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“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope” (Rom 5:3-4 KJV). A price tag cannot be placed upon the lessons learned in and through troubled times. We often know how we should feel and respond, but to be honest, the character of that response may not have been developed within us yet. Many call this faith while it is actually dishonesty. David, the Psalmist gave expression to his heart, having various trials, set-backs and disappointments, but asked God to work the right response within him. Our mere words alone will not deliver us, but what we are becoming as result of God’s working on us and in us is the aim. “Tribulation worketh patience and patience worketh experience or character.” Eugene Peterson in “The Message” paraphrase puts it this way; “and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”  It is through our…

“And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,’This is the way, walk in it’ “ (Is 30:20-21). The departure from the Way is the root cause of the adversity that comes from the Lord. There are challenges that come as the result of obedience and challenges that are rooted in rebellion. The difference between the two is the adherence on the part of the challenged to hear the instructions that come from the Lord. He is available to deliver us from all of our trouble, but do we listen to His voice before us to lead or have we left what He has to say to us behind? Their teachers were sidelined and replaced with guides who misguided them. They listened to falsehoods as blind guides led them into pits. But God did not abandon them even though they had abandoned Him. From behind His voice could still be heard. From the rear, the places inhabited and celebrated was the voice of God speaking to them in order…

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (Jas 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 will 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. 

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:36). The forewarnings of Jesus was to be alert and remain alert in times when temptations may catch you unaware. They come in many disguises and it is usually the self-confident that end up falling prey to the wiles of the devil. The observation must go beyond appearance, but the very nature of things must also be called to your attention. It should not merely be the intent to gain whatever benefit may be immediately gained, but paying attention as to where the engagement is headed. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death.” Watch how others have been allured and fell into the same trap that is being set for you. Look at the outcome of their lives. Would you be the exception or become a person with many regrets? Pray to God for wisdom. Do not trust your own judgments, but seek God for what He knows about all things pertaining to you. Then you will be saved from the…

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (Jn 14:21). The attachment to God’s Word is the same as being attached to all of His promises. The heart must be made ready to contain the infusion of life that comes as result of God speaking into it. It is not just the mind even though the message must pass through the mind. The heart must agree wholly with the Spirit who causes the Word to come alive within the Christian. The result is a quality of love that surpasses any effort on the part of the person to love Jesus. It is His love deposited within the heart and directed towards Him without reservation. It is His power that preserves the believer through making the Person of Jesus Christ known in every situation. He is not absent when things are tough. He does not conceal His identity in the midst of one’s greatest trial. He is there causing all things to work together for the good of all who have His love within…

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (Jn 12:32). Jesus spoke of the benefits and advantages of His being Lifted up. It was not the elevation that many seek. It was not a platform of prominence, or the glitter and glamour of celebrity. It was the execution of the intentions of His enemies against Him. If they carry out their agenda, God will use it as a means to draw every people-group to a life of surrender. They would come to the very cross and die with Him.  What the devil intended for evil, God meant for good. His death was His life’s purpose. The dynamics of the death of Jesus Christ is too complex to fully explain. He became sin as a sinless sacrifice for our sins. The message is foolishness to those who consider themselves to be too wise and prudent even to need it. But there are those who sense the weight of sin damning their souls to hell. They are appreciative that the consequences of their fallen nature destined to express itself will not be held to their charge.  The message of the cross causes an explosion…

“So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12). When we were born, we were given a name and assigned a number. Our last name identifies where were from or the origin of our birth while our first name identifies where we are going, or our future. A good name is worth more than silver and gold. Our names reflect our character. Expectations are placed upon us as a result of being named or branded. We are also classified by number. As a citizen, we are numbered by the Social Security Administration. You are not merely John or Jane Doe, but you have both a name and a number. God knows us by name and has also given each one of us a number. Each name is different and each number is as well. The request of the Psalmist was, “Lord, teach us….” The instructions requested apply to both name and number. We may say, “Lord teach us to know who we really are,” so that we would not live a presumptuous life. He knows our name and what ought to have been the fullest expression of our name. Our parents may…

“He answered and said to them, ’When it is evening you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red”, and in the morning, “It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.”’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times” (Mt 16:2-4). The corporate decisions made by both our spiritual and civic leaders are the uneasy breathing of this generation gasping for lack of spiritual air. The deficiencies reflect a climate of desperation, but without the knowledge of the Savior. The world has resorted to measures which are appeasing to the fallen masses, pacifying their appeals for pleasure thus taking the path of least resistance. Many Church leaders have resorted to providing blind leadership by getting in front of the parade of fools. They hold the office and gain the attention, accolades, and allegiance of the people by giving them what they want and taking them where they desire to go.  Where discernment is lacking, all things appear to be right. Every person is right in his own eyes because the King is absent from the consciousness of those who decide…

“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you” (Is 60:1). The pronouncement of God is to arise above the circumstances and above all that was previously seen. All things are now viewed in the light that is in you rather than the darkness that is around you! The light of His countenance has risen upon you. You can now see in the light what you missed while you stumbled around in the dark.  He has become your life and light. Now your light has illumined your life and now can serve as light to the world. They walk in darkness just as you once walked, but now what has been revealed to you is being revealed through you. Your life is an invitation, not just your words but everything about you beckons the blind to see. Even nations shall come to your light.  The “Sonshine” of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ has risen upon you! As the moon reflects the light of the sun and has no light in itself, your life reflects the Light of the Son of God. Do not allow anything to eclipse the Light that…

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:25). Is Church the place that we attend or a people in the process of being made? Many place more emphasis on place than on purpose. It is not a matter of getting what we consider to be our needs met. To be honest, we do not really know precisely what our needs are. There are symptoms, but our needs go much deeper. God knows. He knows our frame or the substance on which all that we have become was constructed upon. The foundation of our soul; mind, will, and emotion, is taken into account when the Word of God is spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We are challenged at the very core of our being in order to discover His intentions for our lives. We are not in place to merely receive affirmations. They will only strengthen the soul in its rebellious state against the knowledge of God. He is our Father. He rebukes us, challenges us, and affirms us. Oftentimes Church becomes a very uncomfortable place….