The Mouth

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Prov. 10:31 “The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.”

We know that we all sin – none of us are righteous or just. For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Ecc 7:20) So who is the just man in Ecc. 7:20? Only Christ is righteous – our righteousness is as filthy rags (Is. 64:6) There is nothing good in us. Therefore, today’s Proverb must be speaking of the born again believer because Christ’s righteousness covers us at salvation! Thank You, Lord!

We have the words which will lead an unbeliever to Christ! Our Heavenly Father puts people in our path that only we can witness to. What are we doing with our assignment from the Lord? Do our words reflect wisdom received from the Word? Do our mouths speak knowledge from the Word? If not, why not? The unjust cannot bring forth wisdom … it would be like expecting your 10 year old to write a thesis. If we are not bringing forth wisdom in our words, it is only because we are not spending time in the Word. It’s amazing how some can recite the words to a song after hearing it a few times. Some can rattle off the names of those in the starting line up of a football game. Some can rattle off baseball statistics like nobody’s business. But can these same people rattle off verses which will lead another to Christ? It’s not because God has not made His Word available to us.

Our actions include the tongue according to Prov. 10:31. Here Solomon goes on to say that the froward tongue shall be cut out! Froward is one of those words that deserves studying because God says that this type of tongue will be cut out! That’s a serious statement and one that we should heed as believers. As you know, I love comparing the modern-day dictionary’s definitions with Noah Webster’s 1828 definitions because the meanings are so different. Today’s dictionaries liquify the meaning of a word and, therefore, giving you a dilluted meaning of this Bible verse. Froward is a perfect example as to why I no longer use today’s dictionaries to look up words in my Bible. Listed below are Merriam Webster’s definition of the word “froward” and Noah Webster’s 1828 definition:

Merriam Webster says: 1 : habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition 2 archaic : ADVERSE

Noah Webster says: Perverse, that is, turning from, with aversion or reluctance; not willing to yield or comply with what is required; unyielding; ungovernable; refractory; disobedient; peevish; as a froward child.

Do you see why I prefer Noah Webster’s definitions? This Proverb surely packs more punch when you understand why God says the froward tongue will be cut out, doesn’t it?

We are truly blessed of God to have the Word. Most of us have more than one Bible, but not many read it regularly – let alone study it. The believer’s words should be filled with hope and excitement. In these end times, the lost world needs hope more than ever before! Can you imagine yourself being lost right now listening to the news? What hope is there for the unsaved? Nothing but gloom and doom lurks around every corner for them. We are their only hope to hear the gospel. We are their only hope for them to see the gospel in action.

We should weigh our words carefully. Remember, we’ll have to give an account to the Lord for every word we speak. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Mat 12:36) That includes words spoken by the froward tongue. I would hate to be the person who has to stand before God having to account for a froward tongue. With God, there will be no excuses and He won’t listen to justification as to why these words were spewed forth.

Let our words be gracious ones filled with hope – not only for a lost world to hear but for the building up and encouragement of the brethren. We need each other in these last days. We need to encourage and uplift each other, not tear each other down with cruel and harsh words. We believers need to encourage one another in these end times because the times are evil. No wonder the Lord placed this verse in the Bible exactly the way it was worded! Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Heb 10:25) Rapture is upon us – any day now. Let’s make use of our last days here with words which fit a Christian who has been saved from much and is looking forward to our Lord’s return!

Dear God…
May I think before I speak
Seeking only to be a blessing
To share with a lost world
And lifting the weary brethren

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Whose Way?

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Prov. 12:15-16 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.”

Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s my way or the highway!”? The fool sees his way as the only way. He does not and will not listen to reason or the possibility that he may be wrong. This fool sees all conflict in his life with a distorted view. It couldn’t possibly be something the fool has done wrong. In fact, this person truly believes that it is someone else’s fault. It is sad that one gets to the point that he cannot be taught of God. His heart has hardened to the point where the Holy Spirit cannot pierce it. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Joh 14:26)

A foolish person does not need a request to speak his mind because he speaks it quickly and loudly. You hear much more than their two cents’ worth! Solomon says in verse 16 that the fool’s wrath is presently known. This person does not take time to think about what he is going to say. He does not weigh the consequences that his words will have on his life. Instead, he speaks now! Speaking too hastily is like a tube of toothpaste. Once you squeeze it and the toothpaste comes out, there’s no way to put it back in. The words out of a fool’s mouth are quick and it’s too late to do damage control as the damage has been done. The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. (Ecc 9:17)

I love Solomon’s style of writing. He gives you the consequences which come as a result of the bad and the good. The wise person listens to counsel, whether from parents, a godly friend or the Pastor. The prudent man keeps himself from blowing his temper and losing his testimony. He guards his mouth carefully. The believer’s testimony speaks the loudest about how he walks with the Lord. He can blab all he wants, but his actions will reflect whose fruit he is displaying – the fruit of the Holy Spirit or the fruit of the world (the devil’s fruit). The Word says that temperance (self control) is one of the Spirit’s fruit according (Gal. 5:22-23). The more a Christian is in the Word and applying it to his life, the more he will exercise that muscle of self control. It does not come over night – it comes with much practice. The world thinks that it’s good for you to speak your mind. However, the Lord thinks differently. You can be sure that if the world thinks that speaking your mind is right, then God will say differently. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (Isa 55:8)

Dear God…
May I guard my every step
Heeding Your Word in all I do
May each of my actions bring praise
Honor and glory to You

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Sowing Wisdom Reaps Kindness

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Prov.31:26 “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

When I was first saved, I looked at the Proverbs 31 woman as an impossible achievement. How could I possibly become like her? There are so many things about that woman that I lacked in my own life, I saw this task as impossible! It reminded me of eating that proverbial elephant!

I’m sure you’ve heard: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” I knew then that God would have to teach me a bit at a time because looking at the whole picture was so discouraging. From speaking with other believers, I find that I was not alone. Each believer had been in a similar situation in their own spiritual lives.

How do we go about becoming more like this wonderful woman in Proverbs 31? I think a good place to start would be with Proverbs 31:26 with wisdom and kindness. The two go beautifully hand-in-hand, don’t they? The Lord gives us wisdom according to James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Therefore, we are getting our wisdom from the perfect Source. The Lord has everything we need to guide us in His Word. There is much wisdom to be given to us if we just spend time in the Bible, my friend. No Bible, no wisdom. Much Bible, much wisdom.

When we get wisdom through God’s Word, our hearts will reflect it. The Word says But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart;(Mat 15:18a) What we sow in our hearts will be evident (reaped) in our actions and our words. I’ve never, ever, met a believer who walked with the Lord who was not kind. In fact, each of them excelled in this area of kindness, both in word and in action. This Proverbs 31 woman opened her mouth with wisdom and she “thought” about what she was going to say. She did not speak her mind but carefully weighed her words with what God’s Word had to say. Why do I know that? The rest of the Proverb shows that her tongue had the law of kindness. Do you really think that a woman who speaks her mind is being kind? The two contradict each other, don’t they?

What an excellent spiritual muscle to exercise for the believer. We cannot be used of God if we are unkind to others. Kindness, however, is one of the characteristics of God (Ps. 31:21 and Ps. 117:2). If we grow in wisdom and show one of its fruit, kindness, then we are becoming more like Him. We are becoming more like that Proverbs 31 woman. This woman’s worth is far above rubies according to God (Prov. 31:10). I can see why, can’t you?

Dear God…
Make me more like You
With each passing day
May my words be kind
To all who come my way

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Train Up A Child

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Prov. 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

How I have clung to this promise time and time again – and I still do! There is nothing in life that has a life-time guarantee! However, the Lord has shown me that this verse does have a guarantee if my husband and I do our job first. This guarantee is conditional. The promise of them not departing when they are old will only happen if we, as parents, train our children in the way they should go. No training, no promise.

Training comes in many forms: salvation/Bible, manners, chores, etc. However, all forms have one thing in common and that is the trainer must have that experience in order to do the training. How can you train your child in the Bible if you are not in your Bible? How can you teach manners if you have no manners yourself? How can you teach chores if you’re lazy? I think you get my point.

God’s Word teaches how we can become good and effective trainers to our children in Deut. 6:6-9, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (6) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (7) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. (8) And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (9) Here we have a clear, concise training manual to follow. How many times have I heard parents say that babies do not come with a training manual! Oh, but we do have a training manual in our very own Bibles.

Our training manual tells us in Deuteronomy to do the following:

  1. Words shall be in my own heart – I should memorize it and apply it
  2. I should teach my children diligently not just when it suits me
  3. I should teach my children throughout the day using every opportunity
  4. I should have the Word so entrenched in my heart and life that they are ever present before me and guide me
  5. My eyes should continuously/daily be focused on the Word
  6. The Word should be everywhere in my home and I should be a living example of the Word in action

When a trainer lives by this training manual, how can his child go wrong? The trainer is then assured that his child won’t depart from this teaching when he is old. This is when the guarantee kicks in, dear Christian. If you leave your child to his Sunday School teacher, you cannot claim this promise. You, personally, have to be the one to take charge in this training.

Dear God…
Guide me as I train your child
Not just in word but in all I do
Using every chance I get
Lovingly leading him to You

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Wisdom, Knowledge, Discretion and Understanding

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It is God who gives wisdom, according to Prov. 2:6. However, God won’t cram that wisdom down our throats! We must first allow His wisdom from the Word to enter our hearts. We can read and read the Bible, but if we do not let it take root in the heart and apply it to our lives, we won’t glean from God’s wisdom.

The same applies to knowledge. How many times have you read a history lesson in preparation for a test? After reading it through once, did you remember all the dates? Did you remember every single event? Of course not. To truly glean from that history lesson, you had to read it a few times, memorize dates, places, people and events, right? More importantly, did you remember any of it two weeks after the test? If you were anything like me, probably not.

It’s the same application with the Word of God. Unless we approach God’s Word with the same fervency, how can we glean? How can we walk away with the knowledge that will be pleasant to our soul, according to Prov. 2:10? If you are like many Christians, you walk away from your time in the Word and forget what you read in a day or possibly sooner. It’s not until the Word enters our heart that we are promised its fruit. How does the Word “enter our heart”? It enters by applying it to our daily lives, learning from it through studying, gleaning from it, and memorizing it.

I love the results of the efforts made by the believer to get wisdom and knowledge. The believer receives discretion and understanding. Not only that, both are promised to preserve and keep him! Preserve and keep him from what, you make ask? Verses 12-19 list what this believer will be kept from. In essence, the believer who seeks wisdom and knowledge will not only receive discretion and understanding, but will be kept from evil. The believer won’t be so quick to willfully sin because he has received wisdom and knowledge and is keeping himself from sin. Is that as clear as mud?

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Pro 9:10)

Great promises await us when we allow God to do His work in our lives.

Dear God…
May my heart be open
To what You want to teach
Keep me from hard heartedness
So I can grow in Thee

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God Sees All

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For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. (Prov. 5:21)
We may not think about it, but God sees every footstep we make on our life’s journey. He is also aware of every word we speak. Not one thing in our lives escapes God’s eyes according to Prov. 5:21. Furthermore, God weighs our every action. He knows our motives. Nothing is hid from Him. Wow! If every believer truly believed these Proverbs and statements, he would be living as righteously as he could, don’t you think?

God gives us every opportunity to do right, my friend. First, He provided a way for us to get to Heaven. 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. (John 3:16)

Second, He gave us the opportunity to say no to sin. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor. 10:13)

We will be without excuse when we stand before Him to give an account of what we have done on this earth. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Rom. 14:12) Every unconfessed sin, every word, every deed, every thought, will be brought to light. Will our works on earth as Christians earn reward or be burned? If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Cor. 3:15)

God sees everything, my friend. It’s not worth a moment’s pleasure here on earth to lose reward for an eternity. Faithfulness is difficult but the rewards are great. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. (2 Chron. 16:9a) God sees your efforts and is right there to show His strength when you are weak. Not only are the Father’s eyes upon the righteous but His ears are listening to every word we speak to Him. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: (1 Pet. 3:12a) What a wonderful Father we serve, my friend!

Be faithful, dear Christian. A faithful man shall abound with blessings: (Prov. 28:20a) Your eternal blessings await you! These are the blessings which count!

Dear God…
There is none like You
Your love is true and pure
May I be found faithful
Each trial may I endure

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The Way That Seems Right

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There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Pro 14:12)There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Pro 16:25)

I was searching for a specific group of words in my e-Sword and found that this group appeared twice in Proverbs. This Proverb was so important that the Lord put it in His Word twice. Anything the Lord states more than once in the Bible should be noted and carefully heeded, don’t you think? Why do you think God did that?

I can’t speak for God because His thoughts are not mine (Is. 55:8-9). But I can get a pretty good idea. I’ve always heard preaching on this verse in conjunction with salvation. Oh how true it is!! When I was a “good” catholic, I just knew I was in the right religion. Why did I know that? Because I was told so.. not because I had studied the Word of God to come to my own conclusion.

Notice how the verses state that this way of salvation seems right unto a man. Not “right unto the religious leaders” but unto the man himself. Every individual, every breathing soul that ever lived will have to make this choice, this decision, for himself. We cannot place the burden of blame on someone else for the choices we make. Why, then, do we think that we can leave the decision of salvation to someone else?

When I look back on the day I got saved, I remember a young woman who thought she was “OK” with God because I belonged to the biggest/richest “church and religion” in the world. How could so many people be wrong? Praise my wonderful Father in Heaven for pricking my heart through His Holy Spirit and showing me that nothing and no one could remove the burden of guilt from me but Jesus Christ. No church, no priest, no pope can say that I have eternal salvation because I am catholic as the 1994 catechism clearly states on page 215, #816 “The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: ‘For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.'” Why do I know that? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6)

Yes, the catholics will refute this by saying that Jesus IS the way but THROUGH the catholic church. The Word of God says differently, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:12) There is NO salvation in any other! None! The Word of God is clear. The Word of God is final. Jesus is the Word, according to John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Therefore, Jesus’ authority is final. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (Joh 5:26) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. (Joh 5:27)

This way that I thought was the right way was leading me straight to hell. I wasn’t even questioning it. I wasn’t even concerned. My parish priest never once had me thinking about where I would spend eternity. NEVER! I thank God daily for sending someone to warn me that I was heading down this path that was leading me to the ways of death! Thank You, Lord!

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Rom 14:11)

Dear God…
I will never stop thanking You
Precious Saviour, Lord Divine
Your death was love in action
As You gave Your life for mine

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The Proverbs Friend

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Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. (Pro 27:9)

If you’ve never had a friend that has loved you unconditionally, you have missed out on a precious thing in life. Unconditional love is described as someone loving you no matter what you’ve done to them.

The perfect example of unconditional love is the love shown to us by Jesus Christ. Our sin is the reason He had to die on that cross… in fact, my sin is the reason He had to die on that cross! Yet, He loved me so much that He chose to leave His Heavenly home, come to this earth, and suffer a cruel death … just so I can go to Heaven! That’s as unconditional as love gets, my friend!

As I reflect on this friend in Proverbs 27:9, I see a friend who provides hearty counsel. This friend loves so much that he sticks with a friend through everything. How can I tell? This friend is providing hearty (strong, sincere, warm) counsel. When was the last time you had a friend who loved you enough to give you strong advice? When was the last time you had a friend who loved you enough to show you in the Word where you were going wrong? Anyone can give you worldly advice and counsel. Anyone can give you their opinion. But a true friend will counsel you when it’s not easy – when you’ve sinned. A true friend will point things out that will cause you to think. A true friend will show you that the path you’re on is going to lead you to heartache, and possibly chastisement from the Lord.

Do you have such a friend? I do. In fact, my friend is the one who led me to the Lord over 26 years ago. She brings me to tears with laughter – but she also brings me to tears with conviction through the Word. Yes, my heart has to be tender and willing to be taught in order to receive the hard counsel she has to give me. However, how many people do you know in your own life who love you despite of what you are doing? How many people do you know in your own life who see the sin in you yet their main desire is to help you get right with God? That, dear Christian, is a true friend.

I thank God, daily, for my spiritual mother. Not only has she been faithful in her friendship, but she has shared the Word of God with me when it was not easy to receive. She did not compromise the Word just to keep our friendship. She has stood firm and prayed for me so that I would stand firm also. What a friend!

Are you such a friend? Do you offend others by what you say (your opinions) or are the words you give to your friend from God’s Word? My friend’s words were. I could never go back to her and say that what she told me was her opinion. In fact, quite the opposite – she quoted Scriptures and it is very hard to refute God. How could I be offended when it was His Word that was spoken to me?

We should strive to be this type of friend to those the Lord has placed in our path. If they are truly walking with the Lord, they will look at your counsel as sweet. As well, if the Lord has put someone in your life who has given you wise counsel, be sure to keep your heart soft and teachable so the Lord can bless you through that counsel. My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. (Psa 49:3)

Dear God…
Thank you for sending me
A friend whose love is strong
Leading me always to Your Word
And keeping me from wrong

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As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place. (Pro 27:8 ) The chick thinks he can leave the nest for a moment to check out the world around him. Mother’s not in sight, here’s his big chance. He looks around – everything looks safe. He takes one small step outside the nest, pauses and looks around for predators. Still safe. So he takes a few more steps. Suddenly, a hawk swoops down from above and snatches him! The chick’s adventure cost him his life.

I love that the Lord picked a bird to convey a message to us. God wants us to think of these illustrations as we read His Word. He put them in there for a reason. There is always a good lesson to be learned by an illustration. We see this evidence in the parables Christ shared with His disciples. We know that this bird had to be a chick because of the word wandereth. The adult bird does not wander because he is quite aware of the dangers lurking about. He has learned to be careful. The nest is his haven. Not only is it his resting place but it protects him.

The Lord warns us that it is just as bad for a man to wander from his place as well. What place could that be? Surely, God does not mean that we should not wander from our homes. We must go out to work, to church, and carry on with life. I believe the Lord is telling us not to wander from our place by His side. When we do, we subject ourselves to the predator of this world, the devil.

What can we find at His side? Well, Jesus is our Shepherd. He rules over the devil and all his fallen angels. They are afraid of Him. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (Jam 2:19) Their knee shall bow to Him. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (Phi 2:10) They have no control over us and our lives unless we allow it. What are some ways a Christian allows the devil to control us?

  • By not reading our Bibles and feeding our spirits. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11)
  • By not praying. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (1Ti 2:8 )
  • By allowing unconfessed sin in our lives. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jo 1:9)
  • By not being faithful in the things of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (1Co 4:2)
  • Each time we wander from our haven at the Saviour’s side, we toy with temptation. Wandering away a little more allows temptation to turn to sin. It is our choice, my friend. We don’t need to wander. But if we do, our Shepherd is so faithful that He even provides a way for us to come back. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Co 10:13)

    Let’s learn from this little bird. As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place. (Pro 27:8 )

    Dear God…
    May I learn from this little bird
    That I must stay close by Your side
    And leaving no room for the devil
    So in Your Word I must abide

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    He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat. (Pro 28:25)

    The proud heart thinks himself better than those around him. He does not see that this is sin. In fact, he does not even think he is sinning, but the Word says otherwise. An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin. (Pro 21:4) It is extremely difficult to witness to the proud of heart. They do not see their sin. As long as this person does not see his sin, he will not see that he needs a Saviour. We see this time and time again when we’re out witnessing to people. “Well, I’m not that bad.” One person even told me he never sinned! The sin of pride is what caused Lucifer to be cast out of Heaven. He thought himself to be like God (as good as, if not better).

    Sadly, there are many believers today who also struggle with the sin of pride. Yes, they are saved but they grieve the Holy Spirit in their lives by refusing to see what they are doing as sin. This prideful believer causes strife, the Word says. God’s Word says that He resists (stands against, according to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) the proud but gives grace to the humble. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (Jam 4:6b) Why would a believer want God to stand against him? Would a son want his father and mother to stand against him? Of course not. This same son would want his father and mother to stand behind him and encourage him. This is exactly what happens when a believer struggles with the sin of pride: his Heavenly Father stands against him.

    Oh that we would always keep our hearts soft enough that we hear that still small voice of the Holy Spirit when He tries to point sin out in our lives. When we do so, we grieve Him. I always thought that the word grieve here meant to make sad. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30) However, Noah Webster defines this word as:

    4. To offend; to displease; to provoke.

    When we grieve the Holy Spirit, we offend Him – we displease Him – we provoke Him to deal with us. The Holy Spirit is God. His goal for our lives is to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ and to mold us into vessels of honour. He is our Potter (Rom. 9:21).

    When pride settles into the Christian’s life, the Christian stops growing in Christ. How can I say that? The Spirit’s job is to mold us to be Christ-like – there’s no pride in Christ at all. He is the epitome of the word humility. Therefore, if the Christian battles this sin, he is not being Christ-like.

    Dear God…
    May my mind always be
    Focused to be more like You
    Help me to recognize my sin
    And keep You always in my view

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    What is Your Tongue Worth?

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    The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. (Pro 10:20)

    The tongue is such a small member according to the Apostle James. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (Jam 3:5)

    It’s amazing how such a small member can wreak so much havoc one moment and yet be sweet as honey the next. Should this be the normal way of life for a believer? Absolutely not! The believer who is being led by the Holy Spirit, producing the fruit of the Spirit, does not struggle with his tongue but has command over it. He has learned to control the sin of gossip.

    The weak minded believer, however, does not share in this. Not only is this weak minded believer allowing the devil to control him, he does not have the sense to get into the Word and allow the Word to keep him from sin. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11) Instead, this weak minded believer relies on what is in his heart to guide him. If the heart is ruled by sin, it won’t guide this person to anything but trouble.

    How can a heart filled with gossip allow the tongue to speak gracious words? The weak minded believer thinks he can fool those in his church by pretending to be a good Christian but then gossip and strife come out of his mouth only to reveal his true colors. The Word says that this is wrong! Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (Jam 3:10) This gossip stirs up strife and sows discord. I’ve yet to meet a gossip who has not caused much problems. How can the church have a sweet spirit when there’s a gossip in its midst? How can a church attract visitors when there’s a gossip in its midst?

    That gossip not only hurts people with his tongue, but he is also known as a sower of discord! If you want to see just how God feels about a gossip, a sower of discord, all you have to do is search for verses with the words “God, hate” and it will be an eye opener! God hates the sower of discord! It does not say He hates the sin – but he hates the one who sows discord. In fact, it is an abomination to Him. Prov. 6:16-19, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: (16) A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, (17) An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, (18 ) A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (19) A gossip is not only a liar but that gossip is also one that sows discord among the brethren (meaning in church).

    Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (Jam 3:5) James continues to say that the tongue is like a fire! Fire destroys and kills. This little member of the body can do so much destruction if it is allowed to continue. We cannot sweep a sower of discord’s actions under the rug. It must be dealt with, swiftly, or the church body will be destroyed. What better testimony for the devil than to allow this sower in the church! This should not be so. What a sad day it is when families are destroyed by this person! This gossip and sower of discord is at war with everyone around him, except other gossips. Darkness fellowships with darkness. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. (Psa 55:21)

    I have witnessed this gossip in action. I have witnessed this sower of discord in action. These “supposed” Christians have allowed the devil to rule in their lives. Yes, the devil can rule in a Christian’s life. Even Jesus had to rebuke Peter and tell him that the devil was ruling. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Mat 16:23) Jesus was not saying that Peter was possessed by a devil. Jesus was stating that Peter was allowing the devil to rule in his life and Peter’s words were evidence of it. Jesus did not mince words. He did not sweep Peter’s conduct under the rug. Instead, Jesus brought it out and exposed it.

    The words of a gossip are wicked, wicked, wicked. There is no life in them but only destruction. Guard your tongue, oh Christian. Be careful what you expose your heart to. What is in your heart will come out of your mouth. No Word, you know much gossip and discord. Know the Word, you have no gossip and discord. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. (Mat 15:18 )

    So, what is considered gossip? If you want to steer away from even the appearance of evil on this one, consider gossip as anything that is said about someone that is not gracious and kind. Many disguise their gossip with statements like, “Bless her heart, she just doesn’t have enough money to buy a dress that would cover her whole body!” My friend, don’t be fooled. You can only Febreeze a skunk so much and his scent will come right through it! Don’t allow the devil rule over your mouth. Yes, I said “allow”! It is our choice to gossip. Recognize the sin of gossip … repent … confess it … seek forgivness from those you have hurt … forsake it. Then fill your heart with the precious Word and allow it to cleanse you, keep you clean, and prevent you from falling.

    Dear God…
    Let the words of my mouth,
    and the meditation of my heart,
    be acceptable in thy sight,
    O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
    (Psa 19:14)

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    Apples of Gold

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    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Pro 25:11)

    Don’t you love Solomon’s style of writing? He had a way of painting a picture for you. Can you just picture in your mind’s eye what apples of gold in pictures of silver look like? But do you really get the true meaning behind it? The whole point of this Proverb is to bring your attention to a word that is fitly spoken and its value. I see these as God’s apples. These apples have much value in God’s eyes. God looks upon the Christian who guards his tongue and makes sure that he always has the words of hope and kindness ready for all to hear.

    There are surely various scenarios in life but each requires that words be fitly spoken. The first scenario I think of is during an argument. A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Pro 15:1) I’m sure you’ll agree that this soft answer qualified as a word fitly spoken. Speaking kindness also qualifies in this category. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. (Pro 31:26) How about speaking the blessed Gospel to the lost? Oh, how fitly spoken are they? But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1Pe 3:15)

    But wherever you see something referencing what God loves, you don’t have to go too far in your reading before you find what the world loves. The world’s apples are quite the opposite. The wicked are known for their tongue. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. (Psa 50:19) His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity. (Psa 10:7) A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin. (Pro 26:28)

    Where do your words fit? Are they apples of gold or apples with worms? As disgusting as this picture looks, I’m sure our Heavenly Father looks upon His children’s unfit words as such. Which would you rather be known for? Someone who spoke kind and uplifting words which the Lord considers as apples of gold? Or someone whose words are unkind, venomous, and filled with worms?

    Dear God…
    [To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.]
    I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue:
    I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
    (Psa 39:1)

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    God’s Goodness – Trees

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    We can get a glimpse of the Creator’s imagination and eye for beauty when we look at the various types of trees He created. I’m no arborist, by any stretch of the imagination. But as I look at trees, I see each one as having three parts: the roots, the trunk and the branches. I see God through these three parts, don’t you? I see our Heavenly Father as the roots. He is our stronghold and the basis of all that is Good. I see the Son as the trunk, receiving from the Father and giving to the branches. I see the branches as the Holy Spirit, feeding what He receives from the Son to conform us, the Christian, to His likeness.
    The Heavenly Father is the Provider of all things. He is Jehovah-jireh. The roots provide the tree and branches with everything needed. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. (Gen 22:14) God provided Abraham with a lamb to use (Gen. 22:8 ).

    The tree trunk (or the vine) is symbolic of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (Joh 15:5) The branches represent the Holy Spirit, who lives within all of those who are born again. Although there are many different types of trees, all have roots, trunks and branches.

    The branches are symbolic of the Holy Spirit, who resides within every born again believer. Each branch varies from species to species and even within the same species – some blossom and bear fruit, some have leaves that change colors, etc. I see the born-again Christian from all of time reflected in this. Many bear fruit, many don’t. Many only “produce or getting going for the Lord” when they have been through fiery trials (changes in their spiritual lives like changes in the leaves’ color). Some who are weathered, break due to pressures from the elements. Many spiritual comparisons could be made at this point between the branches and the Christian. But that could be a whole other post for another day!

    The tree cannot have branches without the trunk. The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus Christ – He brings glory to Jesus Christ. Those who are in Christ will bear fruit and will be growing in Christ through the convictions of the Holy Spirit. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (Joh 15:26) Without the Spirit, we cannot do anything. Without relinquishing our will to His, we can bear no fruit. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. (Mat 21:19)

    The trunk also receives its nutrients from the roots. The Son receives all things from His Heavenly Father. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (Mat 11:27) I find it interesting that the branches cannot know the root unless they are “in the trunk.” Doesn’t that make you want to whoop and holler? The branches cannot get to the roots on their own. They have to be attached to the trunk in order to receive the benefit of the roots and its nutrition. Neither can we come to the Father unless we go through His Son! Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6)

    The branches receive their nourishment from the trunk, which in turn receives it from the roots. Our Saviour recognized that He was nothing without the Father. The trunk is nothing without the roots. And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. (Mar 10:18 ) Both the Holy Spirit and Christ cannot be set apart from the Father any more than the branches and trunk be set apart from the roots.

    As the tree grows and bears fruit, it matures into a beautiful piece of art work from God. The believer grows in Christ by yielding himself to the Holy Spirit who molds us into His image. We mature as believers and grow. The age of a tree can be measured by the rings found in its trunk – measured from the bark to the center of the trunk. Some trees are so old that they become hollow in the center as the dead heartwood rots away. Oh what a beautiful picture this was to me. As we grow in Christ and become one with Him, our old flesh will become dead heartwood and it will rot away. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:29)

    All parts of the tree form the tree – none can exist without the other. The Trinity is One. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 Jo 5:7) All creation speaks of this. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Rom 1:20)Thank You, Lord, for these blessings this morning!

    Dear God…
    My heart is overwhelmed today
    At what Thou hast given me
    The beauty all around doth speak
    Of the magnificence found in Thee

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    God’s Goodness -Wolves

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    I thought it would be a blessing to spend the next thirty days looking at God’s Goodness through His creation. The Lord loves stories and analogies – He used so many when teaching His disciples. One of those heard often is Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Mat 7:15) Can you just imagine an actual wolf dressed up like a sheep and what the impact is? What can we learn from this? What can we learn from the characteristics of a species? God’s Goodness is revealed through all of His creation. So for the first in our series of God’s Goodness, let’s take a look at the wolf.

    As we observe the wolf’s habits, we can apply teachings and warnings to our own Christian lives. Wolves live in packs with the alpha male and female leading the way. Where they go, the pack follows. As the Pastor leads the church he has been called to under shepherd, the church follows, as long as his leading is scriptural. Does this mean that a church can follow a female pastor (the alpha female)? The Word says that a pastor is the husband of one wife (1 Tim 3:2). No where is it recorded that she is the wife of one husband.

    The wolf pack follows the alphas by instinct. If Christians followed by instinct, we would be easily deceived. However, Christians have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We are warned to beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing but are ravenous wolves. Whatever this wolf in sheep’s clothing is saying, it can be compared to what the Word of God says – the Word is Truth. Jesus is the Word and is there to guide us – to be our Shepherd. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (Joh 10:14) We that are His, hear His Spirit guiding us and He keeps us safe from these wolves.

    An interesting trait of the wolf is his hunting habit. The hunting habits revolve around the chase. They are able to run for long periods of time before giving up on their prey. There are two ways we could look at this characteristic. The Christian should learn from this wonderful trait and be long suffering as they work toward winning the lost to Christ – not giving up quickly. But on the flip side, the devil is relentless in his attacks. He will attack (run) for long periods of time before he gives up on the Christian. He will keep after us until he sinks his teeth into us. The more prepared and vigilant the believer is, the better prepared he is to see ole slew foot’s attacks coming!

    As I searched the Scriptures for the words “wolf” and “wolves,” I discovered there were twelve verses dealing with this species – ten that dealt with that of devouring the weaker animals. There were, however, two encouraging verses in Isaiah depicting the millennium period:

    The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isa 11:6) and The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. (Isa 65:25)

    Isn’t this exciting? I love the fact that although this animal was depicted in a negative way in the Word, the Lord portrays the wolf in a peaceful way when Christ’s reign here on earth brings peace, even to nature. Once again like in the Garden of Eden, carnivores will become herbivores and will no longer be a threat. It will be a joy to walk up to the wolf and be able to pet him, won’t it?

    I’m looking forward to focusing the next thirty days on the Lord’s creation and how He speaks to us through it! I hope it will be a blessing to you as well.

    Dear God…
    All creation has a story
    Where we learn a truth
    Each one unique in his own way
    Each pointing toward You

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    God’s Goodness – Lions

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    Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (Psa 91:13)

    Today’s Goodness from God revolves around the lion. What a majestic animal this is! What beauty this animal possesses. The Word has so much to say about the lion. As I read the verses, many compared the lion to the devil. The devil’s tactics to prey upon the believer are very much like the lion’s tactics as it preys on the weak and defenseless.

    Let’s look at some of the lion’s characteristics today and be blessed. The Lion is the King of the Jungle. My Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Juda: And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Rev 5:5) My Lion is the ultimate of lions.

    The female lions hunt at night or before sunrise and they hunt in packs. This reminded me of the darkness of sin and that Satan abides there. He and his minions do not cut any slack but come and attack in packs. Lions also steal food from other predators. Isn’t that just like Satan? He doesn’t play fair. He will take whatever he can get no matter what the expense. At times, lions prey on the younger of the species and the infirmed. The devil gets believers when they are at their weakest. He can attack a full grown spiritual adult but he cannot succeed because the Christian has the Shepherd watching out for him. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pet 5:8 )

    Lions can reach speeds of about 37 mph! However, they cannot run for long distances because they don’t have the endurance. Therefore, they have to get really close to their prey before they can attack. The other lions circle around the prey to prevent escape. Doesn’t that just sound like the believer’s life under attack from the devil? We are attacked in spurts, from all around at times – never for the long haul, however, because our Father wouldn’t allow that. Our Precious Father allows a way of escape for us – oh His wondrous love for us! There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Co 10:13)

    The Book of Psalms uses lion(s) eleven times to depict the behavior of the lion and how it relates to the believer’s life. Yes, we have our bouts with ole slew foot, but the Lord has the victory over him! Each verse shows the desperation felt – placing the lion here as an example truly depicts where we are at times!

    Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver. (Psa 7:2)

    He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. (Psa 10:9)

    Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. (Psa 17:12)

    They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. (Psa 22:13)

    Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. (Psa 22:21)

    Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (Psa 91:13)

    The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. (Psa 34:10)

    Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions. (Psa 35:17)

    My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. (Psa 57:4)

    Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD. (Psa 58:6)

    The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. (Psa 104:21)

    We may not have the enemies David had but we do fight against the flesh, evil and the devil. Everyone’s battle may be different but they are battles nonetheless. We should not underestimate the devil’s power. He is not compared to the lion for nothing. The devil waits to devour us – he waits until we are weak and never, ever plays fair.

    In the end, however, the lion will be brought down from being a predator to being a big cat. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. (Isa 65:25) He will no longer devour flesh but will eat straw! The devil will be brought down by the King of Kings, the Lion of the Tribe of Juda and He will defeat sin once and for all.

    Dear God…
    Your creation amazes me
    I stand in wondrous awe
    Each creature You designed
    For enjoyment one and all

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    God’s Goodness – The Beaver

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    Having grown up in Northern Maine, seeing beavers was quite common for me. My father owned land which had a beaver’s dam on it. He and I would sit for hours watching them at work. As I meditated on these memories, I noticed a few things about them that blessed me.

    A beaver is hard-working and diligent. They do not stop working to build their dam until the job is finished. As Christians, we should not grow weary in well doing but continue on in our work for the Lord. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Gal 6:9) and But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. (2 Th 3:13)

    The beavers use this same process to build their lodge. They don’t quit until their home is built. The mud gets packed so tightly with the wood that when it freezes, no predators can get through. I thought about our “temple.” The Christian’s foundation must be solid and impenetrable. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 3:11) With Christ as our foundation, the enemy cannot and will not prevail. As I meditate on the mud-packed lodge, I’m impressed that our spiritual lives should be so “packed” with the Word of God that ole slew foot can’t step in. When we are equipped with the Word of God, the devil cannot penetrate us because God is our strong hold and protector. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. (Nah 1:7)

    I also noticed that the beaver is quite tenacious. My father would purposely go remove a few pieces of wood from the dam. This caused the water to start flowing out. The next thing I saw was a little head come popping above the water and he would cautiously swim toward the break in the dam. He would make sure that there wasn’t a predator lurking about. A few minutes later, a few more beavers would show up to give a helping hand. By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. (Ecc 10:18 ) Dad and I would sit for hours watching them patch the dam. They didn’t dilly dally either, nor did they wait until night fall. If they did, the water level would get so low that their lodges would be exposed to predators. We should be so tenacious as we “build” our temples with the reading of the Word, our study habits and serving the Lord. Working at our spiritual lives is not easy but it produces great results. It keeps us close to the Source and protected. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Ti 2:15)

    And lastly, I noticed that beavers have poor eye sight so they rely on their other senses. When one hears an enemy lurking about, he slaps his tail on the water. The sound is very similar to when you hit the top of the water with your hand. This signals their family members to be on the alert and to swim back to their lodge. Christians who are in tune with God will be able to hear warnings from the Holy Spirit. When danger lurks, we should run back to our Lodge (the Word of God). Our Stronghold awaits there to protect us. It also reminds me of our church – the Pastor slaps the water by preaching a warning from the Water of Life (our Bible) and warns us of danger lurking. We band together and stay strong as a body and church. The Pastor exhorts us to righteous living. He feeds our spirit so we can leave the church house and go into the mission field. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. (Jer 3:15)

    I have the most wonderful memories watching these beautiful creatures with my father. I am awed at how God reveals Himself through His creation. It’s such a blessing to be able to pick out certain characteristics and apply biblical principles to them. I look forward to each of the mornings ahead as I search for God’s Goodness in His creation. I look forward to not only look at animals, but to also look at the beauty of our heavens and our earth!

    Dear God…
    I pray that I learn from this creature
    To be fervently seeking Your way
    Quick to see when danger is lurking
    And by Your side walking each day

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    God’s Goodness – The Stars

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    One of the topics of discussion at Our Final Authority is that of God’s creation. This is what prompted this series I’m currently writing. One of our administrators, Pastor John, shared some things on the stars that had such an impact on me! I wanted to spread the blessing with you today.

    One of my favorite creations of God is the stars. There are more then 300 references to astronomical objects found in the Bible. Last June, I taught an adult class in VBS on this subject.

    The Bible is clear that all creation can teach us of God. The Psalmist teaches that the stars teach that they were created by the Almighty One: Psalms 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” The stars also tell us of our Creator’s character. Psalms 97:6, “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.” Because of the stars telling the story of their Creator, Paul was able to write: Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

    The Bible has much to say about the constellations. The people of biblical days only knew of 48 constellations. Aratus gives the earliest description of these constellations in his poem Phaenomina, 270 B.C. This is the poem that Paul quotes in his sermon on Mars Hill in Acts 17:27, 28, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

    The Greek writer Homer referred to the constellations as early as 1000 B.C. Speaking of his hero Odysseus observing the starry sky as he sets sail,

    There viewed the Pleiades and the Northern Team,
    And great Orion’s more refulgent beam.
    To which around the axel of the sky

    Notice the words of Job 9:9, “Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.”

    Another interesting constellation is Virgo. The Hebrew word for this constellation is Bethulah, which means virgin. The brightest star in Virgo is Spica, which the Jews call Tsemach, which means branch. This Hebrew word is used in the Old Testament to refer to the Messiah. Jeremiah 23:5, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”

    The fact that the Branch is found inside the Virgin is no accident. We know that the Messiah, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

    Just beside Virgo is Leo the Lion. This should cause our minds to go to Revelation 5:5, “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”

    Below Leo is Hydra, the Great Serpent.

    Here, again, we should be brought to the book of Revelation 12:9-13, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 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. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” The fact that Leo is above Hydra alludes to the fact that Jesus is the victor over Satan. Revelation 20:2, “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,”

    The Fool Loses His Belt

    In the Bible, the writers mention many of the constellations that are seen in winter. The prophet Amos points our attention to two in particular. “Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.” (Amos 5:8 ).

    The constellation Orion is easy to spot because of the star that marks the left foot, Rigel. Rigel is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. This star is actually 21,000 times brighter than our sun, but because of its distance from us, it appears as a dot in the sky.

    In the center there are three stars that seem very close together, they are called The Belt of Orion. The star to the right is Alnitak, an Arabic word meaning “the belt.” The star in the center is Alnilam, “the string of pearls.” The star on the left is Mintaka, an Arabic synonym for “belt” or “girdle.”

    In ancient times Orion was known to be a giant, a mighty man, or a great hunter. We know that the Greeks knew Orion as a great hunter because that is what Homer called him in The Odyssey. The Arabs thought of Orion as a giant, calling him Al Jabbar, “the giant.”

    In the Old Testament, Orion is referred to four times in an astronomical sense. The Jews call him “lesil,” which means fool. This Hebrew word is interesting in that it does not refer to someone who is mentally deficient, but to someone who is ungodly, someone who is rebellious to God. In the book of Proverbs, the fool is referred to as someone who rejects God. Proverbs 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

    In the book of Job, God asks an interesting question, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?” (Job 38:31). There are two possible interpretations for the question “or loose the bands of Orion”:

    1) This may refer to Orion as being bound in his place in the sky, as a rebellious person is bound in his sins.

    2) Or, it could refer to the belt of Orion. The people of that day wore cords as belts. I am amazed that modern astronomers have discovered that the three stars that compose the belt of Orion are moving in such a way as to appear as if the belt has been loosed and is falling off (see diagram). This is a proof to us of the wisdom and power of God.

    Thank you, Pastor John, for this wonderful blessing! We just touched upon a few stars and constellations. The universe is vast – endless. Can you just imagine what is in store for us as we seek God in His creation? This is one way to encourage your spirit when you are down.

    Dear God…
    How wonderous are the stars You’ve made
    Your Word revealed in all
    A golden nugget we receive
    Gazing on them as night falls

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    God’s Goodness – The Sun

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    In Genesis 1:1, God created heaven and earth. The Hebrew word for God in this verse is Elohim (plural use of the Supreme God). In verse 2, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters – another part of the Trinity depicted. God created light in verse 3. The Word says that Jesus is the light of the world. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (Joh 8:12) It excited me to see that the Trinity is depicted in these three verses – the Three in One are completed in verse 3. Each verse shows each part of the Trinity. Doesn’t this excite you?

    As we look at God’s Goodness today, I would like to share what the Word has to say about it. I have been asking others for input about God’s creation and would like to share some thoughts from a couple of people. Pastor John Snipes of Fundamental Baptist Forum put it together so well.

    The sun is the most important astronomical object to mankind. It has been both feared and worshipped. The rays of the sun supply us with vitamin C that is necessary for our bodies to function. Through the process of photosynthesis, the sun provides the energy for plants to grow which provides us with food. Scientist are hard at work to find how to use this energy to replace gasoline.

    The sun is mentioned in Scripture at least 154 times. The first mention is of the creation of the sun found in Genesis 1:14-19:
    1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
    1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
    1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
    1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
    1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
    1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

    The sun seems so very large to us. It has a diameter of about 864,000 miles and can hold 332, 000 earth’s. Yet our sun is an average star. It seems so big to us because it is so close to us, averaging 93,000,000 mile away from earth. If the sun were any closer, the earth would be baked by the heat and would be no more than a cinder. If it were any farther, the earth would be a ball of ice. Our Lord, in His infinite wisdom, has placed the sun so that it is of the greatest benefit to man. Psalms 19:4-6, “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”

    In the Old Testament, we see the Lord using the Sun as a tool to demonstrate His power. Joshua was locked in battle with the kings of the Amorites. The battle was going well; however, the Israelites were running out of daylight so that they might have the final victory. Joshua prayed a most unusual prayer that God answered.

    Joshua 10:12-13, , “Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.”

    How our Lord accomplished this, we cannot not say. What I can say is that the Creator God who established the laws of nature is able to suspend those laws; the laws that modern man holds to so tightly that they cannot see the spiritual aspect of creation. This was a miracle of God and cannot be explained.

    A second miracle involving the Sun is found in the book of Isaiah. There was a godly king, Hezekiah, who was sick and about to die. He knew this because the prophet Isaiah had brought the Word of the Lord to him. Hezekiah prayed for mercy and God granted him 15 more years. When Isaiah returned to the king with the good news, the king wanted to know that what Isaiah had said was the truth. Therefore, God granted a miracle.

    Isa. 38:7-8, “And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.”

    Will the Sun last forever? Scientist tell us the answer to that question is no. The Bible does not say that the Sun will end; however, it does tell us that it will not be needed. Revelation 21:22-23, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof”

    It is interesting to note that the sun was created on the forth day of creation. Then how were there “morning and evening” on the first three days? It was the light of the glory of God that that caused the first three mornings and evenings and this glory shall shine forever on those who live in the New Jerusalem.

    “The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, closes with the mention of the Sun of Righteousness which is yet to rise. It holds out a hope for a cursed earth, and that hope is the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Book of Revelation closes with the Bright and Morning Star, which is a figure of Christ at His coming to take the church out of the world. The Rapture is the hope of the New Testament, just as the revelation of Christ was the hope of the Old Testament. And the Book of Revelation will complete the revelation of Christ.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers] 2000, c1981.)

    Brother Jerry Bouey had these thoughts to share:

    I wrote this in my Bible, next to Matthew 5:

    Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    “Like the moon reflects the light of the Sun – we are to reflect the light of the Son of God, the Sun of Righteousness.

    When the world comes between the Sun and the moon, it creates an eclipse (darkness) and the Sun’s light is not reflected. Even so, the world (worldliness) coming between us and Christ causes His light not to be reflected through us because there is spiritual darkness in our lives. Also, the moon (our flesh) coming between us and the Sun (the Son) creates an eclipse.” – Jerry Bouey.

    Sunlight is the main source of energy on earth. So Christ, our Sonlight, should be our main source for our spiritual energy. He sustains us, feeds us through His Word and gives us that spiritual nourishment and energy we need to walk this earth and be testimonies for Him. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Mat 4:4) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (Joh 6:33) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (Joh 6:35) I am that bread of life. (Joh 6:48 ) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (Joh 6:51) Without Him, we are lost and on our way to eternity in hell in total darkness.

    The ultraviolet rays from the sun have antiseptic properties, according to Wikipedia. The Word of God, also known as the Son (John 1:1), has antiseptic properties which heal us spiritually. The Word says there is a Balm in Gilead (Jer. 46:11) Our Balm of Gilead, Jesus Christ, heals us spiritually. Without Christ, we are sick with sin – we are lepers – with no hope of being healed. Praise God for our Balm!

    The shape of the sun’s path is known as the “analemma” – it forms a figure 8. The number 8 represents “new beginnings.” Jesus Christ is the New Beginning – the New Covenant! And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Heb 12:24) Through His precious Blood, we have a new beginning when we were born again. I love this correlation!

    I find it interesting that even in darkness, the Lord God has given us enough light to find our way. We are never in total, complete darkness as long as there is some kind of light appearing in the heavens. (John 1:5) It is also true for the believer in our spiritual lives. The Word promises that it lights up our path showing us the way. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105) The Son IS the Word (John 1:1) and He is the light (John 1:4).

    As Pastor John wrote, when we reach Heaven, we will no longer need the sun or the moon. The Lord God will be our light. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:5)

    Wikipedia also notes that scientists have studied the sun intensively, however, they cannot figure out why its outer atmosphere has a temperature of 1 million K while its photosphere has a temperature of less than 6,000 K! Like the Son, we won’t be able to understand fully what He (God) is all about until we reach Heaven.

    Dear God…
    I love to see You through
    All that You’ve created
    Each with its own story,
    In them Your love is stated.

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    God’s Goodness – The Eagle

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    But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa 40:31)

    According to Wikipedia, there are 8,800–10,200 living bird species! Does this not simply amaze you? If we did not have any other living, breathing creature on this entire earth, just looking at the number of different birds should be enough to point us to the Creator! Each has something different – a different size, a different color, a different song to sing – some can fly, some cannot. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! (Psa 8:9)

    The eagle is a beautiful and majestic bird with strength in its wings. He is quite the fisherman – fish is 90% of his diet. The Master Fisherman, Jesus Christ, came to be a fisher of men and teaches us to be fishers of men as well. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (Mar 1:17)

    Eagles have exceptional eye sight and can spot a fish from one mile away! Have you ever tried to spot a fish more than three feet away from you? It’s not easy. This is how we should be able to spot sin – from “a mile away.” Sadly, however, we venture way too close to sin and come away with its stench upon us. A good analogy is the skunk – you only have to come within a few feet of it to walk away smelling like one. God promises us that His Word shines a light on our path so that we can plainly see sin – we can spot it from afar. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105)

    Most of the time, the eagle snatches fish from the water’s surface rather than diving into the water like other birds. I see a beautiful analogy of the Christian’s soul winning techniques here. We should fish for men but not plunge into their life style just so we can win them. We must keep ourselves spiritually above them so we can be a testimony. How can we throw them a Life Saver (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) if we are treading water right along side of them? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2 Cor 6:17) The Lord does not tell us to become “like the world” to win them. This would contradict 2 Cor 6:17. Yes, Christ ate amongst the sinners but so do we whenever we go to a restaurant, don’t we? That excuse just doesn’t hold water. Would you buy stocks and bonds from a homeless person or someone who had the “Wall Street” look about him? We are children of the King of Kings, let’s put on the appearance of princes and princesses.

    I also love how the Word compares this beautiful eagle to God. The eagle’s wings portray strength and we can rest in the strength and protection of the Lord – under His wings. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. (Deu 32:11-12) God protected Jacob just as an eagle protects her young. This same protection is available to the born-again believer! What comfort! Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. (Exo 19:4)

    Another beautiful analogy is that of God renewing our strength as that of the eagle. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psa 103:5) Remember the joy of your salvation? God had filled your mouth (your soul) with His Word and you felt as though you could conquer anything! Your spirit had been renewed like the eagle! I remember a time being in the depths of despair and cried unto God to restore me, and He did. I came out of that trial feeling renewed and as though God had lifted me up! My spirit soared as the eagle! The most popular verse in Scriptures depicting this is: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa 40:31) What a blessing! This has been an encouragement to many throughout these thousands of years!

    God also used the eagle’s flying capabilities in His Word. Did you know that an eagle can fly as high as 10,000 feet? It is no wonder that God used the eagle in describing the height and depth of a man’s pride. Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD. (Jer 49:16) I find it interesting that Hitler named his command complex the Eagle’s Nest. A coincidence? I don’t believe so. If you’ve ever seen pictures of it, you’ll note that it sits high on a mountain overlooking the German and Austrian Alps. Hitler was definitely full of pride, but God sure brought him down.

    The Word compares God’s judgment to the strength of eagles. Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled. (Jer 4:13) Yes, woe unto those who deny Christ as their Saviour. Woe to those whose pride stands in the way where they wish to seek “another way” to Heaven. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6)

    Acts 4:10-12 says it clearly. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. (10) This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. (11) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (12) You can justify your religion all you want, but the Bible still says there is only one way and that way is Christ Jesus. Wouldn’t you rather mount up with wings as eagles and be saved rather than be spoiled (burn eternally in hell) when He returns on horses swift as eagles?

    Under His Wings
    William O. Cushing

    Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
    There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
    Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
    Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.


    Under His wings, under His wings,
    Who from His love can sever?
    Under His wings my soul shall abide,
    Safely abide forever.

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    God’s Goodness – Water

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    Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (Joh 4:10) The term “living water” appears only three times in the Word. What a wonderful depiction of the Trinity, once again. The Father provides a way, the Son IS the way, and the Spirit prepares the way (the heart of man) for salvation. All Three are One pointing to the Living Water – salvation through Jesus Christ. Without each of the Truine God working, we would not be able to be saved!

    As I meditated on the water molecule, I began to see several correlations. The water molecule is made up of three atoms: two atoms of Hydrogen and one atom of Oxygen. God gathered the waters together in Gen. 1:10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. The Hebrew word for God in this verse is Elohim (plural use of the Supreme God). The Trinity created water (which is made up of three atoms) and all known forms of life on earth depends upon it to live. Without water, they die.

    When we look at water, we see that it can be in three different forms: liquid, frozen, and gas. All three forms are made up of two atoms of Hydrogen and one atom of Oxygen. However, each is in a different form – each having a different function. What a beautiful depiction of the Trinity! Each member of the Trinity is God, but each has a different function. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 Jo 5:7)

    Seventy-five percent of the earth is covered with water and only three percent of that is drinkable. Out of the three percent, 75% of it is frozen in the polar ice caps. It is not only a precious commodity, but it is vital for life. It amazes me that only a small percentage of the water on this earth is drinkable. It reminded me that only a small percentage of mankind will accept Jesus Christ, our only source of Living Water. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Mat 22:14)

    Although a person can live without food for more than a month, a person can only live without water for approximately one week. Only God can sustain a person after a week. We know that He is able because the Word says God sustained Moses twice for 40 days and 40 nights. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. (Exo 34:28 ) and And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. (Deu 9:18 )

    As vital as water is to sustain life here on earth, it can never cause us to live forever. Only the Living Water can give everlasting life. Jesus gave Himself for us so He is the only One who is able to give us everlasting life. It is His to give. There is nothing we can do on our own to achieve this. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (Joh 4:10)

    But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (Joh 4:14) The only thing we must do to get everlasting life is to drink of the Living Water. We must be born again. Jesus says we will never thirst again! What a wonderful depiction of eternal security! If we were to lose our salvation, we would thirst again. Even for those who say that we can freely give up our salvation – in doing so we would have to thirst again to be saved again. But Jesus said that we would NEVER thirst again. Never is forever. Only man adds a time limit to the word never. God does not. God says He never breaks His covenant (Judges 2:1) which means NEVER. Jesus is our new Covenant and is everlasting. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (Heb 13:20) Praise the Lord that our eternal life is secure through the everlasting life provided by Christ and His Living Water! Glory be to God!

    Dear God…
    Thank you for the Living Water
    In which our salvation rests
    Its bless’ed life giving power
    If the work of Your Son we confess

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