Showing posts with label Presence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Presence. Show all posts

Saturday, May 20, 2023

You Can’t “Be with God”. – Lies of the Enemy #36 – Purity 1048

You Can’t “Be with God”.  – Lies of the Enemy #36 – Purity 1048

Purity 1048 05/20/2023 Purity 1048 Podcast

Purity 1048 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of sunrise from the vantage point of the Panther Top Tower in Murphy NC comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene on social media back on May 12th with the following prose: 

“Fire in the sky

From the morning sun

As whippoorwills sing

The day’s begun”

Well It’s Saturday and while I am happy the day has begun, because I have to work today, I am looking forward to the end of my shift because I will be headed north to join my wife at our countryside home to celebrate the 18th birthday of her son Jakob with a barbeque.  Although the local forecast is calling for showers today, you can’t rain on my parade because, as long as the Lord wills it, rain or shine I will be in the company of the one I love.    

And this is how you know that you are in a love relationship, you find peace in the other person’s presence no matter what the circumstances are.  It doesn’t matter if it rains or it’s sunny and it doesn’t really matter what you are doing, when you love someone you long for and enjoy their company.  A love relationship’s “quality time” is not necessarily based on the things you do or the places you go to as much as it has to do with being with the other person.

Early on in my relationship with TammyLyn, we recognized that often couples worry about what plans they could make, what things they could do, or what places they could go and are busy trying to “make one another happy” by creating circumstances for happiness and when those activities stop they don’t know what to do with one another.  But we agreed that true intimacy, true love was found in just being at peace in one another’s presence. So early on we took some time to grow closer together by just being with one another, talking, looking in one another’s eyes, embracing, and just “hanging out”.  We tried to establish being comfortable with one another by just “doing nothing” and “hanging out” and I think we have benefitted from it because now whether we are “just hanging out”, or working on something together, or going out to explore and enjoy God’s creation or the things men have built, we are “together in it” because we know one another and focus on that aspect – we aren’t striving to accomplish “some thing to make us happy” because we already have peace being with one another.    

Likewise our relationship with God shouldn’t necessarily “doing everything right” to “make God happy” where we feel good if we are doing everything we think we should to please God and where we feel condemned when we mess up, step out of line, or make a mistake.   We are not in a relationship based on performance. God has sought our love and presence by revealing the truth of Jesus to us and He has fully accepted us the moment we put our faith in Christ.  However, most Christians forget about God’s grace the moment they receive it and quickly make their walk of faith about “doing everything right”  where they judge their relationship with God on the things they do – I’m not praying, I’m not reading my Bible, My attitude isn’t right, I should give more, I should do more. I got to clean up my act.  I have to learn more.    

Now don’t get it twisted because, I usually define the path of Christian Discipleship by some of the things listed here as they are “disciplines of our faith”.  But a love relationship isn’t about discipline, it’s about being in love and acting in love.  It’s not about getting approval or acceptance; you already have it. Its about being at peace in God’s presence.  Prayer, Bible Study, serving, giving and living for God are not things we do to earn the love of God, they are the things we do because we already have it and desire “to be with Him”  and “to be together in” whatever it is you are doing.  Whether you are just hanging out, working, or going somewhere or doing something “fun”, no matter the circumstances or outcomes, when we are “with God”, we already have what we need: peace in His presence.  

And that brings us to our current series the “Lies of the Enemy”, which is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives. 

So today’s big lie is:

Lie #36:  You Can’t “Be with God”.                

This lie of the enemy is the foundation of “religion” where the only relationship you have with “god” is by trying to please him through performance, where the foundation of one’s faith is little more than following rules and often degenerates on looking good on the outside but having little or no changes on the inside, perhaps other than the puffing up of one’s pride if one is able to “do everything right” or the establishment of a double life as secret sin and shame are stewing just below the surface of what would look like a “normal Christian life”.

Church sex and financial scandals and abuses testify to the fact that things were actually not “okay” when it seemed everything was good, righteous, and holy.   Although the people involved in these scandals seemed to be walking with God, it turns out that they were putting on a show as large portions of their lives were not spent “being with God.” because their attitudes and behaviors in some areas demonstrated that they chose to not follow the full counsel of God and twisted things to have their will be done rather than His.

This is an extreme example however and as much as it may be popular to go after the “mighty who have fallen” I would choose to go after those whose “simple faith” sneers at the idea of “being with God” as something extreme and our as artificial as the “seeming faith” of those who have fallen in to sin.  

These “regular Christians”  are wary of any claims of intimacy of God and treat the subject as “hocus pocus” and reduce their relationship with God to “just being good people”.   They “just believe”. They don’t pray. They never read the Bible (Why would I? I’m not the priest). They give sparingly.  They never serve. Their church attendance can vary.  These “believers” could go to church a couple of times a year or could go to “the building” once a week or even every day but that’s as far as they will go with their intimacy with God.   God apparently lives in the church building so that’s where you can “be in His presence” but the moment you step beyond the threshold of the local cathedral or sanctuary, you are no longer with God as “normal resumes.”   Regular Christians like this honestly don’t even understand what someone is talking about when someone mentions their “relationship with God”. How can you have a relationship with someone who is invisible? Impossible! I’m pretty sure those people are cuckoo!”

Now before anyone gets upset. I have to admit that I lived most of my life with similar attitudes.  My liturgical church tradition was a religion not a relationship. We went to church; we weren’t the church. That’s crazy how can we be a building! Church was for Sundays and the occasion weird non-Sunday Holiday like Ash Wednesday, Not every day. 

You can’t be with God.  You can’t have a relationship with Him. He’s in heaven.   

OF course that all changed back in 2010. I was so far from God it wasn’t even funny; I had basically stopped believing in “a God” and had adopted a spiritual philosophy that denied the Creator as a mystical unseen impersonal force that was too mysterious to know, Karma.  I was wrong of course but many “regular Christians” still believe this lie – of an impersonal God, a distant God, or a Super-Mysterious God that you can’t know, that you can’t have a relationship with, that you can’t “be with”.   

God is alive and well and is available to those who seek Him.  But if you believe the lie that “You can’t be with God”, you will never even try to have relationship with Him.  

God revealed Himself to Abraham, Moses, the nation of Israel, and to all of us through His divine interventions, His word, and the word made flesh, Jesus Christ. We can know Him and when we put our faith in Jesus we can “be with Him”.   

Jesus is also known as Our Immanuel – which means “God with Us”.  So don’t believe the lie that you can’t “be with God”.   God gave us His word and His Son and the Holy Spirit to believers so we could be with Him.  SO when we treat our Christian faith as a set rules or empty disciplines to appease an unseen entity, we deny and fail to receive the fullness of God’s love.   

We can “be with God” but it does require our interest and desire to know Him.  Contemplative prayer or listening prayer is heralded as one way that you can know God’s presence. Googling “being with God” turned up several books on the subject, in the fact. Liberating Prayer by Dr. Neil T. Anderson is good book on prayer but reading the book won’t do much good unless you decided to actually pray and to do it as a means to “be with God” rather than by trying to do something.  

My basic instruction for “being with God” is to “seek Him” and to do so in whatever ways the Lord guides you to – whether through prayer, Bible study, thinking about God, listening to sermons, reading Christian books, or by serving His will in some way – all of these “activities” as long as they are done from a heart that wants to know and connect with God can be means to be with Him.   Give it a try because I assure you that when you seek Him, you will find Him.


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


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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Psalm 23:1-3 (NKJV)
1  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.


Today’s verses were offered by our resource under the heading: when you feel burned out in your job…. And direct us to focus on the peace that we have when we stop the striving (I shall not want) and rest (lie down in green pastures) in the Lord’s peace. When we do this we will be renewed (He restores my soul) and gives us a direction for the future (He leads me in path of righteousness).  

Notice this dichotomy of rest and walking -  God leads us to lie down but also to get up and walk in righteousness.  To be restored and to “not want” we need to follow the Lord’s lead and live with and for Him.  


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  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for $0.99 (  

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit  

2 - The Personality of the Holy Spirit

If we were asked to state in a comprehensive form what constitutes (according to our views of Scripture) the blessedness of the Lord’s people on earth, after His work of grace is begun in their souls, we would not hesitate to say that it must be wholly made up of the personal knowledge of and communion with the glorious Trinity in their Persons in the Godhead—for as the church is chosen to be everlastingly holy and everlastingly happy, in uninterrupted communion with God in glory when this life is ended, the anticipation of it now by faith must form the purest source of all present joy. But this communion with God in the Trinity of His Persons cannot be enjoyed without a clear apprehension of Him. We must know under Divine teaching God in the Trinity of His Persons, and we must also know from the same source the special and personal acts of grace by which each glorious Person in the Godhead has condescended to make Himself known unto His people before we can be said to personally enjoy communion with each and all.

We offer no apology, then, for devoting a separate chapter to the consideration of the personality of the Holy Spirit, for unless we have a right conception of His glorious being, it is impossible that we should entertain right thoughts about Him, and therefore impossible for us to render to Him that homage, love, confidence, and submission, which are His due. To the Christian who is given to realize that he owes to the personal operations of the Spirit every Divine influence exercised upon him from the first moment of regeneration until the final consummation in glory, it cannot be a matter of little importance for him to aspire after the fullest apprehension of Him that his finite faculties are capable of—yea, he will consider no effort too great to obtain spiritual views of Him to whose Divine grace and power the effectual means of his salvation through Christ are to be ascribed. To those who are strangers to the operations of the blessed Spirit in the heart, the theme of this chapter is likely to be a matter of unconcern, and its details wearisome.[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 (

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to :     

“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 Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).

Monday, December 19, 2022

Hold On For One More Day… and Forever - Purity 918

Hold On For One More Day… and Forever -  Purity 918

Purity 918 12/19/2022 Purity 918 Podcast

Purity 918 on YouTube:

Again random 90 degree shift of thumbnail... 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the late afternoon clouds set ablaze by the setting sun over the fields along Waite Rd comes to us from yours truly as I took several shots of the marvel of creation before me as I was out walking my canine friend, Harley, in the aftermath of the Friday’s snow storm, on Saturday afternoon. By sunset time on Saturday, the plows had cleared the roads but there was still a hush over the land as it seemed like the heavens were recovering from the down pour of snow and the Lord was blessing us with a magnificent light show to encourage us that we “made it” and we could rejoice that life, and He, was still good.  

Well, it’s Monday again and even though you may wonder if there will ever be an end of the regular routine of “working” we can be assured of two things on this second to last Monday morning of December 2022:

1.    Things will change

2.    God is good

As much as we may feel hassled with our regular routines of work or taking care of our responsibilities at home, with the passage of time we could very well long for the days we are struggling to get through today. 

I recall the burdens of caring for my children on a continuous basis, with them in my presence, when I wasn’t working, from the time they woke up to the time they went to sleep,  and now I live with two adults who I barely see.  

Just this past Sunday, I was reflecting with the Cincotti’s on how I no longer go to the school assemblies and Christmas concerts that were attended out of obligation but were also a comfort that marked the season and the aging of all the kids from year to year as they progressively moved ever closer to graduation and “no more “homework” and no more “books”, and presumably “no more teacher’s dirty looks”, as we may not have quite realized that school would be out “forever” someday.    

Likewise, as we go forward in time and space, our professional lives are gaining years and will someday come to an end.  Although, I find it hard to imagine, apparently the routine and purpose that we serve in making our ends meet at our “day jobs” can be so much a part of our lives that we will one day miss “working,” This really is a thing and the corroborating statistical evidence that supports it is that many people die very shortly after retirement.  

This weekend as I was musing over the coming Christmas holiday weekend and the passage of another year, I started to get anxious in considering the questions of the future as I contemplating what would happen with my family and my professional career in the days, months, and years ahead. I got suddenly anxious for a moment when I realized that I had positively no idea what our kids would do or even where my wife and I would be in 5 years, and could only imagine a lot of changes between here and that relatively short distance down the road.  With so many possibilities before us, I was hard pressed to think of something that wouldn’t change or of something I could control.   

I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t “hold on” to anything, necessarily.  My wife and I made a life long commitment to one another in our marriage so I found comfort in that, God willing, we could be one another’s “constant”, that even though we are not currently residing under the same roof 24/7, we have agreed that we would be “together” come what may.  I have found the love of my life in TammyLyn and holding her in my arms and in my imagination as my life travelling companion gave me a lot of peace.  As much as it is up to us, we have agreed to count on each other.  I have gotten more than I could have dreamed with TammyLyn as my wife.  

But, you never know how long we will be together and the more we love something or someone the more we can be anxious over the possibility of losing them.  But the good news is that I was walking and talking with God long before I ever met TammyLyn and I credit Him with bringing this me far in life and for bringing her into my life.  

That second thing we could be sure of, other than that things will change, is that God is good.   Now if you notice, especially considering we are in the Christmas Season, the “Emanuel” season, maybe I should have said “God is with us” rather than just “God is good” but the thing is that while I know that God is omnipresence, somehow paradoxically everywhere at once, I know that His presence, His abiding presence, His manifest presence, in our lives has a lot to do with us and how we interact with Him.  

God is good, for sure.  God is omnipresent, for sure.   But I haven’t always enjoyed His presence or wanted to invite Him into my life  Out of ignorance, confusion, or rebellion, I thought He didn’t exist or didn’t care about me, or I didn’t want Him to.   But He does exist and He does care about everyone of us.  That is in itself sort of amazing, I mean there is just so many of us! 

But we do know He cares and we should know He cares about us, especially this time of year, because He sent Jesus into the earth to live a sinless life, to pay for our sin debt, and to welcome us into His kingdom. 

Regardless of “our relationship status”, God is our constant and when we make peace with Him through putting our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we can have a “constant assurance” of His goodness and presence in our lives.  

In the ever changing world, we need something we can hold on to. While we may have lots of family, friends, or loved ones, the winds of change are going to blow and from year to year we just don’t know who will remain in our company.  But when you are connected to God, the Constant One, you never have to fear being alone or where the days, weeks, months, and years will take you. 

In Christ, God is with us. And on the path of Christian Discipleship, we can walk and talk with Him every day! That’s what our life of faith is supposed to be all about, the fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives, because we decide to follow Him and never leave His presence.  

So, I know how the uncertainty of life, Christmas this weekend, and the changing years ahead of us can utterly freak us out and make feel “groundless”.  But we have a “constant’. We have an eternal companion in God and we can cast all fear invthe presence of His perfect love for us and face the day with confidence knowing that in this groundless world, we have a Rock to stand and build our present and future upon.  

So take a breath and remember, although things may change, God is good and if you choose to, He can be with you all the days of your life. So keep on walking and talking with Him.   


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 42:4-6 (NLT2)
4  My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be…5  Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and
6  my God! …

Today’s verse reminds us that when our heart is breaking as we contemplate the “good old days” to put our hope in God and to praise our Savior and our Lord.  

As, I indicated in the first part of the message, even I who like to think that I have learned how to navigate through life in relative peace and joy, can run into anxiousness and teeter on the edgy of heartbreak as I consider the days behind me and the uncertainty of the days ahead.  

Let’s face it, while it is awesome to accumulate “life experience” the draw back is that we leave our youth behind and become schooled in the impermanent way of the world.  

To echo the sentiments of Old Father O’Hara from “Gone with the Wind” we might see that nothing in this world lasts.   As a plantation owner, O’Hara stressed the importance of Land: because he saw the earth beneath his feet as “the only thing in the world that amounts to anything, for 'Tis the only thing in this world that lasts, 'Tis the only thing worth working for, worth fighting for - worth dying for.” (  To see the civilization of the South forever changed by the Civil War, broke his heart and possibly his mind, as he undoubtedly wanted to live in the prosperity of former days.  

Remembering the “good old days” can really break our hearts when we ground our identity in times, seasons, relationships, or things that fade away. 

And Thus today’s verse, encourages the broken hearted to remember our God and Savior whose kingdom will never fade away.  The remedy for those broken hearted over remembering the way things were is to focus on and to praise God, the one who is good and eternal.   

So, it’s Monday so do what you have to do, but if you feel low, focus on the One on high and praise Him for He last forever with us.




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 Eleven

The Visible Church-Community, Concludes


Christians are to remain in the world, not because of the God-given goodness of the world, nor even because of their responsibility for the course the world takes. They are to remain in the world solely for the sake of the body of the Christ who became incarnate—for the sake of the church-community. They are to remain in the world in order to engage the world in a frontal assault. Let them “live out their vocation in this world” in order that their “unworldliness” might become fully visible.[70] But this can take place only through visible membership in the church-community. The world must be contradicted within the world. That is why Christ became a human being and died in the midst of his enemies. It is for this reason—and this reason alone!—that slaves are to remain slaves, and Christians are to remain subject to authority.

This is also entirely consistent with what Luther, in those decisive years after leaving the monastery, has to say about a secular vocation. He did not repudiate the very lofty standards set by monastic life, but that obedience to the command of Jesus was understood as an achievement of individuals. Luther did not attack the “unworldliness” of monastic life, but the fact that within the confines of the monastery this estrangement from the world had been turned into a new spiritual conformity to this world. This, to Luther, was the most insidious perversion of the gospel. The “unworldliness” of the Christian life is meant to take place in the midst of this world. Its place is the church-community which must practice it in its daily living. That is what Luther thought. And that is why Christians ought to carry out their Christian life in the midst of their secular vocation. That is why they ought to die to the world in the midst of their worldly calling. The value of the secular vocation for Christians is that it allows them to live in the world by God’s goodness and to engage more fervently in the fight against the things of this world. Luther did not return to the world based on a “more positive assessment” of this world, or even by abandoning the expectation of the earliest church that Christ’s return was imminent. His return rather was meant as a protest and criticism of the secularization of Christianity within the monastic life. By calling Christians back into the world, Luther in fact calls them to become unworldly in the true sense. This actually proved to be his own experience. Luther’s call to return into the world always was a call to become a part of the visible church-community of the incarnate Lord. And the same is also true of Paul.

It is, therefore, also evident that in living out their secular vocations, Christians come to experience very definite limits, and that in certain cases the call into a secular vocation must of necessity be followed by the call to leave that worldly vocation. This is entirely in keeping with both Luther’s and Paul’s thinking on the matter. What defines these limits is our very belonging to the visible community of Christ. The limits are reached wherever there is a clash between the space the body of Christ claims and occupies in this world for worship, offices, and the civic life of its members, and the world’s own claim for space. That this state of affairs has been reached becomes at the same time evident in two ways. First, it becomes necessary for members of the church-community to make a visible and public confession of faith in Christ. Second, it becomes necessary for the world either wisely to withdraw or to resort to violence. This is the point where Christians are drawn into public suffering. They who died with Christ in baptism and whose secret sufferings with Christ had thus far not been noticed by the world are now publicly dismissed from their profession in this world. They join their Lord in a visible community of suffering [Leidensgemeinschaft]. They now need even more the full fellowship and support of brothers and sisters in the church-community.[75]

But it is not always the world which expels Christians from their professional life. Even as early as the first few centuries of the church, certain professions were considered incompatible with being a member of the Christian community. Actors who had to portray pagan gods and heroes, teachers who were forced to teach pagan mythologies in pagan schools, gladiators who had to take human life for entertainment’s sake, soldiers who carried the sword, police officers and judges—they all had to leave their pagan professions if they wanted to be baptized. Later the church—or rather the world!—managed to give Christians permission again to take up most of these professions.[77] Rejections were from now on more and more enacted by the world rather than the church-community.

But the older this world grows, and the more sharply the struggle between Christ and Antichrist grows, the more thorough also become the world’s efforts to rid itself of the Christians. To the first Christians the world still granted a space in which they were able to feed and clothe themselves from the fruits of their own labor. A world that has become entirely anti-Christian, however, can no longer grant Christians even this private sphere in which they pursue their professional work and earn their daily bread. It feels compelled to force Christians to deny their Lord in exchange for every piece of bread they want to eat. In the end, Christians are thus left with no other choices but to escape from the world or to go to prison. But when they have been deprived of their last inch of space here on earth, the end will be near.

The body of Christ is thus deeply involved in all areas of life in this world. And yet there are certain points where the complete separation remains visible, and must become even more visible. However, whether in the world or separated from it, Christians in either case seek to obey the same word: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed into a new form (μεταμορφοῦσθε) by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God” (Rom. 12:2). There is a way of living in conformity with this world while being in it, but there is also a way of creating for oneself the spiritual ‘world’ of the monastery. There is an illegitimate way of remaining in the world, just as there is an illegitimate way of escaping from it. In either case we become conformed to the world. But the community of Christ has a ‘form’ that is different from that of the world. The community is called to be ever increasingly transformed into this form. It is, in fact, the form of Christ himself. He came into the world and in infinite mercy bore us and accepted us. And yet he did not become conformed to the world but was actually rejected and cast out by it. He was not of this world.[81] If it engages the world properly, the visible church-community will always more closely assume the form of its suffering Lord.

Christians must therefore be aware that “the time has grown short. In addition, I hold that from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none; and those who mourn as though they were not mourning; and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing; and those who buy as though they had no possessions; and those who make use of this world take care not to misuse it. For what is of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from anxieties” (1 Cor. 7:29–32a). This describes the life of Christ’s community in the world. Christians live just like other people. They marry, they mourn and they rejoice, they buy and they make use of the world for their daily needs. But whatever they possess, they possess only through Christ, and in Christ, and for the sake of Christ, and are thus not bound by it. They possess it as though they did not possess it. They do not set their heart on their possessions, and thus they remain entirely free. This is why they are able to make use of the world and why they ought not to escape from it (1 Cor. 5:10). But since they are free, they are also able to abandon the world whenever it prevents them from following their Lord. They marry; the apostle, however, thinks it is more beneficial if they remain unmarried provided this can be done in faith (1 Cor. 7:7, 33–40). They buy and engage in commerce, but they do this only to provide for their daily needs. They do not store up treasures for themselves nor set their hearts on them. Christians work since they are called not to be idle. But their work is, of course, for them not an end in itself. The idea of work simply for work’s sake is foreign to the New Testament. Everyone ought to provide for themselves through their labor. And each ought to earn enough to be able to share something with other Christians (1 Thess. 4:11f.; 2 Thess. 3:11f.; Eph. 4:28). Christians ought to remain independent of “those on the outside,” that is, the pagans (1 Thess. 4:12). In this they follow the example of Paul himself, who took special pride in earning his daily bread by the work of his own hands, and thus even maintaining his independence from the church communities he had founded (2 Thess. 3:8; 1 Cor. 9:15). Paul insists on this independence, hoping that it will prove that his preaching is not motivated by the desire for financial gain. All work is done in service to the church-community. The commandment to work is accompanied by another commandment: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). Christians know: “Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires” (1 Tim. 6:6–9). Christians make use of the things of this world as things “that perish with use” (Col. 2:22). And they do so with thanksgiving and prayer to the creator of all the goodness of creation (1 Tim. 4:4). But all the while they are nonetheless free. They can cope with being well fed and with going hungry, with having plenty and with being in need. “I can do all things through the one who empowers me, Christ” (Phil. 4:12f.).

Christians are in the world and they need the world; they are fleshly; for the sake of their fleshly nature, Christ came into the world. They do worldly things. They marry, but their marriage will look different from that of the world. Their marriage will be “in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39). It will be sanctified through being in the service of the body of Christ, and it will be subject to the discipline of prayer and abstinence (1 Cor. 7:5). In this, Christian marriage will become a parable of Christ’s self-sacrificial love for his church-community. Indeed, their marriage will itself be a part of the body of Christ. It will be church (Eph. 5:32). Christians buy and sell, they are engaged in trade and commerce. But even this they will practice in a different way than the pagans. Not only will they refrain from taking unfair advantage of one another (1 Thess. 4:6), but they will even do what must seem incomprehensible to the world, namely, to prefer to be taken advantage of and to suffer injustice rather than to insist on their rights before a pagan court of law over “things that are only of temporary significance.” If it is unavoidable, they will settle their disputes within the church-community, before their own tribunals (1 Cor. 6:1–8).

The Christian community thus lives its own life in the midst of this world, continually bearing witness in all it is and does that “the present form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31), that the time has grown short (1 Cor. 7:23), and that the Lord is near (Phil. 4:5). That prospect is cause for great joy to the church-community (Phil. 4:4). The world becomes too confining; all its hopes and dreams are set on the Lord’s return. The community members still walk in the flesh. But their eyes are turned to heaven, from whence shall return the one whom they await. Here on earth, the church-community lives in a foreign land. It is a colony of strangers far away from home, a community of foreigners enjoying the hospitality of the host country in which they live, obeying its laws, and honoring its authorities. With gratitude it makes use of what is needed to sustain the body and other areas of earthly life.[90] In all things the church-community proves itself to be honorable, just, chaste, gentle, quiet, and willing to serve. It demonstrates the love of its Lord to all people, but “especially for those of the family of faith” (Gal. 6:10; 2 Peter 1:7). In suffering it is patient and joyful, taking pride in its tribulation. It lives its own life subject to a foreign authority and foreign justice. It prays for all earthly authority, thus rendering this authority the best service it can offer (1 Tim. 2:1). But it is merely passing through its host country. At any moment it may receive the signal to move on. Then it will break camp, leaving behind all worldly friends and relatives, and following only the voice of the one who has called it. It leaves the foreign country and moves onward toward its heavenly home.

Christians are poor and suffering, hungry and thirsty, gentle, compassionate and peaceable, persecuted and scorned by the world. Yet it is for their sake alone that the world is still preserved. They shield the world from God’s judgment of wrath. They suffer so that the world can still live under God’s forbearance. They are strangers and sojourners on this earth (Heb. 11:13; 13:14; 1 Peter 1:1). They set their minds on things that are above, not on things that are of the earth (Col. 3:2). For their true life has not yet been revealed; it is still hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). Here on earth, they only see the opposite of what they are to become. What is visible here is nothing but their dying—their hidden, daily dying to their old self, and their public dying before the world. They are still hidden even from themselves. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.[97] As a visible church-community, their own identity remains completely invisible to them. They look only to their Lord. He is in heaven, and their life for which they are waiting is in him. But when Christ, their life, reveals himself, then they will also be revealed with him in glory (Col. 3:4).

They wander this earth, but their life lies in heaven;

powerless though they be, their weakness protects the world.

While turmoil rages around them, they taste only peace;

poor though they be, they possess what gives them joy.

Suffer though they may, they remain joyful;

They seem to have died to the natural senses,

and instead live the internal life of faith.

When Christ, their life, will be revealed,

when someday he will show himself in glory,

then together with him as princes of the earth,

they will appear in glory while the world gazes in wonder.

Then shall they reign in triumph with him,

as glorious lights adorn the heavens.

Openly then shall joy burst forth.

—Chr. Fr. Richter

This is the community of those who have been called out of this world, the ecclesia, Christ’s body on earth, the followers and disciples of Jesus.[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 (

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), 244–253.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

“Saying Grace” with our Lives- Purity 901


“Saying Grace” with our Lives-  Purity 901        

Purity 901 11/29/2022 Purity 901 Podcast

Purity 901 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of an outlet of the Hudson River in the shadows of the fading light of day comes to us from yours truly as my wife and I decided to enjoy the last bit of daylight this past Saturday in each other’s company on a walk at Hudson Crossing Park, in Schuylerville NY.   I had spent most of the day indoors working on power point presentations for the Bonhoeffer series I am producing while TammyLyn went to lunch with her mother and daughters but upon her return, with the day disappearing, I just had a sudden impulse to “do something!” and off we went and I’m glad we did. Not only did Isnag this spooky beautiful photo but I got to spend some simple “quality time” with my wife, where we didn’t necessarily say or do much but enjoyed the simple fact that we were together and that we loved one another.  

Well, It’s Tuesday, and I guess recalling this past weekend’s little excursion is my attempt to encourage you to be cognizant of the time you have and to utilize it, where you can, to enjoy your life and let the people you love know you appreciate them.  At that late afternoon hour, we could have just surrendered to the regular routine of getting ready for dinner and watched the daylight wane from the inside of our country side home but instead we enjoyed the last brightness of the day on the drive to Hudson Crossing and at a time some may have determined to be “too late” to go on a walk, we were on our way out, having seen every bit of daylight in a place where we could enjoy God’s creation in each other’s company rather than indoors.   

I think about this “stuff” often, the fact that although God gives us His word to guide us, He also gives us a lot of “free time” to decide what to do with our lives. We can work. We can study. We can sleep. We can stay indoors. We can go out. But the thing is, even though I do enjoy my times walking and talking with God outside, I have pondered the fact that much of our human existence would seem to be “a wash” in terms of the impact that our decisions make on our lives.  In the grand scheme, one single day in our lives may not mean that much, and in hindsight, we can analyze similar days and see no difference between a day spent indoors or a day spent outside.

There is little in and of itself of certain experiences that make them “better than others” and God’s word is rather silent on what we should do with the particulars of each and every day of our lives. We can do anything and one thing isn’t necessarily better than another!  

However, the reason I write this blog and do this podcast is that I have discovered, and continue to learn, that a life spent, regardless of our particular activities, in the “presence” of the Lord and in the context of who we are in Christ is a life that is spent in peace, love, and joy.  

Anybody looking on the outside at TammyLyn and I during our walk in the park, would have counted two in our party, but they would have been missing Someone.  Yes, we were alone but the love and gratitude that we expressed towards each other at various times in our little stroll was replete with mentions of the God that we credit with bringing us together and with thanks given in His direction.  

As easy as this is to do when you are surrounded by the glory of God’s natural creation outside, it is also something you can do inside too. 

I have to admit that before TammyLyn, I never was much of a “saying grace” Christian but early on in our relationship I saw that it was a regular practice for her. Or at least I guess it was because since I have entered her life, the “saying grace” thing seems to have fallen to me!

But social awkwardness aside, its easy to do. What could be more appropriate than thanking the Lord for providing the food that you are going to eat, and in my case, for the beautiful woman who lovingly prepared it?  

So, that’s just one way we can keep the Lord in the midst of our presence while indoors, but the truth is that I am continually “saying grace” over my life as I literally thank God moment to moment for all the things I encounter.  When I say “keep walking and talking with God”, I really mean it, like literally. 

Yes, like “Wow that dude’s crazy”, walking and talking with God.  While I can’t say that all of my life is without problems, a lot of which I create myself, walking through life and recognizing the beauty of just being with the people we love, just being where you are, and just being alive is something God never tires of hearing about, or at least He hasn’t complained to me about my constant awe and thanks!

So if you are not doing this already, start living with and start loving the Lord. There is much to be thankful for and unlike some of our human companions, He never tires of hearing us “point out the obvious” or in telling Him about how we feel.  

The constructs of society and just the “business as usual” way we do things can make us “less free” as we are absorbed into the mundanity of the humdrum, when the truth is that our lives are a miracle and a mystery and there’s nothing humdrum about them. But you have to open your eyes to see it and open your heart to feel it,  the One that you never have to be ashamed to share your “silly thoughts” with is the Lord.  

So it’s another boring Tuesday again… or it is another day of living the adventure of our lives?, where we can do almost anything we want, with consequences of course, but even in the tight confines of doing what we “need to do” we can still find wonder and joy. 

So look around and appreciate where you are, or go “DO SOMETHING” and appreciate that, but no matter what you decided to do with this last Tuesday of November in the year of our Lord 2022, turn aside and thank the Lord for what you encounter.  

The pathway to peace isn’t a destination, its determined by the way you walk and the company you keep.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 4:8 (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.

Today’s verse highlights the importance of what we think about in our Christian walk.  I can’t recall exactly what I was thinking about on my Saturday afternoon walk with my wife TammyLyn, but I can tell you this: I wasn’t thinking about my problems, my work, or the “bad state of the world” and because I didn’t think on those things I recall the walk quite fondly.  

But let’s not get that twisted, okay? We are not to walk through life in denial.  The world is out there and the failure to recognize our surroundings and our responsibilities will eventual cause us to suffer.  We are to be stewards of what God has given us and care for it. 

However, at the same time we can manage that quite well without dwelling on the things that will lead us into sin or that will disturb our peace. 

As much as we are “world citizens” and care  for our fellow man, in truth there is not much we can do about the events that are distant from us, or even near to us, unless we choose to get involved with them.  

So, there you go. If you choose to think on things that disturb you, I would like to hold you accountable by suggesting that your thoughts should not just be something that will steal your peace, but that you would seek to solve the situations that disturb you.  Oh yeah, I’m no political pundit but if the way of the world bothers you so much, I’m going to call you out and tell you to “do something about it”.  

I have had friends that would spend hours telling me about political situations or conspiracy theories and I would listen for a while but then would always ask: “So what should I DO?”

Unbelievably, or perhaps very believably, other than getting obsessed or angry like them, they didn’t have many helpful suggestions or a course of action that would correct the situations other to hand the problems over to someone else.

Thinking about problems will steal your peace but figuring out solutions and ENACTING THEM is another matter.

Solving problems is what we are supposed to do on earth as Christians.  But the biggest problem is sin and the fact that we are hopeless without Jesus.  

So that’s my suggestion every time: put your faith in Christ and apply God’s word to the way you live your life.  

And listen today’s verse’s advice: think on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  

The world is fading away, and our lives on it every moment.  There is only so much we can do, but we should do it, if we can.  But the way to peace, no matter what we accomplish, is the way of the Lord and to think on those things that He would have us think about.



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 Messengers

(An Interpretation of Matthew 10)

The Suffering of the Messengers

“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware [the people], for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

¶ “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!” (Matt. 10:16–25).

Lack of success and enmity cannot dissuade the messengers from the fact that they are sent by Jesus. As a mighty strength and consolation, Jesus repeats: “Behold, I send you!” It is not their own way or their own enterprise; they are sent. In this the Lord promises that he will remain with his messengers when they will be like sheep among the wolves, defenseless, powerless, fearful, and in great danger. Nothing will happen to them that Jesus does not know. “Therefore be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” How often the servants of Jesus have misused this statement! How difficult it is even for the willing messenger to understand this rightly and remain obedient! Who can always distinguish between spiritual wisdom and worldly cleverness? How tempting it is, therefore, to renounce all “wisdom” and only be as simple as doves, which, one-sided, is disobedience. Who tells us when we avoid suffering out of fear and when we seek it out of recklessness? Who shows us the hidden boundaries drawn here? It is the same disobedience, whether we use the commandment to be wise against innocence, or the other way around, whether we use innocence against wisdom. Because no human heart can fully know itself, and because Jesus never called his disciples to uncertainty, but always to greatest certainty, this warning by Jesus can only call the disciples back to the word. Wherever the word is, that is where the disciples are to be. That is their true wisdom and their true innocence. If the word must retreat, because it is obviously being rejected, then the disciples should retreat with the word. If the word remains in an open struggle, then the disciples should remain. They will have to act wisely and simply at the same time. But the disciples should never set out on a road out of “wisdom,” when that road cannot be approved by the word of Jesus. They should never justify with “spiritual wisdom” a way which does not correspond to the word of Jesus. Only the truth of the word will teach them to recognize what is wise. But it can never be “wise” to break off the smallest piece of the truth, for the sake of some human prospect or hope. Our own evaluation of our situation cannot make us see what is wise; only the truth of the word of God can do that. The only thing that is always wise is staying with the truth of God. Here alone is the place where of God’s faithfulness and aid are promised. At all times it will prove to be the “wisest” for the disciples at this time and in the coming time to simply stand by the word of God.

The word will give the messengers true knowledge of the people. “Beware the people.” The disciples should not show fear of the people, nor evil mistrust, least of all hatred toward human beings, nor should they show thoughtless trustfulness or faith in the good in all people. Instead, they should show true knowledge of the relationship of the word to the people and the people to the word. If they understand this soberly, then they will not be scared by Jesus’ announcement that their path among the people will be a path of suffering. Rather, they will be able to endure it. A wonderful strength resides in the disciples’ suffering. Criminals suffer their punishment in hiddenness. But the disciples’ path of suffering will lead them before princes and kings, “for my sake, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.” The good news will be propagated by suffering. That is the plan of God and the will of Jesus; and that is why in the hour of accountability before courts and thrones the disciples will be given the power to give a good confession, to offer a fearless witness. The Holy Spirit itself will be with them. It will make them invincible. It will give them “a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict” (Luke 21:15). Because the disciples hold fast to the word in their suffering, the word will remain with them. Self-sought martyrdom would not have this promise. But the promise is absolutely certain for those who suffer with the word.

Hate toward the word of Jesus’ messengers will remain until the end of time. Hate will pronounce the disciples guilty of all the divisions which will come over cities and houses. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned by everyone as destroyers of the family, as forces leading the people astray, as crazy enthusiasts and troublemakers. Then the temptation to fall away will be very near to the disciples. But the end is also near. Until its coming they are to remain faithful, to endure, to stand fast. Only those who stand fast with Jesus and his word to the end will be blessed. But when the end comes, when the enmity toward Jesus and his disciples is revealed for all the world to see, then and only then should the disciples flee from one city to another, in order to proclaim the word where it will still be heard. Even in this flight, they are not separated from the word, but stand fast with it.

The promise of Jesus that he will come again soon has been kept for us by the church-community in the belief that it is true. Its fulfillment is a mystery, and it is not a good thing to look for human ways to evade the issue. But what is clear, and the only thing important for us today, is the fact that the return of Jesus will come quickly. His coming is more certain than our being able to complete our work in his service. It is more certain than our death. Jesus’ messengers can receive no greater consolation in all this than the certainty that in their suffering they will be like their Lord. Whatever happens to the master will happen to the disciple; whatever happens to the lord will also happen to the servant. If Jesus is called a devil, then that will happen even more to the servants of his house. So Jesus will be with them and they will be like Christ in everything.[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 (

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), 192–195.