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Showing posts with label Recovery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recovery. Show all posts

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Power Moves from the Weakest of the Weak - Purity 909


Power Moves from the Weakest of the Weak -  Purity 909    

Purity 909 12/08/2022 Purity 909 Podcast

Purity 909 on YouTube:  


 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pathway leading to the shores of Lake Ontario and to the Webster Pier, just off camera, to the right, comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene at Webster Park while on my meandering journey to Buffalo back on November 10th. 

Well, It’s Thursday again and as is my habit I share photos of pathways on Thursdays, originally because that was the night I used to teach at Celebrate Freedom and encourage people to come and “get set free” from whatever “hurts, habits, and hang ups”, but although that recovery ministry is now disbanded, I still encourage people to get on, or to stay on, the path of Christian Discipleship because I have learned that the Lord calls us to allow Him into all the areas of our lives and doesn’t call us to recover, He calls us to be healed and set free from all the things that would keep us in bondage, especially the lies of the enemy and the world system that propagates them.   

I encourage people to stay the course of Christian discipleship, because frankly, I need to hear these encouragements myself!  While I have been set free from many of the things that used to tie me in knots in the past, to the point where I am utterly amazed at the extent of what the Lord has done in my life, I have come to recognize that I am still a work in progress and could easily be a Romans 7 Christian and lament:

Romans 7:19 (NLT2)
19  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

My eating habits and spending habits are still areas of my life in which I could say I want to do what is good but don’t!   At Parties or Special occasions I will release the restraints and sabotage my health goals by overeating or choosing to eat foods that I know are laden with sugar or carbohydrates, the elements that help our bodies store fat! (https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_7frg4jjd) 

Last night, I went to my church’s Christmas holiday party for men, Starpoint Church’s “Men’s Sock Exchange” for the second year in a row and while I brought an appetizer that consisted of only of meat and cheese, pizza and cookies also happened to be on the buffet line and against my better judgement I threw caution to the wind and had some of each, and even took two slices of pizza home to eat before bed!

So back to the drawing board today.  The good news is that other than Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, I don’t have any more holiday parties on the schedule and with this latest failure I am motivated to “correct the course” as I realized that in truth I have been a little mindless in my eating as I have been enjoying mQuest bars, which are nutritionally okay, two and three at a time, and the other night I decided to get in the “holiday spirit” by eating some Planter’s “Brittle Nut Medley” that I had bought for someone as a gift!  DOH! So yeah, we have to be careful to stay aware of what we are doing because our flesh will cause us to slip up and excuse these “little indulgences” until the point where we are living in denial and sabotaging ourselves.  

I confess all of this, because that’s what I do, and with the hopes that I will now repent. I have already brought it to the Lord in prayer and will lean on His strength to try to right the ship.   Because man, I can be disciplined at times, but boy can I be weak at other times.  

But I am not beating myself up about it, I just plan on doing what is right today, and will endeavor to do what is right tomorrow. That’s all we can do, one day at a time, one moment at a time.  And the best way to stay on course is to keep walking and talking with God as we go.  I noticed I didn’t really consult with the Lord in all these instances of failure… how about that.   In all seriousness, I plan on seriously repenting and to start journalling my food intake to try to keep self-aware.  I planned on doing that but the app I used in the past to do that changed and made it “hard”.  I know “lame excuse” but I see the root of my failure, a lack of self-awareness.

Anyway last night, the men’s sock exchange was a fun event. It gives Christian men an opportunity to fellowship, to eat, and to have some fun with the “white elephant gift exchange” game, where the men can choose to keep the gift they receive or “steal” someone else’s gift.  So when you get a gift you don’t know if you are going to keep it, unless it’s a lame gift, in that case you are pretty guaranteed that it’s yours, but you never know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  

The order of the game is determined by a random draw of numbers, and goes sequentially from 1 to whatever, I think there was 30 people there last night.   A few additional rules for the game include that number 1, the first person to select a gift has the option to steal a gift at the end of the game, because they didn’t have a choice being first,  also in our version it was determined that you could only steal one particular gift 3 times. If something was stolen twice, the third thief would get to keep it as that item was considered “frozen” or “gone”.   Also the person who was “victimized the most, who had been stolen from more times than anyone would also get a “special prize” – which turned out to be gift card to Starbucks.   

Last year, I went home with a pair of Rudoph socks after having stolen a “good pair” of work sock from someone else, getting my just deserts right near the end of the game. So I was a little weary of what to expect and was trying to let go of any expectations of getting anything good and just have fun watching things take place.  

I was even more weary after I saw my number, 11!  I figured there was no way to “win” with 11 because if I got anything good there would be almost 20 thieves who could take it from me!  

Sometimes, these games can be pretty sedate as you can have a crowd who wants to “play fair” but I have noticed that after the first person steals a gift, the stealing increases.  The first few guys just picked presents but number 7 decided to steal a gift, a nice set of hiking socks, from one of the guys that went before him so the “game was a Foot”.  The next couple of guys just picked gifts, but number 10 decided to steal from number 7, the thief had lost his ill gotten gains.   

So it’s my turn, and I can see the opportunity before me.  I could pick a gift and hope for the best, or I could take control of the situation and be assured of my final outcome right here, right now! 

So, I stand up and walk over to number 10 and say: “I’m not getting “zonked” again this year!” and steal the Eddie Bauer, 6 pack of Moisture wicking, odor control, arch support, men’s hiking socks, for myself.  Game recognizes game, and all the men given me a hearty round of applause, for real!  

This is what we call a “power move”. It’s like a prison inmate going up and hitting the biggest baddest dude in the yard on his first day in the penitentiary.  You establish your reputation for being strong or wise by some act that demonstrates “your power”. 

So even though, I was feeling pretty weak with number 11, I seized the day and felt pretty “powerful doing it”! I may not be able to wear these hiking socks until the spring but when I do I can remember this moment and laugh and take a little pride in how I “beat them” at their own game.   

This is a silly example of course, and I know that I am quite weak in many ways, but this little anecdote from last night’s party demonstrates a basica principle of life and Christian discipleship.  The Lord has put us where we are in life, in this time and season, and as we go we will be presented with opportunities and choices of what to do.   And its up to us to:

1.    Be aware – if I wasn’t paying attention to the rules or what was going on I could have missed this opportunity to “get something good”

2.    Remember our pasts and learn from them -  The sting of last year’s “zonk” was at the forefront of my mind and I was trying to avoid a similar outcome

3.    Hope -  Although, with my disappointing number draw,  I was hopeful that “some how and in some way” I’d get something good

4.    Act – although the circumstances fell in my favor, we call that being “blessed” in Christian circles, - I still had to be “bold and courageous” and act.  

And these are  our walking instructions on the path of Christian discipleship. 

Be Aware

Remember Our Pasts, and what we have learned from  the word of God in our pasts, – and learn from It 

Hope – and Pray

Act – DO SOMETHING – When the time is right, Get ‘er done. 

So although we can be weak at times, even us weaklings can pull off a power move on occasion, but I have to remind you just how weak we are and that the best way and the most power we can draw from is found when we follow the Lord. 

So keep walking and talking with God, He will help you in your weakness and when you walk in His ways you can know His awesome power that launches you into a new life of freedom and  victory

 

Unfortunately, I am weak and short on time so I will have to share a Bible verse from the NLT Promise book for men tomorrow..


___________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org 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 Ten

The Body of Christ, continues

 

The earthly body of Jesus is crucified and dies. In his death the new humanity is also crucified and dies with him. Since Christ had not taken on an individual human being, but rather human ‘form’, sinful flesh, human ‘nature’, all that he bore, therefore, suffers and dies with him. All our infirmities and all our sin he bears to the cross. It is we who are crucified with him and who die with him. True, Christ’s earthly body dies, but only to rise again from death as an incorruptible, transfigured body. It is the same body—the tomb was, indeed, empty!—and yet it is a new body. Jesus thus brings humanity not only into death with him, but also into the resurrection. Thus even in his glorified body he still bears the humanity which he had taken on during his days on earth.

How then do we come to participate in this body of Christ who did all this for us? For this much is certain: there is no community with Jesus Christ other than the community with his body! It is in this body alone that we are accepted and able to find salvation! The way we do gain a share in the community of the body of Christ is through the two sacraments of his body, that is, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In a very transparent allusion, John the Evangelist reports that from the crucified body of Jesus Christ there issued water and blood, the elements of both sacraments (John 19:34, 35). This testimony is confirmed by Paul when he ties membership in the body of Christ strictly to these two sacraments. The sacraments have their origin and goal in the body of Christ. Sacraments exist only because there is a body of Christ. There they begin and end. The word of proclamation alone is not sufficient to bring us into community with the body of Jesus Christ; the sacrament is necessary too. Baptism incorporates us as members into the unity of the body of Christ. The Lord’s Supper keeps us in this community (κοινωνία) with Christ’s body. Baptism makes us members of the body of Christ. We are “baptized into” Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3); we are “brought into one body by baptism” (1 Cor. 12:13). In our death in baptism, the Holy Spirit thus appropriates to us personally what Christ in his body has gained for the whole of humanity. We receive the community of the body of Christ in the same way the disciples and followers of Jesus received it in the early days, and this means that we are now “with Christ” and “in Christ,” and that “Christ is in us.” Once the body of Christ is properly understood, the meaning of these expressions becomes perfectly clear.

It is true that all human beings as such are “with Christ” as a consequence of the incarnation, since Jesus bears the whole of human nature. His life, death, and resurrection are thus real events which involve all human beings (Rom. 5:18ff.; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:14). Nevertheless, Christians are “with Christ” in a special sense. What for the rest of humanity becomes a cause of death is for Christians a gift of grace. In baptism they are assured that they have “died with Christ” (Rom. 6:8; Col. 2:20), are “crucified with him” (Rom. 6:6), “buried with him” (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12), and “planted together [with him] in the likeness of his death” (Rom. 6:5), and that they will therefore also live with him (Rom. 6:8; Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:12; 2 Tim. 2:11; 2 Cor. 7:3). The reason that “we are with Christ” is that Christ is Immanuel, “God with us.” Only if we come to know Christ in this way does our “being with Christ” become a gift of grace. We are then “baptized into Christ” (είς), into the community of his suffering. We become ourselves members of this body, and the community of those who are baptized becomes a body which is none other than Christ’s own body. They are thus “in Christ” (έν), and “Christ is in them.” They are no longer “under the law” (Rom. 2:12; 3:19), no longer “in the flesh” (Rom. 7:5; 8:3, 8, 9; 2 Cor. 10:3), no longer “in Adam” (1 Cor. 15:22). With their entire existence and throughout all expressions of their life they are henceforth “in Christ.”

Paul can describe the miracle of Christ’s incarnation in an almost infinite variety of perspectives. Everything we have said thus far may be summed up in the phrase: Christ is “for us,” not only in his word and his attitude toward us, but in his bodily life. Christ stands bodily before God in the place that should be ours. He has stepped into our place. He suffers and dies for us, and is able to do so because he bears our flesh (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1:4; Titus 2:14; 1 Thess. 5:10, etc.). The body of Jesus Christ is “for us” in the strictest sense of the word—on the cross, in the word, in baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper. All bodily community with Jesus Christ rests on this fact.[1]

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

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com 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 (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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), 215–217.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Overcoming 101 - Saying Goodbye and Getting Over “The Hump” - Purity 908

 


Overcoming 101 - Saying Goodbye and Getting Over “The Hump”  -  Purity 908

Purity 908 12/07/2022 Purity 908 Podcast

Purity 908 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of Bell Mountain from the shores of Chatuge Lake comes to us from a friend who shared this scene from Hiawassee Georgia on social media back on November 27th.   This particular friend’s travels have been highlighted often on the blog and its been a while since I have used any of his “stuff” but I wanted to let them know that “I see you, brother” and to thank him for his generosity in sharing his experiences with his friends.  

Well, it’s Wednesday again and I share our adventurous friend’s photo of Bell Mountain today to visual represent our arrival at the first “hump day” of December and to highlight the enduring quality of friendship and the personal mountains of adversity that we have to face in life on the path of Christian Discipleship.   

In all honesty, I have never personally met the photographer of today’s work. I made his acquaintance on social media a few years ago and have been following him ever since.  His journey, that I can see, has been an epic one.  From our view of his life, we have “seen” him retire and move from his home in Hillsdale in Upstate NY to hop around all over the place, settling for a time in Kentucky, Florida, and now North Carolina. And even though those were the states he has set up “camp” for a while, he has traveled to all the nearby places in between.  The only thing that hasn’t changed is his faithfulness in sharing the things he sees along the way.  If I am ever at a loss for the photo of the day, he is someone I can look to and can usually count on to have something to “use”.  So, thanks Fred, God bless you and your travelling spirit.   

Friends are people we can count right. Friends are people that we have a bond with that can endure separations and time.  As a CFMA, an encourager, for Freedom in Christ Ministries and as a former teacher, and the last director, of Celebrate Freedom my former church’s, now defunct, recovery ministry.  I have made a lot of friends through the years.  I have increasingly and continually found my freedom in Christ through the years  and since 2015, the year I went into recovery, I have been sharing the message of the hope for a new life of peace and abundant joy that is found through faith in Christ alone.

I have encouraged and walked with a lot of people on the path of Christian Discipleship and unfortunately as I keep walking and talking with God I eventually am separated from their company.  As a facilitator of the Freedom in Christ course, I meet new people and walk with them for 12 weeks or so and then have to wish them well as our paths divert.  However, I consider all the people I have known through my old church, and the people I have met through recovery ministry, and the volunteer work I do at Freedom in Christ ministries as my bothers and sisters in Christ, but also as my friends.  While we may have parted company, for whatever reasons, I still consider them to be my friends no matter how long we have been separated. As I leave the people I meet on the path of Christian Discipleship, I leave with the encouragement that they reach out to me to keep in touch or if they need or want to talk.  

With my two household existence, and my secular and ministry work, my availability is something that is hard to pin down on a regular basis, and let’s face it, if you are walking in the Spirit, the Spirit will move you to places you don’t expect! But I always encourage the people I meet along the way to reach out to me periodically or if they are in need because I want to be a friend they can count on.  

We in the body of Christ need each other.  I know how lonely this road of following the Lord can be and I want to be thought of as someone who is faithful to encourage others who decide to pick up their cross and follow the Lord.  

So Monday morning, an old friend from the past reached out to me to confess that he wanted to talk. I was running out the door to work at the time and suggested they just text me or record a voice message to give me a heads up to tell me what was going on and I would respond in kind later.   But they sheepishly replied to never mind and wished me a “Merry Christmas”.   

So as I was driving down the highway, the Holy Spirit indicated to me to reach out and call them.  My new car likes to highjack my phone and I still don’t quite understand how it works. So I reached out and eventually figured out how to speak though my car and learned that my friend had made some bad turns, suffered the consequences of poor decisions, and wanted some advice about what to do.   

Part of my friend’s testimony though revealed to me the root issue of all his problems: his rebellion.  We walked together for a time in the past but we separated because he went against several of his friends’ advice and got involved in a relationship that proved to be toxic. He also hid his relapse in drug and alcohol use.  He has been running ever since and predictably everything has become a huge mess.      

In his statements to me, in asking for help mind you, he was trying to establish his rights and his freedom to “have a beer” at the end of the day and was lamenting over the how he has been misused or wrongly accused  by the state and the other people in his life.  In essence, he was making the claim that he could do what he wanted and that he was a victim of circumstances.  While he was asking for help, he seemed to deny that he was the problem.   

So what do you do? Agree with him and tell him “the world sucks” or “Yeah, you do what you want!” I don’t think so!

I reminded him of how when he was clean and sober, he was thriving in life and I told him flat out that he had to “say goodbye” to the past, say “goodbye” to the beer, and to start following the Lord again.  I told him that there simply is no other way but the Lord’s way and that half measures don’t work. If he wanted true freedom and peace, he had to follow the Lord and do His will.   

Amazingly, he thanked me and said that he knew that he could count on me to “tell it like it is” and he made the decision to start following the Lord again.  

He has texted me over the last couple of days and says he  feels better and he indicates that he is going to change his story from being a cautionary tale to one that tells of a turn around and a new life of victory.   

I sent him a YouTube video of Bethel’s King of My Heart and an encouraging word to let the Lord rule his heart, just this morning.  

It doesn’t cost a thing to send him an encouraging word but I know just how valuable it is to have a friend in your corner when you decide to “climb that mountain” of problems that you have to overcome when you decide to be real with God and follow where He leads.      

I’m not sure what will happen with my friend but I am praying that he stays faithful to seek the Lord and to surrender his will to God.  It’s hard going on this path of Christian Discipleship but if you keep walking and talking with God, you’ll get over that hump and eventually you will leave the darkness of you old life behind as the Lord will fill your life with meaning and purpose that will just happen to lead you on a journey that never ends whose road is paved with peace, love, and joy.  

So turn it around and follow the Lord into all He has for you.  He did it for me and He is faithful and trustworthy to do it for you, too.     

 

  

--------------------------------------------------------

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

This morning’s meditation verses is:

Isaiah 59:2 (NLT2)
2  It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

 Today’s verse speaks of the spiritual reality of how our sins disrupt the harmony of our relationship with God. 

As born again believers who have put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, nothing can separate us from the love of God or break our relationship with Him.   But when we come into a covenant relationship with the Lord through Jesus Christ, there is an expectation that you are going to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk” of a Christian disciple.   It is expected that when we come to faith in Jesus Christ that we repent. We are expected to turn from our sinful and selfish ways and to start living our lives according to God’s will and ways.  

So what happens, when we don’t?   Well it feels like God has left us because our sin separates us from fellowship with Him.  we don’t experience His presence or blessing because WE have walked away from Him by sinning.  

One of the principles of prayer is to be “right with God” if we expect to have our requests heard and fulfilled.  Today’s verse indicates our prayers won’t “be heard”, fulfilled, because of our sin.   

But the good news is that God will hear us and be with us the moment we repent. Our fellowship with God is re-established the moment we confess our sins to Him and ask for His help. 

So don’t treat your faith like some game where you can “sin-confess”, “sin-confess”, Instead be faithful to never leave the Lord’s side by turning from sin and walking where He would direct you.     

___________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org 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 Ten

The Body of Christ

The first disciples lived in the bodily presence of and in community with Jesus. What is the significance of this fact, and in what way does this community still exist for us? Paul states that through baptism we have become members of the body of Christ. This statement sounds very strange and incomprehensible to us, and thus requires a thorough explanation.

It tells us that those who are baptized are still meant to live, even after the Lord’s death and resurrection, in the bodily presence of and community with Jesus. For those who belong to him, Jesus’ departure does not mean a loss but rather a new gift. For the first disciples the bodily community with Jesus did not mean anything different or anything more than what we have today. Indeed, for us this community is even more definite, more complete, and more certain than it was for them, since we live in full community with the bodily presence of the glorified Lord. Our faith must become fully aware of the magnitude of this gift. The body of Jesus Christ is the ground of our faith and the source of its certainty; the body of Jesus Christ is the one and perfect gift through which we receive our salvation; the body of Jesus Christ is our new life. It is in the body of Jesus Christ that we are accepted by God from eternity.

Since Adam’s fall God sent the divine word to sinful humanity, in order to seek and accept us. This is why we have received God’s word, to reconcile our lost humanity with God. God’s word came as promise and as law. For our sake God’s word became weak and lowly. But human beings rejected this word, refusing to be accepted by God. They offered sacrifices; they performed good works which God was supposed to accept in their stead, thereby letting them go free.

Then the miracle of all miracles takes place. The Son of God becomes a human being. The Word became flesh. The One who had dwelled from all eternity in the Father’s glory, the One who was in the form of God, who in the beginning had been the mediator of creation so that the created world can only be known through him and in him, the One who was very God (1 Cor. 8:6; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6ff.; Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:16; John 1:1ff.; Heb. 1:1ff.)—this One takes on humanity and comes to earth. He takes on humanity by taking on human qualities, human ‘nature’, “sinful flesh,” human form (Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6ff.). Now it is no longer only through the word of preaching that God accepts humanity, but also in the body of Christ. God’s mercy sends the Son in the flesh, so that in his flesh he may shoulder and carry all of humanity. The Son of God accepts all of humanity in bodily form, the same humanity which in hate of God and pride of the flesh had rejected the incorporeal, invisible word of God. In the body of Jesus Christ humanity is now truly and bodily accepted; it is accepted as it is, out of God’s mercy.

When contemplating this miracle, the early church fathers insisted passionately that while it was necessary to say that God had taken on human nature, it was wrong to say that God had chosen a single, perfect human being with whom God would then unite. God became human. This means God took on the whole of our sick and sinful human nature, the whole of humanity which had fallen away from God. It does not mean, however, that God took on the individual human being Jesus. The entire gospel message can be understood properly only in light of this crucial distinction. The body of Jesus Christ, in which we together with all of humanity are accepted by God, has now become the foundation of our salvation.

The flesh borne by Christ was sinful flesh—yet borne without sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15). Wherever his human body is, there all flesh is being accepted. “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” Only by bearing all our infirmities and sorrows in his own body was Jesus able to heal the infirmities and sorrows of human nature (Matt. 8:15–17). “He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” He bore our sin, and was therefore able to forgive sin; for in his body our sinful flesh had been “accepted.” This is why Jesus accepted sinners (Luke 15:2): he bore them in his own body. In Jesus the “acceptable (δεκτόν) year of the Lord” had dawned (Luke 4:19).

The incarnate Son of God was thus both an individual self and the new humanity. Whatever he did was at the same time also done on behalf of the new humanity which he bore in his body. He is thus a second Adam, or the “last” Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). For Adam too was both an individual self and at the same time the whole of humanity. Adam also bore the whole of humanity in himself. In him all of humanity has fallen; in “Adam” (which in Hebrew means “human being”), humanity as such has fallen (Rom. 5:19). Christ is the second human being (1 Cor. 15:47) in whom the new humanity is created. He is the “new human being.”

It is only with this perspective in mind that we are able to understand the nature of the bodily community which the disciples enjoyed with Jesus. The bond between Jesus and the disciples who followed him was a bodily bond. This was no accident but a necessary consequence of the incarnation. A prophet and teacher would not need followers, but only students and listeners. But the incarnate Son of God who took on human flesh does need a community of followers [Nachfolgergemeinde] who not only participate in his teaching but also in his body. It is thus in the body of Christ that the disciples have community. They live and suffer in bodily community with Jesus. By being in community with the body of Jesus they are placed under the burden of the cross. For in that body they are all borne and accepted.[1]

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

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com 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 (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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), 213–215.


Saturday, December 3, 2022

I am Free and I am Home - Purity 905

 I am Free and I am Home -  Purity 905 

Purity 905 12/03/2022 Purity 905 Podcast

Purity 905 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the pink and purple clouds of sunrise from the point view of the backyard of my countryside home in Easton NY comes to us from TammyLyn Clark who was tending to her pets when see looked to the right to see this beautiful sunrise. 

Well It’s the first Saturday of December 2022, and it is my prayer that all who read or hear this message will not be so busy in your holiday shopping and preparations for Christmas that you miss out on  the beauty of the season.

I don’t know what it is about December but just last night I was marveling over how I was just over come by peace and love just sitting at the dinner table in the presence of my wife preparing dinner while Christmas music played.  December, for me anyway, brings with it a sense of things wrapping up, or things coming to an end, of a sense that “we made it through another year”, and that we are in the “home stretch”. And this culmination of the year and Christmas celebration brings with it an emphasis on the things that are important: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the love that we enjoy with our loved ones that are reflected by songs like “I’ll be home for Christmas” or “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” or “The Christmas Song”, you know, the one with “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”. So last night I was feeling like an old nostalgic, sappy mess, as I was just “feeling the love” pour out of me as I listened to the music and stared at my wife.

I am so grateful for my wife and this morning I was reflecting on our lives together and just got that Michael Bublé Song: Home that ends with: 

… you always believed in me

Another winter day
Has come and gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I'm surrounded by
A million people I
I still feel alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I've had my run
Baby, I'm done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It'll all be all right
I'll be home tonight
I'm coming back home.”

 

As much as I absolutely adore my place “down by The River” in Stuyvesant, my home is wherever TammyLyn is and the reason I can say that is because no one, other than God, has loved and accepted me as much as she has.  And most importantly, she loves and accepts me for who I am in Christ and encourages me in my walk of faith, even though it was contrary to the way most of the world walks.

 

It increasingly pains my heart to see how most of the world is enamored with the things of this world and how all of us, before coming to Christ, build up our identities around our preferences, activities, and hobbies, and thus separate ourselves from the Lord by living independently of Him.  

 

My decision to follow the Lord has not been without its costs. I have been rejected, insulted, abandoned, and betrayed because of my faith. I always have accepted the losses because I know that the value of the things I have lost or the relationships that have been broken pale in comparison to the immense value of my relationship with God and my eternal destiny with Him, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t hurt.  However, regardless of the pain, that suffering makes the decision to follow the Lord to be even more compelling.

 

“I didn’t suffer all of this, to walk away from the Lord now!”

 

Plus, the Lord delivered me out of so much darkness, that I simply can’t imagine ever going back to the ways things used to be in my life. Occasionally, I’ll be tempted to “give it a rest” or to second guess some of the choices I have made on the path of Christian Discipleship but when I honestly evaluate the situations I faced and the outcomes that have resulted on this faith walk,  I quickly dismiss those thoughts because I simply can’t imagine an alternative road that would have been any better.  

 

Part of that journey is TammyLyn.  The Lord revealed to me that there was simply “no other” woman for me and that her coming into my life was a result of my faithfulness to follow Him and that our coming together as man and wife has elevated my life to heights of joy, love, and purpose that I simply could not have imagined.   

 

And it is because of our faith in Christ that we have a “home” in each other.  

 

It was my decision to be faithful to launch a discipleship ministry, and her decision to seek the Lord in her life that brought us together. 

 

And it was only with the understanding that this decision to follow the Lord would define the rest of our lives, that we became man and wife. 

 

And now we are just doing it. 

 

Last night, after dinner and spending time together, I felt the pull of sleep coming on hard but was reminded by TammyLyn that we hadn’t read the second chapter of the gospel of John yet, as our plan is to  read through that book before Christmas.  

 

So we opened up our Bible’s and read it.  That might not seem like much, but it displays the reason why there was “no other” for me but TammyLyn.  Simple faith, dedication to follow the Lord, come what may, is what I needed in a wife and the Lord gave it to me in TammyLyn.  

 

After emerging victorious over my addictions and all the brokenness of my past because of the Lord’s presence in my life, there was simply nothing and no one that I would allow me to compromise my decision to follow Him.  I was prepared to go the rest of my life alone rather than stop being the person God wanted me to be. 

 

In TammyLyn, I don’t have someone to support me in my decisions to follow the Lord, I have someone to actively encourage and inspire me to be faithful and to be bold and courageous to pursue all that the Lord has for me.  

 

I am free and I am home, in Christ of course, but the Lord was gracious to send me a woman to share this life of freedom, peace, and joy with.  

 

SO to anyone out there who is alone, let me encourage you not to ever compromise your relationship with the Lord by becoming involved with someone who doesn’t know Him or who isn’t actively seeking to obey Him.   Paying the Lord lip service doesn’t cut it for a life partner.  It’s better to walk alone rather than to walk through life with someone who is just pretending to love God and who is actually consumed with themselves or the things of this world.  

 

The Counting Crows song “A long December” is a melancholy song that reflects the winding down spirit of the year, where we might be suffering pain, exhaustion, or loneliness causing us to “laugh a little slower”, or “talk a little lower” but it also speaks the hope that the next year will be better than the last.   

 

I don’t know if you really know who you are in Christ. I don’t know how free you are. I don’t if you have a “home” where you can authentically live out your faith and experience all those things, but I can tell you without a doubt that if you keep walking and talking with God, this year can be better the last because the longer we walk according to His wisdom and ways and stay in His presence, the more we leave the darkness of our old lives behind and the further we step into the plans that He has for us.   

 

So rejoice and take some time to “feel the love” of the season and pour out the love God has given to you to all the people in your life.  It is a “wonderful life” only when we acknowledge it as a gift from God and fully realize the value of it when we are redeemed in Christ.

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Mark 10:42-45 (NLT2)
42  So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.
43  But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,
44  and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.
45  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 Today’s verses show us that the power and authority we receive through Jesus, is best used in the service of others and that our greatness in His kingdom will reflect what we give rather than what we receive.  

Teachings like this from Jesus, I believe, are met with the highest levels of skepticism imaginable because they are so counter intuitive to the way our world system operates.  

The corporate world will occasionally try to adapt the principle of being a “servant leader” by encouraging managers to invest in their team members and to develop the people on you “team” but generally the higher levels of corporate power are accomplished by Machiavellian ends justifying their means and some cutthroat power moves.  

One of the men from a Freedom In Christ course that I lead testified of his corporate success being cut short when he rose through the ranks up to a certain point only to discover that he was determined to be “too nice” for upper management and was fired, leaving him feeling betrayed and utterly disillusioned with the business world.  

He rebounded eventually but his testimony revealed that he was quite shaken by the experience of learning the truth of how things “really were” in the world.   

“Nice guys finish last” isn’t a phrase I just made up and there are lots of people who can testify of their experience where this seems to be true.  

But Jesus says otherwise.  Why? Because He is the Truth, He knows the Truth about final outcomes. 

There are tons of verses in the Bible about this paradox of how the wicked seem to prosper but other verses show us that the wicked will receive justice: like

Deuteronomy 32:35 (NLT2)
35  I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.’

 

And

 

Romans 12:19-21 (NLT2)
19  Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.
20  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
21  Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

So we overcome evil by doing good and as today’s verse teach us we will be considered great in God’s kingdom through being a servant to others like the way Christ was a suffering servant for us.

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org 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 Eight

Preliminary Questions, concludes

 

All this makes it abundantly clear that we cannot play off the narrative of the calling of the disciples against other parts of the gospel account. It is never a question of our having or taking on the same identity as the disciples or other people in the New Testament. The only issue of importance is that Jesus Christ and his call are the same, then and now. His word remains one and the same, whether it was spoken during his earthly life or today, whether it was addressed to the disciples or to the paralytic. Then and now, it is the gracious call to enter his kingdom and to submit to his rule. The question whether I ought to compare myself with the disciple or with the paralytic poses a dangerous and false alternative. I need not compare myself with either of them. Instead, all I have to do is to listen and do Christ’s word and will as I receive them in both of these biblical accounts. Scripture does not present us with a collection of Christian types to be imitated according to our own choice. Rather, in every passage it proclaims to us the one Jesus Christ. It is him alone whom I ought to hear.[9] He is one and the same everywhere.

Thus, when we ask the question of where we can hear Jesus’ call to discipleship today, there is no other answer than this: listen to the word that is preached, and receive the sacrament. In both of these listen to Christ himself. Then you will hear his call![1]

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

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com 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 (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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), 203–204.