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“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10 The progression that takes place in the life of a Christ-follower begins with the call. He calls us to Himself. Then we can be conformed to the image of His Son. It is only when we answer the initial call will we qualify to experience what is produced in us as the result of being drawn close to Him. His eternal glory is the finished product of His grace. God looks at the end from the beginning. But the path requires suffering even though it is only for a little while in contrast to the glory that shall be revealed in us. We are matured to see things from His perspective, thus established in the faith not wavering because of various trials. Each challenge provides strength for future challenges as we develop a greater resistance to the evil one. Finally we are settled as not to be moved by whatever may come our way. A steadfast faith remains constant and undisturbed in a fixed position in relation to…

“You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:11 Whatever happens and however it may happen, God ends with the placement of His crown of goodness. That is why He is called good even when things happen that are difficult to explain. When there are valleys there also must be mountains. The deeper the valley indicates the higher the mountain must be. Valley experiences are not always fatal. They can be but not necessarily must be fatal. His path is frightening to the fainthearted. Every wall in the valley contains a message that you have reached the point of no return. But as long as you are aware that He is leading you, you can trust Him throughout the journey. A crown awaits you at the end of the season of testing. Not only is there a crown, but there are rich blessings to be gathered along the way.

“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2 In troubled times, we become acutely aware of our need for rescue. When the currents of life are rising all around us and it seems as if there is no way to survive, even if we are not saved from the situation, our immediate need is security in the midst of it. Jesus becomes our oasis in the midst of the desert. He is our solid rock in the midst of troubled waters. He is within reach at all times if we merely reach out to Him. In those moments of despair, when hope is wavering because of the insurmountable pressure, we should not merely cry out in pain and agony. Our cry must be directed towards the One who can save us. Oh, if men would direct their cries towards God alone as the only rock of their salvation. If they would stretch out their hands in the dark and gloom to discover that there is another Hand on the other side to lead and guide them towards a brighter future….

“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…

“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him.” 1 Peter 4:1 (MSG) The aim of Jesus is to teach us what it means to be fully human. There has been made for us a way to understand life from a perspective that is much greater than fallen man is able to see, understand, or express. Jesus Christ’s example demonstrates God’s intentions from the beginning for the whole of humanity. The image of God in man was ravaged and marred by sin leaving him disfigured with only a faint semblance of the original model. But where the first Adam became the personification of man’s rebellion and failures, the last Adam came to restore all that we lost. Every test and challenge was measured against Jesus, yet He did not succumb to the pressure. Jesus went through everything you are now going through and more. There is no way to measure the degree of suffering experienced by Him. Since He has gone through it all, His promise is to be with you while you are going through. He qualifies to lead you through whatever you may face in life. He’s been there. He is well…

“I say to God, “Be my Lord!” Without you, nothing makes sense.”  Psalm. 16:2(MSG) To reason is a virtue. Through reasoning we embrace the truths applied to our hearts with a renewed mind and emblazoned hope. Those who have meditated upon the Word have arrived at conclusions that are vastly different from those who merely compare the spiritual to the natural. It is the reasoning that is limited to what is known, or merely natural that will lead to a great impasse. Our minds alone cannot grasp the origin of the creation of all things. Neither can we figure out their proper use and truest meaning. Only God is able to guide us into the deep mysteries that would raise even deeper questions than otherwise would be asked. However, the journey on which we are led will reveal to us His Majesty and Glory. We cannot help but worship the One who knows and reveals secret things to His children that the wise and prudent are not privy to. None of His wisdom is sensible void of knowing Him. As we pursue Him, the knowledge of His will for all things becomes sensible. Without Him, nothing makes sense.

“But what did you go out to see?” Matthew 11:8 The search for significance will lead many out of their familiar environment. They believe that there has to be something out there that has a greater value and can add meaning to life. Many have abandoned family and home, while others have walked away from their employment because of this restlessness within themselves to see something or to experience something more than what had grown familiar. Jesus confronted the Pharisees and Priests who went into the wilderness in order to hear a message from a non-conformist who challenged the very core of their being. Even though they met a prophet with a prophetic word of preparation, their opinions of him did not lead them to the right action. Many are impressed but remain unchanged. Our pursuits in life must lead us to a wilderness journey of conviction and uncertainty, convicting us of sin and turn us to righteousness.  It is the uprooting of the old that will make room for the new. Without this radical change occurring, many will change the scenery of their lives but never the core of their being. Significance and true peace can only come from…

“Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 Our works or the lack thereof is a direct result of thoughts. The primary occupation is assigned to us by God in Christ. What we think of Christ will determine the degree of work we would freely engage. He wants us to see and understand that we have been assigned to be a part of something so magnificent and glorious that none could possibly comprehend all that is involved in it. That portion we have come to partially understand must be committed to the Lord. As we move in it, He reveals more of Himself as well as entrusting to us a greater measure of stewardship. Then our participation will never merely be out of obligation, but rather an intriguing journey of knowing aspects of Christ which were beforehand beyond our reach. When we participate with Him in His work, we discover that His yoke is easy and His burdens are light.

“What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? Psalm 116:12 The Lord provides benefits, many times unexpected and often before we are even aware of our need for them. As He looks far down the road of our lives, if we maintain a steadfast faith in Him, He takes our offering of life and leads us on a course directed towards His standard of righteousness. None can imagine the how many benefits we receive along the way as we journey on that path. It is not just arriving at the destination, but being on course with what really matters in life that is fulfilling. The emptiness of vanity is gone and we are left with a pursuit to know the One who loves us most. Love received demands a response. How can we respond to the overwhelming love demonstrated through our Lord, Jesus Christ? All we can possibly do is take advantage of the purpose for which He came to die such a cruel death on the cross for us. We can take Him up on His offer. By receiving His gift we bring the greatest joy to the heart of the Father.

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 12:32 Those who are drawn to Jesus by the Spirit are kept by the Spirit. The mysterious magnetic pull of the cross of Christ produces within the heart of the believer a willingness to fully follow after Him even when circumstances are difficult. They see the sacrifice that He has made in contrast to the challenges that lie before them and equate all in light of what Jesus Christ has already done. This is not the easy believe(ism) or our day where many are attracted to the trappings of success in this life and the glory that comes from others. It is a heart commitment to fully follow Christ in all that He may assign as a part of our journey. They lifted Him up as an enemy to their doctrines and lifestyles by crucifying Him. He transformed what would have been defeat into victory. Now the message of the cross of Jesus must be preached throughout world in order for any to be drawn by dimensions of love never known before. Love was the motive for Him to die for our sins…