Showing posts with label Philippians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philippians. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Spiritual Blindness - A Thorough Understanding of Error – Purity 973

Spiritual Blindness -  A Thorough Understanding of Error – Purity 973                         

Purity 973 02/22/2023 Purity 973 Podcast

Purity 973 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun shining over the Atlantic Ocean from the point of view of the Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach SC comes to us from yours truly as this New Yorker was delighted to be experiencing 80 degrees and sunshine and had to capture the moment as my wife and I checked out the immediate surroundings of what will be our home away from home for three nights. 

Well it’s Wednesday, and even though we just got here yesterday, we will have already reached the midway point of our stay by day’s end and so I would remind each one of us to appreciate today for what it is because no matter where this last “hump day” of February finds you physically, emotionally, or spiritually, time will keep on marching forward. So we should appreciate where we are and try to find peace now, joy now with a sense of gratitude and contentment.

No, my vacation will not last forever but I get to enjoy it today. And as hard as it may believe, for those of you working, some day your job and career will come to an end, even if it means your life should expire before you retire!  So whether you are working or not, realize that the joy we have in life is greatly affected by our perspective or our world view.  

Last night after surveying the lay of the land near our resort, I lead the participants of  the Freedom in Christ course that I facilitate on Zoom to consider the “world’s view of the truth” and how it presents false equations of how we can feel accepted, significant, and secure.  The lesson demonstrated this with the following equations:

·       Performance + Accomplishments = Significance

·       Status + Recognition =  Security

·       Appearance + Admiration = Acceptance

These equations can seem to make sense and cause us to try to earn our significance, security, and acceptance in the world but the truth is revealed when those equations don’t add up.  The biographies of over achievers and the best and brightest among us often reveal that even the ultra rich and successful can be thoroughly dissatisfied with their lives even after they accomplished all their goals, were admired by the masses, or had all the financial resources to keep them in the lap of luxury for the rest of their lives. 

The reason why these equations don’t add up is because they don’t seek to answer the big questions of life and death and their ultimate purpose and meaning according to the Creator of Life, God.  

This weeks lesson also looked at the different world views in regards of science, spirituality, and relativism by examining the western, non-western, and post-modern world views and how they present a false picture of reality.  According the lesson:

The Western view generally bases their view of reality based on what can be determined by science (what’s observable) and it tends to all but deny the spiritual or supernatural possibilities of life. 

The Non-Western worldview – on the other hand while it may believe in science and what’s observable, not only believes in “spirits” or the supernatural aspects of life but believes that those forces should be respected and can be manipulated for good or bad.   

The Post modern world view tends to be relativistic because it tends to define its “own truth” based on personal experience.   

All of these views offer up an explanation of reality that would deny the truth of God’s word and the Biblical worldview.  The rules of science, the practices of animistic or pantheistic religions that seek to manipulate the “spirits”, and “doing whatever is right in our own eyes”  would not lead one to the conclusion that eternal life is secured through faith in Jesus Christ.  The truth of God’s word, in the Bible, is the only source of truth that would lead one to the ultimate acceptance, security, and significance that we all were made to experience.  God’s equation for obtaining acceptance, significance, and security is for us to receive them from Him, the creator of all things and the author of life and truth, through the way He established – through faith in Jesus Christ.    

As Christians, we understand this and we are increasingly experiencing the reality of it as we grow in our faith.  Our deepest desire is to help other people to “see the truth” too!

In our discussion, we addressed the fact that our modern society has muddied the waters of “seeing the light” because it presents the view that “all roads lead to heaven” and that one view of reality is as good as any other.  But as nice as the idea of ‘coexistence” can be, the fact that all the different religions and world philosophies about life present alternate explanations for “the way things work” indicates that they can’t all be true.  

One of the men who works with youth as a counselor was particularly concerned about how several of the youth has counseled seem to have a well grounded understanding of the various religions and philosophies out there but seemed to be completely oblivious to the possibility of the objective reality that there really is a God that they could have a relationship with or to consider that they will be accountable with what they do with their lives to Him.  

This man’s description of his counselees indicated that everything is just a theory to them., that they seem to have a such thorough understanding of all the possible explanations of reality out there but it doesn’t seem that they have considered that only one view could be true, and that they would thus be subject to that truth.  On the contrary, their lack of concern of being “right with God”, would indicate that they are incapable of believing that any of the possibilities are “real”. They can tell you what the various religions believe but they couldn’t tell you whether or not what they taught was true. Their thorough understanding seemed to stop shy of evaluating the truth claims of each possibility to determine what was true.   They essentially have a thorough understanding of error and thus are all the more spiritually blinded to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Their “open minds” would in effect keep them closed off from salvation because they have made the personal decision that there is no absolute truth, that somehow the contradictions and inconsistencies of the belief that all points of view are equally valid when it comes to ultimate reality didn’t penetrate through the accumulation of understanding the different views of life.  

This all of course reveals the reality of the spiritual forces of darkness, the powers and principalities, that would raise up any other possibility except Jesus to lead the people of this world to destruction. 

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NKJV)
4  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
5  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

While only the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth of the gospel to anyone to bring them to salvation, our part is to lovingly stand in the gap and to point out the inconsistencies of the world’s various views of reality and lead people to consider the truth of God’s word and to apply it to their lives personally.   We are to cast down the arguments the world makes by telling the truth of Jesus Christ and imploring them to make a personal decision to apply it to their lives by making Jesus the Lord of their lives.   

There are various theories of how to do evangelism of course but the emphasis should always be to present Christ as God’s answer for life and how we individually must examine this thing called life and choose what we will believe, not in theory, but in practice because it will be what we do with what we have learned that will be what determines the quality and future of our lives.   

So keep walking and talking with God and be ready to give an explanation for the hop you have in Christ because when you can tell someone why you believe and what your faith in Christ has done in your life, you may be used by the Lord to open the eyes of the blind and to set the captives free.


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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT2)
8  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
9  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Today’s Bible verses remind us how to think as Christians and calls us to be “real” in our faith to receive the fruit of the Spirit of peace.   

The Apostle Paul presents us with the means of having peace. We are to think on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely, admirable excellent, and worthy of praise, the things of God as revealed in the Bible,  and to put everything we learn from it into practice.  TO have peace, we need to believe and practice what the Lord teaches us.  

That’s what being a disciple of Jesus and finding peace is all about. So think about those things and do those things that the Lord would have you do and share the recipe of peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ to the world that desperately needs it.


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.





2. The Bondage of the Human Will

In any treatise that proposes to deal with the human will, its nature and functions, respect should be had to the will in three different men, namely, unfallen Adam, the sinner, and the Lord Jesus Christ. In unfallen Adam the will was free, free in both directions, free toward good and free toward evil. Adam was created in a state of innocency but not in a state of holiness, as is so often assumed and asserted. Adam’s will was therefore in a condition of moral equipoise: that is to say, in Adam there was no constraining bias in him toward good or evil, and as such Adam differed radically from all his descendants, as well as from “the Man Christ Jesus.” But with the sinner it is far otherwise. The sinner is born with a will that is not in a condition of moral equipoise, because in him there is a heart that is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,” and this gives him a bias toward evil. So, too, with the Lord Jesus it was far otherwise: He also differed radically from unfallen Adam. The Lord Jesus Christ could not sin because He was “the Holy One of God.” Before He was born into this world it was said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Speaking reverently then we say, that the will of the Son of Man was not in a condition of moral equipoise, that is, capable of turning toward either good or evil. The will of the Lord Jesus was biased toward that which is good because, side by side with His sinless, holy, perfect humanity, was His eternal Deity. Now in contradistinction from the will of the Lord Jesus which was biased toward good, and Adam’s will which, before his fall, was in a condition of moral equipoise—capable of turning toward either good or evil—the sinner’s will is biased toward evil, and therefore is free in one direction only, namely, in the direction of evil. The sinner’s will is enslaved because it is in bondage to and is the servant of a depraved heart.

In what does the sinner’s freedom consist? This question is naturally suggested by what we have just said above. The sinner is ‘free’ in the sense of being unforced from without. God never forces the sinner to sin. But the sinner is not free to do either good or evil because an evil heart within is ever inclining him toward sin. Let us illustrate what we have in mind. I hold in my hand a book. I release it; what happens? It falls. In which direction? Downwards; always downwards. Why? Because, answering the law of gravity, its own weight sinks it. Suppose I desire that book to occupy a position three feet higher; then what? I must lift it; a power outside of that book must raise it. Such is the relationship which fallen man sustains toward God. Whilst Divine power upholds him he is preserved from plunging still deeper into sin; let that power be withdrawn and he falls—his own weight (of sin) drags him down. God does not push him down anymore than I did that book. Let all Divine restraint be removed and every man is capable of becoming, would become, a Cain, a Pharaoh, a Judas. How then is the sinner to move heavenward? By an act of his own will? Not so. A power outside of himself must grasp hold of him and lift him every inch of the way. The sinner is free, but free in one direction only—free to fall, free to sin. As the Word expresses it: “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness” (Rom. 6:20). The sinner is free to do as he pleases, always as he pleases (except as he is restrained by God), but his pleasure is to sin.

In the opening paragraph of this chapter we insisted that a proper conception of the nature and function of the will is of practical importance, nay, that it constitutes a fundamental test of theological orthodoxy or doctrinal soundness. We wish to amplify this statement and attempt to demonstrate its accuracy. The freedom or bondage of the will was the dividing line between Augustinianism and Pelagianism, and in more recent times between Calvinism and Arminianism. Reduced to simple terms this means that the difference involved was the affirmation or denial of the total depravity of man. In taking the affirmative we shall now consider,[1]


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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 143–144.

Friday, January 6, 2023

No Good Deed… When God Puts a Limit on "Good Works" - Purity 934


No Good Deed… When God Puts a Limit on "Good Works" -   Purity 934

Purity 934 01/06/2023 Purity 934 Podcast

Purity 934 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a thriving corn field underneath an exquisitely blue sky with idyllic cumulus cloud formations comes to us from yours truly as I captured this peaceful scene on Waite Rd in Easton back on August 13th of 2022.   

Well, It’s Friday and while I pulled the short straw and have to work tomorrow, I know that for most today is greeted with joy or at least relief as the first work week of 2023 will draw to a close at “quitting time” later today and I am choosing to rejoice with those who will be rejoicing and pray that all who read or hear this message have an easy day at work and a wonderful weekend.   

One sign of a healthy, growing, mature Christian is seen by one’s ability to share in the joy of others. Rather than giving into feelings of envy or coveting someone else’s good fortunes, our hearts thrive when we can share in someone else joy rather than lament over our perceived lack.  

One of the prayers from Dr. Neil Anderson’s “Overcomer’s Covenant in Christ” is to “choose to adopt the attitude of Christ, which was to do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind” to “regard others as more important than” ourselves, “and not merely to look out for” our “own personal interests but also the interests of others”, knowing it is more blessed to receive.  

So as Christians who seek to do the Lord’s will, we try to adopt an attitude that considers the needs of others and to look for opportunities to “do good works”, to help others when we can.  

When we walk in the Spirit where we are drawing close to God and listening for His guidance, occasionally we will receive intuitions or promptings to step out and do good works.  Some of these promptings or opportunities are pretty easy to recognize.  If your local church is organizing an event where you can serve the church or the community in some way,  that’s a wide open invitation to step out in faith and lend a helping hand.  Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to say “Yes” to everything, nor does it mean that you should exercise “your freedom from legalism” by saying “No” to everything!

We have to be discerning in doing “good works” and be sure that we are doing them for the right reasons and with the right spirit.  If you are signing up to do “good works” because you think it will make God love you more or that He will accept you more, I would invite you to review the teaching from Dr. Anderson’s “Victory over the Darkness” to gain the understanding of who you are in Christ and to accept the fact that God’s love and acceptance are not impacted by your efforts. God loves and accepts us according to His grace, not our works.   

If you become frustrated or angry or feel you are doing “good works” out of obligation, you should probably take a break from them because you are probably burned out or operating from a self-focused attitude that has forgotten all that you have received in Christ and that it is a blessing to be able to represent His kingdom and to do the good works He has prepared for you to walk into.    We don’t “have to” do good works, we are blessed to “get to” do good works and to give God glory.    If you don’t feel “blessed” by the ”good work” you do for God, you may need to remind yourself of who you are in Christ and what that means. 

Without Christ, we are eternally lost. We are dead. Did you forget that?  We don’t operate by obligation. We could never pay back God for what He did for us. It’s not about that.  

But if we truly grasp and meditate on all that we have in Christ, we should have a well spring of joy in our lives that never runs out. When we focus on the world or ourselves instead of focusing on what God has done for us, that joy can dry up. So abide in Christ, in prayer, worship, praise, and meditation, to keep your joy flowing, so you can have an abiding peace and joy that will naturally lead you to step out into good works.  

I will keep it real and admit that sometimes frustrating things or circumstances can arise and the outcomes of our good works can be less than we expected, but when your motivation is to surrender to the service of the Lord for His glory and out of the joy of your salvation,  you will be able to endure the negative and accept the results for what they are or as another lesson for growth on the path to sanctification.   

I often share the story of organizing “bell ringing” for the salvation Army during Christmas time at my former church and how a colleague  was less then joyful to be standing outside in the cold in the early morning hours as we partnered to do the first shift on the opening weekend of that Christmas drive a couple of years ago.  Although he was enthusiastic to sign up, he wasn’t “feeling it” early that morning.  But I showed him how it was done and impressed upon him that we were blessed to be out there collecting funds for a good cause and greeting people with a hearty “Good morning!” and “Merry Christmas”.  It was awesome to his grumpiness disappear, as his frown turned upside down and he gave into the “joy set before us.” 

We later went to lunch and were talking about our recovery ministry and a woman in the restaurant overheard us and came over to tell us her testimony of how the Lord had led her out of the darkness years ago and how she was over 30 years sober because she trusted God to bring her out of her addiction.  We were blessed by her testimony and encouraged her to keep on walking and talking with God and she seemed to appreciate it because even though she had the victory she seemed to need to get her “joy” back and so she tapped into ours because we were openly rejoicing over what we had done and by what God was doing in our recovery ministry and the good works of the day.  

Joy is infectious. Its is the fruit of the Spirit and it grows when we praise the Lord and follow where He leads us. 

Now I have to ease back on the joy meter a little here. I definitely want to encourage you to operate in joy and seek good works to give God glory but we also have to be discerning and realize that some of the “ideas” we get to do good works are not necessarily “God breathed” and we have to be open to His guidance when He calls us to ease back or to walk away from situations that we thought were a “good work” but either prove to be our own ideas or that our “work here is done”.  

I have two examples of this. 

Years ago I saw on social media that a Facebook friend was having difficulties with the new housing that they were blessed with. They needed furniture and a few things around the apartment needed fixing.  Feeling that this was a great opportunity to do good works, I offered up to bring over some old furniture right away and to try to see if I could possibly help with some other things.  I was encouraged to help this “friend” because they had made some posts about going to church and turning over a new leaf from their previous broken existence.  So I rushed over and delivered the furniture but after I talked to them for a few minutes “my spirit” told me to “ease back” and walk away because their faith was surface level and disingenuous and perhaps a “scam” because they were obviously still living a sinful lifestyle and their requests for additional help seemed opportunistic. They didn’t seem to be working towards righting their situation but seemed to have their hands out to take whatever they could get.  When we discussed their “new found faith” I got the impression they had found a local church that was giving to them and they were gladly accepting their help but they were only in it for what they could get.  So I felt foolish, I gladly gave what I did without regrets but pulled the plug on that “good work” project and encouraged them to stay connected to that local church to receive the help and guidance they needed.  

Was that mean? No, I don’t think so. Is this a good testimony, where this friend went on to be strong in the Lord and to be transformed.  No unfortunately it is not. It appears that my spirit was right because as far as I know they quickly gave up their new faith.   

I’m sure there are some who would say that I should have done more and that I could have turned things around, but I don’t think that is the case.  That was years ago, and I have continued to be “out there” encouraging and inviting people to the ministries I have done and to follow the Lord, but I still haven’t heard from this person.   

The other example was similar. I recently decided to bless a person with Christmas card and very small and modest gift, a $5.00, gift card because  I felt lead to bless them. This person is on public assistance I believe, is distant family, and has special needs.  We have been chatting on FB messenger and they asked about a Christmas card and asked for gift, a $30 dollar gift card to a restaurant.  I decided to be kind and send them a Christmas card and obviously a more modest gift.  I had considered giving the full amount but something in “my spirit” told me that what I sent was “enough”. 

I felt good about it. “Look at me, sending a gift to one of the “least of these”, right?  

Well, now I know why my spirit told me that my meager gift was “enough?’  Just like my previous experience, this “friend” seemed energized by my giving and quickly told me about the fact that their birthday is this month and they asked for 2 – or 3 gifts cards ($30 or $40 dollars each, please) and a “small handheld computer”.    

I didn’t really consider sending the money but offered to send them my old laptop and actually started to prepare to ship it to them.  

But before I got a chance to send it out, they contacted me again asking for the gift cards.  When I made it clear that I wasn’t going to send them any, I realized that maybe that the fact that my spirit told me “$5 was enough” meant that I wasn’t necessarily “called” to bend over backwards to “bless” this person. Maybe my idea to do this “good work” was more about stroking my ego than answering the Lord’s call.  

So I asked if my old lap top, from 2014 with windows 7, was something that they wanted.  They quickly replied that they wanted a “hand held” computer – indicating that what I wanted wouldn’t be welcome and that they basically wanted a “new” computer.  

It was at that point that I realized that “I was done”, this wasn’t necessarily something I was “supposed to do” and if anything it was either a lesson for me to be discerning or possibly a lesson to this person to pursue work to obtain what they desired.  They admitted that they wanted a “paying job”.

 So I don’t know if this interaction will light a spark and move them seek employment or if it was just a lesson for me to be discerning in offering help.  My offer of an old lap top seemed to be a good idea but could be seen to be an insult.  We have to be careful when we seek to help the “least of these” not to give “less than” what they desire or need.   I think that our “benevolent ideas” are so benevolent when we give people our junk. This why some charities refuse to take used toys or items. It isn’t really a blessing to receive junk. 

So my magnanimous attempt to “be nice” ended up opening my eyes to this and have humbled me.   Causing me to warn all of you to be discerning in “answering the call to “do good works” and to be sure that our attempts to offer help or meet needs will meet the expectations of and actually bless the people we want to help.   And so I join with the Apostle Paul who prayed:

Philippians 1:9-11 (NKJV)
9  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
10  that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
11  being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.  

As representatives to the King, we want to do right things for the right reasons, using our knowledge and discernment to be filled with the fruits of righteousness and to do “good works” that will actually give glory to God.  

So I encourage you to do good works but to be led the Spirit and to know when “enough is enough” or when to say “No.” and when to “turn and walk away.”   When we do things in our own strength or to stroke our egos, they usually result in a mess and cause us to think that “no good deed goes unpunished” but in truth these “failures” should humble us and cause us to see that we may have misread our signals or have been given the opportunity to learn patience and wisdom from our mistakes.  

We learn as we go, right? So keep walking and talking with God and try to listen every once in a while. Sometimes He may tell you back off, rather than press in. 


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 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.





“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

Having shown that sovereignty characterizes the whole Being of God, let us now observe how it marks all His ways and dealings.

In the great expanse of eternity which stretches behind Genesis 1:1, the universe was unborn and creation existed only in the mind of the great Creator. In His sovereign majesty God dwelt all alone. We refer to that far distant period before the heavens and the earth were created. There were then no angels to hymn God’s praises, no creatures to occupy His notice, no rebels to be brought into subjection. The great God was all alone amid the awful silence of His own vast universe. But even at that time, if time it could be called, God was sovereign. He might create or not create according to His own good pleasure. He might create this way or that way; He might create one world or one million worlds, and who was there to resist His will? He might call into existence a million different creatures and place them on absolute equality, endowing them with the same faculties and placing them in the same environment; or, He might create a million creatures each differing from the others, and possessing nothing in common save their creaturehood, and who was there to challenge His right? If He so pleased, He might call into existence a world so immense that its dimensions were utterly beyond finite computation; and were He so disposed, He might create an organism so small that nothing but the most powerful microscope could reveal its existence to human eyes. It was His sovereign right to create, on the one hand, the exalted seraphim to burn around His throne, and on the other hand, the tiny insect which dies the same hour that it is born. If the mighty God chose to have one vast gradation in His universe, from loftiest seraph to creeping reptile, from revolving worlds to floating atoms, from macrocosm to microcosm, instead of making everything uniform, who was there to question His sovereign pleasure?

Behold then the exercise of Divine sovereignty long before man ever saw the light. With whom took God counsel in the creation and disposition of His creatures? See the birds as they fly through the air, the beasts as they roam the earth, the fishes as they swim in the sea, and then ask, Who was is that made them to differ? Was it not their Creator who sovereignly assigned their various locations and adaptations to them!

Turn your eye to the heavens and observe the mysteries of Divine sovereignty which there confront the thoughtful beholder: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory” (1 Cor. 15:41). But why should they? Why should the sun be more glorious than all the other planets? Why should there be stars of the first magnitude and others of the tenth? Why such amazing inequalities? Why should some of the heavenly bodies be more favorably placed than others in their relation to the sun? And why should there be “shooting stars,” falling stars, “wandering stars” (Jude 13), in a word, ruined stars? And the only possible answer is, “For Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

Come now to our own planet. Why should two thirds of its surface be covered with water, and why should so much of its remaining third be unfit for human cultivation or habitation? Why should there be vast stretches of marshes, deserts and ice-fields? Why should one country be so inferior, topographically, from another? Why should one be fertile, and another almost barren? Why should one be rich in minerals and another own none? Why should the climate of one be congenial and healthy, and another uncongenial and unhealthy? Why should one abound in rivers and lakes, and another be almost devoid of them? Why should one be constantly troubled with earthquakes, and another be almost entirely free from then? Why? Because thus it pleased the Creator and Upholder of all things.[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), 35–36.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The End of a Season - Purity 926

The End of a Season -   Purity 926

Purity 926 12/28/2022 Purity 926 Podcast

Purity 926 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of sunset from the shores of Oak Island North Carolina comes to us from a friend who made a post-Christmas exodus from the chilly weather in upstate New York with his family and shared this view yesterday reiterate his previous message that he is “loving beach life.” 

As one of the “frozen chosen” who has been left behind and is looking forward to high temperatures in the 40’s today, I will choose to share in my friend’s joy because I know he is a faithful man of God and has earned his moments in the sun.  If he should happen to see this, I wish him a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

Well, it’s Wednesday again and just like that my “staycation” at my countryside home in  chilly yet beautiful Easton NY has quickly reached it’s summit as today will be my 6th day off with 6th days off remaining.  Even though somewhere today I will pass the midway point of my vacation, I won’t count the hours and minutes but will seek to enjoy them all in the moment.  And quite frankly, the prospect of going back to work doesn’t really depress me or give me anxiety.  I am content with my life and realize that it is defined by various times and seasons, 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NKJV) tells us
1  To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
2  A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
3  A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
4  A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
5  A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
6  A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
7  A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
8  A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

So right now, while on vacation in the company of my wife, it is officially a time to love, a time of peace, a time to embrace, a time to laugh, and perhaps a time to heal.  

After Christmas, I have been getting my fair share of rest. I have spent my days reading, spending time with TammyLyn, taking the dog for brisk walks down Waite Rd, listening to “The Insanity of God”, and sleeping! Apparently, I owe the Sand Man quite a debt and he has been collecting as I have found that “naps happen” somewhat frequently here out in the country.   But that’s a good thing, after another adventurous year of walking in the Spirit I believe this week is a great time to decide what to “keep” and what to “throw away” as well.   

That’s the thing about our “faith walk” on the path of Christian Discipleship, the further we go the more we leave behind what was once familiar as we progress into the “new things” that God has for us in our new lives.  

A couple of times this year I made decisions with my time and finances that seemed appropriate at the time but have either proven to be a waste of my resources or as a final confirmation that “those days” are over. The decisions I made were based on who I once was and proved to be foolish because the things I invested in appear to be less and less a part of where I am going.  

One silly example of this is watching NFL football games.  Earlier in the year I purchased a streaming subscription so I could watch the NFL where ever I was but I failed to remember just how much of the NFL I watched last year.  I barely watched any games last year. Since giving up drinking and gambling years ago, and since increasingly growing in my faith, I have become less and less interested in “who wins the game”.  While the sports action can be exciting at times, I discovered that I don’t really care anymore and the games take too long.  I still take a look at the scores out of curiosity but this season, I have watched even less football this season as I did last year. So the money spent on the subscription service was a waste, I guess.  But at the same time I think it’s good that I spent it, this last season I swear, because the flesh, the world and the devil love to tempt and accuse us with the things we abstain from.   

Whenever a Christian tells others that they don’t do a certain activity, whatever it is, this world of the flesh and the devil, likes to accuse our faith and our God of being a kill joy or as someone who limits our freedom.  

When I have admitted that I choose other leisurely pursuits rather than watching football, my NFL watching friends seem to either seem to be mildly annoyed or saddened that I no longer am a rabid football fan and don’t even know who is coaching or quarterbacking the teams anymore or have any idea about what is happening in the world of football.   I believe they suspect that my faith has “stolen my freedom” but from my point a view,  I remember the emotional ups and downs and hours upon hours spent in front of the television getting excited or upset over a game and know that I have been set free of that circumstantial reactivity and the “need to feed” on hours of sports programming.  

Don’t get me wrong, to each their own. There is nothing wrong with the game itself but there is quite a bit wrong with the things that surround the game, like substance abuse and gambling, and the swinging moods of those who are emotionally subject to its outcomes. But if that’s not you, enjoy your game.  

But as for me, while I may have access to some sports programming due to the streaming subscriptions that I have, I won’t be purchasing sports exclusive content, I just don’t watch enough anymore to justify the expense. So that’s one thing we are going to “throw away” this year.  

For me the end of the year has always been a time of repentance and reflection, what to keep, what to throw away, and what to be healed from.  

Philippians 4:8-9 (NKJV) encourages us -
8  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.
9  The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.  

I think the key here in Paul’s letter to the Phillipians is verse 9.  While we could make a case for many things of this world to be somewhat  “true” “noble”, “just” and etc., we want to follow what Christ and His apostles DID.  The peace of God that we want to be with us is contingent on learning from what we have received and heard from Jesus and the word of God and DOING it. 

These things include meditating on the word of God, praying, giving thanks, rejoicing, and doing the good works that God has prepared for us to walk into.   These are the activities of walking in the Spirit and this is where we grow. 

Sports trivia and the thrills of victory and the agony of defeat that we vicariously receive from talented athletes can teach us some things but their value is limited.

However, the things of God infuse the fruit of the spirit into our lives and prepare us for our future in His kingdom.  Our peace comes from knowing Him and being in His presence and knowing that we are investing our lives in something that matters, something that will last forever.

So as we go over the last “hump” of 2022, let’s remember the things that gave us peace and joy this year and reflect on the things that we should just throw away.  Every day is a new day and the days we spend pursuing the Lord and His will for our lives are days well spent.  Time in His presence gives us peace, right now, and prepares us for the days ahead.  So keep walking and talking with God and walk into the New Year with the commitment to learn from the years past and to go further down the path that He has for us.


I’m taking a vacation from sharing the “Bible Verse of the Day from the “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”, again, well frankly because I think I left that book back at Riverhouse! But I did grab the “Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Krus and will share the second Bible verse listed, right in the introduction, to impress upon you the importance of reading God’s word: 

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
12  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Today’s verse tells us that the word of God is LIVING! And POWERFUL! And cuts us to the bone!  That division between the “soul” and “spirit” is supposed to separate us from our “soulish” darkness and convict us to live in the spirit.  

When we study the word, agree with it, and apply it to our lives by the way we live, that we obey it experientially – that’s when we understand it’s POWER – the power to redirect our lives and to transform us into the people God created us to be.   

I don’t want to sound quasi-mystical here, but the process of reading the word of God, when done in spirit and in truth, with a humble attitude of surrender to it’s authority, is a conversation with God. He is speaking to us from His word and when we listen to it and obey it, it reveals to us what needs to change and it demonstrates that God knows our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts.  When we read the word of God, we discover that God is reading us!

So, just as we pointed out in the first part of todays message, let’s learn from what we have received –  God’s word-  and let’s put it into practice.   

But first let’s read it, so we can know, for ourselves, what the word actually says.  

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.  

I also recommend getting Logos Bible software for your laptop, PC, tablet, or phone ( .  There are free versions of the software available and it gives you a means to have the word of God with you no matter where you go.   Of course there are other Bible apps and actual paper copies of the Bible out there, I have all of the above, so how you get the word doesn’t matter as much as your commitment to seek the Lord in His word does.  

Hey it’s a new year in just a few days, so why not make a commitment to grow in the power that the living word of God can bring to 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, continues

Since fallen human beings cannot recover and assume the form of God, there is only one way to find help. It is none other than God, who assumes human form and comes to us. The Son of God who, in the form of God, lived with the Father, empties himself of this divine form and comes to human beings in the form of a servant (Phil. 2:5ff.). Changing one’s form, something which was not possible for human beings, now takes place within God. God’s own image, which had remained with God through eternity, now assumes the image of the fallen, sinful human being. God sends the divine Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:2f.).

God sends God’s Son—that is the only way to find help. Neither a new idea nor a better religion would suffice to accomplish this goal. A human being comes to us human beings. Every human being bears an image. Our bodies and lives manifest themselves visibly. As a human being we are not merely word, thought, or will. Rather, before and in all of these, we are a human being, a form, an image, a brother or sister. A human being thus develops not only a new way of thinking, willing, and doing things, but a new image, a new form. In Jesus Christ, God’s own image has come into our midst in the form of our lost human life, in the likeness of sinful flesh. God’s own image becomes revealed in Jesus’ teaching and in his deeds, in his life and in his death. In him God has created anew the divine image on earth. The incarnation, Jesus’ word and deed, and his death on the cross are integral elements of this image. It is an image different from the image of Adam in the original glory of paradise. It is the image of one who places himself in the very midst of the world of sin and death, who takes on the needs of human flesh, who humbly submits to God’s wrath and judgment over sinners, who remains obedient to God’s will in suffering and death; the one born in poverty, who befriended and sat at table to eat with tax collectors and sinners, and who, on the cross, was rejected and abandoned by God and human beings—this is God in human form, this is the human being who is the new image of God!

We know, however, that the marks of suffering, the wounds of the cross, have now become the signs of grace on the body of the risen and transfigured Christ; and we are aware that the image of the crucified will forever live in the glory of the eternal high priest, who in heaven intercedes for us before God.[12] On Easter morning Jesus’ form of a servant was changed into a new body of heavenly form and radiance. But whoever, according to God’s promise, seeks to participate in the radiance and glory of Jesus must first be conformed to the image of the obedient, suffering servant of God on the cross. Whoever seeks to bear the transfigured image of Jesus must first have borne the image of the crucified one, defiled in the world. No one is able to recover the lost image of God unless they come to participate in the image of the incarnate and crucified Jesus Christ. It is with this image alone that God is well-pleased. Only those who allow themselves to be found before God in the likeness of this image live as those with whom God is well pleased.

To be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ is not an ideal of realizing some kind of similarity with Christ which we are asked to attain. It is not we who change ourselves into the image of God. Rather, it is the very image of God, the form of Christ, which seeks to take shape within us (Gal. 4:19). It is Christ’s own form which seeks to manifest itself in us. Christ does not cease working in us until he has changed us into Christ’s own image. Our goal is to be shaped into the entire form of the incarnate, the crucified, and the risen one.

Christ has taken on this human form. He became a human being like us. In his humanity and lowliness we recognize our own form. He became like human beings, so that we would be like him. In Christ’s incarnation all of humanity regains the dignity of bearing the image of God. Whoever from now on attacks the least of the people attacks Christ, who took on human form and who in himself has restored the image of God for all who bear a human countenance. In community with the incarnate one, we are once again given our true humanity. With it, we are delivered from the isolation caused by sin, and at the same time restored to the whole of humanity. Inasmuch as we participate in Christ, the incarnate one, we also have a part in all of humanity, which is borne by him. Since we know ourselves to be accepted and borne within the humanity of Jesus, our new humanity now also consists in bearing the troubles and the sins of all others. The incarnate one transforms his disciples into brothers and sisters of all human beings. The “philanthropy” (Titus 3:4) of God that became evident in the incarnation of Christ is the reason for Christians to love every human being on earth as a brother or sister. The form of the incarnate one transforms the church-community into the body of Christ upon which all of humanity’s sin and trouble fall, and by which alone these troubles and sins are borne.[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), 283–285.