Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts

Monday, July 31, 2023

Do You Think You Are Someone or Something that You are Not? - Self-Deception Series 19 – Purity 1108

Do You Think You Are Someone or Something that You are Not? - Self-Deception Series 19 – Purity 1108

Purity 1108 07/31/2023 Purity 1108 Podcast

Purity 1108 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a skyward view of a large palm tree somewhere on Isabela Island comes to us from Mark Germain who shared this scene on social media back on July 5th during his epic vacation to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.    

Well, It’s Monday and I share today’s palm tree as a visual proclamation of official start of my two week vacation! While I won’t be taking a vacation from the blog or podcast, I won’t be at my day job for two weeks and will be hitting the road in a few hours to begin the road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, with my wife and 4 out of the 5 of her children (the 5th, Rachel, is on active duty for the USMC in Japan),  So I would appreciate your prayers for safe travels and the Lord’s peace as this will be the largest extended gathering of this cast of characters from our “blended family” as we will be spending the next 5 nights together as a group, for the first time, bouncing around the coast of Lake Erie. 

Although I use the term “blended family”, I will keep it real by saying that we are all still “separate and unbalanced” and getting to know one and are not quite and may never be “fully blended” in a typical sense. Is there anything typical about a “blended family”?  I mean, we are dealing with 2 separate households that an hour apart, (5 if you count the ex’s current residences or properties),  and 7 “kids”, spread out in age from 23 to 14 years, who are miles apart in terms of personalities, and who are currently spread out across two continents in physical distance.  So I’m not trying to tell you that this is the new Brady Bunch or anything like it because I don’t even think Alice the Maid could tidy up our situation into a neat little package!

But when TammyLyn and I realized that we loved one another we decided to marry, love one another now, do our best to love and serve one another’s families, and to meet the responsibilities that come from our complicated lives.  So we have put the Lord at the center of our marriage and rely on His guidance to make us the people He created us to be and to show His love to our loved ones the best we can.  We are just two Christians with complicated situations who are trying to do things the Lord’s way the best we can.  And we freely admit that we are a “work in progress” that needs all the mercy, grace, guidance, strength and love that the Lord can impart.

So I’m not trying to tell you that we are something that we are not.

 And that brings us to our current series on Self- Deception, where we have decided to investigate some of the ways we deceive ourselves by walking through Step 2, Deception Vs. Truth, of the Steps to Freedom in Christ to see what ways we may have been deceived by “the world” and ourselves and in what ways we have wrongly defended ourselves. 

So we present the third of the  “Ways to Deceive Yourself”:

3. Thinking I am something or someone I’m really not.

The scripture reference for this point is:

Galatians 6:3 (NKJV)
3  For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Today’s item from the Steps to Freedom in Christ challenges us to honestly look at ourselves and to ask, “Am I really the person I think I am or am I just deceiving myself?”  

Now this is a complicated issue because although self-examination can lead us to discover the lies that we have believed it can also be used by the enemy to sow seeds of doubt and condemnation to make us “unstable in all our ways”.  

Satan would readily accuse us of not being “real Christians” in the first place after all and would happily tempt us to believe that we have “delusions of grandeur” when we seek to claim our new identities in Christ.  Satan would be the first to tell us that we are “nothing” or that we are “someone or something” that we are really not.  He would be the first to tell you that Pride is a sin if it meant he could cause you to condemn yourself and keep you from experiencing your freedom in Christ or from finding your purpose in God’s kingdom.  Or he could tempt you into exalting yourself into believing you are a “Very important person” who is too busy, necessary, or special to humbly follow the Lord.  The enemy doesn’t care if he knocks you down or lifts you up and will push you to either extreme of pride to make you believe that you are someone  or something you are not.  

So, we have to be balanced and agree with what God says about us in His word and avoid the equal and opposite pitfalls of conceit and low self esteem that the enemy would push us towards.   

Needless to say this requires wisdom and discernment. We have to accept our new identities in Christ and recognize and remember what we are and where we came from before coming to God. We have to try to see the truth that we are a combination of our histories, attributes, and talents of our pre-Christ existence and our new spiritual inheritance.  We don’t deny who we were, but we recognize that we are no longer the same after coming to Jesus and that much of what may have defined us before may not be a part of who God is calling us to be.      

Walking in the Spirit is all about living according to God’s truth and accepting our new lives and purposes in Christ and growing into our destinies in the kingdom of God. So we must endeavor to see the lies that we believed about ourselves, renounce them, and agree with what God says about us and what He is calling us to be. We don’t want to be “puffed up” or to think too lowly of ourselves. We want to live according to who we really are now in Christ.


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

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. ( )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials.

Psalm 119:75-76 (NASB)
75  I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76  O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, According to Your word to Your servant.

Today’s verses fall under the fifth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials

 5. “The psalmist was thankful for affliction for it taught him to keep God’s precepts. 

Today’s verses are the third of a trio of verse couplets from psalm 119 that our reference guide uses to illustrate this point. 

This last verse couplet a keen insight from the psalmist that reveals that “the God of the Old Testament” wasn’t just a “law giving – judging – punishing” God, that He is sometimes made out to be, as the psalmist testifies that his affliction was done in faithfulness by a God who was loving and kind!

This paradox – that God could righteously afflict us as a means to cause us to grow – is an ongoing theme or principle in scripture. After all Jesus had to die in order for us to live, so likewise the Lord may have to use “growing pains” to take us from death to life and from childlike faith to a mature disciple of Jesus Christ.  

Just as a loving parent will chastise a wayward child to keep them safe and to show them the right way to live, or how a surgeon will cause pain to heal, the Lord may bring the trials of our affliction to our lives to mature us in our faith, to see the wisdom of His ways, or to know His enduring love that will never leave us or forsake us.   

As disciples of Jesus, we should know that suffering can have a divine purpose and we should seek the Lord’s wisdom, presence, comfort and lovingkindness when trials or affliction comes our way.


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

16 - The Spirit Working Faith

How the Spirit Works Saving Faith

When the soul has sunk into the mire of despair no human power is sufficient to lift it out and set it upon the Rock. Now that the renewed sinner perceives that not only are all his past actions transgressions of God’s Law, but that his very heart is desperately wicked—polluting his very prayers and tears of contrition—he feels that he must inevitably perish. If he hears the Gospel, he tells himself that its glad tidings are not for such an abandoned wretch as he; if he reads the Word he is assured that only its fearful denunciations and woes are his legitimate portion. If godly friends remind him that Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost, he supposes they are ignorant of the extremities of his case—should they urge him to believe or cast himself on the mercy of God in Christ, they do but mock him in his misery, for he now discovers that he can no more do this of himself than he can grasp the sun in his hands. All self-help, all human aid, is useless.

In those in whom the Spirit works faith, He first blows down the building of human pretensions, demolishes the walls which were built with the untempered mortar of man’s own righteousness, and destroys the foundations which were laid in self-flattery and natural sufficiency, so that they are entirely shut up to Christ and God’s free grace. Once awakened, instead of fondly imagining I am the man whom God will save, I am now convinced that I am the one who must be damned. So far from concluding I have any ability to even help save myself, I now know that I am “without strength” and no more able to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior than I can climb up to Heaven. Evident it is, then, that a mighty supernatural power is needed if I am to come to Him who “justifieth the ungodly.” None but the all-mighty Spirit can lift a stricken soul out of the gulf of despair and enable him to believe to the saving of his soul.

To God the Holy Spirit be the glory of His sovereign grace in working faith in the heart of the writer and of each Christian reader. You have attained peace and joy in believing, but have you thanked that peace-bringer—“the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13)? All that “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8) and that peace which “passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7)—to whom is it ascribed? The Holy Spirit. It is particularly appropriated to Him: “peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 and cf. 1 Thess. 1:6). Then render unto Him the praise which is His due.[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.).

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Pride, Expectations, Offense, & Isolation Remedies – Love, Humility, & Forgiveness - Purity 833

Pride, Expectations, Offense, & Isolation Remedies – Love, Humility, & Forgiveness  - Purity 833

Purity 833 09/09/2022  Purity 833 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a lone woman sitting on the rocky cost of Lake Ontario at sunset comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography as they captured this moment on August 30, 2020, and it was reissued on social media when Facebook prompted our friend to share their “memory” once again.  

Well, however rocky the course of the week has been in your life, we made it to the weekend, and it is my prayer that my friends enjoy it by counting their blessings rather and remembering offenses.    

This week I spent some time with family as my Mother’s 75th birthday was Wednesday and like today’s woman on the shores of Lake Ontario, I am sitting alone and reflecting on the rocky ground and rough edges of human relationships, but luckily the Lord has provided a lot of instruction on how to take corrective action when we become offended or our expectations are not met when it comes to our interactions with others.      

Although the path of Christian discipleship can be a solitary journey at times and the decision to follow the Lord with the way you live your life can make you feel isolated from others, Christ’s second great commandment reminds us that we are not supposed to isolate ourselves but instead are to endeavor to love others. 

And scripture also reminds us that even though our walk in the Spirit can be a solitary endeavor at times, somehow this walk isn’t just about us!  Our path is supposed to be one of humility and not pride, which just happens to be the root cause of our offense and can grow into relational difficulties.  

Of course, I have this insight only after spending some time in prayer, Bible study, and reflection this morning because in the moment I am not always skillful with handling offenses or unmet expectations and sometimes respond in my unenlightened ways of the past that centered upon myself, caused me to isolate, and forgot about that call to love others and forgive where necessary.  

So it’s back to the drawing board.  But the good news is that when we stay committed to follow the Lord’s ways for living, our errors are exposed and we can change the patterns of our thoughts and behaviors to correct the coping mechanisms we developed in the past that may have “worked for me” but just happened to not be good for you or the other people in your life.   

Here are some scriptures that will help us all to “put things into perspective”, about “what it is we should do” when we seek to represent God’s kingdom and subsequently have peace in our lives.   

Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)
37  Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38  This is the first and great commandment.
39  And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

Matthew 18:15 (NKJV)
15  "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.

 Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV)
21  Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
22  Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Luke 23:34 (NKJV)
34  Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

Yeah, in thinking about our responses to our fellow man when we encounter offense or unmet expectations in our human relationships, I figured I would go right to the source of wisdom, the living Word of God, Himself, Jesus Christ.  

These verses give us an idea about how we should seek to love our family, friends, and neighbors by resolving conflicts, if possible, and through an active and ongoing campaign of forgiveness.   

In talking to family the other night and in my relationships in the past,  I realized that the sense of our inner peace can really be tied to our view of ourselves, and our expectations of what others should or shouldn’t do in our interactions with them.  

As the sole born again Christian at my mother’s birthday dinner, the other night I had the mixed feeling of happiness at being with my family and feelings of isolation as I felt like a fifth wheel at times when I didn’t have a lot to contribute to some of the conversations. While the concepts, topics, and pop culture references that were discussed weren’t completely foreign to me, I realized just how much the Lord has caused me to change from my past, as my interests aren’t what they used to be and in some areas of conversation I had absolutely nothing to contribute. 

Also I noticed that I found myself somewhat saddened by the tone of the conversation as there were laments and complaints about certain aspects of life in our modern society that seemed somewhat hopeless. But I was also somewhat saddened by the fact that the solutions to problems or the ways to seek comfort that were being presented were either unwise or actually a root cause of the problems that were being discussed. 

It was all very subtle of course but as the evening moved on I realized the I was disturbed because the gripes of what was bad or the praise for what was good in life were all coming from a non-biblical world view where everything – the good or the bad- was highly circumstantial. In a non-biblical worldview, there was no big picture, and everything was subject to the changing circumstances of life and the solutions to problems were shortsighted to say the least.    

But unfortunately, as much as I could see the errors inherent in this non-biblical worldview, instead of feeling grateful for having the hope I have in Christ, I felt like I was a weirdo and felt isolated because I was different from the others.  

Don’t get me wrong. It was a good time. It was a good dinner. But I walked away from it drained because of the difference between my family and me. 

Which brings up my tendency to isolate. 

I am some what a people pleaser. So rather than have difficult interactions with people or if I feel my expectations are not being met, instead of causing trouble I will leave the situation and go somewhere to be by myself. 

This is of course, is not skillful, and is rooted in Satan’s original sin of pride.  

When we make much of ourselves, when we focus on “ME”, anything that doesn’t agree with us or meet the expectations of what “I” think should happen, will cause offense and separate us from God’s will that tells us to forgive, love, and serve others.  

So, we have to remember that and take corrective actions when we see that we are separating ourselves from the company of others.   Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done.

Just last night, I reunited with my wife but either due to the stress of the day or the fact that I found her in the midst of activity or was at a loss as what to do with myself, I foolishly declared my wife to be “the enemy” to my health goals because she was baking foods I am actively avoiding.

 What I intended to be a joke, turned into a mini conflict as I realized I, capital I, meant it.  My pride accused her of being against me and in the moment I couldn’t back away from it.  My pride put me in opposition to the one I vowed to love for the rest of my life.

So the old coping mechanism of isolating myself kicked into operation  and I found myself sitting alone in my office watching videos because I didn’t know how to re-enter into the mix as my wife was a flurry of activity, and my stepdaughter kept her in conversation until it was time to go to bed.

I wished her goodnight but the harmony in our relationship was not right.  My offense of my wife’s divided attention caused me to isolate and now will cause me to humble myself and seek forgiveness to re-establish the harmony of our relationship.  

And what’s to blame? Pride.  I subconsciously went into my countryside home with expectations then weren’t met and I allowed them to cause a disturbance in our lives. Because it was all about me, I didn’t think it was, but apparently it was, I have to seek forgiveness to make things right again.   

As humbling as this latest episode is, I hope that it will help me to realize that as much as I have learned and as much as I have changed from who I was in the past. The selfish – I – “Me” can still take center stage to cause problems.  

This is probably the most daunting task for people when they come to faith in Christ: to become “other focused”, to change our priorities from the “me” centered universe to one where we love God first and others second rather than please ourselves.      


I tend to learn from trials and errors, so I have learned a lot and I guess I will chalk up last night’s fiasco as another lesson to learn from on the path to being the person God created me to be.   

So, try to learn from my mistakes, if you can.  

Try not to focus too much on yourself or allow the responses of others to determine the circumstances of peace in your life.   

As much as we need to forgive other’s “for they know not what they do”, we also have to be aware of what’s going on in us, what expectations we are setting up that can cause us to revert to unskillful ways of coping and leave us feeling isolated and in need of reconciliation with those we love.  

So keep walking and talking with God. His path is the way of love, humility, and forgiveness and if we manage our expectations to not think too highly of ourselves and to obey the command to love others we will spend a lot less time seeking forgiveness and a lot less time alone.



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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 16:18 (NLT2)
18  Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.

Today’s verse reminds us that pride goes before destruction and that a haughty attitude can lead to failures.  

Haughty is defined as “arrogantly superior or disdainful” and it is a word that is not used often but describes pride perfectly.   Feeling superior requires us to elevate ourselves.  Be it because of our looks, talents, intellect, or supposed spiritual understanding we can be haughty when we feel we have something that other people don’t have or that we have more of it than others.  This arrogant view of our superiority requires a comparative analysis that results in our separating ourselves from others by declaring ourselves “different” from others.  Our “being not the same” can go either way too. We can see ourselves as better or worse than others but our holding onto that difference is pride and it leads to destruction.   

Pride will separate us from others here on earth and if we are not careful it will lead to our ultimate destruction for all of eternity as it could separate us from the Lord. 

Pride says you need anyone. Pride says you don’t need to be forgiven. Pride says it doesn’t need a Savior.   

On the earth, our pride will result in failure one way or another. Either our pride will be exposed as false when we fail to succeed in some way, or it will separate us from others.  

In heaven, it will result in our just punishment in hell.  

So let’s learn from today’s verse and follow the Apostle Paul’s advice in Romans 12:3 and not think too highly of ourselves by adopting an attitude of humility to avoid the falls and destruction that come from pride.  



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

Today we begin sharing from 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.



In times of church renewal holy scripture naturally becomes richer in content for us. Behind the daily catchwords and battle cries needed in the Church Struggle, a more intense, questioning search arises for the one who is our sole concern, for Jesus himself. What did Jesus want to say to us? What does he want from us today? How does he help us to be faithful Christians today? It is not ultimately important to us what this or that church leader wants. Rather, we want to know what Jesus wants. When we go to hear a sermon, his own word is what we want to hear. This matters to us not only for our own sakes, but also for all those who have become estranged from the church and its message. It is also our opinion that if Jesus himself and Jesus alone with his word were among us in our preaching, then quite a different set of people would hear the word and quite a different set of people would again turn away from it. It is not as if our church’s preaching were no longer God’s word, but there are so many dissonant sounds, so many human, harsh laws, and so many false hopes and consolations, which still obscure the pure word of Jesus and make a genuine decision more difficult. We surely intend our preaching to be preaching Christ alone. But it is not solely the fault of others if they find our preaching harsh and difficult because it is burdened with formulations and concepts foreign to them. It is simply not true that every word critical of our preaching today can be taken as a rejection of Christ or as anti-Christianity. Today there are a great number of people who come to our preaching, want to hear it, and then repeatedly have to admit sadly that we have made it too difficult for them to get to know Jesus. Do we really want to deny being in community with these people? They believe that it is not the word of Jesus itself that they wish to evade, but that too much of what comes between them and Jesus is merely human, institutional, or doctrinaire. Who among us would not instantly know all the answers which could be given to these people and with which we could easily evade responsibility for them? But would an answer not also demand that we ask whether we ourselves get in the way of Jesus’ word by depending perhaps too much on certain formulations, or on a type of sermon intended for its own time, place, and social structure? Or by preaching too “dogmatically” and not enough “for use in life”? Or by preferring to repeat certain ideas from scripture over and over and thus too heedlessly passing over other important passages? Or by preaching our own opinions and convictions too much and Jesus Christ himself too little? Nothing would contradict our own intention more deeply and would be more ruinous for our proclamation than if we burdened with difficult human rules those who are weary and heavy laden, whom Jesus calls unto himself.[2] That would drive them away from him again. How that would mock the love of Jesus Christ in front of Christians and heathen! But since general questions and self-accusations do not help here, let us be led back to scripture, to the word and call of Jesus Christ himself. Away from the poverty and narrowness of our own convictions and questions, here is where we seek the breadth and riches which are bestowed on us in Jesus.

We desire to speak of the call to follow Jesus. In doing so, are we burdening people with a new, heavier yoke? Should even harder, more inexorable rules be added to all the human rules under which their souls and bodies groan? Should our admonition to follow Jesus only prick their uneasy and wounded consciences with an even sharper sting? For this latest of innumerable times in church history, should we make impossible, tormenting, eccentric demands, obedience to which would be the pious luxury of the few? Would such demands have to be rejected by people who work and worry about their daily bread, their jobs, and their families, as the most godless tempting of God? Should the church be trying to erect a spiritual reign of terror over people by threatening earthly and eternal punishment on its own authority and commanding everything a person must believe and do to be saved? Should the church’s word bring new tyranny and violent abuse to human souls? It may be that some people yearn for such servitude. But could the church ever serve such a longing?

When holy scripture speaks of following Jesus, it proclaims that people are free from all human rules, from everything which pressures, burdens, or causes worry and torment of conscience. In following Jesus, people are released from the hard yoke of their own laws to be under the gentle yoke of Jesus Christ. Does this disparage the seriousness of Jesus’ commandments? No. Instead, only where Jesus’ entire commandment and the call to unlimited discipleship remain intact are persons fully free to enter into Jesus’ community. Those who follow Jesus’ commandment entirely, who let Jesus’ yoke rest on them without resistance, will find the burdens they must bear to be light. In the gentle pressure of this yoke they will receive the strength to walk the right path without becoming weary. Jesus’ commandment is harsh, inhumanly harsh for someone who resists it. Jesus’ commandment is gentle and not difficult for someone who willingly accepts it. “His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Jesus’ commandment has nothing to do with forced spiritual cures. Jesus demands nothing from us without giving us the strength to comply. Jesus’ commandment never wishes to destroy life, but rather to preserve, strengthen, and heal life.

But the question still troubles us: What could the call to follow Jesus mean today for the worker, the businessman, the farmer, or the soldier? Could it bring an intolerable dilemma into the existence of persons working in the world who are Christian? Is Christianity, defined as following Jesus, a possibility for too small a number of people? Does it imply a rejection of the great masses of people and contempt for the weak and poor? Does it thereby deny the great mercy of Jesus Christ, who came to the sinners and tax collectors, the poor and weak, the misguided and despairing? What should we say to that? Is it a few, or many, who belong with Jesus? Jesus died on the cross alone, abandoned by his disciples. It was not two of his faithful followers who hung beside him, but two murderers. But they all stood beneath the cross: enemies and the faithful, doubters and the fearful, the scornful and the converted, and all of them and their sin were included in this hour in Jesus’ prayer for forgiveness. God’s merciful love lives in the midst of its foes.[5] It is the same Jesus Christ who by grace calls us to follow him and whose grace saves the thief on the cross in his last hour.

Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.

Today it seems so difficult to walk with certainty the narrow path of the church’s decision and yet to remain wide open to Christ’s love for all people, and in God’s patience, mercy, and loving-kindness[8] (Titus 3:4) for the weak and godless. Still, both must remain together, or else we will follow merely human paths. May God grant us joy in all seriousness of discipleship, affirmation of the sinners in all rejection of sin, and the overpowering and winning word of the gospel in all defense against our enemies. “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30).[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), 35–40.

Friday, April 29, 2022

A Rock Steady Purpose – One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus! -Purity 718

A Rock Steady Purpose – One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus!  -Purity 718

Purity 718 04/29/2022 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of  a spectacular sunset in the distance and reflected in the waters of Portsmouth Harbor comes to us from a pastor friend in the United Kingdom who combines paddling and prayer to enjoy the magnificence of God’s creation and to bask in the peace of the Lord in what he has called his “happy place”.  

And as the sun sets on another work week it is my prayer that all my friends will likewise seek the Lord in similar ways and find their own “happy place” this weekend.   

Since coming to faith in Christ 12 years ago, I discovered that my “happy place” was anywhere I decided to commune with the Lord. While on vacation mission trips, both foreign and domestic, I learned that God wasn’t contained by geographical boundaries and no matter where I went, as long as I sought His presence, there He was. One of the greatest promises of our Christian faith is that God will never leave us or forsake us. God is always available to us and is the one relationship that is guaranteed to endure because He is faithful.

In the ebb and flow of 12 years of being “born again”, many relationships have come and gone as our life journey is progressive and subject to circumstantial changes. People will come and go in our lives but if we have God in common although circumstances may separate us from one another and even though our relationships can change, brothers and sisters in the body of Christ are all joined together through the Lord’s family of saints and His will, and you never know when your paths will converge again.  

The purpose of the body of Christ is to represent the kingdom of God by serving one another, learning from one another, and loving one another. Our interactions with the body of Christ allows us to grow and to meet our purpose in Christ.    

And that’s the million dollar question isn’t it: What exactly is my purpose in Christ?    

I refer to our life of faith as a walk on the path of Christian Discipleship and the thing about a walk is that it is defined by progressive movement and a certain course, a direction.  

Invariably in our “walk”, we discover that as we progress through time and space, the people we were walking with changes as the Lord directs our path. The Lord may set our course to be simple and steady: to “just keep doing what your doing” where you find yourself to be called to “walk in place”, to just remain faithful to where God has you in your job, your family, or your local church. Our faith and our purpose don’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t necessarily have to take you to a wide variety of different locations.  Just being faithful to represent the kingdom of God where you are, to be “Rock Steady”, in the maelstrom of our post Christian society in your current environment could be your purpose.  

Maintaining that “Rock Steady” faith, whether you are called to serve in the local church, called to develop ministries, called to volunteer, called to serve in represent God at work by whatever means necessary, or called to represent the Lord among your family or friends is really one of the goals of being a disciple of Christ.  

Our primary purpose as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be faithful to represent our Lord no matter where we are called to go or no matter what we are called to do. Just like the Lord is Our Constant Companion, our unchanging purpose regardless of where we are called to “walk”  or what we are called to do is to represent the Lord by lovingly serving others and by sharing the truth of the lifegiving gospel of Jesus Christ. 

So while we can vary in the certainty of our direction and establish goals to get us to where we are going, we should all have the short term goal to be faithful to represent the Lord by what we think, say, and do “one day at a time”.   

Our daily decision to walk with the Lord and to be faithful disciples of Christ reminds me of the song “One Day at a Time: where the lyrics say:

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking of You
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time


It’s Friday the 29th of April, and if your schedule is anything like mine, at the beginning of the week you probably weren’t too concerned with what you would do today because you had to get through Monday, Tuesday, and the rest of the days of the week before you got here. 

A walk is one step at a time and our lives are lived one day at a time. We can only do what we can do for today.  So stay “Rock Steady” while you walk about the earth and move towards or seek to find the purpose that the Lord has for you in your life.  Even if we are not sure “where all this is going”, we can be certain that the Lord will be pleased with us when we seek to do His will and stay in His presence by walking and talking with God. 


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 138:6 (NLT2)
6  Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the greatness of our God and how His care cares for the humble but keeps his distance from the proud.  

Pretty straight forward interpretation of that verse, huh?  Sometimes the word of God is simple and clear and we don’t need to read a lot into it.  So what are the implications from this verse?  

God is great. He cares for the humble but keeps His distance from the proud . So let’s  receive His care and be humble. A correct view of who we are in Christ would show us that we have done nothing to make ourselves approved of by God or we haven’t been able to perform anything that God didn’t bless us with. Our looks, our temperament, and our capacity to develop skills and increase our intelligence were all given to us by our Creator.

We may have done a great deal to become skillful, intelligent, or cared for our bodies to maximize our attractiveness and physical fitness but the raw materials and potentials all come from the Lord.  

SO here is the trap, shouldn’t be proud of what we’ve done? Shouldn’t we be proud of what we have learned, and accomplished.  Shouldn’t we be proud of how we have cared for and strengthened our bodies?   I mean we read the books, we took the classes, we practiced the skills, we exercised our bodies, we worked hard to get here. Shouldn’t I be proud of all I have done?  

I’m not sure if I revealed the error we are making here or just re-emphasized our penchant for pride so let me tell you.  

No, as the word of God indicates, we shouldn’t be proud.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NKJV) says
23  Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24  But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.

It sort of stinks we can’t be proud, right?  No, because if we know the Lord, we wouldn’t be proud – thinking we “created” our wisdom, wealth, or might.  If we know the Lord we know we have been blessed to be given the ability and favorable circumstance to achieve these positive results by a loving and Sovereign God that created us, our drive, and all the people and things that we have utilized to achieve what we have.  

We are not to be prideful. We are to be thankful.  So yeah you can recognize the progress you have made in life, but instead of glorying in our awesome you are, give credit where credit is due and give the glory to God for establishing this world and for giving you the life you have, all the blessings you enjoy, and the power and abilities He has given you.  

We can do some pretty amazing things but when we are proud of ourselves or what we have done, without recognizing God, we idolize ourselves and the way we did it “our way” or “all by myself”, when fundamentally that is a lie. 

We didn’t do anything by ourselves. God gave us the life we have and all the people and things that helped us along the way.

Which takes us to the first part of today’s verse: God is great and when we recognize just how great He is and what He has done for us, we rightly will be humble and we won’t distance ourselves from God by believing that lie that we are self sufficient and being prideful.  

So rejoice over the Lord, how He has blessed you, and give Him the glory by recognizing the truth of just how great He is by humbly, and continuously, giving Him thanks and praise.

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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.


Paul’s Discovery of Peter’s Secret

First, “For me … to die is gain.” I wonder if Paul in his conversations with Peter in Jerusalem had talked about dying? I wonder if Peter told him about that experience recorded in John 21 when Jesus, after his resurrection, said to Peter, “When you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18). Then John adds this explanation in his Gospel: “This [Jesus] said to showby what kind of death [Peter] was to glorify God” (John 21:19). God had decreed that Peter would make God look great in his dying. I don’t doubt that when Peter and Paul gave each other the right hand of fellowship, the manly grip of their hands and the meeting of their eyes communicated this one common passion: to magnify Christ crucified—the blazing center of the glory of God—even in death.

But how are we to magnify Christ in death? Or to put it another way: How can we die so that in our dying the surpassing value of Christ, the magnitude of his worth, becomes visible? Paul’s answer here in Philippians 1 is found first in the connection between verse 20 and verse 21. These verses are connected by the word “for” or “because.” Boil it down to the words about death: “My eager expectation is that Christ be honored in my body by death, for to me to die is gain.” In other words, if you experience death as gain, you magnify Christ in death.

How Is Dying Gain?

Why is that? Verse 23 shows why dying is gain for Paul: “My desire is to depart [that is, to die] and be with Christ, for that is far better.” That is what death does: It takes us into more intimacy with Christ. We depart, and we are with Christ, and that, Paul says, is gain. And when you experience death this way, Paul says, you exalt Christ. Experiencing Christ as gain in your dying magnifies Christ. It is “far better” than living here.

Really? Better than all the friends at school? Better than falling in love? Better than hugging your children? Better than professional success? Better than retirement and grandchildren? Yes. A thousand times better. When I preached my candidating sermon for the pastoral position I hold now, this passage of Scripture was my text. That was January 27, 1980. I wanted to show the people from Scripture the single, all-embracing passion of my life—to magnify Christ in all things whether by life or death.

At this point in the message, the question arose: Is death better than life? Is departing to be with Christ better than staying here? I said to them:

If I didn’t believe that, how could I dare to aspire to the role of pastor—anywhere—not to mention at Bethlehem Baptist Church where 108 members are over 80 years old and another 171 over 65? But I do believe it, and say to every gray-haired believer in this church, with all the authority of Christ’s apostle, the best is yet to come! And I don’t mean a fat pension and a luxury condominium. I mean Christ.

I averaged one funeral every three weeks for the first year and a half of my ministry. And many more after that. It was a sobering and sweetening season for a young pastor. It knit my heart together with many families as we bade farewell to friend after friend. And faring well is exactly what we believed they did.

If We Learn to Die Well, We Will Live Well

What we have learned from Philippians 1 so far is that death (whether by natural causes or by persecution) is a means of making much of Christ. If we suffer or die on the Calvary road of obedience with Christ, the cost of following him is not just a result of making much of him, but a means. Death makes visible where our treasure is. The way we die reveals the worth of Christ in our hearts. Christ is magnified in my death when I am satisfied with him in my dying—when I experience death as gain because I gain him. Or to say it another way: The essence of praising Christ is prizing Christ. Christ will be praised in my death, if in my death he is prized above life.

Jesus said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). When the hour comes for everything to be taken from us but Christ, we will magnify him by saying, “In him I have everything and more. To die is gain.”

If we learn to die like this, we will be ready to live. And if we don’t, we will waste our lives. Most of us have some years to live before we go to be with Christ. Even the oldest among us must ask the question, “If we love Christ, how can he be magnified in my behavior this afternoon, this evening, this week?” So we turn to the other half of Philippians 1:21: “To me to live is Christ.”

To Live Is Christ

What does Paul mean: “To live is Christ”? He begins his explanation in verse 22: “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.” But that is a strange explanation: “To live is Christ” becomes “To live is fruitful labor for me.” What is the fruit that comes from Paul’s work? And how is “to live … Christ”? The answers come in verses 24–26.

In verse 22 Paul has said, “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.” Now in verse 24 he says, “To remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” So evidently the fruit that Paul’s life produces is not only for himself but is very needful for the sake of the Philippian believers. So the phrase, “For me to live is Christ” now becomes “For me to live is to produce fruit that you all need very much.” Then verse 25 tells us what this fruit is that the church needs and that Paul’s life will produce: “I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.” So we can see Paul gradually clarifying what he means by “For me to live is Christ.”

First, it means: My life is dedicated to producing fruit (verse 22). Second, it means: My life is devoted to producing a fruit that is very necessary for you to have (verse 24). Third, it means: My life is devoted to increasing your faith and helping it to overflow with joy (verse 25).

Now the crucial question is: Why in Paul’s mind is it one and the same thing to say on the one hand, “For me to live is Christ,” and to say on the other hand, “My life is devoted to your progress and joy in the faith”? I think those two statements are virtually synonymous for Paul in this context.[1]

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 66–70.