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“Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.” Mark 3:14 The series of events are in sequential order. First they were appointed that they might be with Him. Then they were sent out to preach. If they had not come to Him when He called them to be with Him, they would not be in position to be sent out. They learned from Him how to live and what to preach by being with Him. It is not enough to merely hear about Him from a book or word of mouth. The experience must be personal. We are called to an intimate relationship with Him. His life is an open book to those who will to know Him. But to the casual inquirer, He is misunderstood and often misaligned. They accuse Him of things that is not a part of His character because they only know Him from a distance. John, the beloved disciple laid His head upon His breast. Peter the Zealot stepped out of the boat in order to join in on what Christ was experiencing while walking on the water. Intimacy includes both the emotional and…

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 Youthful lusts do not automatically translate into wantonness. There are temptations that come in our youth to channel our energies in the direction of our unchecked passions. It takes forethought to consider the outcome of decisions that so many peers make. The admonition is to think ahead and consider what your life would be like in the future. Decisions now have far reaching consequences later. The wise and mature, as result of years of trial and error, have much to teach the young and immature. They have walked the path that the young are yet considering. Unfortunately, we only have one life to live. If it were possible, the warnings to the young would be their precautionary actions now. Since this is impossible, they can only speak wise words borne from experience and observation. Listen to wise and godly advice. It will spare you from many failures and heartache as result of snares set by the enemy.

“Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent.” Rom 14:22 (Msg.) Every relationship worthy of preserving requires cultivation. Silence and inactivity signifies disinterest and unconcern. When one’s heart is aligned with God’s heart, we are blessed with the will to do things that would cultivate our relationship with Him. We cannot Impose on other what has become uniquely our own. It is personal and intimate between us and God alone. Our response to Him is our response to what we have come to know of Him. He loves each of us, but loves each of us differently. We are loved into the destinies to which we have been called as He empowers us with His own strength. Our uniqueness ought to translate into a unique expression of worship and praise that only we are capable of expressing. Whether one is poetic, artistic, or oratorical, it will be to praise of the glory of His grace. The most important matter is that both belief and behavior are cohesive. With this, you are most fortunate as we give both head, heart, and hand to Him.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,And that my soul knows very well.” Ps 139:14 Even in our physical frame is evidence of the mysterious wonders of the Lord. He has so made us and equipped our bodies to function in amazing ways. Intricate details were taken into account. It is a synergized work of art giving expression of cooperation of every part doing its share. If one part failed to operate as if ought, other parts will do their best to compensate. Yet all parts are affected by the wound suffered by even that little part that once appeared to be insignificant. Then we have a soul that animates the body and feels the emotions of both pain and pleasure. All that we will or will not to do originates from the deep recesses of our soul. The knowledge of our Creator is deeply embedded there while there may be pressures brought to bear against us to deny Him. But our soul knows very well that things do not happen without an initiative to activate the process of motion. Therefore it is our choice to praise the One who has so…

“What wonderful advice you’ve given to a mixed-up man! What amazing insights you’ve provided!” (Msg) Job 26:3 We need advice that can straighten out the crooked places in our lives. We cannot allow the advice of those who may have abused their liberties by spewing out carnal and worldly advice to close us off and draw us in too closely to ourselves. Yes, there are some who have not explored deeply into the reasons behind the actions and hurt more than help the situation. But then there are others who have been sent by God to speak words of edification, exhortation, comfort.  When we turn a deaf ear all counsel because we cannot trust anything that may come our way, we rob ourselves of one of God’s greatest gifts. It is in a multitude of counselors that safety dwells. Somewhere hidden beneath criticisms and encouragements lie the insights we so desperately need. God has so equipped us to be sensitive to the human touch and our ears are attuned to human voices. Even among the hypercritical, we must examine if there is even a small element of truth contained in their criticism. As we listen to both God through man…

“This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Galatians 3:2 It is the Holy Spirit that empowers the believer to become what God wills for him to become. Out of his becoming, he is enabled to do what God would have him to do. The reversed order is to do what one may thinks may be His will with the expectation of God’s approval. Receiving the Spirit initiates the believer into a life in the Spirit. But the Spirit is quenched if the recipient does not yield to who he has received. God’s intention is for our efforts to be a response to His initiative. God’s interpretation of deeper meaning of His truth is hidden within our simple obedience to what is understood.  Hearing the word preached is more than an exercise in attempting to retain the information made known. It is also a matter of receiving the Spirit of the Word that becomes life within the hearer. Works alone is one attempt at self-justification but void of God’s approval. Hearing sets the standard for Spirit-life in the believer. He then would have…

“From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?” Job 28:20 In order for true wisdom to be known, everything must balance out in the symmetry of thought and actions converging towards an expected end. All that preceded the moment must be fully known, and all that shall come after must be taken into account. Any idea that comes to mind must not only come to mind but must be traced back to its origin. Wisdom is birthed out of the womb of the eternal. Every creature merely functions within the limited knowledge allotted to it. God who is eternal is the Source of all wisdom. He does not have to reach beyond Himself for understanding of things, for all things were made by Him and for Him, and by Him they consist and are held together by His power. We know in part, therefore even the seers who prophesied what has been made known to them could only share a portion of what is yet to be revealed. He gives wisdom to the wise and makes wise the simple. But no wisdom given could ever exceed its Source. Therefore, all creatures must seek Him for…

“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” Proverb 10:22 There is the accumulation of wealth among the rich which brings sorrow and a wealth that endures to eternal life. When money becomes the god that replaces the true and living God, it then competes with what He wills to do in his life. That person under the control of Mammon will never know the richness that comes through full surrender to God’s will. The greatest blessing is the passion to love Him with one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then His joy becomes our own joy. When we are there, all that comes our way is managed and not owned. If we have an abundance of things, we find pleasure in having more options to use them in blessing the Lord. Money does not make the person. It merely gives him more options to express what he already has become. We should not allow anything to stand between us and the Lord. But at all times exercise diligence in pleasing Him. He gives us both the ability to accumulate wealth and the joy of the harvest.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8-9 Love does not ignore or deny the sin. But love loves in spite of the sin. There are some deeds that could make it difficult to love the one who has offended you. That is the true test of love when you are able to look beyond the offense and see the soul that is in a desperate place drifting in a direction away from God. Stephen understood this when he was being stoned to death. He cried out to God in the midst of their throwing stones at him “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” He wanted what was best for them even while they were venting their hatred against him. If this had not been the case, Saul the Pharisee who became Paul the Apostle would have never been saved and used in such a mighty way. God’s will is to use your enemies if they ever come to know Jesus Christ for who He is. But your release of them may pave the way for them to receive what they would otherwise have no…

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9 True love is balanced with an attraction towards purity and truth and a distain and hatred towards evil. It is not the imbalance that embraces any behavior as being acceptable for sake of peace. True love often disturbs the peace of the wicked in order to confront his wickedness. There are matters of the heart in need of deep change. It is mere pretense to ignore the initial promptings that occur within one’s own conscience until it is silenced for the sake of expediency. The more those warning signs are ignored, the stronger and bolder steps are taken in the direction of hypocrisy. People are not born hypocrites. They become hypocrites by much practice. Once the plight is to move in that direction, true love is never known because the person that is not real himself cannot accept realness from others. Their own hypocrisy raises suspicion regarding all who would be honest with them. We must hate evil in order to embrace what is good. It is never both ways. It is either good or evil that we must choose.