Showing posts with label New Year. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Year. Show all posts

Saturday, December 31, 2022

At Year’s End – A Time of Reflection and Rejoicing. - Purity 929


At Year’s End – A Time of Reflection and Rejoicing. -   Purity 929

Purity 929 12/31/2022 Purity 929 Podcast

Purity 929 on YouTube: 

YouTube flipped the Thumbnail on its side once again,
 I think we have been flipped towards the right, to the left, and upside down at least once this year... 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a boardwalk pathway that offers one last turn before the promise of coming into the bright light at the end of the road comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene at what was the first of several parks that my wife, TammyLyn, and I would visit in the Tampa Bay area while on our honeymoon back of February 20th. 

Well this is IT, the last day of 2022, and we are less than 20 hours (at the time I write this) before we say good bye to the year passed and say “Hello” to 2023!  

Before I launch into a recap and reflection of what has transpired in 2022’s 525,6000 minutes and testify to another year of walking in the Spirit and enjoying another season of knowing God’s love, and so much more, I would like to share a list of questions that I saw shared online that I thought could be a good vehicle for anyone reading or hearing this message to reflect on the past 365 days to “remember the times” because as the following Bible verses indicate, we should remember and learn from our lives as we go ( .  

Deuteronomy 32:7 (NKJV)
7  "Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:

Deuteronomy 6:12 (NKJV)
12  then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Psalm 77:10-12 (NKJV)
10  And I said, "This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." 11  I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12  I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.

 And as Paul told those he was departing in

 Acts 20:35 (NKJV)

35  I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

So I give you these questions to ask yourself and to consider as we mark another year of life and remember the times, mourn the losses, celebrate the victories, try to learn from our experiences, and thank the Lord our God for it all.  

The questions I saw in a meme posted on FB by Soul Shepherding ( - ) asked: 

·       What did God bring to you through in 2022?

·       What did God teach you? 

·       How did you experience God’s love?

·       What are your favorite memories?

·       What are you most proud of?

·       What energized you? What drained you? 

·       How did your relationship with God evolve?

·       What are you hoping for in 2023? 

·       What is one thing you want to do differently or one area you want to grow in? 

While I am not familiar with the Soul Shepherding ministry, their website invites you to “Thrive with Jesus in life and leadership” and I like the “loaded questions” they ask in this list because unlike the general niceties or nostalgia you could undoubtedly receive from secular or mainstream media outlets today, Soul Shepherding rightly recognizes the central importance that God should have as we reflect and consider our progress through this life.   

What did GOD bring you through?  What did HE teach you? How did you experience GOD’s love? How did your relationship with GOD evolve?

If these questions leave you grasping at straws, let me encourage and assure you that God does indeed exist, He does care about our lives, and is actively involved in His creation and in and through the lives of men and women on the earth. We can walk with Him through life. We can learn from Him. We can experience His love. And we can have a relationship with Him.  

So I ask you to consider those questions, and encourage you to continue or to begin that relationship with God and to live your life “walking in the Spirit” – in the “context of  an in the presence of God” – according to His will and ways as revealed in the Bible.

I believe we all have a relationship with God from the moment we have life, but without Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, it is a contentious relationship. Our sin and decision to live independently of Him separates us from God and while our lives are spent in His creation and in His Omnipresence, if we don’t make peace with Him through Jesus, our lives will ultimately be dissatisfying as we will eventually age, die, and face God’s judgment and wrath.

Our hearts tell us when we do wrong and the word of God tells us that no amount of our good works makes up for our sin. God’s word clearly tells us that it is through faith alone in Christ alone that we are saved. 

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) tells us
8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  

In these three verses we learn the method of our salvation ( by grace through faith in Christ) and our purpose: to do the good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in. Sounds like a plan to me! 

After most of my life living in sin and rebellion and suffering the negative consequences and tragic losses, I sought the meaning and purpose of life, in all the wrong places, but God was gracious and revealed to me the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ back in 2010, and I have been trying to be authentic in my faith, with varying degrees of success ever since.  Through the years the Lord has bring me through a lot, He has taught me a lot,  I have experienced His love in countless ways, and my relationship with Him has continued to evolve.   And 2022 has been yet another amazing year “walking in the Spirit”!

On January 1st, 2022 – I married the love of my life, TammyLyn.  She is the Christian wife that I prayed for and that God literally delivered to me!  In February we honeymooned in Tampa Florida and have spent the year growing closer to God and one another as we continually pray together and for one another and worship together at Starpoint Church every week.

Throughout the year we have enjoyed various travels and family events. We love to go on day trips and  hikes locally throughout the year visiting various parks and nature trails nearby and in the summer we enjoyed a symphony concert performance on the lawn at Hudson Crossing Park in Schuylerville NY and travelled to Newry Maine for the 2 day, River Rock Music Festival where we enjoyed a plethora of Christian Musical Artist including : Dante Bowe, Big Daddy Weave, Micah Tyler, Blanca, and my favorite – Jon Reddick. We also spent time together volunteering for Operation Adopt a Soldier, supporting the good work they do to support our troops with our time, marching in parades and serving at various functions throughout the year.  Although work and familial circumstances from our previous lives has us living with a two household system, we have spent every moment we could in 2022 learning to live with and love one another and I am amazed at how our love for one another continues to deepen.  

As for my work, my “day job” as a telecommunications tech, in May I celebrated 25 years working for the company and have become accumulated in my relatively new job function as a maintenance tech for the Albany garage and I am content with where the Lord has put me. The work can be frustrating and challenging at times but it proves to continue to provide great opportunities to grow in knowledge and experience in terms of the job and a great place to practice my faith as I “keep walking and talking with God” throughout my work day, asking for His strength, guidance, patience, and help as needed.

As for my passion – “my ministry” in its various forms – I am happy to report that 2022 has been a banner year for stepping out in faith in many ways.

This year I was honored to assume the role as a “Online Course Leader” for Freedom in Christ Ministries, leading 3 sessions of the Freedom in Christ Course in the winter, spring, and fall – and independently lead graduates from the winter and springs sessions through  The Grace Course during the Summer.  2023 will see me continue in this role as I am scheduled to lead a Men’s Freedom in Christ Course on Tuesday evenings, beginning on January 31st – any man interested in joining the course can register at the link I am sharing on the blog ( , beginning on January 5th, as registration has been temporarily suspended for the holiday season.  

I have been honored to serve Freedom in Christ Ministries in this capacity and have been blessed to have encouraged men from all over the United States to learn who they are in Christ and to experience their freedom in Christ by leading them through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  The experiences I have had and witnessed in the lives of the men in these course has been simply amazing and has confirmed my faith and the Lord’s presence in our lives time and time again.   I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do through this ministry this year!   

As for the blog, I am happy to report that today will be the 394th blog entry for year, as I have been committed to answer the call to journal my progress as I walk in the Spirit and encourage others to travel the path of Christian Discipleship through the “Purity” series of semi daily encouragements and by providing Arthur Cincotti’s semi-weekly Bible Study outlines, and various announcements and excerpts of Christian resources to encourage others in their faith walk.  The mt4christ blog was born from my desire to encourages others to live for Christ and was reborn and revitalized when others encouraged me to keep encouraging them. The blog is part of my daily spiritual practice 6 days a week and is a labor of love and just another expression of how I “keep walking and talking with God.” So as long as the Lord wills it,  I will continue.   

Additionally, the mt4christ247 podcast enjoyed it’s second, and first full year, of existence in 2022 and despite my hopes for the Lord to use it far and wide, I am happy to report that people continue to download it and that the “curious” or the “faithful few” who clicked on it resulted in a modest increase in the total number of downloads from 2021 to 2022, with 4767 downloads this year up from last years 4048 downloads, for an all-time total of 8815.  I’m not sure what these numbers mean but I am humbled and encouraged that there are numbers to report on! So whether you are a faithful listener or have just downloaded a single episode somewhere along the lines, I want to say: THANK YOU and MAY THE LORD RICHLY BLESS YOU!

I have always said that if my messages, blog or podcast, even encourage a single person to seek and follow the Lord, I am content.  In truth the blog and the podcast, encourages ME, so regardless of numbers, followers, or subscribers, unless the Lord indicates I should stop, I will keep putting a voice to my text for those who are curious or who would rather listen than read.  

Another interesting development began this year, as I began using Zoom for the work I did for Freedom in Christ in 2022 and I further understood and  realized that Podbean created a video version of my audio podcasts, I made the decision to “really launch” the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel and began the project of taking all the Community Freedom Ministry Classes that I podcasted in 2021 and all of the Bible Study with the Cincotti “programs” we had done and uploaded them to YouTube.  The Cincotti’s and I also made the decision to use Zoom to record our Bible Studies beginning in 2022 and actually were bold enough to release the video of our sessions beginning in April, eventually releasing all of the previous video sessions, later as “throwback episodes”. 

So if you were not aware, go to    to check out all of the archives of our Bible Studies, audio and video, and the discipleships classes I taught at my local church in 2021.  

But that’s not all, I also eventually decided to upload the Purity Series to YouTube and now do that every day, including the links to the YouTube on the blog!

In the Fall I also felt moved to produce a 19 episode series based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship” – a video series where I present the text of that classic Christian work with the use of Power Point presentations and offer my encouragements.  

And as always I share all the mt4christ blog posts I create on social media regularly to reach who I can.  I even created a list of links to help anyone to join the reddit “subs” I have created, or to follow  the podcast, or me on social media. Go to this link to find those links: (

In November, I also travelled to Buffalo to serve as a Altar Counselor for the Evening with David Jerimiah where I ministered to people as they came forward at the end of the service. 

Locally, I joined the prayer team at Starpoint Church in Clifton Park and will continue to serve there 2023. 

Although I have written much of what has happened in the last year, there was even more I am sure that I have forgotten about. 

As for my plans for the new year, you can read all about it as I live and experience and report about it on the blog. 

My life and relationship with the Lord is a never ending adventure of joy, hope, and peace that spills over into all the areas of my life. and I encourage all who read this to join me by making the decision to seek the Lord and to follow wherever He leads you.  

And of course, I wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!  


Well, I’m short on time this morning because I think I wrote “too much” and I had to find a “new resource” to share  so I’m taking a vacation from sharing the “Bible Verse of the Day” but I do encourage you to read the Bible every day, for yourself.

I am including a link to Ligonier Ministries: “Bible Reading Plans for 2023” ( an encouragement to read the word this year - to have a plan, if you need one, to draw close to God through His word to experience the power that He wants to unleash into your life.  


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

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

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




We readily acknowledge that life is a profound problem, and that we are surrounded by mystery on every side; but we are not like the beasts of the field—ignorant of their origin, and unconscious of what is before them. No: “We have also a more sure Word of Prophecy,” of which it is said ye do well that ye “take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19). And it is to this Word of Prophecy we indeed do well to “take heed,” to that Word which had not its origin in the mind of man but in the Mind of God, for, “the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit.” We say again, it is to this “Word” we do well to take heed. As we turn to this Word and are instructed thereout, we discover a fundamental principle which must be applied to every problem: Instead of beginning with man and his world and working back to God, we must begin with God and work down to man—“In the begining God!” Apply this principle to the present situation. Begin with the world as it is today and try and work back to God, and everything will seem to show that God has no connection with the world at all. But begin with God and work down to the world, and light, much light, is cast on the problem. Because God is holy His anger burns against sin; because God is righteous His judgments fall upon those who rebel against Him; because God is faithful the solemn threatenings of His Word are fulfilled; because God is omnipotent none can successfully resist Him, still less overthrow His counsel; and because God is omniscient no problem can master Him and no difficulty baffle His wisdom. It is just because God is who He is and what He is that we are now beholding on earth what we do—the beginning of His outpoured judgments: in view of His inflexible justice and immaculate holiness we could not expect anything other than what is now spread before our eyes.

But let it be said very emphatically that the heart can only rest upon and enjoy the blessed truth of the absolute sovereignty of God as faith is in exercise. Faith is ever occupied with God. That is the character of it; that is what differentiates it from intellectual theology. Faith endures “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27): endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heartaches of life by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind. But so long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself there will be neither rest for the heart nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings—whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr’s stake—we shall be enabled to say, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places” (Psa. 16:6). But that is the language of faith, not of sight or of sense.

But if instead of bowing to the testimony of Holy Writ, if instead of walking by faith, we follow the evidence of our eyes, and reason therefrom, we shall fall into a quagmire of virtual atheism. Or, if we are regulated by the opinions and views of others, peace will be at an end. Granted that there is much in this world of sin and suffering which appalls and saddens us; granted that there is much in the providential dealings of God which startle and stagger us; that is no reason why we should unite with the unbelieving worldling who says, “If I were God, I would not allow this or tolerate that,” etc. Better far, in the presence of bewildering mystery, to say with one of old, “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because Thou didst it” (Psa. 39:9). Scripture tells us that God’s judgments are “unsearchable,” and His ways “past finding out” (Rom 11:33). It must be so if faith is to be tested, confidence in His wisdom and righteousness strengthened, and submission to His holy will fostered.

Here is the fundamental difference between the man of faith and the man of unbelief. The unbeliever is “of the world,” judges everything by worldly standards, views life from the standpoint of time and sense, and weighs everything in the balances of his own carnal making. But the man of faith brings in God, looks at everything from His standpoint, estimates values by spiritual standards, and views life in the light of eternity. Doing this, he receives whatever comes as from the hand of God. Doing this, his heart is calm in the midst of the storm. Doing this, he “rejoices in hope of the glory of God.”

In these opening paragraphs we have indicated the lines of thought followed out in this book. Our first postulate is, that because God is God He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases; that His great concern is the accomplishment of His own pleasure and the promotion of His own glory; that He is the Supreme Being, and therefore Sovereign of the universe. Starting with this postulate we have contemplated the exercise of God’s Sovereignty, first in Creation, second in Governmental Administration over the works of His hands, third in the Salvation of His own elect, fourth in the Reprobation of the wicked, and fifth in Operation upon and within men. Next we have viewed the Sovereignty of God as it relates to the human Will in particular and human Responsibility in general, and have sought to show what is the only becoming attitude for the creature to take in view of the majesty of the Creator. A separate chapter has been set apart for a consideration of some of the difficulties which are involved, and to answering the questions which are likely to be raised in the minds of our readers; while one chapter has been devoted to a more careful yet brief examination of God’s Sovereignty in relation to prayer. Finally, we have sought to show that the Sovereignty of God is a truth revealed to us in Scripture for the comfort of our hearts, the strengthening of our souls, and the blessing of our lives. A due apprehension of God’s Sovereignty promotes the spirit of worship, provides an incentive to practical godliness, and inspires zeal in service. It is deeply humbling to the human heart, but in proportion to the degree that it brings man into the dust before his Maker, to that extent is God glorified.

We are well aware that what we have written is in open opposition to much of the teaching that is current both in religious literature and in the representative pulpits of the land. We freely grant that the postulate of God’s Sovereignty with all its corollaries is at direct variance with the opinions and thoughts of the natural man, but the truth is, we are quite unable to think upon these matters: we are incompetent for forming a proper estimate of God’s character and ways, and it is because of this that God has given us a revelation of His mind, and in that revelation He plainly declares, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8, 9). In view of this scripture, it is only to be expected that much of the contents of the Bible conflicts with the sentiments of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God. Our appeal then is not to the popular beliefs of the day, nor to the creeds of the churches, but to the Law and Testimony of Jehovah. All that we ask for is an impartial and attentive examination of what we have written, and that made prayerfully in the light of the Lamp of Truth. May the reader heed the Divine admonition to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).[1]


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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

                               Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 19–23.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Alarm Clocks, A Sovereign God, and the Power of Perspective and Practice- Purity 927

Alarm Clocks, A Sovereign God, and the Power of Perspective and Practice-   Purity 927

Purity 927 12/29/2022 Purity 927 Podcast

Purity 927 on YouTube: 

Not sure why YouTube set things upside down! 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a headlight illuminated highway pathway that runs alongside the silhouette of trees, while moving towards a cross like shadow of a utility pole with the outline of the Castleton on the Hudson Bridge in the distance, comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene during my commute home from work back on December 12th.  I took a bunch of shots during that drive and am not really sure of what to do with them. Some are better than others, some are blurry, but all of them capture the magic of twilight time and each document another step in the journey of one man’s simple drive home from work that testifies to the continuous beauty and mystery of our lives.  

Well, It’s Thursday and as is my old habit I am sharing this photo that features a pathway of sorts to encourage all who read or hear this message to get on our stay on the path of Christian Discipleship: to discover who you are in Christ, to experience your freedom in Christ, and to seek the Lord and to pursue the purpose that He has for your life.  

However, while I do wholeheartedly make this recommendation and believe that it’s pursuit is God’s purpose for all of our lives, I have to warn you that it comes with a cost and it is a path that is meant to be travelled continuously, meaning that it is a path that you must choose for yourself, because of the cost, but it is a path that once chosen should not be forsaken.   Verses like

Hebrews 6:4-8 (NKJV) indicate that we may not be able to come back to faith if we walk away, the text says
4  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
5  and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
6  if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
7  For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;
8  but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

This parallels the “sowing of the seed parable” where Jesus in explaining the parable to His disciples indicates that some receive the word but “become unfruitful”:

In Matthew 13:20-22 (NKJV), Jesus says:  
20  But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
21  yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
22  Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

So does our “falling away” of “stumbling”, lead to destruction or just an unfruitful testimony?  Christ’s teachings even warn us about maintaining our freedom and victory over the spiritual forces of darkness.  Describing a unclean spirit that has been cast out, Christ taught:

In Matthew 12:43-45 (NKJV) that  
43  "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none.
44  Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.
45  Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation."

When I taught at and later led Celebrate Freedom, a Christian recovery ministry, I would use these verses to warn about “giving into the demons of temptation” and falling into relapse and sin, and pointed to the fact that addicts often fall lower or harder, and sometimes into an early death, when they try to recover and then relapse.   The state of a person who once decided to walk with God but then for whatever reason decides to not follow or not believe in the Lord always seems to be worse. Instead of “finding their freedom again”, when people walk away from God they often go further into their former darkness, bondage, or hopelessness and sometimes with immediate tragic results.  

Ask me how I know…   

Well, I have seen it time and time again in others as my progressive walk of discipleship has seen many traveling companions come to a certain point where they decided to abandon their faith walk for other worldly pursuits, to remain in their spiritual infancy, or to go running back to their sin, or just to walk away without ceremony. I never thought I would get “ghosted” by someone who was supposedly walking in the Spirit but it happens.

Some of these “ghosts” actually go into eternity as victims of their poor choices and others remain a mystery.  In some cases, I honestly don’t know if these people who I had seen experience a measure of freedom or victory in their lives have gone on to enjoy it or if they doubted and went back to their lives of quiet desperation of depression and addiction or were revisited by their demonic “friends in low places” and are currently afflicted with condemnation and oppression. 

This is why Christ emphasized obedience and endurance to His disciples.  The Apostle Paul doesn’t encourage the church to seek out their salvation with fear and trembling or warn us to put on the full armor of God because we are safe. Our faith will be tested and only those who endure and decide to follow the Lord in Spirit and in truth on a continual basis will have the assurance that they will be “in that number, when the saints go marching in” to God’s kingdom.  

Our faith is to be practiced as well as preached and it is a journey of constant adjustments as the Lord will continually reveal to us the errors of our ways and the things that He would have us do.    It is a journey of both correction and accomplishment. The Lord has things for us to fix and He has things for us to build.  

When we seek the Lord and His will for our lives, our personal lives change and the direction we follow takes us ever towards Him and His purpose for our lives.  

Of course we don’t do this perfectly, and that’s okay, when we put our faith in Jesus, we have already been forgiven of everything we will ever do and are accepted into God’s kingdom.  Our journey is not about perfection, it’s about being faithful to the calling and about learning from our mistakes, it’s about experiencing peace and joy while we make progress.    

This morning I awoke from a “work anxiety” dream.  Although I am on vacation until January 4th, I was back at work early this morning in my dreams. Nothing horrific mind you, but the dream of me at work was anxious because I was given a task that I wasn’t going to complete and would have to refer to someone else, but in the dream I desperately “wanted to do a good job” and I was struggling with the fact that I wasn’t going to “get ‘er done”.   Even after I woke up from the dream, I was considering other possible solutions to the problem at hand, that didn’t exist.  

After putting the brakes on my thoughts of problem solving, I wondered just how long it would be before my alarm would go off. You know how this is right?

Quite often I awaken anywhere from 30 to 15 minutes before the alarm goes off and spend that time trying get those last few minutes of sleep, with or without success.  But this morning, I got the feeling that something was wrong and rather than trying to go back to sleep I checked my phone/alarm clock to discover I never set the alarm and was 2 hours past when I normally would get up. 

So all my plans for my normal morning routine have been altered.  I had plans to work out before Bible study, prayer, and blogging and was upset for a few moments before I “practiced” my faith.  

Just like a karate expert who knows how to defend himself from enemy attacks, I went into action by combatting the reactivity and beginnings of condemnation with a one two punch of the truth.  

I am on vacation, I can do whatever I want, in the order I want, any time today.  

I can work out later.  I can take a “rest day”. 

As for my spiritual practices, they are somewhat non-negotiable but because I am not a perfect person who has made similar mistakes in the past or been distracted and not managed my time wisely at all times, I knew that it wasn’t the end of the world and I would do what I could, because I know from my previous experiences at being less than perfect that “we can only do what we can do”.    

So although I felt the urgency to start blogging, I decided that my Bible Study had to come first.  There is nothing like the word of God to cool your jets and to make you realize what is important.  When you read the word, you can rest assured that no matter what else transpires that day, at least you did something of value and usually it will help us to remind us that as compelling as this world and our problems can be there is a Sovereign God above it all who has called us to be at peace with Him and He knows how everything will turn out.  

So was my forgetting to set my alarm on my phone God’s will?  

Well, it happened, so if nothing else it was “allowed” and who knows maybe it was intended to disrupt my regular routine… maybe He wanted to get my attention, maybe He wanted to remind me that I am not perfect, that I am weak while He is strong…  or maybe this was just a lesson to myself to be diligent to set the alarm!  

Well, I’m not sure about that stuff but as I “practiced” shifting my perspective and prioritizing my tasks I experienced the peace that comes from knowing that I am already accepted by God, I am positively blessed with where I am right now in life, I have an incredible past to marvel over, and I anticipate more of God’s wonder sand love in the days ahead.  

My morning Bible study was in Jerimiah 5 and 2 Kings 22 which just so happen to teach about harsh warnings to follow the Lord and rediscovering faith. They taught that there are negative consequences for those who don’t follow the Lord and that, for some, it is not too late to rediscover the word of God and to be blessed by the Lord when we answer His call to repentance.   

It's the end of the year, and I noticed once again, (has it always been this way?), the messages of mourning the “very bad” year we have had and other messages that are welcoming 2023 with fear, suspicion, and trepidation.   

I have seen friends suffer loss this year so I get it, some of us are hurting and I suppose it is “compassionate” to share these well intentioned messages of doom and fear, but honestly because I have learned to walk in the Spirit and have learned to keep things in perspective, it positively puzzles me why the basic practices of gratitude and shifting our perspective to consider the plights of those even worse off than “lil’ of me” haven’t been widely disseminated to the masses.  

But then I remember, why the prophets of old, like Jerimiah, had to speak of impending judgement. People don’t believe in the Lord. People don’t follow the Lord. They don’t know if there is anything to believe in and they don’t know if there is anything beyond the circumstances of their immediate lives.  And they certainly don’t know about the mental, physical, and spiritual consequences for their decision to live independently form God.  

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and if we disregard what His word says and fail to believe and follow Him our lives will be a progression or tragedy and woe as we age and continue to lose the things of this world that passing away as we march ever closer to eternity.  Without an eternal perspective, we will lament over every bump in the road or negative circumstance that we suffer because we have chosen to worship our personal happiness and the things that we can manipulate to produce it.  

So forgive me for seeming harsh and suggesting that people “get over it” when I see these well intentioned but sorry laments over the “very bad year it has been”. 

From someone who has been through the crucible of a life lived in the errors of atheism, addiction, false worship, and sexual immorality and who has suffered the pain of loss of loved ones to death and from broken relationships and who has seen the national tragedies of 9/11 and the recent paradigm shifting world changing waves of a global pandemic,  I don’t see how 2022 was a particularly bad year. 

Of course, I understand the personal tragedies I have suffered didn’t fall within the last 365 days, but I would continue to object to any messages that would encourage people to focus on the pain of the year past and actuallyfear the new year, instead of a giving a message of hope that is based on the reality of God, His Creation, and His plan for humanity and that encourages us to consider others more than ourselves and to thank the Lord for all that He has done, even in the storms of life, and all that He will do in the future.  

Without God, life is a bitter shame. So if you have suffered and have had a bad year, let me encourage you to make Christ your Lord and Savior, or to recommit yourself to Him,  and make the decision to never walk alone again, to make to make the decision to keep on walking and talking with God, forever and always.   

There might be a cost for the new life in Christ but the dividends for investing yourself into His kingdom are the peace that goes beyond all understanding and joy that comes from knowing you are accepted, secure, and significant with God.



Well, I’m short on time this morning because I overslept so I’m taking a vacation from sharing the “Bible Verse of the Day from the “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”, or  from the “Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Krus but I do encourage you to read the Bible every day, for yourself.

I am including a link to Ligonier Ministries: “Bible Reading Plans for 2023” ( as an encouragement to read the word this year - to have a plan, if you need one, to draw close to God through His word to experience the power that He wants to unleash into your life.  


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

Today we continue 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 Thirteen

The Image of Christ, concludes

The form of Christ on earth is the form of the death [Todesgestalt] of the crucified one. The image of God is the image of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is into this image that the disciple’s life must be transformed. It is a life in the image and likeness of Christ’s death (Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:4f.). It is a crucified life (Gal. 2:19). In baptism Christ engraves the form of death on his own. Having died to the flesh and to sin, Christians are now dead to this world, and the world is dead for them (Gal. 6:14). Those who live out of their baptism live out of their death. Christ marks the life of his own with their daily dying in the struggle of the spirit against the flesh, and with their daily suffering the pains of death which the devil inflicts on Christians. It is the suffering of none other than Jesus Christ that all of his disciples on earth have to endure. Christ honors only a few of his followers with being in the most intimate community with his suffering, that is, with martyrdom. It is here that the life of the disciple is most profoundly identical with the likeness of Jesus Christ’s form of death.

¶ It is by Christians’ being publicly disgraced, having to suffer and being put to death for the sake of Christ, that Christ himself attains visible form within his community. However, from baptism all the way to martyrdom, it is the same suffering and the same death. It is the new creation of the image of God through the crucified one.

All those who remain in community with the incarnate and crucified one and in whom he gained his form will also become like the glorified and risen one. “We will bear the image of the heavenly human being” (1 Cor. 15:49). “We will be like him, for we will behold him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The image of the risen one will transform those who look at it in the same way as the image of the crucified one. Those who behold Christ are being drawn into Christ’s image, changed into the likeness of Christ’s form. Indeed, they become mirrors of the divine image. Already on this earth we will reflect the glory of Jesus Christ. The brilliant light and the life of the risen one will already shine forth from the form of death of the crucified one in which we live, in the form of sorrow and cross. The transformation into the divine image will become ever more profound, and the image of Christ in us will continue to increase in clarity. This is a progression in us from one level of understanding to another and from one degree of clarity to another, toward an ever-increasing perfection in the form of likeness to the image of the Son of God. “And all of us, who with unveiled faces let the glory of the Lord be reflected in us, are thereby transformed into his image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18).

This is the indwelling of Jesus Christ in our hearts. The life of Jesus Christ here on earth has not yet concluded. Christ continues to live it in the lives of his followers. To describe this reality we must not speak about our Christian life but about the true life of Jesus Christ in us. “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). The incarnate, crucified, and transfigured one has entered into me and lives my life. “Christ is my life” (Phil. 1:21). But together with Christ, the Father also dwells in me; and both Father and Son dwell in me through the Holy Spirit. It is indeed the holy Trinity who dwells within Christians, who permeates them and changes them into the very image of the triune God. The incarnate, the crucified, and the transfigured Christ takes on form in individuals because they are members of his body, the church. The church bears the incarnate, crucified, and risen form of Jesus Christ. The church is, first of all, Christ’s image (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), and through the church so too are all its members the image of Christ. Within the body of Christ we have become “like Christ.”

It now becomes understandable that the New Testament calls us again and again to be “like Christ” (καθὼς Χριστός). We are to be like Christ because we have already been shaped into the image of Christ. Only because we bear Christ’s image already can Christ be the “example” whom we follow. Only because he himself already lives his true life in us can we “walk just as he walked” (1 John 2:6), “act as he acted” (John 13:15), “love as he loved” (Eph. 5:2; John 13:34; 15:12), “forgive as he forgave” (Col. 3:13), “have the same mind that was in Jesus Christ” (Phil. 2:5), follow the example he left for us (1 Peter 2:21), and lose our lives for the sake of our brothers and sisters, just as he lost his life for our sake (1 John 3:16). Only because he was as we are can we be as he was. Only because we already are made like him can we be “like Christ.” Since we have been formed in the image of Christ, we can live following his example. On this basis, we are now actually able to do those deeds, and in the simplicity of discipleship, to live life in the likeness of Christ. Here simple obedience to the word takes place. I no longer cast even a single glance on my own life, on the new image I bear. For in the same moment that I would desire to see it, I would lose it. For it is, of course, merely the mirror reflection of the image of Jesus Christ upon which I look without ceasing. The followers look only to the one whom they follow. But now the final word about those who as disciples bear the image of the incarnate, crucified, and risen Jesus Christ, and who have been transformed into the image of God, is that they are called to be “imitators of God.” The follower [Nachfolger] of Jesus is the imitator [Nachahmer] of God. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph. 5:1).[1]

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

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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), 285–288.