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Am I responsible for and accountable to my brother? If so, who is my brother? How far does this responsibility extend? There are so many questions revolving around the subject of mutual accountability placing added burdens to people who have a full plate just managing their own affairs. It is a stretch to believe that my concern for others could have an effect upon their behavior. The collective selfishness or individualism we see today has created an environment where it is much easier to take advantage of, or even harm each other than it once was. If no thought is given to the potential for both good and evil that we all possess, each act committed is isolated from the context of the whole. One lie contributes to a community of dishonest people. One item stolen from another person contributes to a security breach that may cost more than you are willing to pay to protect what is left of your goods. One adulterous act contributes to debauchery that is out of control. Yes, the Golden Rule is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  However, when people do what  they ought not do, or…

“To whom He was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand.” Romans 15:21 God heals many who may have thought their situation was beyond hope. They might have come with their limited view of what God was able to do, but to be surprised by grace to receive beyond their level of expectation. Salvation has come to the Gentiles to whom it was not announced. There may have been some who would have settled for the crumbs falling from the rich man’s table, but God invited them in to partake of the feast.  it is not always intelligent that are enabled to make sense of the God’s mysteries. It may not even be the one who has a history among fellow believers. They may see nor understand the life changing message of Jesus Christ. Yet an impoverished reject in society may rejoice immediately in hearing for the first time what they had heard time and time again. Why one is desperate in seeking the truth, God will open his eyes to see the Kingdom of God and his heart to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom. God has made it available to all but it…

“Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?” Job 11:7 The deep things of God are baffling to the mind. It is impossible for any person to wrap their minds around the mysteries that are hidden from the exploration of an inquiring mind. The rhetorical question of Job was for those questioned to consider how little they currently know about Him. Even when a depth is reached, there remains an immeasurable depth left unexplored. Our depth is shallow in contrast to reservoir of knowledge in reserve for the humble soul who would surrender His all to Him. These things have been hidden from the wise and prudent, yet He (Christ) reveals them to His babes. The deep things are God is hidden in Christ. In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. It is more than the story of His life on the earth. But the plan of redemption and the hope of man’s future glory state are contained in Christ Jesus. The mysteries of the Kingdom of God are given and not excavated. Jesus is the free gift given to all who would receive Him. When one accepts His…

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 The voice of Jesus speaking to Nicodemus had a ring of hope and promise. Not like many who would condescendingly speak in regards to the New Birth as a thing beyond the grasp of others. He spoke of the promise contained within the act of conversion as being given the ability to see the invisible Kingdom of God through the eyes of the heart. The born again experience is a heart change that will lead to a mind renewal. We see something before us worth living for and grasp hold of it by faith. The life of the Kingdom is the establishment of God’s order of righteousness, peace, and joy within. Then we are able to fully participate with Jesus in the establishment of God’s order in the lives of others. He said to Nicodemus in other words, “there is only one way for you to understand what I have been sent to impart to you. You must have My life within you.” God challenges us all to dispense of the old in order to make room for the new….

“for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” Isaiah 66:8 The travailing of the soul, the sound produced out of excruciating pain is the prelude to birthing. God will allow us to reach our breaking point when it appears as if all is lost, and He has totally abandoned us. Then there is the breaking of dawn. A new day breaks forth on the horizon. What He had shown us prophetically confirmed within our souls is brought forth. God is going to do a new thing. He will reveal Himself as He is. No longer must people guess and speculate regarding Him. The divisive opinions of those who mislead will be exposed and opposed. God’s Word and Power will triumph and none will be able to withstand it. Travail is also the intercessory prayer for the lost. When we see the conditions of the world and if our heart is not broken over it, we are not feeling with the Lord what He is feeling. He wept over Jerusalem. We must receive the Spirit of lamentation as we witness all that is happening in our day. He will give us the garment of praise for the spirit…

“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 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.”

“The Lord has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”  Isaiah 52:10 The Lord has crowned His kings and princes throughout the earth. His strength has gone out to both defy the power of the enemy and to undo the enemy’s work. There are those who bear the mark of royalty and are destined for the throne to rule and rein with Him. The Kingdom of God dwells among men! The question the world is asking is where is the mark or seal borne by those that belong to Christ? There appears to be no distinction between them and others; in fact, those who rebel appear to have the advantage over the faithful. The mark that they bear is within their hearts. Their passion for their King and the desire to see Him rule in righteousness separates them from others. They have an undying hope directed towards the future. Their faith is not wrapped up into small packages limiting them to temporary pleasures. They want the whole thing and will not settle for anything less. As Dr. James Stewart puts it speaking…

“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 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.”

As each year ends, I prayerfully seek the Lord for a theme for the New Year. The New Year provides new opportunities for us. Whatever happened previously has now been registered as history. The record of the past is now complete; yet the future awaits us as a blank page to be written upon. Next year, the reflections will involve the decisions that we are presently making. Our daily decisions will determine whether there will be victories to celebrate or defeats to lament. I believe that our focus will determine our outcome. We can look around and see the devastation of a failed economy, the moral collapse of this generation, spiritual and political compromises that violate the Constitution and our creeds. It signals to those who are attempting to hold things together that the standard must come from a higher and a different Source. Jesus proclaimed as His inaugural address that the “Kingdom is near.” Each message heard provides an opportunity. Think about the opportunities that have now translated into regrets. If we had the power to turn the clock backwards to that exact period when the chance for change was provided, I am certain that none would reject cashing…