Showing posts with label Friendship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friendship. Show all posts

Saturday, April 15, 2023

I am All Alone – Lies of the Enemy #6– Purity 1018


I am All Alone – Lies of the Enemy #6– Purity 1018

Purity 1018 04/15/2023 Purity 1018 Podcast

Purity 1018 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a sunrise pathway scene reflected in the waters at the Vischer Ferry Preserve in Rexford comes to us from Nancy Saunders Sever who leads the Starpoint Church Divorce Care Group at my local church and yesterday lead a group of friends from the group on an 6:00 am morning hike to enjoy a gorgeous morning and the fact that there is freedom and healing, even after divorce, when Christians come together in unity to support and encourage one another.      

Well, it is Saturday, and even though my shifting schedule has me working today, I pray that all of my friends with the day off, and those working, take some time today to enjoy yourselves and thank the Lord for all that He has done.  And if you can do so in the company of family or friends.  As the Swedish proverb says “shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow. "  And I can tell you that is the truth!

The Starpoint Divorce Care group was instrumental in my healing from my divorce. I shared my sorrow, and I can tell you that there was healing merely in having the opportunity to honestly talk about what I went through with others who had, were, or were preparing to suffer the same loss of divorce.   The word indicates that confessing our “sins” to our brothers brings healing (James 5:16) and I know that I released many burdens through that group.   

I also experienced joy! The leadership was intentional in organizing social gatherings for the group members and it was through these simple gatherings with new friends that I was able to get over loneliness and past the fear of “going out” in the world again.  

The enemy would have us isolate ourselves because when we are alone he can more easily condemn us, make us see the world as hostile to us, and keep us in bondage to addiction, fear, anger, or depression.   But when we come together as Christians, we can combat the lies of the enemy with the truth of God’s word and the support of one another.  

And so in the spirit of standing on the truth, let’s continue with our current series which is an examination of some of the common lies the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith or to choose not to follow the Lord with the way we live our lives. 

So today’s big lie is:

Lie # 6:  I am All Alone.    

I purposely put today’s big lie in the “first person” tense because that is often how the enemy delivers the “fiery darts” into our minds.  

1 Chronicles 21:1 (NKJV) tells us
1  Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.

Here scripture indicates Satan, apparently underneath God’s authority (2 Samuel 24:1), moved David to take a census of the people of Israel but He didn’t follow the guidelines  for doing so that God established with Moses (Exodus 30:12) thus acting in pride and against God’s word.    Acting in pride and against God’s word, huh?  Sounds like Satan to me!  

But it probably didn’t sound like Satan to David, it probably sounded like a good idea of his own.  It is unlikely that Satan announced his maniacal plot that would result in the deaths of 70,000 Israelites (1 Chronicles 21:14) to David in the second person: 

“Hey David, You should do a census!”

Instead it is more likely that the enemy phrased it in the first person: 

“I should do a census before we fight. The enemy will be intimidated when they find out how large our army is! That’s a good idea! Boy, I’m smart!”

Little did David know that He was going against God’s word. He had a heart for God after all.  But scripture tells us that Satan knows the word and just how to twist it.  So when we consider combatting the lies of the enemy, we have to  be on the look out of “our own thoughts” because they could be “first person” fiery darts from demonic entities. That’s right. Sometimes our thoughts may not be our own!  

Satan did it to David and so he will certainly do it to us.  

That’s a big introduction for today’s lie but I wanted to explain those “first person” lies because if we aren’t “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” – even first person thoughts, we will be susceptible to deception.

And just like how the enemy likes to take the truth of God’s word and twist it, he will also take the facts of a situation and twist them to afflict us. The best lies are partially true and Satan knows this.  

So, the lie of “I am all alone.” can be based on the facts of the circumstances.  I am alone. My spouse left me. My family is far from me.  I don’t have any close friends. 

The enemy will be quick to point out these facts and provided you with commentary to explain them:

“I’m alone because nobody loves me. Nobody wants to be with me.”

But what the enemy doesn’t tell you is that there is Someone that does love you and is always with you: God.  No matter what your circumstances on this earth may be there is One who will never leave you or forsake you.  God reveals the fact of His omnipresence through out scripture.  

In Joshua 1:9 (NKJV) God says:
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."

Wherever you go, there you are with God.   

Remember David, the guy who really messed up more than once,  well he knew this truth about God too.  In

 Psalm 139:1-6 (NLT2)

1  O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
2  You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
4  You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.
5  You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

 This is the wonderful knowledge about God that Satan doesn’t want you to know, read the rest of Psalm 139 and the whole counsel of God and you will see that God is all knowing, all powerful, every where present and He loves us enough to send Jesus to save us.    

If you have put your faith in Christ, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, Himself, lives in you. 

SO in reality, the Christian is NEVER ALONE.  We can’t be alone because God is with us wherever we go.   But if we forget this, the truth of our relationship with God, the enemy can get us to believe the lies that will fill us with despair, cause us to be fearful or angry, and tempt us to look for satisfaction and love in all the wrong places.   

 So if you are hearing that lie: “I’m all alone.”   There are two ways you can combat it. 

1.    You remember word and your relationship with God and go into His presence through prayer, Bible Study, worship, praise, thanksgiving, or doing good works in His name.   The word says that in the presence of the Lord there is full of joy.  

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
11  You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

God shows us the path of life. In His presence there is fullness of joy! So stay in His presence by walking and talking to God as you follow His path through life.  

And the second way you can combat, the lie that “I’m all alone.” Is to

2.    Seek the company of family, friends, and brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. Or go out to new places and make new friends, and take your faith with you.   

Psalm 133:1 (NKJV) says
1  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!

So spend some time making friends in the body of Christ.  We need each other but no one will know your need if you don’t seek friendship. I know it is not easy but the Lord directs us to love one another and we can’t do that by ourselves.   

So don’t believe the lie that “I’m all alone.” It’s not true, God is with you.  But if you are lonely, be bold and courageous and seek out good company where you can confess your sorrows to cut them in half and where you can double your joy. 


For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, .


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)
12  So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Today’s verse points to the fact of our physical impermanence and encourages us to live from a heart of wisdom – to make our days count.  

All wisdom comes from God so to gain a heart of wisdom we need to know what God’s book of wisdom, the Bible, says and to wisely apply its teachings to our lives.  

The Bible will show us that our lives are but a vapor and we only have limited time to enjoy our lives and to contribute to the work of God’s kingdom.  

So don’t waste your time in earthly pursuits but seek God’s wisdom and to grow your capacity for being in His presence and doing His will. We have to grow into maturity and it may take some time to gain that heart of wisdom but if we number our days we will be able to focus on what’s really important – what will last for eternity – our character and the work we do for and with the Lord.


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

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

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



CONCLUSION continues

Let us take up these questions in the order of mention.

2. God’s Sovereignty and Christian service

If God has determined before the foundation of the world the precise number of those who shall be saved then why should we concern ourselves about the eternal destiny of those with whom we come into contact? What place is left for zeal in Christian service? Will not the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, and its corollary of predestination, discourage the Lord’s servants from faithfulness in evangelism? No; instead of discouraging His servants a recognition of God’s sovereignty is most encouraging to them. Here is one, for example, who is called upon to do the work of an evangelist, and he goes forth believing in the freedom of the will and in the sinner’s own ability to come to Christ. He preaches the Gospel as faithfully and zealously as he knows how; but he finds the vast majority of his hearers are utterly indifferent and have no heart at all for Christ. He discovers that men are, for the most part, thoroughly wrapt up in the things of the world, and that few have any concern about the world to come. He beseeches men to be reconciled to God and pleads with them over their soul’s salvation. But it is of no avail. He becomes thoroughly disheartened and asks himself, What is the use of it all? Shall he quit, or had he better change his mission and message? If men will not respond to the Gospel, had he not better engage in that which is more popular and acceptable to the world? Why not occupy himself with humanitarian efforts, with social uplift work, with the purity campaign? Alas! that so many men who once preached the Gospel are now engaged in these activities instead.

What then is God’s corrective for His discouraged servant? First, he needs to learn from Scripture that God is not now seeking to convert the world, but that in this Age He is “taking out of the Gentiles” a people for His name (Acts 15:14). What then is God’s corrective for His discouraged servant? This: a proper apprehension of God’s plan for this Dispensation. Again: what is God’s remedy for dejection at apparent failure in our labors? This: the assurance that God’s purpose cannot fail, that God’s plans cannot miscarry, that God’s will must be done. Our labors are not intended to bring about that which God has not decreed. Once more: what is God’s word of cheer for the one who is thoroughly disheartened at the lack of response to his appeals and the absence of fruit for his labors? This: that we are not responsible for results: that is God’s side, and God’s business. Paul may “plant,” and Apollos may “water,” but it is God who “gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6). Our business is to obey Christ and preach the Gospel to every creature, to emphasize the “Whosoever believeth” and then to leave the sovereign operations of the Holy Spirit to apply the Word in quickening power to whom He wills, resting on the sure promise of Jehovah: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please (it may not that which we please), and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it” (Isa. 55:10, 11). Was it not this assurance that sustained the beloved apostle when he declared “Therefore (see context) I endure all things for the elect’s sake” (2 Tim. 2:10)! Yea, is not this same lesson to be learned from the blessed example of the Lord Jesus! When we read that He said to the people “Ye also have seen Me, and believe not,” He fell back upon the sovereign pleasure of the One who sent Him, saying “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:36, 37). He knew that His labor would not be in vain. He knew God’s Word would not return unto Him “void.” He knew that “God’s elect” would come to Him and believe on Him. And this same assurance fills the soul of every servant who intelligently rests upon the blessed truth of God’s sovereignty.

Ah, fellow-Christian-worker, God has not sent us forth to “draw a bow at a venture.” The success of the ministry which He has committed into our hands is not left contingent on the fickleness of the wills in those to whom we preach. How gloriously encouraging, how soul-sustaining the assurance are those words of our Lord’s if we rest on them in simple faith: “And other sheep I have (“have” mark you, not “will have;” “have” because given to Him by the Father before the foundation of the world), which are not of this fold (i.e. the Jewish fold then existing): them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice” (John 10:16). Not simply, “they ought to hear My voice,” not simply “they may hear My voice,” not “they will if they are willing.” There is no “if,” no uncertainty about it. “They shall hear My voice” is His own positive, unqualified, absolute promise. Here then is where faith is to rest! Continue your quest, dear friend, after the “other sheep” of Christ’s. Be not discouraged because the “goats” heed not His voice as you preach the Gospel. Be faithful, be scriptural, be persevering, and Christ may use even you to be His mouthpiece in calling some of His lost sheep unto Himself. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).[1]

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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 247–249.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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


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

Purity 908 12/07/2022 Purity 908 Podcast

Purity 908 on YouTube:

Good morning,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

This morning’s meditation verses is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship

Chapter Ten

The Body of Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

at, 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), 213–215.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Finding and Sharing a Good Place - Purity 779

Finding and Sharing a Good Place - Purity 779

Purity 779 7/9/2022 Purity 779 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a lakeside campfire at sunset comes to us from friend who shared this scene on social media back on July 2nd to describe their “current situation”.  And even though my friend didn’t disclose their location or any other thoughts on their current situation, we can assume from the setting and the fact that they shared it that their current situation was a good one. And knowing that my friend is pretty laid back and nonchalant, I am assuming that they wouldn’t mind that I share it to emphasis two points as we go into the weekend.  The two points that I want to share are that:

1.    life can be good, pretty general right?, and that

2.    when we discover something that can make life good, we can’t be blamed for sharing it.  

Some of the comments to my friend’s photo, shared with good natured sarcasm I hope, revealed jealousy, envy, or accused them of bragging about their current situation but I think my friend’s silent message was not just bragging about their current situation, although it could be!, but was simply sharing the fact that they were in a “good place” and it could even have been a mild encouragement and hope that their friends would find a good place too.  

Like I said, I think I know my friend’s heart, a little bit, so I think their photo was shared with good intentions and so I am taking a leap of faith trusting they won’t unfriend me and demand that I remove their photo from the blog. 

This old friend was one of my old work friends from the early days of my current career and our paths separated about 12 years ago, maybe sooner.  We were both in our 20’s, had the same job, and spent some time with others from the office hanging out and drinking. We were work friends that have gone separate ways but they still hold a fondness in my heart because of the good times we shared but also because this friend, along with a few others from our “work friend group”, showed me great kindness by unexpectantly appearing at my infant son’s funeral to give their condolences.  

Their showing up at my son’s funeral was a small but significant way in which they showed their care and friendship to me and while I would never hold someone’s not showing up at a funeral against them, we remember it when others show up when we are at our lowest.   

I myself am not the best friend when it comes to that, going to funerals.  I struggled with the specter of death in my earliest childhood. In my first experience with death, at my maternal grandmother’s funeral, while my brothers were openly weeping and were torn up emotionally, I tried to joke and cheer them up, I guess, in part because I was uncomfortable with that raw emotion of pain that comes from loss.  So rather than surrender to the grief, I coped by trying to lighten up the situation.  Maybe I was just being pragmatic…I had been sad for awhile and grandma was still dead…  so let’s move along? I don’t know. 

But after that first experience, I kept the throws of grief from invading my experience when someone died. I was rather matter a fact about death, and chose to focus on the living and lightening the mood, maybe by trying to show that life was still good?  Again, that’s the way I coped with death I guess.  

Of course, with the loss of my sone in 2002, that coping method got derailed as there was just no way to make light of that loss because it shook the foundations about how I thought life should go.  And although I only knew him for a few months I deeply loved my son, Holden. 

So, without any real faith in God, I was angry, depressed, drunk, and lost for a few years until I started searching for meaning, and eventually was pulled out of the darkness of a life full of error, when I heard the message that saved my soul.  

Unfortunately, I am still not good with grief.  After he death of my son, the trauma made me more matter a fact about the death of others.  And if the person was advanced in years, forget about it.  If my infant son could die, why not them?

That’s the way life goes.  People die and life goes on. And it does, that is true, but I would like to emphasize that somewhat pragmatic, and perhaps cold response in the face of death, was before coming to Christ…

Now I know just how valuable our lives are to God. He sent Christ to die for us. And before we die He wants us to have peace with Him, through faith in Christ alone, so we can go to a “good place” for all eternity with Him.

And I also know now that grieving for others, and with others, is okay. As good as life is, there is a time to grieve, as the word of God tells us. We need time to process the trauma of the losses we suffer. 

Jesus wept when Lazarus died.  The guy with the most insight into the spiritual realities of life and death, wept. He grieved with Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters. And as much as it pained Jesus to delay his arrival and to allow Lazarus to die, He suffered the pain, heart ache, and trauma of the loss of His friend because Lazarus’ death and resurrection would be used to give glory to God and to reveal that Jesus was the Messiah, The Son of God and God the Son

In John 11:25-26 (NKJV) , Jesus says to Martha, and to all of us:
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?"

If you’ve read this blog before or heard my podcast, you know that I believe this! And I want you to know that you can believe it too. Jesus is trustworthy and through Him we can be forgiven and receive a new everlasting life.

While I’m still not a “funeral guy”, although I did attend the wake of another co-worker’s brother a few years back because I considered them a good friend, I do share my condolences and pray for my friends who suffer losses and grieve because I know about the pain of loss and I know that God grieves right along with us, as He is always close to the broken hearted and seeks to heal us through Jesus.  

So, I may have gotten off track a little but the two points I wanted to make was that life is good and that we should share the things we discover that make it good.   

Through His creation of this world and man, God has given us the power to create good circumstances and to experience love for our partners, family, and friends. As we share life together, even if it is just for a season or two, we are bonded together by our common experiences and interests.  We grow closer together in love and can really know that life is good. And it pains us when we lose those we have walked through life with, but the pain of loss doesn’t take away the goodness we have known in the past or the fact that life can still be good even in the midst of our struggles.   So point one: Life is a gift from God, and it is good!

And as for point two, as we enjoy this weekend, it is my prayer that my friends find themselves in a good place and find ways to experience the goodness of life.  While we all can have different ideas of what makes a good life, we can still respect each other’s opinions on what we could do to experience life’s goodness.  So if you like the ocean, the forest, the mountains, or the cities, go to wherever and do whatever that reminds you that life is good.

I encourage you to share those with us. They inspire us to do similar things and they bring us joy when we see our friends are in a “good place”.   

But before I go, as indicated above, I would encourage everyone who reads or listens to this message to find the “good place” and to experience the goodness of life that the Lord has for you through faith in Jesus Christ. 

A relationship with God through faith in Christ will bring us to a “good place” beyond this life but will also give us the ability to experience the goodness of God in the world of the living.  So start your walk by trusting in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or just keep walking in talking with God, if you already know Him.  

It is in going back to God, continually, that we can repeatedly find that we are in a good place and that the experience of the goodness of life can be something we know every step of our walk from here to eternity. 

Have a great weekend and God bless you all!


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ephesians 2:6-7 (NLT2)
6  For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
7  So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.


Today’s Bible verses speak about the spiritual realities of our position with Christ in the heavenly realms through our union with Christ and that we are evidence for God’s incredible kindness and grace.   

Our walk of faith has us in Ephesians 2 again! I was moved to share Ephesians 2:8-10 on Thursday and our resource had us share Ephesians 2:4-5 the same day. And now we are “filling in the blanks” as our resource has us sharing the verses that bridge the gap between those sets of verses.  So I take this “coincidence” as an indication that God wants us to know about His grace and our secure position with Him.  

Today’s verses assure us that somehow, spiritually, we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms! 

One of the items on the Who I am in Christ list that I use as part of my regular spiritual practice is “I am a citizen of heaven” drawn from Philippians 3:20.  Ephesian 2:6 makes the list too “I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms”.  

These statements point to the fact that part of our identity is that we are ALREADY in heaven, in a sense.  We are connected to Christ and while we are not physically there yet, God wanted us to know through the Apostle Paul’s letters that somehow in a way we can’t fully understand, we are already there! We are already in heaven!!

While that can make us wonder “how can this be”, we should rejoice!

And not only is our “good place” and future and present reality an absolute certainty, God will also use all of us – all of our stories – all of our lives – as evidence for His amazing grace and kindness. 

His grace was so amazing that He saved me, He saved you, and He saved so many others that are nothing like you or me. 

No two life journeys are the same but when we make peace with God every detail of our lives will be part of a story that highlights the love of God that was displayed through the things He has brought us through and that He has provided us with.

We get to play a part in God’s grand narrative and our lives in Christ give Him glory! 

So rejoice over your present and future place in heaven and go out there and see what’s next in a life that will bear witness to the kindness and grace of God.



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

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

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

They Are Part of Satan’s Kingdom

Paul’s teaching on the powers called for a significant change in outlook for many of his gentile converts. In popular belief, and especially in magic, they were accustomed to thinking there were “good” and “evil” spirits. In magic it was important to know the names of good and helpful spirits who could be called upon to help and provide protection from evil spirits.

In line with the Old Testament, contemporary Judaism and the teaching of Jesus, Paul taught that there was one primary figurehead of evil, Satan, who commanded a host of “spiritual forces of wickedness.” Paul would not have accepted the various distinctions between good and evil spirits made by his gentile converts in their pre-Christian experience. All the spirits called on and revered in magic, astrology and the pagan cults were evil and “demonic.”

Satan, or the devil, is “the god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4). While God is ultimately sovereign since he is the creator of everything that exists, Satan has been allowed to exercise a great amount of evil activity on the earth. John recorded Jesus calling attention to the devil’s present authority by describing him as “the prince [archōn] of this world” (Jn 14:30; 16:11). While Satan’s authority is not absolute, neither is it trifling. He wields all kinds of destructive influence over all levels of life and exerts his greatest hostility against God’s redemptive purpose in and through the Lord Jesus Christ

According to Paul, Satan holds unbelieving humanity in his captivity. He “has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Cor 4:4). Even at the end of his apostolic career Paul’s convictions had not changed. He regarded those opposing the ministry of the gospel as having fallen into a trap of the devil “who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim 2:26). Elsewhere he described Satan’s activity as holding unbelievers in “slavery.” Prior to the work of God’s redemption the Galatians “were in slavery under the basic principles [stoicheia] of the world” (Gal 4:3). At this point Paul brought into view Satan’s powerful assistants who carry out the same malignant purposes as their leader. In Ephesians Paul described the captivity in terms of unbelievers being “dead” in their transgressions and sins. This was when they followed “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Eph 2:1–2).

Through blinding, holding captive, enslaving and keeping people in the sphere of death, the work of Satan and his powers runs counter at every point to the loving, reconciling and life-giving purpose of God in Christ. Satan has a multiplicity of schemes to defraud and take advantage of people even after they become Christians (2 Cor 2:11; Eph 6:11). Although his character is dark and evil, he often presents himself in a very positive light to further his deceitful work (2 Cor 11:14).

They Are Involved in the World Religions

The gentile converts to Christianity faced a very important issue: What kind of perspective were they now to have on their former gods and goddesses? How were the worshipers of Dionysus, for instance, to view their god now that they were Christians? Was he truly a god, but of a somewhat lesser stature than the one God? Or, was he merely a stone image who represented no real divine being?

Paul specifically addressed this issue in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 8 and 10). Two questions faced the Corinthian church, which elicited the apostle Paul’s response. They were concerned with (1) whether they could eat a meal in the temple of one of the local gods, and (2) whether it was permissible to eat meat that had previously been sacrificed to a god or goddess.

There was a difference of opinion among the Corinthian believers on both of these issues. It appears some of the more confident Christians, knowing that an idol has no real existence (8:4), had no scruples with going into an idol temple and eating a meal (8:10). The result of such action, however, was the spiritual demise of other Christians. Seeing their more assured fellow believers exercise this freedom gave the “weaker” Christians the courage to do the same and eat food offered to a god (probably in one of the temples). A crisis of conscience plagued the weaker Christians, with some returning to idolatry. It is very likely that this situation was not merely a potential problem Paul was trying to forestall, but that a few from the Corinthian church had actually returned to their pagan worship.

Since Paul was understandably very concerned about this situation, which was “destroying” (8:11) some of these precious believers, he set forth a lengthy argument advocating that the Corinthians should completely cut their ties with the pagan temples, and that the stronger believers should be willing to waive their right to eat idol food out of sensitivity to the conscience of weaker Christians.

One of the central features of Paul’s argument is that there is a demonic character to non-Christian religions. He agreed with the informed Corinthians in principle that an idol has no real, independent existence (8:4). For the Christian, he concurred, there is no God but the one true God; the pagan deities—Apollo, Isis, Sarapis and the rest—are so-called gods. Nevertheless, Paul went on to affirm some kind of real existence for these gods, noting, “indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’ ” (8:5). In one sense he did believe in the existence of other “gods” and “lords,” but in a qualitatively different way than those who worshiped these beings. Paul will later contend that the images represent demons (10:20–21) and not true divinities; they are not to be thought of on the same level as the one God. In another sense, however, they are real gods and lords in that they are subjectively believed to be such by those who worship them; they are “real” to their worshipers. Also, for the “weak” Christians at Corinth, these gods were still quite real in their “conscience” or in their “awareness.” Their “intellectual conviction that there was only one God had not been fully assimilated emotionally.”12 The convictions of their hearts had not caught up with their cognitive understanding. We cannot underestimate how difficult it must have been for people accustomed to believing in the reality of many gods suddenly to transform those years of deeply entrenched religious conviction into a monotheistic framework. The fact that these pagan gods really are “nothing,” however, does not make them any less dangerous.

Paul later contended that there is a close connection between idolatry and demonic activity. He argued, “Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons” (10:19–20). In Paul’s mind there are indeed supernatural beings associated with pagan idolatry—the powers of darkness! In the span of two verses Paul used the word demon four times. He saw demons as the actual recipients of the sacrificed meat (10:20). By eating and drinking in the pagan temples, the Corinthians were drinking “the cup of demons” and eating at “the table of demons” (10:21). In essence they were having “fellowship” (koinōnia) with demons, a fellowship that should be reserved for their relationship to Christ alone (1:9). Communion with the Lord Jesus at his table should completely replace participation at the table of demons. For Paul, then, there was an intensely demonic character to pagan religions in general.

For Paul this position was not at all novel. It represented the established position of Judaism. Moses’ song of praise to God, reflecting on the idolatrous behavior of the Jews while they were in the wilderness, proclaims, “They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. They sacrificed to demons, which are not God” (Deut 32:16–17). This attitude toward idols is reflected elsewhere in the Old Testament and in the Judaism of the New Testament period. Jewish belief closer to the time of Paul is well illustrated in a second-century B.C. Jewish document, which, at this point, comments on the idolatry of the sons of Noah:

And they made for themselves molten images, and everyone worshiped the icon which they made for themselves as a molten image. And they began making graven images and polluted likeness. And cruel spirits assisted them and led them astray so that they might commit sin and pollution. And the prince [of these demons], Mastema, acted forcefully to do all of this. And he sent other spirits to those who were set under his hand to practice all error and sin and all transgression, to destroy, to cause to perish and to pour out blood upon the earth. (Jubilees 11:4–5)

Another Jewish document, dating just prior to the time of Christ, connects idolatry to witchcraft and the demonic: “I have much grief, my children, because of the lewdness and witchcrafts and idolatries that you will practice against the kingdom, following mediums, soothsayers and demons of deceit” (Testament of Judah 23:1). The Testament of Naphtali speaks of the Gentiles exchanging the worship of the Lord for idolatry, which is also connected with the demonic: “The Gentiles changed their order, having gone astray and having forsaken the Lord and they followed after stones and sticks, having followed after spirits of deceit” (Testament of Naphtali 3:1).

In a similar way when Paul wrote to the Romans, he indicted the Gentiles for exchanging the worship of God for a lie. In his eyes they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom 1:23). What he said to the Corinthians in no way contradicts his statement to the Romans. Paul went beyond describing pagan gods as lifeless images to affirm that Satan and his powers of darkness have used these non-Christian religions to hold humanity in bondage.

It is perfectly clear why Paul urged the Corinthians to “flee from idolatry” (10:14). By maintaining any kind of involvement with the pagan temples, the Corinthians were exposing themselves to powerful demonic activity and compromising their allegiance to the one true God. Some were being “destroyed” by this involvement (8:11). Those with “knowledge” among the Corinthians failed to take into account the extremely dangerous influence of the hostile powers of darkness that were so closely linked to the non-Christian religions. Their baptism and observance of the Lord’s table did not guarantee immunity from the treacherous activity of the demonic powers. Likewise, neither were the people of Israel immune to the deadly effects of idolatry, in spite of the fact that they too had been symbolically “baptized” and had consumed “spiritual food” and “spiritual drink” (10:1–12).

Paul did make a distinction between eating in pagan temples (which he regarded as participating in idolatry) and eating in a private home food that had once been sacrificed to a god (10:23–33). For the latter case, sensitivity to weaker Christians should guide the stronger Christian; idolatry was no longer the issue. Paul, on the one hand, advised them to “eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience” (10:25). Yet, on the other hand, he urged restraint to the person who, by eating the meat in the presence of another (weaker) Christian at the home of a nonbeliever, may offend the conscience of that weaker Christian (10:27–29).

There is much to learn from Paul’s handling of this situation at Corinth that is vitally relevant for the church today, especially as we minister to people from a background of various forms of pagan worship. Gordon Fee provides a very fitting description of its relevance:

Those who have been involved in the rescue of drug addicts and prostitutes, e.g., or of people involved in various expressions of voodoo and spirit worship, have an existential understanding of this text that others can scarcely appreciate. Many such people must be forever removed from their former associations, including returning to their former haunts for evangelism, because the grip of their former life is so tenacious. Paul took the power of the demonic seriously; hence his concern that a former idolater, by returning to his or her idolatries, will be destroyed—that is, he or she will return to former ways and be captured by them all the more, and thus eventually suffer eternal loss.

One of the main principles that guided Paul’s reaction to the Corinthian situation was the conviction that demons animate idolatry. For Paul idolatry consisted of worshiping any handmade image. It involved worshiping and serving anything other than the one true God. Participating in idolatry included everything attached to the service and worship of the gods. For the Corinthians this involved eating in the pagan temple.

By extension the operative principle for us today is that all the various non-Christian religions represent a special manifestation of the work of the powers of darkness to deceive people and turn their attention away from the one true God.[1]

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

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[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 92–98.