Showing posts with label Obedience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obedience. Show all posts

Friday, March 17, 2023

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


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

Purity 993 03/16/2023 Purity 993 Podcast

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

Good morning,

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

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

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

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

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

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

So let’s celebrate the faithful saints, like St. Patrick,  that inspire us to be faithful by drawing close to God as we continue our journey of repentance with the 21st day of Lent and our current series as we continue on the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

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

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

Day 21

Bonhoeffer writes:

“You complain that you cannot believe?

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

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

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

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

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

The disobedient cannot believe; only the obedient believe.”

Biblical Wisdom

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

Questions to Ponder

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm Fragment

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

Journal Reflections

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

M.T. Clark: Lord, 

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

In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer for Today

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

M.T. Clark: In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.


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

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


As always, I invite all to go to 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.






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

1. One of godly fear

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

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

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

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

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

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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), 191–192.