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Showing posts with label Romans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Romans. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Yeah, I’m an idiot but God loves me anyway. - Purity 907


Yeah, I’m an idiot but God loves me anyway. -  Purity 907    

Purity 907 12/06/2022 Purity 907 Podcast

Purity 907 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pink, blue, and yellow sunset over the Hudson River from the vantage point of Route 9’s overpass on the Rensselaer side of the Dunn Memorial Bridge comes to us from yours truly as I did my best to capture the glory of the moment from my rearview mirror mounted phone as I drove home yesterday evening.  

Well, It’s Tuesday again, and I for one am happy to leave Monday behind because even though I was able to complete all my work yesterday, I had a serious case of the “Mondays” as I made a couple of mistakes that will forever mark the 5th day of December 2022 as a day that will live in infamy.  Okay, I think I should say goodbye to you now because yesterday’s debacle may cause you to decide to look elsewhere for any advice or encouragement for the path of Christian Discipleship but if nothing else my confession this morning will serve as evidence as my intention to live a life of honesty and transparency.  

Yesterday, while at work I locked myself our of my van and had to call my foreman to send some to let me back into it.  

“Hey that’s no big deal, people make mistakes MT. It could happen to anybody.”  

I wasn’t finished.  While at work yesterday, I locked myself out of my van, twice!

What? 

Yup! Twice.   Sure everybody makes mistakes, but when you do it twice in the same day people have to wonder about your mental and emotional well-being! 

So let me assure you I wasn’t depressed or anxious about any on going issues in my life. I wasn’t super busy either. 

In reassessing each instance of stupidity, I now see the common thread that led to my embarrassment. In each case, I put the keys down, once in the ignition & once in the cup holder, in preparations of leaving where I was but in each case I made a quick decision to “do one more thing, really quick” more or less that caused me to leave the vehicle and lock myself out.  I wasn’t really in a hurry, okay. In fact it was because I wanted to be thorough in performing my work that I found myself locked out of my van. 

In the first instance, even though I had been given the “green light” to leave my first job, an install for a business, by one of the staff on hand, I decided to wait until the acting manager showed up to ask where exactly their “new phone” line was supposed to go. 

So when I saw a man who looked like he might be person I was looking for go inside, I called the contact number I had and ended up speaking to him.  Sometimes with business customers, the staff and even management aren’t aware of what is going on with the business’ requests for service and that was the case yesterday.  So when this manager said, “Why don’t you come inside, so we can figure this out?” I complied quickly but left my keys in the ignition! Doh!”  

After finishing inside, I discovered my mistake, called for help, and ended up slinking back inside the business to get out of the cold. I got in undetected and hid/waited in an unoccupied space until my rescuer called to let me know he was outside.  I figured why bother the staff and embarrass myself with sharing my problem and as far as the business customer is concerned, this little drama never happened, so keep that between us, lol!

Anyway later in the day, I had an “easy” trouble – to fix a customers call forwarding.  They needed the calls on a particular line to be forwarded to a new number but it “wasn’t working”.  I had “some trouble” programing the new number at the  central office so I went into my van to call the “Testing center” who can sometimes “fix” over the phone.  And I was only on the phone with them for a minute or so and they told me that they fixed it. They also pointed out that the “trouble” in the CO was due to sequence in which I performed the steps, just something to “remember next time”.

I was ready to close the job and get new work when I started to doubt.  Even though the person on the phone told me the trouble was fixed, I wanted to “make sure” it was fixed.  So one minute, I am about to close the job, and the next I am going into the central office to set up the call forwarding, in the proper sequence, to confirm, for myself, that the problem was indeed fixed.  I figure it would only take a minute. SO I grabbed my “butt set” and frame clip and went to “get er done.”

But I only took a few steps to the door when I realized that my pockets felt a little light.

Oh NO!

Yup, I left the keys in the cup holder of the van and had locked myself out, AGAIN! 

So I called for help, and eventually got back into the van and back to the garage at the end of the day, SO GLAD, that the day was over.  

As you might suspect, there was a full frontal assault of condemnation in each instance, and I credit the Lord for showing me who I am in Christ as the only way I am still not beating myself up this morning.    

When you make a mistake like this, repeatedly, its hard to have any confidence that you are a capable human being.  Your failures show your inadequacy and the enemy is there to accuse and to drive us into fear or depression because of them.  

But luckily, this isn’t my first rodeo with dealing with condemnation and the Lord has shown me the way to overcome. Not surprisingly, the way to peace is to focus on Him rather than us and if we are being condemned by ourselves or the enemy, it doesn’t matter, we can still point to what is true about Him to restore us.  

Yeah, I’m an idiot but God loves me anyway. Thank You God, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit.  

While the world can and will rightfully judge my inadequacies and choose to reject me, the Lord accepts me for who I am, warts and all, failures and all.  

While others may want to distance themselves from me when I mess up, The Lord draws closer to me.  

And while bad things have happened to me, and mostly because of me, and will continue to happen to me, God is working all things together for my good. He has provided for me and given me good things in this life that I don’t deserve and, by God, for reasons I don’t quite understand and don’t want to question, He will continue to lead me into good things in the future, including His eternal kingdom.  

During the processing of yesterday’s trauma, I went to my go to Bible verse to silence the voices of condemnation, if you don’t know it you haven’t been following me for long,

Romans 8:1 (NKJV) says
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

And those words reminded me that there was no condemnation for me, because I am in Christ Jesus. I am forgiven. I am accepted and loved by God.  I am not judged by my performance or lack thereof. Even though I didn’t feel worthy, when I spoke it, I knew it was true.   

In fact, as I received peace and joy over the reminder of who I am in Christ, I laughed and thought: 

“Even though there very well  SHOULD BE condemnation… There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus!

So if you have made same mistake twice in the same day, I’m right there with you, brother!   And it is my prayer that you know who you are in Christ and that you know that regardless of what you do, if you are in Christ you are: 

LOVED

Forgiven

ACCEPTED

SECURE

SIGNIFICANT

And FREE!

I am Including the link (https://www.ficm.org/ministry-materials/free-resources/)  to the free resources page of Freedom in Christ Ministries, where you can download a copy of  “Who I AM in Christ” List from FICM Today in case you don’t know, or you have forgotten who you are in Christ.  

I also wanted to announce that registration for many new courses, including the Freedom In Christ Course, that l Iead on Tuesday nights in 2023, are now open at FICM. The link for that is on the blog as well: https://www.ficm.org/courses/level-1-get-started/ . Just find the course that is right for you and click on the “More Info & To Sign Up” tab to reserve your spot. Space is limited and registration closes on December 17th, so make plans to grow more and to learn more about your faith and yourself in 2023 by signing up today!

While we may always make mistakes this side of heaven, when we are walking and talking with God, we can move past them.  If we fall down, God is always there to pick us up and to encourage us in the way we should go but we won’t receive His joy and peace unless we know who we are in Christ and remember to keep on walking and talking with Him.   

 

  

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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:

1 John 3:17-19 (NLT2)
17  If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
18  Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
19  Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

 Today’s verses encourage us to show our love for others by acting.

While money can be a sore subject in faith circles, let me apply a little healthy shame: Most of us have enough money to live well, and there are many in need, so let’s face it we should be compassionate and give, something!

If you are flat broke, I get it. But most of us aren’t and can give something. In fact if you are not giving regularly to your church, to ministries, or to charities, I have to encourage you to do it because verses like today’s verses indicate that a Christian should not be just one who says they care but is someone who actually shows it in action and giving is the easiest way to act.  

Don’t get it twisted, I would rather you serve your church or the community at large in some manner to put your feet on the street in service to the Lord but if you can’t do that I would ask you to show your love for others by giving to the less fortunate in some way.  

I look at my own life and my unwise spending and am literally ashamed at times of how badly I mismanage my life but the money I give to my church, spend on ministry expenses, or donate to charities are the expenses that I can look at and feel good about. It might not be much but at least I give something to someone rather than to myself.  

Today verses tell us to enter into the life of discipleship with action, to DO SOMETHING, to share and to show God’s love in us with other people in our lives.  So let your heart lead you to step out and give or to do something for someone, somewhere, for the glory of the Lord.  

___________________________________________

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 Nine

Baptism, concludes

The death of baptism means justification away from sin. In order to be freed from their sin, sinners must die. Whoever has died is justified from sin (Rom. 6:7; Col. 2:20). Sin no longer has any claim on those who are dead; with death the claim has been met and has ceased to exist. Justification from (άπὸ) sin can thus take place only through death. Forgiveness of sin does not mean that the sin is overlooked or forgotten; rather, it means that the sinner is really put to death and thus separated from (άπὸ) sin. However, the only reason the sinner’s death means justification and not condemnation is that this death is suffered in communion [Gemeinschaft] with the death of Christ. Being baptized into the death of Christ is what brings forgiveness of sins and justification and a complete separation from sin. In calling his disciples into the community of the cross, Jesus gave them the gift of justification, of death and forgiveness of sins. The disciple who followed Jesus in the community of the cross received no other gift than the believer who was baptized according to Paul’s teaching.

Although baptism requires a passive role on our human part, it must never be understood as a mechanical process. A look at the relation between baptism and Spirit makes this abundantly clear (Matt. 3:11; Acts 10:47; John 3:5; 1 Cor. 6:11; 12:13). The gift received in baptism is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is Christ himself dwelling in the hearts of the believers (2 Cor. 3:17; Rom. 8:9–11, 14ff.; Eph. 3:16f.). Those baptized are the house in which the Holy Spirit dwells (οίκεῖ). It is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ remains present with us, and that we are in community with him. The Holy Spirit gives us a true understanding of Christ’s nature (1 Cor. 2:10) and of his will; the Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of all that Christ has said to us (John 14:26); the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13), so that we may not be lacking in the knowledge of Christ, and may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God (1 Cor. 2:12; Eph. 1:9). The Holy Spirit does not create uncertainty in us, but certainty and clarity. We are thus enabled to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25; Rom. 8:1, 4), taking confident steps. After his ascension, Jesus did not withdraw from those who belong to him that measure of certainty which the disciples of Jesus enjoyed during their earthly community with him. By sending the Holy Spirit into the hearts of those who are baptized, the community with Jesus has in fact become so intimate that the certainty of knowing him is not only preserved, but increased and strengthened (Rom. 8:16; John 16:12f.).

In calling the disciples, Jesus demanded a visible act of obedience. To follow Jesus was a public act. In just the same way baptism is a public act, for in baptism we are incorporated into the visible church-community [Gemeinde] of Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:27f.; 1 Cor. 12:13). The break with the world which has taken place in Christ can no longer remain hidden; it must become externally visible through active participation in the life and worship of the church-community. Christians who are actively involved in the church-community take a step out of the world, their work, and family; they visibly stand in the community with Jesus Christ. They take this step on their own as individuals. But they regain what they have given up—brothers, sisters, houses, fields.[20] Those who are baptized live in the visible church-community of Jesus Christ. What that means and entails must be examined in the following two chapters on the “body of Christ” and the “visible church-community.”

Baptism and the receiving of its gift take place only once. No one can be baptized twice with the baptism of Christ.[13] The fact that this gracious act of God is unique and cannot be repeated is what the Letter to the Hebrews is trying to express in that mysterious passage about the impossibility of a second repentance after baptism and conversion (Heb. 6:4ff.). All those who are baptized are participating in Christ’s death. Through his death, they have received their death sentence and have died. And just as Christ died once and for all (Rom. 6:10), and just as there can be no repetition of his sacrifice, so do those who are baptized suffer their death with Christ once and for all. Now they are dead. The daily dying of the Christian is now merely a consequence of the one death that has already taken place in baptism, just as a tree dies whose roots have been cut off. Those who have been baptized live henceforth under the motto: “Consider yourselves dead to sin” (Rom. 6:11). They know themselves only as those who have already died, as those who have already undergone everything that is necessary for salvation. Those who have been baptized draw their life not from a real repetition of Christ’s death, which would have to be accomplished ever anew as an act of grace. Instead, their life springs from looking back again and again, placing their faith in Christ’s death as an act of grace which has already been fully accomplished in their baptism. They live out of the once-and-for-allness of Christ’s death.

The fact that baptism can take place once and only once has important consequences with regard to infant baptism. The question is not whether or not infant baptism is really baptism. But precisely because it is indeed baptism, that baptism that takes place only once and cannot be repeated, infant baptism requires certain restrictions in its use. True, it was certainly not a sign of a healthy church life when, in the second and third centuries, believing Christians postponed their baptism until they reached old age or were already on their deathbeds. But this practice nonetheless speaks of a clear insight into the nature of baptismal grace, an insight which is widely lacking today. With regard to infant baptism this means that the sacrament should be administered only where it is certain that the act of salvation already accomplished once and for all will be repeatedly remembered in faith. And that can only be the case in a living church-community. Infant baptism without the church-community is not only an abuse of the sacrament. It also betrays a reprehensible thoughtlessness in dealing with the children’s spiritual welfare, for baptism can never be repeated.

For those who were called, Jesus’ call was equally unique and unrepeatable. Whoever followed him had died to their previous life. This is why Jesus had to require his disciples to leave all they had. Both the finality of their decision and the complete sufficiency of the gift they received from their Lord needed to be clearly expressed. “But if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?”[26] It could not be stated any more pointedly than this that Jesus’ gift was offered and received once and once only. Having taken their life from them, he now sought to give them a life that was full and complete. And so he gave them his cross. That was the gift of baptism to the first disciples.[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), 209–212.

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.

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

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.

___________________________________________

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.

 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Confession: I am not a good Christian - Purity 903

Confession: I am not a good Christian -  Purity 903

Purity 903 12/01/2022  Purity 903 Podcast

Purity 903 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a sidewalk pathway lined with park benches and street lamps, on the shore of the Oswego River, under the cover of darkness, and the light of a full moon comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene during my “night walk” around the west side of Oswego NY back on my November 9th. 

Well, It’s Thursday again and as is my habit, I share a picture of a pathway as an encouragement to anyone reading or hearing this message to get on or to stay on the path of Christian Discipleship with a warning that if you should choose to pick up your cross and follow Jesus, you will be condemned or persecuted for your faith.  

You would think that when we choose to turn from our sinful, selfish, or worldly ways that our family, friends, and acquaintances would applaud our decision to “get right with God” but if you think that you haven’t read or listened to the word of God that tells us quite a different story.  

Jesus warned his disciples: 

John 15:18-20 (NKJV)
18  "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20  Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. … 

Paul wrote: 

2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV)
12  Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Peter wrote:

1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)
12  Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13  but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

So, it shouldn’t be surprising when you lose relationships after you come to faith in Christ. Following Jesus divides us from the world. Even family ties will be torn apart by the gospel that leads us to faith in Christ and repentance. Christ said:

Matthew 10:21-22 (NKJV)
21  Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
22  And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

So this reveals that the world really is under the sway of the evil one and that we will have to endure in our faith even if it costs us the good opinion of others.  

Now that we know that we  will be persecuted for our faith and that Christ also commanded that we love our enemies, and love our neighbors as our self, that we wouldn’t do or saying anything to provoke persecution.  

After all Paul said in Romans

Romans 12:18 (NKJV)
18  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

So you would think that we should walk humbly before men and not say or do anything to offend anyone, right?  

So how did meek and mild Jesus address those who disagreed with Him?  What did Paul say when faced with opposition.  How about Peter who told us to take persecution joyfully?  

Jesus said:

Matthew 23:33 (NKJV)
33  Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

John 8:44 (NKJV)
44  You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Rather than turning the other cheek, when Paul was hit by the order of the high priest Ananiss said:

Acts 23:3 (NKJV)
3  … "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?"

And,

Peter said, to Simon who wanted the Holy Spirit bad enough to pay for it,: 

Acts 8:20-23 (NKJV)
20  … "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21  You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22  Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23  For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."

I point these passages out to not encourage open rebuke to our unsaved contemporaries but would like to discourage the caricature of the silent, peaceful Christian that dare not say anything that may offend anyone.  

I am hyper sensitive to this issue today because in an exchange with someone from my past yesterday, that was admittedly a little contentious, I was told that I was “not a good Christian” and that I was “a hypocrite”.  This person would claim to Christian as well I am sure, although they would perhaps openly admit to being of the “nonpracticing” sect of Christianity for most of the year.   Although if I were a betting man, I might put money against it, they may actually visit a church Christmas service this month, but I doubt it.  

So why does someone who doesn’t have a robust and rich relationship, evidenced by fruit in their character or practice, feel comfortable calling me a hypocrite and not a good Christian? 

Because their spiritually blind of course, but because their also exists this false view that Christians are “perfect people” that never would say anything that would offend anyone regardless of how they live or what they say.  Admittedly, I was pointing out a matter in which this condemner was not being responsible in, and so they lashed out with what they thought would be the worst thing that could say about me. 

I consider my relationship with the Lord and my intention to live out my faith authentically to be very important to me.  I seek to do the Lords will in how I live my life and continually repent to be more in line with God’s ways.   

So being sarcastic and unkind in my “encouragements” to be responsible were definitely not Christ like… or were they?  Jesus and the Apostles didn’t always say nice things.  So in the Spirit of Christ and the Apostles, I tried to provoke repentance, I guess. My choice of words were born out of frustration. You see I have had this “encouraging” talk before. It’s an ongoing thing, and proves to get worse apparently. 

Previously, I encouraged in general terms without the sarcasm and unkind words and was condemned as “not a good Christian” then too! So when the situation came up AGAIN, I was short on patience and wisdom, and by the way things look I will require much of each in the days, weeks, months, and possibly years until this situation is resolved.

Currently there is no end date on this drama. There is no promise of a good end. There may be sizable negative consequences because of it.  So, I will have to deal with it, either through legal action or by endurance and letting things resolve themselves with or without suffering. I will deal with it, eventually, and accept what ever comes.  

But my issue in this situation, is not the highlight here.  Our Christian response is. 

We are forgive. We are repent.  But we don’t let the words of others allow us to doubt who we are in Christ.

Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

So, I’m going to live in the Spirit. I need the forgiveness that comes through Christ alone, and I got it.  So forgive me Lord for my unwise and unkind words, and help me to do your will.  

I am not a good Christian.  But the thing is, none of us are good. 

Romans 3:10-12 (NKJV)
10  As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
11  There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
12  They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."

So don’t believe the myth of the “good Christian”.  We are trying to be more like Christ but there is only one Jesus.  Until we see Him face to face, we will struggle and fail at times. But nothing, will separate us from His love.  

So take the hits, but keep on walking and talking with God. 

___________________________________________

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 Messengers

(An Interpretation of Matthew 10)

The Fruit

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward” (Matt. 10:40–42).

Those who carry Jesus’ word receive one last promise for their work. They have become Christ’s coworkers and helpmates. They are to be like Christ in all things. Thus, for the people to whom they go, they are also to be “like Christ.” With them, Jesus Christ himself enters the house that takes them in. They are bearers of his presence. They bring the people the most valuable gift, Jesus Christ, and with him, God, the Father, and that means forgiveness, salvation, life, blessedness. That is the reward and the fruit of their work and their suffering. Every service done to them is done to Jesus Christ himself. In the same way, that is grace for both the community and the messengers. The community will be all the more willing to treat the messengers well, to honor them and serve them, for with them the Lord himself has entered their house. And the disciples may know that their entry into a house will not be in vain and empty, but that they bring an incomparable gift. It is a law in the realm of God that everyone comes to participate in the gift, when they willingly receive it as a gift from God. Those who take the prophets in, knowing what they are doing, shall come to participate in their cause, their gift, and their reward. Those who take in the righteous shall receive the reward of the righteous, for they have participated in their righteousness who give a cup of water to one of the least, the poorest, who bear no honorable name, to one of these messengers of Jesus Christ; they have served Jesus Christ himself and the reward of Jesus Christ shall be given them.

In this way, the final thought of the messengers is guided, not to their own way or their own suffering or their own reward, but to the purpose of their work: the salvation of the faith-community.[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), 197–198.