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“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7 God does not respond merely to needs. He looks for passion. Even when we think we have the passion to press in, we are often disappointed because the passion has not reached its peak. God may measure what we thought to be an earnest prayer as being only a passing fancy. Good thoughts and warm feelings about God are not enough. There has to be the passion exuding from the heart whereas knowing God is desired more than any other thing. Whatever else may be there is in competition with the knowledge of God. It rises up as an idol to compete with what He wills to show us of Himself. These things must be rooted out of our lives and only God can do that. Israel was allowed to be placed in the land and under the government of the Chaldeans. It was their place of learning. But God was not through with them even though they were being chastened…

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:8 Not the faith released to enable us to initially respond to Him. That is our starting point. There is also a faith that sustains us along the way. When it is difficult and sometimes impossible to see what lies ahead, active faith would find the faithful waiting and anticipating whatever God is about to do. They will accept His will even when they do not fully understand it. It is a state of the soul and mind of saying yes to God even before the question is asked. Many have leaned to their own understanding and are moving in a direction that pleases themselves. But the Son of Man is coming back. He does not give warning, but immediately appears on the scene. Then the Truth will be made known. All pretense is exposed as error, and hypocrisy is uncovered as evil. When He comes, He will reward the faithful. Those who continued to withstand the pressures of compromise brought to bear against them will be rewarded. He will find them wherever they may have been driven for true faith is like a magnet…

Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.”  Songs of Solomon 2:15 The tender grapes are the daily benefits provided to us by God. It is the knowledge of God’s love producing within us a confidence that is not easily shaken. When we are confident that we are loved, then we are empowered to love others without pretense. True friendships can be forged to last a lifetime and the expectation of a future hope of eternity burns brightly within our hearts. How delicate the balance is between our faith and our love. We can now love because we by faith can see beyond the shortcoming and limitations of the misguided and the misinformed. We can see good intentions even when bad habits inhibit positive action. We can also see the possibility of change among those whose lives appear to be hopeless and they may be blind to the true remedy of their souls. But when careless and immature foxes enter into a well cultivated vineyard, they have the tendency of destroying the very vines on which the fruit is being developed. One mishap can raise such doubt as to cause one…

“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Isaiah  53:1 God’s arm is His strength. The mighty strength of God has manifested in history to overthrow corrupt governments and to dethrone the reign of wickedness. When it appears as if all is lost and the exercise of faith is a futile act, God intervenes with His might to reconfirm the truth that He is God and besides Him there is no other. The question that wrest on the minds of many is,” where is God” and, “how could He allow such things to happen as many are experiencing crises today”? God is asking the question, “can faith be found among those who profess to believe in Me?” Not the fickle faith of those who merely believe for what they want to achieve, but for Him to exercise His might overthrowing the works of the enemy. The whole report of God must be believed if Jesus is to be in view. He provides evidence that the report is true.  Then it becomes our guide for living. When it is believed and acted upon, the strength of God is manifested among men. Unbelief restricts…

“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees.” Matthew 3:10 Many have sought justification for wrong habits of the heart in which they have grown accustomed. They strain to admit when they hear an unfamiliar voice from an unfamiliar place preaching an unfamiliar message. It is baffling to the mind to accept the fact that all previously known by them was in error. The truth contradicts our folly. We by nature try to fight against what we feel is right. Yet what we may be resisting is our true love calling us to a higher place. The call is away from our pride of knowledge that we may really know truth that beforehand was too elusive. The skillful artisan does not bring a scalpel to remove minor excess but an axe to completely remove the whole thing. It must be completely uprooted if it is ever to be replaced with what contains virtue. There will be something new replacing the old once the old is brought down in defeat and ruin. There is a defeat, a loss that must preceded victory and gain. Then God will plant seed in place of plant. The potential of…

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 Giving enables us to see the dimensions and depths of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Without personal sacrifice, we merely theorize rather than experience what He offers us so freely. It is impossible to understand the dynamics of His message and the glory of His life without participating with Him in releasing those things left in our hands to manage. The Holy Spirit will direct us to channel all things to acquire the greatest benefit. True freedom is freedom from the bondage of sin bred in selfishness.  What we have held too closely to have hindered the Lord from giving full expression of Himself to us. A freedom not yet experienced borne out of a need within us remains unmet. We were created to respond to God’s initiative in giving. None of what we manage is able to save our souls even though in the past we may have thought it would. True surrender is giving oneself completely to…

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; (10) and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power”. Colossians 2:9-10 Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who announced the death of God placed his emphasis on the strength of the human personality. “Relinquishing the belief in God opens the way for human creative abilities to fully develop.” “The Christian, he wrote, “would no longer stand in the way, so human beings might stop turning their eyes towards a supernatural realm and begin to acknowledge the value of this world.” His idea was that “will power is the essence of reality”. Today, the death of the God which is expressed through a shift in values is proclaimed even while using religious language.  Asserting oneself and accentuating the positive while eliminating the negative supposedly have freed individuals from the bondage of their past. There is a super-human being on the scene that can control the activities of their god and create their own destinies. “If it is to be, it is up to me” has become the motto for daily living. God is about developing the human personality in ways far beyond the wildest dreams…

“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…

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26 Values are a means to equate the worth of thing in contrast to its usefulness or utility. Whether a thing is profitable or dispensable is determined by the individual. The question of Jesus was directed at the value one would place on his own soul. It has to do with ultimate importance, or to have one to stretch his thoughts beyond the immediate gain to consider the ultimate cost one would have to pay for it. Values fluctuate among the immature. True maturity is marked by the development of a value system that is unalterable. They become the center of our lives, standard of behavior, and the stimuli for thinking straight. Jesus asks them to make a value assessment of their lives. He asked them, “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world?” If the whole world as gain to him, would the gaining of it produce peace within the soul? Would the pleasures of the world squeeze you into a fixture that cannot…

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:25 The Foolishness of God Contained within what we see is a truth that is much deeper than we have come to realize. From the surface, it does not make sense. There are many other things that appear to warrant more attention than this. To the fool, it appears as foolishness. He stumbles over his own thoughts and intellect. The Source of both true knowledge and life are hidden from him. He wonders why there would even remain those who would be so foolish as to waste their precious time on superstitious thoughts that would restrict his freedom of action. ‘Do what you feel’ is his motto. His idea of God is a permissive being allowing him to remain himself void of conviction. But God looks into our past and examines why we think the way we think and do the things we do. He looks ahead knowing where all actions lead. Fools rush to their demise. Their blindness causes them to throw caution to the wind. Yet one seemingly foolish word from the Lord is sufficient to save him. Are there any wise…