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 “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!”

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord extends to each individual the opportunity to be saved. It is the road that leads to life. The destination may not be clearly defined or easily understood, but the path to the destination is introduced to each one. It may be a subtle approach from a stranger, or an eye awakening experience. Each situation, when viewed from eternity’s perspective, was the extended hand of God releasing mercy. The objective is to provide an abundance of opportunities for the wayward to be drawn to Him. His desire is that none should perish. Those who perish are usually stubbornly justifying their rebellious ways and never seeing the need for a Savior. Oh, the wonders of His grace! When we understand the need for both mercy and grace, we will view our self-righteousness as sin, our abilities to love as hatred, and every effort on our part to boast as shame. What preserves us from destruction is the awareness of our absolute need for Him in all things….

“He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.” (NKJ) “Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.” (MSG) Proverbs 5: 23 A warning to the wise is the anecdote to his falling away and divorcing himself from his wisdom. Disciples are to exercise disciplines in order to safeguard areas that would otherwise be vulnerable to the enemy. He is seeking to influence those who have taken pride in their stance as being invincible thus allowing their guards to be down. Death is the price paid for our redemption. Since we are alive to Christ and dead to the world, Satan’s ploy is to attempt in resurrecting things that once dominated and controlled our lives. Daily decisions have far-reaching and severe consequences. Nothing is done in isolation from a path leading to a destination. And nothing is done that does not follow a pattern of living modeled by a master. Our death in Jesus Christ produced life with a purpose. We are being led to triumph over all the works of darkness. Our thoughts must be directed towards the eternal unless we…

“Their job is to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, to show them how to discern between unclean and clean.” Ezekiel 44:23 The job of the preacher is not merely to entertain people or to build buildings. Neither is he successful when he possesses the ability to draw large crowds. God has assigned us to teach the difference between the sacred things and the secular. We must do all to the glory of God, but not all things warrant the same attention. The neglect of foundational truths will erect structures of wood, hay, and stubble that cannot withstand the waves of adversity or the strong winds of erroneous doctrines. Only those who are well taught will be able stand being fully equipped with the full armor of God. They are led in the path of holiness and righteousness thus developing their discernment between good and evil, the clean and the unclean. The paralyzing sin of sameness has dulled the senses of many. But God will raise up His priests who have not bowed their knees to Baal and remain faithful for such a time as this.

 “The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.” Isaiah 59:8-9 There is a peace offered by God that surpasses what the crowd demands. Yes, fairness in judgments must be executed, and the wild behavior of the wayward majority must be regulated by laws. But justice gives what justice demands. Laws alone cannot change the heart. It condemns both the accused and the accusers for all have sinned. It looks into the secret sins of the heart, and the evil practices done under the cloak of darkness. Those sins though unseen, cause dis-ease of the soul.  Justice condemns the ways of the wicked. A death sentence is served to all who follow her path. How can one know the way to peace when the contributing forces of war are unknown? None are aware of why they love what is evil and hate what is good. Yet those who seek both justice and peace are blind to their own guilt. It is the right path that must be chosen if peace is ever to be known. Jesus Christ paid for…

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 The path to victory leads into the heat of the battle. There the soldier must defend his honor and stand against the onslaught of opposing forces. There would be no retreat from that position. It is either do or die. The fainthearted would rather avoid such definite lines of battle. It would be easier to be on both sides rather than to outwardly declare war against a foe that threatens one’s security and all others that would follow. Too much is at stake at defeat. The loss of life and limb, or even the shame to admit that there was not enough strength to carry on. Such are the challenges facing the follower of Christ. He has been positioned by God before us as our Captain. His priority is to lead us to victory after victory. Yet not by bloodshed, but rather by fumigating the environment with the sweet smell of His knowledge, thus eliminating the stench of ignorance that pervaded before the engagement of war began. The enemy is won over…

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 Sublimation according to Dr. Hadfield, was “the process by which instinctive emotions were diverted from their original ends, and re-directed to purposes satisfying to the individual and of value to the community.” Man will instinctively fulfill the lust of the flesh. The energy to carry out that end is within him and if nothing is changed, it is inevitable that he will follow after that path. It is only when the Spirit is given permission to intervene will his course be changed. His instincts will be diverted away from what comes natural and the more he yields to the Holy Spirit the more he will find pleasures equal to and ultimately greater than what formally occupied his time and attention. The energy that was expended towards self-gratification is now used for the benefit of the community. When we walk in the Spirit, we are moving in the direction and the ultimate destination of God. All other paths lead to isolation and death. Habits are broken and new passions are ignited in place of the dominating forces that lead to frustration. The…

“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13 The instructions given by God to your children will first produce an inner peace. Their hearts will agree with the truth for which they were made to receive and understand. They would no longer be left to themselves to wander from one opinion to the next never knowing which path is the right one to take. But rather, they shall be surefooted in their stance in righteousness and not easily swayed by the winds of strange doctrines that have become prevalent in our day. There is a peace for children to receive. Even though they may not have experienced much of what lies ahead, nevertheless they can face the future with confidence. The instruction of the Lord will guide them when they arrive at certain impasses and a decision is necessary to go in either direction. They will apply their teachings to the situation at hand and not fall prey to the adversary whose objective is to allure them away from the path that leads to life. Each child shall receive his share. None shall be left out for all…

“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.