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Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” John 12:21 The religious activity today has been directed towards many causes. They tell us to be more relevant so that the Church may establish her position in society. Many leaders have risen to the occasion with the valor and courage to fight for what they believe, while others have affirmed the humanity and self-existence of mankind having rights and privileges given to them by God to enjoy life, or rather exploit this planet and its inhabitants for the sake of personal pleasure and gain. We have the selfless heroes of our day and the selfish demagogues who seek both fame and fortune merely for themselves. Yet in their pursuits for what they want to achieve remain vain and left without any eternal merit because Jesus would not have His place of prominence established among them. In the midst of the hurrying crowd looking for a reason to embrace that will give life meaning, we wish to see Jesus. He alone is able to provide what we really need. He postures us to ask the right questions so that…

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17 The love of Jesus Christ is conveyed to the world through those who trust in Him. It is spread abroad through those who have no other motive other than to please Him. They wish for no greater blessing than the opportunity to serve others on His behalf. They can then be trusted with authority to extend His work to areas untouched by His testimony. We are here to be witnesses His redeeming grace and love thus fulfilling our call as saints. Our salvation was not merely for our own personal benefit. It was for the expansion of His kingdom. He touches lives throughout the world through His Church. It is not a matter of trying to imagine what Jesus would do in varying situations. Rather our question is “what is Jesus doing and how much of that ought to be done through us?” We have been given this grand opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus among many who have not heard of Him. We are here to be as…

“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26 It is too easy to feel that a particular thing is right and rely totally upon one’s feelings. Many place their confidence in the inclinations of the heart rather than the established truth of God’s word. Our hearts may guide us in the direction away from the things we despise, but will eventually crash against the jagged rocks of reality. The good is often despised if the heart remains unchanged. Nothing is within us to embrace the truth if all we have is an empty heart in search of significance. Nothing within fallen man is able to deliver him from perishing along with the weight of passions sinking him deeper into the quagmire of sin and rebellion. His feet are not established upon any solid substance enabling him to be upheld on shaky ground. He trusts in what is within him and around him. He foolishly stumbles along in life until he utterly falls. But the wise will walk wisely because he is steadied by the power that comes from on high. God is able to lift him above the traps set…

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” Philippians 3:7 What a resolve! What a tremendous position one is placed in when his pursuit for Christ outweighs all the accolades of his past. He is then privileged to know Christ in a way in which he has never known Him before! Whatever value we place on any effort or accomplishment diminishes our view of Christ. It becomes difficult to see Him in the fullness of His glory when we have become so large in our own eyes and feel so important in comparison to the smallness of others who are around. We must decrease if He is ever to increase. When we have gained Christ, He is then given full permission to be Himself in us. We have the confidence that we are known by Him and will be with Him forever. If we are to be with Him forever, that implies we will live forever as He lives. To surrender what we currently have is a small thing in comparison to all we will gain as we count all other things as loss. They have no eternal value therefore they should not hold…

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” 1 Timothy 1:12 The challenges of ministry are constant. There are always important things to do and areas of significance in need of being addressed. It is too easy to take the path of least resistance and say what would be pleasing to the masses and tickling to the ear. But the call of God is a call to faithfulness and dedication to a cause that is greater than any man. It is that call to which we must be faithful. Our efforts are not to be carried out as others who would place professionalism over character. If we are to most effectively carry out the call that is upon our lives, we must first be faithful to the God who has called us. He is the Great Teacher who will make known both His Word and His ways. It requires the discipline of character so that we are able to listen to Him first before we speak. Then our lives become of message and we live a message and not just speak one. We do not merely choose…

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, (2) fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-2 The objective of preaching the gospel is for those who are following to have the mind of Christ. Whatever Christ has provided for us is to be provided through us to others. It is with His comfort of love that we become loving. A difference is made in our lives as the result of being loved by Christ. He settles us down and gives us both rest and a peace that surpasses all understanding. The disturbed soul cannot interact with others on the same level as one who senses the security of the arms of Christ. There would be a caution that interrupts that degree of fellowship. But the soul that rests in His love is free to love others because he is not dependent on them but gives to them expecting nothing in return. The Lord supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory. We are complete in Christ thus able to love…

(2) Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. (3) For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”(4) For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:2-4 A selfless heart cannot be prefabricated. The fallen nature of man hinders him from becoming altruistic. Yet God is able through one who has yielded himself to Him, do what is pleasing and for the good of his neighbor. Christ died for us. It was not a pleasant experience leading up to His death. But He had us in mind throughout all He had to suffer. The Scripture does not tell us to do whatever is pleasing to our neighbor. That would reduce us to becoming men-pleasers. We must consider what is good for him and do what is best even if it cost us in our efforts in assisting him. The love of God given expression through us will lift him to a level where Christ becomes visible to him. As we seek God for the…

“Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.” Psalm 60:11 None has ever trusted God so completely that they never had a shadow of doubt. It is in the shadows where we look away from God in search for what appears to be strong but is lacking in content and in character. The challenge came to us and we wondered why we were chosen for adversity. Even then, there arose among some what appeared to be further evidence that God was absent. Many have abandoned God completely with thoughts that He was unreliable, while there are others who learned the lesson and passed the test. Without the test, there would be no need for help. The awareness of our need fostered the acknowledgement that we could not carry out our assignments alone.  Without Him we can do nothing. The assistance of man is useless unless God is involved. The help of others only further complicates the issue. It is above our heads and the heads that stand tall are not tall enough and their arm of strength cannot reach far enough to bring remedy to the deep wound left within. The need must first be identified…

“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…