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“The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8-9).  There is a peace offered by God that surpasses what the crowd demands. Yes, fairness in judgments must be executed, and the wild behavior of the wayward majority must be regulated by laws. But justice gives what justice demands. Laws alone cannot change the heart. It condemns both the accused and the accusers for all have sinned. It looks into the secret sins of the heart, and the evil practices done under the cloak of darkness. Those sins though unseen, cause dis-ease of the soul. Justice condemns the ways of the wicked. A death sentence is served to all who follow her path.  How can one know the way to peace when the contributing forces of war are unknown? None are aware of why they love what is evil and hate what is good. Yet those who seek both justice and peace are blind to their own guilt. It is the right path that must be chosen if peace is ever to be known. Jesus Christ paid for…

“Later a few religion scholars and Pharisees got on him. ’Teacher, we want to see your credentials. Give us some hard evidence that God is in this. How about a miracle?’ ” (Matthew 12:38).  Those who appear before men as authorities in relation to God’s order seldom recognize the fact that He refuses to restrict Himself to their expectations. Formulas and theorems of success do not work. He will withhold from them what they expected, but show forth the unexpected. These few that approached Him thought that He would be anxious to validate Himself before such an impressive crowd. But Jesus had nothing to prove. He was as sure of Himself then as He was when Satan tempted Him on the pinnacle of the Temple requesting Him to show off His divine powers. When we are asked to prove ourselves to be what we have been called by God to be, we must first recognize who it is that requires of us evidence. If not God by way of His Spirit, a prophetic word is sufficient. We live by what God has said and it serves as the basis for all He is now saying. If not by the Word…

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope” (Rom 5:3-4 KJV). A price tag cannot be placed upon the lessons learned in and through troubled times. We often know how we should feel and respond, but to be honest, the character of that response may not have been developed within us yet. Many call this faith while it is actually dishonesty. David, the Psalmist gave expression to his heart, having various trials, set-backs and disappointments, but asked God to work the right response within him. Our mere words alone will not deliver us, but what we are becoming as result of God’s working on us and in us is the aim. “Tribulation worketh patience and patience worketh experience or character.” Eugene Peterson in “The Message” paraphrase puts it this way; “and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”  It is through our…

“The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” Proverbs 12:24 (MSG) There is a freedom that allows us to fully cooperate with God in what He is doing. There is a bondage that can hold one back so that they are never able to accomplish or complete anything. It is the mental bondage of procrastination. It is when one thinks too intensely one the amount of work ahead rather than applying the effort necessary to take steps in completing it. The Holy Spirit will assist us but not force us to do anything. He awaits the decision on our part to move in the right direction. Then He supplies the energy and power for us to gain the impetus to continue moving forward. We have been graced to make a difference. Things we not intended to remain as they are. That is why God has allowed us to be born in this generation. What our forefathers completed was foundational for the task lying ahead of us. We must not allow the oppression of laziness to cripple our progress. Speak the truth even when nobody’s listening! Live the life and be the person God has called…

“Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family.” Hebrews 2:11 (MSG) We are members of the family of God and the household of faith. Regardless as to when we entered in or whether the member is born or adopted into the family, there is a place reserved for each one. Jesus saved us from the wrath of God. We were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Not only were estranged from the covenant of promise, we had no desire to be otherwise. Jesus saved us from a path even before we possessed the sense or the strength to seek any other path. We sought any option other than the path that led to life. It was the common origin of sin that blinded us to the love of God expressed through His Son. Little wonder why we made the choices that we made then. Our actions were expressions of our family of origin. But God rescued us by adopting us into His family. Now our reorientation…

“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder)” 2 Peter 3:1 Our minds are purified as the result of hearing a pure word. The clutter of a misguided conscience and the pollutants of compromised values are removed and replaced with an understanding of absolutes that can withstand the scrutiny of contemporary questioning. A pure mind is to be treasured above all things. It means that the mind has processed what the heart has embraced. Then one is able to give a reason for the hope that is in them. They can defend the faith and withstand the scrutiny of error. Now that we can receive words of wisdom, we are not to entertain thoughts and ideas that can lead to moral failure. Our minds must remain pure in order for us to receive from God instructions for daily living. There are many things to be added to what we currently know. These are the building blocks that contribute to our becoming a spiritual habitation. They cause us to further set our minds on the things above and not be distracted by things around us and beneath…

“Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:16-17 To see with our eyes what God is doing is a blessing beyond measure. God allows His servants to see where He is in the midst of confusion and apparent hopelessness. He is there working His plan even when all appears to be still or falling apart all around us. Not alone does His servants see His works, they are used by the Lord to participate in what He is doing. His works are established through His servants as evidence that He is in fact the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. He seeks those who would fully avail themselves to Him. Why should our lives be filled with clutter that works against His plan? Our greatest joy can be found in pleasing Him through reflecting His will on earth as it is in heaven. Oh that Christ might be seen today through those who earnestly and exclusively seek Him as the only stability in these uncertain times.

 “A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.” Proverbs 12:3 There are many courses available to every man. Some seem more attractive than others and some in appearance, have no appeal. Yet it is required of each man to choose his course. At the beginning of the journey, it is difficult when we only use our experiences as the criteria for future actions. Then only pain pleasure are the factors when integrity is not the rule. Many shipwrecked lives and casualties of failed hopes and dreams scatter the ditches and graves of those who made decisions on the level of senses. Their attempt to make it at all cost was more costly than they had bargained for. But the righteous rejected the path of immediate gratification. The delay in waiting on the Lord’s guidance positioned them to hear His voice leading them around the fatal ditches and pitfalls of the enemy. They withstood the trends and the waves of popular opinion. They remained faithful when all else around them failed in order to receive the singular applause of the Father’s affirmation of “well done!”

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15  A sanctified heart is directed towards God alone. There is no other direction to which it may be turned that can satisfy the believer for he knows that only God alone can meet the needs existing deep in the recesses of the soul. There are many things around to lure him away from the position in which he stands. But he does not see things as others who are blind to the devices of the devil. The enemy constantly works in attempting to raise doubt in his heart. He has heard the Lord speak concerning His own. He is affirmed as being God’s Son, and continually dwelling in the place of God’s pleasure. Since his heart overflows with love, he has an answer for everyone. Because he is able to see beyond the current crisis, his answer remains prophetic. The pure and heart is able to see God. God is with him; therefore his hope is to take on the character of God….

“Do not be a terror to me; You are my hope in the day of doom.” Jeremiah 17:17 Our confidence is only secured only when we place it entirely in the Hands of the Lord. Life is too uncertain and sudden terror may appear at times when preparation for it is impossible.  Many will wonder why we would place such confidence in a God that we cannot see. Scoffers will rise up thinking that our denial of self and worldly acclaim is but mere superstition. Yet we pray that we do not offend God through any self-defense attempts at preserving our own reputation. Even when we do not make sense to the world, we desire His wisdom to be our guide. All of the wisdom that comes from other sources is being judged.  Only God’s wisdom will stand. He is our hope in the day of testing.  He will take us through the storms of adversity victoriously!