In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.

Ephesians 1: 13


When we come to accept the salvation for our souls that Christ brings to us, there is a mark placed upon us by God. It is a bit like a trademark or a seal that signifies the place where we were made and tells the world whose hands did the making. Christianity is so much more than just a belief system. It isn’t a membership, for claiming Christ means accepting the fact that a very active and totally involved Creator God is going to work inside of you to transform what had been a flawed and fatally broken person into one who is righteously living out his or her God-image bearing nature.


The seal of the Holy Spirit is much more than just a mark signifying ownership or even craftsmanship; for it is also the mark of a promise. God made a commitment to all people that He would defeat evil in our lives and in our world, and it would happen in that order. He has given each and every person on this earth the answer to that personal victory, and we are, therefore, granted the means to gain the victory in our lives. When we accept Him, the Spirit of Christ moves into our hearts to bring the love of the Creator into residency there, He begins to change our minds into ones that grasp the truth of God’s righteousness, and He works ceaselessly to move us out of the grip of sin and into the joy of the Lord’s freedom.


Thus, God’s promise to us becomes the beginning point for living in the fullest realization of our own potential. Every person who has ever lived and who will exist on this earth has been created by the hand of God and is formed with the image of the Creator as the template for formation. Through the work of the Spirit in us, we are shaped and molded into people who are finally free to fulfill the limitless promise that God designed into us. This is all accomplished through the strength of Christ, not through any might or force of personal will, and it occurs as we surrender ourselves fully to Christ, and in so doing, we enter into this process of transformation that is God’s promise of redemption to each of His people.



If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12: 18


This statement is about as conditional as Paul ever gets, for he rarely leaves this much to our own discretion and understanding of the situation. Yet, here in this proverbial saying that is placed within a string of similar expressions, we are told to do something “If possible.” So, whose possibility is to make that determination? If it is mine, then there may be very few times when I am really going to live peaceably with people who rub me the wrong way, or hold views about issues that differ from mine, or come from a different cultural background than mine. The possibility for exception to that directive to live peaceably gets to be very long quite quickly, and the list of people with whom I am living in peace becomes short enough that I can readily handle it on my own.


Perhaps that is really the point. God’s desire for us in all aspects of life is that we would let go of control and surrender all of it to Him. So, in this very challenging area of relationships with other people, God is giving us the option of releasing our grip upon the rules for acceptance or rejection of others or of holding onto them so that we manage the way that we interact with the human elements of our world. To me, this places the idea of possibility into an entirely different light. It says that my relational boundaries and barriers can be either as narrow as my own definitions and comfort or they can be as expansive and inclusive as are God’s. This is the real choice that Paul is proposing to us, and it is one that he had entered into, himself, as a significant aspect of Paul’s coming to Christ involved the reordering of his view of God’s mission for him in relation to accepting or persecuting people who viewed their relationship with God differently than did Paul, the Pharisee.


It seems to me that entering fully into the possibilities in connecting with and caring about and for others is predicated upon surrender to Christ. The more of myself that I give over to my Lord in submission to His will, the more likely it is that I will see the lovable and the beautiful in people who would otherwise make me uncomfortable or worse. There is no one on this earth who Christ cannot love. There are no people for whom He did not die in order to redeem them from the death that belongs to all who are born into this world. So, there should be very few people who I am unable to care about and to love with a similar passion and redemptive desire. Now, I am not Christ, and all of this depends upon the response of others in order for me to be able to live peaceably with them, but, in so far as I am able to impact the outcome of the interaction, I can yield my attitudes, actions, and responses to Christ with my heart and mind set upon doing all that I can to enter into productive life together with all of the people that God grants me the gift of encountering during my days.

These things we have heard from Christ and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1: 5


It has been my experience that darkness is sneaky. It can overcome a perfectly bright day with a suddenness that is disorienting. At other times it just slowly and subtly moves into my mind and my heart until all of the clear vision that was present has been obscured by its dark curtains of ambiguity. Ideas that were solid, actions that appeared to be righteous, and a path that seemed to lead me along sound footing can become distorted and shrouded with doubt. This is the effect that Satan wants to have on us, and this process of bringing darkness into our lives is one of his favorite devices.


Yet, when the path through life starts getting murky and doubts about what is good and righteous begin to swirl in my mind, this is a true sign that I am trying to figure it all out on my own and that I am not fully seeking God’s will and His desire as I set my course through my day. As I head out into the dark corners of this world, places where there is great need for Christ and for His true light, forces that are oriented toward darkness do attempt to cause confusion and distress in my mind and in my heart. Still, I cling to the fact that where God is, there is light. When Christ is leading, the path is well lit. If I am seeking to know and understand Christ through His Word and by the revelation of His Spirit, the Lord’s glory will surround me.


Based upon this fact, I should examine each and every aspect of my life where truth and love do not overcome fear and anger, and I need to continue to look for that truth in God’s Word until all of the thoughts and the actions that I engage in conform to His righteousness. For the closer I am to Christ, the more I will be standing in the center of the source of all light; and the longer I stay in this light, the more my heart will be transformed into a light filled vessel, which will lead me confidently into the way of the Lord’s brilliant truth.



Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1: 1, 2


The proverbial phrase, “You are what you eat,” has been around for a long time. It has been adopted and adapted into the title for books, lectures, television programs, songs, and other forms of popular expression. I think that its wide-spread use is an indication of the fact that there is truth contained in these words, for it may not be literally and absolutely accurate but it does convey a sense of functional reality. What we put into ourselves does directly and significantly effect how we live and even, to some extent, who we are. The author of this psalm is talking about something more important and considerably greater in its life-altering capacity than any of the meat or vegetables that we might encounter. He is speaking about the consumption of truth, righteousness, and all the rest of what is entailed in truly knowing God.


We all face this same choice. We can listen to the voice of God or we can select other ones to fill our minds and hearts. In fact, we will hear a wide range of input as we go about life, and we will all be subjected to good ideas and to poor ones in this process. Not everything that is said in the name of God will be true and useful, either. However, all of God’s Word is true, everything contained within it is holy, and the counsel of the Holy Spirit is unquestionably reliable. So, even when the words come from within the context of the church or out of the mouths of people who share a profession of faith, there needs to be a form of testing of the validity and the value of those ideas and concepts. That testing always involves holding the idea or direction up to the template of God’s Holy Word of truth, allowing His Spirit to reveal the application of that truth, and then in evaluating all of this prayerfully within the fellowship of trusted fellow followers of Christ.


The Lord has provided His followers with a truly marvelous banquet feast of truth, and the life that we are given by ingesting it is remarkable as it makes all of the difference in the joy and the peace that we will know in our journey through our days. Yet, at times we still decide to dine at the table of the unwise or, even worse, we fill ourselves up on the deadly counsel of those who stand in opposition to God and to His righteous way. In these times, Christ’s invitation to turn to Him, to repent, and to take a seat at His table of grace, love, and life remains open for us. The Lord invites each of us to come, sit in His presence, and be filled to overflowing with the law that brings life and by its hope and promise of eternity. This is a place where we are granted the opportunity to meditate deeply upon Christ, to be filled with His presence, and to prosper and grow stronger for this day of service to God’s kingdom.




Then Pilot said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

John 18: 37


Early in the twentieth century Albert Einstein stated his two theories of relativity, general and special, and set out to demonstrate their implications and impact upon all manner of actions and events in our journey through the universe. In reality, he was stating a small aspect of truth as it related to our physical world. Einstein’s relativity was accurate and valid for use in making certain decisions. Sadly, there is much more relativity among us in our world than just his true form. The concept of what is true has become distorted and is routinely manipulated for the sake of people’s personal viewpoints and to their advantage. Truth is too often framed by ideology or by passion rather being used as the foundation for those outcomes; thus, truth is manufactured out of the desires of people and formed and shaped to meet the needs of our human institutions. This is very far from the truth that Jesus is explaining to Pilot.


Although Jesus was born into this world to “bear witness to the truth,” He was a part of the conception of all that is true, and He was also engaged in that process whereby truth as an essential aspect of the Creator God’s nature and character was spoken forth into the universe. Jesus knew truth, for truth was intrinsic in Him, and He lived out God’s truth in every manner and way during His life on this earth. Thus, Jesus became our living model of what truth is and of what it means to stand for truth and pour truth out into all that a person thinks, says, and does. In reality, living as a person who engages in truth-saying and who grants truth its place of highest honor in the conduct of life is going through the day as one who enters into the holy place of worship of the Lord as a part of the routine practice of living. In our world today, truth is rare, and the practice of this sacrament has been corrupted too much of the time; so, truth has been made into something along the lines of the sordid temple practices that so enraged Jesus when He was in Jerusalem.


It is time for people who know Christ to repent of our untruthful ways and to turn toward the Lord in His proclamation of all that is true. Truth is not relative. It is not shaped by the needs of the day or by conformity to a desired outcome. This thing that is truth is eternal, for it preexisted the creation of our universe, the earth, and all that is on our planet. Truth is, and all else is falsehood and deceit. God’s Word brings truth to us throughout its pages, and the Spirit of Christ grants us insight, wisdom, and application of this holy word of life to everything that comes our way. It is up to me and up to you to listen to the truth that Christ continually bears witness to, and it is our worshipful duty to live out that truth in the conduct of our lives. Truth is eternal, and these convoluted and twisted relative truths that our world sets forth as its gospel will perish from the earth in due time. So, for me, I desire to walk through my days with the voice of truth in my ear and Christ’s redeemed path of righteousness under my feet.



Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Ephesians 1: 3


It is amazing, totally remarkable, and almost beyond my understanding that God, the Creator and the Ruler of the entire universe, would be so interested in me that He would grant to me a gift such as this. As magical and special as many of the gifts that I have received during my life have been, none of them starts to compare with the gift of relationship with Him that the Lord has handed to me. Yet, as extraordinary as that is, there is much more, for the Spirit of God opens the eyes of my heart to a new dimension of life that is also mine through my acceptance of Christ.


God has changed me from being spiritually dead to being fully engaged with the totality of His realm. I do not understand all that is of God or see everything that God sees, for His knowledge and understanding go far beyond my capacity and the Lord doesn’t need to or choose to reveal everything that is happening in the dimension of spirit to me. Still, in Christ, heaven has come to live in me, and my perspective on my world can now be a heavenly one. God grants to me the gift of His insight, wisdom, understanding, compassion, mercy, and love; and He tells me to bless Him by living in a different manner than people who don’t know Him.


You see, it strikes me that God wants me and all of His own people to live each day like we are, in fact, living in a heavenly place. God gives us a picture of what that looks like in the way that Jesus lived His life on earth, and Christ says that He wants us to follow Him. We need to take the view and the vision of life that we have gained due to our spiritual awareness and live in a manner that clearly demonstrates that we are different. The difference that God wants me to bring into this world is not one that is expressed in a superior air of separation; rather, the Lord wants the people that I touch to know that they have been touched by heaven.



Behold, God is my salvation;

I will trust, and I will not be afraid;

for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,

and he has become my salvation.

Isaiah 12: 2


It seems that everyone needs something to hold onto as we go through the days of our lives. There is some form of belief that keeps us more or less centered within the structure of our values and our ethical and moral boundaries. We may hold to a fully fleshed out set of rules, a religious system, confident self-determination, or some other construct; however, virtually no one goes very far in our adult journey with nothing of this sort to place our hands around to grasp onto and to trust to focus the outcome of the important decisions that we will need to make almost every day. I have tried several of these methods and means of gaining my bearings for this essential aspect of living, and there has been only one that actually works. The Lord has consistently and faithfully provided truth, wisdom, guidance, and protection to me regardless of where I have gone or what I have undertaken.


So, for me, Isaiah’s statement is truly on-target. He starts out with the single most important aspect of entering into a relationship with God. God is the only source of salvation that exists in the universe, and all of us need to be saved. We are born lost, defeated by our sinfulness, and bound for a life of separation from God and from the love, truth, grace, and justice that are formed up out of His character and nature alone. Not only does God save us and bring us into His presence in a relationship that enfolds all of life under His outpouring of engagement, but the Lord is absolutely trustworthy to provide answers to all questions, to care about and for us in all circumstances, and to never abandon or separate Himself from us. The Lord has been consistently true to His word to never leave my side and to always enter into my life in love, grace, and truth; so, it is natural to trust Him in all matters and with all aspects of my days.


Out of this trust comes the ability to be strong and to carry on regardless of what life may throw my way. The strength that I am speaking of is not some sort of brave front or unflinching determination to show no pain on the outside. Instead, it is a form of strength that knows that the outcome of this life is secured in Christ and that holds onto the Lord’s promise to provide His people with all that we need to remain true and faithful to Him in and through all that comes our way. Christ’s strength has taken the place of my weakness, and He makes me capable of singing songs of praise to my Lord during each and every day of my life. Thus, over and over again the Lord sustains me when I am failing in my resolve. He lifts me up when I have fallen down both in body and in spirit, and Christ is the solid rock upon which I can trust to set my feet when the troubling and the terrifying aspects of this world are hurling themselves my way.




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