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“God, my strength, my stronghold, my safe retreat when trouble descends.” Jeremiah 16:19 (MSG) God does more than provide strength thus leaving us with the responsibility of knowing how to apply the pressure where most needed. He is our strength, upholding us when we are in our most weakened state, and warding off the enemies lurking around to take advantage of our vulnerabilities. As long as we maintain our focus on Jesus, He will fight our battles. And He upholds us with the right hand of His righteousness. When we enter into battle alone, we are prey to be devoured by one more force and shrewdness with experience in deceiving the self-confident. But when we humbly submit to the Lord, we are in the safest place we could possibly be. Trouble may bear down upon us as a storm that is out of control. Yet our God is our refuge in the time of trouble. God is my strength and security, and my sanctuary. I praise Him as my weapon of war, and worship Him as my place of rest.

“As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.” Matthew 24:32 One major sign of the return of Christ will be the renewed courage and strength among those who carry the testimony of the Lord. As it was in the days of the prophets and later the apostles, so shall it be among individuals who will stand for truth without compromise. They will be among a people who have relented to casual Christianity, but will not allow the pressures brought to bear against them to discourage them nor diminish their faith. There will be new life within the Church as both young and old will boldly face persecution if required, for righteousness sake. The sign will be an awakening spreading to the ends of the earth. The Kingdom of God will be their message, the cross will be their standard, and zeal of the Lord will totally consume them. Professor Martin Scharlemann of Concordia Seminary said, “As soon as the missionaries are no longer welcome to do their work and their host countries begin to expel them, look up.”

“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.

“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…

“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…

“The field is wasted, the land mourns; for the grain is ruined, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails.” Joel 1:10 There are times when conditions are bleak and the people are called to repentance. Nothing occurs by chance. God withdraws His Hand among a people who think they have the abilities to manage their affairs. It is not that the people are completely abandoned, but rather they are allowed to feel the results of decisions made when He is no longer reverenced as Lord. Without His oversight, the field is wasted, the grain is ruined, the new wine is dried up, and the oil fails. Each requires what only God is able to give for their sustenance. Without His care, the people must manage without the rain that must fall from heaven. Nothing planted is able to grow without the rain. When it touches the seed, it will then spring forth with new life. Spiritual dryness is a condition where the people have not come to realize the source of challenges facing the world. God’s people must, in humility, seek His face and turn in the direction of righteousness in order for the rain to fall from…

“Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day — but we’ll hardly notice. We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness.” 2 Peter 3: 12-13 (MSG) The coming of the Lord will attract the attention of those who are eagerly awaiting His return. While all things around us are being shaken, and nothing appears to have any degree of stability, there remains a constant focus in an upward direction in spite of all other things that would otherwise be disturbing. God has promised that He would send His Son again to the earth. If the earth could not receive the words of the prophets, and the world rejects His standard, it is not the world on which His kingdom will be established. He will descend, but above the earth while the heavens and the earth is burned with fire, then He will establish new heavens and a new earth where righteous will reign. But then, it will be under the rule of those who are kept by His power and anticipate His return….

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; “But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2 Authority is given by God in order for it to be used in ways that honor Him. When He is dishonored, authority is then corrupted and His face is veiled by those who make decisions independent of His counsel. Prayer is necessary for all, that the Holy Spirit may guide the heart of our leaders and if necessary, turn their hearts in the right direction. There are many decisions to be made and God has full knowledge of the end of each one. Some may appear to be right but the end may be damnation or even death. More than ever, God must be sought and our hearts surrendered to His will. There are leaders chosen by God, but people must choose to follow them. They lead their followers to righteousness, justice, and peace. The Lord can then receive the honor and the people will rejoice because His favor will come upon them.

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” Isaiah 54:17 The objective of Satan is the formation of weapons that may be used to attack areas of apparent weaknesses against the saints of God. The alluring factions that seem to appear out of nowhere were skillfully planned with precision to wear down even the strongest among us. If we ever become careless in our defense or unaware that we are in the battle of the lifetime, his fiery darts will attach itself to us and slowly dispense the poisonous venom that slowly produces death. Much of what is used are words that plant within our hearts the seed of discontent and doubt. What God has done, and is currently doing in the life of the believer, is establishing him in righteousness. Whatever is not of faith is sin. Our eyes must constantly be fixed upon the object of our faith, Jesus Christ that we might be established in His righteousness. Every trial, every challenge that comes can either be used as a means of establishing us in the faith, or providing evidence against the One in whom we have…

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.” Psalm 119:15 To give deep thought of what God requires is necessary if we are to align ourselves with His will. It is not a casual or passing thought that captures the truths contained in His Word, but rather to savor those morsels of insight until they become a part of our nature. God allows us to meditate on His precepts for our good. They will not become grievous requirements when His ways are better understood. He does not require more of us than He Himself is willing or has already done for us. When we are able to compare His requirements to His ways, we will rejoice because of the opportunity He has afforded us to more fully participate with Him in His work. His precepts prepare us for further participation in what He is doing. How glorious it is when we fit perfectly in His divine plans. That is why His Word must be hidden in our hearts that we would not sin against Him by omission or commission. We “will” where He stands, and receive the power to stand with Him for righteousness and against all things…