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“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11 When there is a convergence of our state and our contentment, evidence of spiritual maturity is made manifest. There is a steadiness in the life of the individual that lives on that level of confidence knowing that God is not limited to circumstances. The contentment that Paul speaks of is not inactive contentment. He participates with God in what He is doing. If something is lacking, he is confident that God will provide. If he has an abundance, he know that God as provided. The credit is given to God for blessings received and his dependency on God alone to meet his need settles him down and frees him from anxieties. Yet no condition can hinder God from doing through him what has been assigned. His earlier years were more than likely more frantic. He had to learn how to yield to the Holy Spirit in all things. The rush of life accomplished very little and oftentimes would make matters worse. He learned to wait on the Lord and to be patient. The virtue of faith and patience…

“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 surety of the gospel message is an unflinching confidence that God is with him. God provides the messenger an assurance that all who love the Christ of the message will also love and accept the Christ within His messenger. The message and the Messenger can never be divided. As he further yields himself to Christ, that which is of Christ flows freely through him without any restraint. He does not rely upon a response from the people, even though positive responses are encouraging. But his motive is to please the One who sent him on the mission and nothing else. The Spirit of Christ can recognize Himself inside of him. He can make such bold proclamations as, “we are of God!” he doesn’t have to cautiously and timidly approach the subject. He is confident and radiant as he stands as God’s representative. He who is of God hears the one sent forth by God. His sheep both hears and knows His voice and…

“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places” Isaiah 32:18 God provides security for His own people. Though competitive and threatening storms of life rise on occasion, but God’s peace quiets us in the midst of the storm. We dwell in the secret and secure place where the activities of discord and doubt dwell on the outside rather than within. He will keep us here in this place of perfect peace if we maintain our focus on Him and not on the storms. God knows how to navigate the ship in the most troubled of waters. When facing the greatest of difficulties, we do not desire a novice to be at the helm. Experience counts best when it is needed the most. Jesus has triumphantly passed through every barrier on earth including death. He, as our High Priest, has now even passed through the heavens. There is no experience on earth, or in heaven that the Man, Jesus Christ is not completely familiar. We can hold fast to the confidence and not waver because of some misfortune that may be strange to us. What He has already done He is able to…

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…

“…. they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 The motive behind one’s action is either truth or pleasure. Throughout our lifetimes we have made decisions on the basis of either of these factors. Usually it is pleasure and if truth can be found in pursuit of it, there is an added bonus. It gives one the sense of being right. The path of least resistance in pursuit of wholeness is a pursuit of pleasure and often requires the compromise of truth. The quest for truth must be deliberate unless a compromised version of it surfaces as a substitute for the real thing. The reason truth alone appears to be so unattractive is because it prohibits the full expression of free will. To follow ones heart is to allow the dictates of the world, the flesh, and the devil to dominate the life of the person. The heart unchanged will by nature violate the laws of God because of the nature of sin dwelling within the heart. “They did not receive the love of the truth,” they had not allowed their hearts to be changed by the Word of Truth. They found…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; (6) In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 The word “trust”, “lean”, “acknowledge”, and “direct”, illustrate to us the Lord’s mode of operation. Trust is not a mere accent to the existence of God. Even though we must believe on the Lord to be saved, but to accept His Lordship, we must lean on Him. That is, to place the weight of our lives upon Him.  To believe on the Lord is to have confidence in what He is able to do. But to lean on the Lord is to believe that He will be engaged in our personal experiences and do what He is able to do for us. Our understanding is limited. His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.  It is when we learn from Him His ways and paths that they become our own ways and our paths. We must be convinced that He knows what is best for us. He does not lead us in a direction away from His ultimate intentions. He looks ahead and directs us towards those…

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength. “But you would not,” Isaiah 30:15 When fellowship is broken with God, He does not give up on us. His desire remains the same as a loving father would his own beloved son. Yet the issues facing the one that walks away continue to surmount.  Trying to make the best of life only frustrates the person who tries in his own strength to hold things together. God reminds us of how frail we are when we are attempting to eliminate Him from our plans. Israel was reduced to a spiritual level of rejecting the challenges that came from God. They chose those who would speak smooth words to them. They resisted the prophetic warnings that ought to have been enough to deter them from rebellion. Therefore, nothing held together for them even in their attempts to gather. That significant part of the prophecies included the benefits of their return. He says to the rebellious, “in returning and rest you shall be saved.” It is not just a matter of returning, but resting relaxing in the place assigned by God for them. Some may return but be restless…

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8 There is much about God that is attractive. His attributes will have an appeal to every part of our being if we are made aware of them. The Holy Spirit will provide the faith to see and understand what is missing.  The necessary things are offered to us to fulfill us providing both life and godliness. Without this faith we are left empty, reaching out for things around us and slipping deeper into despair. It is the distractions that allure us away from being drawn near to God. To be drawn to God is : empowered to resist the devil in all of his deceptive ways. The world, the flesh, and the devil no longer will control you once the beauty of God’s holiness is realized. He is the Lover of your soul and your soul with know this perfectly well. He draws us with cords of love. We are drawn in response with the assurance of faith. He restores us with a confidence that all is well because we abide in the secret place of God.

“For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,” Hebrews 3:14 Our confidence in Christ must not waver even when we face adversities that appear stronger than our strength to maintain. It is not our strength that preserves us but God alone. Our beginning is of faith therefore we must not view the battles as ours alone. Christ being a part of us is involved in everything we do. He shares with us what belongs to Him and since He has already passed through the heavens, there is no goal higher than what He has already accomplished.  He takes His victory and shares it with us therefore we have an identity in Him in heaven. We are admonished to hold fast to the confidence we had from the beginning. It is God’s gift to us to be maintained by us. Our faith is cultivated by and through the living Word.  Even if we do not see an end to our dilemma, God is able to keep us to the end in order for us to receive what He has promised. There is an end or a reward to all who trust…

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 24 God has the ability to stabilize our walk and keep us from staggering. It is the staggering walk or the unsettled and unsure steps that eventually lead to a fall. We don’t have to waver in unbelief, but can maintain a steady confidence that God is all that He says in His Word. The world has a dizzying affect upon all who focus their attention in its direction. The contrary winds of error spoken by the majority blow in such ways as to cause the fainthearted to sway under its control. But God has a path that is straight and the power to keep us straight on the path. It leads to the Presence of His glory as one who has victoriously endured the pressures that otherwise would have caused us to drift away. Even if we stumble or stagger or even drift for a moment in time, He gets us back on course and teaches us what we need to know in order that we may stand erect in the center of…