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“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…

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34 A new commandment is given because a new power is made known. It is a power that existed in eternity but now is being revealed in time through Jesus Christ. He makes known to humanity a selfless love with the power to transform lives. It begins with the willingness to receive the love of Jesus Christ. He loved us first, but that love does us no good unless we first receive it. Allowing ourselves to be loved by the Lord is the first step. Then we are empowered to love one another as we are loved. It is a matter of allowing His love to flow through us along with His strength to do so. Those who are loved can be released from the bondage of self and Satan. They experience the presence of the Lord when we are instruments in His hands fulfilling the Lord’s command.

“Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent”. Romans 14:22-23 (MSG) Every relationship worthy of preserving requires cultivation. Silence and inactivity signifies disinterest and unconcern. When one’s heart is aligned with God’s heart, we are blessed with the will to do things that would cultivate our relationship with Him. We cannot impose on others what has become uniquely our own; it is personal and intimate between us and God alone. Our response to Him is our response to what we have come to know of Him. He loves each of us, but loves each of us differently. We are loved into the destinies to which we have been called as He empowers us with His own strength. Our uniqueness ought to translate into a unique expression of worship and praise that only we are capable of expressing. Whether one is poetic, artistic, or oratorical, it will be to the praise of the glory of His grace. The most important matter is that both belief and behavior are cohesive. With this, you are most fortunate as we give both head, heart, and hand to Him.

“This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Galatians 3:2 It is the Holy Spirit that empowers the believer to become what God wills for him to become. Out of his becoming, he is enabled to do what God would have him to do. The reversed order is to do what one may thinks may be His will with the expectation of God’s approval. Receiving the Spirit initiates the believer into a life in the Spirit. But the Spirit is quenched if the recipient does not yield to who he has received. God’s intention is for our efforts to be a response to His initiative. God’s interpretation of deeper meaning of His truth is hidden within our simple obedience to what is understood. Hearing the word preached is more than an exercise in attempting to retain the information made known. It is also a matter of receiving the Spirit of the Word that becomes life within the hearer. Works alone is one attempt at self-justification but void of God’s approval. Hearing sets the standard for Spirit-life in the believer. He then would have…

“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.