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“Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life.” 2 Peter 3:11 (MSG) How quickly things can change from what we have grown accustomed to into something of which we are totally unfamiliar. The transitions occur as a judgment against every standard that opposes what ought to be established. The infusion of sin and the reinforcement given to it by an ever expanding majority opinion hastens the Day of the Lord. When right appears wrong and wrong appears right, God alone must vindicate His honor. He brings to naught systems and all under the authority of the rebellious and reestablish in its place newness. Do not be alarmed at the destruction of the wicked. These things must be if ever the Lord is to be glorified. Opposing and competing forces cannot coexist. The strength of the strong will overtake the weak, and the wisdom of the wise will befuddle the foolishness of the foolish. Since it will happen immediately, we should apply our hearts to live a holy life. The signs are before us now. The rapidity in changes around is our alarm as to how uncertain all things are….

“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…

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Revelation 3:8 The faithfulness of the saints provides endless opportunities in the future. Our future is determined by the decisions we currently make. An open door is set before those who know the name of the Lord. When His character is known and given expression He can then work through that individual without the objections of the flesh. The Holy Spirit’s assignment is to make Christ known to us. He reveals Him in the midst of even the most trying of circumstances. When He is known in truth, He will not be denied. We must maintain a steadfast faith in Him even though doors may now be closed before us. He can open doors that no man open and He can shut doors that no man can close. Even the little strength that is maintained is enough when His strength is at work within us. He will do His work among the weakest for His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

‘‘Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low.” Isaiah 40:4 God reaches down to valleys in order to lift them up and pulls down ever-exalted mountain. He encounters the mighty when they trust in their own strength. Nothing is able to stand above Him. These mountains stand to challenge His authority. His is the power to uphold mountains, and He has the right to remove them. By His Word mountains quake and the earth trembles. He is awesome in power and majesty. Yet He dwells in the high and holy place with the humble and the contrite. He exalts the valleys. The same power that brings mountains down is the power that lifts valleys up. The purity of their hearts permits them to see God. Their perspective is not the same as those who have lofty goals and are selfish in nature. They possess His heart. Their wills are in synch with His will. The way up is down and the way down is up. So different from the nature of fallen man, but the way of life that leads us down the path of life. 

“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.

“If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.” Eccl 10:10 The energy and strength exerted by the man who tries to figure things out on his own is constantly exerted. Yet the results are minimal because it is only mind challenging matter. The mind cannot achieve all that is believed when the axe is dull. But when God sharpens the edge, His Spirit begins to work and the prayer on earth is answered from heaven. God sharpens our axe in order to allow us to work with wisdom guiding us along the way. The Eternal God uses His faculties seeing the end before the beginning. He knows what it takes beforehand for the children of God to accomplish His will. We have a sharper cutting edge when we pray continually and do not lean to our own understanding. Then when His Word is spoken, it is sensible because the heart has been prepared to make room for the truth. Each moment must count with eternity in view. The wise seeks after wisdom and more is given to him. But the fool thinks that he has already…

“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.”

“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:6 He is absent from the place to which He had been carried. His lifeless body lay in a tomb without the strength to either participate or resist. There He was carried and placed by others. But on Resurrection Sunday, the grave was robbed of its victory. The empty tomb served as a witness that He was no longer there. His was not the result of being carried away, for many are absent because they have been carried away by something or someone. “He is risen, as He said.” His Word was confirmed by action. His promise was fulfilled thus giving even greater validity to all that He ever said. The evidence was presented, thus allowing every skeptic and naysayer to see with their own eyes His power to defy death, hell, and the grave. The angel invited them to come inside and see the very place that He once laid. Where a body once laid, and empty tomb reminds us of our own destinies. As we are in Christ Jesus, we too shall be made alive by the same Spirit…

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 The question is how can something be foolish to some but so necessary to others? There are some who believe more in their abilities and strength rather than the strength that is ours through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. We were once without strength, dead in trespasses and sins, but Christ died for us. Now as we believe on Him and in His Name, the power of God works within us to the saving of our souls. Both categories have to do with one’s future state of being. On one hand, there are those who are perishing, and on the other hand, there are those who are being saved. The seed of destruction is embedded in the hearts of those who do not believe as it was in us all. Jesus died for sinners before they recognized their need for redemption. Those who reject His offer are perishing. But those who are being saved are in the process of living. The body of sin will perish, but just…

 “Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. (13) And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of thieves.’” Matthew 21:12-17 When Jesus arrived at the seat of both religious and political power, He confronted religious authorities as being “a den of thieves.” When Jerusalem was robbed of an environment conducive for spiritual renewal, their leaders were indicted by Jesus as thieves. Religious leaders were using their followers as merchandise to be traded for profit, and their souls were both hungry and lost. An atmosphere of greed reproduces after its own kind. It spreads like a contagious disease thus hindering those who would otherwise listen.  They would rather gravitate in the direction of their instructions. Jesus did not approach the civic leaders first. He confronted religious leaders for their perverse ways. The house erected with the intent of worship must first become a house of prayer. If the priorities are misaligned, the activities will be dishonorable….