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“Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family.” Hebrews 2:11 (MSG) We are members of the family of God and the household of faith. Regardless as to when we entered in or whether the member is born or adopted into the family, there is a place reserved for each one. Jesus saved us from the wrath of God. We were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Not only were estranged from the covenant of promise, we had no desire to be otherwise. Jesus saved us from a path even before we possessed the sense or the strength to seek any other path. We sought any option other than the path that led to life. It was the common origin of sin that blinded us to the love of God expressed through His Son. Little wonder why we made the choices that we made then. Our actions were expressions of our family of origin. But God rescued us by adopting us into His family. Now our reorientation…

“but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ. —“ Ephesians 4:15 The alternative to flowing with the wind and being influenced by the culture is hearing that we might do what the Word says. It was Paul’s passion to speak only what the Lord had to say. Even though the message is a challenge to current culture, it is the expression of a higher and deeper dimension of love. It is spoken in love when the desire of the heart of the messenger is to see those he has been called to address grow into developing the character of Christ. Often the growth of the hearers may excel beyond the level of the speaker, but he should not be jealous of his spiritual children. Instead, he should encourage them to take what they have received beyond his level of understanding for the Word alive within the hearer increases as seed to produce a great harvest. Ministers should not waste time addressing every other subject rather than God’s Truth. There is no growth is these side issues. Christ is the answer to every problem but He can only be known…

“It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in.  He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 The grace of God has been freely given to us but it is not cheap. Love requires sacrifice. And the more we love the greater the sacrifice. Since God is able to see the depth of our sinful state, only He would be able to convey to us what we needed in order to be set free. The naïve may think that a moderate adjustment is sufficient to stop the free-fall to destruction. But who independent of God is able to know the affect of even apparent innocent acts upon the character?  This is the environment in which all were raised. No one knows any other life than this. But God knew of our need for help. And He supplied it before we had the sense to desire it. Jesus Christ, God’s Son redeemed us with His blood while we were yet sinners. Now all must apply what has been appropriated for us if any is ever to benefit from such great a sacrifice.

“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 experiential…

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Revelation 3:8 The faithfulness of the saints provides endless opportunities in the future. Our future is determined by the decisions we currently make. An open door is set before those who know the name of the Lord. When His character is known and given expression He can then work through that individual without the objections of the flesh. The Holy Spirit’s assignment is to make Christ known to us. He reveals Him in the midst of even the most trying of circumstances. When He is known in truth, He will not be denied. We must maintain a steadfast faith in Him even though doors may now be closed before us. He can open doors that no man open and He can shut doors that no man can close. Even the little strength that is maintained is enough when His strength is at work within us. He will do His work among the weakest for His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

“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 The external things may be impressive and rewarding to those who would settle for less than God’s approval. Men celebrate success and imitate the lives of those who appear to have accomplished what they one-day wish to achieve. It is often that gifts and talents may carry a person where character cannot maintain them. Their truest nature will all too often peek around the corner and betray them, thus exposing their motives. We cannot fool ourselves, nor will ourselves into having the heart of Christ. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to change our hearts so that our will is to do His will. All other works are rejected because the motives are not pure. We must pray that God would give us a clean and pure heart and a steadfast spirit. Then we must constantly pray that nothing would enter into our hearts to turn us away from remaining pure before God.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:6-7 Faith is placed on trial when you are given a seemingly legitimate reason to rebel against God as the result of current circumstances and the decisions of others. Logically the thing to do would be to disobey God and partake of the forbidden, or curse God for relief that does not seem to be on the horizon or even a part of the plan. One is for self-gratification and the other is to remedy the effect of constant misery. Faith rises in the midst of trials as being more precious than whatever the outcome would have been if you had relented in the midst of your greatest and most fierce battles. It is precious because in the end, God will prove Himself to be faithful. He will reward those who do not cave in under pressure, and will avenge them from…

“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….

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (21) make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 The restlessness of the soul was resulting from the waywardness of the heart. When you were determined to fix your own problems your own way, none of the benefits made available by God through our Lord Jesus Christ could be applied. Now that the struggle has ended as to whether the life of Christ was to be followed because His death was sufficient enough for His life to be our life, we are being made complete. What a difference now in comparison to then. All you need to do is remember how strained the struggle was and how difficult your life would be if His knowledge was absent. But now that you know Him, allow Him to complete the great work within you that He has begun. His objective is to complete you. When your ways please the Lord you…

”The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26 The righteous ought to practice the art of carefully choosing their friends. Once the purpose of friendships is understood, each one can be taken seriously. There are commitments made to each other to be genuine and trustworthy at all times. The character of men is similar to a magnet which draws like-minded individuals together. Deceptive people may seek out those that they envy who possess the character that they wish was their own. Yet their deceptive ways have reduced them to mere pretense which leads many who trust them astray. Our influence is either positive or negative. We assimilate the character of the company that we keep. Choose friends carefully because one’s own character is reflected by their choices.