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“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” Philippians 1:12 The trials of the Apostle Paul was sent to destroy him on the part of the enemy, but allowed to prove him on the part of God. Faith is not a mere idea of the mind, but a disposition of the heart. It is able to withstand the onslaught of challenges that would otherwise wear one down. When we are tried and pass the test, on the other side of that victory is a special grace useful in the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can then all the more identify with the price He paid by enduring much more than we could ever face in this life. There is a message preached by some who are void of experience that may stir the emotions and impress its hearers. But there is another message deeply rooted in experiences aligned with the sufferings of Christ. That message is able to make a deep impact upon its hearers because they not only hear it but see it. We live our message much louder than we…

“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…

“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…

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 The path to victory leads into the heat of the battle. There the soldier must defend his honor and stand against the onslaught of opposing forces. There would be no retreat from that position. It is either do or die. The fainthearted would rather avoid such definite lines of battle. It would be easier to be on both sides rather than to outwardly declare war against a foe that threatens one’s security and all others that would follow. Too much is at stake at defeat. The loss of life and limb, or even the shame to admit that there was not enough strength to carry on. Such are the challenges facing the follower of Christ. He has been positioned by God before us as our Captain. His priority is to lead us to victory after victory. Yet not by bloodshed, but rather by fumigating the environment with the sweet smell of His knowledge, thus eliminating the stench of ignorance that pervaded before the engagement of war began. The enemy is won over…

“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.” Micah 7:8 There is a future after a fall. There is life and victory on the other side of apparent defeat. It is the enemy who has devised the plans and set the traps for my failure. He has studied my weaknesses and mocks at my strength when I take pride in them. Yes, it is too easy to believe that I have the strength to stand alone. But when I fall God who is my sufficiency, is there to pick me up. Do not rejoice over me when I fall. There is much I have yet to learn but now I will learn in humility, trusting God to show me what I was unable to see. My victory is merely delayed and not denied. I will arise from this place as the light of God’s love shines upon my path guiding me in the direction of His will.

“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:15 The rush towards the promise, without patience to endure the interval trials, is giving expression to doubt and unbelief. Those careless movements are usually met with disappointments with self as well as with God. Misunderstandings arise concerning God’s character of love and concern when one caves in while engaged in the battle. This happens when Christ is not being seen and known throughout all of the circumstances of life. Faith requires one to believe in God and what He has promised even before the evidence is present. His desire is to reveal Himself through His Word that is able to withstand every crisis met along the way. His Word is truth and can outlive the lies of Satan. The bump in the road was not a roadblock but a stepping –stone leading towards the life that lies ahead. There are times when there is nothing left but His promises and pressures. The pressures may try to shroud the promise but the promises are true regardless of the amount of pressure. Perhaps this could be the path of authentic faith being developed within one’s life. Many need to…

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 The battle continues to rage for the soul of every human. It requires one to have knowledge that the fight is on unless there be a state of lethargy leading to self-defeat. There are battles chosen by many people that require the total commitment of life and duty. Even if there is victory in those battles, what would be their gain? Yes, this is the fight that many may engage, but it is not the best. The good fight is the best one in which we may be engaged. It is the fight of faith that matters for all of eternity. All other celebrations of victory are short-lived because to gain the whole world and lose ones soul is vanity. God has called us to stand on the battle lines He has drawn. Only in standing there can we receive His rescue and victory. We are strengthened to maintain our focus on Jesus who has gone before us and is now leading us to triumph over the enemy.

“In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:”We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.” Isaiah 26:1 There will be a day where the people of God will have a new song on their hearts. Those who had been driven into exile while the land had been forcefully taken from their hands will return to the land of promise. God Himself will be a firewall around them. They will live in a fortified city and their song will be of victory while they experience a level of peace beyond any that they had ever known. This is the future state of the Church of the Living God. God will provide both deliverance and protection for His people. It will not be a place inhabited by a den of thieves or corrupted by money-changers, magicians, sorcerers, or any who have a bent in the direction of corruption. God will establish His rule and His peace will abide among the people. This is the battle that is raging today. God wants His Church back and is determined to gain reentry where His praises are to be offered up by His people. It will…

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 12:32 Those who are drawn to Jesus by the Spirit are kept by the Spirit. The mysterious magnetic pull of the cross of Christ produces within the heart of the believer a willingness to fully follow after Him even when circumstances are difficult. They see the sacrifice that He has made in contrast to the challenges that lie before them and equate all in light of what Jesus Christ has already done. This is not the easy believe(ism) or our day where many are attracted to the trappings of success in this life and the glory that comes from others. It is a heart commitment to fully follow Christ in all that He may assign as a part of our journey. They lifted Him up as an enemy to their doctrines and lifestyles by crucifying Him. He transformed what would have been defeat into victory. Now the message of the cross of Jesus must be preached throughout world in order for any to be drawn by dimensions of love never known before. Love was the motive for Him to die for our sins…