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~Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Jesus Christ stands before the Father and intercedes for the born-again believer.  It amazes me how many believers do not really comprehend exactly what this means.  Let me give you an illustration that may make it clearer.

Picture this in your mind’s eye.  You’re in a courtroom standing trial.  The Heavenly Father is the Judge and is listening to arguments on your case.  The outcome of the trial will decide whether you are going to Heaven or to Hell.

The devil, your prosecutor, is making accusations against you.  Your Advocate objects!

The Judge responds, “On what grounds are you objecting?”

Jesus Christ answers, “Judge, this believer has committed all these things that the prosecutor has accused him of.”

Jesus continues, “However, Judge, I have already paid the debt for these sins with my death on the cross.  This believer has accepted this work and has made Me Saviour of his life.  Therefore, he no longer needs to pay the penalty.  I paid his penalty in full with my blood.  This believer must be acquitted of all charges and set free.”

Hallelujah!!! Who will praise the Lord with me?  Thank You, my Lord and Saviour!  All praise, honour and glory are Yours!

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~2 John 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.

With today’s way of thinking, one may think that this verse is intolerant.  However, it goes to show us how important it is to recognize false doctrine and to stay away from it.

One cannot recognize what is false without first knowing what is true.  It is said that bank tellers are trained to recognize counterfeit money by having them handle real money.  The longer they touch and look at real money, the more likely they are to be able to pick out a counterfeit bill.  It is the same with false doctrine.  The more a believer is in the Word of God, reading it and studying it, the more he will be able to recognize when someone is spreading false doctrine.  He will be able to recognize the devil’s lies.

What is false doctrine?  It is anything that denies the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, His deity, His death, burial and His resurrection.  False doctrine can also come in the way of “adding” to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by saying that His death on the cross was not enough but more is needed.

Don’t be left in the dark.  Study your Bible and read it daily so you are able to recognize what is right and what is wrong.  Our world is not getting better and you will need to be armed with truth.

~2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

~Acts 17:11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

 

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“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)

What kind of fruit are we bearing as children of  the King?  Are we praising Him when we speak?  Are we praising Him with our actions?  Or do we bring shame to Him?  Do we thank Him?  These are the types of fruit that he bears when he is growing as a Christian.

How can we grow and bear good spiritual fruit?  Just like any garden needs sun, rain and good soil to grow good and healthy fruit, so does the believer.  We need the Son (1 John 5:12) – we need the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26)- and we need the convicting of the Holy Spirit in our lives (John 14:26).

We can either bear good fruit, spotted fruit or rotten fruit.  They all reflect the condition of our spiritual walk.The Baptist Top 1000

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~Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

It is estimated that the average human head has 100,000-150,000 hairs on it. That surely puts this verse into perspective, doesn’t it? Our Heavenly Father not only cares for each bird that flies in the sky, but He has every hair on every believer’s head counted!!

Does this not bring you great comfort? You are precious to God. When you possess something precious, you know everything about it. If it’s a book, you read it over and over. You know on what page a certain passage is located.

The Word says that God views His creation as precious. So much so, He sent His Son to die for us!  That’s a sign of great love!  I never could comprehend such love until I understood that God loves me so much that He knows how many hairs I have on my head! The Baptist Top 1000

~Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD GOD had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Since the beginning of time, the devil has been trying to make the Word of God unbelievable. His subtle questions in the Garden of Eden were worded in such a way to cause Eve to question what God had said. He is still doing it today.

Today’s Christian must take a stand. We have the Word of God at our fingertips and we have no excuse for not knowing what God has written to us. It is only by knowing the Word that we will be able to recognize the devil’s subtleties. Knowing is half the battle, as they say.

~2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

So, to be able to recognize the devil’s antics, one must:

  1. Read the Word
  2. Apply the Word
  3. Live the Word

It is one thing to read your Bible, but we must also allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in our heart.  Once we have been taught by Him, we can be a testimony to the unbelieving world.

~1 Peter 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

 

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~2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Salvation brings about change in a person’s life. The stealer steals no more. The curser curses no more, etc.  It is not that we are “perfectly holy” at the time of salvation.  It is that we acknowledge our sin and we desire to be more like Christ.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The Holy Spirit convicted our hearts and our whole spiritual life goes from running with the world to being a child of the King! Our old nature wants to sin but the new nature is now “in Christ” and no longer wants to sin. There is truly a battle.

~Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Before salvation, we do not care that we sin. However, after salvation we become aware of that sin in our lives and we do not have the same desires to continue in it. The Holy Spirit convicts us and we continue to change into the image of our Lord and Saviour!   Many profess Christianity but do not change.  They sit in church pews and live their lives just as they did before with no convictions at all.  That was the way I was prior to salvation.

~Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

There IS a difference in a person’s life once they accept Christ as their Saviour… there SHOULD be a difference!The Baptist Top 1000

~Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (1) But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (2) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (3)

In the Bible, God gives us a wonderful recipe on how we can be blessed.

Don’t:

  1. … take counsel from the unsaved
  2. … hang around predominantly with unbelievers
  3. … hang around those who hate God

DO:

  1. DO delight yourself in God’s Word
  2. DO meditate on what you read

Results:

  1. You will grow spiritually and grow closer to God
  2. You will bear the fruit of the Spirit
  3. Your spiritual fruit will not wither away but will be everlasting
  4. What you do for the Lord will prosper

Jeremiah_29-11Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

The word “thoughts” in Hebrew has a couple of meanings.  One of the meanings is “plans” and many versions use it to push the prosperity agenda.  However, even the word “plans” has two definitions:

מחשׁבת מחשׁבה
machăshâbâh machăshebeth
makh-ash-aw-baw’, makh-ash-eh’-beth  From H2803; a contrivance, that is, (concretely) a texture, machine, or (abstractly) intention, plan (whether bad, a plot; or good, advice)

KJV Usage: cunning (work), curious work, device (-sed), imagination, invented, means, purpose, thought.

“Thoughts” in today’s verse refers to the Lord’s thoughts, which we know to be good.  Therefore these thoughts are seen as words of good intentions and plans (good advice).  The Bible has one purpose and that is to show man why he was created:

Eccl.  12-13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Deut 6:25 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

The entire Bible is an instruction to man from God teaching us how to do just that.  We must first be save before we can understand fully what God is planning for us.

1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Admit it, before you were saved, you didn’t care about the Bible and what it had to say.  After salvation, the Holy Spirit of the living God changed you from the inside out.  He began teaching you and showing you God’s will for you.  The unsaved do not care about that.

Today’s verse is not about prosperity … well, in a way it does … it does teach prosperity for your spiritual life.  When we stay close to God through His word, He will guide us unto all things righteous.

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

This is the prosperity – this is what our lives should revolve around.  When you seek prosperity according to the world (its riches), you can’t help but covet.  The world’s riches are not what will bring you satisfaction deep down in the pit of your heart.  It is doing God’s will for your life that brings joy, peace and accomplishment.  Those things are what will last for all eternity.  Your earthly prosperity will stay right here after you’re dead and gone.

~Psalm 94:8-9 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?

We cannot be so brazen as to believe that God does not pay attention to the little things we do in life or He does not hear the words spoken in secret.  The same God who created us is the same one who hears everything and sees everything.  There is nothing hidden from the Lord.

This is an encouragement to the born-again believer to live righteously.  This is an exhortation to the unbeliever to seek after God and not be foolish. Don’t delay!  No one knows when his last day on this earth will be.  Seek the truth in the Bible – read the Gospel of John through three times.  All the answers of life are contained in its pages.

~Proverb 14:12  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

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~Psalm 138:3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedest me with strength in my soul.

God is always there waiting for us to turn to Him. He not only listens but He acts. Every born-again believer has this wonderful promise from God. How wonderful to know that He will answer us and will strengthen us when we need strength!!

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Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and the scribes and called them hypocrites eight times! They were the religious leaders of the day yet they were not esteemed by Christ. Let’s take a look at what Jesus was rebuking them for:

~Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. They could not lead their members to salvation because they were not saved themselves.

~Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. They had the appearance of righteous living but were not righteous at all.

~Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. They traveled far and wide to win one to their religion and made them worse off then when they began.

~Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. They did all the right things of the law but yet did not love the unloved, they did not have mercy nor faith.

~Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. They kept every letter of the law but their spiritual walk was wicked.

~Matthew 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. They appeared righteous to their congregation but inside their religion was dead.

~Matthew 23:29-30 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. They claim to be so righteous that they would not have put to death the prophets.

Seven times, Christ rebukes them in Matthew in these exact words.  A hypocrite is one who preaches one thing yet does the opposite.  All one has to do is to observe a religious leader for a while and compare his actions with the Word of God.  He will reveal his true colors in due time.

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~Matthew 4:4 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.

What are you living by? Are you following someone’s teachings? Are you making up your own mind? Are you leaving spiritual matters to others? God tells us to live by His Word, therefore, we must have His Word in existence today or He would be asking us to do the impossible.

Religions of today would have you believe that if you follow them, they will provide joy. So is that working for you? Are you at peace? Do you have joy? I won’t preach to you. I merely ask you to read the Bible. This is where truth, joy and peace can be found. Don’t you want that right now? Where should you start? Start in the Book of John. I challenge you to read it through three times. In the mean time, I will be praying that you will find what I have found!

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~Romans 16:17-18  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

What have we been taught in the Scriptures?

  • Jesus is God – John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • Jesus was born of a virgin – Mathew 1:23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
  • Jesus died on the cross for our sins – 1 John 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
  • Jesus rose from the dead – 1 Corinthians 15:20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
  • Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father – Colossians 3:1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
  • Jesus is the only way to Heaven – John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
  • We must be born again to go to Heaven – John 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Who, then, are those that cause division contrary to the doctrine learned from the Scriptures?  Study the Word for yourself and find out who stands on different doctrine!  Then avoid them!  They appear as sheep but are ravenous wolves!  I was raised roman catholic.  I was taught that there was more to salvation than just the Bible.  If your religion teaches this as well, open your eyes, read the Word and find the truth!

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~Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

I truly believe it is too late for our country to turn back to its Christian roots.  Just reading through history, I find how much we as a nation has strayed. I believe we are undergoing the beginning of judgment and there’s a lot more to come which will be much worse.

~2 Timothy 4:3-4  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Our grandparents would have recognized the lies being told them by politicians of their day and would have voted them out of office.  Today’s American is asleep at the wheel.  We have allowed those in office to steal our rights and they have voted on bills that their constituents did not want.

Our people need a good shaking to awaken them out of their sleep!

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~Jeremiah 5:26-27a For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit:

How can a Christian prevent himself from getting into a situation where he is trapped by wicked men? A believer who reads the Word and communes with the Lord will be led by His Holy Spirit along life’s path.

~Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Christ tried to warn His disciples that they would be dealing with wolves. He also exhorted them to be wise in their dealings. The Word says that one who is saved and has a good understanding of the Word will have wisdom.

~Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

We will be able to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We will be able to discern deceitful men. If you struggle in being a good judge of character, get in the Word and ask the Lord to fill you with its wisdom!

“When a man gives himself up to a deceitful heart he gets to be a destroyer of others. Not content with being lost themselves, they become the servants of Satan to destroy others. A man catcher sets traps to catch men, aiming to pervert, to corrupt, to mislead, to be guile. Such fiends in human form have surely reached the last stage of corruption when they not only sin themselves, but are the creators of sin in others.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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~Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

There have been times that I have been at the end of my rope and felt that the only thing left to do was to give it to the Lord. When I stopped to think about it, that should have been the very first thing I should have done instead of waiting until I was so stressed. The Word tells us that when we cast our burdens upon the Lord, He will take care of us. Furthermore, he promises that we won’t be shaken by our circumstances.  How wonderful to have this comfort and assurance in time of need!

You’ve been there, haven’t you? I’m sure I can’t be the only one – wondering why God allowed a certain plan to fall through when, in my eyes, it seemed perfect. However, in the end, we find out that His plan was much better! What a beautiful picture it is indeed – taking our cares and burdens and turning them over to the Lord because His shoulders were quite capable of taking the load.

Thank You, Lord, for taking them on!

“Our Heavenly Father never takes anything from His children unless He means to give them something better.” – George Muller

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~Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

It is God who covers us in righteousness. It cannot be our own works because the Word says that our own righteousness is like a filthy rag to God.

~Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Our sins blow us around like a leaf in the wind. There is no holding us down – there is no stabilizing us. The only stable thing we can possibly have is salvation. At the moment of being born again, we put on the righteousness of Christ and our sins are no longer being judged by the Father for the Father only sees His Son’s precious blood on that altar of sacrifice.

~1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

There is only One who can forgive our sins, clothe us in righteousness and pay the price for our deserved punishment! That is the Christ, our Saviour! Why do you think He is called the Saviour? What would He save us from if it weren’t from sin and eternal punishment? Praise God that He saved me from myself because I would have only led my soul to destruction.

“Some men are foolishly counting on getting to Heaven simply because they have never been in jail.”

~ B. F. McLendon

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~Philippians 2:14-15 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Can you imagine what the Church would be like if everyone followed these verses?  The world laughs at the Church because it sees the Church bickering, fighting amongst ourselves, backbiting.  What difference is there between the Church and the world, then?  They do not see a light – they see the fruits of darkness.  That should not be so.

Instead, the Church should be doing everything without murmurings and disputings so this crooked and perverse world could see the light of Christ shining through us.  What exactly are murmurings and disputings?  Today’s understanding would be grumblings and arguments.  How many times have you done something for the Church and were not recognized for your work?  Did you grumble about it?  Did it matter to you?  How many times have you argued with another Church member because you did not agree with their opinion?  One grumble or argument isn’t much.  But what happens is that “one” sets the heart into that mode and then grumbling and arguing become easier.  It then becomes a way of life.

The believer who is guilty of this is not growing in the Spirit.  The spirit-filled believer is allowing the Holy Spirit to access his life and control it.  The Holy Spirit would not be the author of grumbling and arguing.  How can we get out of this mode and into a spiritual mode once again?  Prayer!  If we are praying for others, praying for the Church, praying that we may be the light of the world, praying for salvation of others, we are not busy grumbling and arguing.  Prayer changes our hearts and puts us in an attitude of gratitude.  A grateful heart does not grumble or argue… they do not go hand in hand.

“Ten minutes praying is better than a year’s murmuring.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

~John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

It is not God’s will for us to go to hell. That is not His desire for us. Our salvation is our choice. We either believe in Jesus Christ, accept that we are sinners and that He is the only way to Heaven or we don’t.

~John 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

I see the world’s viewpoint of Christ in several ways:

1. They truly accept Christ’s work on the cross for their sin and are truly born again.
2. They have “believed” in Jesus Christ because they are religious and that is how they have been taught all their lives.
3. They have heard about Jesus Christ but they really don’t care one way or another.
4. They have heard about Christ but they hate all that He stands for.

The Bible says that if one does not believe in Jesus Christ, he is condemned already. This is not an act from God but a free will act by man. Man chooses not to believe in Christ. God will not force Himself upon anyone. He has provided a way for man to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ, His Son. However, if a person chooses to go his own way and does not want Jesus Christ as part of his life, then that is his choice – not God’s choice.

~Romans 10:9-10 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.   For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Believing unto righteousness is quite different from just “knowing.” I was raised roman catholic but I did not believe in Jesus Christ unto righteousness. I knew about Christ but I did not believe unto righteousness. Had I done so, I would have been born-again (John 3:3) – I would have changed (2 Corinthians 5:17) – my desires would be focused on learning about Christ and living my life for Him (2 Timothy 2:15). Christ’s righteousness is upon the believer after salvation.  There is definitely a difference between playing church and being truly born again. The heart is very different after salvation. That is the heart that believes unto righteousness.

Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees when they were trying to trick Him:

~Matthew 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

The Pharisees saw with their own eyes how publicans and harlots believed and followed after righteousness when they heard John the Baptist preach. Yet, even after seeing the changes in these people, the Pharisees did not repent nor did they believe. It was their choice. Sadly, their choice cost them Heaven! Their choice damned them for all eternity.

It is the will of God that saves, it is the will of man that damns.
Charles H. Spurgeon

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~1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

What is it in your life that is preventing you from fulfilling this verse? Is it your health? Is it your finances? Is it a bad marriage? Why would one thank God for such trials? I believe Paul wants us to thank God because we know that the Lord will be there to provide comfort, will shed light on our path, will give us counsel through His Word, and will carry us when we just can’t go one more step. Knowing this helps us to be grateful to our Heavenly Father. Therefore, it’s easy to give thanks in everything because we have peace – we know the Lord is in control!

“I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I found myself, my work and my God.” – Helen Keller

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