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“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:4 The trials that we face have a far greater purpose than the aggravation and pain that we often suffer. Isolated from God’s intent, some would think that we had been abandoned to face the giants of perplexities alone. It is when nothing is left but God’s promises that faith is called into action. What we received during those moments when could clearly see Him and experience His blessings must keep us when we enter into the fog. Faith to endure is the patience that must further develop us. We learn to wait on the Lord and not attempt to rush the process. God has more to teach is in these dry cold winter seasons than we could ever learn in the springtime of life. This is when our faith is tested as to its authenticity. How would we ever know whether we love God for who He is or merely love Him for what He gives? On the other side of the test is a faith that endures. We can then see Him for who He really is and not just image…

(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…

“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…

“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…

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”  John 13:14 Jesus was acknowledged by His disciples as both Lord and Teacher. He both rules over them, therefore having the right to demand their servitude. And He is their teacher, one who instructs them in the ways of righteousness. This dual role is a very unique one because one role does not require any patience or sympathy. As their Lord, their wills must be totally submitted to His will. There is no room for arbitration or any form of questioning. He has the right to rule them or they would be subject to face the consequences of their rebellion. Yet He never rules without instructions. He goes before us in order to train us so that we are enabled to see an example of what we will become. Then He shows us exactly how He does it and empowers us with His Spirit in order for us to be properly equipped to do it. Finally He serves us rather than look to us to serve Him. As we are being served by Him, we are expected to serve others. Only…

“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:15 The rush towards the promise, without patience to endure the interval trials, is giving expression to doubt and unbelief. Those careless movements are usually met with disappointments with self as well as with God. Misunderstandings arise concerning God’s character of love and concern when one caves in while engaged in the battle. This happens when Christ is not being seen and known throughout all of the circumstances of life. Faith requires one to believe in God and what He has promised even before the evidence is present. His desire is to reveal Himself through His Word that is able to withstand every crisis met along the way. His Word is truth and can outlive the lies of Satan. The bump in the road was not a roadblock but a stepping –stone leading towards the life that lies ahead. There are times when there is nothing left but His promises and pressures. The pressures may try to shroud the promise but the promises are true regardless of the amount of pressure. Perhaps this could be the path of authentic faith being developed within one’s life. Many need to…

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Romans 11:33 There is an unfathomable degree of both wisdom and knowledge made available to any who would be willing to seek after it. Paul on other occasions spoke of height, depth, width, and breadth, indicating that there are degrees awaiting exploration by those who would remain discontent at any level. His love is the basis for all that He knows and provides. Simply speaking, Jesus Christ has an abundance of ways to express His love towards us. He clears the path of sin thus revealing His true nature by judging it. He allows the disobedient and misguided to mercifully remain for a while even though their works are counterproductive. His patience is expressed over and over again towards the worst of us. His exceeding goodness and glory extends beyond the limits of the best of us. We cannot explore all there is to understand in millions of lifetimes. Therefore throughout all eternity God will be revealing to us His wisdom and knowledge that we may know what is seen today through tinted mirrors. When…

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11 When there is a convergence of our state and our contentment, evidence of spiritual maturity is made manifest. There is a steadiness in the life of the individual that lives on that level of confidence knowing that God is not limited to circumstances. The contentment that Paul speaks of is not inactive contentment. He participates with God in what He is doing. If something is lacking, he is confident that God will provide. If he has an abundance, he know that God as provided. The credit is given to God for blessings received and his dependency on God alone to meet his need settles him down and frees him from anxieties. Yet no condition can hinder God from doing through him what has been assigned. His earlier years were more than likely more frantic. He had to learn how to yield to the Holy Spirit in all things. The rush of life accomplished very little and oftentimes would make matters worse. He learned to wait on the Lord and to be patient. The virtue of faith and patience…

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:4 The trials that we face have a far greater purpose than the aggravation and pain that we often suffer. Isolated from God’s intent, some would think that we had been abandoned to face the giants of perplexities alone. It is when nothing is left but God’s promises that faith is called into action. What we received during those moments when could clearly see Him and experience His blessings must keep us when we enter into the fog. Faith to endure is the patience that must further develop us. We learn to wait on the Lord and not attempt to rush the process. God has more to teach is in these dry cold winter seasons than we could ever learn in the springtime of life. This is when our faith is tested as to its authenticity. How would we ever know whether we love God for who He is or merely love Him for what He gives? On the other side of the test is a faith that endures. We can then see Him for who He really is and not just image…

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…