Upon This Rock – Part 2

The foundation of the church stands sure; unmovable, unchanging, eternal.  Make ready the battle!

Matthew 16:18 – And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

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Today, as enter more fully into our current study, my heart is excited as I consider the events set forth in Matthew 16 as Jesus ministered to His disciples in Caesarea Philippi.  While these verses in our Manna for Today lay the foundation for the events that transpired there, deeper study of the place, the time, and the meaning of Jesus’s Words unfold for us a depth of understanding that will launch your spirit into the heavenlies as you prepare to walk in what Jesus says.  A major part of that study is to more fully under-stand where Jesus shared this teaching.  It’s more than a geographical location, or the name of a town.  There is deep spiritual significance to be gleaned.  Let’s look more closely.

The name of the town Caesarea Philippi came from two men; Caesar of Rome and Philip, son of Herod the Tetrarch.  But it is what was IN that place that holds such significance.  It was located at the foot of Mount Hermon, the Mount of Transfiguration, the place where one of the main headwater fountains of the Jordan River broken open to the surface, and for many years, the center of Baal worship.  Already you can see great significance.  But look further.  It was in this town that a temple had been built to the Greek god Pan.  It was built over the entrance into a cave from which Jordan’s headwaters emerge.  When the Greeks built it, they did so viewing its waters as the passageway of their gods to the underworld, and they called it “The Gates of Hell.”  And keep in mind that Pan was the Greek god of shepherds, goats, and was the instigator of high levels of prostitution and bestiality.  Its corruption was beyond imagination.

In that same location, there was also a temple built to Zeus, the greatest Greek god who was himself considered very corrupt; a temple to Nemesis, the Greek goddess of retribution to anyone who resisted Zeus or other Greek gods; a temple to Caesar, the greatest political/military leader of his day; and an arena of the dancing goats, where brazen prostitution and bestiality with goats was openly practiced; all this was built side-by-side at the base of Mount Hermon.

Can you imagine the vileness and corruption that permeated the atmosphere all about Caesarea Philippi when Jesus was there with His disciples?  It was considered so vile, sinful, evil, and corrupt that Jewish Rabbis forbade Jewish people from traveling there.  This was the place where scene of Matthew 16:13-21 took place.  In the days ahead, we will apply this to what Jesus confronted, the power with which He confronted it, and how it applies to the Church today.

Manna for Today – Matthew 16:13-21; John 6:63; John 15:7; Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17; Psalm 119:89; Matthew 11:12

Upon This Rock – Part 1

The foundation of the church stands sure; unmovable, unchanging, eternal.  Make ready the battle!

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Matthew 16:18 – And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

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Let’s begin by considering the term “rock” as used Biblically.  While there are times when the significance of the term “rock” may have little if any significance, or perhaps refer only to a place or a stone in general, there are many references to “rock” (or stone) in the Scriptures that carry powerful meaning.  Allow me to offer just a few.  Abraham’s alter – Jacob’s (Israel’s) pillow – Joshua’s markers in the Jordan – David’s five smooth stones – Elijah’s alter on Carmel – the building stones of the Temple – the stone of stumbling – the rock of offense – the stone the builder’s rejected – the stone cast at the feet of Revelation’s image – the lively stones God has made us to be – “this rock” upon which Christ’s Church will be built.  These are only a few, but I believe very significant ones.

While over time many have believed that Peter was the “rock,” that is not the case.  The context in which Jesus was speaking was connected firmly to the wonderful gift of revelation knowledge.  Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:17.  He said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  Jesus was speaking about a divine revelation given to Peter by His heavenly Father.  And that was “the rock” upon which He said He would build His Church; the Rock of Revelation Knowledge that is unmovable, unshakable, changeless, eternally settled in heaven.  That is the “rock” upon which we shall focus in the coming days as we examine the extra-ordinary events that took place that we read in Matthew 16:13-21.

And we will likewise focus on the place in which Jesus spoke these words.  It was Caesarea Philippi.  At that time, it was one of the most ungodly places on earth, but to be found in Israel made it even worse.  To have this place exist in what we know as “the land of the Bible” is shocking beyond belief.  Then when we read the commands and admonishments of our Lord as He stood there speaking to His disciples about His Church, we begin to see a picture of the work He intended for His Church; a work that has by-and-large, been lost to us, if not forsaken.  It’s time to pick up that banner once again and prepare ourselves for entry into this great spiritual battle the church WILL NOT LOSE!  In my spirit man I can hear the trumpet sounding, calling the Church to arise to this battle, trained, armored, and ready to “take it by force.” 

Manna for Today – Matthew 16:13-21; John 6:63; John 15:7; Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17; Psalm 119:89; Matthew 11:12

Orderly Diligence – Part 15

A foundation is built.  Now for the main edifice.

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2 Peter 1:2-4 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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If you have followed our journey toward “divine nature” to this point, and if you believe the Word of God, there is surely rising within you an anticipation of something greater than you have ever imagined.  As we conclude this series on Orderly Diligence, I offer you one more verse of Scripture from our Manna for Today.  In 2 Peter 1:11, we read, “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 

If one follows the “line upon line” as the Lord lays it out in this 2 Peter 1 passage, the end picture for that person will be wonderfully marvelous.  Look at the words of the verse cited in the previous paragraph.  “For so…” speaks of things that have just previously been addressed.  It could be said thusly; “It is by following the previous instruction that you will receive the following.” 

So, just what is it that is opened up for the person of Orderly Diligence?  Let’s look at these fabulous blessings.

an entrance . . . into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” – the “entrance” referenced here is NOT in the sweet by and by, but for right now, in this present life.  It is “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”

…shall be ministered unto you…” – and how will it be ministered?  By the Word, by Holy Spirit, by obedience, by the angels of God (Hebrews 1:14), by faith in God.  And for ministry to flow, it must be by grace through faith.

…abundantly…” – this word in the Greek means copiouslyabundantly, and richly.  When God does something, He does it in a manner that natural thinking would call outlandishexorbitant, or beyond reason.  I know, many, if not most, Christians cannot or will not accept that statement.  But all you have to do is seriously examine one of the best-known Scriptures of all times – John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”  Think on that for a moment.  God’s love for every lost person, for every sinner, and at one point, that was you and me, is SO GREAT that He GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON.  Would you give your own child for me?  I rest my case.  Selah!

Manna for Today – 2 Peter 1:1-15; Proverbs 4:20-23; Joshua 1:6-9; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 3 John 2; Jeremiah 29:11

Orderly Diligence – Part 14

How would you like to live a life in which you are guaranteed by God to never fall?

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2 Peter 1:2-4 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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Before you go any further today, take note of 2 Peter 1:10.  It is amazing, astounding, and awesome.  It says, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”  How would you like to live your life in that community; that place where you could never fall?  The term “fall” in the Greek (from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) means to never “trip, that is, (figuratively) to errsinfail (of salvation): – fall, offend, stumble.”  That, my dear friend, is a spectacular place to live. 

And that is precisely the place in which one can eternally live, beginning now in this present life, if the orderly diligence about which I’ve been writing is followed.  So many people have believed for too long that much of what the Lord provided to us through His redemptive work has been put off until after this present life, when in fact, far more of it belongs to us now that most, if not all of us, have ever learned.  Sometimes the songs we have sung, though well-meaning in their origin, and perhaps leaving us emotionally uplifted, have been unknowingly misleading.  For instance, many songs have been written about our crossing the Jordan with the implication that crossing the Jordan means going to heaven, and that Canaan land is heaven.  That’s simply not Biblical truth.  Remember that when the children of Israel crossed the Jordan, they still had a lot of fighting to do to possess the promised land.  Dear one, when we go to heaven, there will be no fighting.  And furthermore, heaven will not be our eternal home.  We’ll only be there for seven years, and then we’re coming back to the earth for the millennial reign with Jesus.  after that we will ultimately have a new heaven and a new earth.  My beloved fellow laborer, we need to study the Word of God and come to a mature believer’s understandi8ng of who we are, what we’re doing here, what belongs to us here, and how to live in the authority we have in this present life.  The Word of God is absolutely true.  Our traditions often betray us and leave us in a seemingly powerless estate.  Look again at the Orderly Diligence of our current study.  The best is yet to come.

Manna for Today – 2 Peter 1:1-15; Proverbs 4:20-23; Joshua 1:6-9; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 3 John 2; Jeremiah 29:11

Orderly Diligence – Part 13


“Divine nature” gained through orderly diligence, carries with it inherent warnings.  Heads up!

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2 Peter 1:2-4 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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Thus far in our journey toward the “divine nature,” we have seen the need of giving “all diligence” to this process.   While this is an utterly awesome experience through which one can live, there does come with it certain warnings, and they are not minor.  Take a moment and read 2 Peter 1:9 – “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”  I urge you to seriously consider my words.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in our present world for a moment while being spiritually blinded to what is going on, unable to see what is ahead and what my ultimate outcome will be, all the while having my mind flooded with memories of past failures and sins.  To me, that would be a most horrible way to live, and what’s worse, to die.

Once again, I urge you to pay close attention to what I am sharing with you.  Our God has provided for us, His children, His “divine nature.”  Not only has He provided it for us, but has given to us a “line upon line, precept upon precept” model for us to access that “divine nature” to its fullest.  That is what I have been writing to you for the last twelve Second Milers.  Only one question remains.  Will you make the decision to walk in those precepts, line upon line, and by doing so, build yourself up in the Lord and His Word so you may become a full partaker of that “divine nature?”  If you will make that quality decision with no turning from it, there awaits you that point of becoming “partakers of the divine nature.”  I urge you to take this challenge and move forward into it with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

And again I remind you, the alternative is NOT a pretty one for anyone, especially for the child of God.  Why would any Christian choose, and it is a choice, to go without these wonderful, powerful, and God-pleasing tools, and fruit, leaving himself blind, unable to see afar off, and live a life having forgotten he was purged from his old sins?  My dear fellow believer, please don’t leave yourself in that position.  You can choose to walk free from it right now, and begin your journey to becoming a partaker of the “divine nature.”

Manna for Today – 2 Peter 1:1-15; Proverbs 4:20-23; Joshua 1:6-9; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 3 John 2; Jeremiah 29:11

Orderly Diligence – Part 12

Let’s take a look at the fruit of the “divine nature.”

2 Peter 1:2-4 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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Now we come to a point of discovery, a place of revelation that should, in all reality, be actively and diligently sought by EVERY believer – the point of exhibiting the “divine nature” towards which we have been building for the past eleven weeks.  Let’s take a close look at 2 Peter 1:8.  This is remarkably powerful.  Look closely. 

“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Here, dear fellow saint, is one of the most marvelous opportunities and privileges that can be offered to any child of God.  Imagine living in this world where you are fulfilling the Father’s desire for you to be fruitful with a fruit that should be long-lasting in the work of the kingdom; fruit that gives clear indication that you are a child of the most-high God; a never-ending and ever-increasing growth and production of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.  And keep in mind that there is “NO LAW” against such production.  It is ALWAYS pleasing to Father. 

Are these things (faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity) abounding in you right now?  If they are, rejoice, for you are modeling the “divine nature.”  If they are NOT abounding in you right now, do not despair.  YOU have been given, not only the capacity, but the command of the Lord to “give all diligence” to the work of doing that very thing.  It is within your grasp.  What the Lord commands of you, He ALWAYS works with you and supplied everything you need to carry out His command.  To that end, none of us hold any legitimate excuse.  No one else can do it for you.  You must carry out this command deliberately, diligently, and in an orderly command, obeying the steps as they are ordered by the Lord.  To do that you MUST believe God and what He has declared to us through His Word; believe it absolutely, with no turning from it, with no reservation, and without hesitation.  The Lord Himself through Holy Spirit is waiting to walk with you throughout this journey, and awaiting you as you fulfill His commands is His “divine nature.”  Are you ready to live in that place?  Then it’s time to begin this glorious journey.

Manna for Today – 2 Peter 1:1-15; Proverbs 4:20-23; Joshua 1:6-9; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 3 John 2; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Corinthians 13

Orderly Diligence – Part 11

Let’s put the capstone of this process in place.  What awaits you is absolutely divine.

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2 Peter 1:2-4 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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Moving forward in our journey to living the life of divine nature, we come to what could be called the cornerstone, or capstone of this system of ordered diligence the Lord has set before us.  Thus far we have added, in an orderly and diligent fashion, faithvirtueknowledgetemperancepatiencegodliness, and brotherly kindness.  While brotherly kindness, what is known as “phileo (philadelphia)” is known as one kind of love, today we look into that Paul called, “the greatest of these,” that being “charity,” or “agape.”

Here is God personified.  Many people say God’s nature is love.  Not so.  GOD IS LOVE!   That love, agape, is Who God is, and who He is can be expressed in so many ways, all those ways comprising His nature.  AGAPE IS WHO GOD IS!  NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF THAT TRUTH!  2 Peter 1:7 indicates that this addition, “charity,” or “agape,” is the final addition to the blend of character of one who possesses and demonstrates the “divine nature.”

Once again, this is “charity,” the 1 Corinthians 13 love of God.  This is the love that transforms a “sounding brass” and “tinkling cymbal” into the spiritual force that carries faith to its loftiest levels in the heavenlies, and by that, breaks through to the lowest and darkest arenas of desperation from which man needs to be set free (1 Corinthians 13:1).  This is the spiritual dynamic of heaven that takes what is defined as “nothing” and transforms it into everything heaven has to offer (1 Corinthians 13:2).  And this is the element of divine nature that transforms great and even life-long inability to prosper/profit , even though being a giver, into a life that is a model of being a prospering/profitable child of God (1 Corinthians 13:3).  This agape love is surely the crown jewel that indicates the presence, power, influence, and manifestation of the “divine nature.”  What a beautiful and marvelous crowning glory to this process to which the Lord has called all His children.  Wake up, my dear friend, and rise to this heavenly calling.  It is awaiting your diligent and orderly application of the Word in your life to make you a glorious example of a saint of God exhibiting the “divine nature.”

Manna for Today – 2 Peter 1:1-15; Proverbs 4:20-23; Joshua 1:6-9; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 3 John 2; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Corinthians 13

Orderly Diligence – Part 10

Definitions are keenly important, and accuracy of their use cannot be overstated.

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2 Peter 1:2-4 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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While there are several words that are called love in modern English, four come to mind, and whether or not they should accurately be called “love” is definitely questionable.  Let’s accurately define them,  basing our definition as accurately as possible on the Greek language of the New Testament. 

Agape (agapao) – the love of God – the highest order of love that exists; it is a deep, never-failing love based solely on the character of the individual who loves.  In this case, agape (God-love), is based solely on God’s character; holy, pure, unfailing, unchanging, eternal.  It does NOT grow over times, for as God, Who is Love, never changes, neither does agape.

Eros – nothing more or less than physical, sexual attraction.

Storge – simple affection based on the pleasure/benefit received from that which is said to be loved.  This can apply to puppies, special foods, activities, and even human relationships

I have saved the focal point of today’s addition to our journey towards the “divine nature” for last in our list.  It is “brotherly kindness” (2 Peter 1:7), which in the Greek language is “philadelphia,” that being a strong and meaningful relationship that grows over time and development of that relationship.  It is spousal between a loving couple, familial (parent/child, sibling, etc.), or between strong friends.  This love requires a growing and building relationship based on the two or more individual’s personal commitment to each other, and in the case of our present study, particularly between brothers and sisters in Christ as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.  This is a love of choice that deepens and strengthens over times.  This love truly requires work, attention, diligent giving to and serving one another.  While it is truly a high-quality, high-benefit love requiring great diligence, it CAN be broken, while agape love cannot be broken.  The only thing that can prevent the breaking of “philadelphia,” is the commitment of the one who loves to keep the Word of God as his/her highest priority, for the Word of God will NEVER fail.  Give all diligence in your labor of this love, applying that diligence as it is added to faithvirtueknowledgetemperancepatience, and godliness.

Manna for Today – 2 Peter 1:1-15; Proverbs 4:20-23; Joshua 1:6-9; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 3 John 2; Jeremiah 29:11

Orderly Diligence – Part 9

As one climbs higher, it is vital to secure an unshakeable footing for each step.

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2 Peter 1:2-4 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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Let’s continue our forward movement in the divine order prescribed by the Word as we move toward becoming full partakers of the “divine nature.”  My friend, when one considers being a partaker of the “divine nature,” one is staring up at a mountain of enormous stature, and it can ONLY be scaled as one complies with the Word that calls us to it.  At this point we have walked through the process of adding to “faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience.”  Today we add to “patience godliness” (2 Peter 1:6).  It is the Greek word “eusebeia,” meaning “pietyspecifically the gospel scheme: – godliness, holiness.”  In simpler terms, it means to act, move, speak, and live like God; to model the way He does things.  And when we see the phrase, “the gospel scheme,” it makes clear the great need to know the Word, and to act fully upon the Word.

Keep in mind that we are on a journey of faith to a destination that can ONLY be attained as one walks in the power of God under the leadership of Holy Ghost.  This journey is monumental in scope, impossible in the natural, and staggering intellectually.  Each step is of the keenest importance, and can only be accomplished by faith in God’s Word.  It will require a walk of prayer, study of the Word, focused energy on keeping the Word, and that by dedicated and committed choice on the part of the believer.  But when you make that choice to move forward in this lifetime journey, you can be assured that Holy Spirit will bring every tool and resource at His disposal to bear in helping you along the way.  You CAN live a life of “godliness.”

And at this point, please allow me to reiterate as powerfully as I can, there are no shortcuts.  As we come to the next two additions, you will see the deep truth in that statement.  Without the orderly and diligent addition of faithvirtueknowledgetemperance, and patience to godliness, you will not have sufficient foundation upon which to build what Scripture has called “the greatest of these,” that being “agape love.”  And as we work our way to that great end, we will still need all the aforementioned elements to sustain us in this great reach for that “mark for the prize of the high calling.” 

Manna for Today – 2 Peter 1:1-15; Proverbs 4:20-23; Joshua 1:6-9; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 3 John 2; Jeremiah 29:11

Orderly Diligence – Part 8

Good day, holy ambassador.  There’s much work to do.  Have you received Father’s orders?

2 Peter 1:2-4 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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Today we continue our journey of process toward being a partaker of the divine nature by adding to our “temperance patience.”  The Greek word for “patience” in our Second Miler is hupomone (pronounced hoopomonay).  According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, it means “cheerful (or hopeful) enduranceconstancy: – enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).”  That can be simplified by saying “patience” is “joyful persistent consistency.”  There is nothing sad or depressing about Godly patience.  It is wonderfully strong from the presence of the joy of the Lord, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

In James, 1:2-3 we read the words, “count it all joy . . . knowing.”  Joy arises from knowing, and that knowledge follows on the heels of faith that comes by hearing the Word and the steel of spine to stand tall in that faith.  Just as one does not come to that level of faith suddenly, but over time and growth, and likewise gains virtue as conviction of that faith grows, so one must add to that knowledge that fuels temperance and undergirds patience.  As one grows deeper, richer, and stronger in the great truth that God and His Word are unchanging (Malachi 3:6Hebrews 13:8Psalm 119:89), the patience of which we speak today is continually being strengthened.  This grows the believer into being a steadfast, persistently consistent son of God who is like a tree planted by living waters that shall never be moved.

I believe that any true Christian would want to walk before the Lord in a manner that strongly and vividly models his/her heavenly Father.  We are, after all, His ambassadors in this earth.  That is both and important and extremely powerful position to occupy, for in that position we speak and act for the Lord, and as His ambassador, act with His full authority so long as we know we are in His directed will.  Just as an American ambassador to France did not take on that position because he studied social studies in high school, to rise to the level of a fully active and serving ambassador of the Lord to this world requires calling, preparation, training, spiritual growth, and a commitment to leave behind what so many prefer to hold in their clutches.  But always remember, just as an ambassador may have to leave the comforts of his country, as long as he serves that office, he lives full supplied, furnished, and blessed through the government of the kingdom he serves.  I’m God’s ambassador.  I serve God’s kingdom. My God supplies ALL MY NEED ACCORDING TO HIS RICHES IN GLORY BY CHRIST JESUS.  Rejoice, Ambassador.

Manna for Today – 2 Peter 1:1-15; Proverbs 4:20-23; Joshua 1:6-9; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 3 John 2; Jeremiah 29:11