Maranatha Devotionals


Psalm 51:10, 12-13, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (10) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (12) Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (13)

Our daily prayer should start with the verses in this beautiful Psalm! The Christian praying these words sincerely cannot help but start off the day on the right track. The believer with a clean heart has already had his time with the Lord and has confessed his sin and repented. Only in so doing can we experience the true joy of our salvation daily because there is nothing separating us from our God. This does not mean that we lose our salvation each time we sin. It means that our fellowship is once again restored.

A good illustration is when one of my own children lies to me. My child will be punished and our fellowship won’t be the same until it is made right. Until my child confesses to me that he has lied and it is evident that he is truly repentant, the fellowship between us is broken. My heart is broken while our fellowship is broken. It’s not the same between us – he can’t look me in square in the eye and we can’t seem to enjoy that closeness we once had. However, once he repents and asks forgiveness, I can then hug him and that sweet fellowship is once again restored. What a joy it is to be able to fellowship is we once did. He now is not ashamed to look me in the eye and he is confident because he has been forgiven. My son knows that there’s no longer anything that separates us. At any point during this broken fellowship, did my son cease to be my son? Of course not. He was still my son, my flesh and bone – we just did not have the same relationship we had prior to his lying to me. Our fellowship was not the same until he experienced true repentance and asked forgiveness. After he did, he knew that his mother would be waiting to forgive him with opened arms, ready to restore our relationship.

I’ve heard preached that our accounts with God should be kept short – meaning, don’t let a day go by without confessing your sins and being truly repentant. This restores your fellowship with the Lord and all is well. Only then can we be effective soul winners according to verse 13 and win others to Christ. The lost can spot a hypocrite a mile away. If we try to lead someone to the Lord and our lives are filled with unconfessed sin, our efforts will be in the flesh and not in the Spirit. Just as our children, we must turn to our Heavenly Father and confess to Him our sin. Only then can we be free to witness to others without hypocrisy and without hindrance.

It’s so important that we have a clean heart before the Lord so that we do not hinder His Spirit’s work in the lives of the unsaved. I know that there will be some whom God has placed in my path and that I have not been able to effectively witness to them because I have not been right with Him! I dread the day that I stand before the Lord and He shows me those who are lost for all eternity because I did not take this seriously. Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, so I may be a better witness for You!!!

O For A Heart to Praise My God
Charles Wesley

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

Thy tender heart is still the same,
And melts at human woe:
Jesus, for thee distressed I am,
I want Thy love to know.

My heart, Thou know’st, can never rest
Till Thou create my peace;
Till of mine Eden repossest,
From self, and sin, I cease.

Fruit of Thy gracious lips, on me
Bestow that peace unknown,
The hidden manna, and the tree
Of life, and the white stone.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.

Maranatha Devotionals

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4

Have you entered into the Lord’s gates today? One of our men preached the morning service yesterday and he preached on our covenant with God. It got me to thinking how blessed we are that Christ’s death and resurrection created a covenant for us with the Father – for all born again believers! What a joy to meditate on that today. So today, I want to encourage each of you toward righteousness.

We do not need to be defeated Christians. We do not need to give in to temptation. We just need to be hard workers at our faith in our precious Saviour. I’m sure many a lady gives it her “all” when it comes to caring for her husband, her family, her home, etc. We can’t stop there … we need to care for our spiritual lives with just as much zeal and effort. Yes, cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry is a chore. I just don’t get that same effervescent feeling the lady in the commercial gets about my scrubbing bubbles cleaning my toilet, ya know? It’s WORK to get these chores done – but the feeling of satisfaction afterwards is priceless!

Making sure that we cover all the areas of our spiritual lives is work also. But this “work” has eternal results. The work in our homes is temporary – the dust will always come back and there will always be dishes and laundry to do. But the work we do for the Lord is forever. I think of Christ’s account of Mary and Martha. He did not use a parable here but referred to actual women. The Lord placed this account in His Word especially for us! Mary spent her time at His feet while Martha carried on with the chores. Mary gleaned from the Master while Martha missed out on His blessings from the Word.

Working at our spiritual lives is just that – WORK! Here is a little something that helps me strive in this area of training myself and I want to share it with you.

W – Wake up with the Lord with song! Sing your favorite hymn – you know the one – it just speaks to your heart and gets you in the right mood – Mine is “Amazing Grace”

O – Open my heart to Him in prayer. I believe in making my heart right with God before praying for others. I confess my sins, I love on Him real good and then I pray for others.
I have a prayer list – in fact, I’m making a prayer journal to start using – and I keep this list with my Bible – the list is so long but I’ve broken it down by days so each day has a different grouping of people (i.e. Sunday = church family; Monday = missionaries; etc. I record specific details for each of these people so I’m praying for specific needs, not generalities.

R – Read His Word! Reading God’s Word is a learned trait. Don’t be so stringent that you don’t enjoy His Word. I have three separate times for reading.

  1. The first is my sweet time with Him. Today is Dec. 11th so I read my Proverb of the day (there are conveniently 31 Proverbs, one each for the 31 days in the month). I then read my Psalms for the day (I read Psalm 11 (then add 30), Psalm 41, Psalm 71, Psalm 101, and Psalm 131. I then read the 11th division or section of Psalm 119. This method for reading Psalms enables me to read the entire Book of Psalms every month. I then read Acts chapter 11 so I can learn about the church’s history. And finally, I read Revelations chapter 11 because we are promised a blessing in Rev. 1:3 if we read and understand this book.
  2. The second time for reading is reading through the Bible – I usually do this before bed. I
    have never been able to completely read the Bible through using a yearly plan but at least I am reading through. Sometimes we set goals that we just can’t keep and then we feel defeated and give up totally. I would rather keep at it and be blessed then to give up.
  3. My third reading comes with studying God’s Word. We’re commanded to study to show ourselves approved UNTO GOD Not to show off our knowledge to others, not to puff ourselves up thinking we’re better than others – but approved UNTO GOD. This is where we dive into meaty things and learn – not learning from someone else’s studying but learning for ourselves. You may have your own method of reading – I hope you do. In my 26 years of salvation, all the women that I’ve come in contact with who have struggled spiritually, struggled because they were not in the Word for themselves. When we stand before the Lord and give Him the reason why we didn’t do this or didn’t do that, our excuse that the preacher never taught us won’t hold water. We are commanded to study for ourselves.

K – Keep Him in the forefront of my mind all day. When we have sung, prayed and read, it’s pretty hard to forget the God you started your day with.

I use to have my time with Him at night because my children were early risers and I ran from the time they woke up till it was time for their bedtime. However, I found that I did not get the fuel and spiritual energizing I so needed to make it through the day. It took hard work to get up in the wee hours to have my time with the Lord. I was not always faithful but I kept at it.

Of course, we women have different routines and whatever works best for you is what you should be faithful in. If you have little ones at home, don’t despair. Your time will come where you will have all the time you need in the mornings. Maybe your time is nap time or after their bed time. If you don’t have a special time, resolve to yourself to make one. If you want to succeed at this, hold yourself accountable to someone. Ask a good friend to ask you daily if you spent your time with the Lord. One who won’t take excuses but will lovingly tell you that your excuse is not a good one!

Dear God…
Help me to be like Mary
As I start this day, oh Lord
Mindful of the things I’ve gleaned
From Your Holy Word!

Maranatha Devotionals

Psalm 32:1 [A Psalm of David, Maschil.] Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

The Jews have celebrated Passover since the time of Moses by painting the blood of a spotless lamb around their doorposts. This precious blood symbolized the Blood of their future Messiah, Yeshua. In faith, the Jews believed that the blood would protect them from death. What a beautiful depiction of our Saviour, Yeshua, Jesus the Christ. Oh that these dear Jews would have the veil removed from their eyes and they would be able to see their Messiah has already come and He awaits His return to reign!

What compassion our Heavenly Father has to bestow salvation upon all mankind and not just the Jews! Praise Jehovah-jireh. 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. (Joh 3:16) When our spotless Lamb, Jesus, came to earth, His perfect sinless blood was shed to cover all those who repent and believe in Him. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (Joh 1:29) He became our Passover Lamb and His blood covers those who trust in Him as their Saviour and Messiah.

What a beautiful picture of our precious Saviour! The blood of spotless lambs was shed and was used to paint over the doorposts so the Jews would be “passed over” by death. The Blood of Jesus Christ was shed and was symbolically painted over born again believers so we are covered and sin is not imputed upon us. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (Psa 32:2)

The blood of lambs could never take away sin but merely covered sin until Christ finished the work of forgiveness on the cross by shedding His sinless blood for us all. All Jews and Gentiles who believe in Yeshua, Jesus Christ, will be able to sing as stated in Rev. 15:3, And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

I pray that the Jews will know how much Christians love them and desire to share with them, together, in this great song of Moses and of the Lamb.

Dear God…
From the beginning You have laid
A great foundation, the Christ
May our eyes be opened to Your Word
From blindness to precious Light

Maranatha Devotionals

Today’s devotional was written by Bro. Virgil at Our Final Authority. I hope you are as blessed as I was after you read it!

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren” (James 1:12-16).

If we ask the famous “who” question, we see that it is addressed to the beloved brethren (in Christ). One thing to note that in the New Testament Epistles, the lost are not spoken to, except indirectly . . . the message is entirely to Christians. Can we then lose our salvation? No, I do not believe so. But can we find a companion verse to clarify?

One verse is Paul’s directions concerning the Lord’s Table, and to those who partake of it. He wrote:

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep” (I Corinthians 11:27-30).

The operative word above is “sleep”, or “death”.

Many Christians go to an early grave because they take the things of God lightly and ruin their testimonies. The wages of sin is death. The difference is that with the unbelievers, that death is eternal . . . in fact, they have never known “life” to lose it. With the Christian, it is temporary and only until the resurrection.

God chastises His children, and some He chastens with death because they are unwilling to heed to instructions.

The primary audience in James’ book is to believers. They allow themselves to be tempted, and blame God for their failings, rather than accept responsibility for their own faults. In a sense, they are blaspheming God by saying that He is the Author of their sins (such as with Adam who actually blamed God for his sin because it was God that gave him the woman who tempted him).

Sin is like a seed that is planted and grows into a vast tree of hardness, to the point where repentance is no longer desired. I can well remember the immediate days after my salvation, how horrible it was to sin and how bad I felt. Now, thirty-some years later, there is no longer those immediate feelings of shame and sadness that I had hurt God’s heart. We all harden to some extent over time.

Thank God for I John 1:8-10, where we read: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:8-10).

Yes, we sin, but there is a remedy for it, for we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ. But if we ignore our Advocate and continue to pour sin upon sin without an approach to our Advocate, we become sin-hardened and built a fortress against God.

Rather than allow us to destroy our testimony beyond repair, God in His grace takes us home, as a country might recall an errant ambassador.

Maranatha Devotionals

James 4:6-8 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

As we read James, we can clearly see that Christians have a choice when it comes to sin. We mothers cannot possibly teach our children about these choices until we have learned it in our own spiritual lives. Our children need to learn that after they are saved, they no longer need to give in to sin.

Look at the progression in these three verses. James 4:6 teaches us that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “proud” to be:

Having inordinate self-esteem; possessing a high or unreasonable conceit of one’s own excellence, either of body or mind.

As we read verse 6 in context then, God will not give grace to resist sin to the one who thinks himself “spiritual” or who thinks highly of himself.  The Pharisees of today have the same prideful spirit as the Pharisees of Christ’s day. These do not need a Saviour because they believe that they can get to Heaven on their own merit. The humble in spirit, however, are those who have acknowledged their sinful ways, repented and believed on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Children are especially open to the Gospel and this is why it is important to teach them early after they get saved.

To the humble, God gives grace to be able to accomplish James 4:7. One does not have to give in to sin! So many times we hear, “The devil made me do it!” However, James 4:7 says that if we submit to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us! With God’s grace (promised in verse 6 to the humble in spirit), we can say no. But how?

James 4:8 is absolutely beautiful! Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. The humble know that they can do nothing without the Lord. (Philippians 4:13) A humble heart, covered by the precious blood of the Jesus Christ, will desire to walk righteously. Purifying our hearts daily means to keep our thoughts and heart fixed on the word of God. (Philippians 4:8) Furthermore, a double minded person doesn’t have a “stand” for good or for bad! (James 1:8) To claim Christianity on Sunday and then live like the world the other six days is a double minded person. Therefore, James 4:8 tells us that when we take a stand for Christ with righteous living and purify our hearts, it is drawing nigh to God! What happens to those who draw nigh to Him? The word says that God will draw nigh to them. What better way to help our children than to have them memorize these verses so they can pull from them! This is how we can avoid sin!

  1. The humble one recognizes his need for God’s grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  2. The humble one resists the devil when temptation rears its ugly head. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  3. The humble one will draw nigh to God through salvation in Jesus Christ. For it is impossible without His salvation. (Hebrews 7:19)
  4. The humble one walks in the paths of righteousness. (Psalm 23:3)
  5. The humble one purifies his heart with God’s word! (Psalm 119:9)

Today’s Christian has become so worldly and the teaching of living a godly life has now been mushed down to “legalism.” The world has entered the church and one is hard pressed to find a godly church who desires to live righteous lives. We must remember that God is still holy and He still requires us to pursue righteous living. After all, Scripture says He never changes. (Hebrews 13:8)

If one believes that he does not need to change after salvation, then that person is ignoring 2 Corinthians 5:17. Our old lifestyle (of living IN the same sins as before, day after day) should be dissipating with each passing day. If this is not happening, then repentance never took place. Godly sorrow for one’s sin causes the Christian to repent! This is where the humbleness comes in. Recognizing sin, repenting (completely turning away) from it and pursuing righteous and godly living is a sure sign that 2 Corinthians 5:17 actually occurred in your life.

Christian, we do not need to struggle with sin. We have been given this wonderful freedom and we have the ability to say no! Praise the Lord!

Maranatha Devotionals

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~Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Sin’s appeal works in many ways. If the devil cannot attract us through one of our senses, he will use another. This is apparent in the account of Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden.

After Satan questioned Eve as to what God had told her, he probably saw that she understood what God had said to her. So his first attempt was to appeal to her reasoning. He twisted God’s words around to cause Eve to question what she had actually heard. Had that worked completely, he would not have had the need to proceed, in my opinion.

However, he did proceed – Eve probably needed just a nudge to turn her thinking around and he knew just how it do it. So Satan then appealed to her sense of sight. She saw the fruit and it was pleasant to her eyes. She sees that the fruit is healthy fruit and has no blemishes. Now the devil has appealed to her reasoning and her sense of sight.

Like anyone else guilty of doing what we’re not suppose to do, Eve wants to share that with someone close. She had no one else but Adam. Adam could have said no. But he didn’t. God punished Adam just as much as He punished Eve. They both had the opportunity to say no, but they did not. Had they just yelled out to God to come to their rescue, the fall of man would not be an issue today.

Are we any different? Of course not! How many times a day do we give into temptation? We cannot blame Adam and Eve for their sin. We are just as much to blame and we possess the same weak flesh as they had. At least we can recognize what is going on because we have God’s Word to instruct us. Let’s pay attention to the devil’s antics. He’s only going to get worse as his end draws near.

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.
Blaise Pascal

Maranatha Devotionals

Weariness can sometimes come from our own personal sin but God does not impute our trespasses. What a wonderful thought!

~2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Noah Webster defines “imputing” as:

Charging to the account of; attributing; ascribing.

Strong’s defines it as:

G3049
λογίζομαι
logizomai
log-id’-zom-ahee
Middle voice from G3056; to take an inventory, that is, estimate (literally or figuratively): – conclude, (ac-) count (of), + despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think (on).

***Sigh*** This is such a conviction to me!  God does not charge my sin to my account.  Not only that, He does not take an inventory of my sin.

I cannot say that I have followed God’s leading in this area.

How many times have I been miserable within because I could not forget a trespass against me. 

God has used this to prick my heart and show me that I cannot move forward in my spiritual walk unless I follow His pattern.

When we do not heed to the Holy Spirit’s convictions, it is as if our feet are planted in mud.  At first, it is slightly difficult to walk in mud.  However, as our feet become more and more covered in the mud, we find it is harder and harder to pull our feet out and move forward.  So it is when we harbor ill feelings toward another.

~Hebrews 12:14-15 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (14) Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (15)

When we are at peace with all men, we do not harbor grudges or ill feelings. Doing so causes the root of bitterness brings trouble within us. I cannot push forward for the Lord when my heart is in this state. If I succumb to this sin, I only fill my spirit with exactly what the devil would want. If I dwell in this state long enough, I become weary. This is not what God wants for us.

We are to be as He is. We are to be molded into His likeness by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.

As I submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading, I become more Christ-like in my nature.

In turn, I will treat those who have offended me in the same manner as God treats me. I will forgive them – I won’t hold their offense against them – I will not keep an inventory of what they have done! Since God does not take an inventory of my sin, nor does He charge my account or remember my sins, nor should I!

Maranatha Devotionals

~Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

I became a born-again Christian at the age of 25 – nearly 32 years ago.  I totally understand today’s text because it speaks of me personally.  If I compare myself to God and His holiness and righteousness, I definitely am wicked.  God is our plumb line – HE is the definition of holiness and we are the definition of sinful – He is THE measuring stick to which we should compare ourselves. I am not a scholar but I do understand God’s word.

Think about it for a moment, if every person on earth was sinless, there would be no death, no crime, no need for prisons, etc.  The earth would be a perfect place.  However, God’s word says that men’s hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked! Furthermore, sin darkens the heart – blinds it from that which is holy and righteous.

~Romans 3:10-11 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

People don’t believe the Bible because they are blinded.  I remember before I was saved, I would open the Bible and it was all mumbo jumbo to me.  However, after salvation, it was as though a veil had been removed from my eyes and I was able to understand what I was reading. The unsaved have “spiritual cataracts” covering their eyes of understanding.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The god of this world is none other than the devil, Satan.  He convinces people that they are on the right track so they do not pursue after Christ and spiritual matters.  He puts just enough “spirituality” in what they hear at church or he keeps people thinking they are O.K. just the way they are. He won’t reveal his true nature because people might recognize what he was trying to do.

~2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Satan blinds their minds. Those who are not saved are under his power.  However, once we are born again, we are no longer – we are free and are no longer blind.

~Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Those who do not believe the Bible are growing in numbers because of the times that we are in.  The devil knows his time is short and is doing all he can to discredit the Bible.  There are over 200 versions of the Bible out there – all since 1900.  If the devil can succeed in causing people to believe that God’s word is not really with us today, then people won’t have the faith needed to believe what is written in their version!

~2 Peter 3:3-7 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

These last-days-scoffers are willingly ignorant. Their sinfulness prevails in their lives and, therefore, they do not wish to follow after righteousness.  Instead, they soothe their consciences by following what the world says about the Bible, rather than studying it out for themselves. As long as sin rules in their lives, they will not believe the Bible.

Maranatha Devotionals

~Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

~Matthew 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

~Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

~Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

~Proverbs 21:4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

~Mark 10:18 …there is none good but one, that is, God. 

No matter how hard we try, none of us are good. Since Adam and Eve’s fall, not one human being has been without sin. What is sin? According to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary,

1. The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law. 1 John 3. Mat 15. James 4. Sinner neither enjoy the pleasures of nor the peace of piety. Among divines, sin is original or actual. Actual sin, above defined, is the act of a moral agent in violating a known rule of duty. Original sin, as generally understood, is native depravity of heart to the divine will, that corruption of nature of deterioration of the moral character of man, which is supposed to be the effect of Adam’s apostasy; and which manifests itself in moral agents by positive act of disobedience to the divine will, or by the voluntary neglect to comply with the express commands of God, which require that we should love God with all the heart and soul and strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. This native depravity or alienation of affections from God and his law, is supposed to be what the apostle calls the carnal mind or mindedness, which is enmity against God, and is therefore denominated sin or sinfulness. Unpardonable sin, or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is supposed to be a malicious and obstinate rejection of Christ and the gospel plan of salvation, or a contemptuous resistance made to the influences and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Mat 12.

SIN, v.i.

1. To depart voluntarily from the path of duty prescribed by God man; to violate the divine law in any particular, by actual transgression or by the neglect or non-observance of its injunctions; to violate any known rule of duty. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned. Psa 51.

2. To offend against right, against men or society; to trespass. I an a man more sinn’d against than sinning. And who but wishes to invert the laws of order, sins against the’ eternal cause.

This definition is totally different from today’s definition of sin. Merriam Webster’s on-line dictionary defines sin as:

1 a : an offense against religious or moral law b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible [it’s]c : an often serious shortcoming : FAULT
2 a : transgression of the law of God b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God

Pretty diluted, isn’t it? Man’s heart is desperately wicked so of course he would prefer today’s definition of Merriam Webster’s.

So what is considered sin? We can start at the beginning with the Ten Commandments. This is God’s law to mankind. Have you broken one of these? Have you lied – even just once? Then by admission, you are a liar. Have you ever stolen – even a pen from work? Then by admission, you are a thief. Breaking any of these commandments makes us a sinner. Because of this fallen nature, it is impossible to keep all the commandments. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10) Therefore, we must be punished for breaking God’s laws. It does not matter if you do good things like help the poor. It doesn’t matter if you give lots of money to the church. Although it’s nice that you did these things, the fact of the matter is that punishment is still needed for breaking God’s commandments. They weren’t put there just so a movie could be made. The Ten Commandments were given as the Law by God. They are our “teacher” and are there to show us that we are sinners.

Let’s say that you were sentenced to pay a penalty of $50,000 by a judge because you were caught stealing. You tell the judge that you do not have $50,000 and that you are really sorry for your crime but could he let you go this one time. The judge replies that he is a good judge but someone has to pay the penalty for this crime. A friend of yours shows up and says he’ll pay the $50,000 for you. Someone already in prison could not pay this penalty for you but this friend was free to do so. The judge accepts his payment and lets you go.

This is exactly what Jesus Christ did for us. Because God is a Good and Righteous Judge, He demands that the penalty for breaking His Laws be paid. Because God’s love for us is so great, Jesus Christ chose to take on the form of man so He could take the punishment for our sins and pay that penalty. Jesus said, “Father, I’ll pay their debt for them! I’ll become that sacrifice You require of shed blood and I will shed My own blood for them. Only Jesus Christ could do this because He did not sin once while He lived on earth. He was the only one qualified to pay this penalty. No man could do it because all men have sinned. Now that’s love, my friend!

The born-again believer no longer has to pay the penalty because our debt has been paid by Jesus Christ Himself. Will we continue to sin? Yes, but we will sin less. The believer has been given the Holy Spirit of God and He resides in us to teach us and guide us in how to live a more righteous life. Every day is a challenge for the believer to live a godly life. But it is a joyous challenge because we no longer have to fear spending eternity in hell! What joy!

When you look at the lost today, remember that his heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. He is serving his father, the devil. Have pity on the lost and share with them the reason for your joy. 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: (1 Peter 3:15)

This is the whole point of His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection!

Dear God…
Your Law showed me my sin
Impossible to obey
Then Jesus paid my debt
He is the only Way.

Maranatha Devotionals

Today’s devotional was written by Bro. Virgil at Our Final Authority. I hope you are as blessed as I was after you read it!

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren” (James 1:12-16).

If we ask the famous “who” question, we see that it is addressed to the beloved brethren (in Christ). One thing to note that in the New Testament Epistles, the lost are not spoken to, except indirectly . . . the message is entirely to Christians. Can we then lose our salvation? No, I do not believe so. But can we find a companion verse to clarify?

One verse is Paul’s directions concerning the Lord’s Table, and to those who partake of it. He wrote:

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep” (I Corinthians 11:27-30).

The operative word above is “sleep”, or “death”.

Many Christians go to an early grave because they take the things of God lightly and ruin their testimonies. The wages of sin is death. The difference is that with the unbelievers, that death is eternal . . . in fact, they have never known “life” to lose it. With the Christian, it is temporary and only until the resurrection.

God chastises His children, and some He chastens with death because they are unwilling to heed to instructions.

The primary audience in James’ book is to believers. They allow themselves to be tempted, and blame God for their failings, rather than accept responsibility for their own faults. In a sense, they are blaspheming God by saying that He is the Author of their sins (such as with Adam who actually blamed God for his sin because it was God that gave him the woman who tempted him).

Sin is like a seed that is planted and grows into a vast tree of hardness, to the point where repentance is no longer desired. I can well remember the immediate days after my salvation, how horrible it was to sin and how bad I felt. Now, thirty-some years later, there is no longer those immediate feelings of shame and sadness that I had hurt God’s heart. We all harden to some extent over time.

Thank God for I John 1:8-10, where we read: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:8-10).

Yes, we sin, but there is a remedy for it, for we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ. But if we ignore our Advocate and continue to pour sin upon sin without an approach to our Advocate, we become sin-hardened and built a fortress against God.

Rather than allow us to destroy our testimony beyond repair, God in His grace takes us home, as a country might recall an errant ambassador.

Maranatha Devotionals


Psalm 51:10, 12-13, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (10) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (12) Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (13)

Our daily prayer should start with the verses in this beautiful Psalm! The Christian praying these words sincerely cannot help but start off the day on the right track. The believer with a clean heart has already had his time with the Lord and has confessed his sin and repented. Only in so doing can we experience the true joy of our salvation daily because there is nothing separating us from our God. This does not mean that we lose our salvation each time we sin. It means that our fellowship is once again restored.

A good illustration is when one of my own children lies to me. My child will be punished and our fellowship won’t be the same until it is made right. Until my child confesses to me that he has lied and it is evident that he is truly repentant, the fellowship between us is broken. My heart is broken while our fellowship is broken. It’s not the same between us – he can’t look me in square in the eye and we can’t seem to enjoy that closeness we once had. However, once he repents and asks forgiveness, I can then hug him and that sweet fellowship is once again restored. What a joy it is to be able to fellowship is we once did. He now is not ashamed to look me in the eye and he is confident because he has been forgiven. My son knows that there’s no longer anything that separates us. At any point during this broken fellowship, did my son cease to be my son? Of course not. He was still my son, my flesh and bone – we just did not have the same relationship we had prior to his lying to me. Our fellowship was not the same until he experienced true repentance and asked forgiveness. After he did, he knew that his mother would be waiting to forgive him with opened arms, ready to restore our relationship.

I’ve heard preached that our accounts with God should be kept short – meaning, don’t let a day go by without confessing your sins and being truly repentant. This restores your fellowship with the Lord and all is well. Only then can we be effective soul winners according to verse 13 and win others to Christ. The lost can spot a hypocrite a mile away. If we try to lead someone to the Lord and our lives are filled with unconfessed sin, our efforts will be in the flesh and not in the Spirit. Just as our children, we must turn to our Heavenly Father and confess to Him our sin. Only then can we be free to witness to others without hypocrisy and without hindrance.

It’s so important that we have a clean heart before the Lord so that we do not hinder His Spirit’s work in the lives of the unsaved. I know that there will be some whom God has placed in my path and that I have not been able to effectively witness to them because I have not been right with Him! I dread the day that I stand before the Lord and He shows me those who are lost for all eternity because I did not take this seriously. Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, so I may be a better witness for You!!!

O For A Heart to Praise My God
Charles Wesley

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

Thy tender heart is still the same,
And melts at human woe:
Jesus, for thee distressed I am,
I want Thy love to know.

My heart, Thou know’st, can never rest
Till Thou create my peace;
Till of mine Eden repossest,
From self, and sin, I cease.

Fruit of Thy gracious lips, on me
Bestow that peace unknown,
The hidden manna, and the tree
Of life, and the white stone.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.

Maranatha Devotionals

I was drawn to William Cowper (pronounced Cooper) because of his testimony. He was born on November 15, 1731 in Great Berkhampstead, England and died in April, 1800. His father was chaplain to King George II so it appears that William was raised on God’s word. William studied to become an attorney but he never actually practiced law. He struggled with temporary madness to the point that he made several attempts at drinking poison only to have spasms in his hand which prevented him from doing so. Talk about the hand of God on his life! He then tried to hang himself with a strong garter. He passed out and then the garter broke while he was still suspended. After he recovered, he struggled with knowing that God could forgive him for this attempt. It was then his life changed.

Today’s hymn was the first hymn William wrote after his recovery. It is evident that the Lord worked in him and gave him the assurance of forgiveness.

There is a Fountain Filled with Blood
William Cowper

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

What words penned by a repentant man in need of the assurance of love from his God! William could not stand the fact that he entertained thoughts of suicide. I have been in his shoes. I did not suffer from madness but I entertained suicidal thoughts. Had it not been for the grace of God, I would not be here today writing devotionals and praising Him! My Heavenly Father sent a dear friend to me from a thousand miles away to share the salvation message! She arrived in the nick of time because a few short days later was when I planned to end it all. Thank You, Lord! I was born again and those suicidal thoughts left me and I have never entertained them since! \o/

The devil uses despair to play mind games with the believer. I have seen it in my own life and I have seen it in the lives of others. The key to despair is how we deal with it. I compare my Christian walk with that of a car. A car starts off brand new and it works beautifully. It smells good – it looks good – it drives great! Depending on the car’s owner, the car may or may not continue to run well. If the owner does not fill the car with fuel regularly, it will run out of gasoline and stop working. If the owner does not perform the scheduled maintenance checks, the car will begin to experience problems. If the tires are not checked from time to time, the owner can expect a flat. There are many things that must be maintained on a car to ensure that it runs properly.

The same holds true for the Christian. When the Christian first gets saved, he is on fire for the Lord and it seems that nothing can stop him. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Co 5:17) However, as the Christian gets older, there are things that he must do to maintain his spiritual zeal. Our fuel is the word of God. Without daily fuel from above, we can expect to sputter and eventually stop. How can we deal with the day’s problems without the proper fuel from above to keep us going in the time of storm? Without our scheduled maintenance (church services), we can expect to encounter problems with our walk. One cannot expect to be able to draw on our spiritual resources if we have not put anything into them. Being in the word of God daily helps us to remember a verse when we need one desperately. The Holy Spirit reminds us of a passage that we read a couple of weeks ago, or even that very morning. Paul exhorted the Ephesians not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God but to put away those old things (sins). That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (Eph 4:22)

The Christian who does not stay in the Scriptures will find himself grieving the Holy Spirit and he won’t be able to hear His still small voice when he needs it most. He will not have the resources to pull from when the devil begins to push him into the sea of despair. I have seen two types of people who suffer from chronic illnesses. The first is in God’s word and is able to make it through each day because of God’s grace he receives from the word. The other has become an embittered person, full of disdain for the world around him, because he has nothing to draw from. God’s word brings healing – maybe not physically, but spiritually. Our Emmanuel (God with us) is there to heal our broken spirits when the devil is busy trying us sore. How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Act 10:38 )

Have you ever heard the term FIFO? It is an inventory term used in warehouses. It stands for First In First Out. It means that the first piece of inventory that goes on the shelf should be the first piece of inventory that leaves the shelf. It is the same with our own spiritual lives. If we put something into our spiritual inventory, it will be the first thing that surfaces in our lives. If we read our Bible, we will be able to draw on that when we are in need of a word from God. If we neglected our Bible reading and did other things, we can expect to have nothing to pull from. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Ti 2:15) When we stand before God and receive reward for the works that we have done for Him, will we stand ashamed before Him because we did not study His word? Will we have to bow our heads in shame because we fell into the sea of despair instead of using our life raft, the word of God?

William Cowper saw this in his own life, I believe. I do not know whether his temporary madness was a mind game from the devil or an illness. I could not tell whether or not it was before his salvation or after. This is not clear in the history I have read. There may be some other accounts out there detailing this but I have not read it. However, I do know that his Heavenly Father reached down to him in his despair and lifted him. I do know that from that point on, William went on to write one of the most beautiful hymns about the blood of his Saviour. He totally grasped salvation and penned a clear message of how the Saviour paid dearly with His own blood the punishment for sin we so deserved.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

Despite our sin, the born-again believer can say the power of Christ’s blood will take us home and one day, we will no longer struggle with sin. Praise God! What do you have on your spiritual shelves to draw upon when you are in need? Do you have the latest movie details, lyrics to your favorite song, or the precious word of God to direct and guide you? God’s Word promises five things:

1. LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psa 119:89): We do not have to doubt its origin, preservation or authenticity because God’s word was and is forever settled in Heaven. We have God’s word to turn to – He has promised us.

2. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105): God’s word will keep us from stumbling spiritually because it will direct us.

3. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. (Psa 119:140): God’s word is pure – there is nothing in it which is polluted or corrupt.

4. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Psa 119:160): God’s word is true from the beginning of time and forever. There are no lies in it, no contradictions, and no faux pas! We can count on it to give us what we need, when we need it.

5. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (Joh 17:17): God’s word will set us apart from the spiritually malnourished believer as well as the unbeliever.

In the mean time, what kind of FIFO system do you have controlling your spiritual inventory today?

Maranatha Devotionals

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. (Pro 12:18 )

Today’s topic won’t be long as I feel one verse can best describe the tongue. There are many verses we could read about the tongue and I’ve listed them below for you to look up on your own. I believe that today’s verse best describes the tongue because it is two-fold. It discusses the proper and improper uses of the tongue. The picture of this man speaks volumes. It depicts someone who has been on the receiving end of one who used his tongue like a sword.

Picture this sword for a moment. A sword is used to cut – plain and simple. It serves no other purpose, except if one uses it as a trophy for show. It stands to reason that when a sword is just for show, then it is not in use. It is proper that this verse would compare the tongue to a sword. How many times have you been cut by words spoken by an angry person? How many times have those words cut so deeply that you have found it difficult to forgive a person? We have all been there at some point. Does this justify the person’s use of their tongue like a sword? Not at all.

The verse goes on to say that the tongue of the wise is health. Good health is such a blessing, isn’t it? No pains, no sicknesses – we cherish each day that we can get up and not feel a twinge! A wise tongue is the same as good health according to the Word. The words of a wise person help another to good health – not in the physical sense but in the emotional and spiritual sense.

What words do you speak to others? Do you come bearing health to some and a sword to others? Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (Jam 3:11) It should not be so for believers. We should have sweet water all the time. Our words should bring health to others all the time. If bitter water flows from our mouths and our words cut like a sword, can we honestly say we are walking with the Lord? No, we surely cannot say that. A person who reacts this way with his tongue is one who is not yielded to the Holy Spirit of God.

Have you been hurt by someone’s words? Have they cut you deeply? Remember where those words came from. This hurtful person could be unsaved. If so, they are doing a great job serving their father, the devil. He is the epitome of self-centeredness and they have learned from him well. It helps you to understand why they are the way they are. It does not take the pain away, but it sure does help you focus your thoughts on why they have a need to hurt you. Give God the glory and move on. If this person is a born-again Christian, they are not yielded to the Holy Spirit in their lives, nor their tongue. Forgive this brother and pray for an opportunity to help this brother in this area. Pray for a peaceful time where you can share how the comments hurt you. If this brother is repentant and won, this is a blessing and you have exhorted this brother to righteousness. If this brother is unrepentant and uses his tongue as a sword once again, we are commanded in Matt. 18:22 to forgive our brother (another believer) as many times as it takes. Then ask the Holy Spirit to give you exactly what you need to love this brother the way God loves him.

I have personally been in a situation of this type. Just today alone, I’ve heard from two ladies who are going through similar trials. A sword produces bleeding, wounds and scars. The one on the receiving end will never be the same because wounds leave scars. Can we who have been wounded recover? Absolutely! How? By yielding our tongue to the control of the Holy Spirit. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (Jam 3:13) (Emphasis mine) When we are in the Scriptures seeking after knowledge and wisdom, we put to practice what we have learned and show forth good conversation. Is it easy? No. Is it do-able? Yes! I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil. 4:13 This is yet another burden to lay at the Saviour’s feet, my friend. We are not alone in our struggles but we have each other – the brothers and sisters in Christ who can exhort us unto righteousness and pray for us. Praise the Lord for being a part of this wonderful Family. Christ died for each of us, while we were yet sinners! If anyone had reason to be offended by the tongues of man, it was He.

Extra Verses on the Tongue:

Prov. 10:20
Prov. 11:12
Prov. 13:3
Prov. 14:25
Prov. 15:1, 4, 23
Prov. 15:28
Prov. 16:24, 28
Prov. 18:8, 13, 21
Prov. 21:23
Prov. 25:11
Prov. 26:17
Prov. 26:20
Prov. 27:2
James 3:5
James 3:8

Dear God…
May my tongue be controlled
Each day as I yield to You
Help the living waters flow
So others may see the Truth

Maranatha Devotionals

James 4:6-8 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

As we read James, we can clearly see that Christians have a choice when it comes to sin. We mothers cannot possibly teach our children about these choices until we have learned it in our own spiritual lives. Our children need to learn that after they are saved, they no longer need to give in to sin.

Look at the progression in these three verses. James 4:6 teaches us that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “proud” to be:

Having inordinate self-esteem; possessing a high or unreasonable conceit of one’s own excellence, either of body or mind.

As we read verse 6 in context then, God will not give grace to resist sin to the one who thinks himself “spiritual” or who thinks highly of himself.  The Pharisees of today have the same prideful spirit as the Pharisees of Christ’s day. These do not need a Saviour because they believe that they can get to Heaven on their own merit. The humble in spirit, however, are those who have acknowledged their sinful ways, repented and believed on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Children are especially open to the Gospel and this is why it is important to teach them early after they get saved.

To the humble, God gives grace to be able to accomplish James 4:7. One does not have to give in to sin! So many times we hear, “The devil made me do it!” However, James 4:7 says that if we submit to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us! With God’s grace (promised in verse 6 to the humble in spirit), we can say no. But how?

James 4:8 is absolutely beautiful! Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. The humble know that they can do nothing without the Lord. (Philippians 4:13) A humble heart, covered by the precious blood of the Jesus Christ, will desire to walk righteously. Purifying our hearts daily means to keep our thoughts and heart fixed on the word of God. (Philippians 4:8) Furthermore, a double minded person doesn’t have a “stand” for good or for bad! (James 1:8) To claim Christianity on Sunday and then live like the world the other six days is a double minded person. Therefore, James 4:8 tells us that when we take a stand for Christ with righteous living and purify our hearts, it is drawing nigh to God! What happens to those who draw nigh to Him? The word says that God will draw nigh to them. What better way to help our children than to have them memorize these verses so they can pull from them! This is how we can avoid sin!

  1. The humble one recognizes his need for God’s grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  2. The humble one resists the devil when temptation rears its ugly head. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  3. The humble one will draw nigh to God through salvation in Jesus Christ. For it is impossible without His salvation. (Hebrews 7:19)
  4. The humble one walks in the paths of righteousness. (Psalm 23:3)
  5. The humble one purifies his heart with God’s word! (Psalm 119:9)

Today’s Christian has become so worldly and the teaching of living a godly life has now been mushed down to “legalism.” The world has entered the church and one is hard pressed to find a godly church who desires to live righteous lives. We must remember that God is still holy and He still requires us to pursue righteous living. After all, Scripture says He never changes. (Hebrews 13:8)

If one believes that he does not need to change after salvation, then that person is ignoring 2 Corinthians 5:17. Our old lifestyle (of living IN the same sins as before, day after day) should be dissipating with each passing day. If this is not happening, then repentance never took place. Godly sorrow for one’s sin causes the Christian to repent! This is where the humbleness comes in. Recognizing sin, repenting (completely turning away) from it and pursuing righteous and godly living is a sure sign that 2 Corinthians 5:17 actually occurred in your life.

Christian, we do not need to struggle with sin. We have been given this wonderful freedom and we have the ability to say no! Praise the Lord!

Maranatha Devotionals

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead: Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. 4 And the children of Israel did so, and put them out without the camp: as the Lord spake unto Moses, so did the children of Israel. Num 5:1-4

Leprosy was/is considered a horrible, physically defiling, and contagious disease. In biblical days, people with this disease had to be set apart from the healthy otherwise it spread. Today, we have antibiotics which can keep leprosy from progressing further, once it is disagnosed.

I stopped to meditate on this dreadful disease and how similar to our spiritual life it is. Just as God commanded that those with leprosy be put out of the camp, so should we do in our own spiritual lives to protect ourselves from “spiritual leprosy.” A simple Google search brought me to various websites that outlined the symptoms of leprosy. I thought it would be interesting to see what these symptoms were and how we can compare them to our own “spiritual leprosy.”

1. Symptoms begin within five years from when the bacteria enters the body. This period is known as the ‘leprosy incubation period.’ After salvation, I am not actively reading God’s word daily and growing spiritually, I am subjecting myself to a life of battles with sin. (Psalm 119:9) The more I allow sin to dwell in me, the more severe my spiritual leprosy becomes.

2. Leprosy ranges from mild to severe – from one or a few skin areas infected to many areas, which in turn damage to many organs. I was once told that a Christian should keep his sins on a very short list with God – confessing, repenting and forsaking these sins daily. The repercussions from our sins can range from mild to severe spankings from our Heavenly Father. (II Corinthians 6:14) Some consequences are irreversible. A good example is disobeying God’s word and marrying an unsaved person. The life that will follow will be filled with hardships.

3. Rashes and bumps begin to appear and the affected areas become numb and muscles may become weak. As we continue in sin, we develop “spiritual bumps and rashes” which become evident to those around us. For example, making it a practice of not going to church will surface in my actions. My language may become more foul, I may find myself hanging out with unsaved people, etc. Sin’s bacteria surfaces in my actions. (Colossians 3:5-6)

4. A diagnosis is made and confirmed by taking a biopsy of the affected tissue. It becomes evident to the more spiritual friends and church members that this person has spiritual leprosy by the fruit that is produced, or not produced in this case.

5. Antibiotics cannot cure the damage already done but can prevent leprosy from progressing. The scriptures are the antibiotic that keeps us clean. As we submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading, repent and move on, we keep spiritual leprosy at bay. The repercussions of our sin prior to the scripture’s antibiotic may continue on. (Romans 7:5) For example, a baby born out of wedlock is still going to be a part of your life even though you have repented of the sin of fornication. (Hebrews 12:11)

As we grow in Christ, we must keep ourselves from the sinful world and its leprosy. You are who you hang around with. The world’s “leprous skin” will surface on you if you do not separate yourself from it. (Philippians 3:17-19) If your sin were to be revealed on your outward appearance, how would YOUR skin look? Would your skin be soft and smooth looking or would it have lesions and oozing? I know this is a graphic thought but sin’s effects are never pretty. One only needs to speak to someone who has smoked for years and is dying of lung cancer to see/hear of its effects. And one only needs to speak to a Christian who has gone the way of the world to see that he’s become more like the world than a Christian.

This was a good way to view my sin and its effects on my life, both physically and spiritually. May I keep that at the forefront of my mind as I live each day – thinking of the consequences of my sin so it causes me to stay clear from it! The only way to keep this ever present before me is to stay in God’s word. (Psalm 119:11)

 

 

Maranatha Devotionals

~Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

We know that God hears everything – He even knows what we are thinking!

~Psalm 94:9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?

There is nothing that gets by Him. We can’t slide something passed Him so let’s not deceive ourselves. But how many times have we heard that God doesn’t seem to hear our prayers? Could it be that we have allowed sin to separate us from Him? When your child is continuously disobedient, does he get everything he wants from you? Why should it be any different with God? It’s not that God doesn’t hear our prayers, it is because we have not been meeting the criteria for answered prayer. The Word says:

~John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Ouch! So what’s our excuse? Are we praying with selfish motives? Are we praying but yet still clinging on to sin in our lives? Just as our earthly parents won’t reward us when we’re defiant, neither will our Heavenly Father. Our earthly family can be used as a good learning tool when it comes to the born-again believer’s relationship with God.

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Catholicism

The 1994 Catholic Catechism states that there are varying degrees of sin:

“Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity.” Pg. 454, #1854

Catholicism teaches that there are venial sins:

“One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave manner, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.” Pg. 456, #1862

Catholicism teaches that there are mortal sins:

“Mortal sin… results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’ s kingdom and the eternal death of hell…” Pg. 456, #1861 (See also Pg. 264, #1014, Pg. 269, #1033, Pg. 270, #1035 and Pg. 270, #1037.)

However, with these teachings, the same catechism does not teach the catholic how much repentance it will take to be forgiven of the mortal sin. It does not teach why the Bible does not cover venial and mortal sins. The Bible deals specifically with sin – period.

What does the Bible say sin is?

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4 Sin is the breaking of the law – the Ten Commandments. All of life’s sins are covered in the Ten Commandments. There is not one among us who can say they have not sinned. We have all broken a command from God! For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 (emphasis mine). Because we are sinners, we deserve death and hell because we cannot enter Heaven with sin. The wages of sin is death… Romans 6:23 God’s Word does not state here that only a certain type of sin will bring death but plain old sin! This would have been a great opportunity for God to put in His Word the difference between venial and mortal sins. Instead, He chose to state plainly that sin’s payment is death.

In fact, since sin is the transgression of the law, the Word says that if we break even one, we are guilty of them all. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. Jas 2:10 (emphasis mine). It does not matter whether you believe there are venial sins or mortal sins, the Word states that you are guilty of all the Law if you have broken just one of them. In other words, if we lie (that is the Ninth Commandment), we have become guilty of breaking all the Commandments (stealing, murder, etc.). God is trying to teach us that any part of the Law that is broken is enough to keep us out of Heaven. That is why Christ had to come – stop and think about this. It is impossible for us to be sinless. We cannot go one day without breaking at least one of the Ten Commandments! But this man (Jesus), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; Hebrews 10:12

It took a sinless sacrifice to pay for our penalty – our wages of death. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Colossians 1:14 and For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28.

Once we confess our sin to God, He is faithful and forgives our sins and remembers them no more! This is a promise! And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:17 There is nothing that we can do (penance) that can help to forgive us and cleanse any further. Once we are forgiven, we are forgiven. There is no differentiating between small and great sins for all sin is an offense to God and we are guilty of all sin even when we break one! Christ died for all sins and there is nothing further that must be done. To say that His shed blood on the cross is not forgiveness enough is to blaspheme the Lord. Is He not perfect? Is He not holy? All that God does is based on His love for us. Even to the point of giving His own sinless blood so that we could be saved. To say that penance will further forgive you or going to purgatory will further purge you is to say that Christ’s shed blood was not enough to pay the penalty. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 1 Corinthians 15:3

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Maranatha Devotionals

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Tit 2:12)

Denying ourselves of ungodly things and worldly lusts is a battle indeed. The first step is to be able to recognize these things in our lives. How can one recognize them if one is knee-deep in the world? I have seen what allowing the world into one’s life can do to a person. I know someone personally who use to live right. Somehow the devil has gotten compromise in this brother’s life and now he is doing things I never dreamed I’d ever see him do. He still goes to church and serves in different ministries. The sad thing is he no longer sees these compromises as sin but as his “right” and “liberty” in Christ! It grieves me to see someone use Christianity as an excuse to do whatever they want. There’s no consideration given to the weaker brother who is watching and may be pushed to sin because of the poor testimony displayed.

You can’t be around a skunk for more than just a few seconds and the smell disgusts you. You also come away feeling like you smell like a skunk, don’t you? However, the longer you’re around the stench, the less you smell it. I grew up in Northern Maine. A few times a year, we would drive to Massachusetts to visit my sister. The route my father used went right through Lincoln, Maine. We always knew when we were getting close because of the awful smell of their paper mill. This town would have been a great stopping point to eat but we never would stop there because we just could not stand the smell! As children, we would block our noses and breathe through our mouths as we went through town, it was that bad. We actually met people who had lived there all their lives and they claimed they couldn’t smell it! It’s the same with worldliness. The longer you are exposed to it and allow it to come into your life, the more it will permeate your life and your ability to discern it will deteriorate.

I find this type of worldly behavior by Christians as immature. They are like toddlers who keep saying, “Mine!” “Give me!” “I want!” “Don’t tell me what to do!” We had an interesting discussion on the Our Final Authority about comparing a human being’s growth from baby to adult to the spiritual life of a Christian. Thank you, Brother Lee, for sharing it with me. It is worth sharing here with you. I hope you are blessed by it.

Spiritual Growth Chart

Babies

Pacifier – Always needing to feel like you are eating but happy with just going through the motions and not really having to swallow anything or digest any truth. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (Heb 5:13)

Diaper Changes – Making messes uncontrollably that must be cleaned up by other more mature people. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. (1Th 5:14)

Crying for attention – Crying not because of pain or hunger, cold or hot, or any other discomfort but because you want attention. Babies lie to get attention! Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Phi 4:11)

Thoughts – They know that they exist and they begin to learn. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (Psa 139:23)

Toddlers

Banging Heads – They see what they want and plunge in after it but they never see any danger. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Pro 4:19)

Poison – They will put anything in their mouths But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:14)

Falls – They will walk right off of the edge or trip over the most obvious hazards. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. (Joh 11:10)

Undisciplined – This is the age where discipline must be taught, this is where we learn what no means. He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Pro 13:24)

Learning – Begin to learn the first hard lessons of life usually the hard way. Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. (Psa 25:4)

Childhood

Newness – Everything is new and must be discovered. This is where the greatest learning takes place. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:4)

Recognition – We begin to recognize what causes sickness and pain, joy and pleasure. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. (Psa 119:7)

Socialization – We learn to play with others and learn from someone other than our parents. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Eph 4:32)

Independence – We can feed ourselves and maintain ourselves with only a little help and nudging. We begin to make decisions. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. (1Jo 2:14)

Education – The beginning of a formal education they learn the basics from adults. 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. (Psa 111:10)

Pre-Teen – Teen

Assertion – We begin to assert ourselves as individuals and demand some control over our lives. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. (Deu 8:6)

Rebellion – We rebel against the authority of others over our life. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (1Sa 15:23)

Individuality – We begin to show our individuality and uniqueness. But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. (1Co 12:18 )

Abilities – We now have the ability to do constructive work or to destroy the work of others. If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? (1Co 12:17)

Pride – We gain pride thus reaching the age of accountability. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Pro 16:18 )

Self centered – The world is there to serve us. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Phi 2:4)

Knowledge – Begins to become knowledgeable of the deeper things of the World around them. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Pro 1:7)

Adult

Responsibility – Takes responsibility for his own actions good or bad. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (1Jo 2:10)

Wisdom – Understands truth and his own limitations thus reverences the Creator. The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. (Pro 16:31)

Service – Works for the benefit of others and not just for self. A
nd the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (2Ti 2:24) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (2Ti 2:25) And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2Ti 2:26)

Sacrifice – Gives of themselves for their family and the ones that they love. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom 12:1)

Diligence – Does the routine things and the things that are expected of them. Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. (Pro 22:29)

Higher Education – They can now gain that higher knowledge of the mysterious things of creation and beyond. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. (Psa 143:10)

So, my friend, where are you in the Spiritual Growth Chart? Are you as far away from the stench of worldliness or have you hung around it long enough that the “scent” is all over you? This need not be your story. Paul said you can turn it around by living soberly, righteously, and godly. Get in the Word, Christian. Stop quenching the Holy Spirit of God and allow Him to prick your heart and point out the areas of compromise and worldliness you to need to work on. It’s never too late to turn your life around and be at peace once again. If you were to be totally honest, you cannot say that your worldly life has brought you any true peace. Won’t you turn today and serve the Lord again?

Dear God…
Compromise and worldliness
An awful stench they leave
May Your Holy Spirit cleanse me
While to Your Side I cleave

 The Baptist Top 1000

Maranatha Devotionals

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Pro 16:18 ) Injured pride is a tough lesson for the believer. The earlier this lesson is learned, the better it is.

What is the best way to deal with pride? Doing a study on how God views pride should be the first place we start. Noah Webster’s definition helps us to see more clearly:

Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one’s own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others.

I think the picture of the cat viewing himself as a lion is a perfect example, don’t you? When we see ourselves as better than we truly are, we set ourselves up for a huge disappointment.

If you struggle with pride, remember that one day you will be brought down to the level you truly belong, and maybe even lower. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. (1 Sam 2:3) Continuing to be arrogant and prideful will only set you up for defeat. God sees where you truly are, how you think of yourself and He will weigh your actions. When the time comes where you are brought down, your pride will force you to think that you are suffering as a Christian. But God’s Word says, For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (1 Pet 2:20) You’re suffering because of your sinful pride, not because you did something right for the Lord. You must recognize the difference and see God’s chastisement as His way of teaching you to be humble.

It is better to learn to be humble and meek before God has to deal with you and you are brought to shame. When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (Pro 11:2) Get in the Word where the teaching is pure – there are so many verses dealing with pride and humbleness. Recognize that your pride is sin in the eyes of God. An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin. (Pro 21:4) Confess this sin and ask the Holy Spirit of God to pierce your heart and teach you humbleness and meekness.

That pride isn’t bad enough, but it drives you to greater sin. The Lord says you will stir up trouble and that you are a fool. Prov. 28:25-26, He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat. (25) He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. (26) Is this what you want for your life? The Christian who is striving to grow in Christ produces the fruit of the Spirit. Pride is not listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit; however meekness is (Gal. 5:22).

It’s always best to learn any lesson early on because the longer you remain in any sin, the harder you will fall. Is it not so with your own children? If they disobey you once, the punishment is minimal. But the more then continue to disobey, the harsher the punishment, right? Can you expect any less from your Heavenly Father? So you ask, “I thought today’s devo was going to be on injured pride? I thought I would learn how to deal with it.” If you look deep within yourself, you will see that your pride was injured because you thought more of yourself than you should have. Dealing with injured pride is learning to be humble.

Dear God…
Place pride far behind me
And I no longer fall
May I reflect Your humbleness
And heed the Spirit’s call

Maranatha Devotionals

The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with. (Pro 17:14) Imagine with me this morning a dam with a small leak. The water slowly trickles out until the hole becomes bigger and bigger. Eventually, disaster strikes and the raging waters flow wreaking havoc in its path. I liken arguing to flood waters. The more we desire to prove our point, the more the argument escalates. Eventually this argument becomes a full-blown fight and the flood gates have been opened. Words are said that should not have been said. Sadly, these words cannot be taken back because they have already caused the damage and pain. They produce a flood of turmoil and it takes days, sometimes weeks, to clean up the mess we’ve made. Oh the havoc we wreak with our mouths! If only we would glean from the Word of God and apply God’s counsel to our lives. We would keep ourselves out of trouble.

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Pro 15:1) The effects of an argument are not the same if you are the only one involved. Therefore, heed God’s Word and give a soft answer. If someone criticizes you, how can they be angry with the response, “I’m sorry if I have offended you. I’ll try not to do that again.” Or even, “Forgive me for that, I was not aware of how much this bothered you.” Sadly, too many Christians today think that they have “arrived” as a human being when they can tell somebody off or put someone in their place. This is not Christ-like nor does the Lord exhort us to be this way. When Christ was being mocked, He did not give them a piece of His mind.

Our harsh words will only stir up anger in the other person and fuel our own. It will allow the flood gates to open up and damage what is precious to us. It takes more of a man (or woman) to control his tongue than to speak his mind. [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) Be careful! One’s character is revealed as he speaks his mind. I have never seen this verse better put into action than in the life of my own Pastor. No one could possibly start an argument with him even if they tried. He does not argue back. Every kind word I have heard about him has included how gentle and kind he is. He can be assertive when the need arises but he has never allowed anger to rule his tongue.

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (Heb 12:15) I especially love this verse because it goes with the flooding theme of today’s devotional. The root of bitterness springs up within us and the devil uses it to his advantage. The devil says, “Go ahead, speak your mind – let him have it, he deserves to be put in his place.” The devils loves it when he can cause us to concentrate on our own feelings and he stirs up that bitter root within us. Can you have an argument if your heart isn’t bitter?

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Phi 2:3) If we truly believed this verse and applied it to our lives, what would be the outcome of arguments that come our way? One who esteems the other better than himself will not be quick to tear down the other but will be totally interested in healing the conflict. He will carefully choose his words because he is esteeming that person more than himself. Would you like to be on the receiving end of hurtful words? Of course not. So if you esteem the other better than yourself, you will not be quick to speak hurtful words.

I once heard a message using a tube of toothpaste as an analogy for arguing. As impossible as it is to put toothpaste back into its tube, it’s just as impossible to take back those words that should not have been spoken! The damage is done – the words have been spoken and can never be taken back. The toothpaste is everywhere and what a mess it has made. These analogies are great ones and we should take heed to their message to avoid damaging a relationship to the point of no return. Sadly, we hurt the ones we are closest to – why that is, I’ll never know. Is it because we are most comfortable with them and feel free to speak our minds? Rather than be this way, we should think the opposite – we should be so comfortable with them that we want to be even more careful not to speak our minds for fear of hurting them.

Is losing a friend or loved one worth speaking your mind? A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. (Pro 18:19) Wouldn’t it be better to choose your words carefully and save that relationship? My friend, if you repeatedly hurt the same person with your words, you chance losing that friend. God is only trying to help us through His Word. It’s so important to place into action and apply what we read so that we may glean the “good” that God intends for us. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. (Jam 1:26) As born-again Christians, we should be shining examples to those around us of how we are doers of the Word and not hearers only.

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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