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“that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:7 Faith is tested by the fires of adversity. It is often difficult to understand the challenges and interpret them as working together for our good, but each that we are allowed to face has significance in relation to our future. God tempers the fire and regulates each challenge so that none is beyond their usefulness to Him. Even though Satan meant it for evil, God transforms what would be evil and uses it for our good. It is not the external pressure that is His major emphasis, but it our faith in the midst of it that matters most to Him. Can faith withstand all and remain faith or does it disintegrate under pressure? All false perceptions are burned away in the fire and nothing remains but the genuine. Then He reveals Himself as being the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. He was there, He is there, and will remain with us through all that comes and goes. Our praise is genuine because…

“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 There is an interest that ought to be equal to our own. There is no way for one to know this because there is none that is able to tell that make sense to our intellect. Why should we not know this truth that defines us as humans in the likeness and image of God? It is because we are fashioned to consider our own needs and war to make good on what our own heart desires. Self-interest is the path of least resistance. But to resist selfishness without strength, will lead to a loathing within the soul with the feeling of neglect. One will feel as if he is forced to deny himself merely because of a legal standard, but deep within his soul he feel is not fair. One can only be deeply concerned about the interest of others as much as his own with help from above. It is only when the love of God is accepted is he be empowered to release His love. He has a selfless love to give as evidence that His…

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” Isaiah 54:17 The objective of Satan is the formation of weapons that may be used to attack areas of apparent weaknesses against the saints of God. The alluring factions that seem to appear out of nowhere were skillfully planned with precision to wear down even the strongest among us. If we ever become careless in our defense or unaware that we are in the battle of the lifetime, his fiery darts will attach itself to us and slowly dispense the poisonous venom that slowly produces death. Much of what is used are words that plant within our hearts the seed of discontent and doubt. What God has done, and is currently doing in the life of the believer, is establishing him in righteousness. Whatever is not of faith is sin. Our eyes must constantly be fixed upon the object of our faith, Jesus Christ that we might be established in His righteousness. Every trial, every challenge that comes can either be used as a means of establishing us in the faith, or providing evidence against the One in whom we have…

“Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth 1:16 Naomi and Ruth were joined together in a God honored covenant. They became one family with bonds of love that could not be broken. It is the same with members within the Body of Christ. We are joined to Christ by the Spirit to be with Him in order to go wherever He goes. We are also joined to one another as one people. No longer are we divided by race, class, or any other division. There is a kindred spirit among those who have come to know the Lord. As we walk together with a resolve to remain together, we learn things concerning Christ and the love of the Father demonstrated through Him. It is a journey that takes us beyond our current location as we grow in both grace and knowledge. Time does not cause our commitment to fade away, but we are further strengthened in our resolve. “Your God is embraced as my God. Therefore your people that serve under Him are my people as well!” I must be with my people and be concerned about their welfare. This is the Body of Christ…

“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.

“What wonderful advice you’ve given to a mixed-up man! What amazing insights you’ve provided!” Job 26:3 (MSG) We need advice that can straighten out the crooked places in our lives. We cannot allow the advice of those who may have abused their liberties, by spewing out carnal and worldly advice, to close us off and draw us in too closely to ourselves. Yes, there are some who have not explored deeply into the reasons behind the actions and hurt more than help the situation. But then, there are others who have been sent by God to speak words of edification, exhortation, and comfort. When we turn a deaf ear to all counsel because we cannot trust anything that may come our way, we rob ourselves of one of God’s greatest gifts. It is in a multitude of counselors that safety dwells. Somewhere hidden beneath criticisms and encouragements, lies the insights we so desperately need. God has so equipped us to be sensitive to the human touch and our ears are attuned to human voices. Even among the hypercritical, we must examine if there is even a small element of truth contained in their criticism. As we listen to both God…

“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…

“From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? Job 28:20 In order for true wisdom to be known, everything must balance out in the symmetry of thought and actions converging towards an expected end. All that preceded the moment must be fully known, and all that shall come after must be taken into account. Any idea that comes to mind, must not only come to mind, but must be traced back to its origin. Wisdom is birthed out of the womb of the eternal. Every creature merely functions within the limited knowledge allotted to it. God who is eternal is the Source of all wisdom. He does not have to reach beyond Himself for understanding of things, for all things were made by Him and for Him, and by Him they consist and are held together by His power. We know in part, therefore even the seers who prophesied what has been made known to them could only share a portion of what is yet to be revealed. He gives wisdom to the wise and makes wise the simple; but no wisdom given could ever exceed its Source. Therefore, all creatures must seek Him for…

“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” Proverb 10:22 There is the accumulation of wealth among the rich which brings sorrow and a wealth that endures to eternal life. When money becomes the god that replaces the true and living God, it then competes with what He wills to do in his life. That person, under the control of Mammon, will never know the richness that comes through full surrender to God’s will. The greatest blessing is the passion to love Him with one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength; then His joy becomes our own joy. When we are there, all that comes our way is managed and not owned. If we have an abundance of things, we find pleasure in having more options to use them in blessing the Lord. Money does not make the person; it merely gives him more options to express what he already has become. We should not allow anything to stand between us and the Lord, but at all times exercise diligence in pleasing Him. He gives us both the ability to accumulate wealth and the joy of the harvest.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (9) Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.1 Peter 4:8-9 Love does not ignore or deny the sin, but love loves in spite of the sin. There are some deeds that could make it difficult to love the one who has offended you. That is the true test of love when you are able to look beyond the offense and see the soul that is in a desperate place drifting in a direction away from God. Stephen understood this when he was being stoned to death. He cried out to God in the midst of their throwing stones at him “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” He wanted what was best for them even while they were venting their hatred against him. If this had not been the case, Saul the Pharisee who became Paul the Apostle would have never been saved and used in such a mighty way. God’s will is to use your enemies if they ever come to know Jesus Christ for who He is. But your release of them may pave the way for them to…