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Showing posts with label Mark. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

I Don’t Have to be Baptized – Lies of the Enemy #15– Purity 1027


I Don’t Have to be Baptized  – Lies of the Enemy #15– Purity 1027

Purity 1027 04/26/2023 Purity 1027 Podcast

Purity 1027 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of Kinderhook Creek from the vantage point of the Hudson Avenue Bridge comes to us from yours truly as I looked back in my photo archives to “share something!” and came across this scene that I captured back on August 22, 2020 while I was visiting nearby Stuyvesant Falls Park.  During those days I had not only dreamed the impossible dream of getting a new home for my children and I, I had followed the Lord’s guidance and accomplished it! Although I was basking in the glory of a new chapter of my life, I was still working two jobs and was intentional to use what little leisure time that I had to “do something” and spent that summer exploring the parks and nature trails near my new home before having to go into work.   

Well, Its” hump day, and even though no mountain is pictured today, I thought this photo from the “middle” of the Hudson Avenue Bridge was good enough to serve as a visual representation of our arrival at mid-week, may be not, but oh well here it is.  Yeah, maybe its not perfect but I guess I share it intentionally to demonstrate that our walk of faith is not about perfection, it’s about progress and our ability to find peace and joy in “what is” rather than lamenting over what we don’t have and how we “haven’t arrive yet”. 

This past weekend I was reminded by my wife that sometimes there can be peace found in the journey but if we are traveling with someone whose expectations are to “get somewhere” we may discover that our efforts to “stop and smell the roses” can cause contention.   Just because we both know where we are going doesn’t mean we fully are in agreement with how we get there or share the same “spirit”. 

My photo reminds me of this because in those days my time was limited and while I could have spent time driving around “enjoying the countryside” before going to these little slices of appreciation, if I did that there would be even less time to enjoy them.  These solo trips were constrained by time but I was free to go and see what I wanted to see and to abruptly leave the moment I felt that “time was up” or I had “enough”.  But when we are traveling with someone else, they don’t necessarily know what we are thinking and may not realize that our expectations are not the same.  

Similarly in our walk of faith, there are varying opinions about following the Lord and what is expected of us.   One of those expectations – a sacrament – is baptism.  And while this may ruffle some denominational or doctrinal feathers it is the topic for today’s Lie of the enemy.  

Our current series is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives.   So today’s big lie is:  

Lie #15: “I Don’t Have to be Baptized!”

Whether you were infant baptized or not baptized at all, baptism is commonly taught to be an outward expression of an inward decision to make Jesus our Lord and Savior and to surrender our lives to following Him.   It should be a beautiful moment in a believer’s life where they have “decided to follow Jesus” in newness of life as the baptismal waters represent our death and resurrection with Christ.  

This is reflected in:

 

Romans 6:3-4 (NKJV) which tells us:
3  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Baptism can be a definitive moment in our walk of faith that marks our death to our old life and our decision to live the new life in Christ.   Being baptized in public or telling the testimony of our baptism should be a sign that we are Christians and we are going live like a Christian.  

Of course, just “getting wet” doesn’t make you a disciple of Christ anymore than hanging out in a garage makes you a car, but for those who follow the Lord in spirit and in truth, baptism is a right of passage to walking in the Spirit – applying God’s wisdom and ways to the way we live.

Personally, I don’t care if you were baptized or not. Rather than looking atyour ‘splash down”, I’ll watch what happens afterwards in your life to see if the fruit of the spirit grows from that “watering” or not.   

But the enemy loves to tempt “believers” with noncompliance to this basic ordinance of our faith by proclaiming “I don’t have to be baptized!” because of infant baptism ( I was baptized – I even have my white baby baptismal gown!) or because it isn’t specifically required (What about the thief on the cross?).  

Granted, we are “baptized” into God’s kingdom by faith. The testimony of the thief on the cross is an extreme example of someone who put their faith Jesus, wasn’t baptized (because he died), and was still welcomed into the paradise of God’s kingdom.

However, I  am sharing a link to Open Bible.info’s “100 verses about baptism” for those who want to get a quick look at what scripture has to say about it. (https://www.openbible.info/topics/baptism).  I give you the warning that verse may convict you to be baptized  and provide some of the verses from that list that will indicate that (unless you die before you can) we are commanded to be baptized.  

Mark 16:16 (NKJV) – Jesus’ words say:
16  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.    

In Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)  Jesus tells us to:  
19  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

The implication is that if you are a disciple you would be baptized.   And for those who would stand on baptism as “by faith alone”, Jesus said:

John 3:5 (NKJV)
5  … "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Oh and Jesus Himself was water baptized:

Matthew 3:13-17 (NKJV)  tells us
13  Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
14  And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?"  15  But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him.
16  When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
17  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Sounds like God the Father was pleased by Jesus’ baptism, so I have to believe He would be pleased by our baptism too.   

So rather than standing on your liberty, I invite those who have not taken the plunge of water baptism to consider making it your next step of faith to demonstrate to God and all the world that you Christian whose heart is set on following Jesus.  

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses :

Romans 8:35-37 (NLT2)
35  Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
36  (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)
37  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

 

Today’s verses encourage us that nothing can separate those who put their faith in Jesus from the love of God.   Except for not being baptized – just kidding or may be I’m not kidding. Me? I got baptized on the day of Boston bombings in 2013 – April 15th while on work in New York City at Hillsong Church NYC. They just happen to be doing baptism that day and I had signed up the Sunday before because even though I was born again in 2010 – I stubbornly refused it – until the Lord put it on my heart to do it.  That day NYC was a veritable police state because of the terrorist attack and as I traveled by subway to the midtown hotel pool where I would take the plunge I got a real sense that I was officially leaving the world behind as I was going to commit my life fully and publicly to following Jesus.  It was a positively wonder and electric experience as I was awestruck and filled with joy in the community of saints and left the hotel into the evening air still wet and a wash in the bright light of time square knowing that I had entered into a new dimension of my faith.  And that declaration, and experience of faith, was just another piece of evidence that the Lord did indeed save me and the words of Romans 8:35-37 really were true about me.  

 

I was His, I am God’s child – baptized and adopted in His family by water and the Spirit  and there is nothing that can separate me from His love. 

 

This is true for all of us who put our faith in Christ – so believe it – rejoice over it – and endeavor to share that love with others.

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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 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

APPENDIX III

THE MEANING OF “KOSMOS” (“WORLD”) IN JOHN 3:16 concludes

5. “Kosmos” is used of humanity minus believers: John 15:18; Rom. 3:6: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Believers do not “hate” Christ, so that “the world” here must signify the world of unbelievers in contrast from believers who love Christ. “God forbid: for then shall God judge the the world.” Here is another passage where “the world” cannot mean “you, me, and everybody,” for believers will not be “judged” by God, see John 5:24. So that here, too, it must be the world of unbelievers which is in view.

6. “Kosmos” is used of Gentiles in contrast from Jews: Rom 11:12 etc.: “Now if the fall of them (Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them (Israel) the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their (Israel’s) fulness.” Note how the first clause in italics is defined by the latter clause in italics. Here, again, “the world” cannot signify all humanity for it excludes Israel!

7. “Kosmos” is used of believers only: John 1:29; 3:16, 17; 6:33; 12:47; 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19. We leave our readers to turn to these passages, asking them to note, carefully, exactly what is said and predicated of “the world” in each place.

Thus it will be seen that “kosmos” has at least seven clearly defined different meanings in the New Testament. It may be asked, Has then God used a word thus to confuse and confound those who read the Scriptures? We answer, No! nor has He written His Word for lazy people who are too dilitary, or too busy with the things of this world, or, like Martha, so much occupied with “serving,” they have no time and no heart to “search” and “study” Holy Writ! Should it be asked further, But how is a searcher of the Scriptures to know which of the above meanings the term “world” has in any given passage? The answer is: This may be ascertained by careful study of the context, by diligently noting what is predicated of “the world” in each passage, and by prayerfully consulting other parallel passages to the one being studied.

The principal subject of John 3:16 is Christ as the Gift of God. The first clause tells us what moved God to “give” His only begotten Son, and that was His great “love”; the second clause informs us for whom God “gave” His Son, and that is for, “whosoever (or, better, ‘everyone’) believeth”; while the last clause makes known why God “gave” His Son (His purpose), and that is, that everyone that believeth “should not perish but have everlasting life.”

That “the world” in John 3:16 refers to the world of believers (God’s elect), in contradistinction from “the world of the ungodly” (2 Pet. 2:5), is established, unequivocally established, by a comparison of the other passages which speaks of God’s “love.” “God commendeth His love toward US”—the saints, Rom. 5:8. “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth”—every son, Heb. 12:6. “We love Him, because He first loved US”—believers, 1 John 4:19. The wicked, God “pities” (see Matt. 18:33). Unto the unthankful and evil God is “kind” (See Luke 6:35). The vessels of wrath He endures “with much long-suffering” (see Rom. 9:22.) But “His own” God “loves”!![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), 266–269.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Only the Obedient Believe – Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 20– Purity 992

Only the Obedient Believe – Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 20– Purity 992    

Purity 992 03/16/2023 Purity 992 Podcast

Purity 992 on YouTube: 


Wow the way YouTube turn this sideways, makes the tree limbs look like 
alien hands reaching for the sun.... 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun and blue skies breaking through the clouds over the snow covered forest at “end of the road” as tractor emerges with a full load of the white stuff comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene while out working at Skyline Drive in Melrose NY on the Ides of March.  

 Well, It’s Thursday and I share this “end of the road” pathway photo as an admission that the snow’s beauty can be appreciated even if you would rather not see it and as a reminder to keep walking and talking to God on the path of discipleship even if it seems like something has come to an end and you may have to turn around to find your way.  

How many dead ends have you run into in your journey of faith?  I know for a time in my travels I thought I might have the gift of prophecy because the Lord gave me guidance as I attempted to walk in the Spirit and good and amazing things started to happen.  But after I saw that my expectations of the future did not turn out the way that “I saw” them happening, I realized that predictions (even if I made them just to myself) were best left to weathermen, and we know how successful they can be at times, as the “dreams and visions” that I had concerning where I thought God was sending me was far from a hundred percent.  And unlike the “modern prophets” who stand on the scripture that saws we know in part and prophesy in part (1 Cor 13:9) as license to speak “prophecies” that are some times fulfilled and sometimes not, I know the word of God enough to remember that anyone speaking prophecies that were fulfilled less than 100% of the time were not to be feared and the word indicates that they “shall die” (Deut 18:20-22).  After all even a broken clock is right twice a day but that doesn’t mean we should trust it or seek it’s wisdom. We are to go to God for wisdom.

So  while I believe that the Lord can guide us through listening prayer, through His word, and through the Holy Spirit calling scripture to come to mind, revealing truth and showing us things to come, we have to be careful because I know from experience that because we have our own ideas and agendas about how we would like life to go and because there are spiritual forces of darkness that would love to deceive us. Just because we think a thought we get is coming from God, it may not be the case. We have to discern the spirits and when we don’t we make mistakes and follow false paths or trains of thoughts that lead to dead end disappointments.

But if you find yourself at the “end of the road” of a bad presumption or prediction of what you thought would happen, don’t get discouraged. God is with you and times of disappointment and trials are used by Him to teach us to depend on Him only.    

So in the spirit of trusting God and submitting to Him only, let’s continue our journey into the season of repentance as we enter into Day 20 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 20

Bonhoeffer writes:

“Only the obedient believe.

A concrete commandment has to be obeyed in order to come to believe.

A first step of obedience has to be taken, so that faith does not become pious self-deception, cheap grace.

The first step is crucial.

It is qualitatively different from all others that follow.

The first step of obedience has to lead Peter away from his nets and out of the boat; it has to lead the young man away from his wealth.

Faith is possible only in this new state of existence created by obedience.”

Biblical Wisdom

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16-18

Questions to Ponder

  • How do you understand the relationship between obedience and true faith?

M.T. Clark: As Christ said in John 14:15: If we love Him, we will keep His commandments. So my understanding is that true faith is exemplified by obedience. If we believe God’s word is true, we will obey what it says by applying it to our lives.  Now please understand me. I know that we are not perfect people and because of our personal failings and the world, the flesh, and the devil, we may struggle to obey and fall short of God’s perfect will but I believe that God calls us to repentance and sanctification knowing that we can make progress, achieve victories, and experience freedom when we surrender to the Lord and His desire that we be conformed to image of Christ. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress and as we faithfully follow the Lord we will eventually be amazed at how He is transforming us and by the fruit of the Spirit that grows in our lives.

  • How might a “first step of obedience” change your relationship to Jesus?

M.T. Clark: The first step of obedience demonstrates that we actually have faith! The first step of obedience demonstrates to the Lord that we truly do believe and we trust Him. That first step, and every subsequent step along the path of Christian Discipleship, opens the door to a deep and profound relationship with Jesus as the Lord will guide us into sanctification and into our purpose for His kingdom. So take that first step, and keep going, the Lord will not lead you astray and He will guide you in the way you should go.  

  • Why is the first step “qualitatively different from all others that follow”?

M.T. Clark: As I indicated above, the first step is qualitatively different from all others that follow because it demonstrates the authenticity of our faith, experientially.  The classic illustration is “faith in a chair to hold your weight”. We can say we believe the chair will hold us up. But the true “first step” of our faith is shown when we actually sit down in it. Throughout scripture the Lord calls His people to “do something” – to obey what He says. When they obey, they show they believe and that they are His and He then calls them to do more, to walk with Him.

Psalm Fragment

O come, let us worship and bow down,
   let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
   and we are the people of his pasture,
   and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would listen to his voice! 
Psalm 95:6-7

Journal Reflections

  • Is there a moment when you took a “first step of obedience”? If so, write about it. What was it like? How did it change your life?

M.T. Clark: There are several “first steps” we take when we follow the Lord, like:

·       Praying for someone, in person, out loud, for the first time. 

·       Sharing the gospel

·       Preaching in public

·       Going into the mission field

·       Getting baptized

Some of these steps of faith may have been met with fear and resistance, but when the call to do them was obeyed and taken, they all came with the confirmation that I did what the Lord wanted me to do and they all led to a deeper dimension to my relationship with God.  In every instance, they led to the conviction that I was God’s child, (I really am “A CHRISTIAN”) and that He could be trusted and He would always be faithful and present with me when I faithfully followed and obeyed Him.  

  • Do you need to take a “first step of obedience”? If so, any ideas or intuitions about what form that might take?

M.T. Clark: I sure do! It’s called step into “The Next Thing” that God has for me.  What that is, I don’t completely know but if I abide with Him and follow Him every day, I know that I will be in the perfect position to “take that first step” of  “The Next Thing” when I get there.  This is a walk of faith. The steps don’t stop and God is always doing new things in our lives, so boldly step out when He calls you to.

Intercessions

Pray that you, your family, and your spiritual friends would have the courage to be obedient to whatever God is calling you to.

M.T. Clark:

Lord,

I pray for myself, my family, and all my spiritual friends, near and far, that we would be bold and courageous and obedient to the call that You put on our lives. We have come to know that You are faithful and trustworthy and we pray for you to guide us into your purposes. 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Prayer for Today

Gracious God, grant me the wisdom to see what you need me to do and the courage to do it.

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

“Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight” (Matt. 11:26).

In the present chapter we shall consider, somewhat briefly, the practical application to ourselves of the great truth which we have pondered in its various ramifications in earlier pages. In chapter twelve we shall deal more in detail with the value of this doctrine but here we would confine ourselves to a definition of what ought to be our attitude toward the sovereignty of God.

Every truth that is revealed to us in God’s Word is there not only for our information but also for our inspiration. The Bible has been given to us not to gratify an idle curiosity but to edify the souls of its readers. The sovereignty of God is something more than an abstract principle which explains the rationale of the Divine government: it is designed as a motive for godly fear, it is made known to us for the promotion of righteous living, it is revealed in order to bring into subjection our rebellious hearts. A true recognition of God’s sovereignty humbles as nothing else does or can humble, and brings the heart into lowly submission before God, causing us to relinquish our own self-will and making us delight in the perception and performance of the Divine will.

When we speak of the sovereignty of God we mean very much more than the exercise of God’s governmental power, though, of course, that is included in the expression. As we have remarked in an earlier chapter, the sovereignty of God means the Godhood of God. In its fullest and deepest meaning the title of this book signifies the Character and Being of the One whose pleasure is performed and whose will is executed. To truly recognize the sovereignty of God is, therefore, to gaze upon the Sovereign Himself. It is to come into the presence of the august “Majesty on high.” It is to have a sight of the thrice holy God in His excellent glory. The effects of such a sight may be learned from those scriptures which describe the experience of different ones who obtained a view of the Lord God.

Mark the experience of Job—the one of whom the Lord Himself said “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8). At the close of the book which bears his name we are shown Job in the Divine presence, and how does he carry himself when brought face to face with Jehovah? Hear what he says: “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeeth Thee: Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5, 6). Thus, a sight of God, God revealed in awesome majesty, caused Job to abhor himself, and not only so, but to abase himself before the Almighty.

Take note of Isaiah. In the sixth chapter of his prophecy a scene is brought before us which has few equals even in Scripture. The prophet beholds the Lord upon the Throne, a Throne “high and lifted up.” Above this Throne stood the seraphims with veiled faces, crying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts.” What is the effect of this sight upon the prophet? We read “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:5). A sight of the Divine King humbled Isaiah into the dust, bringing him, as it did, to a realization of his own nothingness.

One more. Look at the prophet Daniel. Toward the close of his life this man of God beheld the Lord in theophanic manifestation. He appeared to His servant in human form “clothed in linen” and with loins “girded with fine gold,” symbolic of holiness and Divine glory. We read that “His body also was like the beryl, and His face as the appearance of lightning, and His eyes as lamps of fire, and His arms and His feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of His words like the voice of a multitude.” Daniel then tells the effect this vision had upon him and those who were with him: “And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of His words: and when I heard the voice of His words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground” (Dan. 10:6–9). Once more, then, we are shown that to obtain a sight of the Sovereign God is for creature strength to wither up, and results in man being humbled into the dust before his Maker. What then ought to be our attitude toward the Supreme Sovereign? We reply,[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), 189–191.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

I am Free and I am Home - Purity 905

 I am Free and I am Home -  Purity 905 

Purity 905 12/03/2022 Purity 905 Podcast

Purity 905 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the pink and purple clouds of sunrise from the point view of the backyard of my countryside home in Easton NY comes to us from TammyLyn Clark who was tending to her pets when see looked to the right to see this beautiful sunrise. 

Well It’s the first Saturday of December 2022, and it is my prayer that all who read or hear this message will not be so busy in your holiday shopping and preparations for Christmas that you miss out on  the beauty of the season.

I don’t know what it is about December but just last night I was marveling over how I was just over come by peace and love just sitting at the dinner table in the presence of my wife preparing dinner while Christmas music played.  December, for me anyway, brings with it a sense of things wrapping up, or things coming to an end, of a sense that “we made it through another year”, and that we are in the “home stretch”. And this culmination of the year and Christmas celebration brings with it an emphasis on the things that are important: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the love that we enjoy with our loved ones that are reflected by songs like “I’ll be home for Christmas” or “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” or “The Christmas Song”, you know, the one with “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”. So last night I was feeling like an old nostalgic, sappy mess, as I was just “feeling the love” pour out of me as I listened to the music and stared at my wife.

I am so grateful for my wife and this morning I was reflecting on our lives together and just got that Michael BublĂ© Song: Home that ends with: 

… you always believed in me

Another winter day
Has come and gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I'm surrounded by
A million people I
I still feel alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I've had my run
Baby, I'm done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It'll all be all right
I'll be home tonight
I'm coming back home.”

 

As much as I absolutely adore my place “down by The River” in Stuyvesant, my home is wherever TammyLyn is and the reason I can say that is because no one, other than God, has loved and accepted me as much as she has.  And most importantly, she loves and accepts me for who I am in Christ and encourages me in my walk of faith, even though it was contrary to the way most of the world walks.

 

It increasingly pains my heart to see how most of the world is enamored with the things of this world and how all of us, before coming to Christ, build up our identities around our preferences, activities, and hobbies, and thus separate ourselves from the Lord by living independently of Him.  

 

My decision to follow the Lord has not been without its costs. I have been rejected, insulted, abandoned, and betrayed because of my faith. I always have accepted the losses because I know that the value of the things I have lost or the relationships that have been broken pale in comparison to the immense value of my relationship with God and my eternal destiny with Him, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t hurt.  However, regardless of the pain, that suffering makes the decision to follow the Lord to be even more compelling.

 

“I didn’t suffer all of this, to walk away from the Lord now!”

 

Plus, the Lord delivered me out of so much darkness, that I simply can’t imagine ever going back to the ways things used to be in my life. Occasionally, I’ll be tempted to “give it a rest” or to second guess some of the choices I have made on the path of Christian Discipleship but when I honestly evaluate the situations I faced and the outcomes that have resulted on this faith walk,  I quickly dismiss those thoughts because I simply can’t imagine an alternative road that would have been any better.  

 

Part of that journey is TammyLyn.  The Lord revealed to me that there was simply “no other” woman for me and that her coming into my life was a result of my faithfulness to follow Him and that our coming together as man and wife has elevated my life to heights of joy, love, and purpose that I simply could not have imagined.   

 

And it is because of our faith in Christ that we have a “home” in each other.  

 

It was my decision to be faithful to launch a discipleship ministry, and her decision to seek the Lord in her life that brought us together. 

 

And it was only with the understanding that this decision to follow the Lord would define the rest of our lives, that we became man and wife. 

 

And now we are just doing it. 

 

Last night, after dinner and spending time together, I felt the pull of sleep coming on hard but was reminded by TammyLyn that we hadn’t read the second chapter of the gospel of John yet, as our plan is to  read through that book before Christmas.  

 

So we opened up our Bible’s and read it.  That might not seem like much, but it displays the reason why there was “no other” for me but TammyLyn.  Simple faith, dedication to follow the Lord, come what may, is what I needed in a wife and the Lord gave it to me in TammyLyn.  

 

After emerging victorious over my addictions and all the brokenness of my past because of the Lord’s presence in my life, there was simply nothing and no one that I would allow me to compromise my decision to follow Him.  I was prepared to go the rest of my life alone rather than stop being the person God wanted me to be. 

 

In TammyLyn, I don’t have someone to support me in my decisions to follow the Lord, I have someone to actively encourage and inspire me to be faithful and to be bold and courageous to pursue all that the Lord has for me.  

 

I am free and I am home, in Christ of course, but the Lord was gracious to send me a woman to share this life of freedom, peace, and joy with.  

 

SO to anyone out there who is alone, let me encourage you not to ever compromise your relationship with the Lord by becoming involved with someone who doesn’t know Him or who isn’t actively seeking to obey Him.   Paying the Lord lip service doesn’t cut it for a life partner.  It’s better to walk alone rather than to walk through life with someone who is just pretending to love God and who is actually consumed with themselves or the things of this world.  

 

The Counting Crows song “A long December” is a melancholy song that reflects the winding down spirit of the year, where we might be suffering pain, exhaustion, or loneliness causing us to “laugh a little slower”, or “talk a little lower” but it also speaks the hope that the next year will be better than the last.   

 

I don’t know if you really know who you are in Christ. I don’t know how free you are. I don’t if you have a “home” where you can authentically live out your faith and experience all those things, but I can tell you without a doubt that if you keep walking and talking with God, this year can be better the last because the longer we walk according to His wisdom and ways and stay in His presence, the more we leave the darkness of our old lives behind and the further we step into the plans that He has for us.   

 

So rejoice and take some time to “feel the love” of the season and pour out the love God has given to you to all the people in your life.  It is a “wonderful life” only when we acknowledge it as a gift from God and fully realize the value of it when we are redeemed in Christ.

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Mark 10:42-45 (NLT2)
42  So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.
43  But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,
44  and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.
45  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 Today’s verses show us that the power and authority we receive through Jesus, is best used in the service of others and that our greatness in His kingdom will reflect what we give rather than what we receive.  

Teachings like this from Jesus, I believe, are met with the highest levels of skepticism imaginable because they are so counter intuitive to the way our world system operates.  

The corporate world will occasionally try to adapt the principle of being a “servant leader” by encouraging managers to invest in their team members and to develop the people on you “team” but generally the higher levels of corporate power are accomplished by Machiavellian ends justifying their means and some cutthroat power moves.  

One of the men from a Freedom In Christ course that I lead testified of his corporate success being cut short when he rose through the ranks up to a certain point only to discover that he was determined to be “too nice” for upper management and was fired, leaving him feeling betrayed and utterly disillusioned with the business world.  

He rebounded eventually but his testimony revealed that he was quite shaken by the experience of learning the truth of how things “really were” in the world.   

“Nice guys finish last” isn’t a phrase I just made up and there are lots of people who can testify of their experience where this seems to be true.  

But Jesus says otherwise.  Why? Because He is the Truth, He knows the Truth about final outcomes. 

There are tons of verses in the Bible about this paradox of how the wicked seem to prosper but other verses show us that the wicked will receive justice: like

Deuteronomy 32:35 (NLT2)
35  I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.’

 

And

 

Romans 12:19-21 (NLT2)
19  Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.
20  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
21  Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

So we overcome evil by doing good and as today’s verse teach us we will be considered great in God’s kingdom through being a servant to others like the way Christ was a suffering servant for us.

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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 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 Eight

Preliminary Questions, concludes

 

All this makes it abundantly clear that we cannot play off the narrative of the calling of the disciples against other parts of the gospel account. It is never a question of our having or taking on the same identity as the disciples or other people in the New Testament. The only issue of importance is that Jesus Christ and his call are the same, then and now. His word remains one and the same, whether it was spoken during his earthly life or today, whether it was addressed to the disciples or to the paralytic. Then and now, it is the gracious call to enter his kingdom and to submit to his rule. The question whether I ought to compare myself with the disciple or with the paralytic poses a dangerous and false alternative. I need not compare myself with either of them. Instead, all I have to do is to listen and do Christ’s word and will as I receive them in both of these biblical accounts. Scripture does not present us with a collection of Christian types to be imitated according to our own choice. Rather, in every passage it proclaims to us the one Jesus Christ. It is him alone whom I ought to hear.[9] He is one and the same everywhere.

Thus, when we ask the question of where we can hear Jesus’ call to discipleship today, there is no other answer than this: listen to the word that is preached, and receive the sacrament. In both of these listen to Christ himself. Then you will hear his call![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 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)

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), 203–204.