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(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…

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.” 2 Timothy 4:3 Teachers are instructors that mold the character of those who subject themselves as students to learn. The world is being fashioned by teachers. There are men and women who take what they have come to know and feed others who are eager to learn. There is not a shortage of teachers. But the problem Paul was addressing was that there would be a number of people whose hearts remain unchanged. They will seek to be instructed in matters of choice rather than in truth. Their level of toleration of God’s Word would be on the decline.  Yet their appetites for instructions in how to fend off any doctrine that would equip them in the ways of God would increase. They will gather to themselves instructors who would help them build up defenses against what God would have them to know. An intellectual argument and one’s ability to defend his position often can become the callous over the soul. It is when the heart is tender that God’s…

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, (9) and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; Ephesians 3:8-9 The assignment of the Apostle Paul is to be extended through every saint of God. He has graced us to put on display what is hidden in Christ. It is not merely a matter of speaking the truth, but we must become the truth of which be speak. The transformation of a sinner’s life to becoming a saint is a mystery. It cannot be scientifically explained. The work of grace granted to all, even to those who were not born as children of the promise have been given the privilege to fully participate in this marvelous experience. Why would it be that we should hide what has been so freely given to us when the objective was to convey to others what we have received? The way we show our appreciation for the gift of God is to…

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5 It was all about God before consideration is given to self. God had a purpose in mind, unknown to us but awaiting us by our Creator. “I knew where you were to fit into My plans.” Self-discovery is the challenge given to each person to consider what God already knows about us. “If any lack wisdom, even that which pertains to self, let him ask God.” Our reasoning can merely draw from what is already known. To observe God’s creation and to see merely through the eyes of others; their experiences and life alone may limit us from knowing what God desire to show us. God is aware of your uniqueness because He made you the way you are. Not to be weird and merely associate with those who different for the sake of standing out in the crowd, but participate in a plan far greater than even our most sophisticated plans could take us. God has a plan for your life .It is His desire to use everything that He has given to you for His glory. His plan is also to remove from you everything planted in…

“The Lord has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”  Isaiah 52:10 The Lord has crowned His kings and princes throughout the earth. His strength has gone out to both defy the power of the enemy and to undo the enemy’s work. There are those who bear the mark of royalty and are destined for the throne to rule and rein with Him. The Kingdom of God dwells among men! The question the world is asking is where is the mark or seal borne by those that belong to Christ? There appears to be no distinction between them and others; in fact, those who rebel appear to have the advantage over the faithful. The mark that they bear is within their hearts. Their passion for their King and the desire to see Him rule in righteousness separates them from others. They have an undying hope directed towards the future. Their faith is not wrapped up into small packages limiting them to temporary pleasures. They want the whole thing and will not settle for anything less. As Dr. James Stewart puts it speaking…

“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…

“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…