Showing posts with label Job. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Job. Show all posts

Saturday, April 22, 2023

I Can’t Grieve as a Christian – Lies of the Enemy #12– Purity 1024

I Can’t Grieve as a Christian – Lies of the Enemy #12– Purity 1024

Purity 1024 04/22/2023  Purity 1024 Podcast

Purity 1024 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a shadow falling over Waite Rd by a late afternoon sun shining through the trees that are still awaiting the budding leaves of spring to emerge as the bright green grassland on the opposite side of the road announces that spring has sprung comes to us from yours truly as capture this scene of contrasts on the way back to my countryside home yesterday afternoon while out walking my canine friend, Harley. I was feeling the contrast of being somewhat weary over a rather rough day at work, being happy to be out in the sun and walking the dog, and lonely because my wife was away at her youngest son’s track meet and wouldn’t be with me for an other hour or so.  Who ever said may have said that “life is simple” obviously didn’t consider the complexities of human existence. We can have “mixed emotions” and be facing several different situations in life all at once during these years walking about the earth which I believe stresses the importance of having the “constant” of a robust relationship with the Lord that is uncompromising in its ability to give us strength, peace, and comfort.   

Well, It’s Saturday, and I am sharing this photo of contrasts this morning because while I have now been reunited with my wife and look forward to a “sun shiny”  day (not sure how sunny it actually be – but rains not in the forecast) with my wife, some one dear if not near to us here at MT4Christ has suffered the loss of her beloved spouse.  This little blog and podcast has amazingly touched the lives of people throughout the world and yesterday, on the podcast, I offered up prayers for FB friend, “Deborah Howard”’s husband Bob who at the time had suffered a heart attack and was being treated with an anticipated surgery on the horizon.  Unfortunately this morning, just before 2am, Deborah messaged me to tell me that Bob has died and was asking for help with dealing with the loss, with a Bible verse or some words of wisdom.  

I shared 2 Samuel 12:15-23, the story of David losing his infant son, and how he was deeply grieved by his son’s illness and how he prayed and fasted in hopes that the Lord would heal him, But upon learning of his son’s death, his actions changed.  His servants asked him why while his son was alive he fasted, but now that he was dead, he ate.  David responded in:

2 Samuel 12:22-23 (NKJV)
22  And he said, "While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?'
23  But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

The next verse goes on to tell us that David comforted his wife, Bathsheba.  David had a heart for God but in the midst of this loss, he knew that his son lived with the Lord now and one day he would “go to him” and so he found the strength in his grief to comfort his wife.  


I also shared: 


Job 1:20-21 (NKJV) that tells us
20  Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.
21  And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD."  

Job grieved by tearing his clothes and shaving his head but even in his grief he recognized that the gift of his children had been given to him by God and it was also up to God when he would have Job’s children return to Him.  

I shared these verses with Deborah to remind her of the truth that her husband Bob, who confirmed his faith in Christ by being baptized, with Deborah a few years back, was not dead but was now alive in God’s kingdom. His suffering is over and his joy is complete as Bob now lives in the presence of the Lord.  

But I also sought to comfort Deborah by assuring her that she should allow herself to grieve Bob’s loss and she should seek whatever comfort and support her family and friends may offer in the days ahead and to also draw close to God to receive the strength, comfort, and guidance that He has for her as well.  

And considering Deborah’s loss, as part of our current series which is an examination of some of the common lies that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, steal our peace, or to influence us to choose not to follow the Lord with the way we live our lives, I have decided to take on one of the lies of enemy that he likes to whisper to the grieving in times like this. 

Today’s big lie is:

Lie # 12:  I Can’t Grieve as a Christian.

The enemy is the accuser of the brethren and he doesn’t fight fair and loves to take the opportunity to kick us when we are down.  And so in the wake of loss, he loves to bring more pain into an already painful situation.  

When people die, the enemy can cause us to doubt our faith or the existence God and heaven. He can stir up bitterness between family members and friends. He can rekindle or start new disputes as people gather in the loss of their loved one.  He can cause people to seek comfort in drugs, alcohol, or other sins of the flesh.  He can cause people to become possessive. greedy, and petty over material possessions that the departed leave behind.   And he can even twist and distort our faith in an attempt to accuse us, shame us, or plant the seeds for that can sprout into pain in the future.   

The first person lie he loves to whisper into Christians or even to speak through well meaning members of the body of Christ, is “I can’t grieve as a Christian.”   

In some Christian circles, funerals are heralded as “life celebrations” and there can be great expressions of joy where people gather together to honor their departed love one by remembering the legacy they left behind but paradoxically these well intentioned gatherings that seek to focus on the positives of a Christian’s life and their heavenly destination, can also breed confusion, anger, and depression. 

Non-believers or even Christians could be confused of the idea “being happy” when they are suffering the loss. They could even get angry at these “joyful mourners” because they feel that they aren’t really dealing with the loss and are disrespecting them and their departed loved one by adequately acknowledging that they have died and that the loss hurts.   And Christians seeking to be “good Christians” may feel they have to repress their grief and show everyone their faith by putting on a “happy face” while their hearts are broken.  

The verses above about David and Job should show us that we can grieve as Christians.  Even,

John 11:35 (NKJV) tells us that:
35  Jesus wept.

Even though Jesus knew that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, Jesus grieved his loss. Jesus wept.   

So as Christians, we should express our grief in whatever ways we feel at the time. The key is to be emotionally honest. While our faith and relationship with the truth on eternal matters and with God can be an incredible comfort and source of strength in dark times, we shouldn’t allow the twisting of our faith to repress our emotions and not adequately process our grief.  

If you want to weep, weep.  If you want to be angry, be angry but try not to sin. But if you sin, repent of it and ask for forgiveness. If you want to be joyful, be joyful but remember to draw close to God to receive the strength, comfort, and guidance that He always has for us, even long after the departed are laid to rest and the rest of the world “move on” with their lives.  

God is near to the broken hearted and He is with those who choose to put their faith in Jesus and decide to surrender to His will for their lives.   The Lord gives and the Lord takes away on this earth but He never leaves or forsakes His children.  

So combat the enemy’s lie that tells you that “Christians can’t grieve” or anything else that would seek to twist our faith or steal our peace. And I ask all who hear or read this message to pray for the comfort and peace of Deborah and her family in the wake of Bob’s departure from their lives.  


For those Grieving I recommend H. Norman Wright’s Experiencing Grief (  or Jun Hunt’s Grief: Living at Peace with Loss (

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 verse :

1 Timothy 4:16 (NLT2)
16  Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.


Today’s verse tells us to be cognizant of how we live our lives and what we say to others, as we should want to be consistent by doing what is right for our own sake as well as for the sake of others.   


Today’s verse tells us to be authentic Christians, to be real; to not just talk the talk but to walk the walk as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Our lives are a living testimony of our faith and so we want to be sure that what we do and say reflects the fact that we are Christians in every aspect of our lives.  


While we will never be able to perfectly express “what it means to be a Christian” in every aspect of our lives, perfectly, all the time, we can be surprised by just how much are lives are transformed when we seek to keep a close watch on how we live our lives and how it lines us with God’s word.  


And we seek to live authentically for two reasons. 


While we are assured of our salvation when we put our faith in Jesus, we may not be free and experiencing the abundant life that God wants us to live because we are “double minded” – saying we are a Christian but living like the rest of the unbelieving world.  SO we keep a close watch on our lives and speech to be conformed to the image of Christ, so that we will have harmony with God and overcome the bondages that are put on us by the world the flesh and the devil.  


The second reason is that as “ambassadors of Christ, we represent Christians to the non-believing world.  So we want to show that we are not one of those “hypocrites” in the church by really “speaking the gospel” with the way we live.   Our example could be used by God to save someone!  


So for yourself, and your neighbor keep a close watch on how you live and try to stay true to the salvation that you have received and that you represent and could bring to others.  


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

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

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





In our chapter on God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility we dealt only with the responsibility of man considered as a fallen creature, and at the close of the discussion it was pointed out how that the measure and extent of our responsibility varies in different individuals, according to the advantages they have received and the privileges they have enjoyed, which is a truth clearly established by the declaration of the Saviour recorded in Luke 12:47, 48, “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did not commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

Now, strictly speaking, there are only two men who have ever walked this earth which were endowed with full and unimpaired responsibility, and they were the first and last Adam’s. The responsibility of each of the rational descendants of Adam, while real, and sufficient to establish them accountable to their Creator is, nevertheless, limited in degree, limited because impaired through the effects of the Fall.

Not only is the responsibility of each descendant of Adam sufficient to constitute him, personally an accountable creature (that is, as one so constituted that he ought to do right and ought not to do wrong), but originally every one of us was also endowed, judicially, with full and unimpaired responsibility, not in ourselves, but, in Adam. It should ever be borne in mind that not only was Adam the father of the human race seminally but he was also head of the race legally. When Adam was placed in Eden he stood there as our representative so that what he did is reckoned to the account of each for whom he acted.

It is beside our present purpose to enter here into a lengthy discussion of the Federal Headship of Adam*, suffice it now to refer the reader to Romans 5:12–19 where this truth is dealt with by the Holy Spirit. In the heart of this most important passage we are told that Adam was “the figure of Him that was to come” (v. 14), that is, of Christ. In what sense, then, was Adam “the figure of Christ?” The answer must be, In that he was a Federal Head; in that he acted on the behalf of a race of men; in that he was one who has legally, as well as vitally, affected all connected with him. It is for this reason that the Lord Jesus is in 1 Cor. 15–45 denominated “the last Adam,” that is, the Head of the new creation, as the first Adam was the Head of the old creation.

In Adam, then, each of us stood. As the representative of the human race the first man acted. As then Adam was created with full and unimpaired responsibility, unimpaired because there was no evil nature within him; and as we were all “in Adam,” it necessarily follows that all of us, originally, were also endowed with full and unimpaired responsibility. Therefore, in Eden, it was not merely the responsibility of Adam as a single person that was tested but it was Human Responsibility, the Responsibility of the Race, as a whole and in part, which was on trial.

Webster defines responsibility first, as “liable to account”; second, as “able to discharge an obligation.” Perhaps the meaning and scope of the term responsibility might be expressed and summed up in the one word oughtness. Godwards, responsibility respects that which is due the Creator from the creature, and which the creature is under moral obligations to render.

In the light of the above definition it is at once apparent that responsibility is something that must be placed on trial. And as a fact, that is, as we learn from the Inspired Record, exactly what transpired in Eden. Adam was placed on probation. His obligations to God were put to the test. His loyalty to the Creator was tried out. The test consisted of obedience to his Maker’s command. Of a certain tree he was forbidden to eat.

But right here a very formidable difficulty confronts us. From God’s standpoint the result of Adam’s probation was not left in uncertainty. Before He formed him out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life God knew exactly how the appointed test would terminate. With this statement every Christian reader must be in accord, for, to deny God’s foreknowledge is to deny His omniscience, and this is to repudiate one of the fundamental attributes of Deity. But we must go further: not only had God a perfect foreknowledge of the outcome of Adam’s trial, not only did His omniscient eye see Adam eating of the forbidden fruit, but He decreed beforehand that he should do so. This is evident not only from the general fact that nothing happens save that which the Creator and Governor of the universe has eternally purposed, but also from the express declaration of Scripture that Christ as a Lamb “verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20). If, then, God had foreordained before the foundation of the world that Christ should, in due time, be offered as a Sacrifice for sin, then it is unmistakably evident that God had also foreordained sin should enter the world, and if so, that Adam should transgress and fall. In full harmony with this, God Himself placed in Eden the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and also allowed the Serpent to enter and deceive Eve.

Here then is the difficulty: If God has eternally decreed that Adam should eat of the tree, how could he be held responsible not to eat of it? Formidable as the problm appears, nevertheless, it is capable of a solution, a solution, moreover, which can be grasped even by the finite mind. The solution is to be found in the distinction between God’s secret will and His revealed will. As stated in Appendix I, human responsibility is measured by our knowledge of God’s revealed will; what God has told us, not what what He has not told us, is the definer of our duty. So it was with Adam.

That God had decreed sin should enter this world through the disobedience of our first parents was a secret hid in His own breast. Of this Adam knew nothing, and that made all the difference so far as his responsibility was concerned. Adam was quite unacquainted with the Creator’s hidden counsels. What concerned him was God’s revealed will. And that was plain! God had forbidden him to eat of the tree, and that was enough. But God went further: He even warned Adam of the dire consequences which would follow should he disobey—death would be the penalty. Transgression, then, on the part of Adam was entirely excuseless. Created with no evil nature in him, with a will in perfect equipoise, placed in the fairest environment, given dominion over all the lower creation, allowed full liberty with only a single restriction upon him, plainly warned of what would follow an act of insubordination to God, there was every possible inducement for Adam to preserve his innocence; and, should he fail and fall, then by every principle of righteousness his blood must lie upon his own head, and his guilt be imputed to all in whose behalf he acted.

Had God disclosed to Adam His purpose that sin would enter this world, and that He had decreed Adam should eat of the forbidden fruit, it is obvious that Adam could not have been held responsible for the eating of it. But in that God withheld the knowledge of His counsels from Adam, his accountability was not interfered with.

Again; had God created Adam was a bias toward evil, then human responsibility had been impaired and man’s probation merely one in name. But inasmuch as Adam was included among that which God, at the end of the sixth day, pronounced “Very good,” and, inasmuch as man was made “upright” (Eccl. 7:29), then every mouth must be “stopped” and “the whole world” must acknowledge itself “guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19).

Once more, it needs to be carefully borne in mind that God did not decree that Adam should sin and then inject into Adam an inclination to evil in order that His decree might be carried out. No; “God cannot be tempted, neither tempteth He any man” (Jas. 1:13). Instead, when the Serpent came to tempt Eve God caused her to remember His command forbidding to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and of the penalty attached to disobedience! Thus, though God had decreed the Fall, in no sense was He the Author of Adam’s sin, and at no point was Adam’s responsibility impaired. Thus may we admire and adore the “manifold wisdom of God” in devising a way whereby His eternal decree should be accomplished, and yet the responsibility of His creatures be preserved intact.[1]

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

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

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

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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), 259–263.


Friday, March 24, 2023

Listen - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 27– Purity 999

Listen - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 27– Purity 999        

Purity 999 03/21/2023 Purity 999 Podcast

Purity 999 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a morning view of my neighbors shadowed lawns, the chain link fence that divides our properties and the Hudson River in the distance comes to us from your truly as I decided to look back in the archives and found this photo from July 18th of 2020 when River House was new and I decided to enjoy my new property with a simple outdoor breakfast of oatmeal and coffee before I had to go to work at my second job.  

The impossible dream had come true but there was still a need to pay for it as I was making a graceful departure and was paying two mortgages at the time and the second job lasted all that summer until the increasingly hostile work environment at my part time job (did I say that?) and the Lord’s call to finish my Master’s degree in Christian Counseling moved me to set myself free from 16 hour work days and to let go of responsibilities that were no longer mine and to focus on moving into my purpose in Christ.  I finished my Master’s thesis on Halloween and no sooner was the email sent that I got the call to go to Freedom in Christ ministries CFMU (Community Freedom Ministry University) to be educated and trained to be a CFMA (Community Freedom Ministry Associate), or a trained “encourager” who is certified to lead others through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.

Well It’s Friday and after leading three men through the Steps to Freedom in Christ in four days, I have more reasons than the last day of the traditional work week to say; THANK GOD!  I was honored to encourage these men to confess all the areas of their lives that they wanted to resolve with the Lord and hope that they will be diligent to keep working to maintain and increase their Freedom in Christ. 

Just like I had to work that second job for a time before I felt secure in my new home and in letting go of my responsibilities of the past, these men should continue in the “faith work” of meditating on who they are in Christ and of reminding themselves of all they accomplished in their freedom appointments. 

I, myself, still meditate, pray through, and thank God through the “Who I Am in Christ” List every morning because I am truly grateful for all that the Lord has done for me in my faith walk and because it sets a solid foundation from which I can walk into each new day with the peace, joy, and confidence that comes from knowing I really am a child of God, I really am in Christ and all the statements are true about me.

I also advised these men that now they have experienced a measure of freedom in Christ that the way they maintain it and increase it is by telling others of what the Lord has done in their lives.  We are overcomers and as Revelation 12:11 tells us – we overcome the enemy by both the blood of the Lamb – the forgiveness and new life we have been given in Christ, and by the word of our testimony – we are to stand and bear witness and testify what the Lord has done for us.  

So let’s testify and demonstrate that we are actually following the Lord by continuing in our journey through lent with day 27 of our current series as we walk through the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

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

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

Day 27

(When Bonhoeffer speaks of community, he means any gathering of Christians, including the family.)

Bonhoeffer writes:

“The first service one owes to others in the community involves listening to them.

Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them. … We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them.

So often Christians, especially preachers, think that their only service is always to have to “offer” something when they are together with other people.

They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.

Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking even when they should be listening.

But Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God.”

Biblical Wisdom

“Listen carefully to my words, and let my declaration be in your ears.” Job 13:17

Questions to Ponder

  • What do you think of Bonhoeffer’s statement that “the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them”?

M.T. Clark: The beginning of love for other Christians comes through listening to them means that we really show our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ when we silence ourselves and give them our presence and attention to hear their confessions, their questions, and their comments and concerns.  When we are heard we know we are being cared for and respected. We are validated when someone listens and seeks to understand us. That people would take the time to hear you and acknowledge what you have to say shows they care, so how much more should a Christian show their love for others than by listening to the people in our lives?  

  • In what way is listening to our brothers and sisters doing “God’s work” for them?

M.T. Clark: Listening to our brothers and sisters can allow us to do the good works God has prepared for us. If we listen we can address needs, offer encouragement, offer advice, offer God’s wisdom, and offer friendship and love.  God would have us truly listen to the people we are trying to help as Jesus met people where they were.

  • Why do you suppose so many people find it so difficult to listen?

M.T. Clark: People can find it difficult to listen because they are eager to express themselves and tell others what they think, how they feel, or what they know.  Some people in conversation are so focused on what they are going to say next that they fail to listen and assume that they already know where the other party is coming from and what they are going to say next.  We can want to express ourselves and be heard so much ourselves that we can forget about the person. We should thus be intentional to take pauses before we speak so we can be sure that we listened to the other person before we respond to them.  We can also repeat or reiterate what the other person said to us to both confirm our understanding, that we heard them correctly, and to validate that they are being heard. So, listen up…. the next time you converse with someone.

Psalm Fragment

But my people did not listen to my voice;
   Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
   to follow their own counsels.
O that my people would listen to me,
   that Israel would walk in my ways! 
Psalm 81:11-13

Journal Reflections

  • Write about a time when you benefited from having another Christian listen to you.

M.T. Clark: All through out my journey of faith, and specifically during my walk through the Christian recovery program at my local church, I have benefited from having other Christians listen to me. At the end of each recovery meeting we had a “men’s discussion” period where we were presented with questions based on the evening’s teachings. Everyone was given the opportunity to respond with the assurance that they wouldn’t be interrupted with cross talk. Those sessions were wonderful opportunities to verbal express what we were going through or thinking about without the fear of judgement and without anyone rushing in to offer advice. We were allowed to speak and be heard and I feel that “talking it out” and being listened to is great support for recovery and for our life of faith in general.    

  • Write about your experience as a listener. Are you a good listener? Did you feel like you were doing God’s work as you listened?

M.T. Clark: I have to admit I have a tendency to want to speak or to teach when I sit down to talk with, disciple, or counsel someone but I have learned to be more intentional about allowing the other person to have their say before I respond. I have been told by some that I am a good listener and after sessions of hearing people go through the Steps to Freedom in Christ I understand that a huge part of being an “encourager” is to let the other person talk and when you see the transformative work of healing and people gaining their freedom in Christ you get a real sense that you are doing the work God would have you do.


Think about someone in your community of faith who never seems listened to. Pray that they might have the courage to speak what is on their heart and mind, and pray that you would have the compassion and interest to listen to them.

M.T. Clark:

Lord God,

I pray for those among us who may be timid or who are very slow to speak and who thus never seemed to be listened to. Lord, I pray for these “quiet” saints among us that they would find the courage to be open, honest, and vulnerable enough to speak about what is on their hearts and minds and that I and others in the body of Christ would be there for them to show love and compassion by listening to them.  

In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.  

Prayer for Today

Lord Jesus, may I have the grace to listen to you and learn from you; may I have the grace to listen to and learn from others.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 


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

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


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

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

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






In chapter one we have affirmed that God is sovereign in the exercise of His love, and in saying this we are fully aware that many will strongly resent the statement and that, furthermore, what we have now to say will probably meet with more criticism than anything else advanced in this book. Nevertheless, we must be true to our convictions of what we believe to be the teaching of Holy Scripture, and we can only ask our readers to examine diligently in the light of God’s Word what we here submit to their attention.

One of the most popular beliefs of the day is that God loves everybody, and the very fact that it is so popular with all classes ought to be enough to arouse the suspicions of those who are subject to the Word of Truth. God’s Love toward all His creatures is the fundamental and favorite tenet of Universalists, Unitarians, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, Russellites, etc. No matter how a man may live—in open defiance of Heaven, with no concern whatever for his soul’s eternal interests, still less for God’s glory, dying, perhaps with an oath on his lips—notwithstanding, God loves him, we are told. So widely has this dogma been proclaimed, and so comforting is it to the heart which is at enmity with God we have little hope of convincing many of their error. That God loves everybody, is, we may say, quite a modern belief. The writings of the church fathers, the Reformers or the Puritans will (we believe) be searched in vain for any such concept. Perhaps the late D. L. Moody—captivated by Drummond’s “The Greatest Thing in the World”—did more than anyone else in the last century to popularize this concept.

It has been customary to say God loves the sinner though He hates his sin. But that is a meaningless distinction. What is there in a sinner but sin? Is it not true that his “whole head is sick” and his “whole heart faint,” and that “from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness” in him? (Isa. 1:5, 6). Is it true that God loves the one who is despising and rejecting His blessed Son? God is Light as well as Love, and therefore His love must be a holy love. To tell the Christ-rejector that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs. With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus, the perfect Teacher, telling sinners that God loved them! In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the apostles God’s love is never referred to at all! But when we come to the Epistles, which are addressed to the saints, we have a full presentation of this precious truth—God’s love for His own. Let us seek to rightly divide the Word of God and then we shall not be found taking truths which are addressed to believers and mis-applying them to unbelievers. That which sinners need to have brought before them is the ineffable holiness, the exacting righteousness, the inflexible justice and the terrible wrath of God. Risking the danger of being misunderstood let us say—and we wish we could say it to every evangelist and preacher in the country—there is far too much presenting of Christ to sinners today (by those sound in the faith), and far too little showing sinners their need of Christ, i.e., their absolutely ruined and lost condition, their imminent and awful danger of suffering the wrath to come, the fearful guilt resting upon them in the sight of God: to present Christ to those who have never been shown their need of Him, seems to us to be guilty of casting pearls before swine.

If it be true that God loves every member of the human family then why did our Lord tell His disciples “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father.… If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him” (John 14:21, 23? Why say “he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father?” if the Father loves everybody? The same limitation is found in Prov. 8:17: “I love them that love Me.” Again; we read, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity”—not merely the works of iniquity. Here then is a flat repudiation of present teaching that, God hates sin but loves the sinner; Scripture says, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psa. 5:5)! “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psa. 7:11). “He that believeth on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God”—not “shall abide,” but even now—“abideth on him” (John 3:36). (Psa. 5:5; 7:11 John 3:36). Can God “love” the one on whom His “wrath” abides? Again; is it not evident that the words “The love of God which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:39) marks a limitation, both in the sphere and objects of His love? Again; is it not plain from the words “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13) that God does not love everybody? Again; it is written, “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Heb. 12:6). Does not this verse teach that God’s love is restricted to the members of His own family? If He loves all men without exception then the distinction and limitation here mentioned is quite meaningless. Finally, we would ask, Is it conceivable that God will love the damned in the Lake of Fire? Yet, if He loves them now He will do so then, seeing that His love knows no change—He is “without variableness or shadow of turning”!

Turning now to John 3:16, it should be evident from the passages just quoted that this verse will not bear the construction usually put upon it. “God so loved the world.” Many suppose that this means, The entire human race. But “the entire human race” includes all mankind from Adam till the close of earth’s history: it reaches backward as well as forward! Consider, then, the history of mankind before Christ was born. Unnumbered millions lived and died before the Saviour came to the earth, lived here “having no hope and without God in the world,” and therefore passed out into an eternity of woe. If God “loved” them, where is the slightest proof thereof? Scripture declares “Who (God) in times past (from the tower of Babel till after Pentecost) suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16). Scripture declares that “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Rom. 1:28). To Israel God said, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2). In view of these plain passages who will be so foolish as to insist that God in the past loved all mankind! The same applies with equal force to the future. Read through the book of Revelation, noting especially chapters 8 to 19, where we have described the judgments which will be poured out from heaven on this earth. Read of the fearful woes, the frightful plagues, the vials of God’s wrath, which shall be emptied on the wicked. Finally, read the twentieth chapter of the Revelation, the great white throne judgment, and see if you can discover there the slightest trace of love.

But the objector comes back to John 3:16 and says, “World means world.” True, but we have shown that “the world” does not mean the whole human family. The fact is that “the world” is used in a general way. When the brethren of Christ said “Shew Thyself to the world” (John 7:4), did they mean “shew Thyself to all mankind? When the Pharisees said “Behold, the world is gone after Him” (John 12:19) did they mean that “all the human family” were flocking after Him? When the apostle wrote “Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Rom. 1:8), did he mean that the faith of the saints at Rome was the subject of conversation by every man, woman, and child on the earth? When Rev. 13:3 informs us that “all the world wondered after the beast,” are we to understand that there will be no exceptions? These, and other passages which might be quoted, show that the term “the world” often has a relative rather than an absolute force.

Now the first thing to note in connection with John 3:16 is that our Lord was there speaking to Nicodemus, a man who believed that God’s mercies were confined to his own nation. Christ there announced that God’s love in giving His Son had a larger object in view, that it flowed beyond the boundary of Palestine, reaching out to “regions beyond.” In other words, this was Christ’s announcement that God had a purpose of grace toward Gentiles as well as Jews. “God so loved the world,” then, signifies, God’s love is international in its scope. But does this mean that God loves every individual among the Gentiles? Not necessarily, for as we have seen, the term “world” is general rather than specific, relative rather than absolute. The term “world” in itself is not conclusive. To ascertain who are the objects of God’s love other passages where His love is mentioned must be consulted.[1]


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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog ( ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 210–214.


Thursday, December 22, 2022

Humble Pie – What to do when No One Shows Up - Purity 921

Humble Pie – What to do when No One Shows Up -   Purity 921

Purity 921 12/22/2022 Purity 921 Podcast

Purity 921 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the silhouette of a man with his hands open and turned to heaven under the red clouds of sunset comes to us from the furthest recesses of my phone’s photo archives and an unknown source.  I will gladly add a photo credit to this if I receive the source information but am using it today to set it “free” and to encourage people in need to surrender to the Lord and seek His wisdom and strength all the days of their lives.  So I am hopeful, and pray that the artist behind this image won’t object to its use.  

According to my phone, I saved this image back on December 23, 2011, 11 years ago in the very early days of my Christian walk and although much has changed between now and then, I am still repeatedly reminded to humbly surrender to the Lord’s will for my life and can relate to the sometime “desperate moments” where we suffer trials or take a misstep on the path of Christian Discipleship, when we “get a feeling” to do something for the Lord and we learn from the results that we may have intercepted an enemy message that was intended to deceive us and lead us into frustration or despair, or we may have heard rightly but the Lord decided to use our failure to teach us a lesson in humility and the need to depend on Him only.  

Yesterday, I hosted a Zoom meeting for an audience of one.  I invited Freedom in Christ course graduates from this year, on short notice, for an impromptu opportunity to “check in” and I implied that we could possibly meet monthly in 2023, and I added “unless no one shows up”.  And no one did. So although I had a sudden “feeling” to send out this invite a couple of days ago during prayer, because God is sovereign, we know that the “idea” to haphazardly plan this meeting was either “my idea”, the enemy’s, or God’s.   

Because no one attended besides, me, myself, and I it is pretty easy to credit the inspiration for this meeting, and possible monthly ministry, to me and my foolishness– I have a full plate already for 2023 and actually “hoped” after sending the impromptu invitiation that no one would show up because it might have stretched me beyond my limits – if that “hope” was a prayer, it was answered!  I would have loved to have seen some of the guys to check in but in retrospect, I think I was setting myself up to be stretched too thin, and surprisingly the Lord didn’t “bless” this mighty work that I had spontaneously planned to do for Him.  

The other possibility is that the spiritual forces of darkness, shot this “dart” of an idea into my head, hoping the lack luster results would discourage me or bring me to despair.  Let’s face it “throwing a party” and having no one show up, can be pretty depressing and the enemy loves to influence Christians to do things that may seem “good” – most sins start off with good, or at least “good for me” – intentions – but will result in shame, guilt, or other feelings that will lead us to condemn ourselves.  

The third possibility, which actually would encompass all of these possibilities, is that it was God’s idea to have me to set up this meeting to humble me.  Scripture and our life experience reveals that God will allow us to do things against His will and can even use bad things for good.  God is THE GOOD FATHER and He alone knows best and as confusing as life can be for us, He knows what will happen and He can use every aspect of our experience for His purposes.   

The story of Job teaches us that God will “allow it”. God will allow the enemy access to tempt us and to make us suffer. God will allow us to choose our path through life and suffer the negative consequences from doing things in our own strength or according to our limited knowledge.  In the story of Job, sure the enemy orchestrates the initial disasters that bring Job low but after that it is the “foolishness” of men’s wisdom that takes center stage as Job and his “friends” seek to make sense of it all. In their spiritual discussions there is a mixture of error and truth as we only know “in part” the wisdom of the Lord.  They yammer on for 37 chapters insulting and chastising one another about the ways of God until the Lord decides He has heard enough and wants to speak for Himself.  Possibly in response to Job’s friend Elihu’s statement that  “As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him…” , God comes on the scene.

Job 38:1-2 (NKJV)
1  Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
2  "Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge?

God then proceeds to put Job and his friends in their place and affirms that Job is his faithful servant and He commands that Job’s friends repent sacrifices lest they suffer for their “folly”.  God then restores to Job everything that was taken from him.  

So what can we learn from Job’s story and the embarrassment of my unattended Zoom meeting?  

God is the only one who knows His ways perfectly and even though we may think we have a great idea of “something we can do for the Lord.”  It may not be according to His will, or it will not be according to His will “as we think it will be.”   

My old pastor told a story once about how in the early days of his church he was enjoying the success of a young thriving congregation that seemed to be “on fire” for the Lord. So he called an impromptu “prayer meeting” where he and his church could call on God, to do His will right, only to feel the sting of embarrassment and the bitter taste of humble pie, when not a single person from his church came out to pray.

I too in the past have gone to recovery ministry and discipleship ministry only to end up as the only person attending. 

So what do you do when “no one shows up”? When your “great idea” has zero results?  Do you give up?  Do you stop?

In some cases, YES! Some ministries just die. We can press on and keep on pressing in but after an extended period of decline and no one showing up it might be time to call  it quits.  

However, this is really up to God so we have to talk to Him about what He wants us to do and be open for His answers.

As for me, I guess I won’t be doing Zoom meetings on Wednesday nights in 2023.  That’s okay, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be full and I think I’ll use Wednesdays to rest or study, or to be available for whatever the Lord puts before me.  

But sometimes we have to stick with it and keep going. Many ministers have had “dry seasons” that they had to walk through before a surge of enthusiasm and success came to their doorstep.  

So in your individual walk, don’t be discouraged if “no one shows up”, because guess what? That’s just not true.  God is always there and He will use all the things we go through for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. 

So keep walking and talking with God and be sure to LISTEN when you get negative feedback. The Lord may want you to stop, go in another direction, or simply to take a rest. Our lives are a gift from Him, so let’s listen to and follow Him and learn along the way.



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

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

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

The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship

Chapter Twelve

The Saints, continues


Sanctification is the fulfillment of the will of God, who says: “You shall be holy, for I am holy,” and “I, the Lord, I who sanctify you, am holy.” This fulfillment is brought about by God the Holy Spirit, and in it God’s work in us finds its completion. The work of the Holy Spirit is the “seal”[29] with which believers are being marked as God’s own possession until the day of salvation. Just as before they had been held in bondage under the law as in a locked prison (Gal. 3:23), so now the believers are locked “in Christ,” marked with God’s own seal, the Holy Spirit. No one may break this seal. It has been secured by God, and the key is in God’s hand. This means that God has now taken complete possession of those whom God has gained in Christ. The circle has been closed. In the Holy Spirit we have become God’s own. Secured from the world by an unbreakable seal, the community of saints awaits its final deliverance. The church-community moves through the world like a sealed train passing through foreign territory. Just as Noah’s ark had to be covered “inside and out with pitch” (Gen. 6:14) in order to be preserved throughout the flood, so does the journey of the sealed church-community resemble the passage of the ark through the floodwaters. The goal of this sealing-off is redemption, deliverance, salvation (Eph. 4:30; 1:14; 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 Peter 1:5 et passim) on the day of Christ’s second coming. Those who have been sealed are being assured of reaching their goal by a pledge, which is none other than the Holy Spirit, “… so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12–14).

The sanctification of the church-community consists in its being separated by God from that which is unholy, from sin. Its sanctification consists in having become God’s own chosen people through being sealed off, in having become God’s earthly dwelling place, the place from which judgment and reconciliation go forth to all the world. Sanctification means that Christians now are completely oriented toward and preserved unto the day of Christ’s future coming, toward which they travel.

For the community of saints this implies three things. First, its sanctification will manifest itself in a clear separation from the world. Its sanctification will, second, prove itself through conduct that is worthy of God’s realm of holiness. And, third, its sanctification will be hidden in waiting for the day of Jesus Christ.

Sanctification is therefore possible only within the visible church-community. That is the first point. The visibility of the church-community is a decisive characteristic of sanctification. The church-community’s claim to a space of its own within this world, and the concomitant separation from the space of the world, attests that the church-community is in the state of sanctification. For the seal of the Holy Spirit seals off the church-community from the world. By the power of this seal, God’s church-community must insist on God’s claim to the whole world. At the same time, it must claim a specific space for itself within the world, thus drawing a clear dividing line between itself and the world. Since the church-community is the city on the hill, the ‘polis’ (Matt. 5:14), established on this earth by God and marked with a seal as God’s own, its “political” character is an inseparable aspect of its sanctification. The “political ethics” of the church-community is grounded solely in its sanctification, the goal of which is that world be world and community be community, and that, nevertheless, God’s word goes out from the church-community to all the world, as the proclamation that the earth and all it contains is the Lord’s. That is the ‘political’ character of the church-community. A merely personal sanctification which seeks to bypass this openly visible separation of the church-community from the world confuses the pious desires of the religious flesh with the sanctification of the church-community, which has been accomplished in Christ’s death and is being actualized by the seal of God. It is the deceptive pride and the false spiritual desire of the old, sinful being that seeks to be holy apart from the visible community of Christians. Contempt for the body of Christ as the visible community of justified sinners is what is really hiding behind the apparent humility of this kind of inwardness. It is indeed contempt for the body of Christ, since Christ was pleased visibly to assume my flesh and to carry it to the cross. It is contempt for the community, since I seek to be holy apart from other Christians. It is contempt for sinners, since in self-bestowed holiness I withdraw from my church in its sinful form. Sanctification apart from the visible church-community is mere self-proclaimed holiness.[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] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 260–262.