header image

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” Philippians 3:7 What a marvelous work must have taken place in the life of Apostle Paul to now be at a place of devaluing what once was the measure of his boasting. Now things had changed for him. Things that were measured as advantages had now become deficits. If they remained his central focus or if he took pride in any other thing, it would diminish the opportunity of knowing Christ as being far more superior to any other thing. It is a matter of prioritizing our lives where Christ becomes all and other things are subordinate to our seeking to know more of Him. This can only happen among those who once knew that they were boastful. Pride has many disguises. Some would say that they are proud of the fact that they are not proud. This oxymoron hides behind a thin veneer of humility. When we become aware of our pride, we then give the Holy Spirit opportunity to free us from it. The test of true humility is when we determine not to know anything but Christ and Him crucified. There we harness…

 “for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20 There is that moment in the life of every Christian where love is indiscriminately distributed. This is the mark of true conversion that one has passed from death unto life. It does not mean that the person will remain there, but if he has never been there, he has never received conversion. All too often very little is required of the seeker that limits his expectations of God. If God does not require the whole heart of the individual, how can that individual expect to receive the fullness of Christ? The test is openness to others with a heart overflowing with love. We cannot contain the authentic love of God for its objective is to be given away. Our mission is to fully follow after Him allowing His love to be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If we love Him we will love our brother, love, and keep His commandments.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:6-7 Faith is placed on trial when you are given a seemingly legitimate reason to rebel against God as the result of current circumstances and the decisions of others. Logically the thing to do would be to disobey God and partake of the forbidden, or curse God for relief that does not seem to be on the horizon or even a part of the plan. One is for self-gratification and the other is to remedy the effect of constant misery. Faith rises in the midst of trials as being more precious than whatever the outcome would have been if you had relented in the midst of your greatest and most fierce battles. It is precious because in the end, God will prove Himself to be faithful. He will reward those who do not cave in under pressure, and will avenge them from…

“You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:11 Whatever happens and however it may happen, God ends with the placement of His crown of goodness. That is why He is called good even when things happen that are difficult to explain. When there are valleys there also must be mountains. The deeper the valley indicates the higher the mountain must be. Valley experiences are not always fatal. They can be but not necessarily must be fatal. His path is frightening to the fainthearted. Every wall in the valley contains a message that you have reached the point of no return. But as long as you are aware that He is leading you, you can trust Him throughout the journey. A crown awaits you at the end of the season of testing. Not only is there a crown, but there are rich blessings to be gathered along the way.

”Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” Hebrews 10:22 We are invited to come closer to God as we meet the conditions of spiritual intimacy. His blessings are as the result of our moving in His direction. Many may attempt to confiscate the benefits without the relationship, but God will test the purity of our hearts. He knows when true love is the motive of our actions, and His Spirit will give witness that we are in agreement with Him. Then we can boldly approach the throne of grace and obtain mercy to find the grace to help in the time of need. Assurance of faith is a blessing reserved for the pure in heart. As we are being purified by the Holy Spirit, our passions will continue to conform to His will. We will want what He wants for us when we have been drawn to the place where He abides.

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 God’s promises are fulfilled through Jesus Christ. This is the test as to whether they originated from God or from some other source. We are positioned in Christ in order to go where He is going and to do what He is doing. The divine affirmation of God is the testimony of His Son. His life gave full expression of every one of His intentions. None of His promises will ever fall to the ground. If He said it, He will bring it to pass. If purposed it, He will do it. God is yet speaking today through what He has always said. His will is to accomplish His eternal Word in and through each of us. This is the glory of God, that we carry within us the evidence of His faithfulness in fulfilling His promises. They are Yes, and in Him Amen.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (9) Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.1 Peter 4:8-9 Love does not ignore or deny the sin, but love loves in spite of the sin. There are some deeds that could make it difficult to love the one who has offended you. That is the true test of love when you are able to look beyond the offense and see the soul that is in a desperate place drifting in a direction away from God. Stephen understood this when he was being stoned to death. He cried out to God in the midst of their throwing stones at him “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” He wanted what was best for them even while they were venting their hatred against him. If this had not been the case, Saul the Pharisee who became Paul the Apostle would have never been saved and used in such a mighty way. God’s will is to use your enemies if they ever come to know Jesus Christ for who He is. But your release of them may pave the way for them to…

“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him.” 1 Peter 4:1 (MSG) The aim of Jesus is to teach us what it means to be fully human. There has been made for us a way to understand life from a perspective that is much greater than fallen man is able to see, understand, or express. Jesus Christ’s example demonstrates God’s intentions from the beginning for the whole of humanity. The image of God in man was ravaged and marred by sin leaving him disfigured with only a faint semblance of the original model. But where the first Adam became the personification of man’s rebellion and failures, the last Adam came to restore all that we lost. Every test and challenge was measured against Jesus, yet He did not succumb to the pressure. Jesus went through everything you are now going through and more. There is no way to measure the degree of suffering experienced by Him. Since He has gone through it all, His promise is to be with you while you are going through. He qualifies to lead you through whatever you may face in life. He’s been there. He is well…

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 Believing is more than a casual thought in the direction of God. It is a firm conviction that God will do everything He has promised. His glory will cover the earth and we will be glorified together with Him. Our faith is not in vain, nor will our prayers go unanswered; yet circumstances often make it easy to identify with the Psalmist would have otherwise lost heart. Faith is not faith unless it has been tested. The trying of our faith is more precious than gold. When we believe even when there are no visible signs to support our beliefs, God is then the primary focus of our lives. His goodness is not limited to the past, but to the present. He is our present help in the time of trouble and He is working all things according to His definition of good and for our glory. Our trust in Him provides a means for Him to complete His work within us; then we are enabled to see the goodness of the Lord in…

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1 The light that God gives illumines the way to our salvation. The darkness of night shrouds the condition of the soul. When people wander in the dark, they cannot see beyond the moment. There is no certainty of purpose or hope for the future. There are some who seek to be enlightened. Their understanding is influenced and fashioned as the result of information gained from many sources. Their hope in what appears to be sufficient enough to save them. Yet even if what they knew possessed the ability to advance them beyond their peers, it would still be lacking the power to rescue them from the testing and judgment of all things. The Psalmist proclaimed, “The Lord is my light.” Only His light can lead us to salvation. It gives reveals the nature of things that would otherwise allure us away from the eternal. It preserves, and when necessary, restores our souls. If the question of eternity is resolved as the result of walking in His light that has become our own, then whom shall we fear? Nothing within the darkness is able to frighten us…