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Showing posts with label The Holy Spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Holy Spirit. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Ascension - Choosing to Believe and Answering the "Upward Call of God”- Purity 1225

 

Ascension - Choosing to Believe and “Answering the Upward Call of God”- Purity 1225

Purity 1224 12/19/2023 Purity 1225 Podcast

Purity 1224 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a lake and its shoreline reflected in its waters while mist hovers above its surface comes to us from a currently unknown FB friend, I’m guessing Fred Dimmick, who shared this photo back on or around December 16th of 2022.  Whether it’s Fred or someone else, I wanted to say thank you and to remind us of all that the things we share with one another matter, and the things we believe in like friendship and beauty can have a major impact on the quality of our lives.

Well, It’s Tuesday, and today is the day of testing, and quite frankly it is a day that I wasn’t entirely sure that I would see even though I set my intention to come to it earlier this year.

 I took the day off from work today because I have a doctor’s appointment to pick up some testing equipment to do a “sleep study” later this evening.  Since 2013, I have used a CPAP – sleep apnea – machine when I sleep because I have always snored and when I complained of falling asleep in the afternoons, a sleep study revealed that I had periodic episodes in my sleep where I would stop breathing! The CPAP machine pumps air into my breathing passages to prevent that. One of the causes of sleep apnea is obesity, something I have been since childhood. However, after being diagnosed with sleep apnea about 10 years ago, I have decided to try to lose weight to be healthy and to possibly get off of the sleep apnea machine but my weight and BMI (body mass index) has yo-yo-ed over the years and even though I have made progress previously, I never got to the point that I felt I could attempt to get rid of the sleep apnea machine.  

But this year, I decided that I would make a push to reduce my BMI and weight – out of the Obese zone, and into the normal zone.  In my estimation, my best guess, if I wanted to try to get off the machine, I had to get down to 200 lbs. Even though that was my intention early in the year I was 240 lbs. in the early summer months and only after I got convicted about my food addiction, to treat it like an addiction, did I finally commit myself to be accountable to a “food addiction sponsor”, and monitor everything I ate with the my fitness pal App on August 18th.  Since then the weight has come off at about a pace of 2 pounds a week.  Over the weekend I was weighing in at 198 lbs., after Sunday’s candy binge, this morning I’m weighing in at 203 lbs.  Now before you think I ate 5 pounds of candy, let me assure you that my scale is terrible in terms of consistency – as I have previously reported massive swings in its results regardless of changes in my eating habits.  So although I was proud to break 200 lbs., I had a feeling that the scale might change its mind, and I ‘m not surprised to see myself back on the other side of 200lbs after my “food relapse” on Sunday.  

But regardless of my “Christmas themed” food relapse, I am in the best shape of my life and am hoping and praying that tonight’s sleep study will result in my being set free from the need to sleep with a CPAP machine.  Perhaps I should have waited until I get to my goal weight of 185 lbs., but my DOT health certification is due in January and it is my hope that I can get off the CPAP machine and get re-certified for 2 years with my DOT license, rather than the one year that is required for drivers with sleep apnea.   So we will see!

I also decided to take the day off today in order to get the next installment of the Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course ready for You Tube and for tomorrow night’s Celebrate Freedom Growth Group meeting.  The topic is “Ascension” – what I have decided to call making the decision to pursue progressive sanctification by faith- the decision to fight the next battle after one has experienced victory as a natural outflow of life in the Spirit.  Time is short and the lesson I prepared in 2020 is long and I am currently in the process of making massive edits to get it to “growth group” size – which is 5 pages, and so I am trying to flesh out what have been the keys of my progressive victories over first alcohol and drugs in 2015, then sexual addiction since 2018, and now food addiction in 2023. 

I’m not sure how the lesson will look in its final form, as I will be working on and completing it today, but in considering my walk and journey toward freedom, the thing that I have determined is fundamental to victorious Christian living, is faith – surprise! Just as we are saved through faith alone, we are also transformed through faith – although with winning victories over the things that kept us in bondage – it must be accompanied by volitional choices and our actions – which are driven by our faith – our decision to believe.  

As simple as it may sound that faith is the answer, the decision to choose to believe is far reaching as it applies to all the truth in God’s word.  In order for our faith to bear the fruit of the Spirit we must choose to believe:  

·       God is with us, cares about us, loves us, and will help us.

·       We have been given a new life and freedom already.

·       The word of God is true and true for us specifically.

·       Nothing is impossible with God.

·       The ways of the world are corrupted by man or the spiritual forces of darkness. 

Now before you get the idea that overcoming and experiencing life in the spirit is just a matter of positive affirmations, let me assure you that its not that simple – The Christian has been given two things that set them apart from anyone else – the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ. 

1 Corinthians 2:12,14, 16 (NLT2) tells us
12  And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 14  But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 16  ….But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

This passage highlights the unique gift that the Christian has been given because of His faith in Christ – we have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to help us to :know the wonderful things of God – and not just intellectually – experientially – and the “mind of Christ” to “understand what the Spirit means”. “Understanding” is beyond intellectual knowledge and is demonstrated with “practice”.  It’s one thing to know what something is- like a screwdriver -, it’s another thing to show our understanding by using it properly.

So we don’t just know those things that we “choose to believe” – we understand them – by choosing to live by them.

Knowing God loves us “intellectually” vs. experiencing and understanding God’s love, presence, and care is qualitatively different. 

Knowing about our identity in Christ intellectually vs. experiencing life through the context of who we are in Christ is different.  

And the idea of “ascension” is answering what Paul calls the “upward call of God” on our life.

Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)
13  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The idea of ascension is to keep pressing forward to know God more and to be conformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ – to be transformed by the renewing of our mind and through the power of the Holy Spirit who operates in us through faith.  We choose to believe that God is with us and surrender ourselves to continuously following His call on our lives.  

When we choose to believe God’s word and that He is with us and helping us, amazing things can happen and our lives go from bondage to the things of this world and the negative emotions that accompany circumstantial living to freedom to enjoy the good things God has already given us and the feelings of joy, peace, and love that flow into our lives when we walk in the Spirit. 

So choose to believe the Lord and follow Him into the upward call of ascension on your life.

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 (ESV)
1  It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.
2  And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3  For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.
4  When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5  you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
6  Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
7  Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
8  Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—
10  not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
11  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
12  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
13  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Today’s verses fall under the eighth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church Discipline

8. Purge out the old leaven.

Today’s verses encourage Christians to not allow the sexually immoral who claim to be Christians to be within their fellowship.  This passage of scripture is extremely challenging for our modern society as sexual immorality is rampant and our sexual mores have continued to slide into liberalism but the idea behind the church discipline that Paul is pointing to is that “true Christians” within the church should practice sexual purity and be encouraged to repent when they don’t. We shouldn’t be proud that we have sexually immoral people in our churches so God’s grace and forgiveness should abound, we should exhort them to repent and expel those who don’t from the assembly of the church with the hope that they would turn from their sexual sins in order to be allowed back into the church.  That’s what Paul means in surrendering them to Satan, that the negative consequences of their sins would cause them to repent and follow the Lord with the way they live, instead of being a mockery of what Christians are supposed to be – set free and holy – of light, not of darkness.  

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

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

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

God is in the Manger – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ADVENT WEEK THREE -  REDEMPTION

DAY SEVEN

God Does Not Want to Frighten People

The Bible never wants to make us fearful. God does not want people to be afraid—not even of the last judgment. Rather, he wants to let human beings know everything, so that they will know all about life and its meaning. He lets people know even today, so that they may already live their lives openly and in the light of the last judgment. He lets us know solely for one reason: so that we may find the way to Jesus Christ, so that we may turn away from our evil way and try to find him, Jesus Christ. God does not want to frighten people. He sends us the word of judgment only so that we will reach all the more passionately, all the more avidly, for the promise of grace, so that we will know that we cannot prevail before God on our own strength, that before him we would have to pass away, but that in spite of everything he does not want our death, but our life.… Christ judges, that is, grace is judge and forgiveness and love—whoever clings to it is already set free.

Repentance means turning away from one’s own work to the mercy of God. The whole Bible calls to us and cheers us: Turn back, turn back! Return—where to? To the everlasting grace of God, who does not leave us.… God will be merciful—so come, judgment day! Lord Jesus, make us ready. We rejoice. Amen.

Bonhoeffer’s sermon for Repentance

Sunday, November 19, 1933

From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Matthew 4:17[1]

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

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

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

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

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

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 46–47.


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Tell Me What I Don’t Have to Do! – Walking the Thin Line Between Heaven and Hell - Purity 1192


Tell Me What I Don’t Have to Do! – Walking the Thin Line Between Heaven and Hell - Purity 1192

Purity 1192 11/07/2023 Purity 1192 Podcast

Purity 1192 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the love of my life, TammyLyn Clark, looking into the distance while traversing the rocky creek bed that comes down from the Lye Brook Falls Trail comes to us from yours truly as I captured this near the end of our 5-mile trek in and out of one of  Green Mountain National Forest’’ more popular destinations.  The creek bed was impressive and if you are no fan of mountain hikes, there’s good news, this scene was about 5 minutes down from the parking lot. So technically, you could say that you went to the Lye Brook Falls TRAIL, snap some photos of the mountain stream, and even stage yourself along some of the rock outcroppings at the early stages of the trail near the creek, and really look like you had “been there and done that”. 

Of course, those of us who had actually hiked the 2.3-mile trail and had seen the actual falls for ourselves would know that you “missed something” and some of us may call you out for not being a “true Lye Brook Falls hiker”.  But in our age of selfies and, if it’s possible, increased self-interest, there are those who would vehemently argue how they didn’t have to actually hike all the way up to the falls to say they had “an experience” of the falls. I bet you even know people like that – the ones who will argue points and not waver from their position, even when they are shown to be wrong, as long as they have some fact or version of “their truth” to back it up.

Well, it’s Tuesday, and election day, and because I belong to a labor union that chose to bargain to have this day off, I get to declare today as a “holiday” because I have the day off.  Now I understand that the vast majority of people out there don’t have it off and instead of going around today telling everyone to enjoy “the holiday”, I’ll stay content and just enjoy the fact that I get to experience it and possibly encourage others to “join the union” if they want to experience the benefit of having election day off.  But it is a labor union, and unlike the gospel of grace, you do have to work and continue to work to enjoy the benefits of union membership, and then one day enjoy the benefits of retirement.  

When it comes to our Christian faith, there are many who want to claim the benefits of “retirement” – eternal life in God’s kingdom – but who seem content in doing as little as possible as a “supposed member” of God’s family and can seem virtually the same as their unsaved neighbors.  While these “nominal” Christians are quick with a confession of faith there is little or no evidence of the fruits of the Spirits or the good works and spiritual disciplines of Christian discipleship.   Bonhoeffer called such “believers” to be consumers of “cheap grace” – those who believe in salvation by association and who expressed through their lukewarm faith or red-hot lives of sinful passions that discipleship and repentance of sin were difficult and unnecessary.  In spiritual matters, they would claim their liberty and rather than being considered what they could do for God’s kingdom, they were more interested in what THEY DIDN’T have to do for their golden ticket to heaven.  

If I seem harsh, please realize that I’m very familiar with this type of “little faith of the ultra-grace variety” – because that was ME!!!!

As a Catholic, as an Episcopalian, and yes even as a “Born Again” Pentecostal Bible Believing Christian, I have had what you can call apprehension if not full blown resistance to the things of God and as a skeptic I feared going off “the deep end” of religious extremism and often would stand on – well let’s see – my infant baptism, my confirmations (one as a Catholic in my youth, and one “surprise” confirmation as an Episcopalian as an adult (we’re doing what?), or my sinner’s prayers – as the proof of my faith, the minimal qualifications for salvation, and “ALL I HAD TO DO” to be a Christian.  

While I understand that all of us want to be sure we are “right with God” – that mentality of “checking theological boxes” to be assured of our salvation both forgets something and indicates something.  That mentality forgets God, and what He has to say about you and your relationship with Him.  That mentality indicates you don’t know the word of God and you may not have a relationship with Him.  

We can have assurance of salvation. An examination of God’s word and our confession of faith in Jesus Christ should be enough to tell you, in your heart and mind, whether or not you actually put your faith in Jesus as LORD and Savior. 

If you have doubts and question your hesitancy to believe and follow, I recommend Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s advice to believe and to obey that he goes to great lengths to encourage in “Discipleship”. If you doubt, just obey, and it will confirm your belief and faith in Christ. I believe in God’s word, so I am going to obey it. I will do God’s will for my life.  As Bonhoeffer writes:  

Those who do the will of God are called and forgiven by grace; they obey and follow. [1]

And that’s the proper order, we are not forgiven by grace because we “obey and follow” – we are forgiven by grace and made alive in Christ through faith in Him, SO we obey and follow. 

And if we believe and obey, we won’t be asking – What  DO I DON’T have to do to be a Christian – or What can I NOT Do and still be a Christian.  

That’s possibly a long list:  Technically, I suppose – it’s possible that you could choose to:

·       not be baptized.

·       not give tithes or offerings to the church.

·       Not go to church.

·       Not pray.

·       Not sing worship songs.

·       Not read the Bible.

·       Not evangelize.

While those things are not required for salvation, we are saved by faith in Christ alone, they are good indicators (although not proofs) of a relationship with God.   I myself, because of my sinful past and sinful bondages after becoming a Christian – didn’t feel able, willing, or worthy of doing many things on that list.  In my spiritual infancy, I thought it was best to not draw attention to myself in case God wanted to change His mind – which proved I didn’t know His word which tells us that nothing can separate us from His love. 

But God calls us to follow and live with Him forever and hiding from Him and the church and Christian discipleship practices isn’t the way to have a relationship with God.  While we can know the facts of the gospel, our assurance and growth as a Christian come from seeking the Lord and spending time in His presence – through His word and in His church. 

So don’t ask what you DON’T Have to do to be a Christian, instead ask the Lord how you can know Him more and obey His will for your life. 

We don’t want to walk that thin line between heaven and hell and not be sure of our place in God’s kingdom. We want to take progressive steps of faith that will draw us closer to the Lord and assure us that we are free indeed and secure in His love and kingdom forever.

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Children.

Psalm 8:2 (ESV)
2  Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

Today’s verse falls under the third point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Children.

 3. God delights in the praise and worship of children.

Today’s verses are admittedly somewhat mysterious to me, but I think that the Psalmist, because this is a hymn of praise, is stating that even children can declare the glory of the Lord in the awe and wonder they express when experiencing God’s creation. Luckily the context of the psalm draws this out as most of Psalm 8 is about God’s creation. 

The foes of God would say there is no God, I guess – hello atheists and Satan – but the heavens declare the is a Creator God – the fact and design of creation scream it – and any rational person should be stilled by it.    

And as for our resource author’s point – God does delight in the praise and worship of all His children, young and old. He sent Christ so we can have peace with Him and Revelation indicates that those who enter into His kingdom by faith in Jesus will praise and worship him forever and ever.

So Praise Him!

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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 – 2

Another Gospel – Part 5 of 5

A yet more specious form of Satan’s gospel is to move preachers to present the atoning sacrifice of Christ and then tell their hearers that all God requires from them is to “believe” in His Son. Thereby thousands of impenitent souls are deluded into thinking they have been saved. But Christ said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). To “repent” is to hate sin, to sorrow over it, to turn from it. It is the result of the Spirits making the heart contrite before God. None except a broken heart can savingly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, thousands are deceived into supposing that they have “accepted Christ” as their “personal Saviour,” who have not first received Him as their LORD. The Son of God did not come here to save His people in their sin, but “from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). To be saved from sins, is to be saved from ignoring and despising the authority of God, it is to abandon the course of self-will and self-pleasing, it is to “forsake our way” (Isa. 55:7). It is to surrender to God’s authority, to yield to His dominion, to give ourselves over to be ruled by Him. The one who has never taken Christ’s “yoke” upon him, who is not truly and diligently seeking to please Him in all the details of life, and yet supposes that he is “resting on the Finished Work of Christ” is deluded by the Devil.

In the seventh chapter of Matthew there are two scriptures which give us approximate results of Christ’s Gospel and Satan’s counterfeit. First, in verses 13–14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Second; in verses 22–23, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied [preached] in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out demons, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Yes, my reader, it is possible to work in the name of Christ, and even to preach in his name, and though the world knows us, the Church knows us, yet to be unknown to the Lord! How necessary is it then to find out where we really are; to examine ourselves and see whether we be in the faith; to measure ourselves by the Word of God and see if we are being deceived by our subtle Enemy; to find out whether we are building our house upon the sand, or whether it is erected on the Rock which is Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit search our hearts, break our wills, slay our enmity against God, work in us a deep and true repentance, and direct our gaze to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.[2]

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

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

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

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

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

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 179.

[2] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Arthur Pink Anthology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005).

Monday, November 6, 2023

The Victorious Cycle of Life in the Spirit - Purity 1191


The Victorious Cycle of Life in the Spirit  - Purity 1191

Purity 1191 11/06/2023 

Purity 1191 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the setting sun lighting up the sky over the Hudson River comes to us from yours truly as I captured this photo on the go while I was passing through Castleton on the Hudson on my way back to River House yesterday afternoon after a fabulous weekend with my wife, TammyLyn in the “real upstate NY” and points considerably further east and north in the Greem Mountains National Forest of Vermont.  

Well, It’s Monday, and if you guys somehow missed it – It’s November with a capital BURR – as any remnant of “Indian Summer”, or whatever it is okay to call the warmer days of Autumn, are gone.  I don’t mean to cause any anguish or dread but “Winter is coming” and even though it won’t be here officially until December 21st, the cold temperatures and snow, yes snow, that fell in various places of both the “real” and “not real” upstate NY attest to the fact that we are on borrowed time in terms of assuming we can enjoy carefree outdoor excursions in pleasant or bearable temperatures or that our commutes to and fro will be similarly snow free.  

The wife and I do enjoy going out on short hikes to enjoy the beauty, silence, and stillness of God’s creation from time to time so because the weather was agreeable, we set out to the Lye Brook Falls Trailhead near Manchester Vermont to boldly go where we have never gone before to stretch our legs and to enjoy what the Lord has given us in His earth and in our marriage.   

I’m currently, without a doubt, in the best physical shape of my life and while I was “down for whatever” or at least I said I was in terms of going on a hike this weekend, I have to admit that when the Lye Brook Falls Trail was rocky and wet and seemed to be going up, and up, and up, I wondered just how long our hike was going to be! Two point three miles is not that long of a hike, but when you are going up its hard to gauge how far you have gone, and while the hike didn’t defeat me I have to admit that the physical stress of the hike made me determined to push on and “get there already!”   

That’s the thing about a journey, until you get there you really have no “experiential idea” of how close you are to the finish line.  And on Saturday, the trail was pretty well populated, and we encountered many people hiking out while we were hiking in.  There were so many people coming out that I was simultaneously encouraged because “If they could make it, I could make it” and discouraged “How far away is this place!”. After a while it was like, being at a circus with the clowns crammed in a car gag- how many people does this mountain have on it exactly?  And as the going got tough, I was almost tempted to ask one of them “How much further is it?” but I was worried that A. They would think less of me- “Struggling to get up the mountain, are we!?”  or B. Tell me what I didn’t want to know – “Oh man, there is a LONG WAY to go and if you are asking now, you might want to turn around and go back!”   

But I resisted the temptation to make inquiries and just pressed on until we finally reached the Falls at the end of the trail! After arriving I was able to relax and the way out was a whole lot easier than the way in, in part undoubtedly, because I had “been there and done that” or at least had gone that way once before.  

TammyLyn on the other hand, enjoyed the journey on the way in and well as on the way out, by taking her time and going at her own pace. She wasn’t very far behind me but was a long way ahead of me in appreciating the experience.   But that’s me and that’s her, the same but different. We both love the outdoors but – as a “man” maybe – I have to get to where I am going before I can relax – I’m destination-driven and after  a while of walking in the wilderness, “I’m like – okay – I get it – trees, forest, middle of now where – let’s go!” – Whereas my wifey, is taking pictures of mushrooms and rocks…. But we know each other and love one another and let each other go at their own pace.  We walk together but respect each other’s right to go their own way with the understanding that we never get too far away from one another. While I might push on ahead, I would always stop and wait to make sure TammyLyn was still with me. Although I may have stretched it a bit during this hike, I know that we are together no matter the distance. God brought us together and I won’t do anything to mess that up.  

Walking together does take some getting used to – with couples and with the Lord. As I have reflected on the relationship I have with God of walking in the Spirit – I have been challenged to not rush ahead and to stay in step with the Holy Spirit because I have learned I can “get there” sooner than God plans, and often get lost when I go my own way. But I have learned just how good it is in His company and am determined to never walk away from Him for too long.  

In reflecting on my walk in the Spirit, I felt moved to update my “virtuous cycle” model for walking in the Spirit – to visually represent the Holy Spirit and God’s love – and the love of self and others – to better define the walk that brings us to love God, know and love who we are in Christ, and causes us to change the way we live and love others.  

Here’s the original Virtuous Cycle:


 


And Here’s the new and improved “Victorious Cycle” :


 

The Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts when we put our faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us God’s love and Truth, which should “illuminate us” – giving us spiritual life – and cause us to love God (1st thing) – and then the truth of who we are in Christ should cause us to know and love who we are in Christ (2nd thing) and that love should cause us to live according to God’s truth, changing how we live and causing us to seek to show and share God’s love with others.  The hearts represent God’s love and how it expands outward. The arrows show that this is a continuous cycle of living, that never ends.  It’s a good place to be and stay – as God is at the center of it and the fruit of the Spirit would grow all around it!  

So, if you don’t know which way to go anymore and want a guide for your life that will fill your life with truth, love, and joy – make Jesus Christ the LORD and Savior of your life and follow where the Holy Spirit guides you. And no matter how difficult your path through life may get, just keep walking and talking with God and He will give you an amazing journey that never ends.

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Children.

Acts 2:39 (NIV2011)
39  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Today’s verse is the second of two scriptures that fall under the second point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Children.

 2. Children of believers belong to God and are in his covenant.

Today’s verse tells us that God’s promise is for everyone that the Lord calls to life through faith in Jesus.   The call is not for everyone – some won’t be moved to answer it- and so if we hear the Lord’s still quiet voice in our minds or our hearts to follow Him, we need to answer!  

And we need to encourage our children to do the same.  We need to live a Christian life to show them the power of God in the world of the living and to demonstrate that He is real and His good and His ways are wisdom, truth, and love.

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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 – 2

Another Gospel – Part 4 of 5

One night to our joy, the one who had been preaching the Gospel (?) for several years, confessed that he had found Christ only the previous night. He acknowledged (to use his own words) that he had been presenting “the Christ ideal” but not the Christ of the Cross. The writer believes there are thousands like this preacher who, perhaps, have been brought up in Sunday School, taught about the birth, life, and teachings of Jesus Christ, who believe in the historicity of His person, who spasmodically endeavor to practice His precepts, and who think that that is all that is necessary for their salvation. Frequently, this class when they reach manhood go out into the world, encounter the attacks of atheists and infidels and are told that such a person as Jesus of Nazareth never lived. But the impressions of early days cannot be easily erased, and they remain steadfast in their declaration that they “believe in Jesus Christ.” Yet, when their faith is examined, only too often it is found that though they believe many things about Jesus Christ they do not really believe in him. They believe with the head that such a person lived (and, because they believe this imagine that therefore they are saved), but they have never thrown down the weapons of their warfare against Him, yielded themselves to Him, nor truly believed with their heart in Him.

The bare acceptance of an orthodox doctrine about the person of Christ without the heart being won by Him and the life devoted to Him, is another phase of that way “which seemeth right unto a man” but the end thereof are “the ways of death.” A mere intellectual assent to the reality of Christ’s person, and which goes no further, is another phase of the way which “seemeth right unto a man” but of which the end thereof “are the ways of death,” or, in other words, is another aspect of the gospel of Satan.

And now, where do you stand? Are you in the way which “seemeth right,” but which ends in death; or, are you in the Narrow Way which leadeth unto life? Have you truly forsaken the Broad Road which leadeth to death? Has the love of Christ created in your heart a hatred and horror of all that is displeasing to Him? Are you desirous that he should “reign over” you? (Luke 19:14). Are you relying wholly on His righteousness and blood for your acceptance with God?

Those who are trusting to an outward form of godliness, such as baptism or “confirmation!” those who are religious because it is considered a mark of respectability; those who attend some Church or Chapel because it is the fashion to do so; and, those who unite with some Denomination because they suppose that such a step will enable them to become Christians, are in the way which “ends in death”—death spiritual and eternal. However pure our motives, however noble our intentions, however well-meaning our purposes, however sincere our endeavors, God will not acknowledge us as His sons, until we accept His Son.[1]

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

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

(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).