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“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” Philippians 1:12 The trials of the Apostle Paul was sent to destroy him on the part of the enemy, but allowed to prove him on the part of God. Faith is not a mere idea of the mind, but a disposition of the heart. It is able to withstand the onslaught of challenges that would otherwise wear one down. When we are tried and pass the test, on the other side of that victory is a special grace useful in the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can then all the more identify with the price He paid by enduring much more than we could ever face in this life. There is a message preached by some who are void of experience that may stir the emotions and impress its hearers. But there is another message deeply rooted in experiences aligned with the sufferings of Christ. That message is able to make a deep impact upon its hearers because they not only hear it but see it. We live our message much louder than we…

“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 prints in His hands that His love may be known through…

“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34- 35 Births are produced out of pain. The agony of a mother in labor will eventually end at the bringing forth of her newborn child. God had sent forth His Son into a hostile world to rule and reign over it. But those who would subject themselves to His reign had to be born into His kingdom. All others would challenge and work at undermining His authority. His coming on the world scene would produce promotion among those to whom God willed to promote, but the demotion of any whose reign God arbitrarily decided to bring to an end. What had been introduced through the law and the prophets was now personified and fulfilled in one person. None could remain neutral to. His  presence. Jesus would either bring the best out of them or the worst out of them. When confronted with Jesus, whatever resides within the hearts of individuals is brought to the surface. And those who…

“To whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” Isaiah 28:12 God speaks to the weary. His words of encouragement are directed towards them as liberating words. It is a rest that continues in the midst of work. Too many busy themselves with efforts to achieve their dreams yet ruin the possibility of reaching the heights which lie beyond their own imaginations. What a high price many pay in order to become what they consider to be their best? Yet the best ever envisioned is like standing before an anthill in contrast to Mount Everest. God speaks to those who tire themselves in trying to do great things yet do not know Him or the power that He alone possesses. They flex their muscles as weak as they are, but cannot find the strength to even live long enough to participate in all they believe and is their dream. God’s objective is for each of us to become what He has in mind. Only when our Creator is pleased will we find true and lasting pleasure. All else will keep one in an endless pursuit of wanting more than he has, wanting…

“Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23 The price paid for the truth may be the loss of friends and love ones. It may be the loss of the potential of profit requiring the compromise of our integrity. Our integrity is worth more than the things acquired through dishonest gain. Even though they may bring immediate success, but the high cost paid in the end far out measures its temporal benefits. We must be willing to pay the price for the truth. The price of self-denial and sacrifice for the sake of having the character to stand for what is right. This is accompanied with wisdom which comes from above. God can speak His truth to our hearts and there is nothing within us rejecting it. The lust for things not sanctioned by God choke the Word and it becomes unfruitful. It is the fool that despises instructions. The ownership of truth will deliver us from the bondage of greed and self-centeredness. We can then understand what the will of the Lord is and comply with joy because we are enabled to see the benefits of our faithfulness to Him.

“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.” Ezekiel 36:24 People who are in exile are a people removed from their place. We see Israel being scattered among the nations and some taking on the character of the nations where they had been forced to occupy. Sin does not ask for our permission, but imposes its character upon those who occupy its territory. A culture of sin produces a people who readily adapt to the environment. It is then difficult for them to remember what God’s original intentions were for their lives. They merely see what others are doing and seemingly enjoying and adjust to their standard of living. But God stands up and makes His Presence known among them. He lets them know that even though they are in a strange place, Israel still carries His name. When His name is hallowed among the nations and a difference is made known by them to the other inhabitants, then deliverance will come. God will bring them into their own land. He is says to us, are we to represent Jesus where we are. Should He only…

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26 Values are a means to equate the worth of thing in contrast to its usefulness or utility. Whether a thing is profitable or dispensable is determined by the individual. The question of Jesus was directed at the value one would place on his own soul. It has to do with ultimate importance, or to have one to stretch his thoughts beyond the immediate gain to consider the ultimate cost one would have to pay for it. Values fluctuate among the immature. True maturity is marked by the development of a value system that is unalterable. They become the center of our lives, standard of behavior, and the stimuli for thinking straight. Jesus asks them to make a value assessment of their lives. He asked them, “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world?” If the whole world as gain to him, would the gaining of it produce peace within the soul? Would the pleasures of the world squeeze you into a fixture that cannot…

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (2) For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,(3) how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,” Heb 2:1-3  To “give the most earnest heed” is stretching in order to understand what has been spoken. It is to hasten and to fasten one’s eyes upon the truths revealed. To commit ones heart to them. The reason this is necessary is because our minds alone cannot contain all that is needed. Without a heart commitment, it will appear as if there had been no exposure to such life-transforming truths. God does not judge on the basis of what one avails oneself to hear. He judges on the basis of the availability of knowledge at that time. If one is privileged to know the truth but decides to opt out of being where truth is imparted, the neglect on his part would be the criteria on which he is judged. It is our responsibility…

“Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23 The price paid for the truth may be the loss of friends and love ones. It may be the loss of the potential of profit requiring the compromise of our integrity. Our integrity is worth more than the things acquired through dishonest gain. Even though they may bring immediate success, but the high cost paid in the end far out measures its temporal benefits. We must be willing to pay the price for the truth. The price of self-denial and sacrifice for the sake of having the character to stand for what is right. This is accompanied with wisdom which comes from above. God can speak His truth to our hearts and there is nothing within us rejecting it. The lust for things not sanctioned by God choke the Word and it becomes unfruitful. It is the fool that despises instructions. The ownership of truth will deliver us from the bondage of greed and self-centeredness. We can then understand what the will of the Lord is and comply with joy because we are enabled to see the benefits of our faithfulness to Him.

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26 Values are a means to equate the worth of thing in contrast to its usefulness or utility. Whether a thing is profitable or dispensable is determined by the individual. The question of Jesus was directed at the value one would place on his own soul. It has to do with ultimate importance, or to have one to stretch his thoughts beyond the immediate gain to consider the ultimate cost one would have to pay for it. Values fluctuate among the immature. True maturity is marked by the development of a value system that is unalterable. They become the center of our lives, standard of behavior, and the stimuli for thinking straight. Jesus asks them to make a value assessment of their lives. He asked them, “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world?” If the whole world as gain to him, would the gaining of it produce peace within the soul? Would the pleasures of the world squeeze you into a fixture that cannot…