledge and will. If we fall into human hands, if we suffer and die by human violence, we may be sure that everything comes from God. God, who lets no sparrow fall to the ground without the divine will and knowledge, will not permit anything to happen to God’s own people except what is good and useful for them and their cause. We are in God’s hands. Therefore, “be not afraid!”

Time is short. Eternity is long. It is the time of decision. Those who remain faithful to the word and the confession here will find that Jesus Christ will stand by them in the hour of judgment. He will know them and stand with them when the accuser demands they be judged. The whole world will be witnesses when Jesus names our name before his heavenly Father. Those who have held on to Jesus in this life will find that Jesus will hold on to them in eternity. But those who are ashamed of this Lord and his name, those who deny him, will find that Jesus is ashamed of them in eternity and will deny them.

This final separation has to commence here on earth. The peace of Jesus Christ is the cross. The cross is God’s sword on this earth. It creates division. The son against the father, the daughter against the mother, the household against its head, and all that for the sake of God’s kingdom and its peace—that is the work of Christ on earth! No wonder the world accuses him, who brought the love of God to the people, of hatred toward human beings! Who dares to speak about a father’s love and a mother’s love to a son or daughter in such a way, if not either the destroyer of all life or the creator of a new life? Who can claim the people’s love and sacrifice so exclusively, if not the enemy of humanity or the savior of humanity? Who will carry the sword into their houses, if not the devil or Christ, the Prince of Peace? God’s love for the people and human love for their own kind are utterly different. God’s love for the people brings the cross and discipleship, but these, in turn, mean life and resurrection. “Anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” This affirmation is given by the one who has the power over death, the Son of God, who goes to the cross and to resurrection and takes those who are his with him.[1]

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 195–197.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Some Disturbing but Hopeful Thoughts For Black Friday - Purity 898


Some Disturbing but Hopeful Thoughts For Black Friday - Purity 898    

Purity 898 11/25/2022  Purity 898 Podcast

Purity 898 On YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the reflection of the sky in the waters on the shores of Kingscliff Beach in Adelaide South Australia comes to from Dave Baun Photography. Dave shared this photo with the news that it has been a week since his eye surgery and although the healing isn’t complete yet and recovery is hard because he can’t practice the craft that he loves so much, he still wanted to share this scene to point to some good news: that in the Land Down Under where things are sort of, well upside down from our perspective, the summer weather is returning.  While we are just beginning to deal with the fact that winter is not only coming but is here in full force in places like Buffalo, Dave is experiencing the hope of increasing recovery and warm summer days.  

Something as simple as a report from a friend on the other side of the world can really point out just how big the world is and when I look at today’s photo in Australia, I can’t help but to think of the television series “Lost” and the befuddled rock star Charlie’s question: “Guys, Where are we?”  

Where are we indeed?  This message is coming in late today because I have the day off I decided to “let the Lord wake” me and apparently He decided I could get some sleep as I woke up at the late hour of 5:30 am! So we start today with more rest than usual, and thoughts that are probably contrary to most in my reflections on yesterday’s Thanksgiving holiday.  

You have to forgive my somewhat morbid outlook that I have at times. As a child of the late seventies and early 80’s, graduating in 1990, I was raised in the heart of the cold war with entertainment that prophesied nuclear holocaust, took delight in the works of Stephen King, and was eventually into music artists that had disdain for the hypocrisy of polite society because of its tendencies to “keep people in their place” and that restricted or judge the “free life” that we wanted to live. 

The freedom a lot of my gen x contemporaries and I wanted was freedom from any restrictions or judgements of what we wanted to do, usually surround things like sex and drugs, but we also sought to make society repent of its former violent, racists, and materialistic ways.  The nineties were like a reboot of the sixties as the Berlin wall came down and we had grand ideals of peace and peaceful easy living.  But we also had that contrast of nihilism, because we had lived in the fear of nuclear holocaust for most of our lives and now that we discovered we might just have to live to see old age, some of us didn’t have a clue what we wanted to be when we grew up. I had spent so long living it up that I didn’t prepare for the future! When you live a good part of your life thinking “nothing really matters”, it can be quite a surprise when you realize they might. 

One of the things angsty teens and young adults, traditionally rebel against is the institution of family, and yesterday I suspect that there may have been several Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebrations that had pride in how their gatherings differed from the traditional family gathering.  

But you know what? For the most part, as much as we love our friends and as wild as  the days of our mad existences may have been in our youths, as we move through life that those ideals and friendships of youth generally fade away and you see that what was so important for a few years in our teens and 20’s turned out to be the things that “didn’t really matter”.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love all my friends from my youth but in terms of Thanksgiving plans for 2022, they didn’t play a part, and the thing that remained was “family”. 

However in the landscape that divorce chisels into our society and our immediate experiences, even that can cause things to be “:upside down” from what we were used to.  The Facebook photo of large “whole” family gatherings may be considered sweet or annoying from your perspective, but you have to admit that the brokenness of the traditional family has their appearances decreasing.    

Year after year the changes can be subtle, but as the kids grow up and family members are lost to divorce or death, sometimes they can be  quit jarring.  Yesterday my step kids, from my second marriage, met with their father for “Thanksgiving Breakfast” that turned out to be lunch and while I of all people certainly understand the difficulties for meeting all those familial obligations of honor, something about the idea of a “Thanksgiving Breakfast” just offended me. 

This wasn’t God’s plan for sure.  I am sure these things weren’t our plan either but there they are. “Nothing spells dysfunction like “Thanksgiving Breakfast”. The hilarity and the absurdity of it actually caused me to google – “What did the pilgrims have for breakfast?”  but as gleeful as I was to start typing out that malicious question, my heart sank as google started to complete the question as it often does when someone else out there asked the same question.  And I was saddened and somewhat ashamed because I imagined that the question I submitted as a joke was possibly submitted in full sincerity as someone out there was desperately trying to create something “traditional” around their nontraditional gathering.  “Guys, where are we?”   

Another tradition that I enjoy is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade but even that staple of Thanksgiving tradition seems to increasingly be revealed for the materialistic ad campaign that it is and because it highlights current events and trends it reveals the moral slippage that our country has gone through since I was a child.  Without being specific, let’s just say that some things on display during yesterday’s parade would have never been deemed as suitable for public consumption. Again, I have nothing really grotesque to point to because the grotesque ain’t what it used to be as what some would call progress could very well be seen as corruption from a Biblical world view. 

And thus as I watched the parade yesterday the nihilism of old and the apocalyptic reality of Biblical end times prophecies came together and made me think of something rather macabre: What would happen if Jesus came back on Thanksgiving Day in the midst of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? 

And at first my thoughts were of a Rapture, where a small number, probably very small (perhaps unnoticeable?), of the people would simply vanish, causing parade staff to seek to fill empty spots as the parade would just keep marching on…

But then I thought of a post Rapture, Revelation 14 return of Jesus Christ on Thanksgiving Day where God’s wrath would be poured out where there would be few if any men left standing….

Revelation 14:14-20 (NLT2) says
14  Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
15  Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.”
…..19  So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath.
20  The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.

 There is or was actually a joyous worship song on Christian radio this year proclaiming that “Jesus is coming back” but in light of the moral corruption that is prevalent in our society and evidenced in families broken by divorce, sexual immorality, substance abuse, and selfish materialism, I fear that the return of Jesus Christ will not be the good news that the masses are waiting to hear.  

Yesterday, I presented a short teaching based on a devotional from John MacArthur about Enoch, and one of the things that Macarthur drew from the few Bible verses on Enoch was that he “walked with God” and He through naming his son Methuselah he warned others about the certainty of God’s judgement on the people of his corrupt moral society.  MacArthur pointed out that even though Enoch knew he would never live to see the Flood that would come, he was still faithful to warn others about it.  

People really must have thought Enoch was crazy, or at least a judgmental jerk, undoubtedly lecturing people of their moral failures and encouraging them to repent and trust in the one true unseen Creator God.   But one day, because of His relationship with God, Enoch did not collect $200 and go directly to the grave,  instead He was the first to provide evidence of the possibility of being “raptured”.  We can imagine the theories that would have explained Enoch’s disappearance and I’m sure there were several quite reasonable and plausible ones. I can think of a bunch.  But God through His word, reveals to us the truth about Enoch and a whole lot more.  

God reveals to us what is right and wrong. Our society is lacking mightily in respecting His standard.  

God also has revealed to us the Way to be at peace with Him,  through faith in Jesus Christ. And our society, and even what some would consider the “church” doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on what that means either.  

And finally, God tells us in Revelation of how this world will end but few seem to have confidence in being ready for that.   

End times prophetic preachers vary in their predictions, but some will sell you disaster supply kits and most have been preaching for decades that Christ would come back at any minute.  Their attempts to predict and “draw parallels” between newspaper headlines and scripture haven’t always been spot on and may even cause some to doubt the word of God because of their messages!

Me?  I thought I had some prophetic giftings in the past, and sometimes I have instances of having the feeling that “God set me up” as I walk into good things or “God gave me a heads up” when I avoid bad things, but because of my “false prophecies”, ideas about what would of should happen in my life that didn’t come to pass, I am hesitant to prophesy anything specific about future events.  

Instead, I unknowingly have adopted the stance of Enoch.  I concern myself with my daily walk with God from day to day and moment to moment. But I also try to, as lovingly as I can, warn people to secure their eternal destiny by putting their faith in Jesus Christ, to live according to God’s standards for living, and to respect the word of God as true: to believe and to understand that Jesus is coming back.  But like Enoch, I may not live to see Christ’s return from the perspective of the earth.  I may be coming with Him!  

But I don’t know about that one way or the other.  But I do know that God loves us, and He wants us to make peace with Him and to enjoy our lives with Him.  So, I hope the end times imagining of Christ coming back at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Judgement doesn’t freak you out but encourages you to see that God is holy and encourages us to be on His side when the wrath of God should come.  

Ironically, all of this caused me to remember Green Days’ song, Macy’s Day Parade’s lyrics and feel that somehow they express the angst over the way the pageantry of the parade of life is inadequate to satisfy us but amazingly there is a hope for the future, that Billy Jo Armstrong may or may not know, lies in the person of Jesus Christ. The lyrics say: 


“Today's the Macy's Day Parade

The night of the living dead is on its way

With a credit report for duty call

It's a lifetime guarantee

Stuffed in a coffin, 10% more free

Red light special at the mausoleum


Give me something that I need

Satisfaction guaranteed to you

What's the consolation prize?

Economy sized dreams of hope


When I was a kid, I thought

I wanted all the things that I haven't got

Oh-oh, but I learned the hardest way

Then I realized what it took

To tell the difference between thieves and crooks

Lesson learned to me and you


Give me something that I need

Satisfaction guaranteed


'Cause I'm thinking 'bout a brand new hope

The one I've never known

'Cause now I know it's all that I wanted”


I think I might have shared this song before. If I did I apologize. But even though things continue to change, some things remain the same.  This world and our human relationships are inadequate, and were never intended, to satisfy us. 

But I am thinking about what wasn’t long ago a “brand new hope” for me, the hope that only comes through Christ alone.  Jesus gives us the hope of peace in our lives on earth and the hope for everlasting life from here to eternity. He is our only hope.   

And even though speaking on the moral standards and the reality of an end time judgement may be offensive,  I have to tell you about them with the hope that it will cause you to discover the hope that I have found in Jesus Christ.  

Everyday, I’m walking and talking with God and life is good. Every day, I’m think about a brand new hope, the one I never knew, cause now I know, after years of suffering and searching, I know it’s all that I wanted or could ever hope to have.  

God bless you and keep you on this Black Friday and as you go to work or prepare for Christmas, I pray that you know the hope of Jesus and seek to share it with others.    


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

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

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

The Messengers

(An Interpretation of Matthew 10)

The Harvest

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were ill-treated and helpless,[3] like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest’ ” (Matt. 9:35–38).

The gaze of the Savior falls in pity on his people, on God’s people. It could not be enough for him that only a few people heard his call and followed him. He could not consider isolating himself aristocratically with his disciples and transmitting to them in the manner of great founders of religions the doctrines of higher knowledge and more perfect way of life separated from the mass of the people. Jesus had come; he worked, and he suffered on behalf of his entire people. And though the disciples wanted to have him all to themselves, and tried to keep distant from him the nuisance of the children who were brought to him and of some poor beggars on the side of the road (Mark 10:48), they had to acknowledge that Jesus would not permit his ministry to be limited by them. His gospel of the kingdom of God and his power to save belonged to the poor and sick, wherever he found them among his people.

The view of the crowds, which perhaps prompted disgust, rage, or contempt in his disciples, filled Jesus’ heart with deep pity and grief. No reproaches, no accusations! God’s beloved people were lying ill-treated on the ground, and the guilt for this fell on those who were to serve them with God’s ministry. It was not the Romans who had brought this about, but the misuse of the word of God by those called to be ministers of the Word. There were no more shepherds there! Jesus found God’s people to be a flock which was not led to fresh water, whose thirst remained unquenched[6]—sheep, whom no shepherd protects from the wolf, battered and wounded, terrified and fearful under the hard staff of their shepherds, sheep lying on the ground. Questions, but no answer; need, but no help; consciences kept in fear, but no liberation; tears, but no consolation; sin, but no forgiveness! Where was the good shepherd this people needed? What did it help here that there were scribes, who drove the people into the synagogues by brute force? What did it matter that zealots of the law harshly condemned sinners without helping them? What did it matter that the most orthodox preachers and interpreters of the word of God were present, if they were not filled with all of the mercy and all of the grief over the abused and ill-treated people of God? What use are scholars of Scripture, pious followers of the law, preachers of the word, if the shepherds of the church-community themselves are missing?

¶ The flock needs good shepherds, “pastors.”[8] “Feed my lambs” is Jesus’ last command to Peter. Good shepherds[10] fight for their flock against the wolf and do not flee. Instead, they give their lives for the sheep. They know all their sheep by their names and love them. They know their needs and their weaknesses. They heal their wounds, giving drink to the thirsty and lifting up those who are in danger of falling. They feed them gently and not harshly. They lead them along the right path. They seek the single lost sheep and bring it back to the flock. The evil shepherds, however, rule by violence; they forget their flock and tend to their own affairs. Jesus is looking for good shepherds, and behold, there are none to be found.

That saddens his heart. His divine pity embraces this lost flock, the mass of people around him. From the human point of view, it is a hopeless picture. But it is not hopeless for Jesus. Here, where God’s people stand before him ill-treated, miserable, and poor, Jesus sees God’s field ripe for harvest. “The harvest is great!” It is ripe to be brought into the barns. The hour has come that these poor and miserable people are brought home into the kingdom of God. Jesus sees God’s promise dawning over the masses of people. The scribes and zealots of the law saw only a trampled, burned, battered field. Jesus sees the ripe, waving field of grain for the kingdom of God. The harvest is great! His mercy alone sees that!

Now there is no time to lose. Harvesting cannot be delayed. “But the laborers are few.” Is it a miracle, since this merciful gaze of Jesus is given to so few? Who could enter into this work, besides those who have won a place in Jesus’ heart, who have received from him eyes that can see?

Jesus is looking for help. He cannot do this work alone. Where are the workers to help him? God alone knows them and must give them to God’s Son. Who would dare to take the initiative to offer to be Jesus’ helper? Even the disciples do not dare to do so. They are to ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers at the right hour, for it is time.[1]

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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 183–185.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Would You Stand Up and Walk out on Me? - Purity 888

Would You Stand Up and Walk out on Me?   -  Purity 888     

Purity 888 11/14/2022   Purity 888 Podcast

Purity 888 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of Buffalo’s Electric Tower decorated in Red White and Blue Lights and Washington Street Illuminated by street lights comes to us from yours truly as I stopped long enough to capture this scene before making my departure just before 4 am on Saturday morning.  Even though I was raring to go, I try to be intentional about appreciating the journey as I go and in that still early morning silence it was as if the Holy Spirit Himself told me to stop and take one last look around before I hastily departed the trip that I felt God had called me to take.   

Well, It’s Monday again, and yes it is back to life and back to the reality of work life again but that’s a good thing, as much as we enjoy our week end get a ways, vacations, and impromptu mission trips,  the vast majority of our lives are spent doing the things we need to do to provide for ourselves and our loved ones and it is the place where if we are walking in the Spirit we will necessarily find peace and joy, just living as Christian disciple’s in our “normal lives”.  

Don’t get me wrong, I was positivelyecstatic over my latest adventure on the road.  With Wednesday evening’s walk through the downtown streets of Oswego, Thursday’s jaunt along the Coast of Lake Ontario and stop in Niagara Falls before my hostel stay in Buffalo, and culminating in volunteering at the Evening with David Jerimiah on Friday night, I really got a small feel of what it was like to live the life of a “beat writer” like Kerouac as I took time to appreciate the journey as much as appreciate the purpose of the journey. 

And I guess that where I and Kerouac would have parted ways, my meandering journey had a meaning and purpose beyond the journey itself.  To paraphrase the quote from Dan Akroyd in the Blues Brothers: I was on a mission from God.   

In 2010, I was saved quite unexpectedly by a radio gospel message spoken by a preacher I didn’t know and who I thought I would have fun mocking.  But the joke was on me as I came to understand the gospel of grace for the first time in my life that fateful Friday in March.  The message was the forgiveness of sins without works through faith in Jesus Christ.  And the messenger was David Jerimiah.  

So earlier this year when I heard about his upcoming tour and event in Buffalo, that just happened to be on Veterans Day, I felt the call to go and serve the ministry that delivered the message that saved my soul.  

And as the Lord would have it, my role as a volunteer seemed to come “full circle” as I who was saved by a David Jerimiah message was given the opportunity to serve as an “altar counselor” – a person who would greet and pray for others, like me, who heard the truth of God’s call on their lives and either made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior or felt called to come forward and rededicate their lives to Christ.  

I talked about my experience of serving as an altar counselor in the opening minutes of yesterday’s Bible Study with the Cincotti’s “For Such a Time as This” ( so if you want to here about it, I am including a link to the video on YouTube on the blog today.  

It was a very joyous and humbling opportunity and I felt honored to serve there but there was one moment that happened before David Jerimiah completed his message and invited people to come forward that I will never forget. 

Before the altar call and before the musical performers started singing “Amazing Grace”, David Jerimiah preached a message based on Jesus’ Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24 & 25, Mark 13, and Luke 21, where Jesus prophesied about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and what we commonly know as the end times.   Jerimiah’s teaching on this subject can be found in his latest book “The World of the End”. Jerimiah’s message was biblically sound and sought to encourage the audience that even though current events may seem chaotic God was still in control and He had a plan to make things right that would come through the eventual return of Jesus Christ.  

I literally had a front row seat for the message and was impressed with Jerimiah’s simple but hopeful teaching of what can be a frightening subject.  I didn’t find his delivery or subject to be condemning or off putting at all.     

However, about midway through Jerimiah’s message I noticed something.  As I watched Jerimiah’ message from the right side of the Key Bank Center Arena, I saw a couple in the seats on the left side, stand up and walk out.  And then I saw two other people walk out. And a group of three. Then I saw more leave.   It wasn’t a mass exodus or anything but I would say that I observed approximately 15 to 20 people head for the exits with there coats on and seemingly no intention to stay.  

The evening with David Jerimiah up to this point was filled with music and general positive messages regarding the Christian faith but when Jerimiah preached from the word of God from Christ’s end times prophecies people left as if to say: “I don’t want to hear any of “your” end times preaching!”

I also saw this. I saw an older couple, presumably married, and when some people started leaving the husband stood up as if to say “I’ve had enough, we’re done here.”  But the wife remained seated. She didn’t move and although her husband stood for more than just a moment, she basically ignored him until eventually he just sat down again.   Can you say “unequally yoked”?   

You see David Jerimiah wasn’t speaking his end times message, he was reading and explaining the word of Jesus Christ, you know that guy who is the TRUTH, the Way, and the Life?   

And to get up and walk out this rather basic interpretation on the words of Christ, really has to make you wonder about the spiritual destiny of someone. 

They could stomach the worship music and general niceties of Christianity but when a message that was proclaimed that spoke of the urgency to believe and to follow Jesus suddenly the show was over.  Their “religious tolerance” had reached it’s limits.  

You see David Jerimiah wasn’t telling anyone how to live their lives or telling people who to vote for, He was telling people of the desperate need that every man, woman, and child had to make Jesus their Lord and Savior in light of Christ’s words.   That’s it.  Jerimiah basically encouraged his audience to not be afraid of the chaos of this world, to put their faith in Jesus, and to trust in the Lord.   

But that was too much, because even though he didn’t say it, people know that if you put your faith in Jesus there is an expectation to be changed, to become like Jesus, by following His example in how we live our lives.  

Any gospel that tells you that tells you nothing needs to change when you put your faith in Jesus denies what Jesus Himself and what the whole counsel of God says.  

But apparently you don’t even have to preach about repentance, for some all you have to do is point to the exclusivity to save or the belief that God will intervene in the course of history to have His will be done “on earth as it is in heaven” to send people to stand up and walk out.  

Now I realize that there could be very good reasons why some of people these left. I could even imagine that some of these people wholeheartedly identify themselves as Christians.  But among all the reasons and a categories of possibilities I can cut it down to a few.  

1. They are actually a follower of Jesus Christ and they had other matters to take care of that demanded their immediate attention.  Hey, some times you got to go, sorry pastor.  I’ll buy that book, tell my friends and family to put their faith in Christ to follow Him because we are in some dark time for sure!”  

2. They may identify as a Christian culturally, or know Christians,  but they don’t have a relationship with the Lord.  They think Christianity is nice but don’t might believe that the Bible isn’t all true, don’t believe Jesus is God, or find other things in scripture like the call to sanctification or the end times to be highly questionable.   They have no sense of assurance of salvation and suspect that religion just might be a game.  Their “faith” doesn’t have a part of their lives or doesn’t have a priority in them.

3. Or they don’t believe - they were dragged along for the ride and although they suffered through the worship music, they couldn’t stay a minute more after the Bible got brought out!  

That’s basically it. I think. Those who actually believe. Those who are along for the ride but don’t really have faith. And those who know they don’t have faith.    

It gives me no pleasure to think about those who would walk out if they should fall into the latter two categories.  In fact, when I saw those people leave I got a chill as I imagined the worse: that these people’s departure was a concrete example of their rejection of Jesus Christ in the starkest demonstrative way.   I can imagine Jesus singing Joe Cocker’s old song about His friends:

“ What would you do if I sang out of tune? 

Would you stand up and walk out on Me?” 

Well some people, I don’t know which ones, got up Friday night at Key Bank Center in Buffalo and showed that they are no friend of Jesus by getting up and walking out on Him.  

All I can say to that is that I hope a seed was planted. I hope that David Jerimiah’s preaching of the word of God disturbed them enough that they think about what Jesus said and it causes them to investigate the word of God for themselves.  

Because as someone who got up and walked out of church on more than one occasion in my life, I know that as long as we live there is still hope for those who blatantly reject Christianity.  As we walk through life and go through trials and suffer loss, there is the potential we will seek the meaning of our existence and we will instinctively ask God to reveal Himself to us. 

And I know that even the most worldly sinner, can find the Truth when they humbly ask God for His help.  

So for those who know the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and who are living with the hope and peace that go beyond understanding, share the good news.   Keep walking and talking with God and demonstrate how good God is by living righteously and by caring for others.  

And if you are not sure, or don’t have faith, I won’t preach but I would encourage you to investigate the spiritual matters of life and ask God to reveal Himself to you, because the word that you may not believe, tells us that if we seek the Lord with all our hearts we will find Him. 


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

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

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

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 6

On the Hidden Nature of the Christian Life

The Simplicity of Carefree Life

But where is the boundary between the goods I am supposed to use and the treasure I am not supposed to have? If we turn the statement around and say, What your heart clings to is your treasure, then we have the answer. It can be a very modest treasure; it is not a question of size. Everything depends on the heart, on you. If I continue to ask how can I recognize what my heart clings to, again there is a clear and simple answer: everything which keeps you from loving God above all things, everything which gets between you and your obedience to Jesus is the treasure to which your heart clings.

Because the human heart needs a treasure to cling to, it is Jesus’ will that it should have a treasure, but not on earth where it decays. Instead, the treasure is in heaven, where it is preserved. The “treasures” in heaven of which Jesus is speaking are apparently not the One Treasure, Jesus himself, but treasures really collected by his followers. A great promise is expressed in this, that disciples will acquire heavenly treasures by following Jesus, treasures which will not decay, which wait for them, with which they shall be united.[204] What other treasures could they be except that extraordinariness, that hiddenness of life as a disciple? What treasures could they be except the fruits of Christ’s suffering, which the life of a disciple will bear?

If disciples have completely entrusted their hearts to God, then it is clear to them that they cannot serve two masters. They simply cannot. It is impossible in discipleship. It would be tempting to demonstrate one’s Christian cleverness and experience by showing that one did know how to serve both masters, mammon [wealth] and God, by giving each their limited due. Why shouldn’t we, who are God’s children, also be joyous children of this world, who enjoy God’s good gifts and receive their treasures as God’s blessings? God and world, God and earthly goods are against each other, because the world and its goods reach for our hearts. Only when they have won our hearts are they really what they are. Without our hearts, earthly goods and the world mean nothing. They live off our hearts. In that way they are against God. We can give our hearts in complete love only to one object, we can cling only to one master. Whatever opposes this love falls into hatred. According to Jesus’ word, there can be only love or hate toward God. If we do not love God, then we hate God. There is no in-between. That is the way God is, and that is what makes God be God, that we can only love or hate God. Only one or the other option is possible. Either you love God or you love the goods of the world. If you love the world, you hate God; if you love God, you hate the world. It does not matter at all whether you intend to do it or whether you know what you are doing. Of course, you will not intend to do so, and you will probably not know what you are doing. It is much more likely that you do not intend what you do; you just intend to serve both masters. You intend to love God and goods, so you will always view it as an untruth that you hate God. You love God, you think. But by loving God and also the goods of the world, our love for God is actually hate; our eye no longer views things simply, and our heart is no longer in communion with Jesus. Whether it is your intention or not, it cannot be otherwise. You cannot serve two masters, you who are following Jesus.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matt. 6:25–34).

Do not worry! Earthly goods deceive the human heart into believing that they give it security and freedom from worry. But in truth, they are what cause anxiety. The heart which clings to goods receives with them the choking burden of worry. Worry collects treasures, and treasures produce more worries. We desire to secure our lives with earthly goods; we want our worrying to make us worry-free, but the truth is the opposite. The chains which bind us to earthly goods, the clutches which hold the goods tight, are themselves worries.

Abuse of earthly goods consists of using them as a security for the next day. Worry is always directed toward tomorrow. But the goods are intended only for today in the strictest sense. It is our securing things for tomorrow which makes us so insecure today. It is enough that each day should have its own troubles. Only those who put tomorrow completely into God’s hand and receive fully today what they need for their lives are really secure. Receiving daily liberates me from tomorrow. The thought of tomorrow gives me endless worries. “Do not worry about tomorrow”—that is either cruel ridicule of the poor and suffering, whom Jesus is addressing, of all those who—in human perspective—will starve tomorrow if they do not worry today; it is either an intolerable law that people will reject and detest or it is the unique gospel proclamation of the freedom of God’s children, who have a Father in heaven, who has given them the gift of his dear Son. Will he not with him also give us everything else?

“Do not worry about tomorrow”—we should not understand that to be human wisdom or a law. The only way to understand it is as the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only those disciples who have recognized Jesus can receive from this word an affirmation of the love of the Father of Jesus Christ and liberation from all things. It is not worrying which makes disciples worry-free; it is faith in Jesus Christ. Now they know: we cannot worry (v. 27). The next day, the next hour is completely out of our hands’ reach. It is meaningless to behave as if we could worry. We can change nothing about the conditions of the world. Only God can change the conditions, for example, a body’s height, for God rules the world. Because we cannot worry, because we are so powerless, we should not worry. Worrying means taking God’s rule onto ourselves.

Disciples know not only that they may not and cannot worry, but also that they need not worry. It is not worry, it is not even work which produces daily bread, but God the Father. The birds and the lilies do not work and spin, but they are fed and clothed; they receive their daily share without worry. They need the goods of the world only for daily life. They do not collect them. By not collecting they praise the creator, not by their industry, their work, their worry, but by receiving daily and simply the gifts God gives. That is how birds and lilies become examples for disciples. Jesus dissolves the connection between work and food, which is conceived in terms of cause and effect apart from God. He does not value daily bread as the reward for work. Instead, he speaks of the carefree simplicity of those who follow the ways of Jesus and receive everything from God.

“Now no animal works for its living, but each has its own task to perform, after which it seeks and finds its food. The little birds fly about and warble, make nests, and hatch their young. That is their task. But they do not gain their living from it. Oxen plow, horses carry their riders and have a share in battle; sheep furnish wool, milk, cheese, and so on. That is their task. But they do not gain their living from it. It is the earth which produces grass and nourishes them through God’s blessing.… Similarly, man must necessarily work and busy himself at something. At the same time, however, he must know that it is something other than his labor which furnishes him sustenance; it is the divine blessing. Because God gives him nothing unless he works, it may seem as if it is his labor which sustains him; just as the little birds neither sow nor reap, but they would certainly die of hunger if they did not fly about to seek their food. The fact that they find food, however, is not due to their own labor, but to God’s goodness. For who placed their food there where they can find it?… For where God has not laid up a supply no one will find anything, even though they all work themselves to death searching.” (Luther) But if the creator sustains birds and lilies, won’t the Father also feed his children, who daily ask him to do so? Shouldn’t God give them what they need for their daily lives, God, to whom all the goods of the earth belong and who can distribute them according to God’s own pleasure? “God give me every day as much as I need to live. He gives it to the birds on the roof, how should he not give it to me?” (Claudius).

Worry is the concern of nonbelievers, who rely on their strength and work, but not on God. Nonbelievers are worriers, because they do not know that the Father knows what their needs are. So they intend to get for themselves what they do not expect from God. But disciples are to “strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This makes clear that concern for food and clothing is not yet concern for the kingdom of God, as we would like to understand it. We would like to consider performing our work for our families and ourselves, our worrying for food and a place to live and sleep, to be the same thing as striving for the kingdom of God, as if striving for the kingdom took place only in the context of those concerns. The kingdom of God and God’s righteousness are something entirely different from the gifts of the world that are to come to us. It is nothing other than the righteousness about which Matthew 5 and 6 have spoken, the righteousness of the cross of Christ and discipleship under the cross. Communion with Jesus and obedience to his commandment come first; then everything else follows. There is no blending of the two; one follows the other. Striving for the righteousness of Christ stands ahead of the cares of our lives for food and clothing, or for job and family. This is the most exacting summary of everything which has been said before. This word of Jesus, like the commandment not to worry, is either an unbearable burden, an impossible destruction of human existence for the poor and suffering—or it is the gospel itself, which can make us completely free and completely joyous. Jesus is not speaking of what people should do but cannot do. Rather, he is speaking of what God has granted us and continues to promise us. If Christ has been given to us, if we are called to follow him, then everything, everything indeed is given us with him. Everything else shall be given to us. Those who in following Jesus look only to his righteousness are in the care and protection of Jesus Christ and his Father. Nothing can harm those who are thus in communion with the Father; they cannot doubt that the Father will feed his children and will not let them starve. God will help them at the right time. God knows what we need.

Jesus’ disciples, even after having followed him for a long time, will be able to answer the question, “Were you ever in need?” with “Lord, never!” How could they suffer need who in hunger and nakedness, persecution and danger are confident of their community with Jesus 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, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 163–168.