Archive | August 2016

Your Starting Point

James 1:14-15 KJV  “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
[15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

What is lust? Lust is defined as strong desire. Sin is the last act or action of lust. Death is the consequence of the action. Trying to bring our body into subjection to God is difficult because the body/flesh is born into sin.  If sin is the last act or action, what precedes this action and how do we correct the action?

Sin is the act or action of conduct and behaviour. But before your conduct and behaviour, was a decision you had to make. And before you made the decision you have a desire aka lust. Lust can involve anything because whatever you have a strong desire for, you are lusting for it.

For years churches taught on conduct and behaviour. Pastors preached on conduct and behaviour. People judge other people based on conduct and behavior. But the root of conduct and behaviour is desire. Because the desire thought is placed in your mind.

Once the desire thought is placed in your mind you make a decision. Your decision brings a conduct and behaviour. And if that conduct and behaviour is against God or God’s word, then it is sin.

If I do not have the desire then I do not need to worry about my conduct or behaviour over a particular issue. And if I attack an issue by attacking the conduct and behaviour, I get religion.

For years I heard in church about conduct and behaviour. This teaching turns people away from God because people realize they can not stop or they can not be good enough. Trying to force people into church required conduct and behaviour only makes the people religious not free.

But when you teach people when they choose to get saved they choose to crucify the person they were. You choose to change the way you think,  change the way you walk in this world, change what you speak, change your goals, change your plans all to line up with God and his ways and God’s plan and purpose for you. You choose to let God establish your destiny, not you.

That is what baptism pictures. When a believer is baptized they are immersed in water showing their old man has died and is buried and they are raised in newness of life. They are raised for a new life in Christ and with Christ. That is why scriptural baptism is immersion not sprinkled.

Remember when Jesus was baptized? After Jesus was baptized  the Holy Ghost came upon him (a dove was seen) and a voice from heaven was heard (God the Father). Then Jesus’s life changed, he started his earthly ministry at about 30 years old.

We don’t read much about the life of Jesus before his baptism. But we do know Jesus was about 30 years old when he was baptized by John the Baptist. We also know Jesus’s ministry was about 3 1/2 years and then they crucified Jesus. The gospel ‘s focus is on the ministry, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

I remember about four years after I got saved my brother asked me why I was allowing myself to be put into difficult situations. He knew I was saved and he said, so was he, but he didn’t understand what I was doing. I tried to explain my life was no longer what I wanted but I wanted to live by God’s direction.

If you say you are saved and your life has pretty much stayed the same as it was before you were saved, I would question your salvation. Did you get saved in your head or in your heart?

Until next time.

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The Amazing Egg

People often equate eggs to mankind using the example the egg shell represents the body, the egg white the spirit and the yolk the soul. But did you know the egg really has 6 parts not 3?

Take two eggs out and hard boil one of the eggs. Then look at the raw egg. Run your fingers over the egg shell and see if you feel anything. Eggs have pores in their shell. We have pores in our skin.  And within that egg can develop a baby chick.

Yes, the amazing egg has 6 parts:
~ The shell – with about 17,000 pores per egg. Loaded with calcium.
~ Air Pocket – when you peel the hard boiled egg you will notice there is an air pocket at one end of the egg.
~ Chalazae – this suspends the yolk inside the egg. The best way to see the chalazae is to Crack open the raw egg and pour onto a dish. The white stringy things is the chalazae.
~ Yolk – the yolk has a clear casing covering the yolk. The yolk is loaded with vitamins. Technically you could count the casing covering the yolk as the 7th part of an egg.
~ White – egg whites are loaded with over 40 different proteins. Egg whites are said to “fluff” baked foods. They add lightness or fluff to pies or cakes.
~ Shell membrane – when you start to peel the hard boiled egg you notice there is a membrane between the egg shell and the hard boiled egg. The membrane defends against bacterial invasion. The membrane is loaded with Keratin. Companies make arthritis and joint supplements from this membrane.

When you first pick up an egg and look at it you can only see the shell. You have no idea about the other parts. Using eggs is a great object lesson, especially for teaching young and old 2 Corinthians 4.

Egg shells get cracked, chipped and even broken but that does not mean what is inside is broken, damaged or ruined. Paul speaks about our “earthen vessels”, our body in 2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV  “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

So the context is our fleshly, earthly body. Paul goes on to explain things that happen to us in our “earthen vessel” through the next few verses. Then Paul says, 2 Corinthians 4:13 KJV
” We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;”

Paul explains it is not about our “earthen vessel” but our faith and because we have faith we can see things not with the eyes of our “earthen vessel” but we see with the “spirit of faith”.

It is crucial to walking by faith to not be persuaded by what your “earthen vessel” tells you. 2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

Because, like the amazing egg, the things we can not see is what matters. 
2 Corinthians 4:18 KJV  “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Now pick up a raw egg and hold it in your hand. As you look at that egg understand your family and friends see your shell. God, he sees what is on the inside.

The image below is not my work but I thought it was the best image to show 6 parts of the egg.
Until next time.

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Remembering You

What will people remember about you? Your family, your children, your friends, what will they remember about you?

James 4:14 KJV  “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

Trying to explain to a 16 year old that life is but a vapor compared to eternity can be challenging. But when that 16 year old is about 50, or 60 or even 70 years old, they have a greater understanding of how short life in their body, really is.

Most people, teen or not, live in the moment. And many live with a focus on this world. The world they see and live in. So they base their thoughts and desires on their flesh in this world. They go to school to get an education to get a good paying job so they can have a “good” life. It is all based on the flesh desires in this world.

There is a push today to mix man with machine. It is called trans-humanism. Their goal? To replace failing “body parts” with computer technology or mechanical parts. Their motive? To live forever in this world. What they don’t understand is when God gave them life, they are going to live forever.

Hebrews 9:27 KJV  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

The trans-humanists don’t understand what gives them life. They think replacing aging or failing bad parts with machines or technology will give them life. But life is not in the body parts.

Genesis 2:7 KJV  “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Man’s body, flesh, is dust of the ground. Another words, dirt. Technically, we could say we are all piles of dirt walking around. Some dirt piles look better than others. And some paint their dirt with tattoos.

Scripture says God breathed into man the breath of life. We receive the breath of life, spirit, from God’s breath. And scripture says life is where? In the blood. Look at Genesis 9:4; Deuteronomy 12:23 and Leviticus 17:11 KJV  “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

In Leviticus 17:14 we are told the blood is the life for all flesh. And what is in blood? Oxygen – air – the breath of God.

I am no expert on trans-humanists. There are other believers who study and write about trans-humanism. But from what I have studied about them, they appear to be trying to keep their “soul” alive in this world by replacing body parts. Replacing body parts with technology and machines leaves out what? The blood. They leave out life. And thus, they can not succeed in their mission.

Ecclesiastes 8:8 KJV  “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.”

All this to say how much people focus on living in this world – in the flesh. Then try explaining to a teenager that impetuous decisions, based on the desires of their flesh, can alter their destiny. That’s what makes the servant with Elisha so important. This showed there is a world we can not see.

2 Kings 6:16-17 KJV  “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
[17] And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord , I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

The legacy we leave is either a legacy of our flesh and fleshly desires or our spirit desires. Those who focus on the flesh focus on things in this world. Money and power are the two main focuses. Their legacy is what they accomplished on earth for themselves and others. When they die, Luke 16:19-31 come into play.

Those who choose to lay their treasures up in heaven, even if they have to go without on earth, are leaving a legacy of remembrance up in heaven. Those that will be in heaven because of your efforts, your giving, your serving and most important, your love for Jesus Christ.

Until next time.

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Look What God Has Done

Okay, so I know God’s ways are not man’s ways. So I decide to do things God’s way. And to the best I can understand, I do things God’s way. But nothing changes. Then a year goes by, nothing changes. Then two years go by. Still nothing changes. So I ask God why I do not see any changes. God tells me because we walk by faith, not by sight.

When we look at Abraham, raised and grew up with idol worshippers. Chaldees were noted for astrologers and soothsayers. But Genesis 12:4 tells us at 75 years old Abraham walked away from what he knew.

People talk about Abraham being 100 when Isaac was born and that is true. But God gives us a glimpse of Abraham’s life from the time Abraham left, at 75 years old, until Isaac was born when Abraham was 100.

No matter what Abraham did, God made him promises. God can not lie. God had to keep his promises to Abraham.

Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s house.  Moses did not grow up knowing God. He asked God who he was in Exodus 3.

And Joseph, at 17 is sold as a slave to idol worshipping heathen, Genesis 37:2.  Joseph goes to his brothers who were in Dothan. They sell Joseph and when Joseph is 30 years old he stands before Pharaoh, Genesis 41:46.

In 13 years, Joseph, who knew God, looses his family, is sold by his family into slavery, is hired by Potipher, put into prison for a crime he did not commit, then brought before Pharaoh. 

We know Joseph is 30 when he is brought before Pharaoh and we know there was to be 7 years of plenty and then 7 years of famine. In Genesis 41:53 we are told the 7 years of plenty had ended. So Joseph is now 37 years old.

And in Genesis 45:6 we are told they were 2 years into the famine and had 5 years to go when Joseph and his family were reunited. So Joseph was 39 when he was reunited. For 22 years Joseph did not see or hear from his family.

There are 3 key times where changes occurred in Joseph ‘ s life: At 17 when he looses his family, at 30 years old when he stands before Pharaoh and at 39 when he is reunited with his family. Can you find key times in your life?

We may or may not agree with the way God worked with Joseph and everything Joseph had to go through, but we know God had to work inside of Joseph too. God took an arogant 17 year old and through heartache, suffering and pain taught him to be a servant and a leader. Joseph realized it when he told his brothers they meant it for evil but God meant it for good.

Our promises are “in Christ” as the bride of Christ, the church.
2 Corinthians 1:18-22 KJV  “But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
[19] For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
[20] For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
[21] Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
[22] Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”

Until next time.

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Tree Of The _________ Of

People often picture the tree Eve took from as an apple tree. But scripture explains it was not an apple tree. It was a tree of knowledge.  Is knowledge an attribute of the body? No. Is knowledge an attribute of the spirit?  No. Knowledge is an attribute of the soul. Knowledge has to do with the mind.

When Adam and Eve took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it would affect their mind, their soul. So in essence, Adam and Eve lost the mind God gave them. And ever since, all mankind has lost their mind. That is why we are told when we get saved to start renewing our mind.

Colossians 3:10 KJV  “And have put on the new man , which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
Notice the new man is renewed in what? Knowledge.  And in Ephesians 4:23 KJV “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;”

Look at Romans 12:2 KJV  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

How does transformation come to us as believers? By renewing our mind. And when we renew our mind we are able to prove what God’s good, acceptable and perfect will is. How do we renew our mind? By the word of God.

You see Adam, through his disobedience to God and disobedience to God’s word (do not touch this tree) by taking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil subjected everything to chaos, disorder and disfunction, even all of creation. So with this chaos and disorder came pain. Pain for mankind and creation. That is what Paul explains in Romans 8. Now we have “natural disasters”, things that God never intended.

Romans 8:14-23 KJV  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
[15] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
[16] The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
[17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him , that we may be also glorified together.
[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
[19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
[20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
[21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
[22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
[23] And not only they , but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit , the redemption of our body.”

The above text is loaded with meat of God’s word. We see the “sons of God” is not an angel “thing” as some teach, but it is a position, those led by the Spirit of God. We see the distinction in verses 14 and 19 of Romans 8 but then we see “children of God” in verses 16 and 21. Children are male and female. That is a study in itself, what is the “sons of God“.

But the text also tells us creation groans in pain. And notice the word creature. Creature is what God created, the earth. Paul addresses the “creature” in Romans 1:25 where he says people worship the “creature” and they serve the creature more than the Creator. Those that worship and serve the environment or what they call “mother earth” and even celebrate a day worshipping the earth with earth day in April.

So knowledge is a mind attribute which is part of the soul. Remember,  it is the soul that goes to heaven or hell.

But notice Romans 8:19? The earth has expectation waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Romans 8:19-21 KJV  “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
[20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
[21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Remember back in Genesis 3:17 – 19 God cursed on the ground.

So when Adam and Eve took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they messed up their mind. That messing up of their mind also affected their soul, their mind, will and emotions. Now the earth groans and the people don’t think straight unless they are “born again” and renew their mind.

It is no secret, Satan attacked the mind and thoughts in the garden of Eden and he was successful and he still attacks the minds and thoughts of the lost and the saved today. Renew your mind daily with the word of God.

Until next time.

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Directions

One day when my son was about 9 he asked me if I loved God more than I loved him. At the time, I tried to explain to my son there are different types of love. We love parents different than we love children. We love our pets and job our family, we love God too. And yes, I do love God the most. He looked at me very sad.

Now, I realize, God does not give us a variety of definitions about love. We either love or we do not love. So my son asked me, what is love? I told him when you are willing to give up everything, your hopes, your dreams and everything you have and want for someone else, that is love.

Then I explained how God loves us so much, he gave. He gave his son to save the world. John 3:16, 17.

I am probably not the best person to explain love. I have very few examples of real genuine love in my life. I could probably count them on one hand. But explaining to him why I loved God more than anyone or anything was not easy for him to understand. It also caused me to wonder why he asked me that question. I did tell my son I love him more than he could know and I would always love him, no matter what.

It wasn’t until my son was about 17 and made a poor decision and asked me for help that I could explain my unconditional love for him in a way he could now understand.

As I have said before, I did not grow up knowing God or Jesus other than God IS God made know to man in the person of Jesus Christ. And as I said before, I did not get saved because I loved God or Jesus. I got saved out of pure selfishness. I did not want to go to hell. And when I got saved I told the Lord, well I guess I better learn about you now. So I bought a 5 subject notebook and a new pen and started in Genesis. I read through the Bible, praying for God to teach me the truth and writing down everything God taught me. It took me a year and a half to finish and when I finished with the entire book, I had fallen in love with God and with Jesus. I didn’t understand the Holy Spirit but I knew I loved God and Jesus and it was unconditional.

After my son asked me about love, I thought of Eli the priest. Eli’s father was in bondage in Egypt when Israel was in bondage. God told Eli how it was God who gave them the best of everything and even wealth. Yes, God says wealth. You can read about it in 1 Samuel 2:27 and beyond. God was very good to Eli. And Eli judged Israel for 40 years after the bondage.

But Eli loved his two sons more than he loved God and Eli, as a judge over Israel, failed to rein in his own two sons. So God calls Samuel. Samuel was living with Eli learning to be a priest. God tells Samuel he is going to kill Eli’s two sons. And God told Samuel why he was going to kill Eli’s two sons. But Eli already knew God was upset with him over the way he was raising his two sons.

In 1 Samuel 2:29 KJV  “Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?”

And it appears that Eli instead of reigning in his sons, would make a sacrifice to God, for their sins as explained in

1 Samuel 3:11-14 KJV  “And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
[12] In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
[13] For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
[14] And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.”

So time goes on and no changes by Eli with his sons and when Eli is 98 years old he sees God drop the hammer so to say. Not only does God kill Eli’s two sons, but Eli who is “heavy” falls over backwards and breaks his neck and dies plus, Eli’s daughter in law who is pregnant dies in child birth. The baby lives and is named Ichabod.

Yes, God is patient and longsuffering but there comes a time when God’s patience runs out. Yes, God loves children but God also expects parents to train up their children in the way they should go. If a child decides to disobey God it is up to parents to correct them in love. If we have taught our children the truth, corrected them and steered them down the right path and a child chooses to veer off the path, we need to instruct them but have unconditional love. To pray the promises of God’s word when we know we have done what God tells us.

Friends, love is deep seated and we can not know what motivates love nor can we determine how much someone else loves. All we can know is how much God loves us and wants the very best for us. And God loves us unconditionally.

Until next time.

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Signs + Mind =

As mentioned last time, Jews have a “seeing is believing” mind set. Gentiles don’t need to see to believe, they want to understand things in their mind. They will believe if it makes sense to them in their mind. Whether good or evil, if a Gentile thinks it makes sense, they will believe.

The “seeing is believing” God worked with for years. Not just Moses but many others including Gideon when he laid out the fleece. That’s why when Jesus rose from the dead he showed himself to over 500 people. Seeing was believing for Jews.

But for Gentiles, if it makes sense, they will believe. That’s why some people say salvation is easy believism. But God tells us in Acts 16:31 KJV  “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Notice God does not say believe in but on. People believe in all kinds of things. But to believe on means you stake everything including your spirit, soul and body on Jesus Christ and what he did , what he says and what he promises. You believe Jesus is God manifest in the flesh just like he said and you are willing to suffer, be persecuted and even die for that belief because it is deeply held in your heart not in your head.

1 Timothy 3:16 KJV  “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

But we are told, living by what you “think” is soul living. And we are told to live in the Spirit,  be led by the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit in Galatians 5. But then there are verses that tell us, as a man thinketh so is he, right? Well, sort of. The verse actually says, Proverbs 23:7 KJV  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”

There is a big difference in living by what you think in your head and what you think in your heart. Look at salvation. If you were to ask people if when they die, will you go to heaven and why? Most would answer based on what they think in their head. They reason their thoughts on things they have done or things they have not done. Things like, “I’m a good person” or “I haven’t murdered anyone”.

A lot of people have head knowledge and think in their mind if I repent, say a prayer and try to be a good person God will take me to heaven. The Jews thought that for thousands of years and tried to keep God’s laws.  Gentiles followed the Jews based on the Gentiles thinking they could get to God the same way. But Jesus changed all that and he did signs and wonders for Jews so they would believe on him. When the Jewish religious leaders rejected Jesus, God chose to use a Jew named Paul to bring the gospel to Gentiles. But Gentiles were not a signs and wonders bunch but a thinking or reasoning bunch.

A lot of people have head knowledge about God and about Jesus. But most only have head knowledge. How do I know this? Look at society. If there was a real “heart” change, society would be different,  more holy, “be ye holy for I am holy saith the Lord”.

Matthew 7:13-20 KJV  “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
[14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
[15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
[16] Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
[17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
[18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
[19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
[20] Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

So when people say they are believers, say they are Christian, ask yourself, what is their fruit? Do they support Israel? Do they promote holiness? Do they stand on and live God’s word? If not, they are a liar, PERIOD!

There is a big difference in believing in your head, verses,  believing in your heart. When you believe in your heart, no matter what your head tells you, no matter what you think in your mind, no matter what others say, you  believe God and his word and you are willing to die for it. You will die to self, die to your opinions, die to your wants, and even die physically if necessay.

Everything about true salvation is rooted in the heart not the head. Sometimes we have thoughts that do not line up with God’s word or don’t agree with promises God has given us. Those are the times those fiery darts are being shot at you as Paul explains in Ephesians 6:12 KJV. “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 .”

And, Ephesians 6:16 KJV  “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”

It is not about what you see, to believe. It is not about what you think, to believe.
It is about what you believe deep down in your heart. Romans 10:8-11 KJV
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
[9] That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
[10] For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
[11] For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

Salvation is a heart matter, not a head matter and not seeing is believing.

Until next time.

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