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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…

“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…

“The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”  Proverbs 18:14 (KJV) Our spirits possess the resilience in order not to sink under the weight of pressure. Once our spirits are awakened to the reality of the Eternal, its communion with the Holy Spirit will convey hope within our souls . The spirit of a man will sustain the infirmity of our body. The wounds and weaknesses of our bodies are sustained as long as our inner man is strengthened. It must be fed the nutrients required of it to increase in strength because its task is greater than we can know. There are many flesh wounds, or exterior circumstances causing the soul to be cast down on occasion, but the hope our hope in the finished work of Jesus Christ causes us to rise above all of them. But when the spirit is wounded, it is borne down to powerlessness and helpless passivity and there is no other sustaining power to supply its need. It is when the guilt of sin has produced condemnation because what is known of God is violated. The soul is left without an anchor and wanders aimlessly…

“Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family.” Hebrews 2:11 (MSG) We are members of the family of God and the household of faith. Regardless as to when we entered in or whether the member is born or adopted into the family, there is a place reserved for each one. Jesus saved us from the wrath of God. We were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Not only were estranged from the covenant of promise, we had no desire to be otherwise. Jesus saved us from a path even before we possessed the sense or the strength to seek any other path. We sought any option other than the path that led to life. It was the common origin of sin that blinded us to the love of God expressed through His Son. Little wonder why we made the choices that we made then. Our actions were expressions of our family of origin. But God rescued us by adopting us into His family. Now our reorientation…

“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder)” 2 Peter 3:1 Our minds are purified as the result of hearing a pure word. The clutter of a misguided conscience and the pollutants of compromised values are removed and replaced with an understanding of absolutes that can withstand the scrutiny of contemporary questioning. A pure mind is to be treasured above all things. It means that the mind has processed what the heart has embraced. Then one is able to give a reason for the hope that is in them. They can defend the faith and withstand the scrutiny of error. Now that we can receive words of wisdom, we are not to entertain thoughts and ideas that can lead to moral failure. Our minds must remain pure in order for us to receive from God instructions for daily living. There are many things to be added to what we currently know. These are the building blocks that contribute to our becoming a spiritual habitation. They cause us to further set our minds on the things above and not be distracted by things around us and beneath…

“Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:16-17 To see with our eyes what God is doing is a blessing beyond measure. God allows His servants to see where He is in the midst of confusion and apparent hopelessness. He is there working His plan even when all appears to be still or falling apart all around us. Not alone does His servants see His works, they are used by the Lord to participate in what He is doing. His works are established through His servants as evidence that He is in fact the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. He seeks those who would fully avail themselves to Him. Why should our lives be filled with clutter that works against His plan? Our greatest joy can be found in pleasing Him through reflecting His will on earth as it is in heaven. Oh that Christ might be seen today through those who earnestly and exclusively seek Him as the only stability in these uncertain times.

 “A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.” Proverbs 12:3 There are many courses available to every man. Some seem more attractive than others and some in appearance, have no appeal. Yet it is required of each man to choose his course. At the beginning of the journey, it is difficult when we only use our experiences as the criteria for future actions. Then only pain pleasure are the factors when integrity is not the rule. Many shipwrecked lives and casualties of failed hopes and dreams scatter the ditches and graves of those who made decisions on the level of senses. Their attempt to make it at all cost was more costly than they had bargained for. But the righteous rejected the path of immediate gratification. The delay in waiting on the Lord’s guidance positioned them to hear His voice leading them around the fatal ditches and pitfalls of the enemy. They withstood the trends and the waves of popular opinion. They remained faithful when all else around them failed in order to receive the singular applause of the Father’s affirmation of “well done!”

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15  A sanctified heart is directed towards God alone. There is no other direction to which it may be turned that can satisfy the believer for he knows that only God alone can meet the needs existing deep in the recesses of the soul. There are many things around to lure him away from the position in which he stands. But he does not see things as others who are blind to the devices of the devil. The enemy constantly works in attempting to raise doubt in his heart. He has heard the Lord speak concerning His own. He is affirmed as being God’s Son, and continually dwelling in the place of God’s pleasure. Since his heart overflows with love, he has an answer for everyone. Because he is able to see beyond the current crisis, his answer remains prophetic. The pure and heart is able to see God. God is with him; therefore his hope is to take on the character of God….

“Do not be a terror to me; You are my hope in the day of doom.” Jeremiah 17:17 Our confidence is only secured only when we place it entirely in the Hands of the Lord. Life is too uncertain and sudden terror may appear at times when preparation for it is impossible.  Many will wonder why we would place such confidence in a God that we cannot see. Scoffers will rise up thinking that our denial of self and worldly acclaim is but mere superstition. Yet we pray that we do not offend God through any self-defense attempts at preserving our own reputation. Even when we do not make sense to the world, we desire His wisdom to be our guide. All of the wisdom that comes from other sources is being judged.  Only God’s wisdom will stand. He is our hope in the day of testing.  He will take us through the storms of adversity victoriously!

“And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel 37:3 God asks us questions that He alone is able to answer. We try our best to understand how a possibility of hope may arise out of an impossible situation. What we see are circumstances that appear to be beyond hope. God placed the prophet there. And God continues to communicate to him at that place for which he has been prepared. The valley is a lonely place if you are alone. But God is in the valley in order to teach valley lessons. There we learn to raise others above their lowly state. He allowed him to see the ruins of what once was vibrant and alive. Then He asked him the question that sounds like a mockery of his intelligence and adding insult to injury. “Can these bones live?” Not just any bones, but the bones of the defeated army; an army that must rise from death then rise from defeat. Life would be meaningless if defeat was to be continual. His will is that we live on purpose. God must answer His own question, but if He is asking us, then He must have…