Showing posts with label Identity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Identity. Show all posts

Monday, May 1, 2023

I am My Work – Lies of the Enemy #19– Purity 1031

I am My Work – Lies of the Enemy #19– Purity 1031

Purity 1031 05/01/2023  Purity 1031 Podcast

Purity 1031 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of Arthur Parton’s oil on canvas painting “Scene on the Housatonic River” comes to us from yours truly as I captured this work of art on film while visiting the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield Massachusetts on Saturday. While the weather was rainy on and off all weekend, my wife and I decided to seize the day on Saturday and “do something” so we enjoyed each other’s company while exploring the modest exhibits that highlighted man’s innovative and artistic spirit but that was also tempered by the harsh reality of our physical impermanence.

While we can appreciate the beauty of Arthur Parton’s painting, the artist departed this mortal coil over 100 years ago, dying in 1914. Similarly while we could appreciate the unchanging beauty of an impressive display of rocks and minerals at the Berkshire, the collection of stuffed or mummified remains of the what used to be living and breathing animals or people reminded us that although preserved, the flesh didn’t fare so well over time, or after death.  Some of the displays were positively creepy but paradoxically they made me thankful for my faith in Christ, because regardless what happens to my physical remains after I die, I know that although I may die, because I believe in Jesus, I shall live. (John 11:25).  

Well, it’s Monday again, so its back to work for most of us but even though most of us have to make the ends meet and will spend a good deal of our lives at work, today our current series will challenge the common belief that our work defines who we are.  

While there is a fair amount of truth that our work lives will say a lot about us as people, we are here to contest the lie that “I am My Work.”  Although we could preserve some of our handiwork in a museum like Arthur Parton’s “Scene on the Housatonic River”, the thing that will endure forever is not the work of our hands or imaginations. And ironically, there is no amount of work we can do to secure our place in eternity.  

As a reminder we are currently “working on” a continuing series, the Lies of the Enemy, which is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives.  

Today’s big lie is:

Lie #19:  I am My Work.  

While our work can be a large part of our identity here on earth, we are not our work.  Many a retiree discovers just how valuable their hard work is after they are no longer doing it.  After they retire, they discover just how disposable they were as the next generation comes in to take their place.  Similarly shifts in economic and business trends over the passage of time has shown us how entire industries that once defined the “way of the world”, fade away as new technological innovations or new companies make the “big and mighty”, small and obsolete.   

This was highlighted to me more than once during our visit to the Berkshire Museum as the antiquities on display testified to the things that once were but that are now no longer.  There was a display on Children’s Literature and I marveled over how “Little Golden Books” which began in the 1940s was such a huge and impactful industry affecting the lives of generations of children in the decades since then and how are now, while they are still available, are not the cultural force they used to be. While “everybody” had those books when I was little, they are not as prevalent today as things have changed.  

While Golden books is still out there, other industries have gone the way of the dodo all together and I am sure there are retired people who are still alive today that can tell you all about how their jobs are “no longer”.   What used to define their working lives and a big part of who they were is now “gone with the wind.”  

I don’t mean to depress by the fact that we are not our jobs but only seek to encourage us to seek our identity according to the One who made us: God.  

All those displays at the museum testified to the fact that things don’t last, so in order to have peace we need to seek our meaning and purpose in the One who will last forever: God.  

While various cultures have different ideas about what happens when you die, the museum had a mummy on display to testify of this, the Lord sought to give us the Truth about life and death, meaning and purpose, by sending Jesus to tell us like it is and to show us that He is God incarnate by defeating death and the grave.  

And amazingly, Jesus came to tell us that we could be part of His eternal kingdom and we don’t even have to “work for it”.    In

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

While we could disagree with someone who just “said” things like this, Jesus proved He was the resurrection and the life – by rising from the dead, ascending to heaven, and giving new spiritual lives to those who put their faith in Him.   

And Jesus’ words tell us that we receive this new life by just believing in Him! The Apostle Paul seeks to make the way to life everlasting clear in:  

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

It’s not our work that will save us. Its by faith alone, in Christ alone that we will receive and enjoy eternal life.  

As faith in Christ in our society is becoming increasingly rare and disparaged, people increasingly seek to find their identity and purpose in their work.  I’m including a couple of links to articles on the blog today to testify to the failure of the  “gospel of workism” to save us ( ) , and even modern psychology’s assurance that we are not our jobs ( ) but no matter what insights or assertions those articles share about “buying free time” or “identifying your own personal purpose” I want to encourage you to look beyond yourself and to seek the Lord and His wisdom to discover who you are, what really matters, and what God’s purpose is for your life.   

So as we go into another week of work, do a good job and get those ends met and do your best to meet your professional goals but remember that you are not your work. You are a piece of God’s creative work and He made you for a purpose in His kingdom and in Christ you will never find yourself “out of a job” or declared to be “obsolete” as He has future and a hope for all who trust in Him and decide to follow where He is leading. 


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


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

This morning’s meditation verses  :

Isaiah 60:18, 22 (NLT2)
18  Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.
. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.”

Today’s verse assures us of the future and the hope that we have in Christ as Isaiah prophesied about life beyond the millennial kingdom as God will some day make a new heaven and a new earth.  

Yeah this passage of scripture is looking at the end times because although it sounds like these verses just point to the end of war – the intervening verses of 19,20, and 21 talk about cosmic changes as the Lord will somehow replace the sun and moon and become our “everlasting light”. This verbiage is reiterated by

Revelation 21:23 (NLT2)
23  And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.

So, when God brings “peace on earth” – He will be the light that shines upon us and illuminates our meaning and purpose, taking away all that is warped, evil, or broken. We won’t have to work to know who we are or to be accepted as the Lord will show us what to do and how to live in the new heaven and new earth and our praise of Him will never leave our lips.


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 begin sharing from  “Satan, Demons & Satanism: A Sinister Reality” By June Hunt.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.  This resource is available online for $7.99 ( ).

Satan, Demons & Satanism

A Sinister Reality

by June Hunt

B.  What Is Satanism?

Satanism is not just a hodgepodge of occultic activity, but a religion that demands worship and allegiance to Satan. Devotion to the devil and his legion of demons can take the form of worshiping Satan himself, or it can be participation in various occultic activities that open doors to the demonic. Operating in this world since the Garden of Eden, Satan deceives and demands compliance with his desires. His ultimate goal is to replace God.

“The devil took him [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” ’ ”

(Matthew 4:8–10)

     Satanism is a religion that worships and declares allegiance to Satan.

   Ritualistic ceremonies promote a relationship with Satan and call on his power.

   Secret rituals may involve sacrificial killings, black magic and the black mass.

   It is illegal and underground.

     Satanism is also a religion based on the exaltation of evil with no belief in a personal devil.

   It consists of complete indulgence in orgies and other sexual obscenities.

   Rituals include the use of magic to achieve personal desires.

   It is legal and tax-exempt.

Q “If God is so powerful, why doesn’t He destroy Satan and Satanism?”

He will. The day will come when Satan is cast forever into the lake of fire. To face annihilation? No—that would be too tame! The destiny of the devil is never ending torment … eternal punishment … “day and night for ever and ever.”

“The devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)[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] June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Satan, Demons & Satanism: A Sinister Reality (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 3–4.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Being Your “Self” and Raising the Dead - Purity 943

Being Your “Self” and Raising the Dead   - Purity 943

Purity 943 01/17/2023  Purity 943 Podcast

Purity 943 on YouTube:

Good morning,

Today’s photo of poolside palm trees overlooking the rooftops of buildings in the valley below at sunset comes to us from a friend who captured this scene at the Pura Vida Resort and Spa in Carrizal, Costa Rica while at a  corporate retreat. Our friend seems to be making the most of the trip as he has enjoyed hot tub dips during the breaks, has captured shots of parrots in the wild, and went zip lining through the jungle along the coast of the Gulf of Nicoya this past weekend! While zip lining someone caught a photo of him literally upside down which he changed to his FB profile with the caption:  “Be your self, no matter what position life puts you in…”  

Corporate retreats in Costa Rica… yeah some guys have it rough! Well, it’s Tuesday and for many of us it will be the end of an extended weekend while the rest of us had our case of the Mondays yesterday.  Although it is back to work it doesn’t have to be to be met with depression or disdain. In fact as much as I joke about envying my friend’s trip Costa Rica, I want to point out what I believe is the most important thing about what our friend’s comment and experience can teach us. 

While there is definitely some wisdom in our friend’s sentiment  that “No matter what position life puts you in, be yourself…”, let’s qualify that by saying let’s be our “best self” or what I would say is “the person God created us to be”.   

While we shouldn’t deny our feelings, when I think of people advising others to be their “selves”  I some how get the impression that we are not encouraging one another to be depressed, petty, angry, or selfish people.   Our “best self” – the person God created us to be is the “self” that displays the fruit of the Spirit: peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, patience, and self-control – although I am sure there are many a “wild child” who would dispute that and claim their rights to “be who they are" which would include their tendencies to be angry and selfish, those responses that come when my “self” isn’t getting everything that “I want.”   

The impression I get from my friend’s sharing from his trip was that he was not only indulging in his selfish desires but was experiencing and sharing joy with others by appreciating the beauty of God’s creation where he was and by taking advantage of the opportunities to relax and explore where the Lord brought him.  He was also tagged in a video where co-workers were dancing which indicates to me that others appreciated his zeal for life and enjoying the retreat.   Our positive attitudes are the perhaps the best thing we can take with us through life. Whether we are travelling to distant places through out the world or if we are just going back to our regular 9 to 5, our ability to experience joy and our ability to return to joy demonstrates our spiritual maturity.  

No matter what position life puts us in, those of us in Christ have infinite reasons to be joyful and to face each day with gratitude and a sense of contentment and wonder.  When we stay in those places:  joy, gratitude, contentment and wonder – we like who we are because we best represent who we are in Christ. 

Paul’s final advice to the Thessalonians demonstrates that these attributes are supposed to define who we are as Christians:  

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT2)
16  Always be joyful.
17  Never stop praying.
18  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

So remember who you are in Christ, and let the truth of your new identity as God’s beloved son or daughter fuel your day and fill you with the abundant joy and peace that is defines your “self” – no matter what position life puts you in.    


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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT2)
19  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power
20  that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Today’s verses encourage us understand the power that God provides to those who believe in Him, and it encourages us to not put a limit on what God can do in our lives.  

While many an enthusiastic spirit filled Christian can make bold claims about raising the dead through our faith, resurrecting miracles are not common.  Miracles by definition are rare, although raising the dead is possible with God.  So if you are in a situation where you feel the Lord is inviting you to pray to raise the dead, go for it. But be willing to accept bitter disappointment.  

Hey that’s our faith. We hope for the best and pray for good things, but we accept God’s will and the fact that we don’t perfectly know it. 

In 2019, a woman in California lost a toddler and despite her pastor and church’s belief in raising the dead, the child did not rise, despite their undoubting faith and prayers that lasted for a week.  So we have to realize that the vast majority of the time dead is dead.

Having lost an infant child myself I can understand praying for resurrection. I wasn’t the Christian I am today and when my son Holden died, I prayed and called out to God to not let him go right up until the emergency room doctor had to tell me what was quite obvious, my son was cold and had stopped breathing long before we got him to the hospital. My son was dead.  But I did pray, man did I pray.  But then you accept it.    I can’t imagine persisting in prayer for over a week, and I don’t recommend it.  

What? Where’s my faith? Don’t I believe that we have the same power that raised Christ from the dead? 

I do but because I believe I also accept that His will be done, not mine.  

Also, hello, we are Christian – dead isn’t dead. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  Should we really be praying to bring people back from God’s kingdom?   For his purposes? Yes. To give Him glory? Sure.  But otherwise we have to realize that the dead person if in Christ, is in a better place than we are!  

That was something I didn’t understand fully when my son died.  Nobody wants anyone to die, okay, but despite our pain we should accept God’s will (He calls everyone into eternity) and remember the “good state” that departing Christians go to.   

We should grieve but stand in faith by thanking God for the love we had and for bringing our loved ones into His presence.  

This is one of those “hard truths” of Christianity that we struggle with and that can be misapplied, so tread lightly and meditate upon these things.  

Yesterday I saw a FB friend share a picture of David Bowie with the caption – rest in peace dear one.   I get it you loved his music and his artistry.  But he has been dead for a while and regardless of his final destination, Mr. Bowie is not resting.   Anyone who dies is either experiencing joy and new life in heaven in God’s presence, or experiencing torment in hell until the final judgement, the second death.    But in either case – nobody is resting. So can we give “rest in peace” a rest?  

Anyway, enough about the dead who live elsewhere currently.  

This passage does the speak of God’s power and Paul’s words encourage us that it is a mighty power without limits, except God’s will of course.  So what does it mean for us? 

It means we can overcome.  It means we can have victory over the personal struggles of our lives because we are free from sin.  It means we can have peace even in the face of death because we know the truth concerning the afterlife. 

God’s power is mighty but besides the rare miracle it can be applied to our lives, by faith – by believing – to transform us.  

So pray at all times and don’t surrender against the “impossible situations” in your life, God is with you and if you keep walking and talking with Him you may discover that His path will take you over and above what you think is impossible.          


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.





1. The Sovereignty of God the Father in Salvation – continues

“A remnant according to the election of grace.” Here the cause of election is traced back to its source. The basis upon which God elected this “remnant” was not faith foreseen in them, because a choice founded upon the foresight of good works is just as truly made on the ground of works as any choice can be, and in such a case it would not be “of grace;” for, says the apostle, “if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace;” which means that grace and works are opposites, they have nothing in common, and will no more mingle than oil and water. Thus the idea of inherent good foreseen in those chosen, or of anything meritorious performed by them, is rigidly excluded. “A remnant according to the election of grace” signifies an unconditional choice resulting from the sovereign favor of God; in a word, it is absolutely a gratuitous election.

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty: and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:26–29). Three times over in this passage reference is made to God’s choice, and choice necessarily supposes a selection, the taking of some and the leaving of others. The Choser here is God Himself, as said the Lord Jesus to the apostles, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16). The number chosen is strictly defined—“not many wise men after the flesh, not many noble,” etc., which agree with Matt. 20:16, “So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen.” So much then for the fact of God’s choice; now mark the objects of His choice.

The ones spoken of above as chosen of God are “the weak things of the world, base things of the world, and things which are despised.” But why? To demonstrate and magnify His grace. God’s ways as well as His thoughts are utterly at variance with man’s. The carnal mind would have supposed that a selection had been made from the ranks of the opulent and influential, the amiable and cultured, so that Christianity might have won the approval and applause of the world by its pageantry and fleshly glory. Ah, but “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). God chooses the “base things.” He did so in Old Testament times. The nation which He singled out to be the depository of His holy oracles and the channel through which the promised Seed should come was not the ancient Egyptians, the imposing Babylonians, nor the highly civilized and cultured Greeks. No; that people upon whom Jehovah set His love and regarded as ‘the apple of His eye’ were the despised, nomadic Hebrews. So it was when our Lord tabernacled among men. The ones whom He took into favored intimacy with Himself and commissioned to go forth as His ambassadors were, for the most part, unlettered fishermen. And so it has been ever since. So it is today: at the present rates of increase, it will not be long before it is manifested that the Lord has more in despised China who are really His, than He has in the highly favored U. S. A.; more among the uncivilized blacks of Africa, than He has in cultured (?) Germany! And the purpose of God’s choice, the raison d’etre of the selection He has made is, “that no flesh should glory in His presence”—there being nothing whatever in the objects of His choice which should entitle them to His special favors, then, all the praise will be freely ascribed to the exceeding riches of His manifold grace.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ: According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him; in love having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.… In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:3–5, 11). Here again we are told at what point in time—if time it could be called—when God made choice of those who were to be His children by Jesus Christ. It was not after Adam had fallen and plunged his race into sin and wretchedness, but long ere Adam saw the light, even before the world itself was founded, that God chose us in Christ. Here also we learn the purpose which God had before Him in connection with His own elect: it was that they “should be holy and without blame before Him;” it was “unto the adoption of children;” it was that they should “obtain an inheritance.” Here also we discover the motive which prompted Him. It was “in love that He predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself”—a statement which refutes the oft made and wicked charge that, for God to decide the eternal destiny of His creatures before they are born, is tyrannical and unjust. Finally, we are informed here, that in this matter He took counsel with none, but that we are “predestinated according to the good pleasure of His will.”

“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13). There are three things here which deserve special attention. First, the fact that we are expressly told that God’s elect are “chosen to salvation.” Language could not be more explicit. How summarily do these words dispose of the sophistries and equivocations of all who would make election refer to nothing but external privileges or rank in service! It is to “salvation” itself that God hath chosen us. Second, we are warned here that election unto salvation does not disregard the use of appropriate means: salvation is reached through “sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” It is not true that because God has chosen a certain one to salvation that he will be saved willy-nilly, whether he believes or not: nowhere do the scriptures so represent it. The same God who predestined the end also appointed the means; the same God who “chose unto salvation” decreed that His purpose should be realized through the work of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Third, that God has chosen us unto salvation is a profound cause for fervent praise. Note how strongly the apostle expresses this—“we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation,” etc. Instead of shrinking back in horror from the doctrine of predestination, the believer, when he sees this blessed truth as it is unfolded in the Word, discovers a ground for gratitude and thanksgiving such as nothing else affords, save the unspeakable gift of the Redeemer Himself.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9). How plain and pointed is the language of Holy Writ! It is man who, by his words, darkeneth counsel. It is impossible to state the case more clearly, or strongly, than it is stated here. Our salvation is not “according to our works;” that is to say, it is not due to anything in us, nor the rewarding of anything from us; instead, it is the result of God’s own “purpose and grace;” and this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. It is by grace we are saved, and in the purpose of God this grace was bestowed upon us not only before we saw the light, not only before Adam’s fall, but even before that far distant “beginning” of Genesis 1:1. And herein lies the unassailable comfort of God’s people. If His choice has been from eternity it will last to eternity! “Nothing can survive to eternity but what came from eternity, and what has so come, will” (George S. Bishop).

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2). Here again election by the Father precedes the work of the Holy Spirit in, and the obedience of faith by, those who are saved; thus taking it entirely off creature ground, and resting it in the sovereign pleasure of the Almighty. The “foreknowledge of God the Father” does not here refer to His prescience of all things, but signifies that the saints were all eternally present in Christ before the mind of God. God did not “foreknow” that certain ones who heard the Gospel would believe it apart from the fact that He had “ordained” these certain ones to eternal life. What God’s prescience saw in all men was, love of sin and hatred of Himself. The “foreknowledge” of God is based upon His own decrees as is clear from Acts 2:23—“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain”—note the order here: first God’s “determinate counsel” (His decree), and second His “foreknowledge.” So it is again in Romans 8:28, 29, “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son,” but the first word here, “for,” looks back to the preceding verse and the last clause of its reads, “to them who are the called according to His purpose”—these are the ones whom He did “foreknow and predestinate.” Finally, it needs to be pointed out that when we read in Scripture of God “knowing” certain people the word is used in the sense of knowing with approbation and love: “But if any man love God, the same is known of Him” (1 Cor. 8:3). To the hypocrites Christ will yet say “I never knew you”—He never loved them. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” signifies, then, chosen by Him as the special objects of His approbation and love.

Summarizing the teaching of these seven passages we learn that, God has “ordained to eternal life” certain ones, and that in consequence of His ordination they, in due time “believe;” that God’s ordination to salvation of His own elect is not due to any good thing in them nor to anything meritorious from them, but solely of His grace;” that God has designedly selected the most unlikely objects to be the recipients of His special favors in order that “no flesh should glory in His presence;” that God chose His people in Christ before the foundation of the world, not because they were so, but in order that they “should be holy and without blame before him;” that having selected certain ones to salvation. He also decreed the means by which His eternal counsel should be made good; that the very “grace” by which we are saved was, in God’s purpose, “given us in Christ Jesus before the world began;” that long before they were actually created God’s elect stood present before His mind, were “foreknown” by Him, i.e., were the definite objects of His eternal love.

Before turning to the next division of this chapter, a further word concerning the subjects of God’s predestinating grace. We go over this ground again because it is at this point that the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in predestining certain ones to salvation is most frequently assaulted. Perverters of this truth invariably seek to find some cause outside God’s own will which moves Him to bestow salvation on sinners; something or other is attributed to the creature which entitles him to receive mercy at the hands of the Creator. We return then to the question, Why did God choose the ones He did?

What was there in the elect themselves which attracted God’s heart to them? Was it because of certain virtues they possessed? because they were generous-hearted, sweet-tempered, truth-speaking? in a word, because they were “good,” that God chose them? No; for our Lord said, “There is none good but one, that is God” (Matt. 19:17). Was it because of any good works they had performed? No; for it is written, “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:12). Was it because they evidenced an earnestness and zeal in inquiring after God? No; for it is written again, “There is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). Was it because God foresaw they would believe? No; for how can those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” believe in Christ? How could God foreknow some men as believers when belief was impossible to them? Scripture declares that we “believe through grace” (Acts 18:27). Faith is God’s gift, and apart from this gift none would believe. The cause of His choice then lies within Himself and not in the objects of His choice. He chose the ones He did simply because He chose to choose them.

“Sons we are by God’s election

Who on Jesus Christ believe,

By eternal destination,

Sovereign grace we now receive,

Lord Thy mercy,

Doth both grace and glory give!”[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), 59–65.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Way I Am versus What He says I am – Purity 615

 The Way I Am versus What He says I am – Purity 615

Purity 615 12/30/2021  Purity 615 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of “a brother and a friend” facing the setting sun on one of the beaches in Sandy Hook NJ comes to us as they recently made this epic photo their profile pic earlier this week.  His identity is obscured as he was looking in the opposite direction of the camera and his name is being withheld because even though we are brothers, from our college days, and friends, he may or may not be in agreement with everything I have to say. I would like to think we can be friends even when we don’t agree on everything.  

I hope he won’t take offense at my using his photo, like some ex-friends, to highlight the natural beauty of God’s creation that is all around him and the fact that our identities are likewise a part of God’s all surrounding kingdom.   To my friend, if you do take offense, I ask for your forgiveness, sir.  Like the Blues Brothers, I am on a mission from God and I got the indication that the Lord had need of it. 

In perhaps what is one of his signature songs, “The Way I Am”, the rapper Eminem, instead of defending himself or trying to deny the media reports about him, decided to embrace the chaos, proclaiming: 

I am whatever you say I am
If I wasn't, then why would I say I am?
In the paper, the news, every day I am, huh
I don't know, it's just the way I am

Eminem wasn’t really agree with the media reports of course and was making his own report of how the media tried to classify him in a certain light, how people were out to profit from him, and how he had no privacy because he realized his dream of fame and fortune but had to suffer the insults of the mainstream music industry who didn’t embrace him at the time as  he states that “Radio won’t even play my jam”.

When I listened to Eminem back in the day, I used to pump that song to the max and angrily sing along with Marshal Mathers because after the loss of my infant son I had become disillusioned with the American Dream and life in general and idolized the Detroit rapper and the way he angrily proclaimed how he didn’t care what anyone thought about him, he was who he was and that was just the way he was.    

As we go through life, we grow from children to adults having to decide who we will be in life through our choices. The things we like, the things we do, our tastes, our talents, our personality, and our relationships all come together to paint a picture of who we are, and our thoughts and actions are directed by who we perceive ourselves to be. 

If the world tells you are an angry person, and you agree with it, you will behave in a way that is consistent with that perception. When offended, you will lash out because that’s “just the way I am.”  

In Hamlet, Polonius advises his son Laertes: “to thine own self be true”, but as we can see who that “own self” is can be shaped by the world around us and what we decide to be.     

The world will judge you on your performance. If you don’t have riches, beauty, or accomplishments you won’t be much in the world’s eyes.  

Satan and his demonic minions will encourage a spirit of rebellion in you and will insist that you are your own boss and like to do things your way and that no one is going to tell you what you can and can’t do. 

You may unwittingly have sympathy for the devil and agree with him, as our American culture stresses individual freedom and has increasingly redefined the standards of morality to accept things that were once considered perverse, shameful, or illegal as normal.  

Who we are is influenced by what we believe and how we choose to live according to those beliefs.

So as much as some of us like to think of ourselves as “self-made men”, we should recognize that we are influenced by the world, but we should also consider the Creator of the world, God.  

There are no “self-made men as God created the heavens and the earth and all the living beings that inhabit it.  

Part of our conflicts in choosing “who I am” comes from the fact that God made us in His image and gave us all a conscience, writing His law on our hearts.

Even though we may know in our hearts when we do wrong as children, we can harden our hearts and change our minds to accept our sins as normal and acceptable as we grow into adults.  

And for most of us, who aren’t completely hardened in our own concepts of morality by sin, if we are honest, we know we are doing wrong and we are not right with God but feel utterly hopeless to change it because it’s “just the way I am”, right?  

Well, the word of God tells us you can have a new and eternal life when you put your faith in Christ. So although you may feel set in your ways, God makes a new way when you come into relationship with Him.   

No matter what you define your self as or what you have “made” yourself into, you don’t have any power to forge your own path into eternity. Those who don’t put their faith in Christ will have to face Him one day to be judged and suffer eternal separation from God in a place described as outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Not a pleasant thought, I know, but I have to share it because Jesus warned of it, and I have come to know that God is real, and people are only saved from His wrath by making peace with Him by putting your faith in Christ. 

Just as our friend’s photo would be pretty lame, without the beauty of God’s creation surrounding Him,  we don’t live in a vacuum. We live in the world and will be subject to the Creator of it.  We have to come into harmony with that Creator as our purpose in life and the only way we do that is by aligning ourselves with Him by accepting His plan for our redemption and making Christ our Lord and Savior.  

The world is a maelstrom of changing ideas, fashions, and philosophies but God’s word stands forever and what it says about us should be considered.  

Without Christ, we are sinners waiting for judgement. 

With Christ, we are saints that have been forgiven and provided with life eternal and power over sin.      

So consider the big picture and the fact that you are living in the context of God.   Instead of embracing the lies of the world that pass away, choose to believe the word of God that will stand forever.  

Instead of being “just the way I am”, listen to the Great I AM and inherit all of the promises of God and a new identity based on what He says about you by putting your faith in Jesus Christ.   

Our struggles to find an identity in this world come from the fact that we choose to ignore the big picture and deny the fact that the Creator made us and has a plan for our lives.  

The struggles with our identity stop and peace, love, and joy come when we stop worrying about “whatever they say I am”,  and we choose to agree with and own our identity of who we are in Christ. In Christ, we are accepted, secure, and significant.  

Hey, we all make our own choices of who we will be in life, but I just want to encourage you to consider who you will be when this life ends and the possibility for living out a new life in Christ where you can know and experience progressive goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, self-control, peace, love and joy.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 2:13 (NLT2)
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Today’s verse teaches us that the power in our Christian walk of faith comes through God working in us.   

Every person who puts their faith in Christ receives the Holy Spirit. After salvation, the Spirit of God encourages us to live according to God’s ways by making us more sensitive to the “wrongness” of our sins and by drawing us to pursue the things of God and to turn from our old ways of doing things.  

As stated above, we, even people who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, can harden our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and continue in our lifestyles of sin.  

But as today’s verse indicates, when we choose to follow the Lord’s will for our lives to be sanctified and listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we receive “the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”  

So if you are wondering why you haven’t changed much from when you said “Yes” to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it is because you are not choosing to follow Him consistently and you are not letting God work within you because of your choosing your ways rather than His.  

So let go and let God work within you to give you the desire and power to do what pleases Him by simply praying to God that His will be done on earth, and in your life, as it is in heaven. 

Keep walking and talking with God and you will be amazed as your desires change and you see Him working in your life.  

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

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we begin sharing from Chapter 2.    

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

Chapter 2


If you really want to experience your freedom in Christ, the first step is to renounce previous or current involvement with any activity or group that denies Jesus Christ, offers guidance through sources contrary to the Word of God, or requires secret ceremonies or covenants. The Bible teaches that “he who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” 44 Renounce means to forsake or say no to something or someone. Renounce is the first step toward repentance, which means to turn away from something and towards something else. Repentance literally means a change of mind, but it is much more comprehensive in its application.

When the Pharisees and the Sadducees came to be baptized by John, “He said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance.’”45 Jesus knew their repentance was incomplete. They wanted the blessing of God but didn’t want to give up their traditions, practices, and religious positions.


The public declaration: “I renounce you Satan and all your works and all your ways” has historically been a part of the Church’s profession of faith since its earliest days. To this day members of most liturgical churches are encouraged to make that public profession at salvation or confirmation. In the Early Church, believers would literally face west and make that declaration. Then they would face east and declare their belief in God. The statement is only generic, however. Every work of Satan and every way of Satan had to be renounced in order for repentance to be complete.

To be free from the past, it is necessary to specifically renounce every false religion, false teacher, false practice, and every means of false guidance you have participated in. Many people come to Christ and make a profession of faith, but continue in their old ways of seeking guidance and participation in false religious practices. That is not complete repentance. If we declare something as true, then it is just as important to declare the counterfeit as false. You cannot believe the truth and believe a lie at the same time and experience your freedom in Christ.

The Cross dealt with the forgiveness of our sins. The Resurrection provided us with new life in Christ, and the Ascension of Christ to the right hand of the Father assured us of the authority and power to live a victorious life in Christ. But the moment we are born again, our minds are not totally renewed. That is why Paul said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”46 The Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension make all that possible. Now we can repent and renew our minds. We can renounce the lies, the false guidance, and the false teachers. And we can choose the truth as led by the Holy Spirit.


The Apostle Paul warned us what we can expect in this world: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.”47 Concerning the last days, Jesus said, “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”48 These deceptive belief systems and false teachings are counterfeits. They may appear to mimic the truth, but they are in fact satanically inspired lies. They are taught by false teachers who often represent themselves as followers of Christ.49

When assessing counterfeits of Christianity, no criterion is more important than the doctrine of Jesus Christ. If any person or group will not or cannot say that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the King of kings, and the great I AM, then they should be considered suspect.50 Many people under the influence of Satan can say that Jesus is Lord, but when asked to say Jesus is their Lord, they simply repeat, “Jesus is Lord.” The Devil knows that Jesus is the Lord of the universe, but will not profess Jesus as his Lord, nor will his followers.

A second identifiable trait of false religions and the occult is an offer of salvation or enlightenment through something other than faith in the finished work of Christ. Satan blinds the minds of people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.51 New Age proponents teach that we are not separated from God by our sin and therefore have no need to repent. They say we are God and only need to be enlightened. What a lie!

Third, psychics, gurus, shamans, and false prophets offer a special quality of life, esoteric knowledge, or special power that is available by connecting with cosmic energy sources, secret rituals, ceremonies, or covenants. Occult means hidden, concealed or secret, which is in total contrast to the nature of God, who does everything in the light. What is really hidden from view, however, is Satan, the puppet master. His goal is to keep humanity in bondage by drawing us away from the truth that would set us free. Genuine repentance is the means by which we experience our freedom, as we renounce the lies and choose the truth.


The believer has a responsibility to submit to God and resist the devil.52 In doing so they are recognizing God’s authority over their lives and His authority over the demonic realm.53 They are taking their rightful position at Christ’s right hand and standing against the devil, using the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. They are exercising dependence upon God and the authority they have in Christ.

The Bible relates the story of unregenerate men who tried to exert authority over the demonic realm by using rituals and incantations. Such futility will bring disastrous results. The seven sons of Sceva were unbelievers trying to cast out demons in Jesus’ name without an authentic relationship with Him.54 They were stripped of their clothes, beaten up, and kicked out. Their efforts were similar to occultic practices that try to manipulate the spirit world to do their will, but not God’s will.

The biblical example of breaking counterfeit religious ties with the past is found in Acts 19:18-20. Many of the new Christians in Ephesus had been deeply involved in false religions and the occult through worship at the Temple of Artemis. Luke writes in verse 18, “Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices.” The open disclosure of occult practices was followed by the positive action of ridding themselves of anything associated with that darkness. “And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of all.”

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


Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship