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“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.” Ezekiel 36:24 People who are in exile are a people removed from their place. We see Israel being scattered among the nations and some taking on the character of the nations where they had been forced to occupy. Sin does not ask for our permission, but imposes its character upon those who occupy its territory. A culture of sin produces a people who readily adapt to the environment. It is then difficult for them to remember what God’s original intentions were for their lives. They merely see what others are doing and seemingly enjoying and adjust to their standard of living. But God stands up and makes His Presence known among them. He lets them know that even though they are in a strange place, Israel still carries His name. When His name is hallowed among the nations and a difference is made known by them to the other inhabitants, then deliverance will come. God will bring them into their own land. He is says to us, are we to represent Jesus where we are. Should He only…

Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.”  Songs of Solomon 2:15 The tender grapes are the daily benefits provided to us by God. It is the knowledge of God’s love producing within us a confidence that is not easily shaken. When we are confident that we are loved, then we are empowered to love others without pretense. True friendships can be forged to last a lifetime and the expectation of a future hope of eternity burns brightly within our hearts. How delicate the balance is between our faith and our love. We can now love because we by faith can see beyond the shortcoming and limitations of the misguided and the misinformed. We can see good intentions even when bad habits inhibit positive action. We can also see the possibility of change among those whose lives appear to be hopeless and they may be blind to the true remedy of their souls. But when careless and immature foxes enter into a well cultivated vineyard, they have the tendency of destroying the very vines on which the fruit is being developed. One mishap can raise such doubt as to cause one…

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 On this day one of the most devastating tragedies occurred in this nation. This is the day when the World Trade Center Towers were attacked by Islamic terrorists. We remember where we were and what we were doing on this day sixteen years ago. Prayers were offered to God for the families of the victims and an appeal was offered unto God for His divine protection from further attacks. We commemorate the bravery of the firefighters, police officers, medical teams and others who risked their lives to rescue those who were in need of their help. There is a place in God where we can find safety and security. He is our refuge and our fortress and in Him we can place all of our trust. As this nation continues to manage the crises of the day, let us not forget why we called on God on that dreadful day. The fears of the unknown and the unexpected…

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26 Values are a means to equate the worth of thing in contrast to its usefulness or utility. Whether a thing is profitable or dispensable is determined by the individual. The question of Jesus was directed at the value one would place on his own soul. It has to do with ultimate importance, or to have one to stretch his thoughts beyond the immediate gain to consider the ultimate cost one would have to pay for it. Values fluctuate among the immature. True maturity is marked by the development of a value system that is unalterable. They become the center of our lives, standard of behavior, and the stimuli for thinking straight. Jesus asks them to make a value assessment of their lives. He asked them, “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world?” If the whole world as gain to him, would the gaining of it produce peace within the soul? Would the pleasures of the world squeeze you into a fixture that cannot…

“Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words.” Jeremiah 36:22-25 When Josiah, Jehoiakim’s father read the scroll handed to him from the prophet Jeremiah, he tore his garment. But when Jehoiakim was given the scroll of prophetic writings, he took his penknife and tore the scroll. The scroll was divided into manageable pieces and instead of being used as a means of salvation as God intended it was reduced to a personal and practical use of firewood to warm the king. The arrogance of many has reduced the most sobering message ever delivered to humanity to a source of entertainment.  It has become a means to many others to warm themselves and producing some immediate profit to those who…

“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…

“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.” Luke 21:36 The fore-warnings 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 thing 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 wrath…

“SINCE ALL this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away.”  Hebrews 2:1 ( AMP) The things we neglect we forget. The things we give attention to are remembered. It is easy to have good intentions and resolve to apply great truths to various aspects our lives, but unless that commitment is immediately acted upon, the urgency of the moment will fade. Even if the thought returns, the zeal would have diminished. Obedience to God is to make Him the priority of your life. It is to make first things first at all times. Disobedience will dull the senses and the spirit becomes sluggish in its response to the Word of God. That person will eventually become a selective hearer and not be able to contain great truths when they are conveyed because the capacity to comprehend them has not been developed. Pay attention to God’s Word, especially those truths that you do not understand. Your interest in the deep things of God will prompt your inquiring mind to search with all diligence. Then when you ask God through prayer, the…

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12-13 “The Word of God is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…..” it is alive or living and powerful. It can only be described by using superlatives; greater than and more powerful than any reference we may have on earth. It divides what we think from what the Holy Spirit reveals. It separates what we would possibly do from the thing that the Holy Spirit guides us into doing. The interval between thought and action is that little space where the Holy Spirit intervenes.  Before God came unto our lives, we acted first and asked questions later. Our actions were impulsive. But after the Word has taken root within us, there is that place within us for divine intervention. The intervention takes place because God discerns the difference between thoughts and intents. The truest intent is not always given expression. Most of the time, we react to stimuli. We cannot read our deepest heart’s desire because 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…