Something I Learnt About Joy

beautiful post!


7 Ways to Cultivate Joy


Want more joy in your day? Cultivate it! Joy springs from viewing the day’s events from eternity’s perspective. With this intentional focus, you’re sure to see today differently — with more joy and conviction that God is at work in your life.

1. Rehearse with God the reasons you trust Him. Tell Him which of His attributes is your favorite right now. Read the praises of Scripture back to Him — begin with Psalms 103:1. Join with another believer in prayers of thanksgiving, and delight yourself in His character.

2. Keep a “joy journal.” Record the reasons you have to rejoice and the reminders of God’s faithfulness that you encounter in your everyday life. In addition, why not press a leaf from your prayer walks into its pages or include a photo of a person that brings you joy each time you remember…

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When Numbers Don’t Count

been here many times, a wonderful word!

Hard Times Ministries

Some years ago, I lived with a minister, Pastor Walter T. Jones in his small church, a faithful congregation of about 12-17 members.

Pastor Jones had ministered to his flock for over 7 years.  His bed consisted of two chairs and a telephone book for a pillow of which we slept in the one room that housed his church.

Most nights, collections for offerings were about $3.00 and then again, from time to time, people from the streets would walk in:  all with special needs, of either food or transportation.

Criticism mounted over the years that his church didn’t grow.  Yet, time and time again, I saw this man preach and pastor to people, people who desperately needed assistance from the church.

Many would see this ministry as a failure.  I witnessed it as a huge success for all the attendees were people I know good and well would not…

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Let Love Reign


Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (KJV)  Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.  [2]  And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.  [3]  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.  [4]  As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.  [5]  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  [6]  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.  [7]  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  [8]  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  [9]  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  [10]  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  [11]  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  [12]  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  [13]  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

Knowledge without a proper foundation soon becomes
ugly, self centered, and mean.

I like to read. I think we as Americans would be better suited to turn off the television and read. Read not just newspapers, but other fine works of literature. We need to read more … and certainly need to read our Bibles more.

I was reading an article this morning called “Why Our Civil Discourse Is Broken”. Written by Annie Holmquist, she started the article by saying:

In an age where PARTISANSHIP reigns supreme, there seems to be one issue on which members of both the Left and Right agree, namely,

In the article she examined why we no longer discuss things in America, but shout at one another across the aisle. Republicans shout at Democrats, Democrats shout at Republicans, and the so called “Free Press” throws gasoline on the fire. Why is this? The conclusion the article draws might surprise you. One of those she quoted was an Atheist and Liberal Feminist Camille Paglia who said that it was the “decline of religion and the wisdom of the ancients that is in large part responsible for this state of things”. Paglia said:

We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny. Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death.”

When you make truth fluid, and unhook it from the Divine Word of God, then the
only thing that makes truth truth is who can shout the loudest.

That doesn’t work. Jesus prayed for His Church long ago:

John 17:16-17 (CSB) They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your Word is truth.

Truth cannot be uncoupled from the Rock that is God, or else it becomes chaos.

1 Corinthians 8:1 (KJV) … Knowledge puffeth up,
but charity
(love) edifieth (builds up)
Knowledge PUFFS UP but Love BUILDS UP.

The Church at Corinth was in a shouting match, with the left and right sides of the aisle screaming at one another. They had forgotten that the reason Jesus left the Church on the earth was to share His Gospel.

It is because of Love that God saved us by His Gospel.

John 3:16 (KJV)   For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus commanded those He saved to first and foremost LOVE.

John 13:34 (KJV)   A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also love one another.

If we belong to Jesus we are to CONTINUE In Christ’s Love.

John 15:9 (KJV)   As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

1 John 4:10-11 (KJV)  Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  [11]  BELOVED, if God so LOVED us, we ought also to LOVE one another.

The truth is that the whole of God’s Law is fulfilled by Love.

Romans 13:8-10 (KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  [9]  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  [10]  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore LOVE IS THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW.

Galatians 5:14 (KJV)  For ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD, even in this; Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.

James 2:8 (KJV)  If ye FULFIL THE ROYAL LAW ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURE, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

I had a so called superstar pastor – a legend in his own mind who sadly was honored by too many—tell me,

There’s more in the Bible than loving God and loving one another”.

I disagree, and so, it seems, does the Scripture. Love is the main thing. We are to love God first, then we are to love others as God has loved us. God has given His Church a great blessing in Christ. He has given us salvation. He has also given us LIBERTY. We are freed from sin and the law so that we can serve a higher Law, the Law of the Spirit. The Law of the Spirit is Love, and the work of the Spirit is to produce a singular fruit …

Galatians 5:22-25 (KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH,  [23]  MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE: against such there is no law.  [24]  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  [25]  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Anytime Idolatry Enters, Sanity Leaves

Corinth as well as Rome were Pagan Capitals. People worshiped idols, both Roman and Greek, and you couldn’t walk through either city without seeing stone or wooden idols on display. Animal sacrifices were often made to these various idols by their worshippers, and so many sacrifices were made each day that a problem came up.

What do we do with the meat?

The pagans were capitalists. Many capitalists are pagans, worshippers of mammon or money. As the animals sacrificed to the false gods were without spot or blemish, some beef, some goat, and some sheep, the pagans got an idea.

Let’s set up a meat market outside of the pagan temple,
and sell this good meat at a reduced price”

I’ve been to Dollar Stores before. I found a dollar steak – frozen of course – in a dollar store. The dollar bill would have been tastier. The steak tasted like it was cut from the hoof of the critter, it was that tough. And it didn’t taste like any beef I’ve ever tasted. Dollar store steak is nasty.

But what if you could go to the store and find New York Strip steaks for a dollar a pound? What if you could find Filet Mignon for $1.50 per serving, or a T-Bone about an inch thick for $3.00? What would you do? I’d want to snap it up. I’d buy a few at first to test the quality, and if it was good, then I’d fill my freezer. I love good beef, good pork, and I even like lamb (which is usually $9.00 per pound around here). I wouldn’t even ask where it came from as long as it was good.

But what if it were previously offered up as a sacrifice to an idol? That’s what was happening in Corinth, and also happened in Rome. The pagan temples started meat markets, and many of the Christians in the Church at Corinth and Rome began purchasing this meat. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 (KJV)  As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.  [5]  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  [6]  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

We who are mature in Christ know that an idol is nothing.
An idol is a made up, man-made god or goddess.

There is a child’s riddle that asks:

What has eyes, but cannot see?”

The proper answers are “a potato, a needle, a picture, a hurricane, and a tornado”. There is one other thing that “has eyes, but cannot see”, and that is the IDOL. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 135:15-17 (CSB) The idols of the nations are of silver and gold, made by human hands. 16 They have MOUTHS BUT CANNOT SPEAK, EYES, BUT CANNOT SEE. 17 THEY HAVE EARS BUT CANNOT HEAR; indeed, there is no breath in their mouths.

Idols are not real, but they are figments of the imagination. Buddha is an idol. The Hindu gods are idols. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young started a religion based on idols. Money can be an idol, as well as power. But these idols have no cognizance, no intelligence, no abilities to do or undo anything.

1 Corinthians 8:6 (KJV)  But to US there is but ONE GOD, THE FATHER, of whom are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, by whom are all things, and we by him.

We who are Christians, born again by faith in Him, we who are mature in our faith know that there is but One Father, of Whom are all things. We know that there is but one Lord Jesus Christ, our Messiah and Savior, by Whom are all things. It is He Who saved us, and not we ourselves. We who are mature in Christ know that idols are make believe. For us to eat meat that had been previously offered to idols in sacrifice – discounted meat – means nothing. But then Paul says this:

1 Corinthians 8:7 (KJV)  Howbeit there is NOT IN EVERY MAN THAT KNOWLEDGE: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

My Focus Should Be To Build Up The Church
By Lifting Up The Gospel

Not every Christian understands that idols are nothing.
Not every believer is at the same level of spiritual maturity.

Paul told the Roman Christians (who suffered under the same problem):

Romans 14:14-18 (KJV)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  [15]  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  [16]  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  [17]  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  [18]  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

Though there is nothing wrong with buying discounted meat that had been offered to idols, the weaker Christian was offended by that. Though I have liberty in Christ to eat meat offered to idols, the Law of Love demands that I consider my fellow Christian, and do nothing to wreck his or her faith. The Apostle told the Romans:

Romans 14:20-21 (KJV)  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  [21]   It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

We are under Christian liberty, but we are foremost to be under Christian LOVE.

1 Corinthians 8:8 (KJV)  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

In the Old Testament God decreed what was clean to eat, and what was unclean to eat. In Leviticus 11 God gave an extensive list of what foods were clean, and which were unclean. Unclean animals were:

Any fish without scales (no catfish!)
Owls (Briscoe Darling of Andy Griffith would be astonished)

You could, however, eat beef, lamb, fish with scales, locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers.

To eat something unclean would cause you to be unclean, and separate you from God.

In the New Testament the Blood of Christ changed everything. In Acts 10 Peter while praying had a vision from God.

Acts 10:9-15 (CSB) …. Peter went up to pray on the roof about noon. 10 He became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing something, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and an object that resembled a large sheet coming down, being lowered by its four corners to the earth. 12 In it were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, and the birds of the sky. 13 A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 “No, Lord!” Peter said. “For I have never eaten anything impure and ritually unclean.” 15 Again, a second time, the voice said to him, “What God has made clean, do not call impure.” 16 This happened three times, and suddenly the object was taken up into heaven.

God made all things clean through Christ. You can eat a bug now if you want to. I don’t want to, but I love my pig! You can eat pig – which I prefer over crickets or locusts. Under Christ meat commendeth us not to God. You can eat any meat, any food. God does not care! But what God does care about is that WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 8:9-11 (KJV)  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  [10]  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  [11]  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

The Bible tells us God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him SHOULD NOT PERISH, but have everlasting life. Christ gave Himself for us so that none would perish. As a Child of God I need to take care that I do not cause my weaker brother in Christ to perish. My liberty must never be a stumblingblock to another believer.

I want to be quick to point out that this passage is NOT justifying sin.
I want to be quick to point out that this passage is NOT justifying sin.
I want to be quick to point out that this passage is NOT justifying sin.

You cannot say “my meat is sexual sin or alcohol or drugs … so I’ll do this and be saved”.

I’m sorry, but God has forbidden certain things as sinful.

Galatians 5:19-21 (CSB) Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

What God has said is sin is still sin, and we are suppose to say the same thing about sin that our Father has. However there are areas that have nothing to do with sin that I should not do for one reason.

Because it would cause a weaker Christian to fall away.

1 Corinthians 8:12-13 (KJV) But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  [13]  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

We are to reject sin, but also not to elevate something not forbidden as sin to the level of a sin. We are to love God, love one another, and love the stranger among us.

It is through love and the SPOKEN GOSPEL that the soul is saved. May someone be led to Christ and His Church by this Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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The Lord Is Calling


Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.   [19]   Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:   [20]   Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

When we preached through the Book of Matthew I never preached the so called “Great Commission” at the end of the Book. Why? Because I had covered the Great Commission before. But also because I wanted to speak of Christ’s Commission to His Church when I came to this passage in Isaiah.

The “Great Commission” is not new. In fact, God has commissioned His people from the beginning of time to go forth and tell others for Him, to represent His Saving Cause to a lost and dying world. God called people to Himself in the Old Testament, and calls people to Himself in the New Testament. The Gospel was meant to be spoken, to be shared.

The only way for a person to be saved is to hear the Gospel through another person.
The only way for a person to be saved is to hear the Gospel through another person.
The only way for a person to be saved is to hear the Gospel through another person.

This New Age never spoken Gospel is not in the Bible. The Apostle said:

Romans 10:13-17 (KJV)  For whosoever shall CALL upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  [14]  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not HEARD? and how shall they HEAR without a preacher?  [15]  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  [16]  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For {Isaiah} saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  [17]  So then FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD.

People must HEAR the Word of God. This is why Jesus gave us a Great Commission before He ascended into Heaven. Jesus said:

All power is given unto Me in Heaven and earth …

There is no salvation nor power to save outside of Christ.
There is no god other than the God of Scripture.
There is no strength to salvation except through His Son.

Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations …

You TEACH with the mouth. You TELL, you SHOW.
You TEACH without regard to race.

Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit …

Immerse the saved in water as a show of their dedication to the Triune God.
Ceremonially wash every professing saved person as a public witness of their obedience to God.


What Jesus said, we DO.
We need to STOP DOING what Jesus did not say.
We need to START DOING what Jesus did say.
We who belong to God are not called to entertain or satisfy goats.
We are not to blend with the world.
We are to feed the sheep, TEACHING what Christ said do.

Lo, I am with you, even to the end of this Age.

Jesus is with His Church, the Church that does as He COMMANDED.

Having examined the New Testament Great Commission, let us look at the Old. God asked the Question:

Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?…

The Lord (אֲדֹנָי ‘Adonay) asks two questions that are very interesting.

Whom shall I send?
Who will go for US?

God is One, unified in mind and purpose. But God is also US, a Trinity, Father – Son – and Spirit. Who will represent the Immense God of the Bible? Who will go before humanity? Will the Angels? No, the Angels cannot. The Angels do not understand us. The Angels do not understand the Gospel. When Lucifer became Satan by rebelling against God, light choosing darkness, and took a third of the angels of heaven with him in that rebellion, God turned His back in these creatures. John the Revelator said:

Revelation 12:7-12 (NKJV) … war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The fallen angels are destined to be cast from Heaven to earth. Satan periodically visits the Throneroom of God today (see the Book of Job), but Satan has no place in Heaven. His rebellion has effectively damned both him as well as his traitorous followers we today call “demons”. The Bible says that the Angels “long to catch a glimpse of the things of the Gospel” (1 Peter 1:12). The Angels do not understand salvation, for salvation was not offered to them.

But Angels are not created in the Image of God.
We are.
In the image of God created He him.”
Male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27)

Man is not an animal, nor an Angel, but created in the image of God. When Adam fell and plunged creation into sin God promised to send a Savior. He sent the Savior in Christ. The Bible asks in Hebrews:

Hebrews 2:6-8 (CSB) …. What is man that you remember him, or the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him lower than the angels for a short time; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and subjected everything under his feet.

Man was not made an angel, but “lower than the angels”. And when man fell, God became man to save us.

Hebrews 2:9 (CSB) But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death.

Angels cannot go to man for the Triune God because Angels have not been offered salvation. But God became Man to die for our sins. Only we who are human can experience salvation by faith in Christ. So a man or woman must go. A human must go. A person must tell the glorious Gospel. This is why Jesus told His Church:


The Humble Are Sent To Tell The Fallen Of Christ

Isaiah 6 begins with:

Isaiah 6:1 (KJV)  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Who was King Uzziah? He was one of the good Kings of Israel who ruled with righteousness. Uzziah was mentioned in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ (see Matthew 1:8-9). However, Uzziah became prideful, and did something he should not do. He followed the sin of King Saul in trying to take the place of the priests.

There is only one King in all of History that can be Priest as well, and that is Jesus Christ our Lord. He is King by lineage through David, and Priest of Melchizedek. What Saul and Uzziah tried to do was take Christ’s place – and suffered for it!

Uzziah stepped outside of what God called him to do, and burned incense in the Temple. God caused Uzziah to become leprous, so much so that he had to have his son Jotham rule in his place (see 2 Chronicles 26:16-20). Uzziah was greatly successful until he departed from God’s will. Instead of being buried in the tomb of the Kings in Jerusalem he was buried outside of the city (see 2 Kings 15:7; 2 Chronicles 26:23). He reigned 52 years and the nation was blessed under him, but he did not finish well. Why? Because instead of seeing God high and lifted up, Uzziah himself became high and lifted up.

When Uzziah died, the nation mourned. But in the middle of all this darkness, Isaiah looked UP. It was in the midst of national tragedy that Isaiah was blessed to look into Heaven. He saw the Lord enthroned. “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne”. God was not worried. God was at rest, for God is high and lifted up. Uzziah tried to be high and lifted up, but was brought low, because he is but a man.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NLT) This is what the LORD says: Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. 6They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. 7 But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. 8They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (CSB) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.

God sends the humble to tell others of Himself. Only God is high and lifted up. We are not. What does God say of the proud?

Proverbs 16:5 (NLT) The LORD detests the proud; they will surely be punished!

God only is God. God only is “high and lifted up”. We also read:

his train filled the temple

I have a friend named Ricky Allen who led me to the Lord. He loves model trains. When you go to his house, model trains are on shelves, running around most of the rooms, on walls and on floors. It is quite amazing.

This isn’t the kind of train we’re talking about here.

In ancient times a king wore a long robe that trailed well beyond what was needed to cover his body. The part of the robe that would drag the floor was to be carried by men who honored the king. The longer the train, the more important the king. When Isaiah saw the Lord in Heaven His train filled the Temple. Heaven was covered with the train of God’s robe. This is symbolic that God is the king of Kings and Lord of Lords. He alone rules Heaven and earth.

Psalm 115:3 (CSB) Our God is in heaven and does whatever he pleases.

Proverbs 16:9 (CSB) A person’s heart plans his way,
but the Lord determines his steps.

2 Chronicles 20:6 (CSB) Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven, and do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand, and no one can stand against you.

God has given us free will, the ability to choose to follow Him or to follow someone lesser. In His Sovereignty God allowed His only Begotten Son to die on the Cross of Calvary, making payment for our sins. But though we have free will we must never forget that God is God and we are not. He chooses to love us. He chooses to offer us salvation through His Son. But God ultimately is in control. And God is HOLY.

Isaiah 6:2-4 (KJV)  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  [3]  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.  [4]  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

The holiness of God filled the earth. The holiness of God moved the doorposts of Heaven’s throneroom. The holiness of God caused the Angels that served Him to cover their face and feet. The holiness of God caused the very air to smoke. God is holy. The Father is holy. The Son is holy. The Spirit is holy. The Triune God is holy, holy, holy! And …

Only A Holy People Can Represent A Holy God

Isaiah looks into Heaven and is immediately dismayed. He cries out:

Isaiah 6:5 (KJV) … Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

An unholy and unsaved person cannot go forth and tell others about the Lord. Many who profess to be “Christian” do not witness because they themselves are not saved. If you are uncertain as to your status before God you will be uncertain as to whether share the Gospel or not. The Bible tells us that the world and Satan is overcome …

Revelation 12:11 (KJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

If you have never met the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior you have no testimony. You are like the Angels who fell who have no standing before God. “Christian” is more than a cultural thing or a default religion. To be “Christian” is to be set apart by Christ, to be marked by God as His Child. The world doesn’t mind a hypocritical Bible thumping know it all. It laughs at that type of person. When John the Revelator looked into Heaven what did he see? He saw martyrs to our faith, saying:

Revelation 6:9 (KJV) … I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

It is the Word of God and the TESTIMONY of salvation that enables us to tell about Christ. Isaiah cried out when he saw the thrice Holy God of Heaven. “Woe is me! I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips. I have not confessed Christ. I have not called upon His Name! I cannot go for the Master until fire comes to my lips. I cannot serve Him until I am cleansed by His power!”

Isaiah 6:6-7 (KJV)  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:  [7]  And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

The Angel “took a live coal from the altar”. What is this coal? In ancient Israel the coals of the altar were the remains of the burnt offering, the Animal without spot or blemish killed then burned under the judgment of God. This coal represents the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) For Christ also SUFFERED ONCE for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

Hebrews 10:12-14 (ESV) … when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

The Angel took the live burning coal and placed it on Isaiah’s lips.

Romans 10:9-13 (KJV) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Isaiah neither earned nor deserved what was given to him. The Angel touched his mouth with the coal of the burnt offering. The believer confesses Christ as Lord and Savior. And the iniquity is taken away, and the sin purged.

Oh praise God for the salvation of Christ!

It was only after his sin was purged that God asked:

Whom shall I send?
Who will go for US?

God does not send the lost or uncertain to speak of His salvation. But He calls us.

But” you say, “what if they will not hear?”

What did God say to Isaiah?

Isaiah 6:9-10 (KJV)  And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  [10]  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

God told Isaiah “Son, they WON’T hear. Tell them anyway.” Share Jesus because of God. Share Jesus because of what God has done for you. Share Jesus whether they hear or not. We are not responsible for the results, but we are responsible for being obedient. God told Isaiah that only one in ten would hear what he was saying – the rest would care less. Tell them anyway.

Tell them because the Lord loves you, and you love the Lord.
Don’t tell them because you HAVE to.
God forces no one to tell another.

But He asks:

Who shall I send?
Who will go for US?

Go for the Lord.

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The Beloved’s Garden – A Communion Message


Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: Isaiah 5:1-2 (KJV)  Now will I sing to My Well Beloved a song of My Beloved touching his vineyard. My Well Beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:  [2]  And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes …

and it brought forth wild grapes.

Today we will take the Lord’s Table. This is a time of self inspection and recognition of God’s love to us. God’s people are called by God to be God’s people. I’ll say that again:

God’s people are called by God to be God’s people!

The Bible uses the image of the grape vineyard to describe God’s people.
In the Old Testament the people of God were called Israel.
In the New Testament the people of God are called the Church.
God’s people – whether Old or New Testament – are likened to God’s Vineyard.

Isaiah 5:1 (KJV)  Now will I sing to my Well Beloved a song of My Beloved touching his vineyard.

God sings to His Well Beloved a song about the Well Beloved’s vineyard.
Who is the “Well Beloved”? It is Jesus Christ.

The Father spoke of Jesus at His baptism, saying:

Matthew 3:17 (CSB) … This is MY BELOVED Son, with whom I am well-pleased …

While the Pharisees plotted His death, God declared of Christ:

Matthew 12:18 (CSB) … Here is my servant whom I have chosen, MY BELOVED in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations.

As Peter tried to decide whether to hear Jesus, Elijah or Moses at the Mount of Transfiguration, the Father spoke from Heaven saying:

Matthew 17:5 (CSB) … This is MY BELOVED SON, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!

Christ is the Father’s Beloved, and the people whom He has saved His Beloved Garden. Throughout the Scripture the word “Beloved” is used either for Christ or for His People. God loves His Son. And if you love His Son and have received His Son as Lord and Savior, YOU are Beloved for His sake. You are …

Beloved of God, called to be saints (Romans 1:7)
Dearly Beloved, who runs from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14)
Beloved brethren, abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Beloved who are made accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6)
Holy and beloved, merciful, kind, humble, and patient (Colossians 3:12)
Oh How The Beloved Loves His Garden!
Oh, How He Loves His People!

God plants His people. Christ plants His Garden. We read:

Isaiah 5:1 (KJV) … My WELL BELOVED hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill …

Christ’s Vineyard Is PLANNED

The Garden of God is planted in a place where it is to be very fruitful. Vineyards that are very fruitful are not accidents or come about by happenstance. God plants His Vineyard where it will be fruitful. The people of God are a people of purpose. The Bible says:

Ephesians 3:10-11 (CSB) This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. 11 This is ACCORDING TO HIS ETERNAL PURPOSE ACCOMPLISHED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.

God places His Garden where He wants it to be, in a place that fulfills His Eternal Purpose.

2 Timothy 1:9 (CSB) He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.

The purpose of every believer is to bring forth fruit for God.

The purpose of every Church is to magnify and show our love for our glorious Savior.

Christ’s Vineyard Is PURCHASED

When we think of “purchase” we think of money and inflation. When I was a boy I could purchase a Marathon Bar – a caramel and chocolate candy bar that was about 1 foot long – for about 10 cents. Today the candy bars are tiny. I bought a small Snickers bar the other day and paid $1.38 for it! I remember gas being 35 cents a gallon. No more. That’s inflation.

What purchased us? The Bible tells us:

Titus 2:14 (CSB) … {Jesus} gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself A PEOPLE FOR HIS OWN POSSESSION, eager to do good works.

Jesus purchased us. He did not purchase us with money subject to inflation, but purchased us with His own blood and His own body. He died for us on Calvary, suffering the shame and agony. He paid for our sins on that tree, that Bloody Tree. Christ chose the nails so that we could receive His Heaven. Jesus paid for our sins in His own Body on the Tree. The Apostle declares:

1 Peter 2:9 (CSB) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, A PEOPLE FOR HIS POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

When we eat the Bread of this table and drink the Cup of this table we are reminded that

His Body was broken for me
His Blood was shed for me

As His Child I am His Purchased Possession. The Bible tells us that Christ made peace with God through His Blood shed on the Cross (Colossians 1:20).

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CSB) …. You are not your own, 20 for YOU WERE BOUGHT AT A PRICE. So glorify God with your body (KJV adds “and in your spirit, which are God’s”)

The Vineyard belongs to the Beloved. He purchased us with His Blood. We are called to live for Him.

Christ’s Vineyard Is PLANTED And PROTECTED

Christ bestows a five-fold Grace on His Garden, His people. We read …

Isaiah 5:2 (KJV) And he FENCED it, and GATHERED OUT THE STONES thereof, and PLANTED IT WITH THE CHOICEST VINE, and BUILT A TOWER in the midst of it, and also MADE A WINEPRESS therein: and HE LOOKED that it should bring forth grapes

God loves His Garden, His Church. Purchasing it with His own Blood (Acts 20:28) Christ FENCES or BUILDS A HEDGE around His Church. God protects His Vineyard with His Word. The Church that departs from the Word of God clearly presented is the Church endangered. Jesus told us:

Matthew 7:15-16 (CSB) Be on your guard against FALSE PROPHETS who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. 16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

There are false prophets today who teach that a person can go to Heaven without Christ, that any old god will do. This is wrong. There is no other name given under Heaven by which a person can be saved (Acts 4:12). Jesus stated:

John 14:6 (CSB) Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.

There are false prophets that teach that which Christ did not teach. Christ said:


The false prophets teach racism, division, and hatred. The Garden of God is called to show forth love, just as Christ loved us. Back biting and bickering are foreign to God’s Garden. These are wild grapes which do not please our Master. The Lord:

gathers out the stones thereof …

Removing that which is non-productive. Sometimes we wonder why trials come in our lives. Trials come because God stirs the soil, pulling out the non-productive. We are told in …

1 Peter 1:5-7 (CSB) You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials 7 so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Someone once said “An untried faith is an uncertain faith”. It is through the trials that God brings to us that we are made more fruitful. The Garden must be weeded, and the soil stirred. Rocks must be removed, and branches pruned. Only then are we able to – relying upon our Christ – bring forth fruit to the glory of Christ our Lord. Christ …

planted it with the choicest vine …

Do not let the Devil tell you you are unworthy.
You were unworthy, but now in Christ are made worthy.
His Blood cleanses you.
His Spirit indwells you.
God called you to be part of His Garden – He chose you.

John 15:16 (CSB) You did not choose me, but I CHOSE YOU. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.

The Devil and his evil agents – often so called “Brother” or “Pastor” or “Reverend” or even “Doctor” – have many times slandered my calling and my fruits. Yet Christ tells me “Keep your eyes on Me. I called you, not these satans. I called you to my Vineyard, not to a thorny rose patch. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. They accused Me, and they will accuse you. Lived for Me. Bring forth fruit to Me. Abide in Me.” Christ tells us:

Romans 16:17-18 (CSB) Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to WATCH OUT FOR THOSE WHO CREATE DIVISIONS AND OBSTACLES CONTRARY TO THE TEACHING THAT YOU LEARNED. Avoid them, 18 because such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14 (CSB) Now we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to KEEP AWAY FROM EVERY BROTHER OR SISTER WHO IS IDLE AND DOES NOT LIVE ACCORDING TO THE TRADITION RECEIVED FROM US. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed.

Oh how the devil loves to attack the Garden of God. Keep your eyes upon Jesus. Do as the Scripture says and our Lord declared:

John 15:1-6 (CSB) I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Cast aside the accuser and his disciples. Bear fruit for Jesus. Abide in Him. Cling to Him. Trust Him. He is our Beloved, and we His Garden.

and built a tower in the midst of it …

God watches over His people.

The TOWER is a WATCHTOWER, a place to oversee the Vineyard. God paid so much for your salvation. He will not abandon you whom He has saved. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 121:3-8 (CSB) {God} will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. 4 Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep. 5 The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side. 6 The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night. 7 The Lord will protect you from all harm; he will protect your life. 8 The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.

God looks after His people. His eye is on the sparrow – I know He watches me. He has promised:

Psalm 34:15 (CSB) The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry for help.

He will protect His own.

The Vineyard Is To PRODUCE For Christ

and made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes …
and it brought forth wild grapes

Christ expects His Vineyard to bring forth GRAPES … but not WILD GRAPES. What is the difference? A GRAPE grows from a cultivated plant on cultivated soil. A GRAPE comes from a domesticated vine. A WILD GRAPE grows without being planted or tended or overseen by the gardener.

Many today who call themselves “Christian” are wild grapes. Christ does not have to protect wild grapes. In fact, wild grapes are not valuable for anything. You will not find the fruit of wild grapes on supermarket shelves. They are often bitter, unstable, unusable.

The wild grape is not concerned over glory to God, but chases profit.

Isaiah 5:8-9 (KJV)  Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!  [9]  In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.

The wild grape cares not for the Lord nor His Vineyard, but cares for their own profit. God promises that in due time they shall be desolate.

The wild grape chases self pleasure rather than God’s pleasure.

Isaiah 5:11-12 (KJV)  Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!  [12]  And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.

The wild grape is all about the party, the pleasure, themselves. The wild grape does not live nor love for the Lord.

Isaiah 5:18 (KJV)  Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:

The wild grape pursues sin, drawing it to themselves.
The wild grape justifies sin and redefines sin.

Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

God is the definer of sin. What He says is wrong will always be wrong. We who are His are to turn from sin as a destructive force, to love Him with all our hearts, and to love our neighbors as Christ has taught us how. We do not argue with our Lord, our Beloved. The wild grape does, but we do not.

Isaiah 5:22-23 (KJV)  Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:  [23]  Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

We who are Christ’s love Him so we love His Word and stand in it, rejecting sin, knowing that, in the end, our Lord will triumph. Praise Him! Praise Him, oh Beloved’s Garden. We now come to the Lord’s Table. Prepare your hearts to receive His lesson.

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great words. Love this!


Romans 8:38-39
I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord
When I was born physically I had a father. As Ian Lee’s son, is there anything that I could possibly do which would change my blood relationship to him? What if I ran away from home and changed my name? Would I still be his son? Of course! We’re related by blood and nothing can change that. But is there anything I could do which would affect the harmony of our relationship as father and son? Yes, indeed! The harmony of our relationship was interrupted countless times by my or his behaviour.

In the spiritual realm, when I was born…

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I press on

great words!


I press on

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 – (New American Standard Bible)

When my strength is seeping faster than I can walk

When it does not make sense to try anymore

When logic says it is OK to let it go

When no one is  watching or , when no one notices or even cares

When the only eyes on me are Yours

When friends give their green light for me to go ahead and throw in the towel

When no one else knows the details of the story apart from You and myself

When doing the right thing will only rock the boat more fiercely

When my opponents make offers and are calling for a truce

When it is just easier to take the money and run

When fighting for the truth…

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1_Corinthians_7_20-24_Amazing Grace

Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 (KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

The Bible defines what is and is not sin. God gives us an extensive list of what He considers to be sin, and declares:

Ezekiel 18:4 (ESV) ….. all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

Our text today speaks of the calling of God unto salvation:

1 Corinthians 7:20 (KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling
wherein he was called.

God calls people to Him from all walks of life.
He calls the rich, the poor, the red, yellow, black, or white.
He calls educated people and illiterate people.

God calls whosoever will to hear the Gospel, receive Christ as both Lord and Savior, and then to follow Him.

The unspoken question Paul answers today is …

If I am a SLAVE and am called to serve Jesus, what should I do?”

The word “SERVANT” in verse 21 is the Greek δοῦλος doulos, which means “SLAVE”. It doesn’t mean “Servant” like a maid or a butler is a servant. It means someone who has lost their freedom, and who now MUST do as a master says. So what should a slave who is saved by the Grace of God do? The Apostle says:

1 Corinthians 7:21-22 (KJV) …. care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

The Apostle says “Don’t worry about it. If you are able to become free, do that. He who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freeman; and he who was called while free is Christ’s slave.”

The Apostle tells those who are in slavery that they are not to worry, but to serve Jesus where they are called. Now I ask you a loaded question:

Does God Define Slavery As Sin?

I’m not talking about human emotion here. People are having battles and riots over statues of people who owned slaves. Personally, I could never own a slave. I believe that every person is made in the image of God. God did not create us to be enslaved. The Bible declares:

Genesis 1:27-29 (NASB) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and SUBDUE IT; and RULE OVER the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you …

Humanity was created to rule over creatures and plants, not to dominate other humans. As God ruled us, we were to rule creation for God. Slavery was not in God’s original intent in creation. However, God allows certain types of slavery.

God Forbids Chattel Slavery

What is “Chattel Slavery”? Chattel slaves are people who are conquered, kidnapped, and forced into slavery as property. Chattel slaves are owned forever. Their children, and children’s children are automatically enslaved at birth.

This was a common form of slavery in the ancient world, and the slavery that was shamefully prevalent in early America. Presidents ….

George Washington 1st President

Thomas Jefferson 3rd President

James Madison 4th President

James Monroe 5th President

Andrew Jackson 7th President

Martin Van Buren 8th President

William Henry Harrison 9th President

John Tyler 10th President

James K. Polk 11th President

Zachary Taylor 12th President

…. all owned slaves, though George Washington freed his slaves following the Revolution. Slaves were captured from Africa, stacked like cordwood on slave ships, and brought into America for sale. All human rights were suspended.

This type of slavery is forbidden in Scripture as “kidnapping” of as the King James puts it “menstealing”. The Bible says:

Exodus 21:16 (CSB) Whoever KIDNAPS a person must be put to death, whether he sells him or the person is found in his possession.

People were not to be stolen, nor their will taken from them. God made us in His image to rule the earth, not to be enslaved against our will. Kidnappers were put to death in ancient Israel for forcing people into slavery. God told His people:

Deuteronomy 24:7 (CSB) If a man is discovered kidnapping one of his Israelite brothers, whether he treats him as a slave or sells him, the KIDNAPPER MUST DIE. YOU MUST PURGE THE EVIL FROM YOU.

In the New Testament the Bible declares kidnapping or chattel slavery to be equal to the sins of murder, patricide or matricide, homosexuality, and lying:

1 Timothy 1:9-10 (CSB) We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for SLAVE TRADERS, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching …

John Newton, the writer of that glorious hymn Amazing Grace was a former slave ship master. After he received Christ as Lord and Savior and ceased this horrible practice he wrote about it.

There are three lodging-rooms below deck {of the slaver ship} (for the men, the boys and the women). The slaves lie close to each other, like books upon a shelf. The poor creatures are cramped for room and chained, two together, by their hands and feet. This makes it difficult for them to turn or move, to attempt to rise or lie down, without hurting themselves, or each other. Sometimes the weather keeps them below deck for a week and they have to breathe hot and corrupted air. Diseases often break out and I believe nearly half of the slaves on board have sometimes died. On one trip the ship, in which I was mate, left the coast with 218 slaves on board; and though we were not much affected by disease, 62 died on the journey.”

None of God’s creatures should be treated this way. Chattel slavery is still practiced today. According to the Walk Free Foundation there are some 30 million chattel slaves in the world today:

forced laborers
forced prostitutes
child soldiers
child brides

The West African nation of Mauritania has one out of every 25 people enslaved.
In Haiti and Pakistan more than 1% of the population lives in slavery.
In India there are 14 million slaves.
You could equate this to forcing all of Pennsylvania into slavery.

Chattel slavery is evil, and forbidden. The 13th Amendment to our U.S. Constitution states:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

  • The Bible makes allowances for BOND Slavery. Bond slavery is not based on skin color nor is it forced on anyone. In the book Hard Sayings Of The Bible (Kaiser, Davids, & Brauch) we are told:

A fellow Israelite who needed to raise money to pay for debts (could) … sell the only asset he possessed: his labor power. However, there were strict rules that governed his or her treatment during the maximum of six years that such a relationship could be entered into with another Israelite. Should any master mistreat his slave with a rod … the owner forfeited his whole investment (Ex 21:20–21, 26) and the slave was immediately released, or if the master caused the slave’s death, the master was subject to capital punishment.”

The Bible allowed “Bond Slavery”, where a person willingly sold themselves to another to work off a debt. The Bond Slave entered into a contract with another, promising to labor for that person until the debt was paid.

If you’ve ever been in the United States Military you were a type of bond servant. I remember one young man telling the Sergeant that he wasn’t going to do what he was told to do. The Sergeant replied:

You’ll do what I say NOW, or take an all expense paid holiday to For Leavenworth

The young man did what he said. Every four years I signed a contract with the US Air Force, raised my right hand, and swore to obey all lawfully given orders. When I was newly wed I was sent to Saudi Arabia for 90 days, minus my wife. The Commander told me when I complained:

The Air Force didn’t issue you your wife!

I’ve been all over the world, worked in sub zero temperatures and in heat up to 140 degrees. No one asked me if I wanted to go or not. No one asked my preferences. I was a bond slave to America, and would do it all over again if I could. I loved doing what I did, though it was harsh and hurt my body. But it was my choice.

The Bond Slave makes the choice.

In Israel the Bond Slave could only serve up to 6 years, then was released on the year of Jubilee. The Bond Slave could decide to “join up again” or could “Put his ear against the post” (see Exodus 21:6) and have an awl placed through the ear id he wanted to be “slave for life”. This was a person’s choice.

Bond Servants were not abused. God told His people:

Leviticus 25:38-41 (CSB) I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. 39 If your brother among you becomes destitute and sells himself to you, you MUST NOT FORCE HIM TO DO SLAVE LABOR. 40 Let him stay with you as a hired worker or temporary resident; he may work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then he and his children are to be released from you, and he may return to his clan and his ancestral property.

Brothers and sisters in the faith were not to treat one another as slaves, but as children whom God has saved. No one saved by the Blood of Christ is to treat another brother or sister as anything but precious in the sight of God. Dead people do dead things, but believers consider every life to be precious.

A man was feeling terribly sick, so he finally went to the family doctor. “Doctor, I just feel terrible. What’s wrong with me?” The doctor examined him, took some blood samples, and the next day called him into the office. “Were you bitten by an animal lately?” the doctor asked. “Why yes, about a month ago a stray dog came in my yard. He bit me as I was trying to run him off.” The doctor said, “I have some really bad news. You have rabies. If you had come in earlier, I could have helped you, but it’s now in your blood stream. You’re dying, and will be gone in perhaps another week.” The man though about this for a minute, pulled out a pieces of paper and a pen and started writing. “What are you writing?” the doctor asked. “I’m making a list of everyone I want to bite before I go.”

This man is a slave. Facing eternity, he is a slave to his hatred and grudge carrying. He willingly sells himself into this type of slavery, just as the addict willingly enslaves himself to the pill or needle, or the alcoholic to the bottle. These are willing slaves, bond slaves.

God Wants The Christian To Be
The Bond Slave Of Christ

1 Corinthians 7:20-22 (KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

Paul tells those who were enslaved or in bad or less than desirable situations to:

1 Don’t worry or obsess about your situation. “Care not for it” or better “Don’t let it overwhelm you”.

2 Seek betterment, or an upward path from where you are if you can. “If you mayest be free, use it” or better “if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity”.

3 Remember WHOSE you are. Not WHO you are, but WHOSE you are. I am Christ’s slave.

These are three goods pieces of advice. Dear Christian – if you are a Christian –

1 Corinthians 7:23 (KJV) Ye are bought with a price;

You were the slave of sin and of Satan. You used to belong to his evil kingdom of darkness. But you are now translated because of the Blood of Christ. Jesus died on Calvary for you. He purchased your salvation. He knew who you were when He called you to salvation. He said to you:

Ephesians 2:12-15 (CSB) At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been BROUGHT NEAR BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. 14 For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, 15 he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.

The Bloods of Jesus Christ shed for us purchases us from Satan and this evil, fallen world. We were the devil’s chattel but are now Christ’s Bond Servants. The Blood of the animal sacrifices saved no one, but the willingly shed Blood of our Savior brought us to God.

Hebrews 9:13-15 (CSB) For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God? 15 Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

We are not defined by our life status, but by our God. We belong to God. Does your situation look bad? Look up. God owns you. He purchased you, not with silver or gold, but with the Precious Blood of Christ. This makes you precious to Him. Christian, you belong to God.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (CSB) For you know that you were REDEEMED from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.

Whatever your situation, it is not bleak because you belong to God. Do not become overwhelmed by what faces you, but serve Him in all that you do. If God opens a door of opportunity to better yourself, then take it. But do not forget that:

Colossians 3:23-24 (CSB) Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. YOU SERVE THE LORD CHRIST.

Life is short.

Psalm 102:11-12 (CSB) My days are like a lengthening shadow, and I wither away like grass. 12 But you, Lord, are enthroned forever; your fame endures to all generations.

Whatever is today shall not be forever. Serve the Lord. Praise His name when you move into the valleys of life, and He will light your pathway. God called you to salvation for a reason. He left you where you presently are for a reason. Serve Him.

I have been in many miserable jobs in my lifetime. I choose to serve Him and glorify Him where ever I may be.

Psalm 145:14-21 (CSB) The Lord helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed. 15 All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts. 18 The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them. 20 The Lord guards all those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked. 21 My mouth will declare the Lord’s praise; let every living thing bless his holy name forever and ever.

The Lord looks after His people. We belong to Him.

1 Corinthians 7:24 (KJV) Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called,

There is an old saying:

Bloom where you are planted.

Do all things WITH God. Abide IN Christ. Trust God, and serve God with all your heart. God will bless you in due season. God can and will change your situation, but serve HIM in what you do. Let others see the Gospel worked out in you. This is the greatest witness that you have, the life witness of Christ in you.

1 Peter 1:23-25 (CSB) …. you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this word is the gospel that was proclaimed to you.

God will transform the world through His Gospel, but it must be seen in us first. Let us live for our Jesus!

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Charlottesville Wake Up Call

Great post, sweet Sister!


I didn’t want to write this post.

A topic of this magnitude, and the tragedy that befell our nation on Saturday was something that I cannot find the adequate words to describe.

I was asked by numerous readers to write about Saturday’s Charlottesville terrorism, and truthfully, I’m sick to my stomach thinking about the grossly pathetic and ignorant behavior displayed by the white supremacist group. And it shocks and saddens me to think that this benighted ideology is still present in our 2017-America.

And as I sat there, gape-mouthed, in horror at what I was watching on TV, the only thing I could think about was one word:


There is evil in the world.


This is not going to be a fun post. I’m telling you that right now. And frankly, I’m getting heart palpitations thinking about the direction I feel the Holy Spirit leading me, but Saturday…

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Go Out With Joy, Be Led By Peace


Audio of 8:30 AM Sermon: 

Audio of 11 AM Sermon:

Sermon Notes: Isaiah 55:1-11 (KJV)  Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  [2]  Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.  [3]  Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.  [4]  Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.  [5]  Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.  [6]  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:  [7]  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  [8]  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  [9]  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  [10]  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:  [11]  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Isaiah 55:12-13 (KJV)  For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.  [13]  Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

You were given a lot of literature when you came to Church today. In addition to your weekly bulletin, you received the 2017 Prayer Guide for the Tennessee Golden Offering for Missions. You also received a “Cowboy Up” Suicide Prevention handout. Today is also the day before the Anniversary of 9/11, a terrible time in our country’s history.

Cowboy Up focuses on Suicide Prevention and Education. In my ministry I have had to bury the remains of several suicides. In every case I had people tell me “They said they were going to kill themselves, but I thought they were just fooling around”. They weren’t. These precious souls spoke out to those around them, telling others that they thought their lives were no longer worth living. They were wrong, but no one shared why they were wrong with them. What a terrible waste this is!

The Golden Offering for Missions focuses on reaching Tennesseans with the “Good News of Christ”, sharing the love of God with our neighbors. Every life is precious to God. People need to know that God loves them, and that God has a plan for their lives if they will only listen to Him.

And the horror of 9/11 happened because at least 19 terrorists from al-Qaeda heeded a false god, committed suicide and in so doing murdered 2997 innocent citizenswhile causing billions of dollars in damage.

In our text today God addresses the horrors of suicide and murder, and reaches out in love to everyone who will hear.

The suicide believes that no one cares.
God cares.
Jesus Christ cares.
God so loved the world that He sent His Son Jesus to tell us that.
Jesus became man to walk among us, to show us the love of God.

God Did Not Make The Thorns – We Did And Do

At the end of our text today we read this together. Let’s read it again:

Isaiah 55:12-13 (KJV)  For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.  [13]  Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

What does God – the God of the Bible, not that false god the confused follow …. The God that sent Jesus – want for us?

To Go Out With JOY.

Joy and Peace are what God wants for us all. And yet it seems at times that life is filled with thorns and briers. Bad things seem to happen all around us. Bad things happen to those we know. We hear it on the news. Hurricane Harvey has just destroyed a lot of Texas and damaged Lousiana. Hurricane Irma is due to hit Florida this morning – perhaps even now – and destroy much of that state. Bad things are coming, have come, and will come. Is that what God wants for us?

Absolutely not. The Bible tells us that when God made creation:

Genesis 1:31 (ESV) God saw everything that he had made, and behold, IT WAS VERY GOOD. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

God is GOOD, and everything He made was VERY GOOD. It was the best that God could make. It was beautiful. It was a Garden called Eden, and in it there was no sickness, no sadness, no death. The trees grew fruit, and there were no weeds, nor thorns, nor briers nor thistles. It was pure Paradise. The weather was perfect, so perfect that clothing was no invented. No one got up with a head cold or allergies. It was P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. It was gorgeous. Man and woman lived at peace with one another and with God.

Then the Serpent came into Paradise.

Quit thinking about God.
Think about yourself.
Quit obeying God.
Do what you want.
It’s your body, do what you want.
Take, eat, enjoy the forbidden.
Ignore God and become your own gods.
It will be all right.

But it wasn’t. When Adam and Eve walked away from God the Lord:

Genesis 3:16 (ESV) …to the woman He said …. “in pain you shall bring forth children ..”

Genesis 3:17-19 (ESV) … to Adam He said … “cursed is the ground because of you;

in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

With God there was Paradise. Without God Eve found pain in childbearing, and Adam found thorns and thistles. God did not make the thorns and thistles but man did. The thorn and thistle, brier and bane are the children of the curse. We are born under sin and in a fallen and broken world because of what we did and do. Though we blame Adam for the initial sin that caused the Fall of Creation, the Bible is quick to point out:

Romans 5:12 (ESV) …. sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men BECAUSE ALL SINNED

Sin was brought into the world by Adam, but we ALL sin, we ALL are under the curse, and we ALL have done wrong. That’s the bad news. But there is good news.

God wants us to be blessed.
God wants us to go forth with peace.
God wants to bring about a spiritual transformation in every person.

Isaiah 55:13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Instead of the useless and damaging thorn God wants to bring up the useful fir tree. Instead of the vain and vulgar brier God wants to bring the blessing of the myrtle tree. How can this change come to us?

We Need To Invest Ourselves In God

The promise of blessing is at the end of this chapter, but we cannot get to the blessing unless we heed what comes before it. God said:

Isaiah 55:1 (KJV)  Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

If you are thirsty, come to the waters. Quit trying to satisfy your thirst yourself. You were made in the image of God. You were made by God for a purpose. Come to Him to satisfy your thirst. Jesus told a woman at a well one day:

John 4:13-14 (my paraphrase – MP) … whoever drinks of this well water shall thirst again … but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst …

Jesus calls to the thirsty, calls us to Himself. He cries out:

John 7:37 (MP) … if anyone thirsts, let them come to Me and drink …

John 6:35 (MP) … I am the Bread of life. The one who comes to Me shall never hunger, and the one who believes on Me shall never thirst…

The Lord will transform our lives from thorns to fir trees and from briers to myrtle trees if we would come to Him. The Lord says:

he that has no money, come, buy and eat

The Lord has provided the way of blessing and salvation in Himself. We cannot earn it. We do not deserve it. None are worthy in themselves, but it is the free gift of God. The Lord says:

Romans 5:15-17 (ESV)  But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.  [16]  And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.  [17]  For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Adam brought thorns and briers into the world, hunger and want. But Christ came to give us life and purpose. He came to bring us into union with God, to give our lives purpose. We do not have to purchase what Christ has purchased – we just need to come to Him and invest ourselves in Him. To trust Him, to believe in Him. God asks:

Isaiah 55:2 (KJV) Wherefore do ye SPEND MONEY FOR THAT WHICH IS NOT BREAD? and your LABOUR FOR THAT WHICH SATISFIETH NOT? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Why do we spend money seeking happiness, spending money for that which is not bread – and yet find no happiness there. The life without Christ is an empty life. The life without God is purposeless. People frantically search for happiness in …


But the life without God is unsatisfying. God says “listen to Me, let Me lead you to the good, and your soul will delight itself in the overflow”. Oh, how horrible the empty life is! But if you fill your life with Christ and His Word and Work, how blessed you will be!

God Calls Us Into Partnership With Him Through Christ

Isaiah 55:3-4 (KJV)  Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.  [4]  Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

The Lord calls out to whosoever will. He says “incline your ear, and come to Me”. Not lower your ear but lift UP your ear. Listen to God, not man.

Stop listening to the world and its foolishness, and focus on the call of God in Christ. We are all broken, but God can fix us. We are born wandering, but God can take us into the Promised Land. God says:

If you’ll hear Me and come,
I will make an EVERLASTING COVENANT with you.

Jesus said in John 3:16-17 (KJV)   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have EVERLASTING life.   [17]   For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Life with God is EVERLASTING. He calls us to come to Him, to trust Him, to turn from being our own gods and follow Him as Lord God.

John 3:35-36 (KJV)  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  [36]  He that believeth on the Son hath EVERLASTING life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Oh how God wants to covenant with you, to make a contract with you. How God wants to be part of your life. The life in Christ, receiving Him as Lord and Savior, is a life of purpose and joy. Christ was given by the Father to be …

I have given Him for a WITNESS to the people,
a LEADER and COMMANDER to the people

Christ is the Witness of God. We are told in:

Revelation 1:5 (KJV)   … Jesus Christ, WHO IS THE FAITHFUL WITNESS, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Jesus came to tell us that God loved us.
He told us – then He showed us.
He went to the Cross for our sins.
He ATONED for our sins so that we can be AT ONE with God.

When you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior – as Commander and Leader – God promises to come be with you. He enters your life through faith and His Spirit.


Isaiah 55:6-7 (KJV)  SEEK YE THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND, CALL YE UPON HIM WHILE HE IS NEAR:  [7]  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and HE WILL HAVE MERCY UPON HIM; AND TO OUR GOD, FOR HE WILL ABUNDANTLY PARDON.

When we come to God we forsake the other gods. We seek Him while He is near. We forsake wickeness, forsaking the ways we used to walk. We come to Him by faith trusting Christ, knowing that Jesus paid for my sins, and that God forgives me for Christ’s sake.

I am pardoned because of Christ.
I am now a Child of God because of Christ.
My purpose is no longer myself, but found in God’s Word.
I am no longer a useless thorn or brier.
I belong to God!

I forsake the thoughts of the world.
The world says “You are useless. Your life has no meaning.”
God says “You have meaning in Me. I love you, and make an everlasting covenant with you. You are mine, and I am yours.”

When we started in verse 1 God called the THIRSTY to Himself. Now He says:

Isaiah 55:8-11 (KJV)  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  [9]  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  [10]  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:  [11]  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Words come from thoughts. Thoughts are the clouds that words come from. Rather than fill our heads with the world, let us drink in the Word of God. His Word is life. His Word satisfies our thirst. His Word “accomplishes what God pleases”. Just as God gave us rain and snow that waters the earth, God gives us His Word. Please hear His Word. Please receive Christ to yourselves. Please hear the Word of God, and know that God saves by it.

Titus 3:4-7 (KJV)  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  [5]  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  [6]  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;  [7]  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God loves you and wants you in His family. Receive Him today. Live for Him. Your life is precious – do not waste it, but live it in Him.

May God lead someone to Christ through His Word.

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