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“I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.” Psalm 3:5   Sleep is like a form of death. When we sleep, we are no longer in control of our thoughts or body. All is as if it is in the grave without a conscious thought but trusting that at the proper time we will awake. Our dreams take to places we had not traveled before. It is always our desire to have a peaceful rest, thus a peaceful travel to the place that our dreams would take us. Our prayer is that God would protect us when we have no defense. There are the terrors of the night; invaders who may come and interrupt us and invade our homes; calamities over which we have no control; all the things that could happen in the night. The morning of our awakening is like our resurrection. The Lord has sustained us through the night! As we trust God to keep us through one night in order to see a new day, we must also trust Him for the midnights of life’s experiences. Whatever we are going through in life, we go through it because we are in the…

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:14     The Apostle Paul uses the language of an athlete competing for the ultimate prize. The intermediate victories are not be become the level in which he was to settle, but his eyes were upon something much greater. They may be used as a means to lead him there, but ultimate prize was the fulfillment of the upward call. This has more to do with becoming someone than getting something. He qualified to enter in to the competition of becoming all that God had called him to become. And out of his becoming, he was enabled by the Holy Spirit to do all that God had called him to do. We too have been called by Almighty God to a standard of spiritual excellence. It is a standard of living out and giving a full and clear expression of the life of Jesus Christ upon the earth. The world is in desperate need of knowing Christ and He can only be known through His Church. He was aware of his imperfections and areas where improvements were needed. But also open…

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” 1 Peter 2:7   What man often finds as most useful, God rejects. And what man rejects God accepts. The material used by God to build lives, community, and His Church is not what we in the natural would always consider. He builds with character. He makes sure that what is being erected can support the winds of change and the waves of adversity. The example is a house built upon the sand. Even though the structure is elaborate and is a thing of beauty. It has no foundation and eventually the inevitable would come to test its strength. The strength of a structure is its foundation. And no other foundation can be laid other than Jesus Christ. The accuracy of the establishment of Christ in the life of the believer will keep him stable in the most difficult of times. Christ is often rejected or redefined because the majority of people do not see any use for Him as He is. They attempt to either fit Him in as they please or eliminate Him altogether. Yet He is the only One we can turn to when we are…

” If the Lord can see everything in the world of the dead, He can see in our hearts.” Proverbs 15:11 (CEV)   God examines the inner-workings of the hearts of men. He is able to observe every secret thought and the development of the mindset of men. It is not just the immediate thought or idea that He directs His attention to. He looks at all that contributed to the formation of the thought long before it is given expression. This text expresses His gaze into the dark mysteries of the world of the dead. He has full knowledge of every detail existing there. Even the underworld of demons and devils all of the mysteries of hell, God knows. If death itself cannot shroud the degree of knowledge fully known by Him, then it should be clear to all that He knows the hearts or the inner life or the secret life of men or human beings. “How then can we hide our thoughts from God?” (TEV)   The Psalmist requested divine introspection from God; “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.” Psalm 26:2 He did not trust his own judgments, but requested that…

Rom 15:2-4 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”     A selfless heart cannot be prefabricated. The fallen nature of man hinders him from becoming altruistic. Yet God is able through one who has yielded himself to Him, do what is pleasing and for the good of his neighbor. Christ died for us. It was not a pleasant experience leading up to His death. But He had us in mind throughout all He had to suffer. The Scripture does not tell us to do whatever is pleasing to our neighbor. That would reduce us to becoming men-pleasers. We must consider what is good for him and do what is best even if it cost us in our efforts in assisting him. The love of God given expression through us will lift him to a level where Christ becomes visible to him. As we seek God for the good of others, expecting nothing in return from them, God’s grace can then flow freely through us. 

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”    1 Samuel 16:7 God’s eyes are upon the truth in every situation. His judgments are based on the truth that He knows without having to measure circumstantial evidence. This may serve as vindication for the innocent, but will also be an indictment to the guilty. Man can only see that is made known to him. Actions are borne out of motives. We both speak and do what has been brewing in our hearts even before the time comes that we give full expression to it. The matter is already judged in heaven’s court. It is the execution of His judgment carried out when penalties are met. Our judgments or our opinions at that moment do not really matter. When God takes charge of what He sees, it is to our best interest to allow God to be God and for us to take inventory of our own lives. We may have done things differently if…

“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7   God does not respond merely to needs. He looks for passion. Even when we think we have the passion to press in, we are often disappointed because the passion has not reached its peak. God may measure what we thought to be an earnest prayer as being only a passing fancy. Good thoughts and warm feelings about God are not enough. There has to be the passion exuding from the heart whereas knowing God is desired more than any other thing. Whatever else may be there is in competition with the knowledge of God. It rises up as an idol to compete with what He wills to show us of Himself. These things must be rooted out of our lives and only God can do that. Israel was allowed to be placed in the land and under the government of the Chaldeans. It was their place of learning. But God was not through with them even though they were being…

Luke 18:8 “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”     Not the faith released to enable us to initially respond to Him. That is our starting point. There is also a faith that sustains us along the way. When it is difficult and sometimes impossible to see what lies ahead, active faith would find the faithful waiting and anticipating whatever God is about to do. They will accept His will even when they do not fully understand it. It is a state of the soul and mind of saying yes to God even before the question is asked. Many have leaned to their own understanding and are moving in a direction that pleases them. But the Son of Man is coming back. He does not give warning, but immediately appears on the scene. Then the Truth will be made known. All pretense is exposed as error, and hypocrisy is uncovered as evil. When He comes, He will reward the faithful. Those who continued to withstand the pressures of compromise brought to bear against them will be rewarded. He will find them wherever they may have been driven for faith is like…

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.“   Psalm 119:105 In a dark place, all things seem to be the same. No distinction can be made between a man and a mannequin if both stand together. Things that are false and counterfeit appear to be more perfect than things that are real in dim light. They are painted with beauty and are a piece of art, but are lifeless idols. Without the light of the Word of God, we would naturally gravitate in the direction of that appear to be real, but is only real and beautiful to the spiritually blind. Our senses once ruled us and every decision was made on the basis of our perception of reality. The darkness was not just before us, but the darkness was in us as well. Then the light of the Word invaded our world, and all things changed!  We were able to see the nature of all things and the danger that lay ahead by following the path of the blind. The very Word that changed us was also there to guide us. We have been changed in order to discern the difference between the…

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.” James 1:17   The words “good” and “perfect” are given deeper meanings when God is speaking. He does not restrict Himself to our definitions of these terms. There is a goodness that transcends all efforts on our part and remains good even when what man is able to produce turns sour and withers away. The reason that God’s goodness is so special is because it is perfect goodness. There is no separation between the good and the perfect gift of God. The gift is good because it is perfect and it is perfect because it is good. He then sends it to us from His holy habitation. It comes from the Throne of God where He rules and reigns without the slightest hint of sin and confusion. Heaven is a perfect place, therefore perfect gifts can come from there. The gift reaches us with His signature on it. Not only does He sign it, but He remains attached to His gift. Not that the gift has not been given to us but as a man’s gift makes room for him, God’s gifts…