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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.”Romans 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 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…

“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.

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (2) For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,(3) how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,” Heb 2:1-3  To “give the most earnest heed” is stretching in order to understand what has been spoken. It is to hasten and to fasten one’s eyes upon the truths revealed. To commit ones heart to them. The reason this is necessary is because our minds alone cannot contain all that is needed. Without a heart commitment, it will appear as if there had been no exposure to such life-transforming truths. God does not judge on the basis of what one avails oneself to hear. He judges on the basis of the availability of knowledge at that time. If one is privileged to know the truth but decides to opt out of being where truth is imparted, the neglect on his part would be the criteria on which he is judged. It is our responsibility…

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 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 among…

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 Life takes on a new meaning once Christ has come into the heart of the believer. He does not merely exist among the other things once deemed important, but rather sets the priorities for ones existence. Any other place given to Him constitutes a warms feeling in His regards, but not the quality of life He promises and died to give. This was the revelation given to Paul, the Apostle by the Holy Spirit. “For me, the meaning of life has shifted. For me, it’s no longer a matter of consulting with God as to whether it is permissible for me or not to have my own way. For me, to live is for Christ to fully live His life through me.” This ought to be the earnest desire of each and every Christian. This is a life of discovery whereas one is freed from pretense or attempting to force himself to do what he thinks that Jesus would do. But rather discovering in his own flesh the life and works of Jesus personally. “To die is gain.” Death died on the Cross when Jesus was crucified…

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, (2) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,  (3) if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:1-3 The passions and desires of a converted saint are different from the cravings of the sinner. Even though there is still that memory of a life without power driven by the force of sin, he is now free to make better and wiser choices. One must be fully aware of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to save everyone who believes. The tensions that exist between the bondage of the past and the freedoms that lie ahead in the future will be ever present. Yet they are now expendable. These things may try to attach themselves to you, but they have been expelled from within you. This is what Peter was addressing when he instructed believers to lay all these other things aside. They do not give expression to the new nature within you.  You are now in control and responsible for how these things affect you. Allow your affections to be directed towards those things that add to your…

In the relay race, the fastest starting runner has placed within his hands a baton. His assignment is to run with the swiftest of speed while carrying the baton, but knowing that there will be other runners awaiting his completed assignment to take over what began with him. When he releases the baton to the second runner, his assignment is finished but race is not over. He entrusts into the hands of another runner the stewardship of discipline and drive to win the race while knowing that its completion requires the help of future runners. In this race of life, the baton has been placed in our hands. Who will be there to pass the baton to the next generation? Are you currently running the quality of race that you would encourage your children to continue after your demise? We are alive to make a difference and for that difference to last for generations to come. “Do you not know that those who run in a race–all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) We must live our lives as if the future depended upon us and our…

“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.” Hebrews 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 in 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. We…

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” Job 42:5 When God is abstract, one must use his imagination in drawing a composite of Him. But when one is close enough to see Him, all they have to do is report to others what has been made known to them. What we hear of Him ought to wet the appetite of the hearer to be drawn closer by the Holy Spirit. When we are drawn close enough to see His features we see in Him what we so desperately need. Then it does not take any exaggerated language or overly dramatic expressions to convey to the heart of others the knowledge that has now become a part of us. It is as easy as breathing because we are reporting and not selling. He does the work in our hearts and imparts to us wisdom that is beyond their years. It is the personal experience that transforms us from seekers to saints. As eyewitnesses of His glory, we are changed. The change within us is sufficient to invoke the change in others. Once we have seen Him through the eyes of the Spirit,…

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” 2 Corinthians 9:15 The gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the description of His Personhood in words from heaven through vessels of clay yet ordained to carry the message. God uses ordinary people but imparts to them extraordinary power. They are no longer mere men but the Word that they carry changes them into becoming vessels of honor. The message preserves the messenger so that as he partakes of what he has to deliver, his heart is set ablaze with the unction that comes from the Holy Spirit. The gift of Jesus Christ is indescribable, but what is equally indescribable is how God can choose from among the people those whom He wills to chose and use them in such remarkable ways! The sufficiency is not in them, but He continues to remind them that without Him they can do nothing. Thanks be to God for the methodology He has chosen to get His Word to us. And most of all, thanks be to God for a changeless but a life-changing message.