Showing posts with label Purpose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Purpose. Show all posts

Monday, May 1, 2023

I am My Work – Lies of the Enemy #19– Purity 1031

I am My Work – Lies of the Enemy #19– Purity 1031

Purity 1031 05/01/2023  Purity 1031 Podcast

Purity 1031 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of Arthur Parton’s oil on canvas painting “Scene on the Housatonic River” comes to us from yours truly as I captured this work of art on film while visiting the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield Massachusetts on Saturday. While the weather was rainy on and off all weekend, my wife and I decided to seize the day on Saturday and “do something” so we enjoyed each other’s company while exploring the modest exhibits that highlighted man’s innovative and artistic spirit but that was also tempered by the harsh reality of our physical impermanence.

While we can appreciate the beauty of Arthur Parton’s painting, the artist departed this mortal coil over 100 years ago, dying in 1914. Similarly while we could appreciate the unchanging beauty of an impressive display of rocks and minerals at the Berkshire, the collection of stuffed or mummified remains of the what used to be living and breathing animals or people reminded us that although preserved, the flesh didn’t fare so well over time, or after death.  Some of the displays were positively creepy but paradoxically they made me thankful for my faith in Christ, because regardless what happens to my physical remains after I die, I know that although I may die, because I believe in Jesus, I shall live. (John 11:25).  

Well, it’s Monday again, so its back to work for most of us but even though most of us have to make the ends meet and will spend a good deal of our lives at work, today our current series will challenge the common belief that our work defines who we are.  

While there is a fair amount of truth that our work lives will say a lot about us as people, we are here to contest the lie that “I am My Work.”  Although we could preserve some of our handiwork in a museum like Arthur Parton’s “Scene on the Housatonic River”, the thing that will endure forever is not the work of our hands or imaginations. And ironically, there is no amount of work we can do to secure our place in eternity.  

As a reminder we are currently “working on” a continuing 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.  

Today’s big lie is:

Lie #19:  I am My Work.  

While our work can be a large part of our identity here on earth, we are not our work.  Many a retiree discovers just how valuable their hard work is after they are no longer doing it.  After they retire, they discover just how disposable they were as the next generation comes in to take their place.  Similarly shifts in economic and business trends over the passage of time has shown us how entire industries that once defined the “way of the world”, fade away as new technological innovations or new companies make the “big and mighty”, small and obsolete.   

This was highlighted to me more than once during our visit to the Berkshire Museum as the antiquities on display testified to the things that once were but that are now no longer.  There was a display on Children’s Literature and I marveled over how “Little Golden Books” which began in the 1940s was such a huge and impactful industry affecting the lives of generations of children in the decades since then and how are now, while they are still available, are not the cultural force they used to be. While “everybody” had those books when I was little, they are not as prevalent today as things have changed.  

While Golden books is still out there, other industries have gone the way of the dodo all together and I am sure there are retired people who are still alive today that can tell you all about how their jobs are “no longer”.   What used to define their working lives and a big part of who they were is now “gone with the wind.”  

I don’t mean to depress by the fact that we are not our jobs but only seek to encourage us to seek our identity according to the One who made us: God.  

All those displays at the museum testified to the fact that things don’t last, so in order to have peace we need to seek our meaning and purpose in the One who will last forever: God.  

While various cultures have different ideas about what happens when you die, the museum had a mummy on display to testify of this, the Lord sought to give us the Truth about life and death, meaning and purpose, by sending Jesus to tell us like it is and to show us that He is God incarnate by defeating death and the grave.  

And amazingly, Jesus came to tell us that we could be part of His eternal kingdom and we don’t even have to “work for it”.    In

John 11:25-26 (NKJV) Jesus said to Martha, all of us:
25   "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

While we could disagree with someone who just “said” things like this, Jesus proved He was the resurrection and the life – by rising from the dead, ascending to heaven, and giving new spiritual lives to those who put their faith in Him.   

And Jesus’ words tell us that we receive this new life by just believing in Him! The Apostle Paul seeks to make the way to life everlasting clear in:  

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

It’s not our work that will save us. Its by faith alone, in Christ alone that we will receive and enjoy eternal life.  

As faith in Christ in our society is becoming increasingly rare and disparaged, people increasingly seek to find their identity and purpose in their work.  I’m including a couple of links to articles on the blog today to testify to the failure of the  “gospel of workism” to save us ( ) , and even modern psychology’s assurance that we are not our jobs ( ) but no matter what insights or assertions those articles share about “buying free time” or “identifying your own personal purpose” I want to encourage you to look beyond yourself and to seek the Lord and His wisdom to discover who you are, what really matters, and what God’s purpose is for your life.   

So as we go into another week of work, do a good job and get those ends met and do your best to meet your professional goals but remember that you are not your work. You are a piece of God’s creative work and He made you for a purpose in His kingdom and in Christ you will never find yourself “out of a job” or declared to be “obsolete” as He has future and a hope for all who trust in Him and decide to follow where He is leading. 


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  :

Isaiah 60:18, 22 (NLT2)
18  Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.
. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.”

Today’s verse assures us of the future and the hope that we have in Christ as Isaiah prophesied about life beyond the millennial kingdom as God will some day make a new heaven and a new earth.  

Yeah this passage of scripture is looking at the end times because although it sounds like these verses just point to the end of war – the intervening verses of 19,20, and 21 talk about cosmic changes as the Lord will somehow replace the sun and moon and become our “everlasting light”. This verbiage is reiterated by

Revelation 21:23 (NLT2)
23  And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.

So, when God brings “peace on earth” – He will be the light that shines upon us and illuminates our meaning and purpose, taking away all that is warped, evil, or broken. We won’t have to work to know who we are or to be accepted as the Lord will show us what to do and how to live in the new heaven and new earth and our praise of Him will never leave our lips.


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  “Satan, Demons & Satanism: A Sinister Reality” By June Hunt.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.  This resource is available online for $7.99 ( ).

Satan, Demons & Satanism

A Sinister Reality

by June Hunt

B.  What Is Satanism?

Satanism is not just a hodgepodge of occultic activity, but a religion that demands worship and allegiance to Satan. Devotion to the devil and his legion of demons can take the form of worshiping Satan himself, or it can be participation in various occultic activities that open doors to the demonic. Operating in this world since the Garden of Eden, Satan deceives and demands compliance with his desires. His ultimate goal is to replace God.

“The devil took him [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” ’ ”

(Matthew 4:8–10)

     Satanism is a religion that worships and declares allegiance to Satan.

   Ritualistic ceremonies promote a relationship with Satan and call on his power.

   Secret rituals may involve sacrificial killings, black magic and the black mass.

   It is illegal and underground.

     Satanism is also a religion based on the exaltation of evil with no belief in a personal devil.

   It consists of complete indulgence in orgies and other sexual obscenities.

   Rituals include the use of magic to achieve personal desires.

   It is legal and tax-exempt.

Q “If God is so powerful, why doesn’t He destroy Satan and Satanism?”

He will. The day will come when Satan is cast forever into the lake of fire. To face annihilation? No—that would be too tame! The destiny of the devil is never ending torment … eternal punishment … “day and night for ever and ever.”

“The devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)[1]

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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Satan, Demons & Satanism: A Sinister Reality (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 3–4.

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.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Are You Experienced? Are You Gonna Go His Way? - Purity 917

Are You Experienced? Are You Gonna Go His Way? -  Purity 917

Purity 917 12/17/2022 Purity 917 Podcast

Purity 917 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo a double rainbow from the vantage point of one of the old cemeteries in Schuylerville NY comes to us from the Adirondack Aerial & Ground Imagery Showcase Page ( who decided, with winter weather upon us, to share this and a couple of other autumn scenes of this uncommon phenomenon that they originally captured back on October 10th.

It’s Saturday, and although the snow fell yesterday, the power stayed on and the snowfall totals, although – not – nothing,  didn’t seem to be the “snow-mageddon” some may have feared. Of course, I make that assessment from the warm confines of my home in Easton, as I avoided travel and even chose to avoid walking the dog in the early evening as I normally would have yesterday because the snow plows seemed to wait until then to finally roll down our rural road. 

Well, it is my prayer that the roads get cleared and that all who read this message enjoy the experience of their weekend. 

In regards to sharing our experiences, I don’t blame Adirondack Ariel’s, Mr. Lemieux, for sharing some autumn photos yesterday. Now that the snows have become semi regular, it may be some time before we see green scenes locally that don’t have a fair amount of white in them.  Although the double rainbow makes today’s photo worthy of sharing, I also was moved to share it because Schuylerville is in my countryside home’s backyard and although I don’t know for sure which cemetery this photo was taken at, if I chose to I could probably “go and see” and figure it out for myself.  I could go out and walk in Mr. Lemieux’s footsteps. But no matter if I found this spot or not, I wouldn’t necessarily have the same experience, but I would in a way, but I wouldn’t…. oh another paradox! We can have the “same experience” as someone else but because of the different individual elements in each experience of life, we can’t truly have the “same experience”.  

I can’t recreate the double rainbow or the autumn day that this picture expresses but I could have an experience of my own that could be peaceful or worthwhile. I could find satisfaction in the fact that I was at the same place where this scene happened and, who knows, maybe I would see something that our friend didn’t see that was worth capturing.   But if I sincerely wanted to even get a sense of “what it must have been like”, I would have to get up and go out and do it for myself.   

Back in my college days I was filled with a lust for life, among other things, and was really into celebrating my youth with a zeal and a gusto to “seize the day” with enthusiasm.  However, I wasn’t just into looking at sunsets and rainbows and sought other experiences that would bring feelings of pleasure and euphoria.  I was quite the prodigal back then and was “experimenting” with pushing the limits of reality and pushing through the “doors of perception” through experiences with drugs, alcohol, and sex.  Not surprisingly, although a young man of the 90’s, on that quest I rediscovered the classic rock music of the 60’s, 70’s, and enjoyed artists like The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix among others who encouraged their listeners to consider a different perspective on life and invited us to “break on through to the other side.” Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix post humously asked us “Are You Experienced?” with the implication that their was more to this life than what meets the eye.  I mean, hey man, do you really want to go through this life not knowing what it “feels” like to have all these wild experiences?   The answer, for me, was “No sir, No I do not”.  So not only did I throw off nearly all the restraints and give into temptation, I said: “I will have what he is having, please. And while you are at it please fill my cup to the brim!”  

Unfortunately, having euphoric experiences of drugs, alcohol, and sex, although enjoyable for a season don’t actually teach you a whole lot, other than what no to do, and don’t actually take you anywhere, other than into trouble and into addiction.  I learned that my quest was in vain. I couldn’t find the meaning and purpose I was looking for in wild unbridled selfish living. In fact, those activities actually hinder the search for wisdom as those activities become an addict’s meaning and purpose.  

A man who came to our Celebrate Freedom recovery meetings once, speaking on his youth .shared how he noticed that his friends used to enjoy certain hobbies, like camping or boating, but after the drugs and alcohol became a part of the experience, he noticed that his friends getting together became less and less about camping or boating and more and more about the booze and the drugs until that was the focus of their “friendships”. Not surprisingly those “friendships” didn’t endure.  

Anyway, another anthem from those wild days in the 1990’s scene came from Lenny Kravitz, who asked “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” This hard charging hit won the Grammy for Best Rock song in 1994 and reflected that “searching spirit’ of the 1990’s grunge and alternative movement that disdained and abandoned the 1980’s pop and materialism that was all flash and no substance.  We were the children of the children of Woodstock, and we like our parents were looking for something “other” than the established order.  Unfortunately, we looked in the same places for the answers to life that those hippies from the 60’s and 70’s looked: drugs, alcohol, rebellion, sex, and edgy music with the same disastrous results. 

And now this pattern that probably actually stated in the roaring 20’s, seems to keep on chugging along as the “answer” now seems to legalize and legitimize the things that were formerly illegal and always considered as sin by the word of God.  

I know that prior to coming to faith in Christ, I looked at laws and the “commandments” of religious systems to be impediments to my freedom, to do whatever I wanted.  

Thankfully, through tragedy and pain, my wild living was exposed as bondage, not freedom, and was repeatedly demonstrated to “not be the answer”. No matter how many “experiments” I ran, I got the same results: trouble and pain. I even through in Buddhist practices in the mix for a few years and even though I thought I was on to something with my “crazy wisdom” for a while, I realized that there was no peace in living in the mystery moment to moment without having some definite answers about life’s meaning and purpose.  

But on a Friday afternoon back in 2010, when I was fully content to just keep going the way I was going, God reached out to me to show me the way to go.  In a gospel radio message I heard the truth of reality that I would never find at the bottom of a bottle or through other euphoric experiences. I got the good, and let’s face it – very convicting, news that Jesus was who He said He was and that the meaning and purpose to life lies in making peace with God through Him and then following the way that God leads you to.   

Now while I can’t take you with me to that parking lot on Aviation Road to listen to that message that changed my life in a moment, I can tell you that if you seek God you will find Him and the answer to all the questions of life can be adequately addressed in the person of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus is the reason for the season guys and it turns out He is the reason for every season. Scripture reveals that He is coeternal with God and the Holy Spirit and that He played a part in the creation of the universe, holds it together, and will shape its future when He onc day comes to rule and reign on earth and then creates a new heave and new earth.   The word of God reveals all this to us and I know, by my study and experience, that it is all true.  

While I can’t give you my experience, I can assure you that it’s for real and I can encourage you to go to the Lord to establish a relationship with Him and experience this truth for yourselves.   

I don’t know if you are “experienced” in the things of this world or not, but I can tell you that THE EXPERIENCE that brings meaning and purpose to your life is having peace with God through faith Jesus Christ.  

Although, I would NOT invite anyone to “go my way” – I don’t think any of you want to suffer some of the things I have – I do have to highly recommend and implore you to “go His way.”   

If you still haven’t found what you are looking for in this life, you are probably looking “for love in all the wrong places”, so give God a try. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you and seek His wisdom and ways. And if you “already know Him” and don’t have any peace, ask Him to reveal to you what is getting in the way of your freedom in Christ.

 If you are not experiencing the fruit of the Spirit in your life, it’s probably because you don’t know who you are in Christ or because you are living in a way that reflect it.  So keep walking and talking with God, and go the way He shows you. 



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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)
8  Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Today’s verse encourages to experience the goodness of the Lord and reveals that when we trust God we will be blessed.   

Taste and See, Come and See – these are invitations in the word of God that compel us to not just “believe” but to be doers of the word of God and to enter in, with our whole being – our minds, wills, emotions, and actions – into what the Lord has for us. These calls to “experiencing” God’s goodness are a call to obey, to follow the Lord with all of our hearts, minds, and strength.  And the promised results of seeking out and surrendering to God’s call on your life?  Blessedness!

The Holman Christian Standard translation of the Bible, translates being “blessed” as “happy”. 

Psalm 34:8 (HCSB)
8  Taste and see that the LORD is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!

So if you want to be blessed, if you want to not “worry and be happy”,  God’s word tells us to take refuge (which means to go to or into a place for shelter or protection from danger or trouble) in the Lord, to trust in Him.  

We demonstrate our taking refuge, or putting our trust in God, by believing what He says is true and by doing what He says.  So I encourage you to experience the blessedness that the Lord has for you, by doing just that.  It’s a simple walk of faith that leads to peace and joy, but you have to walk it and experience it for yourself. So walk it.



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

Today we continue sharing from 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, continues


“Do not become slaves of human masters!” This would happen in two different ways. First, it may take place through a rebellion against and the overthrow of the established order. Second, it may come about by investing the current order with a religious significance.[52] “In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.” “With God”—and therefore “do not become slaves of human masters,” neither by rebellion, nor by false submission. To remain bound to God in one’s calling or vocation in the midst of the world means to remain a member of the body of Christ within the visible church-community. It means to bear living testimony, through sharing in the church’s worship and living the life of discipleship, that the world has been overcome.

Therefore, “let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1ff.). Christians must not be drawn upward, toward those who hold power and authority. Instead, their calling is to remain below. The authorities govern over (ὑπέρ) them, and they remain under (ὑπο) them. The world rules; Christians serve. In this, they have community with their Lord who became a slave. “So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ ” (Mark 10:42–45). “For there is no authority except from God.” This statement is addressed to Christians, not the authorities! Paul wants Christians to know that their place to recognize and do God’s will is precisely that subordinate place down below accorded them by the authorities. They are to take comfort from the fact that God will use the authorities as an instrument through which to work for their welfare, and that their God is Lord over the authorities. But this statement must be more than an abstract consideration and idea about the nature of authority (έξουσία—note the singular!) in general. It must determine the attitudes of Christians to the actually existing authorities (αι δὲ οὖσαι …). Whoever resists them resists what God has decreed (διαταγῆ τοῦ θεοῦ), the God who intended for the world to exercise authority, and for Christ and the Christians belonging to him to gain victory through service. Christians failing to recognize this fact would themselves become subject to judgment (v. 2), for they would once again no longer be any different from the world. Now what is it that so easily triggers the opposition of Christians against the authorities? It is the fact that they take offense at the mistakes and the injustice perpetrated by the authorities. But with considerations like these, Christians are already in grave danger of paying attention to something other than the will of God, which alone they are called to fulfill. They themselves ought to strive for the good in all things, and to practice it in the way God commands them. Then they need have “no fear” of authority, “for rulers are not a terror to good conduct [Werk], but to bad [böse]” (v. 3). And what, indeed, would Christians have to fear if they stay with their masters and do good? “Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good”—do what is good! You do it. That is the only thing that counts. It is not important for you what others might do, but what you will do. Do what is good, fearlessly, unreservedly, and unconditionally. For how can you be in a position to criticize the authorities if you yourself fail to do what is good? Do you intend to pass judgment on others, you, who are submitted to judgment yourselves? Do you wish to have no fear? Then do what is good! “And you will receive the approval of the authority; for it is God’s servant for your good.” It is not as if receiving approval could be the driving motive behind our doing what is good; it cannot even be our aim. Rather it is a bonus, indeed an inevitable bonus, if in fact all is well with the authority. Paul’s thought is so exclusively focused on the Christian community that he is concerned only about its salvation and its conduct, that he feels bound to warn Christians not to commit any injustice and evil themselves. This exclusive focus prevents Paul from leveling any accusation against the authority. “But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer” (v. 4). It is absolutely paramount that no wrongdoing take place within the Christian community. It is once again Christians who are addressed here, not the authority. What is important to Paul is that Christians remain in a state of repentance and obedience wherever they may be and by whatever conflicts they may be threatened. To justify or condemn an authority of this world is irrelevant to him in this context! No authority can legitimately interpret Paul’s words as a divine justification of its existence. If by chance there actually was a case in which this statement would be heard by an authority, then it would also become a call to repentance for that authority, just as in this context it is in truth a call to repentance for the church-community. Those in authority (ἄρχων) hearing this statement could never interpret it as a divine authorization of their conduct in office. Rather they would have to hear it as a call to be a servant of God by working for the good of the whole of Christianity, which does what is good. This mandate would inevitably lead them into repentance. Paul addresses Christians rather than the authorities, but he does this certainly not because the way this world is ordered is so good, but because its good or bad qualities are irrelevant compared to the only thing that is truly important, namely, that the church-community submit and live according to God’s will. Paul does not intend to instruct the Christian community about the tasks of those in authority, but instead only deals with the tasks of the Christian community toward authority.

Christians deserve to receive approval from the authorities! If instead of receiving approval they are being subjected to punishment and persecution, what fault is that of theirs? After all, they were not seeking approval for doing what now turns out to be the reason for their punishment, nor did they do what is good for fear of being punished. Even if they now are being subjected to suffering instead of receiving approval, they remain free before God and free from fear, and have not brought any shame upon the church-community. They obey the authorities not in order to gain some advantage, but “because of [their] conscience” (v. 5). The mistake of the authority cannot trouble the conscience of Christians. They remain free and without fear and, by submitting to suffering, even though they are innocent, they are still able to render the obedience they owe to the authorities. For they know that in the end it is God who rules, not the authorities, and that any authority is ultimately God’s servant. Authority as the servant of God—here speaks the same apostle who himself frequently had to suffer unjust imprisonment at the hands of this authority, who on three occasions received the cruel punishment of being flogged, and who was aware of the edict by Emperor Claudius to banish all Jews from Rome (Acts 18:1ff.). Authority as the servant of God—here speaks someone who knows that all powers and authorities of this world have already been stripped of their power, that Christ has already led them to the cross in triumphant victory,[63] and that it will be but a short while until all of this must become manifest.

The framework for all of what Paul has to say regarding authority is summed up in his introductory admonition: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). The passage on authority does not deal with the question whether a given authority is good or evil; its concern is that Christians should overcome all evil.

Whether or not to pay taxes to the emperor was a question that was truly full of temptation for the Jews, for they placed their hope in the destruction of the imperial Roman government and the establishment of their own rule. But for Jesus and his followers it is an uncomplicated question. “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s” (Matt. 22:21), says Jesus. And “for the same reason you also pay taxes” (Rom. 13:6) is the way Paul concludes this passage. For Christians, this duty is fully in line with the command of Jesus, for they merely return to the emperor what belongs to him anyway. In fact, those who demand taxes from them and insist on their payment Christians ought to consider as “servants of God” (λειτουργοί) (v. 6). Of course, this relationship is not reversible. Paul does not claim that Christians are engaged in worship [Gottesdienst] when they pay taxes, but only that those who levy taxes thereby do their service to God [Gottesdienst]! But this is not the kind of worship or service of God to which Paul summons Christians. He enjoins them, rather, to submit to authority and to owe no one anything that is due them (vv. 7–8). Every protest or resistance at this point would only be a sign that Christians confuse God’s realm with a dominion of this world.

That is why slaves are to remain slaves; that is why Christians are to remain subject to the governing authorities, who have power over them; that is why Christians ought not to abandon this world (1 Cor. 5:10). But, of course, slaves ought to live as freed persons of Christ. As subjects of the authorities, Christians ought to do what is good. And in the world, they are called to live as members of the body of Christ, the new humanity. All this they are to do in the midst of this world and without any reservation, in order to bear witness to the fact that the world is lost and the new creation has come about in the church-community. Christians ought to suffer for no other reason than for being members of the body of Christ.[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), 239–244.