Showing posts with label Listening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Listening. Show all posts

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]


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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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