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“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”   2 Corinthians 13:14   The benedictional blessing released from the lips of Paul over the brethren was that they receive the favor of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unlimited grace was invoked in order to fully participate with Christ on the earth. It would be a continuation of His earthly ministry through those who have received the Father’s love. They were to become the expression of His intentions. The Holy Spirit was working in them to produce both the will and the ability to fulfill their purpose for living. The grace was not to be frustrated through a misapplication of turning inward with some selfish aim. Rather it was to be strengthened by a passion to please God that would overrule any thoughts that would try to arise. The Holy Spirit will be the constant companion to those who would allow Him to lead. They will understand and know God and each other by the same Spirit. May this be with you all, Amen.

“…and you will find rest for your souls.”  Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 11:29    It is not established paths that causes constant disturbance of the soul. It is the ignorance that there is a course already laid out before us that is both tried and sure. Each message from God provides both guidance and peace. When the commitment is to do the same, the results will be a peace that passes all understanding. The pleading of the Spirit of Christ is “learn from Me!” He is fully aware of the outcome of every decision made in a lifetime. He still pleads rather than force us to do what is best. Yet many will stubbornly reject the offer to learn from Him what He knows. My friend, your restless soul can only find rest in Him. He will take your burdens and permit you to be His yokefellow. As you walk with Him, even though there will be challenges ahead, the lessons learned through those challenges will provide a much greater reward than the little effort required of you. You will discover a new kind of rest, a rest in labor rather than from it for His yoke is easy and His…

Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.”  Hebrews 12:27   The voice of God speaks from heaven and the earth is shaken. God’s Word has the power to disturb the false peace that resides upon the earth when it is not according to His design. Our lives must be established on the principles of His doctrine unless we too will have a false sense of security merely to be shaken by the calamities that are sure to come upon all who live their lives in disobedience to His will. He stands alone as the Creator of all things. He has the authority over and the design for the whole of His creation. They are unstable without His Spirit bringing all things into proper order. The Word of God may appear obsolete in our day. The true ministers of God may seem to have lost their significance among much talk and activity that in God’s eyes is meaningless chatter. God has both a heavenly message and gives a heavenly vision to those whom He has called to represent…

“….By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  2 Peter 1:4   The promises become our focus rather than other things previously lusted after. It is when faith in God’s promises is real to us that we can then rely upon and trust in His Word to deliver all He has said. The bondage of misdirected desires goes deeper into the soul than any pain inflicted upon the body. We have now become a settled and undisturbed people because we have received from the Lord the faith to believe His Word. That pain is no longer a thing to suffer because our hopes are on things that are eternal. We have learned that craving for the forbidden or placing our hope on the temporal erodes the soul. But, thanks be given unto God, we have escaped what once held us in bondage. The reprieve from the penalty of former lusts and the deliverance from being sentenced to only seeing and desiring them have been granted to such an undeserving soul.

“Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Revelations 4:1   The immediate appears to be more practical than the ultimate. What many assume to be a message from the Lord may be practical but not prophetic. It is only what is seen that is addressed, causing many to stand together but unable to progress beyond their current position. They may find comfort because they are not alone, but nothing of substance is feeding their malnourished souls. The invitation of Jesus is to be raised beyond the level of convention. “Come up here!” He awaits the arrival of those desperate souls who hunger and thirst after righteousness. They seek more than temporary relief, but a life-changing encounter. God offers the weary and heavy laden rest, but only in an elevated position in heavenly places in Christ. When we are seated there, we can see what He has to show us and not be distracted by the side-shows of the enemy. Even this too shall pass as we by faith trust in the Lord to guide us in the direction of what will take place after this.

“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.”  2 John 6    Love defined by the Source from which it originated. None else can define love in language that is so sensible yet so profound. The qualities of love are found within the confines of obedience. Everything else outside of this is hatred and repulsive to the One who is able to determine the authentic from the counterfeit.  The world is in search of authentic love. Too many have been duped into believing the lie of those with strings attached to their affection. It is a legitimate need that is, to love and be loved. This is love, love identified as a lifestyle chosen and a people empowered to obey God’s commandments. The will or the heart to obey precedes one receiving the power or abilty to obey. A daily walk willfully engaged that is pleasing to God.  An assurance accompanies that degree of commitment. God makes it known to the servant’s heart that He belongs exclusively to Him. He reveals His love in order for it to be disbursed abroad or distributed through his heart to others. He becomes an instrument in God’s hands as His servant…

“That I may know Him…”  Philippians 3:10   The deepest cry of the human heart cries in the direction of its Maker and Provider. There is a deep yearning to know the Source from which it came. The ability to want and have provided a fulfillment that makes all of life meaningful is a gift given to all from God. It is the desire left unfulfilled that leaves one searching and grasping for straws only to discover that what appeared to have significance was merely a fathom or a pipe dream. It is the god that is imagined that stands in the way of an authentic search. It leads to a manufactured religion that gives temporary relief but wears off as quickly as it came. Paul’s prayer is earnest having tasted and seen the real thing. Because he had experienced Christ to a degree, he wanted more of the same. “…that I may know Him!” He had the satisfaction in being on the right path but anxiously anticipating the arrival in reaching the destination. He was knowable, but daily the whole of his life was absorbed in the pursuit. It is the experience that he sought after, not just a…

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”  Proverbs 17:17  One of God’s greatest gifts is a true and loving friend and a brother. He is there when others may have abandoned you and moved on. The love of a friend is not always soft and easy. There are occasions when tough love is necessary. An honest friend is not the person that agrees with our wrongdoings. He insists that his brother follow a course of righteousness. He is neither a fatalist nor an eternal optimist. He is acquainted with human frailties, but help to seek a path for recovery and restoration. The adversity may be external or internal. The troubled soul is in need of someone who will help him take an objective look at what he would otherwise be left unquestioned. There are many who fall off the cliff without warning. Their companions were too afraid to say anything thinking that they may cease walking together. While there are others who do not care enough to speak the truth in love. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”  But there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

“But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48   God’s requirements are commensurate to the measure of His grace. He gives to one a portion and to another a different portion. He does not expect the same from each but expects both to use what they have been given for His glory. When His boundaries are tested, whether it be from one who has full knowledge of the law or not, both must pay the penalty for their transgression. Yet again, what has been made known to them will determine the severity of their punishment. His gifts are freely given but to empower us to freely respond to His initiatives. To know to do what is good must be from the heart and not just the head if His grace is effectively working within us. We are then doing what we will to do, not just for the sake of avoiding punishment, but because it has been made known to us what…

“What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?”  Psalm 116:12   The Lord provides benefits, many times unexpected and often before we are even aware of our need for them. As He looks far down the road of our lives, if we maintain a steadfast faith in Him, He takes our offering of life and leads us on a course directed towards His standard of righteousness. None can imagine  how many benefits we receive along the way as we journey on that path. It is not just arriving at the destination, but being on course with what really matters in life that is fulfilling. The emptiness of vanity is gone and we are left with a pursuit to know the One who loves us most. Love received demands a response. How can we respond to the overwhelming love demonstrated through our Lord, Jesus Christ? All we can possibly do is take advantage of the purpose for which He came to die such a cruel death on the cross for us. We can take Him up on His offer. By receiving His gift we bring the greatest joy to the heart of the Father.