A Home in Christ - Purity 834
Purity 834 09/12/2022
Today’s photo of a fisherman up to his knees in the
surf with a rising, or setting, sun on his right, presumably near Mulligan’s Beach
House in Sebastian Florida, comes to us from a friend who recently left the
sunshine state for a new home in North Carolina. He shared this scene on social
media back on August 7th with the following poem as a type of fond
farewell, he wrote:
soon leave the palm trees
and the Sea,
of the mountains,
where I will roam
Place I’ll call home.
all of my travels
much I have learned
home in the mountains
always have yearned
view from the summit
of the mountains
beckons to me
home in the mountains
sets the soul free.
Since retirement, our friend has gone from upstate New
York, to Kentucky, to Florida and now to the mountains of North Carolina and has
shared some amazing views along the way and it is my prayer that he finds the peace
that comes from searching for, finding, and finally “going home”.
I know in my short travels from the shadow of the
Berkshires in Craryville NY to my riverside accommodations in Stuyvesant, there
was a contrast geographically but it was the sense of finding a new home that
made the scenic beauty of my place “down by the River” shine even
And now because of my marriage to TammyLyn, I have
another sense of home when I go to our countryside home in Easton. But in all
honesty, as much as I have come to love walking up and down Waite Road to enjoy
the scenic farmland and Big Sky views in the morning and afternoons, I could
and would leave it all behind in a minute if she relocated.
This is the second chance at marriage for both of
us, and I believe it was the marriage we were both supposed to have all along, a
marriage with God at the center, and now our sense of home doesn’t really come
from a geographic location as much as it comes from being in each other’s
I was just commenting to TammyLyn last night that
while our lives seem to always have some elements of drama with the challenges
of maintaining two households, dealing with difficult ex’s, and the shifting
landscapes of careers and ministry, that I know that God brought us together,
and that even though their has been difficulties to deal with, I know we are
supposed to be together because I simply can’t imagine a life where TammyLyn
isn’t my wife. If I even try to imagine
it, the contemplation results in imagining an existence that would be far less
than what I have now, like I would have missed something that God had for
Yeah, don’t get me wrong, I love TammyLyn dearly but
our coming together was a little more than me “liking her”. Men can be pretty foolish, and we can like just
about anybody but with finding a wife in TammyLyn, God was the matchmaker. Because
I try to live out my faith everyday, the elements of faith and character were
the most important attributes in finding a spouse and when the Holy Spirit revealed
to me that “there was no other” than TammyLyn, I knew I had found my wife for
life. I knew I had found the someone I
would be “at home” with no matter what we would have to endure or where the
Lord would have us go.
So the Lord has blessed me with a “home” more than
once. I have a home “down by the River”,
I have a home on a Country Road in Easton, and I have a home in my marriage with
However, I would not give the glory that God is due
to suggest that these homes are anywhere I could find a long and sustaining peace,
separate from Him.
No, when I was a vagabond and a refugee in the great
in between of my former life and where I am now, I found a home, and I found
myself, when I found the Lord. I found a home in Christ.
So if you don’t have a house or a significant other
that give you a sense of “home” or peace, let me assure you that no matter
where you look you will never find it without Christ.
In speaking about Himself, and his disciples, and about
the world Christ said:
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
So this world is not our home, but when we put our
faith in Jesus, we have the promise of a place in God’s eternal kingdom and
will find it when He either comes back to get us when Christ returns or when He
shows us the way home in eternity.
So no matter how you feel this Monday morning about your place in this world and what you base your sense of “home” on, keep walking and talking with God because in Christ we can be at home in our own skins, we can have peace knowing that we are accepted, secure, and significant in Him. And the home we have in Christ, exists for all eternity, endures through all trials, tribulations, and changes, and goes wherever we go. In Him, we have peace regardless of circumstances and because of Him we can be content in all things because where ever we go, there we are, at home in Christ.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible
Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Matthew 23:12 (NKJV)
12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Today’s verse are the words of Jesus and they remind us to not
think too highly of ourselves because whoever exalts himself will be
As we spoke about in Saturday’s blog, as Christians we are to beware
of our pride because it is the original root cause of Satan’s sin and it could
lead to our being humbled or our ultimate destruction if we are so busy
exalting ourselves in this world that we never think to humble ourselves and
make Jesus our Lord and Savior.
In the context of today’s verse, Christ was speaking to the Pharisees
and was seeking to warn them of their spiritual pride that they fed by being
considered highly exalted members of their communities, receiving preferential
seating at feasts and respectful greeting in the marketplaces.
While there is nothing wrong in receiving honor for your service
to God’s kingdom, it can be a slippery slope to fall on if we begin to crave
the honor of men for ourselves rather than remembering that the glory should go
The pharisees were so proud that their spiritual eyes were blinded
to the reality that the Messiah was in their midst. They were so concerned
about their positions of power and respect that they failed to respect the Son
of God when He came preaching the kingdom of God and performed miraculous signs
Their plot to remove Jesus by having him killed may have seemed
like a way to maintain their exalted position in Jerusalem but they were undoubtedly
humbled by His resurrection and, certainly, by the loss of all their positions
and power when Christ’s prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem came to pass
in 70 AD.
So for the Christian disciple, we are to remember that its not
about us, our lives have been saved by Christ and all that we do should be done,
not to exalt ourselves, but to lift up the name of Jesus Christ and to
represent the kingdom of God in humble obedience.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I
always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to
assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s
“Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
As always, I share this information for educational
purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own
private study and to support his work. This resource is available on
many websites for less than $20.00.
PART ONE - Chapter
One: Costly Grace
Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of our church. Our struggle
today is for costly grace.
Cheap grace means
grace as bargain-basement goods, cut-rate forgiveness, cut-rate comfort,
cut-rate sacrament; grace as the church’s inexhaustible pantry, from which it
is doled out by careless hands without hesitation or limit. It is grace without
a price, without costs. It is said that the essence of grace is that the bill
for it is paid in advance for all time. Everything can be had for free,
courtesy of that paid bill. The price paid is infinitely great and, therefore,
the possibilities of taking advantage of and wasting grace are also infinitely
great. What would grace be, if it were not cheap grace?
Cheap grace means
grace as doctrine, as principle, as system. It means forgiveness of sins as a
general truth; it means God’s love as merely a Christian idea of God. Those who
affirm it have already had their sins forgiven. The church that teaches this
doctrine of grace thereby confers such grace upon itself. The world finds in
this church a cheap cover-up for its sins, for which it shows no remorse and from
which it has even less desire to be set free. Cheap grace is, thus, denial of
God’s living word, denial of the incarnation of the word of God.
Cheap grace means
justification of sin but not of the sinner. Because grace alone does
everything, everything can stay in its old ways. “Our action is in vain.” The
world remains world and we remain sinners “even in the best of lives.” Thus,
the Christian should live the same way the world does. In all things the
Christian should go along with the world and not venture (like
sixteenth-century enthusiasts) to live a different life under grace from that
under sin! The Christian better not rage against grace or defile that glorious
cheap grace by proclaiming anew a servitude to the letter of the Bible in an
attempt to live an obedient life under the commandments of Jesus Christ! The
world is justified by grace, therefore—because this grace is so serious!
because this irreplaceable grace should not be opposed—the Christian should
live just like the rest of the world! Of course, a Christian would like to do
something exceptional! Undoubtedly, it must be the most difficult renunciation
not to do so and to live like the world. But the Christian has to do it, has to
practice such self-denial so that there is no difference between Christian life
and worldly life. The Christian has to let grace truly be grace enough so that
the world does not lose faith in this cheap grace. In being worldly, however,
in this necessary renunciation required for the sake of the world—no, for the sake
of grace!—the Christian can be comforted and secure (securus) in possession of that grace which takes care of everything
by itself. So the Christian need not follow Christ, since the Christian is
comforted by grace! That is cheap grace as justification of sin, but not
justification of the contrite sinner who turns away from sin and repents. It is
not forgiveness of sin which separates those who sinned from sin. Cheap grace
is that grace which we bestow on ourselves.
Cheap grace is
preaching forgiveness without repentance; it is baptism without the discipline
of community; it is the Lord’s Supper without confession of sin; it is
absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without
discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without the living, incarnate
Costly grace is the
hidden treasure in the field, for the sake of which people go and sell with joy
everything they have. It is the costly pearl, for whose price the merchant
sells all that he has; it is Christ’s sovereignty, for the sake of which you
tear out an eye if it causes you to stumble. It is the call of
Jesus Christ which causes a disciple to leave his nets and follow him.
Costly grace is the
gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which has to be asked
for, the door at which one has to knock.
It is costly, because
it calls to discipleship; it is grace, because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly, because it
costs people their lives; it is grace, because it thereby makes them live. It
is costly, because it condemns sin; it is grace, because it justifies the
sinner. Above all, grace is costly, because it was costly to God, because it
costs God the life of God’s Son—“you were bought with a price”—and because
nothing can be cheap to us which is costly to God. Above all, it is grace
because the life of God’s Son was not too costly for God to give in order to
make us live. God did, indeed, give him up for us. Costly grace is the
incarnation of God.
Costly grace is grace
as God’s holy treasure which must be protected from the world and which must
not be thrown to the dogs. Thus, it is grace as living word, word of God, which
God speaks as God pleases. It comes to us as a gracious call to follow Jesus;
it comes as a forgiving word to the fearful spirit and the broken heart. Grace
is costly, because it forces people under the yoke of following Jesus Christ;
it is grace when Jesus says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Twice the call went
out to Peter: Follow me! It was Jesus’ first and last word to his disciple
(Mark 1:17; John 21:22). His whole life lies between these two calls. The first
time, in response to Jesus’ call, Peter left his nets, his vocation, at the Sea
of Galilee and followed him on his word. The last time, the Resurrected One
finds him at his old vocation, again at the Sea of Galilee, and again he calls:
Follow me! Between the two lies a whole life of discipleship following Christ.
At its center stands Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ of God. The same
message is proclaimed to Peter three times: at the beginning, at the end, and
in Caesarea Philippi, namely, that Christ is his Lord and God. It is the same
grace of Christ which summons him—Follow me! This same grace also reveals
itself to him in his confessing the Son of God.
Grace visited Peter
three times along his life’s path. It was the one grace, but proclaimed
differently three times. Thus, it was Christ’s own grace, and surely not grace
which the disciple conferred on himself. It was the same grace of Christ which
won Peter over to leave everything to follow him, which brought about Peter’s
confession which had to seem like blasphemy to all the world, and which called
the unfaithful Peter into the ultimate community of martyrdom and, in doing so,
forgave him all his sins. In Peter’s life, grace and discipleship belong inseparably
together. He received costly grace.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage
Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the
at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts
(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available
on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and
These teachings are also available on the
MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and
to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian
encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on
for the Path of Christian Discipleship