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“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).  God expects a return on His investments. The gifts of God are given to each person in order for all to profit as the result of His distributions. It is not based on what most would consider as the criteria for God’s judgments. God is not equal in His judgments, but He is equitable. Grace is freely given, but God determines who will receive what is being distributed. Yet we may covet what we deem as necessary, but it must only be for the advancement of His kingdom and not our own. When our hearts yearn to do more for God and we feel powerless to fully participate with Him in what He wills to do, it is in order to seek Him for the empowering gifts that would further qualify us. Yet in our earnestness to receive, it does not obligate Him to any measure to give us what we consider to be necessary. He will give us what He knows is best for us as well as what’s best for others. But, the warning is not to frustrate the grace of God. What God…

“We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6).  The language of the Spirit of God rings differently in the ears of unbelievers than it does in the ears of believers. Those who have rejected God have an affinity towards things pertaining to the flesh. Any other message seems not to have any relevancy to them for their hearts are drawn in an opposite direction. When the Holy Spirit enters into one’s heart, He makes room for the truth. Only then can it become sensible and for passions to rise within him to embrace a level of teaching beyond what is commonly understood. What God has to say to us is uncommon to mankind therefore it requires more than mere common sense. In his natural state it is foolishness. But when the spirit of truth replaces the spirit of error, he will seek out teachers that will teach him things that he did not see because they cannot be seen without divine assistance. 

“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 the 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.” 

“After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius, and in this way He showed Himself.” (John 21:1-2).  He makes Himself known in ways that are familiar to each person. He once came in human flesh and fully identified with the human experience, yet honoring the Father by not yielding to the temptation of sin. After He was raised from the dead, He continued to show Himself again to His disciples. In His resurrected state, He is still in touch with all things pertaining to us. They were fishermen before their encounter with Jesus. Now that He had been crucified, they returned to their former professions. Their lack of success was challenged by His question, “Children, have you any food?” They had toiled all night to no avail. Jesus then gave them instructions that they could either follow or ignore. But when they cast their nets on the other side of the boat, they could not contain all that was in their nets. The resurrected Christ makes His presence known again among His disciples. He is the same Jesus but now raised in newness of life as the first-born of many brethren. It is…

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ’It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).  Jesus came into the world for this very moment. He was on a mission to die for the sins of humanity. It required a sinless life and now the moment had arrived. The sufferings would come to an end. At least the bodily sufferings, but there awaited Him a degree of suffering of the soul that only one who loves deeply are able to experience. The purchase price for our redemption was completely paid. But there would be many who He loves who will yet reject all that He came into the world to provide. “He came into the world and the world rejected Him.” Those who did not understand rejected Him then, but now that it is finished, will there remain those who refuse to believe that what He gave was sufficient for them? His Spirit returned to the Father and the Holy Spirit has now been sent forth to give life to all who would receive Him. From the fall of Adam, the promise was made for man’s reconciliation to God. The prophets spoke…

“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” (1Corinthians 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 imbedded 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 as…

“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 needed 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, being in the state we were once in could be saved, then He is able to…

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13).  What men say cannot change the nature of a person or a thing. It has to do with recognizing and agreeing with the truth. Those who know Him merely by reputation can only repeat what they have heard and never share their truest knowledge of Him. Those who see Him from afar and can only see His silhouette may describe it with accuracy without ever knowing those special features that give expression to His passion. Only those who have answered the call to come to Him; to come close enough to see His face will be able to share with others the intimate things that would ignite a fire within the hearts of others to know what they may otherwise would have never known. What they say is not as important as what you say. Jesus Christ came to be known, but not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The resurrected Christ invites us to come closer and see the nail wounds in His hands that His love may be known through…

“He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray” (Proverbs 5:23 NKJV).  “Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end” (Proverbs 5:23 MSG).  A warning to the wise is the anecdote to his falling away and divorcing himself from his wisdom. Disciples are to exercise disciplines in order to safeguard areas that would otherwise be vulnerable to the enemy. He is seeking to influence those who have taken pride in their stance as being invincible thus allowing their guards to be down. Death is the price paid for our redemption. Since we are alive to Christ and dead to the world, Satan’s ploy is to attempt to resurrect things that once dominated and controlled our lives. Daily decisions have far-reaching and severe consequences. Nothing is done in isolation from a path leading to a destination. And nothing is done that does not follow a pattern of living modeled by a master. Our death in Jesus Christ produced life with a purpose. We are being led to triumph over all the works of darkness. Our thoughts must be directed towards the eternal unless…

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).  Who can preserve his own life and maintain the fading glory that comes and goes so quickly through the passing of time? Each may have his or her day in the sun, but the same light that brought forth the growth will ultimately cause what has grown to wither. In our youth, it seemed as if growing up and enjoying the benefits of independent adulthood was the essence of life. But if we live our lives as if there is no tomorrow, the candle will be burning on both ends and too soon the pleasures of youth will fade. Time and abuse will take their toll upon the body and reveal the marks of decisions made without thought. Even at our best, the grass withers. We grow old. Then our values shift from the immediate to the ultimate. We wonder if our lives really counted for anything of significance. The flower fades and what once had a pleasant aroma to the world has now become putrid and detestable. Only the Word of our God is able to preserve our lives and prepare us for…