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“Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family.” Hebrews 2:11 (MSG) We are members of the family of God and the household of faith. Regardless as to when we entered in or whether the member is born or adopted into the family, there is a place reserved for each one. Jesus saved us from the wrath of God. We were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Not only were estranged from the covenant of promise, we had no desire to be otherwise. Jesus saved us from a path even before we possessed the sense or the strength to seek any other path. We sought any option other than the path that led to life. It was the common origin of sin that blinded us to the love of God expressed through His Son. Little wonder why we made the choices that we made then. Our actions were expressions of our family of origin. But God rescued us by adopting us into His family. Now our reorientation…

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3 In an age of diversity, tolerance, and political correctness, to speak exclusively that One would stand out among the crowd condemning all others beside as false, lifeless, and insignificant. So it is with God who has no respect for other gods. None other is to be worshiped and the exclusive course to the Father is through His Son, Jesus Christ.  What is most difficult to many is to understand the effect of original sin. None had access because of man’s nature as sinners. When sin is ignored then the need for a Savior is unnecessary. But thanks be to God, a provision was made through the death of His own Son that we might be redeemed! Idolatry is the pursuit of a god that is either after Him or in place of Him. He must stand alone. He is to be worshiped. Renounce any idols in your life that may be competing for your exclusive obedience to Him.

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26 Our flesh is limited and strains to give expression of our gratitude towards God for what we have come to know of Him. The reality of the necessity of the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf can only gain in significance when we are enlightened to the sinfulness of our sin. The depravity of mind and conscience and the eternal damnation of the soul and spirit were real. We were doomed to forever be separated from God who is both life and love. Now that we are forgiven, our hearts are filled with more gratitude than our words are able to articulate. What frustration we would experience if our world feels such love but having no outlet to express it? The Holy Spirit Himself makes intercession for us, both in gratitude and in passion to further connect with God in deeper and more profound ways. Our sounds may be groans or babble, but there is a spiritual union of heart to heart…

“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….

“Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” John 9:3  It was customary for sicknesses and diseases to be directly associated with an act of sin. A blind man who was born that way was in question as to whether it was his sin or his parent’s sin. The disciples looked backwards into the man’s past, while Jesus was looking forward. Many things may have contributed to situations being as they are. Sin is the root cause of all sicknesses and diseases, but the sin debt has been paid once for all. It is not just the act of sin but sin itself. In a fallen world, conditions exist among many without a direct cause. But the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil. As we look unto Jesus and allow His Spirit to work in us without fleshly interference, the works of God will be revealed in us that Christ may be glorified in our flesh. Look forward on behalf of the lost and the informed. Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.” Matt 11:19 Sinners flocked around Jesus and loved to be his companions, while the religions found Him to be repulsive and were made to feel uncomfortable. Prostitutes and publicans followed Him around without feeling intimidated, but sought Him out knowing that they would not be condemned. Even though He did not give license to sin, but rather came that all of the works of the devil would be destroyed by Him. He would judge the judges of men who would place heavy burdens upon their shoulders. But He would come into the Temple and turn over the tables of the money changers. His life was paradoxical to most because it appeared as if He would tolerate the very thing in others the very thing that by His nature He despised. Sinners, Publicans, and the poor gladly received the Gospel because they knew that their lives did not measure up to His standard. Therefore, they received Him gladly as one who would be thought of as rejecting Him, while those…

“After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself:” John 21:1-2 He makes Himself known in ways that are familiar to each person. He once came in human flesh and fully identified with the human experience, yet honoring the Father by not yielding to the temptation of sin. After He was raised from the dead, He continued to show Himself again to His disciples. In His resurrected state, He is still in touch with all things pertaining to us. They were fishermen before their encounter with Jesus. Now that He had been crucified, they returned to their former professions. Their lack of success was challenged by His question, “Children, have you any food?” They had toiled all night to no avail. Jesus then gave them instructions that they could either follow or ignore. But when they cast their nets on the other side of the boat, they could not contain all that was in their nets. The resurrected Christ makes His presence known again among His disciples. He is the same Jesus but now raised in newness of life as the first-born of many brethren. It is…

“Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” Mark 14:18 Before Jesus was crucified, He was identified through betrayal by one who sat at His table and ate with Him. One who loved so deeply would be exposed by a friend to His enemies. Jesus knew when it would happen and who it was who would be so used as a spy among them. Yet He did not make Him known among the brethren. There are times when sin must run its course. Any intervention on our part to defend ourselves or expose the adversary would be counterproductive. God will allow many to dwell among us who do not carry our heart or vision. Nevertheless, God uses all things for the fulfillment of His purpose. Jesus loved, provided for, and even dined with His betrayer. These events led to the cross, the inevitable end that marked a new beginning for all who would believe on Him. His will transcended the pain suffered by dishonest companions and even the pain of suffering and death on the cross. The glory that shall be revealed in us was…

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1Timothy 1:15 What Christ did on the cross by dying in order that men may live is amplified through our witness. His voice is raised through the lives of us who understand that we brought nothing that would qualify us to do what is now being done. The worst of sinners now stand with a testimony of victory because the Lord alone has graced us to live on the other side of our prior sins. We should never forget from which we came. We can then appreciate the distance God’s mercy and grace had to reach down and arrest our violent attempts at self destruction. For it to be said that we were at our worst when we thought of ourselves as being at our best is an understatement. He shows us the worst in us that He might bring forth the best in us. Sinners at their worst may find in Jesus Christ a House of Refuge. If we, in the state we were once in could be saved, then He is able to…

“God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.” Psalm 18:24 (MSG) An open heart to the Word of God gives Him permission to transform one’s life. The Holy Spirit works within us not only affects our future, but takes into account our past and our present state and weave all things into a beautiful tapestry fit to be presented to the King. He gives us a new beginning; the reorientation of those things that would otherwise condemn us. This does not happen in the life of the half-hearted. They can only be awakened to the reality that there is more to life than what is being lived. However, the open heart is giving God permission to search deeply into those secret compartments where none are allowed but maybe a select few. When we are under His scrutiny, those things that are contrary to His will are highlighted. He does this, not to be heavy handed in discipline but lovingly purge the heart of the residue of sin that may linger so that He may be worshiped in purity. Our lives then tell a different story. It expresses the message of…