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“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” Psalm 124:1 The possibilities of failure and calamities would have been overwhelming if things had been different. God chose Israel, for no other reason than His love being bestowed upon her. She was protected from dangers and blessed to prosper. The Lord had favored her thus stood in opposition to her enemies. Yet her worshipful response to God’s favor was expected. God, who blesses deserves to be blessed. When He is acknowledged as the Source of every good and perfect gift, He reveals more of Himself and His purposes to us. Even though the tide may swell and the rivers may rise with their tumultuous currents, yet they will not overrun their borders. He regulates the degrees of testing allowed to cross our path, Instead of being used to destroy us, they are measured and their pressures can only prove what He has established within us. We have received from Him the grace to withstand all the fiery darts of the wicked. It is His strength within us that sustains us along the way. He is on our side. Not only that, He is with us and in…

“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 The strong language used by Paul was to express how he directed his will to block out all information that would in anywise compete with the knowledge of Christ that he had attained. This knowledge would serve as the filter because it was the highest level of knowledge ever made available to mankind. He was not limiting what was being made known to his intellect. He was in addition speaking of his experiences. His entire life was to be governed by the dimensions of Christ yet to be known and the deep meaning contained within His death on the cross. There are so many distractions in this life competing with our knowing the things that are most essential to life. Many will major in minors and minor in majors. But none of their information can produce anything that produce a permanent resolve to their challenges and survive beyond this life. To know Jesus is to have eternal life. To know Him as crucified is to identify with His death, thus possessing resurrection life. As with Paul, we must determine to close the…

“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!”  1 Corinthians 9:16 “I must” is to brave the storms of life in spite of the difficulties required of me to survive. I can only give light consideration to the cost attached to obedience. Obedience is often costly because there are so many options that could lead to paths of least resistance. Yet the call of God to obey rings strong within my heart and ears in spite of my mind fighting against it and telling me that there are other ways go and other things to be done. Some of them appear to be equally important, and at times, seem to outweigh the measure of this assignment because of greater gain and requiring less effort. But God speaks “woe” to the very thought of my disobedience to His command. Necessity is laid on me to speak the truth when the lie or even silence would be of greater benefit. “I must” do what God has called me to do. I must speak what He has given me to speak. Yet…

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 The consistency of the message is as important as the message itself. Messages that contradict what has been established as foundational in our understanding of Christ cause spiritual erosion to occur within the soul. The writer of Hebrews was warning them to remember what was established within them by those who both spoke and modeled the standard of which they once faithfully followed. Consider that their instructions were intended to lead them to an end result that was to reach far beyond the immediate. This is what any faithful disciple must consider. Those who lead are graced to guide their followers into areas that can only be understood once obedience is completed. Disobedience occurs as the result of being carried away or allured, and not led.  Character deficiencies are sensitive to an alien appeal. One is then flesh driven rather than Spirit-led. One’s diet must consist of that which can provide for eternal gain. It should not consist of the delicacies that appeal to the taste but does harm to the body. What Jesus taught His disciples required them to fully follow Him if they were to become disciples indeed….

“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…

“Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting — begging! — that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish.” Jude 3 It is worth everything to guard and protect what has been entrusted to our stewardship. Out of all the subjects of interest and arguments to defend, our common faith must remain paramount. Jesus prayed that we may become one as He and the Father are one. The unity that He has ordained is the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. This is only possible when we are able to see Him as He is. Oh how urgent this pursuit must be in these days of compromise and declension! We cannot afford to join the company of unbelieving who have failed by allowing distractions to capture their hearts and minds. There is a need for true conversions. Not merely a step in a supposedly positive direction but rather, transformation of the heart and soul. This is why Jesus died on the cross. Not for us to feel good about…

“Then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. The king asked him secretly in his house, and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?” Jeremiah 37:17 When it appears as if everything is well, any word will do. Extracurricular activities and entertainment may occupy one’s time and attention. There would be a generalized approach towards Church, leadership, and life. Convicting messages appear to be too harsh and insensitive. An approach to reach common ground among all men is then the agenda of those where a distinct sound of warning is not heard. Then trouble comes! New questions and concerns are raised when we hear from Him. There is a quest for real answers that can navigate the lost soul to a safe harbor. “Is there any word from the Lord?” We want to know if there is a true message to be relied upon. We need more than what would otherwise tickle our ears. That would be the same as taking a drug to desensitize oneself from the pain and somehow thinking that we have escaped the pressure. God is speaking today, but not what many wish to hear. His truth challenges the very core of our being….

“As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.” Matthew 24:32 One major sign of the return of Christ will be the renewed courage and strength among those who carry the testimony of the Lord. As it was in the days of the prophets and later the apostles, so shall it be among individuals who will stand for truth without compromise. They will be among a people who have relented to casual Christianity, but will not allow the pressures brought to bear against them to discourage them nor diminish their faith. There will be new life within the Church as both young and old will boldly face persecution if required, for righteousness sake. The sign will be an awakening spreading to the ends of the earth. The Kingdom of God will be their message, the cross will be their standard, and zeal of the Lord will totally consume them. Professor Martin Scharlemann of Concordia Seminary said, “As soon as the missionaries are no longer welcome to do their work and their host countries begin to expel them, look up.”

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 The question is how can something be foolish to some but so necessary to others? There are some who believe more in their abilities and strength rather than the strength that is ours through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. We were once without strength, dead in trespasses and sins, but Christ died for us. Now as we believe on Him and in His Name, the power of God works within us to the saving of our souls. Both categories have to do with one’s future state of being. On one hand, there are those who are perishing, and on the other hand, there are those who are being saved. The seed of destruction is embedded in the hearts of those who do not believe as it was in us all. Jesus died for sinners before they recognized their need for redemption. Those who reject His offer are perishing. But those who are being saved are in the process of living. The body of sin will perish, but just…

“Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” Mark 14:18 Before Jesus was crucified, He was identified through betrayal by one who sat at His table and ate with Him. One who loved so deeply would be exposed by a friend to His enemies. Jesus knew when it would happen and who it was who would be so used as a spy among them. Yet He did not make Him known among the brethren. There are times when sin must run its course. Any intervention on our part to defend ourselves or expose the adversary would be counterproductive. God will allow many to dwell among us who do not carry our heart or vision. Nevertheless, God uses all things for the fulfillment of His purpose. Jesus loved, provided for, and even dined with His betrayer. These events led to the cross, the inevitable end that marked a new beginning for all who would believe on Him. His will transcended the pain suffered by dishonest companions and even the pain of suffering and death on the cross. The glory that shall be revealed in us was…