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“Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.” Isaiah 7:11 God extended an invitation to an evil king to request a sign. It was His challenge to reveal degrees of His authority either in heaven, the earth, or under the earth. The offer to the king was to choose for himself the means for which God would make His presence known. It would change the course of history and provide for those who would receive it a new destiny. It would be for him personally to empower him to govern in righteousness and peace. If any lacks wisdom, ask God. He condescends to our level. A wicked and perverse generation seeks after a sign in unbelief. They place the burden of proof upon God’s shoulders with a predisposed view what is real or not. God still allows Himself to be questioned by the unbelieving world with a willingness to provide evidence of the truth in contrast to error of her ways. Even though the king rejected the offer, Jesus came into the world as the sign and a wonder to the world. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive…

“This is love,  that we walk according to His commandments.” 2 John 6 Love defined by the Source from which it originated. None else can define love in language that is so sensible yet so profound. The qualities of love are found within the confines of obedience. Everything else outside of this is hatred and repulsive to the One who is able to determine the authentic from the counterfeit.  The world is in search of authentic love. Too many have been duped into believing the lie of those with strings attached to their affection. It is a legitimate need that is, to love and be loved. This is love, love identified as a lifestyle chosen and a people empowered to obey God’s commandments. The will or the heart to obey precedes one receiving the power or ability to obey. A daily walk willfully engaged that is pleasing to God. An assurance accompanies that degree of commitment. God makes it known to the servant’s heart that He belongs exclusively to Him. He reveals His love in order for it to be disbursed abroad or distributed through his heart to others. He becomes an instrument in God’s hands as His servant which…

“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…

“God’s Way (the Kingdom) is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life.” 1 Corinthians 4:20 (MSG) The power to live according to the Word must be released to us by the Spirit of God if we are ever to become a witness of Christ to the world. A powerless speech may be impressive and even convincing, but once it is realized as being mere talk disappoints as surely as it once produced hope. It is God’s will for individuals to become partakers of His divine nature; the extension of His rule over those things that otherwise would dominate the earth. It was never to be an experience of diminishing returns, but an expansion of the Kingdom over all stubborn resistance.  His rule must first be established within the heart of the believer in order that for him to be empowered with the authority to use heavenly language as a weapon against external forces. What a tragedy exists when all we have is mere talk. Who would look any further into the matter if all we had was a good conversation? God releases His power among those whose hearts are perfect towards Him. This is His way of demonstrating…

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” Philippians 3:7 What a resolve! What a tremendous position one is placed in when his pursuit for Christ outweighs all the accolades of his past. He is then privileged to know Christ in a way in which he has never known Him before! Whatever value we place on any effort or accomplishment diminishes our view of Christ. It becomes difficult to see Him in the fullness of His glory when we have become so large in our own eyes and feel so important in comparison to the smallness of others who are around. We must decrease if He is ever to increase. When we have gained Christ, He is then given full permission to be Himself in us. We have the confidence that we are known by Him and will be with Him forever. If we are to be with Him forever, that implies we will live forever as He lives. To surrender what we currently have is a small thing in comparison to all we will gain as we count all other things as loss. They have no eternal value therefore they should not hold…

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 The host of heaven gives witness to our challenge. All of the saints that have gone before us give witness to our challenge. They are awaiting us to finish well what we have been assigned to accomplish. Therefore all of the impediments of heart and mind must be dispensed of unless they restrict our mobility and entrap us, holding us as slaves to old habits. Our minds must constantly be renewed in order for us to know what the will of the Lord is. Never should our pursuit fall short of those that have gone before us. We are to build upon the foundation that has already been established by them. The weights are spurned from the sin that would remain as a stronghold. Whatever is our greatest weakness is the sin awaiting the opportunity to be given full expression. Only when we maintain our focus on the Jesus Christ could we be empowered to resist it.

Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.”  Songs of Solomon 2:15 The tender grapes are the daily benefits provided to us by God. It is the knowledge of God’s love producing within us a confidence that is not easily shaken. When we are confident that we are loved, then we are empowered to love others without pretense. True friendships can be forged to last a lifetime and the expectation of a future hope of eternity burns brightly within our hearts. How delicate the balance is between our faith and our love. We can now love because we by faith can see beyond the shortcoming and limitations of the misguided and the misinformed. We can see good intentions even when bad habits inhibit positive action. We can also see the possibility of change among those whose lives appear to be hopeless and they may be blind to the true remedy of their souls. But when careless and immature foxes enter into a well cultivated vineyard, they have the tendency of destroying the very vines on which the fruit is being developed. One mishap can raise such doubt as to cause one…

“So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27 God gives us the strength to love. The heart is guided in a direction and the soul agrees to give full expression to that particular emotion. To love is not a miracle. It is a part of man’s nature to love. Without guidance the heart gravitates by default away from God. Loving then is not deliberate, but the result of some forceful habit that captures the mind and heart in order to condemn the soul. The passions must be harnessed by an object that is capable of containing all that is offered and reciprocate by providing what is desperately needed in return. When love gives but does not provide the person with what is needed, he eventually becomes bankrupt and bitter having been taken advantage of. Then love is inverted and transforms into hatred that is primarily directed towards the true Lover of his soul.  They feel shortchanged having not received from Him what they needed, but refused to give Him what He commanded. When…

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8 There is much about God that is attractive. His attributes will have an appeal to every part of our being if we are made aware of them. The Holy Spirit will provide the faith to see and understand what is missing.  The necessary things are offered to us to fulfill us providing both life and godliness. Without this faith we are left empty, reaching out for things around us and slipping deeper into despair. It is the distractions that allure us away from being drawn near to God. To be drawn to God is : empowered to resist the devil in all of his deceptive ways. The world, the flesh, and the devil no longer will control you once the beauty of God’s holiness is realized. He is the Lover of your soul and your soul with know this perfectly well. He draws us with cords of love. We are drawn in response with the assurance of faith. He restores us with a confidence that all is well because we abide in the secret place of God.

“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.” Luke 12:48 God expects a return on His investments. The gifts of God are given to each person in order for all to profit as result of His distributions. It is not based on what most would consider as the criteria for God’s judgments. God is not equal in His judgments, but He is equitable. Grace is freely given, but God determines who will receive what is being distributed. Yet we may covet what we deem as necessary, but it must only be for the advancement of His kingdom and not our own. When our hearts yearn to do more for God and we feel powerless to fully participate with Him in what He wills to do, it is in order to seek Him for the empowering gifts that would further qualify us. Yet in our earnestness to receive, it does not obligate Him to any measure to give us what we consider to be necessary. He will give us what He knows is best for ourselves as well as others. But the warning is not to frustrate the grace of God. What God gives must be used…