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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Devotionals / Pilgrim's Journal Welcome Guest
    Pilgrim's Journal
          The On-Going Saga of a Pilgrim on His Journey to the Celestial City

    Sat, Apr 3rd - 4:20PM

    A Missionary for Jesus



    My Mission

    As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid [their] hands on them, they sent [them] away.  Acts 13:2,3

    Somewhere along the way I heard it said that “We are either a missionary or a mission field.”  This statement has stuck in my mind and rung true in my heart as I have moved on the way in my Pilgrimage to God’s Kingdom.  The disciple of Jesus is a missionary wherever he is.  His efforts at attaining personal holiness, his devotion to his God and all of the implications of it that result in change to his own life and the lives of those he encounters amount to a mission in this world.  His goal may not be to convert persons directly, per se, but the living witness of Christ in him, “the hope of glory” is in itself an advance of the Gospel into the darkened corners of this present world.  When that great missionary Paul, the Apostle tells the Philippians of his desire for Christ to be magnified in his body, “whether by life or by death,” he is affirming this very principle. (Phil. 1:20)  Indeed, much of Paul’s writing in the New Testament is of this same tenor.  In the second chapter of this letter he exhorts them to be blameless and harmless so that they might shine as lights in the world.  Phil. 2:14-16  So, we see a dual purpose in the ongoing salvation of which we partake: firstly, that we might be changed inwardly as individuals into the moral likeness of our Saviour, and secondly that this inward change would shine forth in the world around us, giving glory to God.  How manifold and marvelous are His purposes!

             

    Therefore, I acknowledge my calling to the mission field around me, as does every other true disciple of Christ.  In my case, my field is in the city where I live, Colorado Springs, and to the people thereof.  But, more specifically, there lies a burden on my heart for God’s people in the churches in this community and throughout our country.  Yes, I have a great concern for the lost, the non-professing unbeliever as well.  However, in the day in which we presently live there seems to be a mix of the two, particularly as the churches rapidly become more worldly in their message and ministry in general.  To my perception, and as is obvious to some others, a spirit has infected the body of Christ causing a radical compromise of Gospel truth and its attending grace today.  It is apparent that we are very near, if not already in those difficult times that our Lord spoke of in the 24th of Matthew and elsewhere, describing them as “the beginning of sorrows.”  I suppose that this could be debated, and that a case could be made for the entire church age being one of tumult, uncertainty, apostasy and deception. 

    It matters not on the technicality as to what to label our generation.  The fact is that many are fallen from the true faith, and that much of a diluted Gospel message has captivated the professing churches.  My deepest concern is for the confused and often deluded souls in these “Evangelical” assemblies, and their great need for a true and full understanding of the historic message of the cross.  Yes, Bible truth in varying degrees and shades is being disseminated, and for this I rejoice, as did the apostle.  (Phil. 1:18)  But, as Paul could not rest contented in this, and as he spoke boldly against the various heresies of the church in his day, so must I do, likewise today.  The pervasive complacency I see everywhere in the churches is rooted in a false assurance of salvation for scores of professing believers, who are taught only half the Gospel.  Salvation, in this partial gospel is simplified as a justification from sin, without a corresponding reformed life of true holiness.  The convert is, supposedly gotten in the door to the Kingdom and then given license to essentially, live out his life as he pleases, even to the gratification of the flesh.  Now, this is not expressly taught, but rather, is strongly implied both in the teaching and by the practical example set by leaders and sheep in many of the churches.  Concepts such as practical obedience, total surrender and radical separation from the world are greatly diminished in favor of a “let’s win them by emulating their lifestyle” model. 

    The urgent need of the hour is, therefore to counter this false and distorted gospel, and to proclaim the true Gospel message in its fullness and proper balance of emphasis.  I certainly don’t claim to be the only one alarmed at this trend in our day, nor do I profess to have some exclusive commission from Jesus Christ to straighten out the contemporary church.  But, I see the need and have been providentially positioned in a place here in Colorado Springs, a city of great religious influence throughout our country and the world.  I believe that I possess some gifting in communication ability, and humbly assert that I also possess a fair degree of understanding in Biblical truth, so that I can, by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit call my brethren back in repentance to “the (true) faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)   My lack of human qualifications and credentials are not a hindrance, but rather a confirmation of this ministry given me.  Some see me as being argumentative for the sake of contention and strife, asserting that I should mind my place in a fellowship with which I mostly agree and support, allowing God to correct His people. 

    What I know is that a hot fire burns within me that I cannot quench or pacify by some outward conformity to man’s compromised and misguided standards.  I have a call and an anointing which I cannot suppress for the sake of personal happiness and safety in this world.  I must speak to my brothers and sisters as God has directed me, in every situation and on every occasion that presents itself.  It certainly is not the favor of men that I seek, but rather it is the approval of God that I desire on the day that I stand before Him.  This is my ministry.  May I be found faithful in it for as long a time as I am yet allotted on this earth! 

    Michael Clark,

    Colorado Springs, Colorado   November 23, 2008

    edited and posted April 3, 2010

     

     

     

     

     



    Comment (0)

    Fri, Feb 27th - 1:29PM

    Christianity God's Way



    A Contagious Christian

    con.ta.gious  adj.  1.  spread by contact: said of diseases.  2. carrying the causative agent of a contagious disease.  3. spreading from person to person.

    When a man (or a woman, or child) holds nothing between himself and his God, does not allow his affections to be drawn away to fix on any of the myriad of idols around him in this world...

    When such a man, having a loving loyalty to his Maker and Lord walks in a consistently righteous manner before his fellow men in all his dealings with them, and presents a clear example of holiness to them,

    When the joy of eternal life in him is not suppressed by all of the pressures coming down on him in his daily existence, but his response is one of patient persistence,

    When the gentleness and the power of Christ are exhibited equally in this person  as he verbally expresses the simple Gospel to those in need of salvation,

     This man gains the respect of those around him, whether they agree with his particular theological persuasion, whether they are willing to surrender their lives to his God or not.  Though he is yet a pilgrim and sojourner in the earth, and not yet fully perfected in his character, he nevertheless has a contagious quality about him that cannot be resisted by the world.  Pilate marveled at Jesus, and secretly admired Him.  Agrippa, being "almost persuaded" to become a Christian like Paul, saw not only the truth in Paul's testimony, but this very quality of attractiveness in him. 

    Paul describes this contagion very aptly in these words:

    For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

    To the one [we are] the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who [is] sufficient for these things?  2Cor. 2:15,16

    In another place Paul's willing union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection is expressed in the ministry he has to the Corinthians:

    Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  2Cor 4:10

    I don't, by any means claim to have attained unto this that I speak of here, but it is the only kind of contagious-ness that I want to possess, and I trust that is so for every true follower of Jesus Christ.  All it really takes is to be willing to take up the cross daily, and die to my own desires in following Him.  A simple formula, granted, but this is what He requires of a sincere disciple.  Sadly, not many who name His name today are ready for this kind of contagious-ness and the death to self it entails.  The masses seem to have opted for a more world-friendly version of Christianity, with its comforts and human approval and the compromises that go along with it.  They want to say they have Christ's life in them, but aren't ready to participate in His death.  That's not for me.  I want the real thing, whatever the cost!  He's given His all for me;  How can I withhold my all from Him?

    And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.  Mark 8:34-38



    Comment (0)

    Sat, Jan 24th - 4:11PM

    Waiting



    Waiting:  Impatience and Doubt

    Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare [that] I will render double unto thee...Zech. 9:12

     

    I often feel, as I do today, that I am locked in a prison, and that without hope.  There are many factors in my present life that form the walls and bars of that prison cell, which I inhabit.  To describe them specifically is not necessary here, as it is sufficient to just make mention of them.  I have waited so long, and endured so much from the enemies of my life, and am so weary, and even yet intimidated by their threats.  However, just moments ago I read a portion of the diary of a young missionary, who some years ago expressed similar doubts about the particular mission on which he had been sent by the Lord.  He was facing great discouragement at the writing of those words, and yet, very shortly thereafter, a fellow missionary asked this man to join him and a group of others to launch out on a particular venture.  This venture was an effort to contact a very savage group of people in the jungles of that region and present the word of the Gospel to them.  Although this young man was on the verge of quitting the mission work which he had been called to do in that area, he accepted the challenge by his fellow missionary. Shortly after he accepted the invitation to join these other men, they were all killed after making this initial contact with these primitive people.  The story goes on, in that the wife of one of these men later took her little daughter into the forest to find these savages and, having located them, lived amongst them for a period of time, eventually bringing at least some of them to salvation, and all of them to a peaceful, civilized way of life. 

    Upon reading entry in this man’s diary in a book I am reading, tears came to my eyes.  They were tears of brokenness and of repentance toward God, who always proves Himself faithful in the plans He has for each of His children, including me.  These five slain men seemed, and actually were models of courage and love in the expenditure of their lives for the sake of those unbelieving inhabitants of a South American jungle.  Although they had at least one weapon with them during their encounter, they decided it best for them to be killed, rather than the natives, because they, themselves were ready for heaven, and the natives not.  And yet, for their valor for Christ, they were human, just as I am, and subject to like passions as I.  What an encouragement to me to read about this brother’s struggle of faith, and the soon triumph of it shortly thereafter his writing about it! 

     

    Is there a release from this bondage to the drudgery of God’s will for my present life?  Will answers come to my prayers for deliverance from my current circumstances?  I am told that the delays to a man’s prayers are merely indicative of the fact that time is not yet ready for the full answers to them.  The pain and strain of waiting is, in God’s economy what makes me qualified to possess these answers.  Jesus faced the darkness of God’s silence, and soon came into the wonderful light of His approval and acceptance through the resurrection.  Likewise,  must every disciple die the death to self in order to experience a similar resurrection, both in this life, as well as in the next.  O, how misrepresented the Christian life is by many in the contemporary American churches!  I am so glad that He is with me and that there truly is a reward for my faith and obedience to Him.  May I somehow be an example of this to all with whom I have contact!  Amen

     

    I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  Ps. 40:1



    Comment (0)

    Sun, Nov 30th - 9:38PM



    Ten Years in the Canaan Land

    And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.  Ex. 6:4

     

    I [am] the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, [and] to be your God.  Lev. 25:38

     

     

              Canaan is a symbol much used in the Christian experience.  Often it carries the connotation of a victorious life, other times it means a triumphant entry into heaven after a successful struggle against sin in this life.  For me, Canaan is the place of abundance, of knowledgeable and successful Christian living with struggles that can have successful outcomes.  Canaan is where I live now.  My former existence as a professing believer in  Christ was fraught with confusion, inconsistency and defeat.  That period could rightly be called my wilderness wanderings.  I had been delivered from the bondage of sin, which to the Old Testament Israelites was their time in Egypt.  The blood sprinkled on the door posts of their dwellings as they departed was of a lamb slain and eaten before their hurried departure, a picture of the Lamb of God slain for sin, both theirs, and mine today.  I wandered in confusion and unbelief for many years, as they did for forty years subsequent to that departure from Egypt.  Then, finally I was brought to the Jordan River, the very brink of the Promised Land, just as they were.

     

              Whether every Christian goes through this process in his pilgrimage, and in what degrees, I know not.  I only know what has been my experience, and would attempt to describe it here.  I suppose I have gone through a phase of disillusionment with God, which was based upon an unrealistic expectation of what the Christian experience would and should be.  If the analogy of the Jews of old holds true for the New Testament believer today, then the Scriptures tell me that my time in the desert could have been greatly shortened by a sincere appropriation of faith.  This was not the case, and I, like my O.T. counterparts spent an enormously long and fruitless time in my wanderings there.  But God, who is rich in mercy eventually brought me out of that miserable period, and here into a place where I am able to appropriate all of the good resources available to me through Christ.  Therefore, Canaan is not the end of struggle for me, but rather the beginning of a meaningful struggle with the promise of victory here and now.

     

              Ten years ago, almost to the day I was released from the Colorado prison system and settled here in Colorado Springs.  This is therefore, the location of Canaan for me.  As with the Israelites, the land is before me waiting to be conquered.  In the past ten years I have had much victory and a lot of defeat, while all along gaining a steady progress in growth of my inner character.  By the teachings of some quarters of the Church, I should have obtained a great deal of success in business and finances by now.  Actually, I have attained a significant measure of success in these areas, though not to the accumulation of the wealth which some might expect.  I am healthy, and wanting in nothing necessary for my life.  More so, I have and am like the apostle Paul, finding contentment in whatsoever state I am in.  For, truly “godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Without a doubt the greatest blessing I consider myself to have gotten is an accurate understanding of what it truly is to be a disciple of Jesus, and a child of God in a very practical sense.  The way of the cross is not something commonly taught, nor consistently exemplified in the many churches of our present day.  While be relatively poor and despised in my ministry to the body of Christ, I count it an honor to have been granted this knowledge along with its outworking in me.  To have a greater measure of success in this life, and in ministry endeavor would very likely spoil the treasure I have so painfully labored to achieve.  Truly the life of a disciple is one of outward defeat in the eyes of the world and the worldly church, but one of inward advance into the glorious kingdom of God.

     

              Should, or could I then boast of all my achievements in these past ten years?  Nay, rather it is my failings in which I boast, because in these I have found joy that cannot taken from me, and which cannot fade with the seasons of life.

    And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  Rom. 5:3-5

     

    I must confess with all the saints who have gone before me, and who now share my experience, that I am happy with my lot in this life, and see it as great opportunity to give glory to my Maker.  Is there a message in my life, in my mind and on my tongue?  Then let it be this: that I know Christ in the power of His resurrection, and in the fellowship of His sufferings; and that I am being made conformable to His death, that I may ultimately be a partaker of His glorious resurrection.  What more is there to be had in this present life?  Many have conquered great realms, even the entire world, and have not gotten what I now possess.  Praise God!  I am safe in the everlasting arms, never to be plucked out and abandoned.  May the remaining few years or even days allotted to me be lived in a manner worthy of this calling!

              So, I thank God Almighty that I have crossed over the Jordan and begun to inherit this land of Canaan!  Egypt and the wilderness are behind me, the corn and wine of Canaan is now mine to lay hold of and to enjoy.  May my hand never falter at the plow, my face never turn back to the past and my sword do mighty exploits for the only King and wise God, whom I now serve in this land of promise!

     

    These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  Jn. 16:33

     

    Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.  1Jn. 4:4

     

     

     

     

     

     



    Comment (2)

    Wed, Nov 26th - 9:58AM



    My Mission

    As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid [their] hands on them, they sent [them] away.  Acts 13:2,3

     

    Somewhere along the way I heard it said that “We are either a missionary or a mission field.”  This statement has stuck in my mind and rung true in my heart as I have moved on the way in my Pilgrimage to God’s Kingdom.  The disciple of Jesus is a missionary wherever he is.  His efforts at attaining personal holiness, his devotion to his God and all of the implications of it that result in change to his own life and the lives of those he encounters amount to a mission in this world.  His goal may not be to convert persons directly, per se, but the living witness of Christ in him, “the hope of glory” is in itself an advance of the Gospel into the darkened corners of this present world.  When that great missionary Paul, the Apostle tells the Philippians of his desire for Christ to be magnified in his body, “whether by life or by death,” he is affirming this very principle. (Phil. 1:20)  Indeed, much of Paul’s writing in the New Testament is of this same tenor.  In the second chapter of this letter he exhorts them to be blameless and harmless so that they might shine as lights in the world.  Phil. 2:14-16  So, we see a dual purpose in the ongoing salvation of which we partake: firstly, that we might be changed inwardly as individuals into the moral likeness of our Saviour, and secondly that this inward change would shine forth in the world around us, giving glory to God.  How manifold and marvelous are His purposes!

              Therefore, I acknowledge my calling to the mission field around me, as does every other true disciple of Christ.  In my case, my field is in the city where I live, Colorado Springs, and to the people thereof.  But, more specifically, there lies a burden on my heart for God’s people in the churches in this community and throughout our country.  Yes, I have a great concern for the lost, the non-professing unbeliever as well.  However, in the day in which we presently live there seems to be a mix of the two, particularly as the churches rapidly become more worldly in their message and ministry in general.  To my perception, and as is obvious to some others, a spirit has infected the body of Christ causing a radical compromise of Gospel truth and its attending grace today.  It is apparent that we are very near, if not already in those difficult times that our Lord spoke of in the 24th of Matthew and elsewhere, describing them as “the beginning of sorrows.”  I suppose that this could be debated, and that a case could be made for the entire church age being one of tumult, uncertainty, apostasy and deception. 

    It matters not on the technicality as to what to label our generation.  The fact is that many are fallen from the true faith, and that much of a diluted Gospel message has captivated the professing churches.  My deepest concern is for the confused and often deluded souls in these “Evangelical” assemblies, and their great need for a true and full understanding of the historic message of the cross.  Yes, Bible truth in varying degrees and shades is being disseminated, and for this I rejoice, as did the apostle.  (Phil. 1:18)  But, as Paul could not rest contented in this, and as he spoke boldly against the various heresies of the church in his day, so must I do, likewise today.  The pervasive complacency I see everywhere in the churches is rooted in a false assurance of salvation for scores of professing believers, who are taught only half the Gospel.  Salvation, in this partial gospel is simplified as a justification from sin, without a corresponding reformed life of true holiness.  The convert is, supposedly gotten in the door to the Kingdom and then given license to essentially, live out his life as he pleases, even to the gratification of the flesh.  Now, this is not expressly taught, but rather, is strongly implied both in the teaching and by the practical example set by leaders and sheep in many of the churches.  Concepts such as practical obedience, total surrender and radical separation from the world are greatly diminished in favor of a “let’s win them by our looseness” model. 

    The urgent need of the hour is, therefore to counter this false and distorted gospel, and to proclaim the true Gospel message in its fullness and proper balance of emphasis.  I certainly don’t claim to be the only one alarmed at this trend in our day, nor do I profess to have some exclusive commission from Jesus Christ to straighten out the contemporary church.  But, I see the need and have been providentially positioned in a place here in Colorado Springs, a city of great religious influence throughout our country and the world.  I believe that I possess some gifting in communication ability, and humbly assert that I also possess a fair degree of understanding in Biblical truth, so that I can, by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit call my brethren back in repentance to “the (true) faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)   My lack of human qualifications and credentials are not a hindrance, but rather a confirmation of this ministry given me.  Some see me as being argumentative for the sake of contention and strife, asserting that I should mind my place in a fellowship with which I mostly agree and support, allowing God to correct His people. 

    What I know is that a hot fire burns within me that I cannot quench or pacify by some outward conformity to man’s compromised and misguided standards.  I have a call and an anointing which I cannot suppress for the sake of personal happiness and safety in this world.  I must speak to my brothers and sisters as God has directed me, in every situation and on every occasion that presents itself.  It certainly is not the favor of men that I seek, but rather it is the approval of God that I desire on the day that I stand before Him.  This is my ministry.  May I be found faithful in it for as long a time as I am yet allotted on this earth! 

    Michael Clark,

    Colorado Springs, Colorado   November 23, 2008



    Comment (0)


    About Me

    Name: W. Michael Clark
    ChristiansUnite ID: pioneer
    Member Since: 2006-02-18
    Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
    Denomination: Attend a Mennonite Church
    About Me: I am a man who has been corrected by the rod of his chastening. Though I've walked in this pilgrim way for many years now, I've only begun to learn the fuller measure of God's grace in obedience and holiness.

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