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But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 God’s eyes are upon the truth in every situation. His judgments are based on the truth that He knows without having to measure circumstantial evidence. This may serve as vindication for the innocent, but will also be an indictment to the guilty. Man can only see that is made known to him. Actions are borne out of motives. We both speak and do what has been brewing in our hearts even before the time comes that we give full expression to it. The matter is already judged in heaven’s court. It is the execution of His judgment carried out when penalties are met. Our judgments or our opinions at that moment do not really matter. When God takes charge of what He sees, it is to our best interest to allow God to be God and for us to take inventory of our own lives. We may have done things differently if…

“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…

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 The consistency of the message is as important as the message itself. Messages that contradict what has been established as foundational in our understanding of Christ cause spiritual erosion to occur within the soul. The writer of Hebrews was warning them to remember what was established within them by those who both spoke and modeled the standard of which they once faithfully followed. Consider that their instructions were intended to lead them to an end result that was to reach far beyond the immediate. This is what any faithful disciple must consider. Those who lead are graced to guide their followers into areas that can only be understood once obedience is completed. Disobedience occurs as the result of being carried away or allured, and not led.  Character deficiencies are sensitive to an alien appeal. One is then flesh driven rather than Spirit-led. One’s diet must consist of that which can provide for eternal gain. It should not consist of the delicacies that appeal to the taste but does harm to the body. What Jesus taught His disciples required them to fully follow Him if they were to become disciples indeed….

“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…

“And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers.  Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Isa 30:20-21 The departure from the Way is the root cause of the adversity that comes from the Lord. There are challenges that come as result of obedience and challenges that are rooted in rebellion. The difference between the two is the adherence on the part of the challenged to hear the instructions that come from the Lord. He is available to deliver us from all of our trouble, but do we listen to His voice before us to lead or have we left what He has to say to us behind? Their teachers were sidelined and replaced with guides who misguided them. They listened to falsehoods as blind guides led them into pits. But God did not abandon them even though they had abandoned Him. From behind His voice could still be heard. From the rear, the places inhabited and celebrated was the voice of God speaking to them in order for them to…

In the relay race, the fastest starting runner has placed within his hands a baton. His assignment is to run with the swiftest of speed while carrying the baton, but knowing that there will be other runners awaiting his completed assignment to take over what began with him. When he releases the baton to the second runner, his assignment is finished but race is not over. He entrusts into the hands of another runner the stewardship of discipline and drive to win the race while knowing that its completion requires the help of future runners. In this race of life, the baton has been placed in our hands. Who will be there to pass the baton to the next generation? Are you currently running the quality of race that you would encourage your children to continue after your demise? We are alive to make a difference and for that difference to last for generations to come. “Do you not know that those who run in a race–all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) We must live our lives as if the future depended upon us and our…

“Storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:19 The grace of God produces works of righteousness. It is from a heart of love that we do the will of God and not for the sake of earning His favor. If we love Jesus Christ, we will do His will and find pleasure in doing it. Those who are rich often think of themselves as having all that they need. Paul’s admonishment was not that they become impoverished, but rather to make sure that their hearts are not held captive by the things of this world. Those who find greater pleasure here and now, but lack a heavenly perspective will sacrifice eternal life for what their money is able to buy them. When Christ is our foundation we store up riches for the time to come. Every act is centered in our love for the Lord and given full expression through how we use our resources. We participate with the Lord in what He is doing on the earth as fellow laborers in His garden and in the construction of His house. After our work is complete,…

“He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart” Psalm 15:1 The benefit of abiding with Christ is the motivation to act is governed by the Holy Spirit rather than merely our own minds. The thoughts generate from God and are transferred to the heart so that the will is to do His will rather than what previously occupied our time and attention. It is not a matter of consciously manipulating the mind to think right. There is a continual flow from the heart to the mind maintaining an awareness of God’s Presence at all times. Then it is not as much of a strain to make the right decisions in relation to our walk. Though temptations may come and trials may test our faith, we know that He is with us and we know that He working in us. Now when we speak, we speak from a changed heart. His Word is hidden in our hearts and no other language is our own other than what is being translated into life within us. What marvelous position to occupy when God is able to convey His truth boldly through an earthen vessel that has been transformed…

“From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?” Job 28:20 The pursuit of wisdom occurs in many places. It is sought in the majestic halls of education. It is pursued among the politicians who ponder over laws which prove over time to be no more than an experiment in balancing the scales of justice. Wisdom appears to be such a fleeting and ethereal thing that many are left on their own in their attempts to define it. Their eloquence and artistic usage of words is often the disguise used to camouflage what is lacking when true wisdom is lacking. The impressive psychobabble of self impressed individuals with self-interests often become standard among the misguided sheep who find themselves following after leaders who are not being led themselves. There is a place where wisdom can be found. It is found in the reverential fear of the Lord. It is when individuals no longer allow themselves to be governed by the whims of men, but consider the Lord before any decision is made. It is imparted to surrendered and humble hearts. Those who remain teachable oftentimes corrected so that the path of righteousness is maintained. Then the Holy…

“He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3 God Himself will purge His people as silver and gold. He has invested in the lives of His own and is committed to removing the residue that would shroud the beauty of what is deposited deep within the heart and soul. There are desires polluted and misdirected by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. When the heart of His leaders are turned in the wrong direction, yet they remain His leaders; they are purged of the dross in order for His glory to shine through them. He is aware of the tendency within the heart of humanity to stray away, but fire of the refiner must burn away all that should not be. It is a painful thing to be refined but the end result is glorious! When we are tried, we will come forth as pure gold. Offerings are not enough to please our Lord. He seeks after an offering in righteousness. It is the life of the…