Showing posts with label Suffering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Suffering. Show all posts

Friday, April 28, 2023

I’m Damned if I do and I’m Damned if I don’t – It’s Hopeless – Lies of the Enemy #17– Purity 1029

I’m Damned if I do and I’m Damned if I don’t – It’s Hopeless – Lies of the Enemy #17– Purity 1029

Purity 1029 04/28/2023 Purity 1029 Podcast

Purity 1029 on YouTube:

Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the moon over Lake Ontario just before midnight comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography ( , as Rocco Saya must have been out walking before Midnight, as he shared this photo he entitled “Night Dreams” from his April 24th, 11:30 pm, excursion to Breitbeck Park in Oswego NY on social media a couple of days ago.  I may sound old but 11:30pm on a Monday, or any day these days, is way past my bed time and I am thankful that Rocco was up and out there to capture this dream of a night time scene.

 As a former night owl, I know that the evening hours hold a peace and a magic all its own and that many prefer the evenings peace to the light of day.  But  I also know that the dark evening hours also provides a sense of cover in which the dark desires of the heart can come out to play.  It doesn’t have to be that way of course but I fully understand the adage that “nothing good” happens after certain designated hours of the night.   Is it midnight, is it 2 am, is it 3am? I’m not sure but if you are up that late, I would invite you to ask yourself why? What are you looking for? What are you hiding from?  Are you looking for love in all the wrong places, like I used to? Or are you on a search for excitement or meaning, that I know is best found in the presence of the Lord.      

Well, It’s Friday -Thank God! And I am rejoicing this morning and almost have that old excitement of the anticipation of Friday NIGHT! That usually meant that I was looking forward to mischief but now is the pure excitement of knowing, if the Lord wills it, I will be in the presence of my beloved wife. Reunited and it feels so good.  That’s right there is nothing like the excitement of true love without shame or guilt.  So instead of running down the cheap thrills of a night on the town seek God’s plan to get thee a wife or husband with whom you can be “naked and unashamed”. Whoa!

Anyway,  The night time hours are also sometimes referred to as the “desperate hours” and remembering my youthful life of sin, I know how desperately lonely someone running through the night can be. In that desperation we can make some regrettable decisions. Somes give themselves away to the lust of the flesh and others lash out at the world with violence at the smallest offense. Not many people out at the clubs or bars at night have a deep relationship with the Lord, so the later things get the more unpredictable the outcomes of the evening’s final destination can become. Home alone, a stranger’s bed, the hospital, jail, or the morgue are all possibilities in a lifestyle where “anything goes”.   Those hours out in the dark without God can be desperate because without Him nothing will bring satisfaction or peace.  So those desperate hours can be hopeless too and may cause some to lament:

“I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t! It’s hopeless!”   

Which just happens to be the 17th lie of the enemy that we will examine as a part of our current series, The Lies of the Enemy, which is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives.   So in case you didn’t catch it, today’s big lie is:  

Lie #17: “I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t! It’s hopeless!” 

This particular lie of the enemy is whispered into people’s ears to bring them to their destruction or to keep them locked in bondages and mired in depression.   As a Community Freedom Ministry Associate for Freedom in Christ Ministries, I have heard variations of this lie several times as people I have led through the steps to Freedom in Christ have confessed about their past or current troubles when they can’t see an easy solution to their problems. 


This lie can lead people to want to commit suicide because they can’t see a way out. This lie makes people see their options as limited and their lives as hopeless.  But it is a lie born of tunnel vision and possibly sown by the spiritual forces of darkness who are hell bent on the destruction of those who believe it.    


But that’s a lie, there is hope and our actions matter.


But I won’t sugar coat this.  While we can affect change in our lives and can generally endure through troubling times, people don’t always get a happy ending in the natural.  And that’s why we simply must put our hope in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  


While there is hope, where there is life.  That hope evaporates when you die, if you haven’t peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ.  


Oh by the way, I researched “where there is hope there is life” to see who said that and one of the people who said that unknowingly spoke that hopeful statement as a lie.   Among the many people who have been attributed to have said those words through the ages, Google offered up devote atheist, Stephen Hawking as saying those hopeful words even though, he believed there was no God.  So I guess if we are to follow this departed genius’ logic, we have to believe that now that he is dead there is no hope for Stephen Hawking, or at least no hope for heaven.  If you don’t believe in God, you can’t believe He had a Son who died for you in which to put your hope in.


Jesus is the way, the truth and the life – Those who believe in and put their faith in Him – although they die, they shall live.   So there is an eternal hope that we have in Christ.

God will help us through many trials in our lives, but even if we should perish, we will live. Christ conquered death and the grave, and so the Christian has the hope of heaven and life everlasting in God’s kingdom.  We shouldn’t blow that off when times get tough, it is the hope that can give us the wisdom to go to God to receive the strength and guidance that He can provide that will cause us to know peace and joy even in the most dire of circumstances.   


On the earth, if you have a problem and it seems that you are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”, remember it’s not hopeless.  Go to the Lord for wisdom, He knows everything and I know that He will make a way when is there is no way, even if it takes a long time or it involves suffering.  God will show His way – the third option of hope, meaning, and purpose that has victory, freedom and triumph at the end of its path.   


So don’t believe the lie that “It’s hopeless!” because if you have Christ, you have everything. You have eternal life and the hope of God working all things together for your good.   



For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, .


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

This morning’s meditation verse :

John 16:33 (NKJV)
33  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."


Today’s verse reminds us of how good God is as it aligns perfectly with our hopeful encouragement! Christ has overcome the world and we can be overcomers because of Him. We can have peace because of Him. While we will have tribulations in this world – how’s that for a promise – we can be of good cheer -that’s joy – because of what Christ did for us.  He paid for our sins and gives us forgiveness and peace with God and brings us into the royal family of God’s kingdom through faith in Him!   


So trust in the Lord, and never forget the hope we have because of the One who overcame the world and gave us eternal life!



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

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.




1 John 2:2


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 v. 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 unquilifiedly, 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 Rom. 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 Matt. 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 propiation 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.



Genesis 6:3                                   218

Genesis 6:6                                   208

Genesis 20:6                                 125, 156

Exodus 4:21                                  131

Exodus 34:24                                125

Numbers 23:12–20                     157

1 Samuel 3:18                              194

1 Samuel 6:                                   46

2 Chronicles 20:5, 6                   241

Psalm 110:3                                  56, 71

Psalm 147:15–18                         44

Proverbs 16:1                               49

Proverbs 16:9                               49

Proverbs 19:21                            49

Proverbs 21:1                               49

Isaiah 10:5–7                                129

Isaiah 46:9, 10                              118

Amos 4:7–10                                45

Jonah 2:9                                       55

Matthew 23:37                            208

Matthew 25:41                            110

Luke 14:16–23                             85

John 3:8                                         77

John 3:16                                       212

John 6:38                                       67

John 6:44                                       160

John 8:36                                       158

John 11:49–52                             72

John 16:8–11                                82

John 19:10                                     245

Acts 7:51, 52                                 218

Acts 13:48                                     58

Acts 17:28                                     48

Acts 17:30                                     110

Romans 9:17–23                         92

Romans 11:5                                59

1 Corinthians 1:26–29               60

1 Corinthians 4:7                         56

2 Corinthians 5:14                      73

Ephesians 1:3–5                          61

2 Thessalonians 2:13                 79, 81

1 Timothy 2:5, 6                          75

1 Timothy 5:21                            38

2 Timothy 1:9                               63

Hebrews 2:9                                 76

1 Peter 1:2                                    63, 82

2 Peter 2:12                                  106

2 Peter 3:9                                    216

Jude 8                                             17

Revelation 4:11                           119

Revelation 17:17                         243[1]

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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 271–273.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Hurricane Ian – The Storms Reveal What Matters Most - Purity 850

Hurricane Ian – The Storms Reveal What Matters Most - Purity 850

Purity 850 09/29/2022 Purity 850 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a sunset over the Gulf of Mexico somewhere in the Tarpon Springs area on the West Coast of Florida comes to us from a friend who shared various scenes of the Sunshine State while on their family vacation back in June. 

After Hurricane Ian has blown through Florida, our prayers are with our friends and all the residents in Florida who are in the process of cleaning up the devastating damage in the aftermath of the category 4 storm that caused millions of dollars in damage and took the lives of 12 people and may continue to cause more damage as it moves up the coast near South Carolina today.  

In events like this the lives lost show up how fleeting our lives can be. I don’t know the details but I am almost certain that none of the 12 people lost ever thought they would be killed because of a hurricane.  And as devastating as the losses to people’s homes and business may be, these events show us that our human lives are far more valuable than any possessions.   

The lessons of life and death that are taught through instances of traumatic losses show us that things no matter how cherished they are only things and whether our stuff is destroyed, broken or lost through out our lives or if they survive and are passed on to others after we go to the grave, our possessions value is limited in comparison to our lives.   

In my men’s Freedom in Christ discipleship group one of the men has reported that he has been suffering from debilitating aches and pains and exhaustion for months and just the other night he commented on the extreme value of our physical health, stating that he would willingly sacrifice his possession in a moment to have his health and strength restored.   But because He is a Christian, he still was thanking and praising the Lord for all that He has provided with in his life even though he is suffering,

When our health fails and things are torn asunder in our lives, where will we find our hope?  

Well that is why our personal relationship with the Lord through our faith in Jesus Christ is so important.   

When we know who we are in Christ, we know we are accepted into God’s kingdom and we are secure in God’s love no matter what negative circumstances we will face.  

In Christ, we know that we are citizens of heaven and that our place on the earth is temporary and that when death comes or when Christ returns to reclaim the earth, we will be safe and secure in the company of our Heavenly Father and the community of saints who put their faith in Christ.     

Also in Christ we know that we can receive God’s strength, grace, and mercy when we call out to Him to help us.  

We don’t know what help will come but in Christ we know that we are not abandoned, we are not forsaken, and that the Lord is with us and will help us for God works ALL THINGs together for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purposes.  

So even in the wake of disaster, we can thank God it’s Friday today and we can thank Him for so much more.  

So if you are short on hope, peace, or joy, draw close to God and He will lift you up.  Put your faith in Christ and you will never have to walk through this life wondering about your safety. Keep walking and talking with God and you will know that even if our health fails or we lose everything we have, we will not be alone and He will give us the strength to endure our sufferings and possibly rejoice as He gives us the will to survive and build our lives new again. 



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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

John 15:4-5 (NLT2)
4  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5  “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

In Today’s Bible Verses Jesus tells His disciples to remain in Him and He will remain in them and that apart from Him we can do nothing.    

Christ’s words encourage us to remain in His presence with the indication that if we do that He will be with us and He will help us to produce much fruit.  

Fruit could be seen as good works done for others for the glory of God to give compassionate care or to guide people out of the darkness by showing them the light of Jesus or it could be the fruit of righteousness as our spiritual disciplines of repentance, Bible study, and prayer transforms our character.  

This passage of scripture is perhaps one of the bests examples of how Christ isn’t just telling us to follow the rules of God’s law but is inviting us into a dynamic personal relationship with Him and He assures us that their will be the benefits of much fruit.   

So don’t focus on the fruit of “doing good works” because you “have to” now that you are a Christian, instead abide with Christ and experience the peace of His presence and follow the call that He puts on your life and watch as the fruit grows naturally from being attached to the Vine of Christ.



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

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Chapter Four

Discipleship and the Cross - concludes

But how should disciples know what their cross is? They will receive it when they begin to follow the suffering Lord. They will recognize their cross in communion with Jesus.

Thus, suffering becomes the identifying mark of a follower of Christ. The disciple is not above the teacher. Discipleship is passio passiva [passive suffering], having to suffer. That is why Luther could count suffering among the marks of the true church.[17] A preparatory document for the Augsburg Confession defined the church as the community of those “who are persecuted and martyred on account of the gospel.” Those who do not want to take up their cross, who do not want to give their lives in suffering and being rejected by people, lose their community with Christ. They are not disciples. But those who lose their lives in discipleship, in bearing the cross, will find life again in following in the community of the cross with Christ. The opposite of discipleship is being ashamed of Christ, being ashamed of the cross, being scandalized by the cross.

Discipleship is being bound to the suffering Christ. That is why Christian suffering is not disconcerting. Instead, it is nothing but grace and joy. The acts of the church’s first martyrs give witness that Christ transfigures the moment of greatest suffering for his followers through the indescribable certainty of his nearness and communion. In the middle of the most terrible torment that the disciples bore for their Lord’s sake, they experienced the greatest joy and blessedness of his community. Bearing the cross proved to be for them the only way to overcome suffering. But this is true for all who follow Christ, because it was true for Christ himself.

“And going a little farther, [Jesus] threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’ … Again he went away for the second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done’ ” (Matt. 26:39, 42).

Jesus prays to the Father that the cup pass from him, and the Father hears the son’s prayer. The cup of suffering will pass from Jesus, but only by his drinking it. When Jesus kneels in Gethsemane the second time, he knows that the cup will pass by his accepting the suffering. Only by bearing the suffering will he overcome and conquer it. His cross is the triumph over suffering.

Suffering is distance from God. That is why someone who is in communion with God cannot suffer. Jesus affirmed this Old Testament testimony. That is why he takes the suffering of the whole world onto himself and overcomes it. He bears the whole distance from God. Drinking the cup is what makes it pass from him. In order to overcome the suffering of the world Jesus must drink it to the dregs. Indeed, suffering remains distance from God, but in community with the suffering of Jesus Christ, suffering is overcome by suffering. Communion with God is granted precisely in suffering.

Suffering must be borne in order for it to pass. Either the world must bear it and be crushed by it, or it falls on Christ and is overcome in him. That is how Christ suffers as vicarious representative for the world. Only his suffering brings salvation. But the church-community itself knows now that the world’s suffering seeks a bearer. So in following Christ, this suffering falls upon it, and it bears the suffering while being borne by Christ. The community of Jesus Christ vicariously represents the world before God by following Christ under the cross.

God is a God who bears. The Son of God bore our flesh. He therefore bore the cross. He bore all our sins and attained reconciliation by his bearing. That is why disciples are called to bear what is put on them. Bearing constitutes being a Christian. Just as Christ maintains his communion with the Father by bearing according to the Father’s will, so the disciples’ bearing constitutes their community with Christ. People can shake off the burdens laid on them. But doing so does not free them at all from their burdens. Instead, it loads them with a heavier, more unbearable burden. They bear the self-chosen yoke of their own selves. Jesus called all who are laden with various sufferings and burdens to throw off their yokes and to take his yoke upon themselves. His yoke is easy, and his burden is light. His yoke and his burden is the cross. Bearing the cross does not bring misery and despair. Rather, it provides refreshment and peace for our souls; it is our greatest joy. Here we are no longer laden with self-made laws and burdens, but with the yoke of him who knows us and who himself goes with us under the same yoke. Under his yoke we are assured of his nearness and communion. It is he himself whom disciples find when they take up their cross.

“Things must go, not according to your understanding but above your understanding. Submerge yourself in a lack of understanding, and I will give you My understanding. Lack of understanding is real understanding; not knowing where you are going is really knowing where you are going. My understanding makes you without understanding. Thus Abraham went out from his homeland and did not know where he was going (Gen. 12:1ff.). He yielded to My knowledge and abandoned his own knowledge; and by the right way he reached the right goal. Behold, that is the way of the cross. You cannot find it, but I must lead you like a blind man. Therefore not you, not a man, not a creature, but I, through My Spirit and the Word, will teach you the way you must go. You must not follow the work which you choose, not the suffering which you devise, but that which comes to you against your choice, thoughts, and desires. There I call; there you must be a pupil; there it is the time; there your Master has come” (Luther).[1]

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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 89–91.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Asking for “Thoughts and Prayers” – Purity 787

Asking for “Thoughts and Prayers” – Purity 787

Purity 787 7/18/2022 Purity 787 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a backyard towering inferno comes to us from a friend who shared this “first fire of the season” on social media back on June 15th and I share it today as an encouragement to my friends to take advantage of the summertime season to safely enjoy the comforts of a campfire or bonfire, preferably in company of friends and family.   

I have several friends and family members who enjoy camping and backyard bonfires and have been know to enjoy them myself. There is something strange peaceful and primitive about making a fire and just watching the flames consume the wood as they illuminate the night and provide comfort from the cooler temperatures at night.  And quite often it is in the solemn darkness that surrounds the campfire where stories are shared, burdens are confessed, answers are sought, and advice is given. 

In our modern world the light of social media can also be a place where we share our burdens and ask for support.  As friends face loss of employment, work problems, financial problems, things falling apart problems, and health problems,  I see requests for “your thoughts and prayers” and sometimes I see someone suggest occultic practices as general spiritual remedies!  

Although I would point out that general spiritual practices directed to “the universe” or other entities other that God,  – of the dead, or local or cultural “spirit”s or whoever -is witchcraft and that is specifically prohibited in the word of God and should be avoided at all costs.  In appealing to the general spiritual realm, at best nothing will happen, at worst you will conjure a demon.  There aren’t 50 shades of grey in the spiritual realm guys. Repeat after me: If it’s not Christ… It’s anti-Christ. And no matter how wise, good, kind, cuddly, or cute other spirits, religions, or philosophies of life may be if they don’t lead you to Christ, they will lead you to destruction. 

As someone who followed an alternate faith stream for years of my life, I can sympathize with those who have an axe to grind when it comes to organized religion and bad experiences in the church, but when it comes to Spiritual Truth the Word of God is clear that Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life and that No One comes to the Father except through Him.  Jesus proved He was the Son of God and God the Sone through His life, His miracles, His teachings, and His resurrection.  His is the Way to go. His is the path to follow.

So as for advice that’s mine: Seek the Lord, Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and Live your life according to His ways and stay in constant communication with Him through prayer, worship, Bible study, and just talking with HIm.  

Experientially, I have followed, repented of many of my former ways of living, my sin, and have no regrets.  I have a peace that goes beyond understanding and have learned to live by faith, living in the presence of the Lord by continuously “walking and talking with God.” 

When days are good, I thank God and rejoice over the blessing I am enjoying.  When times are not so good, I thank God and am comforted that no matter how bad or confusing the times may be, I have the assurance that He is with me and will never leave me or forsake me.   

And that is why it pains to see my friends suffer.  In my opinion, I am not special. I don’t think of myself as particularly wise or skilled in any areas of my life. I am a klutz. I even got that wrong intially… apparently it is spelled with a “k” and means a “clumsy, awkward, or foolish person”.  I forget things. I get frustrated. I get stressed.   

But the good news is that this klutz just so happened to stumble his way into the kingdom of God… Not really, I ran from God like Jonah.  I looked for love in all the wrong places.  When the going got tough, I denied God and looked anywhere else for help… And in the midst of all that, God reached me through a radio message to show me the truth that obscure by religion, my ignorance, and my pride.   God allowed me to stumble through life but when He decided enough was enough, He opened my eyes and pulled me out of the darkness.

I don’t know how God’s illumination comes… I guess I do actually, through the Holy Spirit, of course. Get it?  Yeah…

But in my experience, in my hurting I sought a spiritual answer to the big questions of life and death and existence itself.  Although my searching was a prolonged process of stumbling through the dark in which I persisted in going the wrong way for years, the Lord rewarded my searching with His love and wisdom. 

Although I refused to even consider His way as an option, He was gracious to reveal to me that the answer I refused to consider, the one that was in plain sight, was the One that leads to meaning, purpose, and eternal life.    

So if you are hurting or in a situation where you are asking for “thoughts and prayers”, let me encourage you to think and pray for yourself and to purse the One who answers prayers.   Turn to God by placing your faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and take a look at your life and examine the way you are living to see if you are living in a way that contrary to God’s way.  

When we turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to the Lord’s wisdom and choose to live according to our own desires or the world’s standards, we may be free to live that way but we are never free from the consequences of living in sin or from the ultimate judgement and wrath of God that will come upon us if we don’t make peace with God and decide to follow Him.  

Last Sunday, we did a Bible study on “The Silence of God” and we highlighted scriptures that indicated that when we don’t have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, when you are an “unbeliever” the Lord doesn’t hear or honor your requests for “thoughts and prayers”.  It may sound mean but it makes sense. If you have nothing to do with God normally, it is not surprising that He may choose to let you suffer because of your sin.   

But as a “sinner saved by grace”,  let me assure you that doesn’t have to be your fate. God loves you and His word also is full of verses that highlight that He accepts and helps those who turn from their sins and ask for His help and mercy.  

My advice is that rather than just seeking His help during a crisis that you establish a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ that will provide you with His help on a continual basis. Recognize your and the world’s failure to have the answer to life and death and seek to meaning, peace, and purpose by making peace with God and surrendering your ways for His.

“Life sucks, right?” Well, it can. Suffering is not cool man. But when you turn to the Lord, you don’t have to be alone in it and He will help you through it, one way or the other.  So “give up the ghost” – stop working so hard to find peace through the world – die to it, by placing your life, hope, and trust into the hands of the One who made it and longs to redeem it.  

Instead of asking for “thoughts and prayers” or burning some mixture of spices and herbs to chase away the bad vibes… start walking and talking with God. He will see you through.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Timothy 6:18-19 (NLT2)
18  Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.
19  By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

In today’s verse, we are encouraged to tell people who trust in their riches to use their money to do good, to share it, and to store up their treasure as a good foundation for the future that they will experience true life.    

“True life” is “eternal life” in the NKJV and this points to the ultimate meaning to our lives.  While we could use our money for all kinds of things while we are here on earth, the word encourages us to us eit to do good things and to share it.  

I recently heard someone say that we never have to teach a child to be selfish, but we do have to teach them to share.   And similarly, the word of God is teaching us to mature in our faith with the way we use our money.   So as a part of our faith we should consider what we are spending our money on and examine our spending to see if we could make some changes to make our money be used for good.  

When “we put our money where our mouth” is as Christians, there will be evidence – financial records that will show that some of our funds went to good things.  Personally, I could stand to examine my ways but even I could point to my giving to my local church, the money I spend on my ministry needs, and the money I give to a child I sponsor in Haiti as evidence that a small part of my money is used for good.  And unlike some of my other purchases, those expenditures are expenses that I do not regret because they are spent by me for God’s kingdom or as a response to do good.  

So look at your financial statements and in your heart and see if there is more money available to do good things.  We can’t take our money with us but our funds can be used to do good things that will be remembered in heaven and help us to transform our hearts to be more generous like our God who freely gives us all we need.


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

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Dead, Resurrected and Exalted

While the powers rule over a domain of death, all who know Christ have been given life. God can bestow life on his people only through their identification with Christ’s work—especially his death and resurrection. Baptism symbolizes this unity with Christ, as Paul explains, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Rom 6:4).

True freedom comes from identification with Jesus’ death—freedom from sin, freedom from death, and freedom from the grip of the principalities and powers. While this freedom is final and absolute insofar as we exist for the age to come, it needs to be appropriated as long as we still live in this present age and possess corruptible bodies. For this reason Paul found it necessary to admonish his readers by attempting to convince them that they are dead to sin. He urged the Roman Christians to “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11) because “the death he [Christ] died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God” (Rom 6:10). As believers, sin no longer has a compelling influence over us. Therefore, we can refuse to engage in it.

In a similar way with regard to the demonic powers Christians need to believe they truly do not have to succumb to their influence. Paul has to remind the Colossian Christians that they had died to the demonic powers, arguing, “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?” (Col 2:20 RSV). The Colossians believers were tempted to follow the tenets of a false teaching that Paul believed to be inspired by the evil powers themselves. In whatever way the hostile powers might make their influence felt, believers have the strength to resist. The strength comes from identification with Christ’s death. On the cross he defeated sin, death and the powers of darkness.

Some of the difficulty comes in unmasking the influence of the evil powers. It is possible that the Colossian Christians were uncritically accepting the false teaching that was being presented to them, thinking it to be helpful for their spirituality. Paul, however, revealed to them the true demonic nature of the teaching in his epistle to them. We, too, need God’s wisdom to enable us to discern critically the nature of all teachings.

Believers’ authority over the evil powers is rooted in their identification with the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. This authority is explained most dearly in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, a letter in which Paul was concerned with the issue of the evil powers. In Ephesians 1, Paul extolled God’s incomparably great power by which he raised and exalted Christ to a position “far above” every rank in the order of the powers of darkness (Eph 1:19–22). In Ephesians 2, he applied this exalted Christology directly to the believer, saying, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). The implication for believers with regard to the powers is clear from the informing context. Just as Christ holds a position of superiority to the powers, so too do believers have a position of superiority and authority over the devil’s forces. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power now available to believers. Thus Paul can pray that the Ephesians will grow increasingly aware of this divine resource. He appealed to the Ephesians, saying, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know … his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Eph 1:18–19). This truth is especially significant in the larger context of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, since this truth becomes the doctrinal basis for his later discussion of spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10–20.

Paul also affirmed the same truth to the Colossians—people who were struggling with the influence of the powers of darkness. He reminded them that they were buried with Christ and raised with him through their faith in God’s power (Col 2:12). Based on their identification with Christ’s work, Paul could admonish them to regard themselves as dead to the evil powers (Col 2:20) and alive to Christ because they had been raised with him (Col 3:1). To these believers Paul gave one of the most comforting promises found in the New Testament: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). In practical terms, Paul’s teaching about their relationship to Christ meant that the Colossian Christians had the power to resist the influence of unhealthy false teaching and align their conduct more closely with God’s desires. Neither should they continue to fear the influence of the demonic powers, which they dreaded prior to conversion and which their non-Christian friends and neighbors continued to dread.

Identification with Christ in his death and resurrection is an incredibly important truth for all who are struggling with the influence of the demonic in their lives. Becoming a Christian means being linked to a powerful Lord who wields overpowering authority over the realm of darkness.

Filled—Endowed with Power and Authority

Paul taught the Colossians that God had endowed Christ with all of his “fullness” (plērōma; Col 1:19). He reaffirmed this thought in his letter to them, saying, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col 2:9). Paul made this statement here because he wanted to relate it to the Colossian church—it is not merely another laudable truth about the omnipotent Christ, but is something that has great significance for the day-to-day lives of believers. Paul continued by saying, “and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” (Col 2:10).

Notice that Paul connected the Colossians’ possession of divine “fullness” (plērōma) with Christ’s supremacy to the demonic powers. Why? Paul was trying to convince the Colossians that they have been endowed with Christ’s power and authority over the demonic realm. Paul could just as easily have left the statement out. It appears that he was specifically applying the significance of their filling with God’s resources to their struggle with the powers.

The verb Paul used here is in the Greek perfect tense and is translated “you have been given fullness.” In this instance Paul wanted to convey to these believers that when they became Christians they received this endowment, but more importantly, this divine “fullness” continues to be available to them as God’s provision for them in their ongoing conflict with Satan’s realm.

The word fullness indicates far more than just power and authority over the forces of darkness. Most scholars believe it refers to a number of things related to God, including his power, essence, glory, presence and love. It probably has as its background the idea of the Old Testament Shekinah: “I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple of the Lord” (Ezek 44:4). It comes very close to overlapping with the work of the Holy Spirit who fills the believer.

The believer must appropriate this “fullness.” Paul found it necessary to pray that the Ephesians would “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19). While God’s fullness is available to the believer, it must be received and used. Belief and prayer become highly important factors in appropriating these resources.[1]

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 114–117.