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“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.”Romans 5:3-4 (KJV) A price tag cannot be placed upon the lessons learned in and through troubled times.  We often know how we should feel and respond, but to be honest, the character of that response may not been developed within us yet. Many call this faith while it is actually dishonesty. David, the Psalmist gave expression to his heart, having various trials, set-backs and disappointments, but asked God to work the right response within him. Our mere words alone will not deliver us, but what we are becoming as result of God s; working on us and in us is the aim. “Tribulation worketh patience and patience worketh experience or character. Eugene Peterson in the Message paraphrase puts it this way; “and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary — we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! It is through our…

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21 The attachment to God’s Word is the same as being attached to all of His promises. The heart must be made ready to contain the infusion of life that comes as result of God speaking into it. It is not just the mind even though the message must pass through the mind. The heart must agree wholly with the Spirit who causes the Word to come alive within the Christian. The result is a quality of love that surpasses any effort on the part of the person to love Jesus. It is His love deposited within the heart and directed towards Him without reservation. It is His power that preserves the believer through making the Person of Jesus Christ known in every situation. He is not absent when things are tough. He does not conceal His identity in the midst of one’s greatest trial. He is there causing all things to work together for the good of all who have His love within them….

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 Life takes on a new meaning once Christ has come into the heart of the believer. He does not merely exist among the other things once deemed important, but rather sets the priorities for ones existence. Any other place given to Him constitutes a warms feeling in His regards, but not the quality of life He promises and died to give. This was the revelation given to Paul, the Apostle by the Holy Spirit. “For me, the meaning of life has shifted. For me, it’s no longer a matter of consulting with God as to whether it is permissible for me or not to have my own way. For me, to live is for Christ to fully live His life through me.” This ought to be the earnest desire of each and every Christian. This is a life of discovery whereas one is freed from pretense or attempting to force himself to do what he thinks that Jesus would do. But rather discovering in his own flesh the life and works of Jesus personally. “To die is gain.” Death died on the Cross when Jesus was crucified…

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, (2) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,  (3) if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:1-3 The passions and desires of a converted saint are different from the cravings of the sinner. Even though there is still that memory of a life without power driven by the force of sin, he is now free to make better and wiser choices. One must be fully aware of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to save everyone who believes. The tensions that exist between the bondage of the past and the freedoms that lie ahead in the future will be ever present. Yet they are now expendable. These things may try to attach themselves to you, but they have been expelled from within you. This is what Peter was addressing when he instructed believers to lay all these other things aside. They do not give expression to the new nature within you.  You are now in control and responsible for how these things affect you. Allow your affections to be directed towards those things that add to your…

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:17 The mind of the ungodly is perplexed by what exists beyond lie his reach. He has rested upon his opinions of life and love, as the result never knowing either. His restlessness drives him in dual directions thus condemning him to a divided life. The evidence of God cannot be completely ignored, but an admission of God’s existence would contradict the natural passions that demand attention. But to the believer, he knows that God’s mind is constantly focused upon him. Therefore he is aware that his life is lived under the scrutiny of the only One who will give special attention to details. He knows our frame and frailties, but intensely works upon and within us to produce what He wills. He never gives up but fixed His attention upon His beloved.  We learn to trust Him for the outcome of yielding everything to Him. The knowledge of God stabilizes us and prevents us from the inner wars of the ungodly but rather produce the peace that passes all understanding.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15  A sanctified heart is directed towards God alone. There is no other direction to which it may be turned that can satisfy the believer for he knows that only God alone can meet the needs existing deep in the recesses of the soul. There are many things around to lure him away from the position in which he stands. But he does not see things as others who are blind to the devices of the devil. The enemy constantly works in attempting to raise doubt in his heart. He has heard the Lord speak concerning His own. He is affirmed as being God’s Son, and continually dwelling in the place of God’s pleasure. Since his heart overflows with love, he has an answer for everyone. Because he is able to see beyond the current crisis, his answer remains prophetic. The pure and heart is able to see God. God is with him; therefore his hope is to take on the character of God….

“We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:6 The language of the Spirit of God rings differently in the ears of unbelievers than it does in the ears of believers. Those who have rejected God have an affinity towards things pertaining to the flesh. Any other message seems not to have any relevancy to them for their hearts are drawn in an opposite direction. When the Holy Spirit enters into one’s heart, He makes room for the truth. Only then can it become sensible and for passions to rise within him to embrace a level of teaching beyond what is commonly understood. What God has to say to us is uncommon to mankind therefore it requires more than mere common sense. In his natural state it is foolishness. But when the spirit of truth replaces the spirit of error, he will seek out teachers that will teach him things that he did not see because they cannot be seen without divine assistance.

“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Philippians 2:2 What the Lord offers the Church should be shared alike by every believer. The benefits of salvation and the joy that accompanies obedience should be experienced by all. It is not enough for merely some to know the grace of the Lord and peace that resides within their hearts. God’s desire is that all should know Him in intimate and endearing ways. The mind can either be one’s best friend or worst enemy. When our minds retain the information of past experiences and attempt to decipher it without the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, division is inevitable. How can our varying experiences and thoughts lead to a unified conclusion? Each would interpret life and God on the basis of his own conclusions. Like-mindedness can only be attained when we hear the same message having the same Spirit in common.  The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of unity. He will take us from where we were to a new place of worship. Then we see Christ together and love Him with the same love. He then takes what is within…

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19 The typology of the Old Testament symbolized the sufferings and death of the Messiah. He kept the ceremonial laws in order to illustrate what He had come to fulfill. At the end of His earthly ministry, the Bread of Life took bread from the table from which He and His disciples were to dine. Before they ate their last meal together prior to His death, He broke the bread and fed it to them from His own hands. His sufferings would be a shared experience. His would be immediate and theirs would be ultimate. Yet they would have the same power to withstand the pressure and remain in faith because of the sameness of Spirit. Your body can bear under any pressure as long as you remain in faith. It is His life residing in you as a believer in Christ Jesus. The sacraments of bread and wine represented His Body and Blood. We are corporately the Body of Christ on the earth. As we share with Him…

“For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Romans 3:3 God is determined to fulfill every one of His promises. Too much is at stake for Him to fail. Yet there are many who doubt Him and question His authority and abandon their post defecting from the faith. Does unbelief negate God’s faithfulness? He allows the rain to fall on the unjust as well as the righteous. He provides for believers as well as unbelievers. Seasons of the year that change for all to receive the benefits of change. Yet God is determined to raise up a remnant among His people who will obey Him and receive the full benefit of His promises. They will hear His voice and heed to His call. If not the parents, He may reach some of their children. What is rejected by one generation may have been embraced by their successors. God will provide future evidence of His truth. When all else is shaken and crumbles to the earth, His Word will remain. And what was once cast down and rejected will be raised by and through what God has already spoken.