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Showing posts with label James. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Bringing One Another into the Presence of God - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 31– Purity 1003

 


Bringing One Another into the Presence of God - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 31– Purity 1003

Purity 1003 03/29/2023 Purity 1003 Podcast

Purity 1003 on YouTube: 


Oh YouTube, going sideways again.... 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of a view of the sun shining over the Schodack Creek, State Route 9J, and through the branches of a tree comes to us from yours truly as I was reminded yesterday to remember the beauty that lies just outside my front door when I saw the sun shining in through the windows of my home “down by The River. I’m including another shot of that view as a look to the right reveals the waters of the Hudson River. I couldn’t get it all in one shot but wanted to assure you that there is “always more” to see and enjoy in life if we simply look for it.   

Well, it is Wednesday and tonight I have the honor of leading one of the men from the Freedom in Christ Course to “get over the hump” of whatever unresolved personal and spiritual conflicts the Holy Spirit leads him to confess and cancel as I will be leading him through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.   Just like I was prompted to run to my front door to see what God was doing with his creation when I saw the light pouring into my home, this man has boldly followed the Lord to bring him to repentance and is hopeful that the Lord will bring him to something good on the other side of the Steps to Freedom in Christ.

And just like I said that there is always more to see and enjoy in life if we only look for it, this particular brother in Christ has already had significant victories and growth in his walk with God but knows that the Lord has even more for him to learn and experience and has already stated that the Steps will not be the end of his journey as he plans to keep going where the Lord calls him to go beyond the Freedom in Christ course that concludes in two weeks.  

And that is exactly what we taught last night and continually try to encourage Christians to understand: that our life of faith and our freedom in Christ is not a “one-off” experience that happens when we put our faith in Jesus or when we complete the Steps to Freedom in Christ. Our taking a hold of, experiencing, and enjoying our freedom in Christ is supposed to be a continuous and progressive way of life. As Christian disciples, we are to never stop learning and applying God’s wisdom to our lives. When we gain victory or freedom in one area of our lives, we don’t just sit down enjoying it until we become complacent and have to regain what we already have won. We are to take on new challenges and continue to discover our purpose in God’s kingdom.  Our salvation isn’t a “relationship status” it is a merely the prerequisite for us to discover the purpose God has for us and the rest of our lives is to be the ongoing adventures of our interactions with God to “come and see” all that He has for us to experience.  

So, let’s go and see what we can learn and discover what God has for us today as we walk in to the 31st day of Lent and our current series, 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 ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) . 

Day 31

Bonhoeffer writes:

“Offering intercessory prayer means nothing other than Christians bringing one another into the presence of God, seeing each other under the cross of Jesus as poor human beings and sinners in need of grace.

Then, everything about other people that repels me falls away.

Then I see them in all their need, hardship, and distress.

Their need and their sin become so heavy and oppressive to me that I feel as if they were my own, and I can do nothing else but bid: Lord, you yourself, you alone, deal with them according to your firmness and your goodness.”

Biblical Wisdom

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. James 5:15-16

Questions to Ponder

  • How does seeing others under the cross of Jesus Christ cause all that “repels me” about them to fall away?

M.T. Clark: Seeing Others under the cross of Jesus Christ causes all that “repels” us about them to fall away because we have compassion for them. We sympathize with their pain and suffering that results from their sins. We see them as God sees them as people who are hurting and who desperately need God’s forgiveness, love, and wisdom.  When we see others under the cross, all that could repel us about them falls away because we remember our own shame and pain and the grace that saved us and set us free.

  • In what way is everyone equal under the cross?

M.T. Clark: Everyone is equal under the cross because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Everyone needs Jesus to be forgiven and to receive the new and eternal life that God wants to give us.  No matter what individual differences exist in us, we are all equal in our need of a Savior. There are no sliding scales of judgement where those who sin less don’t need God’s grace. We all need Jesus and thus we are all on the same level ground at the foot of the cross.

  • How does looking at other people through the lens of God’s mercy change our feelings about them and about ourselves?

M.T. Clark: Looking at other people through the lens of God’s mercy makes us have compassion and love for others as that view causes us to see them as “just like me” in terms of needing Jesus and being blessed by being able to receive God’s grace that allowed us to not only see our need but to humble ourselves to surrender to the Lordship of Christ.  Seeing others through God’s lens should also cause us to humble ourselves as we rightly realize that, we are no better than our fellow man because we too have sinned and desperately needed Jesus.

Psalm Fragment

May he judge your people with righteousness,
   and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
   and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
   give deliverance to the needy,
   and crush the oppressor. 
Psalm 72:2-4

Journal Reflections

  • Make a list of the people whom you would like to bring into the presence of God today.

M.T. Clark: As this devotion is being podcasted, I will not call anyone out publicly here. I’ve gotten in trouble for that in the past. But as I write this I am thinking about all the men in the Freedom in Christ course that I lead and some other people that I feel could really benefit from being in the Lord’s presence today. 

  • Write a line or two describing the nature of your relationship with each of these people.

M.T. Clark: My relationship to the men in the freedom in Christ course is an encourager and a brother in Christ. My relationship to the other people I am thinking about is that of an acquaintance, family member, or friend.   There are lots of people I know that I would like to bring into the presence of God so they could receive the hope, mercy and love that He has for them.

Intercessions

For each person listed in your journal today, pray: Lord, you yourself, you alone, deal with (name) according to your firmness and your goodness.

M.T. Clark: 

Lord God,

I pray that You and you alone deal with the people that I have on my heart according to your firmness and goodness.  I pray for You to come into their presence today. 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Prayer for Today

Forgiving and transforming God, thank you that under the cross of Christ we all stand equally together under your love and mercy.

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 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 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.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER ELEVEN

DIFFICULTIES AND OBJECTIONS concludes

 

The next question to be considered is: Why preach the Gospel to every creature? If God the Father has predestined only a limited number to be saved, if God the Son died to effect the salvation of only those given to Him by the Father, and if God the Spirit is seeking to quicken none save God’s elect, then what is the use of giving the Gospel to the world at large, and where is the propriety of telling sinners that “Whosoever believeth in Christ shall not perish but have everlasting life”?

First; it is of great importance that we should be clear upon the nature of the Gospel itself. The Gospel is God’s good news concerning Christ and not concerning sinners: “Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God … concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:1, 3). God would have proclaimed far and wide the amazing fact that His own blessed Son “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” A universal testimony must be borne to the matchless worth of the person and work of Christ. Note the word “witness” in Matt. 22:14. The Gospel is God’s “witness” unto the perfections of His Son. Mark the words of the apostle: “For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (2 Cor. 2:15)!

Concerning the character and contents of the Gospel the utmost confusion prevails today. The Gospel is not an “offer” to be bandied around by evangelical peddlers. The Gospel is no mere invitation but a proclamation, a proclamation concerning Christ; true whether men believe it or not. No man is asked to believe that Christ died for him in particular. The Gospel, in brief, is this: Christ died for sinners, you are a sinner, believe in Christ, and you shall be saved. In the Gospel God simply announces the terms upon which men may be saved (namely, repentance and faith) and, indiscriminately, all are commanded to fulfill them.

Second, repentance and remission of sins are to be preached in the name of the Lord Jesus “unto all the nations” (Luke 24:47), because God’s elect are “scattered abroad” (John 11:52) among all nations, and it is by the preaching and hearing of the Gospel that they are called out of the world. The Gospel is the means which God uses in the saving of His own chosen ones. By nature God’s elect are children of wrath “even as others”; they are lost sinners needing a Saviour, and apart from Christ there is no salvation for them. Hence, the Gospel must be believed by them before they can rejoice in the knowledge of sins forgiven. The Gospel is God’s winnowing fan: it separates the chaff from the wheat, and gathers the latter into His garner.

Third; it is to be noted that God has other purposes in the preaching of the Gospel than the salvation of His own elect. The world exists for the elect’s sake yet others have the benefit of it. So the Word is preached for the elect’s sake yet others have the benefit of an external call. The sun shines though blind men see it not. The rain falls upon rocky mountains and waste deserts as well as on the fruitful valleys; so also, God suffers the Gospel to fall on the ears of the non-elect. The power of the Gospel is one of God’s agencies for holding in check the wickedness of the world. Many who are never saved by it are reformed, their lusts are bridled, and they are restrained from becoming worse. Moreover, the preaching of the Gospel to the non-elect is made an admirable test of their characters. It exhibits the inveteracy of their sin: it demonstrates that their hearts are at enmity against God: it justifies the declaration of Christ that “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Finally; it is sufficient for us to know that we are bidden to preach the Gospel to every creature. It is not for us to reason about the consistency between this and the fact that “few are chosen.” It is for us to obey. It is a simple matter to ask questions relating to the ways of God which no finite mind can fully fathom. We, too, might turn and remind the objector that our Lord declared “Verily, I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme. But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness” (Mark 3:28, 29), and there can be no doubt whatever but that certain of the Jews were guilty of this very sin (see Matt. 12:24, etc.) and hence their destruction was inevitable. Yet, notwithstanding, scarcely two months later, He commanded His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature. When the objector can show us the consistency of these two things—the fact that certain of the Jews had committed the sin for which there is never forgiveness, and the fact that to them the Gospel was to be preached—we will undertake to furnish a more satisfactory solution than the one given above to the harmony between a universal proclamation of the Gospel and a limitation of its saving power to those only that God has predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Once more, we say, it is not for us to reason about the Gospel; it is our business to preach it. When God ordered Abraham to offer up his son as a burnt-offering he might have objected that this command was inconsistent with His promise “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” But instead of arguing he obeyed, and left God to harmonize His promise and His precept. Jeremiah might have argued that God had bade him to do that which was altogether unreasonable when He said “Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee; thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee” (Jer. 7:27), but instead, the prophet obeyed. Ezekiel, too, might have complained that the Lord was asking of him a hard thing when He said “Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words thou cans’t not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard hearted” (Ezek. 3:4–7).

“But, O my soul, if truth so bright

Should dazzle and confound thy sight,

Yet still His written Word obey,

And wait the great decisive day.”—Watts.

It has been well said, “The Gospel has lost none of its ancient power. It is, as much today as when it was first preached, ‘the power of God unto salvation.’ It needs no pity, no help, and no handmaid. It can overcome all obstacles, and break down all barriers. No human device need be tried to prepare the sinner to receive it, for if God has sent it no power can hinder it; and if He has not sent it, no power can make it effectual.” (Dr. Bullinger).

This chapter might be extended indefinitely, but it is already too long so a word or two more must suffice. A number of other questions will be dealt with in the pages yet to follow, and those that we fail to touch upon the reader must take to the Lord Himself who has said “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not” (Jas. 1:5).[1]

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

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

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 Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com 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 (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“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), 219–222.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! –The Disobedient Cannot Believe – Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 21– Purity 993

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! –The Disobedient Cannot Believe – Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 21– Purity 993         

Purity 993 03/16/2023 Purity 993 Podcast

Purity 993 on YouTube: 


This isn't the first St. Patrick's Day where things went sideways.... 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of green grass and autumn denuded trees on the shores of Lake Ontario comes to us from yours truly as I captured this green scene at B. Forman Park in Williamson NY back on November 10 of 2022 while I was headed west on my pilgrimage to serve as a volunteer at the “An Evening with David Jerimiah” event in Buffalo. 

Well, It’s Friday – thank God – and it’s St. Patrick’s Day – So “Erin Go Bragh” which means Ireland Forever- or Top of the Morning to You – which means the “best of the morning to you” or “Good Morning” although some sources state that it has nothing to do with the time of the day and is simply a greeting that one would use to wish them a good day.

So I specifically chose today’s “green photo” because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and because I’m half Irish, and because I am praying to see more green as the temperature rose to 50 degrees yesterday causing people in upstate NY to do some spring time activities, like jogging in shorts and standing in line for ice cream cones – one guy in line was wearing heavy winter bib overalls -  I kid you not, in spite of the piles of melting snow that the storm of only a few days ago poured upon us that wanted to declare that “it is still winter”.  And it is, until Monday, that’s right Jack Frost your days are numbered and even though you threw us for a loop the other day, we know that spring is coming. 

And likewise, even though Satan would rejoice because of the evil in the world, we know that His days are numbered too. Jesus is coming back to rule and reign.  And even though we can’t be certain that the Ireland we know will last forever, there is going to be a new earth after all, we can be certain that the Irish, like St. Patrick,  who put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior will last forever in God’s kingdom no matter what the shape of the new creation that is promised in Revelation 21. 

While our various national heritages may give us a sense of pride and identity, the only thing about us that will matter in the end is whether we are citizens of heaven, whether or not we have become children of God through faith in Christ the Lord.    

So if you are Irish enjoy the day by remembering your Irish ancestors and by partaking in some corned beef and cabbage, but remember it is “St. Patrick’s Day” – not Irish day – and we should remember the man who was faithful to teach the Irish about the trinity with a clover. St. Patrick wouldn’t want us to celebrate his day with drunken revelry but would undoubtedly prefer us to celebrate it in humble reverence of the God who is faithful to forgive and save us when we put our faith in His Son, Jesus.    

So let’s celebrate the faithful saints, like St. Patrick,  that inspire us to be faithful by drawing close to God as we continue our journey of repentance with the 21st day of Lent and our current series as we continue on 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 ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) . 

Day 21

Bonhoeffer writes:

“You complain that you cannot believe?

No one should be surprised that they cannot come to believe so long as, in deliberate disobedience, they flee or reject some aspect of Jesus’ commandment.

You do not want to subject some sinful passion, an enmity, a hope, your life plan, or your reason to Jesus’ commandment?

Do not be surprised that you do not receive the Holy Spirit, that you cannot pray, that your prayer for faith remains empty!

Instead, go and be reconciled with your sister or brother; let go of the sin which keeps you captive; and you will be able to believe again!

If you reject God’s commanding word, you will not receive God’s gracious word. How would you expect to find community while you intentionally withdraw from it at some point?

The disobedient cannot believe; only the obedient believe.”

Biblical Wisdom

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say that you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. James 2:14-17

Questions to Ponder

  • Jesus’ commandment is that we love God who made us and that we love our neighbors as ourselves. How does obedience to this commandment nurture and nourish true faith?

M.T. Clark: If we obey these commandments of Jesus, our faith is nurtured and nourish as we would love the Lord with all of our hearts, minds, and strength which would cause us to abide in His word and in His presence which would empower us to repent and to seek to share God’s love with others.  It would cause us to abandon our personal sins and seek to serve the Lord as witnesses to God’s love and power by sharing the gospel not only with words but how we live our lives.

  • Why does rejecting “God’s commanding word” keep us from receiving “God’s gracious word”?

M.T. Clark: Rejecting “God’s commanding word” keeps us from receiving God’s gracious word, in that if we refuse to obey what God’s word says it shows that we don’t believe it. If we don’t believe it is God’s “commanding” word that exhorts us to repent and serve God’s kingdom, we can’t really say that we have faith in Jesus because we are refusing to do what the He is telling us to do.  When come to Christ in faith, we make Him Lord as well as Savior, and that means we become His slaves. He’s the master, we are to do what He says. So if we don’t come under His Lordship, we can’t receive His grace.

  • What is it about rejecting God’s commanding word that takes us out of community?

M.T. Clark: Rejecting God’s commanding word also takes us out of community with the body of Christ because our actions and behaviors will be significantly different from those who are faithfully trying to align their lives with what God’s word would have us do.  “I don’t believe that.” “I’m not going to do that.” – will separate us from the ones who do and most importantly will eventually reveal that we are separated from God who will declare to the disbelieving and disobedient: “I never knew you.”

Psalm Fragment

Then they despised the pleasant land,
   having no faith in his promise.
They grumbled in their tents,
   and did not obey the voice of the Lord. 
Psalm 106:24-25

Journal Reflections

  • Write in your journal about a practical experience of how your obedience to Jesus’ commandment has nurtured and nourished your faith.

M.T. Clark: The best example from my life about the way obedience nourished my faith would have to be when I decided to trust the Lord with my addictions by going into a Christian Recovery group.  The word of God convicted me that “drunkenness” was not something that described people in a state of grace. It described people who didn’t know God, or who didn’t obey Him.  And because I had a real sense of God’s love and forgiveness, I realized I couldn’t continue in the drunkenness that was a persistent part of my life for 20 years.  So I obeyed, I repented and crucified the flesh. I agreed with what the word of God said about those who are “in Christ” and the Lord was faithful to lead me out of the darkness to the point that my drunken ways were a part of somebody else’s life, and it was. I died with Christ and was raised to new life with Him but I never would have known it if I didn’t answer His call to obedience.  

  • Write about your experiences of Christian community. Reflect on both good and bad experiences. What is the difference between them?

M.T. Clark:  I have had so many good experiences in the body of Christ of fellowship and camaraderie as I have walked and served with so many faithful Christians through the years. I have grown because I have seen what the Lord has done in others lives and because faithful men and women came along beside me to teach and encourage me to follow the Lord. Mission trips, serving in the local church, taking the gospel to the streets, and just getting together to read His word has given me joy on so many occasions. 

As for the bad, I won’t go into specifics, but the bad experiences would all involve people walking away from God or the church community, or showing that their faith was more of a fa├žade or that they held alterior motives or manipulative ways – basically the bad experiences were when people either walked away from the faith or when they were shown not to be in accord with it.  

The difference between the two is authenticity. Are you for real? Then let’s follow the Lord and be as real as we can be as Christians by walking according to His ways and obeying what He would have us do.

Intercessions

Pray for your family and spiritual friends (and for all Christians) that they would continuously experience community grounded in love.

M.T. Clark: Lord, 

We pray for our family, spiritual friends and for all Christians that thye would continuously experience community grounded in love by obeying your commandments to love one another, treat one another as they would want to be treated, and by forgiving one another. If we do all of those things Lord we will truly know what a community ground in love is. So help us Father. 

In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer for Today

Lord, help me to see where I am rejecting some aspect of your will for me. Help me to obey and believe, believe and obey.

M.T. Clark: 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 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 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.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER TEN

OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD HIS SOVEREIGNTY

 

What then ought to be our attitude toward the Supreme Sovereign? We reply,

1. One of godly fear

Why is it that, today, the masses are so utterly unconcerned about spiritual and eternal things, and that they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? Why is it that even on the battlefields multitudes were so indifferent to their soul’s welfare? Why is it that defiance of heaven is becoming more open, more blatant, more daring? The answer is, Because “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18). Again; why is it that the authority of the Scriptures has been lowered so sadly of late? Why is it that even among those who profess to be the Lord’s people there is so little real subjection to His Word, and that its precepts are so lightly esteemed and so readily set aside? Ah! what needs to be stressed today is that God is a God to be feared.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 1:7). Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God’s majesty, that has had a vision of God’s awful greatness, His ineffable holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power, His sovereign grace. Does someone say, “But it is only the unsaved, those outside of Christ, who need to fear God”? Then the sufficient answer is that the saved, those who are in Christ, are admonished to work out their own salvation with “fear and trembling.” Time was when it was the general custom to speak of a believer as a “God-fearing man”—that such an appellation has become nearly extinct only serves to show whither we have drifted. Nevertheless, it still stands written “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him” (Psa. 103:13)!

When we speak of godly fear, of course, we do not mean a servile fear, such as prevails among the heathen in connection with their gods. No; we mean that spirit which Jehovah is pledged to bless, that spirit to which the prophet referred when he said “To this man will I (the Lord) look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word” (Isa. 66:2). It was this the apostle had in view when he wrote, “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17). And nothing will foster this godly fear like a recognition of the sovereign Majesty of God.

What ought to be our attitude toward the Sovereignty of God? We answer again,[1]

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

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

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 Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com 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 (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“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), 191–192.


Monday, January 9, 2023

Showing Up and Seeing The Impossible Dream Come True - Purity 936


Showing Up and Seeing The Impossible Dream Come True -   Purity 936

Purity 936 01/09/2023  Purity 936 Podcast

Purity 936 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the view from my driveway “down by The River” comes to us from yours truly as my arrival there yesterday seemed to be a divine appointment as the twilight time colors in the sky and reflected on the Schodack creek and Hudson River seemed to cry out to give God glory.  I’ve told the tale of God bringing me to 1788 State Route 9J many times and will gladly tell it to anyone who would want to listen but no matter where your relationship with God may be, with a view like this, you may have to allow for my enthusiastic declaration that “God brought ne to this place!”

River House, as my wife calls it, was something that I worked hard to get but as much as I was giving it my all by working two jobs from October of 2019 to September of 2020, before and during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, I know that God was moving in my life continuously during those times to help me to obtain, what to me seemed to me to be “the impossible dream”.   

Well, it’s Monday, and in spite of my electronic personal assistant being unplugged, causing me to over sleep and thus making me deviate a little from my normal morning practices,  I still made “first things first” by making the quick executive decision to skip my physical exercise and immediately jumped to my morning prayers where I let go of the frustration of running late and just gave “everyone and everything” to God in the practice of “benevolent detachment” – a form of prayer that the “One Minute Pause App” has been leading me through as I decided last week to give more space in my life to God by doing the app’s “30 Days to Resilient” program for morning and evening sessions of prayer and meditation and have used the individual sessions the app provides for “pauses” at work.   The app’s “Pauses” last 10 minutes and are perfectly sized for the 15 minute breaks I am allowed at work so I am using that time and time in the morning and evenings to draw closer to God and to receive His resilience in prayer.  

One of the things that Christians on the path of Christian Discipleship that leads to sanctification come to understand as we seek to surrender our lives to God is that, even though our participation in the process is necessary, God is the One who transforms us. God is the One who gives us wisdom. God is the One who makes our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. God is the One who will prune us and guide us to maturity and the purpose that He has for us.  

Besides documenting God’s continuous work in my life, the reason I blog is to encourage other Christians to follow the Lord with the way they live their lives because I have discovered this truth of “impartation”. God imparts the Holy Spirit to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and when we live by faith God works in and through us to do what we would have thought to be “impossible things”.  

Now before you run over to the nearest mountain and try to literally pick it up and hurl it into the sea or skip down to the nearest mulberry tree and try to uproot it and toss that into the ocean, remember that Jesus taught in parables and  that the heavy “mountains” in and well established “mulberry trees” in our lives may represent the burdens we choose to carry or patterns of behavior or thinking that are deeply rooted in our lives that the Lord wants us to be free of.   

Instead of thinking of being free of our mountains and mulberry trees as being a process of having to “work hard” physically, although that may be required, we may have to “let go and let God” do work in us and allow Him to renew our minds to think His thoughts and to open our blind eyes to see His way.   Reading the Bible and “talking and LISTENING to God” in our spirit through prayer and meeting Him with an attitude of surrender and a willingness to do His will is the Christian Disciple’s stance and can be used by the Lord to direct us up and over, or possibly straight through those “mountains” and  “mulberry trees”.     

As I have stated in previous blogs, in our walk with the Lord, He will present us with opportunities, invitations, to walk by faith and it is up to us to decide whether or not we will walk into where He is leading us. 

Tonight and each day this week, my local church is partnering with 3 other churches in the area to come together to pray together. Our pastor and the other churches’ pastors are inviting their congregations to come together for unity and prayer.  So here’s an opportunity, and invitation, to see what the Lord may have for me.  The Lord may use these evenings of prayer to use me for His kingdom purposes, may want to “give me something” or may just want me to be one of the many Christians who will come together and encourage one another through their participation and presence.  I could meet new friends, other brothers and sisters from the body of Christ, who I don’t know yet.  I could be blessed by something I hear or see at these corporate prayer gatherings at one of these other churches.  Or I could just grow from the experience of these prayer sessions.   There’s no telling what I may “get” or “give” in these prayer sessions.  But I will never know them if I stay home.  

So I’m going! I’m going to step out in faith to receive what the Lord has for me or to give what I have to give. What that will be I don’t know, but even if nothing mighty and miraculous happens I know that going to these prayer meetings will bless me because I will be in the fellowship of the saints and coming to our heavenly Father to ask, seek, and listen for His will for our lives.   If you are local to the capital district I am sharing the link to this week’s “Pray Together prayer event. ( https://starpoint.church/events/?fbclid=IwAR2Bi4rGW8KfvIZKXwIe8njRlmmYvMb8MRTESB5b2WDLvRdCytqKB9_oQ-g?sapurl=LytlMzE4L2xiL2V2Lyt3MzNoM3ljP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZSZyZWNlbnRSb3V0ZT1hcHAud2ViLWFwcC5saWJyYXJ5LmNhbGVuZGFyJnJlY2VudFJvdXRlU2x1Zz0lMkI5emdrZ3I1) Consider it my invitation to you to “Come and See” what the Lord may do in this event.

In the wake of Christ’s crucifixion and death, the Apostles and other disciples met together for prayer and I’m sure that there probably wasn’t as many “followers” of Christ in attendance as there could have been. Surely, after Christ’s death some disciples were heartbroken  and discouraged and failed to “keep the faith” and walked away and decided to go back to their normal lives. So they weren’t present on the Day of Pentecost, they didn’t go to the prayer meeting.  And because they didn’t go they didn’t witness or receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  

God may have many things which He wants to impart to the faithful few that choose to follow Him. Some times our faith is just about showing up. So as someone who has dreamed the impossible dream and who has seen God do the impossible in my life, let me encourage you to keep showing up, to take those invitations, and to keep on walking and talking with God.  

 

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

James 4:4-6 (NLT2)
4  You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
5  What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?
6  But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”

Today’s verses remind us that giving our allegiance to worldly things makes us an enemy of God and that God calls us to resist Worldly – He says evil – desires and to humbly follow Him.  

God is jealous for us. He loves us and wants our hearts to follow Him, not the world. He asks that we see the truth of His sovereignty and to reject any feelings of pride and to humbly acknowledge His preeminence in all things.   Thus we out our thoughts on God and things above not earthly things because He is the One who is eternal and has given us literally everything.


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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 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.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER THREE

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN ADMINISTRATION

“The Lord hath prepared His Throne in the heavens; and His Kingdom ruleth over all” (Psa. 103:19).

First, a word concerning the need for God to govern the material world. Suppose the opposite for a moment. For the sake of argument, let us say that God created the world, designed and fixed certain laws (which men term “the laws of Nature”), and that He then withdrew, leaving the world to its fortune and the out-working of these laws. In such a case, we should have a world over which there was no intelligent, presiding Governor, a world controlled by nothing more than impersonal laws—a concept worthy of gross Materialism and blank Atheism. But, I say, suppose it for a moment; and in the light of such a supposition weigh well the following question: What guaranty have we that some day ere long the world will not be destroyed? A very superficial observation of ‘the laws of Nature’ reveals the fact that they are not uniform in their working. The proof of this is seen in the fact that no two seasons are alike. If then Nature’s laws are irregular in their operations, what guaranty have we against some dreadful catastrophe striking our earth? “The wind bloweth where it listeth” (pleaseth), which means that man can neither harness nor hinder it. Sometimes the wind blows with great fury, and it might be that it should suddenly gather in volume and velocity until it became a hurricane earth-wide in its range. If there is nothing more than the laws of Nature regulating the wind, then, perhaps tomorrow, there may come a terrific tornado and sweep everything from the surface of the earth! What assurance have we against such a calamity? Again; of late years we have heard and read much about clouds bursting and flooding whole districts, working fearful havoc in the destruction of both property and life. Man is helpless before them, for science can devise no means to prevent clouds bursting. Then how do we know that these bursting-clouds will not be multiplied indefinitely and the whole earth be deluged by their downpour? This would be nothing new: why should not the Flood of Noah’s day be repeated? And what of earthquakes? Every few years some island or some great city is swept out of existence by one of them—and what can man do? Where is the guaranty that ere long a mammoth earthquake will not destroy the whole world. Science tells us of great subterranean fires burning beneath the comparatively thin crust of our earth. How do we know but what these fires will not suddenly burst forth and consume our entire globe? Surely every reader now sees the point we are seeking to make: Deny that God is governing matter, deny that He is “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3), and all sense of security is gone!

Let us pursue a similar course of reasoning in connection with the human race. Is God governing this world of ours? Is He shaping the destinies of nations, controlling the course of empires, determining the limits of dynasties? Has He prescribed the limits of evil-doers, saying, Thus far shalt thou go and no further? Let us suppose the opposite for a moment. Let us assume that God has delivered over the helm into the hand of His creatures and see where such a supposition leads us. For the sake of argument we will say that every man enters this world endowed with a will that is absolutely free, and that it is impossible to compel or even coerce him without destroying his freedom. Let us say that every man possesses a knowledge of right and wrong, that he has the power to choose between them, and that he is left entirely free to make his own choice and go his own way. Then what? Then it follows that man is sovereign, for he does as he pleases and is the architect of his own fortune. But in such a case we can have no assurance that ere long every man will reject the good and choose the evil. In such a case we have no guaranty against the entire human race committing moral suicide. Let all Divine restraints be removed and man be left absolutely free, and all ethical distinctions would immediately disappear, the spirit of barbarism would prevail universally, and pandemonium would reign supreme. Why not? If one nation deposes its rulers and repudiates its constitution, what is there to prevent all nations from doing the same? If little more than a century ago the streets of Paris ran with the blood of rioters, what assurance have we that before the present century closes every city throughout the world will not witness a similar sight? What is there to hinder earthwide lawlessness and universal anarchy? Thus we have sought to show the need, the imperative need, for God to occupy the Throne, take the government upon His shoulder, and control the activities and destinies of His creatures.

But has the man of faith any difficulty in perceiving the government of God over this world? Does not the anointed eye discern, even amid much seeming confusion and chaos, the hand of the Most High controlling and shaping the affairs of men, even in the common concerns of every day life? Take for example farmers and their crops. Suppose God left them to themselves: what would then prevent them, one and all, from grassing their arable lands and devoting themselves exclusively to rearing of cattle and dairying? In such a case there would be a world-famine of wheat and corn! Take the work of the post office. Suppose that everybody decided to write letters on Mondays only, could the authorities cope with the mail on Tuesdays? and how would they occupy their time the balance of the week? So again with storekeepers. What would happen if every housewife did her shopping on Wednesday, and stayed at home the rest of the week? But instead of such things happening, farmers in different countries both raise sufficient cattle and grow enough grain of various kinds to supply the almost incalculable needs of the human race; the mails are almost evenly distributed over the six days of the week; and some women shop on Monday, some on Tuesday, and so on. Do not these things clearly evidence the overruling and controlling hand of God!

Having shown, in brief, the imperative need for God to reign over our world, let us now observe still further the fact that God does rule, actually rule, and that His government extends to and is exercised over all things and all creatures.[1]

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

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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“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), 39–41.