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Showing posts with label Rejection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rejection. Show all posts

Friday, December 8, 2023

Learning and Loving in Failure - Purity 1217


 Learning and Loving in Failure - Purity 1217

Purity 1217 12/07/2023 Purity 1217 Podcast

Purity 1217 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pink and purple sunrise sky over the lands near my countryside home in Easton NY comes to us from TammyLyn Clark as my beloved wife captured this scene and shared it on social media, yesterday morning.  

Well, It is Friday, and I can’t wait for the workday to be done so I can be back with TammyLyn at our countryside home once again. There is nothing like being in the company of those you love and last night I had a bittersweet moment as I said goodbye to my friends from Deeper Walk’s School of Prayer Ministry as our classes came to an end.  It was really bittersweet in more ways than one as I will miss seeing them each week and as I had the unenviable position of wishing them congratulations on their successful certification while I have additional work to do to make the grade.  I meet with the school’s leadership on Tuesday to receive the development plan that I will have to follow to receive certification, but last night was all about celebrating what we have learned at the school and about one another.  

Yesterday morning I reached out to my classmates in a group email to give them the news that I didn’t get certified because I wanted them to know, because it didn’t feel right to hide it – going into our “graduation celebration”.  I didn’t want to go into our last meeting and “put on a happy face” with the secret of my failure between us.  I felt I had come too close to my classmates over the last 9 months to not tell them the truth even if it was painful or personally embarrassing.  

I also wanted to reach out to share the news of my “delay in certification”, that feels like rejection, or failure, for those few who also didn’t make it. In setting up my meeting for next week, my instructor indicated that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get certified, so I shared my bad news in the email also as an attempt to offer comfort and encouragement to whoever else didn’t get their certificate. Based on last night’s meeting though it appeared to me that most of my classmates did pass, as the group was asked by a show of hands “who has received their certificate in the mail already?”  I was shocked to see what appeared to be a sea of hands raise up and enthusiastically wave their indication that , yes, they had received their “golden tickets”, making me feel all the more foolish for offering my support to the “others” which may indeed only been one other who I didn’t see wave their hand.  I’ll have to go to the videotape to get a head count of those who didn’t make it to be sure but in considering the idea of “others who didn’t make it” , I had speculated over who “they” may be and I have to be honest in admitting that I was a little shocked, jealous, but pleased to see that some of the people I thought may have to do more work, were joyously indicating their success.  

OOF, misery loves company and I guess a part of me wanted to have my failure validated as “common” with more of my classmates NOT making it.  But they did! And I’m glad they did. While it makes my failure all the more embarrassing and rarer, I am genuinely happy that the people I consider to be my friends didn’t have to go through what I went and am yet to go through.   When you love somebody you want them to prosper and can take joy in their success even when you can’t share in it personally.   

And honestly, that’s what I did last night. Because I had revealed my undisclosed failure, I was able to go into our last meeting with no bitterness or fear and was able to really enjoy our farewell proceedings and honestly congratulate and thank everyone for being a part of my life journey over the last nine months.  The people I have met through the Deeper Walk School of Prayer Ministry are dear to me and I was blessed to discover that they appreciated me too.  

Before the meeting, my email disclosing my failure was responded to by a few who graciously offered their support and kind words of encouragement.  Last night during the meeting, I received private chats messages from others thanking me for my contributions to the group and offering their love and support.  And most shocking of all, one of my fellow students went out of their way to say kind words about me in front of everyone during the Zoom meeting and the instructor of the class, who didn’t certify me – mind you – shared some very encouraging words about me too.   

So even though I didn’t make the grade and have more work to do if I want to receive my “golden ticket” of certification, I felt that my time in the school was well spent as I have learned a lot – far more than the lesson material – and feel that being humbled in this way was perhaps the best thing to help me grow, more than if I had just “passed with flying colors”.   I had idolized the people at Deeper Walk and was somewhat prideful about getting that certification and I think it was fitting to receive this humble pie, to show me that everything I have received has come from God and I shouldn’t idolize or put pride in anything other than Him.

This chapter and over and to be continued and even though it was a shock a disappointment, I will always think of my time at the Deeper Walk School of Prayer Ministry and the people I was able to meet there as a significant part of my Joyful journey through life and my getting even closer to God.  

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

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

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse come from the section on Church Discipline.

Romans 15:14 (NIV2011)
14  I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

Today’s verse is the first of two verses that fall under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church Discipline

1.    Discipline begins with personal admonition.

Today’s verse encourages those in the body of Christ that we are more than capable to instruct one another when we are full of the goodness and knowledge that comes from knowing the Lord.    God’s ways are higher than our ways and when we come to faith we need faithful men and women who have walked with the Lord to show us how to live as Christians.  

I benefited from Deeper Walk’s School of Prayer Ministry, but before that I have had the privilege of being educated and ministered to by a whole cloud of witnesses in the body of Christ – my Bible College program, Master’s program in Christian Counseling, Training with Freedom In Christ Ministries, my personal Mentorship by Pastor Bob Costello, and countless Christian podcast, articles, and books have instructed me in the goodness and knowledge of what it means to be a Christian and to be free in Christ. And while none of the people I have encountered along the way were perfect – their desire to show and share the love and wisdom of the Lord came from a heart filled with God’s perfect love.   

While our resource rightly calls it “discipline” because we need to be diligent in applying God’s ways to our lives, learning the Christian way of life should always include the fruit of the Spirit of patience, goodness, faithfulness, and love. Yes we need to know a lot, but our following Jesus will also cause us to love a lot if we are being truly instructed in His goodness and knowledge.  

So seek knowledge and wisdom but be sure to apply it to your heart to really know the Lord.

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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 are sharing from “God is in the Manger- Reflections on Advent and Christmas” – By Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

God is in the Manger – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ADVENT WEEK TWO -  MYSTERY

DAY SIX

The Mysteries of God

No priest, no theologian stood at the manger of Bethlehem. And yet all Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of all wonders: that God became human. Holy theology arises from knees bent before the mystery of the divine child in the stable. Without the holy night, there is no theology. “God is revealed in flesh,” the God-human Jesus Christ—that is the holy mystery that theology came into being to protect and preserve. How we fail to understand when we think that the task of theology is to solve the mystery of God, to drag it down to the flat, ordinary wisdom of human experience and reason! Its sole office is to preserve the miracle as miracle, to comprehend, defend, and glorify God’s mystery precisely as mystery. This and nothing else, therefore, is what the early church meant when, with never flagging zeal, it dealt with the mystery of the Trinity and the person of Jesus Christ.… If Christmas time cannot ignite within us again something like a love for holy theology, so that we—captured and compelled by the wonder of the manger of the Son of God—must reverently reflect on the mysteries of God, then it must be that the glow of the divine mysteries has also been extinguished in our heart and has died out.

Wonder is the only adequate launching pad for exploring this fullness, this wholeness, of human life. Once a year, each Christmas, for a few days at least, we and millions of our neighbors turn aside from our preoccupations with life reduced to biology or economics or psychology and join together in a community of wonder. The wonder keeps us open-eyed, expectant, alive to life that is always more than we can account for, that always exceeds our calculations, that is always beyond anything we can make.

Eugene Peterson

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke 2:15–20[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 YouTube 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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

“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] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 28–29.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Rejection and Beating the System – Wisdom from Dr. Neil Anderson - Purity 1214


 Rejection and Beating the System – Wisdom from Dr. Neil Anderson - Purity 1214

Purity 1214 12/04/2023    Purity 1214 Podcast

Purity 1214 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of an “oversized” boat gliding over the blue waters of Spencer Gulf that are reflecting the blue sky above comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography)  who shared this scene from his visit to Cowell, South Australia back on August 11th.  

Well, It’s Tuesday and I’ve been looking back to August recently as I am rejoicing over the positive changes that I have made with my health and how the decision to actually treat my food addiction as an addiction has resulted in more than proverbial weights being lifted off of my shoulders.   I am in the best physical shape of my life but at the same time, this year has challenged my resolve as I was summarily deemed to be “rejected” by people I had idolized (there’s a mistake) and for something I had put a lot of pride in obtaining (there’s another mistake), and I had spent considerable time, effort, and money and worked hard to accomplish (no regrets there – I gave it my all).   But I have accepted the loss and am moving forward to the “next things” that the Lord has in store for me.    

The best analogy I can make in regard to my disappointment is that “sometimes you can make all the shots during basketball tryouts and still not make the team.”  Oh well, I have other responsibilities and commitments to take care of and instead of lamenting over what could have been, we will thank the Lord for the lessons learned and move forward to follow Him.   The new year has me leading another Freedom in Christ Course for Men Online for Freedom in Christ Ministries and am signed up for a class to get additional “Discipleship Counseling” training with FICM.  So, in spite of disappointments, I have a hope and a future, for ministry and as always with Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  

Rejection can sting though, and it can cause all kinds of responses like anger, bitterness, depression, and for some of us it can cause us to “press in” and work harder. While that last response is admirable, it also has its inherent dangers as our desire to “beat the system” may lead us to play a game we cannot win.

Freedom in Christ Ministries recently shared this message from Dr. Neil Anderson via email that addresses how overachieving as a response to rejection may not lead to victory and only lead us astray.  I found Anderson’s words to be wise and am sharing them on the blog today.  Dr. Neil Anderson writes:

"BEATING THE SYSTEM

Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted (Luke 14:11).

A small percentage of people defend against rejection by buying into the dog-eat-dog system of the world and learning to compete and scheme to get ahead of the pack. These are the movers and shakers, people who earn acceptance and strive for significance through their performance. They feel driven to get on top of every situation because winning is their passport to acceptance. They are characterized by perfectionism and emotional insulation, and they struggle with anxiety and stress.

Spiritually, the beat-the-system individual refuses to come under God's authority and has little fellowship with God.

This person is committed to controlling and manipulating people and circumstances for their own ends, so it is difficult for them to yield control in their life to God.

In our churches, this person jockeys to be chairman of the ruling board or the most influential member on a committee. Their motivation is not to serve God in this position, however, but to control their world because their self-worth is dependent on it. Beat-the-system controllers are some of the most insecure people you will meet.

Sadly, the controlling individual's defensive strategy only delays inevitable rejection. Eventually, their ability to control their family, their employees, and their church diminishes, and they are replaced by a younger, stronger controller. Some survive this mid-life crisis, but many who make it to retirement don't enjoy much of it. Studies show that high-powered executives live an average of nine months after they retire. They base their lives in the world system they seek to conquer, but inevitably the world claims its own.

 "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

Gracious Lord, teach me to be in this world but not of it. I choose Your kingdom to be my standard.

Neil Anderson”

Yes, Lord teach us all to choose Your Kingdom to be our standard and to not place the approval of other men above You. Help us to accomplish Your will for our lives and to not make idols out of the things of this world that will one day prove not to be of You and will only pass away.   Help us to follow You into your purposes and peace, always. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

1 Kings 22:1-14 (NKJV)
1  Now three years passed without war between Syria and Israel.
2  Then it came to pass, in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went down to visit the king of Israel.
3  And the king of Israel said to his servants, "Do you know that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, but we hesitate to take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?"
4  So he said to Jehoshaphat, "Will you go with me to fight at Ramoth Gilead?" Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses."
5  Also Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "Please inquire for the word of the LORD today."
6  Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, "Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to fight, or shall I refrain?" So they said, "Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king."
7  And Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?"
8  So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil." And Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say such things!"
9  Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, "Bring Micaiah the son of Imlah quickly!"
10  The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, having put on their robes, sat each on his throne, at a threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
11  Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made horns of iron for himself; and he said, "Thus says the LORD: 'With these you shall gore the Syrians until they are destroyed.' "
12  And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, "Go up to Ramoth Gilead and prosper, for the LORD will deliver it into the king's hand."
13  Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, "Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Please, let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement."
14  And Micaiah said, "As the LORD lives, whatever the LORD says to me, that I will speak."

Today’s verses fall under the sixteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

 16. God’s office bearers must say all and only that which he requires of them, even when they are under great pressure to do otherwise

Today’s verses set the stage for a dramatic moment regarding prophecy and the reality of the fact that God may use the spiritual forces of darkness to accomplish His will on earth.   For Micaiah went on to say:  

1 Kings 22:19-23 (NKJV)
19  Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.
20  And the LORD said, 'Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?' So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner.
21  Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, 'I will persuade him.'
22  The LORD said to him, 'In what way?' So he said, 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And the LORD said, 'You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.'
23  Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you."

That’s a tough message to share – that King Ahab’s hopes for victory will fail and that demons are speaking through your trusted advisors, but Micaiah eventually shared it regardless of the pressure on him to say otherwise.  

And so we too must share the gospel of grace that declares Jesus as the ONLY WAY to peace with God and that calls sin for what it is.   But let’s remember to say all and only what the Lord would have us say and to hold off on sharing our personal opinion if it does not come from God’s Spriit.  We want to speak the truth and we want to do so in love but sometimes we are charged to bring conviction and should speak the hard truths that others need to hear.  So follow the Lord and listen to His voice to make sure you say all and only what He calls you to speak.

 

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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 are sharing from “God is in the Manger- Reflections on Advent and Christmas” – By Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

God is in the Manger – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ADVENT WEEK TWO -  MYSTERY

DAY THREE

The Wonder of All Wonders

God travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof.

Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away: that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety—that is where he wants to be, and no one can keep him from it. Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly.… God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.

That … is the unrecognized mystery of this world: Jesus Christ. That this Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter, was himself the Lord of glory: that was the mystery of God. It was a mystery because God became poor, low, lowly, and weak out of love for humankind, because God became a human being like us, so that we would become divine, and because he came to us so that we would come to him. God as the one who becomes low for our sakes, God in Jesus of Nazareth—that is the secret, hidden wisdom … that “no eye has seen nor ear heard nor the human heart conceived” (1 Cor. 2:9).… That is the depth of the Deity, whom we worship as mystery and comprehend as mystery.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,

nor the human heart conceived,

what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

1 Corinthians 2:8–10[1]

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

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

at 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 YouTube 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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

“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] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 22–23.


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Rejection’s Lies - Purity 1210

Rejection’s Lies - Purity 1210

Purity 1210 11/29/2023 Purity 1210 Podcast

Purity 1210 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a darkened highway in the foreground of the Schodack Creek, and the Hudson River down the road a piece, at twilight time comes to us from yours truly as I purposely took a moment to appreciate my river view after returning home from work yesterday.  

Well, It’s Wednesday and although I didn’t share any mountainous humps to visually represent our arrival at the midpoint of another work week, I figured I would share  one of the latest photos I have taken as a “check in” for current events.  While you can’t assume that my circumstances or mood matched the tranquility of this twilight photo, I’m happy to report that I was fully at peace when I decided to appreciate where the Lord has placed me, down by the River.  

Speaking of check in’s and being moved by the Lord, I am happy to announce that the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group at Starpoint Church will resume meeting this evening and I am excited to see how the Lord will use tonight’s lesson to encourage those who come in their faith.   

Tonight’s topic is “Identity” and the focus of the lesson will be on what our identity is as “born again” followers of Jesus Christ and how the acceptance of our new identity can be a major key to experiencing victory over and freedom from our hurts, habits, and hang-ups, and can be the foundation on which a life of peace and joy can stand and walk.   The focus is “on being a Christian” and making that mean something in regard to how you think, feel, and live.  

The reason I started this blog was because I discovered the truth of how I was actually a new creation after I put my faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that when I decided to follow the Lord with the way I live my life I received healing, freedom, and a life that was defined by peace and joy more than anger, anxiety, depression, and darkness.   So this is my continuous message of hope. This is my ministry of encouragement. 

Among other things tonight’s lesson should convey that our new identity in Christ means that we are accepted, by grace, because of our faith in Jesus Christ, and that we don’t have to perform to be accepted.  

When fully realized, that is a game changer because it encompasses the love of God and goes contrary to just about everything the world teaches us.   We don’t earn our way into God’s kingdom.  It’s a gift given to us by God. That can be hard to understand because the world is full of rejection and standards to meet in order to be accepted. We have to earn our place in many places in the world. We have to accomplish things in order to get things and sometimes, in the world that includes love.  If we act foolishly and fail to perform, we run the risk of being rejected in the world but while God will encourage us to “do what is right” according to His word – to be wise and righteous – if we put our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior – God will continue to accept us even if we mess up. God doesn’t make us earn His love.  

I have faced a lot of rejection in my life.  Hey, not all the guys make “the team” right? Some guys don’t have “the right stuff” or don’t know the “right people” or come from the “right side of the tracks” and even though your performance may earn acceptance in some circles, there are some places where you will never be accepted no matter what you do.  If someone doesn’t love you, there may be nothing that can change that.  

As a teenager, my first love, or obsession, was with a young lady that shall remain nameless, who I honestly didn’t think much of upon first meeting her, but we became friends and talked and as I got to know her a little, I realized that she had captured my attention and my heart.  We had one “date” at a pizza place but although I went into that meal with a great deal of hope, the topic of conversation made me realize that she only considered me to be a friend.  Friend-zoned, oh yes. But I was really dumb and instead of taking her no as an answer, I decided and even told her that I would earn her love and that she would change her mind.  She didn’t. Things ended very badly.   And despite the disaster and the end of all contact with her, a part of me held on to the idea that “unrequited love was the best love” because it didn’t come easy – that love had to be some epic quest.   And so that wound of rejection, created so many strongholds its not even funny, such as:

·       You’re not good enough.

·       No one will love you for who you are.

·       You are deficient, fat, ugly, stupid, crazy, bad, and or just plain evil.

·       You have to earn love.  

·       Nobody “worth anything” would want you.  

But to my credit I still believed in love and tried again, got “friend zoned” again and that relationship – although it never went anywhere took a considerable time, and a good amount of heartache and frustration to end.

But after that and similar rejections, oh brother, my broken heart made me “cold as ice” and I went from some one earnestly was seeking love to someone who saw love as a lie and decided to never let anyone close to my heart and to just seek shallow physical relationships.  And it was all because of how I saw myself as someone that people would reject and as someone who had to “earn it”. 

That’s why tonight’s lesson on Identity, and knowing who we are in Christ, is so important – it tells you the truth about the world and about the ultimate things of God’s kingdom and how they relate to you personally.  After you put your faith in Jesus, you can know that you are loved, accepted, significant, and secure – and living from that point of view puts things in the proper perspective of God’s view on things – the view that matters the most and ultimately will be the only view that matters.   

So let me encourage you to check out the “Who I am in Christ” statement sheet pdf from Freedom in Christ Ministries (https://www.ficm.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/who-i-am-in-christ05.pdf). It will tell you who you are in Christ and it’s all good news! When you meditate upon and accept those statements as “true about you” and live according to those truths, you can have peace and joy because you will know that you don’t have to earn anything from God and that He will always love you not matter what and will live with you forever.  

So, renounce the lies that the world has told you and agree with the truth of who you are in Christ and live it! Keep walking and talking with God because He has good things to say about you and will guide you to experience just how true all those statements about your identity in Christ are.

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

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

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

Ezekiel 33:7-9 (ESV)
7  “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
8  If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
9  But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

Today’s verses fall under the thirteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

 13. Office bearers must warn the wayward.

Today’s verses indicate that we have an obligation to tell people to repent.  As much as we want to love our neighbors as ourselves, we have to share the hard truth from the word of God that would define much of what we believe and do in the world to be “sin”.  

Ezekiel shared the message, so we don’t have to worry about someone’s blood being required at his hand.  That may be difficult to discern the meaning of, is God saying we could lose our salvation if we don’t tell the wicked to repent?   

I take the view that statements like these in God’s word aren’t prescriptive but are descriptive.  For instance, the verses regarding drunkenness in 1 Corinthians 6 and other places that say that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God may cause some to think that if a Christian were to get drunk they could lose their salvation. 

But I believe that these verses indicate a general truth in regard to the sincerity of someone’s faith and whether or not they are a “true convert”. If your life reflects your faith in drunkenness more than in God, it may indicate that you are fooling yourself – although you say you believe, your actions reveal what you really believe – that God’s word is useless, and you are not a “slave to” or follower of Jesus Christ.  

Likewise, if we say we believe the word of God but never tell anyone the truth about sin and warn them to repent, it may indicate we believe “the word of God is useless” and we really don’t believe – because we don’t profess the truth or show our love for others by sharing it with them.  

So speak the truth in love and try to reflect that you really love the Lord by obeying His word.

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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 are sharing from “God is in the Manger- Reflections on Advent and Christmas” – By Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

God is in the Manger – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ADVENT WEEK ONE -  WAITING

DAY SIX

Silence: Waiting for God’s Word

We are silent in the early hours of each day, because God is supposed to have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep, because to God also belongs the last word. We are silent solely for the sake of the word, not in order to show dishonor to the word but in order to honor and receive it properly. Silence ultimately means nothing but waiting for God’s word and coming away blessed by God’s word.… Silence before the word, however, will have its effect on the whole day. If we have learned to be silent before the word, we will also learn to be economical with silence and speech throughout the day. There is an impermissible self-satisfied, prideful, offensive silence. This teaches us that what is important is never silence in itself. The silence of the Christian is a listening silence, a humble silence that for the sake of humility can also be broken at any time. It is a silence in connection with the word.… In being quiet there is a miraculous power of clarification, of purification, of bringing together what is important. This is a purely profane fact. Silence before the word, however, leads to the right hearing and thus also to the right speaking of the word of God at the right time. A lot that is unnecessary remains unsaid.

Today is Remembrance Sunday. Will you have a memorial service for B. Riemer? It would be nice, but difficult. Then comes Advent, with all its happy memories for us. It was you who really opened up to me the world of music-making that we have carried on during the weeks of Advent. Life in a prison cell may well be compared to Advent: one waits, hopes, and does this, that, or the other—things that are really of no consequence—the door is shut, and can only be opened from the outside.

Letter from Bonhoeffer at Tegel prison to

Eberhard Bethge, November 21, 1943

For God alone my soul waits in silence,

for my hope is from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my deliverance and my honor;

my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;

pour out your heart before him;

God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 62:5–8[1]

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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

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These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube 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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

“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] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 12–13.