Showing posts with label Good Works. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Good Works. Show all posts

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Active Helpfulness - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 28– Purity 1000

Active Helpfulness - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 28– Purity 1000

Purity 1000 03/25/2023 Purity 1000 Podcast

Purity 1000 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the Northern Lights over Lake Ontario comes to us from SUNY Oswego student meteorologist, Tommy Cerra, who captured this heavenly scene on Thursday evening and was kind enough to share it with the school who passed it along to all of us on Facebook. ( As a proud alumni of SUNY Oswego, I wish Mr. Cerra Al Roker levels of success, and give him my thanks for capturing a wonder that I never had the pleasure to experience during my days at the college on the lake and sharing it for all to see.  

Well, it is Saturday and just like Mr. Cerra felt that he couldn’t keep the amazing thing he saw to himself, I too feel that part of my purpose is to share the hope and the beauty of the new life that we can all find when we put our faith in Christ and decide to actually follow Him too.   And today is a milestone of sorts in that purpose for me as today’s “Purity” message is the 1,000th encouraging word that I have shared.  If you would like to see that first message that is on the blog as well today:  

But since I did that time is short, so let’s celebrate the 1,000th encouraging word, by continuing our current series as we enter into the 28th day of Lent and Day 28 of the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

As a reminder, and as we will say each day of this journey, we take this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation of the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we take this journey of repentance seriously, we will not only see the days and seasons change, the Lord will use it to change us too. 

You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog (( . 

Day 28

Bonhoeffer writes:

“The other service one should perform for another person in a Christian community is active helpfulness.

To begin with, we have in mind simple assistance in minor, external matters. There are many such things wherever people live together.

Nobody is too good for the lowest service.

Those who worry about the loss of time entailed by such small, external acts of helpfulness are usually taking their own work too seriously.

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests.”

Biblical Wisdom

“The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11

Questions to Ponder

  • What are the forms “active helpfulness” might take in a community of faith?

M.T. Clark: One of the things I stress when I encourage or disciple Christians is that as “servants” sent by God to share the good news of Jesus Christ, we should also actually serve people and be known as people who solve problems.   We are to be actively helpful. The way we can do that in a community of faith is by serving in the church, volunteering to active ministries in that body, and by lending a helping hand to people in and out of our faith community.  While we are not saved or approved by God by our works, after we receive our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, we really are called to “DO SOMETHING” – to walk into the “good works that God has prepared for us.”  So be active in helping others, and also solving the problems in your own life so you can be available to help others with the problems in theirs.

  • Is it true that: “Nobody is too good for the lowest service”? Why, or why not?

M.T. Clark: Yes, it is true that nobody is too good for the lowest service. As Christians, we are wretched sinners that were made saints through faith alone. That should humble us and make us grateful to do service for God’s kingdom and to accept whatever task, no matter how lowly, that we are asked to do.  Doing lowly works in itself can be a good practice in humility and so  doing things “beneath us” can actually benefit us as we are to not think of ourselves more than we should.

  • How does taking their own work too seriously tempt people to undervalue the real needs of others?

M.T. Clark: Work is a double edge sword. As much as it can be used to give God glory it can also cause us to be prideful! Most of our work on this earth will fade away with time. The only work that truly matters is the work we do for God. So our “really important” work that we do to support ourselves or expand our careers might not be as important as we think.  Our being too busy or “working hard” can make us “unavailable” to help others and thus our pride in our work could cause us to undervalue the needs of others.  We have to be aware of our prideful tendencies and try to have a balance in our life where we can support ourselves and thrive but also be available to walk into those helpful works that would give God glory.

Psalm Fragment

For he [the ruler] delivers the needy when they call,
   the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
   and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
   and precious is their blood in his sight. 
Psalm 72:12-14

Journal Reflections

  • Reflect on specific instances in which you were “interrupted by God” in the form of someone in need of help who crossed your path. What did you do? How did you feel about it?

M.T. Clark: I remembered one instance at work where I had a job that turned out to be the “customer’s problem”, meaning that their issue went beyond my company’s responsibility and technically I didn’t have to help them with their problem. I could just walk away and be totally in “the right”. But the customer was elderly and the solution to their problem seemed to be a burden they would not be able to bear because of their financial situation and their physical and mental capacities.  So I believe the Holy Spirit compelled me to “do what it is right” and so I went above and beyond what was technically my responsibilities to help this person and alleviate their problem.  It felt good to do this and I have done this for more than one customer as the Holy Spirit seems to really compels me to do “what is right” all the time now!

  • Write about your degree of willingness to be “interrupted by God.”

M.T. Clark: OOOF! My “degree of willingness” could use some work! Part of me still doesn’t like to volunteer thing for anything, but that part doesn’t stand a chance if the Holy Spirit puts a word in. So yeah, I will hem and haw and try to avoid helping people initially but then I find myself turning around and helping them anyway because the leading of the Holy Spirit springs me into action because I know if I don’t answer the call I won’t have peace. So, I “do what its right”, and have become a little more willing in that regard but could be a little more help in being  “actively helpful”. 

  • What might the “lowest service” be in your community of faith?

M.T. Clark: That’s a matter of opinion. What one man would think of being lowly service can be someone else’s delight.  Some could think that any of the tasks in the community of faith could be low service. Grounds keeping, children ministry, recovery ministry, hospitality, or ushering could all be seen to be “beneath us” by some but that is why God made the body of Christ – to have people with individual talents and dispositions to meet all the functions of the body. And as long as the service we do brings glory to God, there really is no “lowest service”

Prayer for Today

Lord, as I go about my business today, don’t hesitate to interrupt me, and give me the grace to notice the interruption.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 


(40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.)

***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.*** 


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.






In 2 Peter 2:5 we read of “the world of the ungodly.” If then, there is a world of the ungodly there must also be a world of the godly. It is the latter who are in view in the passages we shall now briefly consider. “For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world” (John 6:33). Now mark it well, Christ did not say, “offereth life unto the world,” but “giveth.” What is the difference between the two terms? This: a thing which is “offered” may be refused, but a thing “given,” necessarily implies its acceptance. If it is not accepted it is not “given,” it is simply proferred. Here, then, is a scripture that positively states Christ giveth life (spiritual, eternal life) “unto the world.” Now He does not give eternal life to the “world of the ungodly” for they will not have it, they do not want it. Hence, we are obliged to understand the reference in John 6:33 as being to “the world of the godly,” i.e., God’s own people.

One more: in 2 Cor. 5:19 we read “To wit that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” What is meant by this is clearly defined in the words immediately following, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Here again “the world” cannot mean “the world of the ungodly,” for their “trespasses” are “imputed” to them, as the judgment of the Great White Throne will yet show. But 2 Cor. 5:19 plainly teaches there is a “world” which are “reconciled,” reconciled unto God because their trespasses are not reckoned to their account, having been borne by their Substitute. Who then are they? Only one answer is fairly possible—the world of God’s people!

In like manner, the “world” in John 3:16 must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God’s people. Must we say, for there is no other alternative solution. It cannot mean the whole human race, for one half of the race was already in hell when Christ came to earth. It is unfair to insist that it means every human being now living, for every other passage in the New Testament where God’s love is mentioned limits it to His own people—search and see! The objects of God’s love in John 3:16 are precisely the same as the objects of Christ’s love in John 13:1: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His time was come, that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” We may admit that our interpretation of John 3:16 is no novel one invented by us, but one almost uniformly given by the Reformers and Puritans, and many others since then.[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), 214–215.

Friday, January 6, 2023

No Good Deed… When God Puts a Limit on "Good Works" - Purity 934


No Good Deed… When God Puts a Limit on "Good Works" -   Purity 934

Purity 934 01/06/2023 Purity 934 Podcast

Purity 934 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a thriving corn field underneath an exquisitely blue sky with idyllic cumulus cloud formations comes to us from yours truly as I captured this peaceful scene on Waite Rd in Easton back on August 13th of 2022.   

Well, It’s Friday and while I pulled the short straw and have to work tomorrow, I know that for most today is greeted with joy or at least relief as the first work week of 2023 will draw to a close at “quitting time” later today and I am choosing to rejoice with those who will be rejoicing and pray that all who read or hear this message have an easy day at work and a wonderful weekend.   

One sign of a healthy, growing, mature Christian is seen by one’s ability to share in the joy of others. Rather than giving into feelings of envy or coveting someone else’s good fortunes, our hearts thrive when we can share in someone else joy rather than lament over our perceived lack.  

One of the prayers from Dr. Neil Anderson’s “Overcomer’s Covenant in Christ” is to “choose to adopt the attitude of Christ, which was to do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind” to “regard others as more important than” ourselves, “and not merely to look out for” our “own personal interests but also the interests of others”, knowing it is more blessed to receive.  

So as Christians who seek to do the Lord’s will, we try to adopt an attitude that considers the needs of others and to look for opportunities to “do good works”, to help others when we can.  

When we walk in the Spirit where we are drawing close to God and listening for His guidance, occasionally we will receive intuitions or promptings to step out and do good works.  Some of these promptings or opportunities are pretty easy to recognize.  If your local church is organizing an event where you can serve the church or the community in some way,  that’s a wide open invitation to step out in faith and lend a helping hand.  Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to say “Yes” to everything, nor does it mean that you should exercise “your freedom from legalism” by saying “No” to everything!

We have to be discerning in doing “good works” and be sure that we are doing them for the right reasons and with the right spirit.  If you are signing up to do “good works” because you think it will make God love you more or that He will accept you more, I would invite you to review the teaching from Dr. Anderson’s “Victory over the Darkness” to gain the understanding of who you are in Christ and to accept the fact that God’s love and acceptance are not impacted by your efforts. God loves and accepts us according to His grace, not our works.   

If you become frustrated or angry or feel you are doing “good works” out of obligation, you should probably take a break from them because you are probably burned out or operating from a self-focused attitude that has forgotten all that you have received in Christ and that it is a blessing to be able to represent His kingdom and to do the good works He has prepared for you to walk into.    We don’t “have to” do good works, we are blessed to “get to” do good works and to give God glory.    If you don’t feel “blessed” by the ”good work” you do for God, you may need to remind yourself of who you are in Christ and what that means. 

Without Christ, we are eternally lost. We are dead. Did you forget that?  We don’t operate by obligation. We could never pay back God for what He did for us. It’s not about that.  

But if we truly grasp and meditate on all that we have in Christ, we should have a well spring of joy in our lives that never runs out. When we focus on the world or ourselves instead of focusing on what God has done for us, that joy can dry up. So abide in Christ, in prayer, worship, praise, and meditation, to keep your joy flowing, so you can have an abiding peace and joy that will naturally lead you to step out into good works.  

I will keep it real and admit that sometimes frustrating things or circumstances can arise and the outcomes of our good works can be less than we expected, but when your motivation is to surrender to the service of the Lord for His glory and out of the joy of your salvation,  you will be able to endure the negative and accept the results for what they are or as another lesson for growth on the path to sanctification.   

I often share the story of organizing “bell ringing” for the salvation Army during Christmas time at my former church and how a colleague  was less then joyful to be standing outside in the cold in the early morning hours as we partnered to do the first shift on the opening weekend of that Christmas drive a couple of years ago.  Although he was enthusiastic to sign up, he wasn’t “feeling it” early that morning.  But I showed him how it was done and impressed upon him that we were blessed to be out there collecting funds for a good cause and greeting people with a hearty “Good morning!” and “Merry Christmas”.  It was awesome to his grumpiness disappear, as his frown turned upside down and he gave into the “joy set before us.” 

We later went to lunch and were talking about our recovery ministry and a woman in the restaurant overheard us and came over to tell us her testimony of how the Lord had led her out of the darkness years ago and how she was over 30 years sober because she trusted God to bring her out of her addiction.  We were blessed by her testimony and encouraged her to keep on walking and talking with God and she seemed to appreciate it because even though she had the victory she seemed to need to get her “joy” back and so she tapped into ours because we were openly rejoicing over what we had done and by what God was doing in our recovery ministry and the good works of the day.  

Joy is infectious. Its is the fruit of the Spirit and it grows when we praise the Lord and follow where He leads us. 

Now I have to ease back on the joy meter a little here. I definitely want to encourage you to operate in joy and seek good works to give God glory but we also have to be discerning and realize that some of the “ideas” we get to do good works are not necessarily “God breathed” and we have to be open to His guidance when He calls us to ease back or to walk away from situations that we thought were a “good work” but either prove to be our own ideas or that our “work here is done”.  

I have two examples of this. 

Years ago I saw on social media that a Facebook friend was having difficulties with the new housing that they were blessed with. They needed furniture and a few things around the apartment needed fixing.  Feeling that this was a great opportunity to do good works, I offered up to bring over some old furniture right away and to try to see if I could possibly help with some other things.  I was encouraged to help this “friend” because they had made some posts about going to church and turning over a new leaf from their previous broken existence.  So I rushed over and delivered the furniture but after I talked to them for a few minutes “my spirit” told me to “ease back” and walk away because their faith was surface level and disingenuous and perhaps a “scam” because they were obviously still living a sinful lifestyle and their requests for additional help seemed opportunistic. They didn’t seem to be working towards righting their situation but seemed to have their hands out to take whatever they could get.  When we discussed their “new found faith” I got the impression they had found a local church that was giving to them and they were gladly accepting their help but they were only in it for what they could get.  So I felt foolish, I gladly gave what I did without regrets but pulled the plug on that “good work” project and encouraged them to stay connected to that local church to receive the help and guidance they needed.  

Was that mean? No, I don’t think so. Is this a good testimony, where this friend went on to be strong in the Lord and to be transformed.  No unfortunately it is not. It appears that my spirit was right because as far as I know they quickly gave up their new faith.   

I’m sure there are some who would say that I should have done more and that I could have turned things around, but I don’t think that is the case.  That was years ago, and I have continued to be “out there” encouraging and inviting people to the ministries I have done and to follow the Lord, but I still haven’t heard from this person.   

The other example was similar. I recently decided to bless a person with Christmas card and very small and modest gift, a $5.00, gift card because  I felt lead to bless them. This person is on public assistance I believe, is distant family, and has special needs.  We have been chatting on FB messenger and they asked about a Christmas card and asked for gift, a $30 dollar gift card to a restaurant.  I decided to be kind and send them a Christmas card and obviously a more modest gift.  I had considered giving the full amount but something in “my spirit” told me that what I sent was “enough”. 

I felt good about it. “Look at me, sending a gift to one of the “least of these”, right?  

Well, now I know why my spirit told me that my meager gift was “enough?’  Just like my previous experience, this “friend” seemed energized by my giving and quickly told me about the fact that their birthday is this month and they asked for 2 – or 3 gifts cards ($30 or $40 dollars each, please) and a “small handheld computer”.    

I didn’t really consider sending the money but offered to send them my old laptop and actually started to prepare to ship it to them.  

But before I got a chance to send it out, they contacted me again asking for the gift cards.  When I made it clear that I wasn’t going to send them any, I realized that maybe that the fact that my spirit told me “$5 was enough” meant that I wasn’t necessarily “called” to bend over backwards to “bless” this person. Maybe my idea to do this “good work” was more about stroking my ego than answering the Lord’s call.  

So I asked if my old lap top, from 2014 with windows 7, was something that they wanted.  They quickly replied that they wanted a “hand held” computer – indicating that what I wanted wouldn’t be welcome and that they basically wanted a “new” computer.  

It was at that point that I realized that “I was done”, this wasn’t necessarily something I was “supposed to do” and if anything it was either a lesson for me to be discerning or possibly a lesson to this person to pursue work to obtain what they desired.  They admitted that they wanted a “paying job”.

 So I don’t know if this interaction will light a spark and move them seek employment or if it was just a lesson for me to be discerning in offering help.  My offer of an old lap top seemed to be a good idea but could be seen to be an insult.  We have to be careful when we seek to help the “least of these” not to give “less than” what they desire or need.   I think that our “benevolent ideas” are so benevolent when we give people our junk. This why some charities refuse to take used toys or items. It isn’t really a blessing to receive junk. 

So my magnanimous attempt to “be nice” ended up opening my eyes to this and have humbled me.   Causing me to warn all of you to be discerning in “answering the call to “do good works” and to be sure that our attempts to offer help or meet needs will meet the expectations of and actually bless the people we want to help.   And so I join with the Apostle Paul who prayed:

Philippians 1:9-11 (NKJV)
9  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
10  that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
11  being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.  

As representatives to the King, we want to do right things for the right reasons, using our knowledge and discernment to be filled with the fruits of righteousness and to do “good works” that will actually give glory to God.  

So I encourage you to do good works but to be led the Spirit and to know when “enough is enough” or when to say “No.” and when to “turn and walk away.”   When we do things in our own strength or to stroke our egos, they usually result in a mess and cause us to think that “no good deed goes unpunished” but in truth these “failures” should humble us and cause us to see that we may have misread our signals or have been given the opportunity to learn patience and wisdom from our mistakes.  

We learn as we go, right? So keep walking and talking with God and try to listen every once in a while. Sometimes He may tell you back off, rather than press in. 


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 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.





“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

Having shown that sovereignty characterizes the whole Being of God, let us now observe how it marks all His ways and dealings.

In the great expanse of eternity which stretches behind Genesis 1:1, the universe was unborn and creation existed only in the mind of the great Creator. In His sovereign majesty God dwelt all alone. We refer to that far distant period before the heavens and the earth were created. There were then no angels to hymn God’s praises, no creatures to occupy His notice, no rebels to be brought into subjection. The great God was all alone amid the awful silence of His own vast universe. But even at that time, if time it could be called, God was sovereign. He might create or not create according to His own good pleasure. He might create this way or that way; He might create one world or one million worlds, and who was there to resist His will? He might call into existence a million different creatures and place them on absolute equality, endowing them with the same faculties and placing them in the same environment; or, He might create a million creatures each differing from the others, and possessing nothing in common save their creaturehood, and who was there to challenge His right? If He so pleased, He might call into existence a world so immense that its dimensions were utterly beyond finite computation; and were He so disposed, He might create an organism so small that nothing but the most powerful microscope could reveal its existence to human eyes. It was His sovereign right to create, on the one hand, the exalted seraphim to burn around His throne, and on the other hand, the tiny insect which dies the same hour that it is born. If the mighty God chose to have one vast gradation in His universe, from loftiest seraph to creeping reptile, from revolving worlds to floating atoms, from macrocosm to microcosm, instead of making everything uniform, who was there to question His sovereign pleasure?

Behold then the exercise of Divine sovereignty long before man ever saw the light. With whom took God counsel in the creation and disposition of His creatures? See the birds as they fly through the air, the beasts as they roam the earth, the fishes as they swim in the sea, and then ask, Who was is that made them to differ? Was it not their Creator who sovereignly assigned their various locations and adaptations to them!

Turn your eye to the heavens and observe the mysteries of Divine sovereignty which there confront the thoughtful beholder: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory” (1 Cor. 15:41). But why should they? Why should the sun be more glorious than all the other planets? Why should there be stars of the first magnitude and others of the tenth? Why such amazing inequalities? Why should some of the heavenly bodies be more favorably placed than others in their relation to the sun? And why should there be “shooting stars,” falling stars, “wandering stars” (Jude 13), in a word, ruined stars? And the only possible answer is, “For Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

Come now to our own planet. Why should two thirds of its surface be covered with water, and why should so much of its remaining third be unfit for human cultivation or habitation? Why should there be vast stretches of marshes, deserts and ice-fields? Why should one country be so inferior, topographically, from another? Why should one be fertile, and another almost barren? Why should one be rich in minerals and another own none? Why should the climate of one be congenial and healthy, and another uncongenial and unhealthy? Why should one abound in rivers and lakes, and another be almost devoid of them? Why should one be constantly troubled with earthquakes, and another be almost entirely free from then? Why? Because thus it pleased the Creator and Upholder of all things.[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 (

“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), 35–36.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Acting on “Good Thoughts” - Walking in the Spirit - Purity 856


Acting on “Good Thoughts”  - Walking in the Spirit - Purity 856

Purity 856 10/07/2022 Purity 856

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun setting the misty clouds of morning ablaze for God’s glory comes to us from yours truly as I was racing to work yesterday and took some “blind shots” as I drove up the overpass of 787 North on my way to work.   I didn’t know what I would get at the time, but I trusted that something good may come from my efforts and I was blessed with this scene of the clouds and fog enshrouding Rensselaer being illuminated by the sun with a sliver of the Hudson River reflecting the shore line, with the cold hard gray wall and guard rail of the overpass in the foreground highlighting the contrast between the splendor of God’s creation and what man can create.   

Don’t get me wrong while the beauty of God’s creation will always be superior to what man can create, God put man on the earth for a purpose and while that guard rail may not be pretty, it keeps us safe and is part of a structure that is extremely useful for travel and for giving us a different perspective that just wouldn’t exist if men didn’t make it.  

Well, it’s Friday and it is my prayer that all my friends have a good and quick workday as some of us will be enjoying a three day weekend on the other side of our 9 to 5. 

This morning, while I was working out the worship song I was listening to caused me to think of a brother who recently asked for a moment to talk about his walk of faith and how negative thoughts have been plaguing his mind as he seeks to follow the Lord’s will for his life.  

The Holy Spirit put it on my heart to share that song with him as an encouragement. So I stopped what I was doing and immediately emailed my friend and brother in Christ a link to the song on YouTube.   Even though it disrupted my workout, I “answered the call” that I felt the Holy Spirit put on me this morning. And I didn’t regret it.  

And this is a good example of how the Holy Spirit may work in our lives.  We suddenly get a thought to help someone or to do something for someone that we could easily dismiss as “a nice thought”.  But if we are seeking to do the Lord’s will for us, we have to realize that these “nice thoughts” may be the Lord inviting us to “do good works”.  The question is: will we just dismiss those nice thoughts or will we act on them?   

Back in my pre-Christ days, in the midst of euphoric experiences brought upon me through the use of psychedelic drugs, on occasion I would get some grand altruistic vision to do go something good for others or to clean up my act.  In the heights of my euphoria I thought “I could do that!” but do you know what happened? Absolutely nothing. 

In fact it was worse than that. Perhaps this was the spiritual forces of darkness discouraging me or just my habitual low self-esteem that plagued me back then, but on the summit of my altruistic vision I would have the realization that I wasn’t a “good person”. I was a drunk and a drug addict. I was high! And the ideas that I could do anything “good” was ridiculous.

So the joy of the experience of imagining myself doing something good, came grinding to a halt, as I realized that I was just some guy high in a basement, up late reveling on drugs and alcohol, by himself, while his wife and children slept upstairs.  This guy was “crazy” if he thought he could do anything good. 

And so I would turn my attention to something else and forget about the “good things” that I could do.   

Like I said, whether it was me recognizing the facts, my low self-esteem, or the spiritual forces of darkness seeking to keep me in bondage to my addictions,  I didn’t do the good things that I had thought of and I was in that basement for years.  

But God, right?  Yeah.  While I do work out in a basement during the week, I no longer spend time hiding away in my “man cave” reveling and entertaining myself.   God called me out of the darkness and now when I get a thought to do something good, I act on it. I do it as soon as possible.   And I have learned that regardless of the results of my actions, I have never regretted doing the good things that I felt compelled to do.  

And sometimes, one good thing leads to another. 

So after I emailed my friend that link to a song on YouTube, I remembered that I wanted to compile a playlist of Christian worship music that inspired me on my journey to victory and freedom in Christ to share with the participants of the Freedom in Christ course that I facilitate. So, this morning’s work out was cut short and I rushed upstairs to get it done, now!

So I did and I have already shared it on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit and I am sharing it here:

You see, one of the things that I discovered on the path of Christian Discipleship is that our worship is a weapon and it is a spiritual practice that increases our joy and our love for our Heavenly Faither.  

How does this “martial art of the Christian disciple” work?  

It’s simple.  You get alone. You play Christian worship music that moves you. You sing the songs and think about the Lord and what He has done, in general and in your life specifically.   You can do this while driving to work or you can do this in the privacy of your own home.   I also recommend “singing with feeling”, preferably as loud as you can.  

Perry Stone says that when we open our mouths in worship, singing and crying out to the Lord it “rolls away the stone” and allows the Holy Spirit to come out and opens us up for His infilling.   And based on my experience and growth through worship, I would say that Perry Stone sums it up pretty good.  

I have experienced the manifest presence of God at various times in periods of worship and prayer.  When we draw close to God and give Him thanks and praise, He draws close to us, and sometimes in dramatic fashion.  

I have no doubts because I know God lives because I experienced His presence.  

So there’s the playlist, and my advice: SEEK the Lord, repent of your worldly ways, make a commitment to follow Him, worship Him, and ask for The baptism of the Holy Spirit and see what happens.  When we keep seeking, when we keep asking, when we keep knocking, eventually the door to God in our lives will swing wide open and reveal to us the manifest presence of God and the reality of what a relationship with God really means.  

Through the Holy Spirit, God will reveal biblical truths to you in ways you never knew when you have a practice of Bible study. He will compel you to do good things that we may not be comfortable with.  And He will touch our hearts and minds when new surrender to Him in worship.   

So keep walking and talking with God, because when you experience His presence  you will realize that you have never been alone and that He is waiting for you to answer His call to the new and abundant life that He has for you.  



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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 57:2 (NLT2)
2  I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.

Today’s Bible verse encourages us to cry out to the Lord Most High and to take joy in the fact that He is the one who will fulfill His purpose for us.  

I posit that our relationship with God is an interactive and cooperative experience.  We do our part by seeking to know God through His word and by applying it to our lives, but God is the one who brings the results for our efforts and the blessings we could have never expected.

God is sovereign. That means He reigns, and He determines the course of His creation and human history. History is HIS STORY.  What has come to pass was ordained by God. He even uses evil for good.

So if you want to know what God’s will is, look at what has happened.  Our pasts reveal the consequences of our actions, for good and bad choices, but they also reveal the path that God has put us on.  Why were we born into this age? Why were we placed in our families in this part of the world.  God determined it. 

So where should we go?  

God invites everyone to have peace with Him through Jesus Christ and to follow Him to find their purpose.  And as today’s verse indicates God will fulfill it for us. 

IF we follow the Lord we will find His “good”, “acceptable” or “perfect: will for our lives (Romans 12: 2) So which will it be? That is determined by how we follow the Lord, by how much we “renew our minds” and present our bodies as living sacrifices for righteousness (Romans 12:1-2).    So we have free will and the more we follow the Lord the more “perfect” our purpose will be.  

But if we don’t make peace with Him by placing our faith in Christ, the purpose He will fulfill for us is to receive His just wrath, to be punished and to be separated from Him for all eternity. As we chose to reject His love and wisdom in life, we reject His presence after life and reap the consequences of our rebellion and sin.  

So don’t do that, submit to God and make peace with God through Christ and follow Him to experience the good things He has for you.

And the best thing about it all is that He fulfills our purpose, so we can answer the calls that God puts on our life and leave the results up to Him. His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, Amen.



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 Six

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Beatitudes

Jesus on the mountain, the crowd, the disciples. The crowd sees: There is Jesus with his disciples, who have joined him. The disciples—not so long before, they themselves were fully part of the crowd. They were just like all the others. Then Jesus’ call came. So they left everything behind and followed him. Since then they have belonged to Jesus—completely. Now they go with him, live with him, follow him wherever he leads them. Something has happened to them which has not happened to the others. This is an extremely unsettling and offensive fact, which is visibly evident to the crowd. The disciples see: this is the people from whom they have come, the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is the chosen community of God. It is the people as church [Volkskirche].[2] When the disciples were called by Jesus from out of the people, they did the most obvious and natural thing lost sheep of the house of Israel could do: they followed the voice of the good shepherd, because they knew his voice. They belong to this people, indeed, especially because of the path on which they were led. They will live among this people, they will go into it and preach Jesus’ call and the splendor of discipleship. But how will it all end? Jesus sees: his disciples are over there. They have visibly left the people to join him. He has called each individual one. They have given up everything in response to his call. Now they are living in renunciation and want; they are the poorest of the poor, the most tempted of the tempted, the hungriest of the hungry. They have only him. Yes, and with him they have nothing in the world, nothing at all, but everything, everything with God. So far, he has found only a small community, but it is a great community he is looking for, when he looks at the people. Disciples and the people belong together. The disciples will be his messengers; they will find listeners and believers here and there. Nevertheless, there will be enmity between the disciples and the people until the end. Everyone’s rage at God and God’s word will fall on his disciples, and they will be rejected with him. The cross comes into view. Christ, the disciples, the people—one can already see the whole history of the suffering of Jesus and his community.1

Therefore, “Blessed!” Jesus is speaking to the disciples (cf. Luke 6:20ff.). He is speaking to those who are already under the power of his call. That call has made them poor, tempted, and hungry. He calls them blessed, not because of their want or renunciation. Neither want nor renunciation are in themselves any reason to be called blessed. The only adequate reason is the call and the promise, for whose sake those following him live in want and renunciation. The observation that some of the Beatitudes speak of want and others of the disciples’ intentional renunciation or special virtues has no special meaning. Objective want and personal renunciation have their joint basis in Christ’s call and promise. Neither of them has any value or claim in itself.

Jesus calls his disciples blessed. The people hear it and are dismayed at witnessing what happens. That which belongs to the whole people of Israel, according to God’s promise, is now being awarded to the small community of disciples chosen by Jesus: “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” But the disciples and the people are one in that they are all the community called by God. Jesus’ blessing should lead to decisions and salvation for all of them. All are called to be what they truly are. The disciples are blessed because of Jesus’ call that they followed. The entire people of God is blessed because of the promise which pertains to them. But will God’s people, in faith in Jesus Christ and his word, now in fact seize the promise or will they, in unfaith, depart from Christ and his community? That remains the issue.[1]

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 100–102.