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“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.

“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.

“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” 1 John 5:16 The contrast between light and darkness is becoming more apparent and on different fronts. There are those who stand outside of what now is now considered to be the norm because they continue to uphold a standard that appears archaic. The tried and proven truths are constantly being challenged and tested. Yet they are able to withstand all the shifting currents of modernity. If we did not know that we were of God, even those who may be in places where worship is accepted would be in doubt. Those who know that they are of God have His Spirit as their guarantee and confirmation. He makes it known to them to whom they belong. We are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. He shakes all things that can be shaken in order for only the truth and children of wisdom to remain.  Doctrines that appeal to the vanity of the mind have become widespread and flourishing. When all who could be deceived would have gone their own way, the Son…

“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Philippians 2:2 What the Lord offers the Church should be shared alike by every believer. The benefits of salvation and the joy that accompanies obedience should be experienced by all. It is not enough for merely some to know the grace of the Lord and peace that resides within their hearts. God’s desire is that all should know Him in intimate and endearing ways. The mind can either be one’s best friend or worst enemy. When our minds retain the information of past experiences and attempt to decipher it without the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, division is inevitable. How can our varying experiences and thoughts lead to a unified conclusion? Each would interpret life and God on the basis of his own conclusions. Like-mindedness can only be attained when we hear the same message having the same Spirit in common.  The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of unity. He will take us from where we were to a new place of worship. Then we see Christ together and love Him with the same love. He then takes what is within…

“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…

 “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….

“Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent”. Romans 14:22-23 (MSG) Every relationship worthy of preserving requires cultivation. Silence and inactivity signifies disinterest and unconcern. When one’s heart is aligned with God’s heart, we are blessed with the will to do things that would cultivate our relationship with Him. We cannot impose on others what has become uniquely our own; it is personal and intimate between us and God alone. Our response to Him is our response to what we have come to know of Him. He loves each of us, but loves each of us differently. We are loved into the destinies to which we have been called as He empowers us with His own strength. Our uniqueness ought to translate into a unique expression of worship and praise that only we are capable of expressing. Whether one is poetic, artistic, or oratorical, it will be to the praise of the glory of His grace. The most important matter is that both belief and behavior are cohesive. With this, you are most fortunate as we give both head, heart, and hand to Him.

“I say to God, “Be my Lord!” Without you, nothing makes sense.”  Psalm. 16:2(MSG) To reason is a virtue. Through reasoning we embrace the truths applied to our hearts with a renewed mind and emblazoned hope. Those who have meditated upon the Word have arrived at conclusions that are vastly different from those who merely compare the spiritual to the natural. It is the reasoning that is limited to what is known, or merely natural that will lead to a great impasse. Our minds alone cannot grasp the origin of the creation of all things. Neither can we figure out their proper use and truest meaning. Only God is able to guide us into the deep mysteries that would raise even deeper questions than otherwise would be asked. However, the journey on which we are led will reveal to us His Majesty and Glory. We cannot help but worship the One who knows and reveals secret things to His children that the wise and prudent are not privy to. None of His wisdom is sensible void of knowing Him. As we pursue Him, the knowledge of His will for all things becomes sensible. Without Him, nothing makes sense.

Three years ago, we changed our church’s name from Abundant Life Church to Cross Culture Church. Not that we do not believe in the abundant life, nor is it a matter of changing our assignment. There are times in life when the vision given by God is to be reinforced so that our understanding can be extended. When most think of abundance, their thinking is usually directed towards personal abundance alone. There is a sign in the center of our sanctuary with one word; “OTHERS.” It was placed there so that all who worship among us would focus their attention beyond themselves. We wish all to know that we are blessed in order to be a blessing. Not only that, but to know that our greatest blessing is being a blessing. When we are able to bless others, it is because we are graced by God for Him to serve others through us. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Serving others is giving your life through extending your redeemed soul to others. When your life becomes conduit in the Hands…

“Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. (21) Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” John 12:20-21 Even though the pursuit of wisdom was common among the Greeks, the wisdom that they were attaining was not complete. The wisdom sought by the majority of them was from philosophers and Stoics who could bring them to a state of enlightenment in order for them to trust in what they had learned. This was the greatest level of achievement for them, that is, to attain wisdom. Yet there were certain Greeks that broke rank with the majority. There will always be some who will stand out among the crowd. They will not settle for what others have embraced as their Utopian dream. These few came to worship at the feast. These are the ones with a special inquiry, Instead of the wisdom of the Greeks, they wished to see Jesus. They believed that He could offer them something that was more important and enlightening than all others combined would ever come to know. To be introduced to Jesus is the…