Showing posts with label Goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Goals. Show all posts

Friday, February 2, 2024

Goals with God – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1264

Goals with God – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1264

Purity 1264 02/02/2024 Purity 1264 Podcast

Purity 1264 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blazing sun obscured by palms and other trees over a Florida forest pathway comes to us from yours truly as I reached back into the I phone’s photo archives to retrieve this scene from February 20, 2022, from my honeymoon trip to Tampa.  

Well, It’s Friday and I am thinking about Florida this morning because two weeks (2 WEEKS!!?!) out from, prayerfully, getting on an airplane to return to the sunshine state for a mini-blended family vacation to the Magic Kingdom! That’s right, in 2 weeks, I’m going to Disney World! So not only am I thanking God that it is Friday, today, I am also thankful for the ability to make plans and accomplish goals.  I can’t claim that Disney was a long-term goal because it wasn’t, and it is only by the grace of God and His sovereignly moving earthly events that a Disney World vacation is possible. It costs a lot of money to go to Disney but when the Lord blessed me with the sale of my old house, I got the inspiration to celebrate with a February Florida trip and to take my wife and two youngest step kids to the Magic Kingdom. No sooner did I have the inkling of an idea that “we could do this” than I was booking the trip and making the dream come true.   If you want something you have to plan for it, and if you want to travel, you have to book it!  

But I want to encourage you today to be responsible with the plans you make.  I walk in the Spirit and frankly, a lot of the things I do come suddenly – but as my journey from my former life of addiction and brokenness to the light of freedom and victory can attest some times our goals have an undetermined end date and will require walking and talking with God through deep dark valleys for tribulation before we make it to the promised land – but even when you are walking on a trail of tears you can have peace and joy with the Lord when you pray and follow what you believe to be God’s plan for your life.  

So to encourage you in establishing godly goals, I am sharing Mindful of Christ’s Lauren Roskilly’s “Word for Wednesday” from this week which is based on.

Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV) which says
21  There are many plans in a man's heart, Nevertheless the LORD'S counsel--that will stand.

Lauren’s message is called: Gods Will Not Yours. Lauren writes:


“How are you getting on with the goals or New Year's resolutions that you set at the beginning of the month?  Did they align with God's plan for you?


If they did then you may be experiencing each day with God in His purpose and one that is becoming more and more exciting. If that’s where you are we would love to hear what you’re up to. Do comment or reply here and let us know.


On the other hand, if they aren’t aligned with God's will and purpose then you may  experience one of two things:

1.    You strive each and every day to hit those goals/ resolutions, perhaps you’re even feeling overwhelmed.

2.    You are ploughing through full steam ahead in your determination and enjoying the feelings of being independent and self-sufficient.


Either way, if you’re not planning your life, year, month, or day according to God's purpose, then his purpose will catch up with you in the end. Whether he uses you or someone else.


Surely it’s better to align with Him and His purpose? Then you will experience His love, peace and abundance. More importantly, you will be walking in the purpose of the creator of the world! Wow!” 


Lauren invites you to learn how to set Godly Goals by clicking on the link on the blog today ( where you can see her teaching on how to be a piece of PAPAS ART .PAPAS ART is Lauren’s an acronym for a process of setting goals with God that involves Prayer, Aligning with God’s Will, having Peace, and setting goals with God that are Assessable, Specific, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.


As Lauren states: It’s better to align with God and His purposes for our lives and Mindful in Christ offers you a free download of Lauren’s teaching that includes charts where you can be specific in writing out what you hope to accomplish, and it even includes a calendar to track your progress.  So go to   ( to get yours.  



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

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. ( )

This morning’s meditation verse come from the section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

Exodus 20:16 (NASB)
16  "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Today’s verse is the first of two passages of scripture that fall under the seventh point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

7.     God forbids us to lie; he wants us to speak the truth.

Today’s verse is one of the Ten Commandments, and it is what I paraphrase when giving the first “rule of Christian Discipleship” which is “Stop Lying”.  As Christians, we are to be obedient to God’s law and because we are trying to become more and more like Jesus and represent The Truth, the Way, and the Life, we should be honest and forthcoming in speaking the truth even if it is hard or isn’t pretty. 

Not only is telling the truth the right thing to do, but it also just happens to give you an enormous sense of peace. When you stop lying you don’t have to cover your tracks anymore. You don’t have to look over your shoulder and be burdened with remembering which lies you told to who. When you just tell it like it is – the truth will set you free.

That’s why it’s what I call the first rule of Christian Discipleship – walking in the Spirit is supposed to set you free and when you speak the truth you walk out of darkness and begin to experience the righteous, good, faithful, and holy life of peace and joy that the Lord wants you to know.  So keep it real, tell the truth, and keep walking and talking with 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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.


“My master is delaying his coming.”
– Matthew 24:48

It is one of the Devil's greatest achievements to perpetrate this falsehood. For falsehood it is. The Scriptures declare “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise [of His coming], as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). The apostle says, “The time is short” (1 Cor. 7:29). The Lord Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming quickly” (Rev. 3:11).

Nevertheless, there are those who are controlled by their own lusts and by the Devil, who say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as … from the beginning” (2 Peter 3:4). The apostle replies that these people are willingly ignorant of the Word of God.

O Lord, make Your coming a living reality
in my life; that the Hope may purify my heart
even as You are pure.[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 YouTube 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

Monday, September 19, 2022

What do we “Get ‘er Done First?” - Purity 840


What do we “Get ‘er Done First?”   - Purity 840

Purity 840 09/18/2022  Purity 840Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a magnificent sunset over Lake Ontario in Oswego, which I will take the liberty of calling “August Departs”  comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography who captured this last sunset of the month and shared it on social media back on August 31st.   

Well It’s the 19th of September and although its been a while since August departed it is still officially summer until Thursday but I won’t be looking for any last minute summer time fun as the next few days will be filled with work during the day and ministry opportunities at night and so now I am in the midst of the fine art of juggling and prioritizing my tasks in order to be fully prepared and effective to perform what’s expected of me in the days and nights ahead.     

And so comes the question, what do we “get ‘er done, first?” 

Yeah when we look at the calendar and look at all the things we have to do sometimes we can easily be overwhelmed and perplexed about how we are to accomplish what we need to without being a total wreck.  

I’m still a work in progress, as we all are and will be until Christ returns or welcomes us into His kingdom, but one of the things that I have learned on the path of Christian discipleship is that “perfection” and results is not a thing we have to worry about. But at the same time we don’t necessarily want to be accused of not putting forth our best efforts when we seek to represent the kingdom of God with the ways we live our lives.   

So thus another set of paradoxes to life in the Spirit:

·       We want to care about what we are doing but not care so much that we stress ourselves, and others, out to the point we lose our peace

·       We want to press in to do a good job but we should realize that our work will never be perfect and we will have to be aware of our limitations and have peace with what we actually can do

·       We may want to do many things and we may want to do things well but we may have to realize that if we agree to do too many, we won’t be able to do them all as well as we like.

·       We may want to kick back and relax but it may be better to work, or We may want to work but won’t be effective in our work unless we get some rest.

Now these challenges of life and work are more or less universal but as Christians who want to live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit – the way we “get ‘er done”, the ways we rest, the ways we get results, and the way we prioritize things matter.  

While the world will justify their means by their ends and put the overall emphasis on the end results and possibly ride an emotional roller coaster ride to get there, our walk with Christ and the proof of our maturity as Christians will be demonstrated by our ability to maintain our peace and joy in the midst of the process of completing what we need to accomplish.

 So we have to keep connected to the Lord and be wise and discerning in choosing our path and although we want to be disciplined in our lifestyles of faith we don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t think outside of the box and change the ways we normally do things when met with challenges that will require a little juggling or a reprioritizing of our goals.   

This morning I had to make the decision to forgo my normal morning exercise routine because I didn’t make enough head way in a ministry project I was working on over the weekend and as I looked at the calendar I could see that time would be scarce over the next week and I had to “find the time” somewhere.  

Yesterday afternoon I was faced with the fact that this ministry work hadn’t gotten done and I had a decision to make yesterday. Do I press in on Sunday afternoon to get it done or do I spend time with my wife.   I chose my wife over the ministry work and I don’t regret it.

So yesterday I chose my wife over the ministry work and today I chose the work over the exercise.  And the lesson I learned today is that in order to avoid having to compromise in my regular routine, I will have to “find the time” to accomplish these ministry work projects in a way that doesn’t interfere with the other things that matter to me.   So in examining my time, I realize that there are places where I can make adjustments to put it all together in a way that runs smoothly by doing a little bit each day o rather than leaving things undone and scrambling at the last minute.   

That was sort of the way I did things in the past. Work hard, play hard. Leave things undone to the last minute and then run around angry and stressed out to get things done at the last minute.  The thing that was always the problem back then  was selfishness.  When I though about projects, I would think – “I don’t want to!” and would do what ever pleased me, all of which was not productive at all. It wasn’t like I shirked work responsibilities to do something else that was good, necessary, or productive. No I would watch TV, or drink, or eat, or play video games or all of the above….It was all about entertaining myself. 

But since coming to Christ and attempting to live according to His ways, I realize how foolish I was and how my selfishness led to negative consequences personally and in all of my relationships.  I spent most of my time doing what I wanted but some how I didn’t have any lasting sense or peace because I wasn’t wise to take be a good steward of the things that God had given me and eventually lost it all.  

Ironically, I lost it all when I decided to follow the Lord. You would think I would have lost my former home, marriage, and most of my possessions because of my alcoholism and rollercoaster of emotions of depression, anger, and anxiety but I only lost all of those things when I finally saw the light and decided to stop being in bondage to my addictions and emotions by surrendering to the Lord.   Unfortunately, the ex wasn’t with the program and even though I didn’t try to change her, she wasn’t content to be with the new me and demanded a divorce. 

So in the process of building a new life I have learned when to work and when to rest and how to prioritize my life in a way where the Lord is at the center of it and even though there has been a lot of changes to my life in the past few years I would say that through it all I have had a peace that goes beyond all understanding because I was diligent to stay in the Lord’s presence, to let go and let God, and to do the best I could with my part of this relationship.  And even though I might have to do some juggling at times to “get ‘er done”,  somehow there is always a measure of peace and joy as I keep ”walking and talking with God.”

Well the clock tells me that my time management isn’t perfect yet and I will have to skip sharing that verse of the day for “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men” like I usually do but I’ll give you this one.  It might be out of context from it’s part of the Bible’s narrative but it was on my heart as I was writing so here it is, Christ said in:

John 14:27 (NKJV)
27  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid..

Christ came to give us peace and I have found that when you follow Him you find it. So keep walling and talking with God.  You don’t have to be troubled or afraid but the pathway to peace requires you follow the One who came to give it to you.



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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 18:28 (NLT2)
28  You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.

Today’s Bible verse speaks of the illuminating power 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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

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

Chapter Two

The Call to Discipleship - Continued

The concept of a situation in which faith is possible is only a description of the reality contained in the following two statements, both of which are equally true: only the believers obey, and only the obedient believe.

It is really unfaithfulness to the Bible to have the first statement without the second. Only the believer obeys—we think we can understand that. Of course, obedience follows faith, the way good fruit comes from a good tree, we say. First there is faith, then obedience. If this meant only that faith alone justifies us and not deeds of obedience, then it is a firm and necessary precondition for everything else. But if it meant a chronological sequence, that faith would have to come first, to be later followed by obedience, then faith and obedience are torn apart, and the very practical question remains open: when does obedience start? Obedience remains separated from faith. Because we are justified by faith, faith and obedience have to be distinguished. But their division must never destroy their unity, which lies in the reality that faith exists only in obedience, is never without obedience. Faith is only faith in deeds of obedience.

Because talk about obedience as a consequence of faith is unseemly, due to the indissoluble unity between faith and obedience, the statement “only the believers obey” has to be paired with the other one, “only the obedient believe.” In the first, faith is the precondition of obedience; in the second, obedience is the precondition of faith. In exactly the same way that obedience is called a consequence of faith, it is also called a prerequisite of faith.

Only the obedient believe. A concrete commandment has to be obeyed, in order to come to believe. A first step of obedience has to be taken, so that faith does not become pious self-deception, cheap grace. The first step is crucial. It is qualitatively different from all others that follow. The first step of obedience has to lead Peter away from his nets and out of the boat; it has to lead the young man away from his wealth. Faith is possible only in this new state of existence created by obedience.

This first step should, to begin with, be viewed as an external deed which exchanges one mode of existence for another. Anyone can take that step. People are free to do that. It is a deed within the iustitia civilis [civil justice], within which people are free. Peter cannot convert himself, but he can leave his nets. In the Gospels that first step consists of a deed which affects all of one’s life. The Roman church required such a step only for the exceptional alternative of monasticism. For the other faithful it was enough to be willing to subject themselves unconditionally to the church and its commands. In the Lutheran confessions the importance of a first step is recognized in a significant way: after they thoroughly removed the danger of a synergistic misunderstanding, space could be kept and had to be kept for that first external deed required to enable faith—the step, in this case, to the church, where the word of salvation is preached. This step can be taken in full freedom. Come to the church! You can do that on the strength of your human freedom. You can leave your house on Sunday and go to hear the preaching. If you do not do it, then you willfully exclude yourself from the place where faith is possible. In this the Lutheran confessions show that they know there is a situation which enables faith and one in which faith is not possible. To be sure, this knowledge is very hidden here, almost as if they were ashamed of it, but it is present as one and the same knowledge of the significance of the first step as an external deed.

Once this knowledge is ascertained, then something else must be acknowledged, namely, that this first step as an external deed is and remains a dead work of the law, which can by itself never lead to Christ. As an external deed, the new existence just remains the old existence. At best, a new law of life, a new lifestyle, is reached, which has nothing to do with the new life in Christ. The alcoholic who gives up alcohol or the rich man who gives away his money are truly freed from alcohol and money, but not from themselves. They remain as their old selves, maybe even more so than before. Subject to the demand for works, they remain in the death of their old lives. The works do have to be done, but by themselves they do not lead out of death, disobedience, and godlessness. If we ourselves understand our first step as a precondition for grace, for faith, then we are judged by our works and completely cut off from grace. Everything we call convictions or good intentions is included in those external deeds, everything which the Roman church calls facere quod in se est [to do what is in oneself, i.e., to act according to one’s own abilities]. If we take the first step with the intention of putting ourselves into the situation of being able to believe, then even this ability to believe is itself nothing but works. It is but a new possibility for living within our old existence and thereby a complete misunderstanding. We remain in unbelief.

But the external works have to take place; we have to get into the situation of being able to believe. We have to take the step. What does that mean? It means that we take this step in the right way only when we do not look to the necessity of our works, but solely with a view to the word of Jesus Christ, which calls us to take the step. Peter knows that he cannot climb out of the boat by his own power. His first step would already be his downfall, so he calls, “Command me to come to you on the water.” Christ answers, “Come.” Christ has to have called; the step can be taken only at his word. This call is his grace, which calls us out of death into the new life of obedience. But now that Christ has called, Peter has to get out of the boat to come to Christ. So it is, indeed, the case that the first step of obedience is itself an act of faith in Christ’s word. But it would completely misrepresent the essence of faith to conclude that that step is no longer necessary, because in that step there had already been faith. To the contrary, we must venture to state that the step of obedience must be done first, before there can be faith. The disobedient cannot have faith.

You complain that you cannot believe? No one should be surprised that they cannot come to believe so long as, in deliberate disobedience, they flee or reject some aspect of Jesus’ commandment. You do not want to subject some sinful passion, an enmity, a hope, your life plans, or your reason to Jesus’ commandment? Do not be surprised that you do not receive the Holy Spirit, that you cannot pray, that your prayer for faith remains empty! Instead, go and be reconciled with your sister or brother; let go of the sin which keeps you captive; and you will be able to believe again! If you reject God’s commanding word, you will not receive God’s gracious word. How would you expect to find community while you intentionally withdraw from it at some point? The disobedient cannot believe; only the obedient believe.

Here the gracious call of Jesus Christ to discipleship becomes a strict law: Do this! Stop that! Come out of the boat to Jesus! Jesus says to anyone who uses their faith or lack of faith to excuse their acts of disobedience to his call: First obey, do the external works, let go of what binds you, give up what is separating you from God’s will! Do not say, I do not have the faith for that. You will not have it so long as you remain disobedient, so long as you will not take that first step. Do not say, I have faith, so I do not have to take the first step. You do not have faith, because and so long as you will not take that first step. Instead, you have hardened yourself in disbelief under the appearance of humble faith. It is an evil excuse to point from inadequate obedience to inadequate faith, and from inadequate faith to inadequate obedience. It is the disobedience of the “faithful” if they confess their unbelief where their obedience is required and if they play games with that confession (Mark 9:24). You believe—so take the first step! It leads to Jesus Christ. You do not believe—take the same step; it is commanded of you! The question of your belief or unbelief is not yours to ask. The works of obedience are required and must be done immediately. The situation is given in which faith becomes possible and really exists.

Actually, it is not the works which create faith. Instead, you are given a situation in which you can have faith. The point is to get into such a situation, so that faith is true faith and not self-deception. Because the only goal is to have true faith in Jesus Christ, because faith alone is and remains the goal (“out of faith into faith,” Rom. 1:17), this is an indispensable situation. Anyone who protests too quickly and in too Protestant a manner should be asked whether or not they are defending cheap grace. In fact the two statements, if they remain juxtaposed, will not offend true faith, but if each is taken alone it would cause serious offense. Only the believers obey—that is said to the obedient person inside the believer. Only the obedient believe—that is said to believers in their obeying. If the first statement remains alone, the believer is prey to cheap grace, that is, damnation. If the second statement remains alone, the believers are prey to their works, that is, damnation.[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), 63–67.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Overwhelming Work? Never Ending Grace- Purity 818

Overwhelming Work? Never Ending Grace- Purity 818

Purity 818 08/24/2022  Purity 818 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a view of the Grand Canyon comes to us from a friend who visited there back in April while on an epic road trip that took them throughout the Southwest and terminated in California. With views like this we are not surprised that our friend fell in love with Arizona as they were surprised to admit that “Arizona will apparently forever have a piece of my heart now.”    

I know that a canyon is perhaps not the best way to visually represent “hump day” but I would imagine that those canyon walls sure look like a mountain to the people at the bottom of it!  Also it sort of visually represents how I feel this morning as I contemplate the “mountain” of tasks that seem to be surrounding me as I have decided to prepare for the ministry work I have committed myself to in the upcoming weeks and months as summer will give way to “back to school season”.  

So this morning, I thought I would give a little advice on what to do when we feel overwhelmed with work or have realized the responsibilities that are involved with the promises or commitments we have made.  While my suggestions may be adopted by anyone in general, I will be specific in saying that we will rely on the Lord to help, strengthen, and guide us as we seek to climb out of the valley of the things we agreed to or to keep going over the mountain of things we have to do from “here to there”.   

And I guess that’s where I will begin: at the end.  

Okay, so we are talking about stress, we got things to do, we have limited time, and limited resources, and just thinking about it all can cause us to freak out, to grow anxious or become depressed.  

Unfortunately, in my experience I can attest to the fact that the world, the flesh, and the devil seem to love to pile it on when we may have over extended ourselves or have agreed to things that we didn’t realize would entail what they entail.    

So if the work itself wasn’t enough to deal with, we will be distracted and led astray by our emotions or temptations to make decisions that don’t help or can make matters worse by squandering more of our limited resources.  Ask me how I know!

So back to the end, while some of us may be on a journey with no end in sight and with an uncertain destination, we can find a measure of peace in doing what we can do for today and in making short term goals to not only measure our progress but to motivate us with the fact that we can accomplish some things in a short time even if it may take months or even years to accomplish our long term goals.  

So we contemplate our “ends” – What do we need to do, and what can we do, by the end of the day? the end of the week, or the end of the month?   

Instead of growing anxious because of all the situations and tasks that are on our plate, we divide and conquer it by being realistic and intentional in assessing and prioritizing the things that need to be done now versus the things that can be done later.  So what needs to be done today and what can wait? 

Also in this assessment, we should also consider the things we can complete and the things that will be an ongoing issue or require a sustained effort to complete.    

Once we get an idea of that, we can choose to take on our work in various ways.   We can take on each task one by one and press in until their completion or we can split our time and energy between tasks in equal or unequal measures to begin an overall campaign of activity that will result in “everything” getting done before crucial deadlines.  

So yeah we have to know those deadlines – that’s the end right and be diligent to meet them in a way that will not cause unbalance with the rest of our lives. 

A broad approach that takes everything in consideration and balances your efforts in small increments over time is preferable to leaving things to the last minute in terms of our peace, so avoid the temptations to be lazy but at the same time be wise in knowing your limits and be sure to get some rest when you need it.   

This is all just general advice that anyone can take but I wouldn’t be doing you any favors if I didn’t remind you that your relationship with God is continuous and the Lord can help you in your efforts to dig yourself out of the hole you are in or to climb over the mountain of work you have to surmount.     

Without God in our lives, we could probably manage to get things done and we will have varying levels of success in performing our tasks and in avoiding making dumb decisions that will hinder our progress but when we walk and talk with Him in our “Everyday” lives we can benefit from His presence, His wisdom, His strength, and His rest.   

The very fact of our covenant relationship with the Lord is a game changer.  His grace is enough and it liberates us.  When we know that no matter how we perform in this world that we are approved of and accepted by God, we can watch the pressure and stress of the things that usually cause us fits disappear.   

The amazing thing about grace is that we can fail.  Failure is an option.  Quitting is an option. There really is no case scenario with God.  No matter how we mess up God will still love us. We can even literally die of shame and embarrassment of failing at our accomplishments and God would be there to welcome us into His arms.  

God knows our pain. God knows our struggles. God knows our situations.

But He never leave us or forsake us in them and He will be available to us to comfort us and to encourage us through the things we need to do.  

So as we plan, as we prioritize, and as we work to “get ‘er done”, we shouldn’t forget that we are not alone. God is with us and just knowing that and being able to go to Him for comfort, guidance and strength will give His power to persevere, overcome, or endure the things that this life will bring to us. 

Although, the things I have committed myself to and the work that is involved in doing them can seem overwhelming when I look at them, when I remember that God approves of me regardless of my performance and that He is with me all the time, those tasks don’t seem so scary anymore. 

I’ll either do a good job, or I won’t. I’ll either get ‘er done or I will have to humble myself and admit that I took on more than I was able.   But even if I do less than what I would have like, I won’t die and even if I do, God will still be with me.  

So don’t be afraid of the “Big Old Pile of work” before you, Don’t be afraid of the opinions of others if you fail. God loves you and you will never be rejected by Him when you put your faith in Jesus and follow Him to the best of your abilities.

God encourages to stretch ourselves to do the impossible, but He has already accepted us as we are.  

But instead of staying where we are, let’s follow the Lord and see what we Can do with  this life. Let’s see where the Lord has to take us and let’s see what we can accomplish when we walk with Him.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Isaiah 40:29 (NLT2)
29  He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Today’s verse tells us that God gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.  

And all the people said: Amen! – Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we’ve got God on our side guys! We know His grace and it will be with us to carry us wherever the Lord wants us to go.  

Grace is God’s “divine, unmerited favor”.  It doesn’t run out at salvation. As His adopted children, God wants to know His love and His care for us.   If we ask for His strength, we will receive it.  

While God’s power in us may not result in miraculous works or signs and wonders, His strength can be called on to help us to accomplish things we never thought we could or to endure trials and tribulations we would never have thought we could survive.  

God’s strength is in His presence and when we continually abide in Him, we can cast out fear and have hope and joy as we walk through this life.  So if you are feeling weak powerless, ask your Heavenly Father for His help and receive His strength.


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.

Discerning the Demonic

How can a person detect the direct influence of evil spirits as opposed to it being a societal influence or one’s own inclination toward doing evil?

In the Gospels and Acts it appears that Christ, the apostles and ministers had little trouble detecting the immediate work of evil spirits in the lives of demonized people. Their physical conditions (unusual muscular strength, physical debilitation or illness), bizarre behavior (like living among tombs), extreme reaction to Christ or the use of his name and authority, and the direct response of the demon using the person’s vocal apparatus in reply to Christ (or a follower of Christ) appear to have been foremost among the evidences. Many would contend that the same evidences of intense demonic influence can be seen in certain people today. Some argue that people involved in Satanism and the occult open the door to this kind of severe demonic control; in most instances such people specifically seek communication with demons and the prince of evil.

Yet we should not limit our perception of Satan’s activity to these more dramatic forms. We need to be wary of too readily restricting the devil’s work exclusively to murderous Satanic rituals, scenes similar to those in the The Exorcist, and witchcraft. Satan and his spirits can influence people even if they do not experience voices in their heads and roam graveyards. It is the broader activity of Satan and the principalities and powers that the apostle Paul appeared to stress in his letters.

While Satan may often work in a direct and immediate way in people, he also asserts his sway more indirectly through exploiting “the world” and reinforcing the appetites of the flesh (our inclination toward evil). Thus we need to speak of varying levels of his influence.

First, as “the prince of this world,” Satan attempts to exert his polluting influence on all aspects of societal life and culture. When biblical ethics are portrayed in a negative light in society, Satan has been successful in extending his evil influence on a broad scale. For instance, when pilfering from one’s employer is rationalized, Satan becomes victorious. When vengeance is regarded as the best course of action against a person who wrongs us, Satan has successfully twisted our moral conscience. In short, Satan can pervert societal morals, traditions and customs. (The next chapter will develop this aspect of Satan’s activity in more detail.)

Second, Satan works in concert with an individual’s inclination toward evil (“flesh”). If a person is naturally inclined toward anger and bitterness, in some way an evil spirit may directly encourage that attitude. If the malice continues and intensifies, demonic involvement in the person’s life may become more direct. This situation is what Paul referred to as giving “a place” to the devil. In principle, it appears that those who persistently and willfully continue in certain patterns of sinfulness may experience increasing amounts of direct demonic influence.

Paul did not speculate about how these powers precisely work their evil influence of temptation. He merely said the powers do exert this kind of influence as his way of motivating and preparing believers to face the impending trials.

During World War 2, Oxford Medieval scholar C. S. Lewis wrote an imaginative account of a series of letters, penned by an older seasoned demon to his younger inexperienced nephew. In this little book, entitled The Screwtape Letters, Lewis envisioned each of the powers of darkness as having an assigned “patient” for whom the demon is given the responsibility of using every possible means to direct the patient’s attention away from anything that would lead that person toward God’s kingdom. Throughout the book Lewis depicted the younger demon (Wormwood) as keeping careful track of everything in his patient’s train of thinking and then working to influence the subject’s thoughts in the areas the demon considered him to be the most vulnerable. In describing the elder demon’s instructions to the younger, Lewis used such phrases as: “make him think,” “fuddle him,” “tempt,” “keep everything hazy in his mind,” “keep his mind off …,” “turn their gaze away from Him [God] toward themselves,” and “let an insult or a woman’s body so fix his attention outward …” The power of Lewis’s presentation is in his ability to balance the “patient’s” free will with the compelling power of the incessant supernatural temptation that vies with the ever-wooing, enabling and encouraging Spirit of God. Lewis provokes his readers into thinking about Satan’s potential involvement in the hour-to-hour mundane affairs and decisions of everyday life.

While Lewis’s account moves far beyond the few insights given to us in Scripture, I do not think he contradicts what we know about the work of the powers in Paul’s writings. I am convinced that the apostle Paul would have gone far down the road with Lewis in agreeing with him that the powers of darkness entice unbelievers and believers alike. Lewis has served the Christian community well by heightening the awareness of the demonic in a stirring way that calls for vigilance and dependence on the Lord.[1]


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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 187–189.