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Showing posts with label Saint. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saint. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

It’s YOUR DAY – For Those in Christ: You are a Saint! - Purity 1187


It’s YOUR DAY – For Those in Christ: You are a Saint! - Purity 1187

Purity 1187 11/01/2023 Purity 1187 Podcast

Purity 1187 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a large boulder of rock entrenched on the side of a hill surrounded by pine trees with their autumn deciduous friends in the background comes to us from yours truly as I stopped for a moment to capture this enchanted forest in the early moments of my exploration of the High Falls Gorge Nature Experience in Wilmington NY on Saturday October 28th.

Well, It’s Wednesday and I thought that this mini mountain of a rock was an adequate visual representation of our arrival at the midpoint of another work week – so happy hump day to all you saints out there!

That’s right if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior – I am talking to you! As the Apostles never addressed their epistles to the “sinners” in Rome, Ephesus, or Colosse, etc., we should not think of ourselves as “sinners saved by grace” although that is admittedly who were, but since we have been filled with the Holy Spirit and given new life in Christ, we should embrace our new identity in Christ as saints.  “Saints” is the word that is used to describe members of the church, those who were called by God to be adopted into His royal family. Since we put our faith in Jesus, we are forgiven, we are saved, we are children of God, we are citizens of heaven, members of a royal priesthood, and SAINTS.  

So as today is “All Saints Day”, consider today to be YOUR DAY and remember the life that you have been given in Christ and rejoice!   

While some traditions consider “saints” to be the all- star team of faithful Christians of the past, the Bible tells us that all who belong to God through their faith in Christ, the bride of Christ – the church – are saints.  

Just like our salvation, we don’t have to do anything to become saints or to earn “sainthood” other than trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  

Don’t get me wrong, I will certainly encourage you to pursue holiness and sanctification through repentance and renewing your mind with the word of God to become more and more like Jesus – but as for sainthood – you are already there my friends – but of course that doesn’t mean you can’t grow in righteousness and maturity to better reflect your new identity as a saint.  

So rejoice saints! You didn’t have to earn that title, but you can show the love you have for what the Lord has given you by sharing your faith and life in Christ through the way you live your life.  

You can tell people all day long that you are a saint, but its probably better to take the humble road and let your life in Christ convince others that you have been changed by the Lord and walk the walk as well as talk the talk of a saint.  

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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 vers come from the section on Blame Shifting.

Proverbs 19:3 (NKJV)
3  The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the LORD.

Today’s verses fall under the second point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Blame Shifting.

 2. Some try to blame God.

Today’s verses testify to how our own sinful and selfish desires warp our walk through life and how we tend to audaciously blame the Lord in our hearts for making us experience the suffering that OUR actions cause us.  

Okay, I have to admit, I needed some help to glean the meaning from today’s Bible verse – while I understand how my foolishness as a man has twisted my way from experience, I didn’t quite “get” how my heart “frets against the Lord”  - Fret?   

The definition for fret is to “be constantly or visibly worried or anxious” according to Oxford Languages. But how does one “fret against” the Lord – what do you mean?!?

But before I went to Oxford to try to discern what the second half of this verse was trying to tell us. I decided to consult an easier – more user-friendly version of the Bible – The NLT – The New Living Translation to see if I could “get” the meaning from it.  While I am in many ways a child at heart – or just childish at times – I have discovered that the NLT – which is appropriate for “youth” and those new to scripture helps me – a Bible college graduate – helps me to quickly discern meaning of some of the more poetic passages in the NKJV – although that is the one I prefer, mostly. 

Anyway, the NLT presents:

Proverbs 19:3 (NLT2) as
3  People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.

Angry! That’s what “fret against” means!  And I love the way the NLT just sort of simplifies both portions of this verse to make the meaning ultra clear. 

I ruin my life by my own foolishness and then get angry at God!  -That was my pre-Christ life of struggle and strife! And not for nothing – that verse remains true for Christians who decide to go their own way, rather than following Jesus and choosing to walk in the Spirit and do things according to God’s word.  

So with the NLT making this clear- I can “see” how this verse is associated with blame shifting.   We screw up our lives doing things our way – and we blame God for “making me this way”!

But now that we know the truth of who Christ is, let’s not do that. Let’s not “twist our way” with our own foolishness and “fret against God” in our hearts.  Instead let’s acknowledge our old ways as foolishness and choose to accept responsibility for what we do and choose to do things according to the wisdom of 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 A. W. Pink’s – The Arthur Pink Anthology  - a collection of A.W. Pink’s tracts brought together in one book and dispersed here on the blog for your encouragement.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for free as a PDF at many sites, but printed copies of collections of A.W. Pink’s books are available for purchase wherever Christian books are sold. 

The Arthur Pink Anthology – 1

1 John 2:2  - Part 2 of 2

In the fourth place, when John added, “And not for ours only, but also for the whole world”, he signified that Christ was the propitiation for the sins of Gentile believers too, for, as previously shown, “the world” is a term contrasted from Israel. This interpretation is unequivocally established by a careful comparison of 1 John 2:2 with John 11:51, 52, which is a strictly parallel passage: “And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” Here Caiaphas, under inspiration, made known for whom Jesus should “die.” Notice now the correspondency of his prophecy with this declaration of John’s:

He is the propitiation for our (believing Israelites) sins.”

He prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation.

And not for ours only.” “And not for that nation only.

But also for the whole world”—That is, Gentile believers scattered throughout the earth.

He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

In the fifth place, the above interpretation is confirmed by the fact that no other is consistent or intelligible. If the “whole world” signifies the whole human race, then the first clause and the “also” in the second clause are absolutely meaningless. If Christ is the propitiation for everybody, it would be idle tautology to say, first, “He is the propitiation for our sins and also for everybody.” There could be no “also” if He is the propitiation for the entire human family. Had the apostle meant to affirm that Christ is a universal propitiation he had omitted the first clause of verse 2, and simply said, “He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.” Confirmatory of “not for ours (Jewish believers) only, but also for the whole world”—Gentile believers, too; compare John 10:16; 17:20.

In the sixth place, our definition of “the whole world” is in perfect accord with other passages in the New Testament. For example: “Whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the Gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world” (Col. 1:5, 6). Does “all the world” here mean, absolutely and unqualifiedly, all mankind? Had all the human family heard the Gospel? No; the apostle’s obvious meaning is that, the Gospel, instead of being confined to the land of Judea, had gone abroad, without restraint, into Gentile lands. So in Romans 1:8: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. The apostle is here referring to the faith of these Roman saints being spoken of in a way of commendation. But certainly all mankind did not so speak of their faith! It was the whole world of believers that he was referring to! In Revelation 12:9 we read of Satan “which deceiveth the whole world.” But again this expression cannot be understood as a universal one, for Matthew 24:24 tells us that Satan does not and cannot “deceive” God’s elect. Here it is “the whole world” of unbelievers.

In the seventh place, to insist that “the whole world” in 1 John 2:2 signifies the entire human race is to undermine the very foundations of our faith. If Christ is the propitiation for those that are lost equally as much as for those that are saved, then what assurance have we that believers too may not be lost? If Christ is the propitiation for those now in hell, what guarantee have I that I may not end in hell? The blood-shedding of the incarnate Son of God is the only thing which can keep any one out of hell, and if many for whom that precious blood made propitiation are now in the awful place of the damned, then may not that blood prove inefficacious for me! Away with such a God-dishonoring thought.

However men may quibble and wrest the Scriptures, one thing is certain: The Atonement is no failure. God will not allow that precious and costly sacrifice to fail in accomplishing, completely, that which it was designed to effect. Not a drop of that holy blood was shed in vain. In the last great Day there shall stand forth no disappointed and defeated Saviour, but One who “shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied” (Isa. 53:11). These are not our words, but the infallible assertion of Him who declares, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 64:10). Upon this impregnable rock we take our stand. Let others rest on the sands of human speculation and twentieth-century theorizing if they wish. That is their business. But to God they will yet have to render an account. For our part we had rather be railed at as a narrow-minded, out-of-date, hyper-Calvinist, than be found repudiating God’s truth by reducing the Divinely-efficacious atonement to a mere fiction.[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] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Arthur Pink Anthology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005).

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Bonhoeffer's Discipleship: Lesson 17 - The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship - The Saints - Part 1


 
What better day to present a lesson on the Saints! Thursdays were the nights I taught recovery ministry and initially launched the Community Freedom Ministry that led to me expanding my blog to the podcast and YouTube channel.  

So I find it oddly appropriate and I am happy to announce that I have completed and uploaded  Lesson 17 of “Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship” : an informal study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship – with Lesson  17  “The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship” – The Saints - Part 1   

 

 

Here is a link to the audio podcast: Lesson 17 Podcast

Here is a link to the video on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel:  





It is my prayer that this series will encourage people to read Bonhoeffer’s work but more importantly I hope the lessons encourage people to deepen their faith in Christ by pursuing a life of Christian Discipleship. 

God bless you all. 

 

M. T. Clark  



Tuesday, November 1, 2022

What Your Mercy Did For Me! – It Ain’t All Sinner’s Day! - Purity 877


What Your Mercy Did For Me!  – It Ain’t All Sinner’s Day!  - Purity 877

Purity 877 11/01/2022 Purity 877 POdcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a solitary flower in full bloom declaring new life after it was mercilessly mowed down comes to us from yours truly as I took the time to document this object lesson of hope and determination that I witnessed on my property Down By the River on Sunday afternoon.     

Well, it may be the second day of the work week but it’s the first day on a new month in which everyone in our country will be called to give thanks and it just happens to also be the day when the body of Christ is called to remember the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ that have gone before us and for us to give thanks to God that we will be in that number when the saints go marching in! Happy All Saints Day.  

That’s right ALL SAINTS, as in every man, woman, and child who has ever “bowed the knee” in humble surrender and made Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of their lives.  And while anyone could read this message, I have to believe that YOU and ME!

We may have been sinners saved by grace when we heard the call to repent and trust in Jesus, and we will always be less than Christ’s sinless perfection,  but after we placed our faith in Jesus, we were adopted into God’s royal family, and should thus claim and declare our identity as saints.  

While yesterday’s Halloween Celebrations unwittingly gave homage to the spiritual forces of darkness, today, along with every other day, is a day that we should celebrate the fact that of all the people in the world, the Creator of the universe chose us to know the truth about life and death, sin and forgiveness, heaven and hell, and called us to life through faith in His Son!  

This morning during my work out Micah Tyler’s What Mercy Did for Me came on and I have to tell you the words penetrated to my heart as I remembered once again that I was once lost in darkness when the Lord called me to know His love and His light and to experience a new life in Him!  

The chorus to that song says:  

“Lord you found me

You healed me

You called me from the grave

You gave me your real love

I thank you Jesus

You washed my sins away

Oh now I'm living like I'm forgiven

You came and set me free

That's what your mercy did for me”



God’s mercy and grace gave me forgiveness, love, and a new life filled with meaning and purpose.   And the gift of His mercy and grace continues to shape and transform my life and the lives of others that I encounter as I keep on walking and talking with God. 

Tonight I host the Freedom  in Christ Course on Zoom and the lesson is all about renewing the mind and breaking strongholds, a lesson that reminds Christians that Christ came to set us free and to destroy the works of the enemy. It’s a sad truth that many Christians have great joy at their salvation but stay locked in chains by believing the lies that the world, the flesh, and the devil have set up in their minds.  

The course teaches that just because we believed lies in the past doesn’t mean we have to live according to them now that we are in Christ. God has given us the Holy Spirit and His Word to use to overcome all the strongholds in our lives that have given the enemy a foothold and kept us from living the life of freedom and victory that the Lord has called us to.   

Just like the flower in today’s photo , that was dead, cut off mercilessly by my lawn mower, we can grow into the life God has for us. Because there was life in it that plant, unseen in the dirt, it was able to rise above its brokenness and fulfill its purpose to give God glory for the life He had given it by rising up and blooming by reaching for the light of the sun.  We too can rise up and if we abide in the Light of the Son of God and the truth of His Word, we can grow out of our brokenness and give God the glory for the life He has put in us.  

That’s what His mercy can do for all of us, so keep on reaching out for the Lord, that’s right keep on walking and talking with God because He has transformed us from sinners into saints and all we have to do is believe it to receive it, by living it.

  

     

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 33:18 (NLT2)
18  But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that the Lord watches out for those who fear Him and rely on His unfailing love.  

And as a reminder, we should fear the Lord. His righteousness and holiness calls us to repentance and if we don’t make peace with Him there will be hell to pay.  

But if we put our faith Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of Him anymore and our fear should be changed to an awe and respect that causes us to obey Him and to rely on His unfailing love.  

And this is a huge step that we have to make sure that we make after we put our faith in Jesus. We have to develop our love relationship with God.  We have to interact with Him relationally. We do that by thanking Him continually for the life He has given us, for all He has provided for us, and for all that He is and for all that He has done.  

Today’s the first day of November, the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, so if you aren’t already practicing gratitude and appreciation for the Lord, give it a try.  When we live a life of thankfulness to God, out love for Him grows and we can get past any false beliefs we may have had about Him as an angry judge and we can see Him as just, holy, good, loving heavenly Father that made a way to save us when He didn’t have to.  

Start the practice of relying on God’s unfailing love today by respecting Him enough to give Him your thanks and praise and by letting Him know that you love Him for what He has done for you and for who He is.  “I love you Lord” is probably the most appropriate thing we can say to One who made us and who saved us. God is good and if you know it you should remind yourself by relying on the love that never fails.

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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 Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Enemy—the “Extraordinary” concludes

“Pray for those who abuse and persecute you.” That is the most extreme. In prayer we go to our enemies, to stand at their side. We are with them, near them, for them before God. Jesus does not promise us that the enemy we love, we bless, to whom we do good, will not abuse and persecute us. They will do so. But even in doing so, they cannot harm and conquer us if we take this last step to them in intercessory prayer. Now we are taking up their neediness and poverty, their being guilty and lost, and interceding for them before God. We are doing for them in vicarious representative action what they cannot do for themselves. Every insult from our enemy will only bind us closer to God and to our enemy. Every persecution can only serve to bring the enemy closer to reconciliation with God, to make love more unconquerable.

How does love become unconquerable? By never asking what the enemy is doing to it, and only asking what Jesus has done. Loving one’s enemies leads disciples to the way of the cross and into communion with the crucified one. But the more the disciples are certain to have been forced onto this path, the greater the certainty that their love remains unconquered, that love overcomes the hatred of the enemy; for it is not their own love. It is solely the love of Jesus Christ, who went to the cross for his enemies and prayed on the cross for them. Faced with the way of the cross of Jesus Christ, however, the disciples themselves recognize that they were among the enemies of Jesus who have been conquered by his love. This love makes the disciples able to see, so that they can recognize an enemy as a sister or brother and behave toward that person as they would toward a sister or brother. Why? Because they live only from the love of him who behaved toward them as toward brothers and sisters, who accepted them when they were his enemies and brought them into communion with him as his neighbors. That is how love makes disciples able to see, so that they can see the enemies included in God’s love, that they can see the enemies under the cross of Jesus Christ. God did not ask me about good and evil, because before God even my good was godless. God’s love seeks the enemy who needs it, whom God considers to be worthy of it. In the enemy, God magnifies divine love. Disciples know that. They have participated in that love through Jesus. For God lets the sun shine and the rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. It is not only the earth’s sun and earthly rain which descend on good and evil, but it is also the “sun of righteousness,” Jesus Christ himself, and the rain of God’s word, which reveal the grace of his Father in heaven toward sinners. Undivided, perfect love is the act of the Father; it is also the act of the children of their Father in heaven, just as it was the deed of God’s only begotten Son.

“The prayers of neighborly love and of nonrevenge will be especially important in the struggle fought by God toward which we are moving, and in which to some extent we have already been engaged for years. On one side, hatred is fighting, and on the other, love. Every Christian soul must seriously prepare for this. The time is coming in which everyone who confesses the living God will become, for the sake of that confession, not only an object of hatred and fury. Indeed, already we are nearly that far along now. The time is coming when Christians, for the sake of their confession, will be excluded from ‘human society,’ as it is called, hounded from place to place, subjected to physical attack, abused, and under some circumstances even killed. The time of a widespread persecution of Christians is coming, and that is actually the real meaning of all the movements and struggles of our time. Those opponents intent upon destroying the Christian church and Christian faith cannot live together with us, because they see in all of our words and all of our actions that their own words and deeds are condemned, even if ours are not directed against them. And they are not wrong in seeing this and feeling that we are indifferent to their condemnation of us. They have to admit that their condemnation is completely powerless and negligible. They sense that we do not relate to them at all, as would be quite all right with them, on the basis of mutual blaming and quarreling. And how are we supposed to fight this fight? The time is approaching when we—no longer as isolated individuals, but together as congregations, as the church—shall lift our hands in prayer. The time is coming when we—as crowds of people, even if they are relatively small crowds among the many thousands-times-thousands of people who have fallen away—will loudly confess and praise the crucified and resurrected Lord, and his coming again. And what prayer, what confession, what song of praise is this? It is a prayer of most intimate love for those who are lost, who stand around us and glare at us with eyes rolling with hatred, some of whom have already even conspired to kill us. It is a prayer for peace for these distraught and shaken, disturbed and destroyed souls, a prayer for the same love and peace that we ourselves enjoy. It is a prayer which will penetrate deeply into their souls and will tug at their hearts with a much stronger grip than they can manage to tug at our hearts, despite their strongest efforts to hate. Yes, the church which is truly waiting for its Lord, which really grasps the signs of the time of final separation, such a church must fling itself into this prayer of love, using all the powers of its soul and the total powers of its holy life” (A. F. C. Vilmar, 1880).

What is undivided love? Love which does not show special favor to those who return our love with their own. In loving those who love us, our kindred, our people, our friends, yes, even our Christian community, we are no different than the Gentiles and the tax collectors. That kind of love is self-evident, regular, natural, but not distinctly Christian. Yes, in this case it really is “the same” thing that non-Christians[151] and Christians do. Loving those who belong to me through blood, history, or friendship is the same for non-Christians and Christians. Jesus does not have a lot to say about that kind of love. People know all by themselves what it is. He does not need to light its flame, to emphasize it or exalt it. Natural circumstances alone force it to be recognized, for non-Christians and for Christians. Jesus does not need to say that people should love their sisters and brothers, their people, their friends. That goes without saying. But by simply acknowledging that and not wasting any further words on it, and, in contrast to all that, commanding only love for enemies, he shows what he means by love and what they are to think about the other sort of love.

How are disciples different from nonbelievers? What does “being Christian” consist of? At this point the word appears toward which the whole fifth chapter is pointed, in which everything already said is summarized: what is Christian is what is “peculiar,” περισσόν, the extraordinary, irregular, not self-evident. This is the “better righteousness” which “outdoes” that of the Pharisees, towers over them, that which is more, beyond all else. What is natural is τὸ αύτὸ (one and the same) for non-Christians and Christians. What is distinctly Christian begins with the περισσόν, and that is what finally places what is natural in the proper light. When this specialness, this extraordinariness, is absent, then what is Christian is absent. What is Christian does not take place in naturally given circumstances, but in stepping beyond them. The περισσόν never dissolves into τὸ αύτὸ. It is the great mistake of a false Protestant ethic to assume that loving Christ can be the same as loving one’s native country, or friendship or profession, that the better righteousness and justitia civilis are the same. Jesus does not talk that way. What is Christian depends on the “extraordinary.” That is why Christians cannot conform to the world, because their concern is the περισσόν.

What does the περισσόν, the extraordinary, consist of? It is the existence of those blessed in the Beatitudes, the life of the disciples. It is the shining light, the city on the hill. It is the way of self-denial, perfect love, perfect purity, perfect truthfulness, perfect nonviolence. Here is undivided love for one’s enemies, loving those who love no one and whom no one loves. It is love for one’s religious, political, or personal enemy. In all of this it is the way which found its fulfillment in the cross of Jesus Christ. What is the περισσόν? It is the love of Jesus Christ himself, who goes to the cross in suffering and obedience. It is the cross. What is unique in Christianity is the cross, which allows Christians to step beyond the world in order to receive victory over the world. The passio in the love of the crucified one—that is the “extraordinary” mark of Christian existence.

The extraordinary is doubtless that which is visible, which magnifies the Father in heaven. It cannot remain hidden. The people have to see it. The community of Jesus’ disciples, the community of better righteousness, is the visible community, that took the step beyond the orders of the world. It has left everything behind to gain the cross of Christ.

What are you doing that is special? The extraordinary—and that is what is most offensive—is a deed the disciples do. It has to be done—like the better righteousness—and done visibly! Not in ethical rigor, not in the eccentricity of Christian ways of life, but in the simplicity of Christian obedience to the will of Jesus. This deed will prove to be what is “special” by leading Christians to the passio of Christ. Such action itself is continuous suffering. In this action Christ is his disciples’ passio. If it is not that, then this is not the deed which Jesus intends.

The περισσόν is, thus, the fulfillment of the law, the keeping of the commandments. In Christ the Crucified and his community, the “extraordinary” occurs.

Here are those who are perfect, perfect in undivided love, just as their Father in heaven is. It was the undivided, perfect love of the Father which gave the divine Son up to die on the cross for us. Likewise, the passio of the communion with this cross is the perfection of the followers of Jesus. The perfect are none other than those who, in the Beatitudes, are called blessed.[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/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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), 140–145.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Sinner – Saint Paradox - I Can’t Dance…Do You Love Me? – Purity 654


Sinner – Saint Paradox  - I Can’t Dance…Do You Love Me? –  Purity 654

Purity 654 02/14/2022  Purity 654 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a glimmering sunrise at Hillsboro Beach, Florida comes to us from my personal photo archives and was taken 10 days after Valentine’s Day in 2015.   A lot has changed in my life since that time and I share it today because I find myself in a very reflective mood as I had a pretty eventful weekend and luckily decided last week to take today off from work.  

Last Monday I decided to take off today because I realized that it was not only going to be “Super Bowl Monday” but it was also going to be the first Valentine’s Day that my wife TammyLyn and I would celebrate as a couple!  

In case you are wondering, enjoying Valentine’s Day in my wife’s company and the love we share is the focus today.  While I did stay up to see the game last night and 10pm is late for me, Super Bowl Monday will not be the recuperative holiday for me as it was in the past. 

I don’t drink anymore so it will not be a day of hangovers, or continued day drinking, as it had been in my past when I was in bondage to my many addictions.  But I have to admit that the end of the NFL football season is still somewhat of an event and a milestone each year for me as I see it as somewhat of a seasonal marker for our nearing “mid-winter”, as President’s Day is next week and after that our hopes for spring arriving are not so distant, or unrealistic, anymore!   As we go through what can be challenging winters in upstate NY, every milestone we can reach that brings us closer to the season of green is to be considered a victory and should be celebrated!

But today, beyond seasonal milestones, I am thanking God in heaven above for the gift of His love that has not only empowered me to leave the darkness of my past behind but for staying with me and guiding me to help me to find the love of my life here on earth in my wife, TammyLyn!

My wife and I were brought together through our seeking to serve and know God more and I know that God brought TammyLyn into my life as a partner for life and as an expression of His love for both of us.  Valentine’s Day is the holiday where we remember the love in our life and I am filled with joy at the prospect of just spending the day with TammyLyn in each other’s presence. 

And of course if we are to celebrate love today, we have to remember that God is love and how He showed His love for all of us in Jesus Christ.  

1 John 4:7-11 (NKJV)
7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
10  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Yeah, God showed His love for us all by sending Jesus to pay for our sins and by giving eternal life to those who put their faith in Him.  And Jesus’s simple commandments tell us that we are to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.  

God wants us to have a love relationship with Him and share the love He pours into us with the people in our lives.    

The problem with this possible “love connection” with God, isn’t God. It’s us.  Like Peter in Luke 5, when he got the idea that Jesus was the Messiah, we think we are not worthy because we are sinful men and when we think about the holiness of God we wonder if there is any way that God could possibly love us.  

My mind goes to strange places sometimes and this morning I thought about that Contour’s R&B Hit “Do you love me..(Now that I can Dance).  

When we think of God, we think we have to earn His love by being good or holy. We wrongly get the idea that our performance will be the only thing that will make us right with Him and that we have to make Him love us. 

But the thing is that we don’t have to “really move”, or “really groove”, we don’t have to “mash potatoes” (whatever that is), or “do the twist” to make God love us. 

Our confusion about the whole “sinner/saint paradox” can drive us away from God when we think we have to earn His love. But God is love, He loves sinners like you and me, and wants us to know His love and the new eternal life He offers us in Christ.   

And I know, you may be saying did: “M.T. Clark, a vocal advocate for knowing that we are saints and for experiencing our freedom in Christ just call himself, and me, a sinner?  

Yes, we are saints who sin.  We sinned before Christ and because we are not perfect like Christ, we will sin after we make Him our Lord and Savior, after He gives us a new and everlasting spiritual life and our new identity as saints.   

This saint/sinner paradox reminds me of the scene in the film, “Chinatown” where Jack Nicholson slaps Faye Dunaway repeatedly demanding the truth until she shamefully has to admit that due to an incestuous encounter with her father, “her sister” was in fact “her daughter”!, proving that two seemingly contradictory things can be simultaneously true. 

And that’s what a paradox is – a situation like our Christian identity where we are truly born again adopted children of God,  saints, who unfortunately will sin by either the things we do or the things we fail to do.  Unfortunately this paradox can really confuse us.

Our guilt, shame, and the devil is there to slap us around with his temptations, accusations, and condemnations that tell us we are a sinner and God can’t love us.  

But Christ is there to tell us, like the woman caught in adultery, that we are truly are forgiven, we are not condemned, we are new creations, and He encourages us to experience the peace and joy of being a saint by “sinning no more”.  

This sinner/saint paradox can drive us absolutely batty and may make us want to smack ourselves!

But we don’t have to slap ourselves or dance to earn God’s love, and as James 1 indicates, we shouldn’t doubt the love of God, and the forgiveness and sainthood we receive when we put our faith in Jesus, because if we do doubt we will tend to be double minded and be unstable in all our ways.   

Christ wants us to know the love of God and to give us rest.      

In 2015 when I took today’s photo, I was a Christian but man did I have a lot of the sinful habits in my life that made me feel unworthy. But even though I was living in sinful patterns; I knew that God’s word was true and told me that I was forgiven and was a new creation.   Because of my continual failures and dark ways, I rejoiced over my salvation because I knew I “couldn’t dance” and earn my place in God’s kingdom.      

But I didn’t need to dance. I just needed to abide in Christ to know His presence and love and to walk with Him.   So I walked.  I rejoiced that I was “just a sinner saved by grace” all through the wild days of my mad existence as a double minded unstable carnal Christian.  

At the time I took today’s photo, I had been living this tumultuous life of a Christian living in the condemnation of a life of the flesh for about 5 years. But I kept walking and talking with God and about a month after I took this photo,  I walked into a Christian recovery program and put down the booze and the condemnation that came with it for good.  

God gives us His love and encourages us to walk toward Him. Our relationship with Him isn’t based on our performance, but God does encourage us to walk like His Son Jesus Christ walked, because He knows of the peace, love, and joy that we can experience when we walk in the Spirit.  

I used to identify myself as a sinner saved by grace (and I am one) but when I did that, I made the mistake of identifying with my sin more than with the new creation that God made me to be, a saint, when I put my faith in Christ.  

And when I realized that my identity as a saint, who admittedly sins, was not just a theological concept but was a spiritual and existential reality that I could live in, I decided to believe it and live it out.   

And I can tell you that, when I started identifying myself with who I am in Christ, the chains of “the sinner” were loosened and I was able to break free and walk away from them.  

I am still far from being perfect, but I am experiencing a victorious life of freedom from many of my past sins and habits because I have drawn closer to the One who is perfect and identify with God more than the things that would separate me from Him.

So as we celebrate the love we have today on Valentine’s Day, remember that God is love and that His love for you and the gift of salvation and a new life in Christ are free.  He loves you just the way you are, but He would encourage you to stop slapping yourself around and instead agree to embrace the new life He has for you.   

The greatest love of all can be happening to you.  When you accept God’s love, you can learn to love yourself and then take the love God has given you to love the other people in your life.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 38:9 (NLT2)
9  You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh.

Today’s Bible verses tells us that God knows what we long for and that He hears us as we lament and walk through life.     

Part of the problem we can have with our experiencing the love of God is that we may have idea that God is somehow distant or uncaring.

But the truth is that God is all knowing and that He is love.  God’s love is demonstrated through the advent of Christ on the earth to reconcile us to Him.  

As our Creator, God made us. He knows us inside and out!  His omniscience is testified about in His word and today’s verse indicates that He knows the desire of our hearts!  

He knows us! He loves us! And as today’s verse tells us He even hears our every sigh!

So as today is Valentine’s and the enemy may seek to torment those of us who don’t have a perfect romantic love relationship in our lives, let me remind you and encourage you that God’s love is the greatest love of all and that you can receive comfort from it always and have the assurance that, no matter what, God will never leave you or forsake you.  

God’s love has carried me through the toughest trials of my life, and I know that in the darkest days of my soul that He heard my every sigh, wiped away every one of my tears, and gave me hope.

So whether you are actively enjoying the benefits of loving relationships in your life or not, remember that God loves for you is real and powerful and when you abide in it you can feel it and the peace and joy of having Him forever in your life.    


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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we conclude sharing from Chapter 8.   

 As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.


Paul prays in Ephesians 1:18, “I pray the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Jesus has met your needs for acceptance, security, and significance. Read the following list aloud, morning and evening, for the next few weeks. Think about what you are reading and let the truth of who you are in Christ renew your mind. This is your inheritance in Christ.

IN CHRIST

I renounce the lie that I am rejected, unloved, or shameful.

In Christ I am accepted.

God says:

·       I am God’s child. (John 1:12)

·       I am Christ’s friend. (John 15:5)

·       I have been justified. (Romans 5:1)

·       I am united with the Lord and I am one spirit with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:17)

·       I have been bought with a price: I belong to God. (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)

·       I am a member of Christ’s body. (1 Corinthians 12:27)

·       I am a saint, a holy one. (Ephesians 1:1)

·       I have been adopted as God’s child. (Ephesians 1:5)

·       I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18)

·       I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. (Colossians 1:14)

·       I am complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10)

·       I renounce the lie that I am guilty, unprotected, alone, or abandoned.

In Christ I am secure.

God says:

·       I am free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1, 2)

·       I am assured that all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28)

·       I am free from any condemning charges against me. (Romans 8:31-34)

·       I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Romans 8:35-39)

·       I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God. (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22)

·       I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected. (Philippians 1:6)

·       I am a citizen of heaven. (Philippians 3:20)

·       I am hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

·       I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

·       I can find grace and mercy to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

·       I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. (1 John 5:18)

I renounce the lie that I am worthless, inadequate, helpless, or hopeless.

In Christ I am significant.

God says:

·       I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world. (Matthew 5:13, 14)

·       I am a branch of the true vine, Jesus, a channel of His life. (John 15:1,5)

·       I have been chosen and appointed by God to bear fruit. (John 15:16)

·       I am a personal, Spirit-empowered witness of Christ’s. (Acts 1:8)

·       I am a temple of God. (1 Corinthians 3:16)

·       I am a minister of reconciliation for God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

·       I am God’s coworker. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

·       I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 2:6)

·       I am God’s workmanship, created for good works. (Ephesians 2:10)

·       I may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)

·       I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (Philippians 4:13)

I am not the great “I Am,” but by the grace of God I am what I am.

(See Exodus 3:14; John 8:24, 28, 58; 1 Corinthians 15:10.)

CHAPTER EIGHT:

OVERCOMING ANCESTRAL SINS

148. Luke 6:40

149. Exodus 20:4-6157


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

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

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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