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“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”  Matthews 7:21 Is ours a works salvation that qualifies us for heaven or a faith that translates into efforts that are pleasing to God? Many have believed that no evidence is necessary among the professors of religion. The right language without evidence may be impressive but does not possess the power to preserve one’s life for all eternity. In this life we are transformed into willing servants of the Lord. When His life enters into our souls, we wish to know what pleases Him that we may do what we have been enabled by His Spirit to know. The prideful would merely wish to parade around with knowledge left unapplied. They are held responsible even though they never tapped into the power that could have been used for the continuance of the works of Jesus Christ on the earth. Their professing Him as Lord is a signal to the powers that be of that they are equipped and skilled for spiritual battle. When we enter into His kingdom, the power that resides there reaches the earth…

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 This was not the initial phase of Paul’s life after meeting Jesus. After having been introduced, he was left with an indelible impression upon his soul. His whole life was spent in an attempt to fully embrace what he both saw and experienced in meeting such a man. He was intrigued by the phenomena of God in the flesh; a glimpse of the glory state of his own soul trusting that the time would come when the Christ that he saw from a distance would totally possess him. It is Christ in us that give us the hope of glory. All other expressions of life would be so futile in their pursuits after such an encounter because they become mere shadows since the realness of Christ has become so real to us. This is the place the Lord intends to deliver each of us to. Once we are there, a passion to shed…

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 There is a place where our heart and truth connects. The heart beforehand had grown accustomed to wandering in search of whatever would bring any semblance of satisfaction. The pursuit alone would appease it for a little while but only to eventually resort to the same empty space to which it had grown accustomed. Where faith in God is lacking, a void exists of which nothing else can fill.  A godless life is an empty life. Our displeasure is a reflection of His longing for us and His displeasure when live not taken advantage of the privileges made possible through the sacrifice of the life of His Son. God is pleased when the Holy Spirit is revealing Jesus Christ to us. The truth of God concerning His Son liberates the soul from the bondage of self-seeking. By faith we believe that God is who He says He is in His Word. This is both the truth and the reward of the saint, to know Him and…

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18 Circumstances ought not to control our rejoicing. Our faith is often strained by the pressures that are brought to bear against us. When the fig tree is full of figs, our joy is because they are sufficient in quantity even with some to store. When the fruit and olives are plenteous, we have the joy of the harvest. The food is plenteous and the flocks are in their proper place giving us a reason for contentment of heart. But the delicate balance may shift in an instance. If all of life depended upon these things being in place, how fragile our faith would be. Some give up on life itself because things are not as we would have them to be.  Others resort to desperate attempts to regain what appears to be lost. The most important thing remains and gives us a reason to maintain our faith and joy. The Lord is the God of our salvation and our strength. None of these things are capable of robbing us of the greatest gift we could possibly have. Once we are saved and…

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11 When there is a convergence of our state and our contentment, evidence of spiritual maturity is made manifest. There is a steadiness in the life of the individual that lives on that level of confidence knowing that God is not limited to circumstances. The contentment that Paul speaks of is not inactive contentment. He participates with God in what He is doing. If something is lacking, he is confident that God will provide. If he has an abundance, he know that God as provided. The credit is given to God for blessings received and his dependency on God alone to meet his need settles him down and frees him from anxieties. Yet no condition can hinder God from doing through him what has been assigned. His earlier years were more than likely more frantic. He had to learn how to yield to the Holy Spirit in all things. The rush of life accomplished very little and oftentimes would make matters worse. He learned to wait on the Lord and to be patient. The virtue of faith and patience…

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:4 The trials that we face have a far greater purpose than the aggravation and pain that we often suffer. Isolated from God’s intent, some would think that we had been abandoned to face the giants of perplexities alone. It is when nothing is left but God’s promises that faith is called into action. What we received during those moments when could clearly see Him and experience His blessings must keep us when we enter into the fog. Faith to endure is the patience that must further develop us. We learn to wait on the Lord and not attempt to rush the process. God has more to teach is in these dry cold winter seasons than we could ever learn in the springtime of life. This is when our faith is tested as to its authenticity. How would we ever know whether we love God for who He is or merely love Him for what He gives? On the other side of the test is a faith that endures. We can then see Him for who He really is and not just image…

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 Our confession is more than speaking words. It is our agreement with God in accomplishing what He has promised in us and through us. When our spirits have aligned with the Holy Spirit, we are provided a fresh and lively hope. Any secondary thought or effort will merely cloud the mind with clutter used to sway us away from God’s promises. God is faithful to deliver on every promise that He has made. Where do we stand and where should we stand in relation what has been given to us? Our confession is more precious than silver and gold. To believe God because we are in position to see Him as faithful even when we are challenged is the greater blessing. This is evidence that faith is established within our hearts. This kind of faith will produce a hope that will not disappoint. It is borne out of love and matured through experiences. None of these, whatever they are, will separate us from confessing that Jesus is Lord over every circumstance.

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” Hebrews 6:19 The waves of adversity will test the authenticity of our faith. Whether we have placed all our trust in God is proven in trying times. Here we cannot rely upon any other person or thing. We have launched out beyond the banks of secure living and now have placed our lives in the hands of the only One who can safely navigate us through troubled waters. It is the emotions that are first under attack. The mind would consider the safety and security of the harbor. Some would think it would have been much better if they had never launched out into the deep. It is only when we consider the Commissioner of the mission that we may rest assured that none of the things facing us along this journey has taken Him by surprise. He is there to protect us and to build within us something of value far beyond what we are at those moments of conflict able to see. To trust the Lord is to love Him with our minds, wills, and emotions. It is to submit what we would otherwise…

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:8 Not the faith released to enable us to initially respond to Him. That is our starting point. There is also a faith that sustains us along the way. When it is difficult and sometimes impossible to see what lies ahead, active faith would find the faithful waiting and anticipating whatever God is about to do. They will accept His will even when they do not fully understand it. It is a state of the soul and mind of saying yes to God even before the question is asked. Many have leaned to their own understanding and are moving in a direction that pleases themselves. But the Son of Man is coming back. He does not give warning, but immediately appears on the scene. Then the Truth will be made known. All pretense is exposed as error, and hypocrisy is uncovered as evil. When He comes, He will reward the faithful. Those who continued to withstand the pressures of compromise brought to bear against them will be rewarded. He will find them wherever they may have been driven for true faith is like a magnet…

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…