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“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 is…

“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 the 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.

“To whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” Isaiah 28:12 God speaks to the weary. His words of encouragement are directed towards them as liberating words. It is a rest that continues in the midst of work. Too many busy themselves with efforts to achieve their dreams yet ruin the possibility of reaching the heights which lie beyond their own imaginations. What a high price many pay in order to become what they consider to be their best? Yet the best ever envisioned is like standing before an anthill in contrast to Mount Everest. God speaks to those who tire themselves in trying to do great things yet do not know Him or the power that He alone possesses. They flex their muscles as weak as they are, but cannot find the strength to even live long enough to participate in all they believe and is their dream. God’s objective is for each of us to become what He has in mind. Only when our Creator is pleased will we find true and lasting pleasure. All else will keep one in an endless pursuit of wanting more than he has, wanting…

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, (12) teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” Titus 2:11-12 God has dispensed from Heaven an abundance of His grace. Where sin and spiritual blindness abounded, only what one had grown accustomed to was known. Grace came to teach us that our old nature must be denied. How could one ever be freed from what he once defended because it defined him? It is the grace that has appeared in order to show us that a new life was possible. When it came on the scene, it opened our eyes to know that heaven’s order should become earth’s greatest dream. The slave can at least see freedom in order for freedom to be desired. That desire for something beyond our current patterns of living is responded to and then we are empowered to aim higher above level of ungodly and worldly lusts. Each day we will embrace all the more God’s standard of righteousness thus rising above our own. It is because of the grace that has appeared that produces the salvation that we so…

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 There is a higher and a greater level of understanding that comes as result of faith. It is not blind and misguided but rather, sure and applicable to all aspects of life. The theories that surface from time to time require faith in speculations. More effort is required to disprove what is made evident than what a person of faith in God is convinced of. All that he believes is anchored on the truth that God is. There is first cause, something that came forth from out of nothing. How many philosophers and secular scientists have wrestled against this most important truth merely to end up with nothing but a sea of questions? One does not have to force himself to believe that God is. The evidence of His existence is all around us. It is those who are wise in their own eyes who would allow their minds to imagine a godless world. The worlds were in fact framed by the word of God. That which emanated from…

”These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:13 All that is called wisdom may be lacking the potency to change one’s life for the better. There is practical wisdom that may assist in one coping or even managing what is already there. But for a permanent change to occur there has to be the instructions in wisdom that comes from above. Wisdom that comes from above has no earthly references. Nothing can be compared to the depth and wealth of spiritual things. These are the intangibles that affect all that is seen, heard, or experienced. The teacher is the Holy Spirit Himself. He instructs the heart so that it embraces what would otherwise be foolishness to those who think they already have the answers. He first must raise new questions and spiritual inquiries are made. Without the hunger and thirst for righteousness, God’s standard for living, even His Word will be reduced to what is manageable by man. Because the Holy Spirit has dealt deeply within the heart, there is the pursuit for wisdom that God will never ignore. He gives it…

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. (2)  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (4) When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 There is a position in Christ where His love and the benefits of His love are made known. The greatest of these is for what is of Him to be given expression through us without any fleshly interference. The competition between the flesh and the spirit remains while we live our lives daily upon the earth. There are so many things vying for our attention. It requires a steady diet of the Word of God to purge us of the thoughts and passions that would otherwise mislead us. If we were raised with Christ is the prerequisite of the soul’s condition. Only those who are born again are enabled to see that there is a Sovereign to rule the soul who has positioned them in a different place. They are above and…

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.” Isaiah 28:16 With all that the Church and the believers must suffer in these last days, doubt may enter into the minds of many. Evil appears to triumph over good and decisions to support what is wrong outweighs the support of the truth. Yet God has made a promise to His people. His foundation is sure for He knows His own. The foundation stone or touchstone of the Lord has been laid in Zion which represents the Church. It is the support of all that God is erecting. He will hold His Church together to weather the storms of adversity because His very life is invested in her. This is the hope of the believer, not to be a reactionary to the sudden storms that may arise from time to time, for our lives are anchored in the hope of His promises. God will have the final word, but we must endure to the end. The time will come when what in the past has been ignored will be greatly treasured. People will flock to…

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 12:32 Those who are drawn to Jesus by the Spirit are kept by the Spirit. The mysterious magnetic pull of the cross of Christ produces within the heart of the believer a willingness to fully follow after Him even when circumstances are difficult. They see the sacrifice that He has made in contrast to the challenges that lie before them and equate all in light of what Jesus Christ has already done. This is not the easy believe(ism) or our day where many are attracted to the trappings of success in this life and the glory that comes from others. It is a heart commitment to fully follow Christ in all that He may assign as a part of our journey. They lifted Him up as an enemy to their doctrines and lifestyles by crucifying Him. He transformed what would have been defeat into victory. Now the message of the cross of Jesus must be preached throughout world in order for any to be drawn by dimensions of love never known before. Love was the motive for Him to die for our sins…