Do You Really Know the Lord

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“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.” (1Co 2:14-15)




The past December (2011) I shared a study entitled, ‘Never Go With Strangers.’ I felt a need to re-emphasize that study again, but with more insights about what knowing the Lord is really all about.

I do this with regard to what the apostle said -

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

“Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” (Php 3:1-3)

There is one question that can only be answered on a personal basis. I don’t ask to entertain doubt about someone’s salvation. I ask so that my readers can decide for themselves if their relation to the Lord God is what it really should be.

The question that needs to be answered is simple – Do you really know the Lord? 


An Innate Knowing 

All true followers of Jesus Christ are given a unique spiritual ability to recognize those things which are of God. This ‘intrinsic’ knowing is functional to our born-from-above spiritual nature. It is a knowing that becomes even more acute as a believer matures in Christ.

The apostle uses the term ‘spiritual’ with regard to our maturing in Christ. Paul said that the mature spiritual believer ‘knows’  and ‘appraises’ all things.

These words are important. The word ‘know’ is ‘eido’ in Greek. It means ‘to turn the eyes, the mind, or the attention to a thing, that is, to be skilled in knowing the spiritual significance of a thing.

Then we have the word ‘appraises’. The Greek term, anakrino, carries a forensic sense which addresses an investigation to decide either the excellence or the defect of a thing.

In another place the apostle says that all things have to be examined – Listen:

“Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1Th 5:19-22)

The term ‘examine’ belongs to the class of ‘knowing.’ Dokimazo simply means to prove whether a thing is worthy or not. There are many false teachings to be found in the realm of Christendom. It is the believer’s personal responsibility to find out if these teachings are worthy of the gospel.


The Crown of a Believer’s Life

The crown of a believer’s walk rests in this ability to truly know if a thing is of God. It is this knowing that protects the believer from error.

The English language doesn’t always carry the fuller meaning of a Hebrew or Greek term. For this reason it is good to know what certain terms really mean in the original languages of the Bible.

For example, Jesus said,

“I am the good shepherd, and I know (ginosko) my own and my own know (ginosko) Me.” (John 10:14)

Ginosko addresses a personal closeness. Jesus said that He addresses each of His sheep by name. He also stated that His sheep know His voice. It is in this secret of knowing the Shepherd personally that compasses our love and loyalty to Him.



 Fleeing From Strangers

Let’s continue with Greek terms. Listen carefully:

“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know (oikeios) his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know (oikeios) the voice of strangers.” (Joh 10:4-5)

Now we find a different word. The Greek for ‘know’ here is the word, ‘oikeios’. Oikeios implies, ‘belonging to a household’. Oikeios is a family word. Jesus said that because of His family relationship to the sheep, they would never confuse who is doing the speaking.

Remember how we teach our children not to go with strangers. That is the idea being projected here. Not only will the sheep not go with a stranger, but they will actually flee from the stranger’s voice and beaconing.

Now notice again how the term ginosko is used:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know (ginosko) them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (Joh 10:27-29)

Knowing Jesus Christ is knowing salvation.


It’s All in the Knowing

Did you catch it? Jesus is saying that no one can be saved and not know it. Salvation is a knowing relationship with the Lord.

Listen to  how the Lord defines eternal life in His prayer:

“ … and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.’

“’…This is eternal life, that they may know [ginosko] You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.’” (Joh 17:1-3)

There it is. Eternal life is all about knowing the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.


A Deepening Knowing

When Jesus said that His ‘sheep’ know His voice, notice that Jesus did not use the term ‘lamb’. Until the lamb becomes better acquainted with the voice of the Shepherd, the lamb will follow other sheep and especially the mother.

Does that mean the lambs have little protection? Not at all. Consider:

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” (Isa 40:11)

Now let’s talk about why this issue of ‘knowing’ the Lord is so important.


Deception – The Hallmark of Satan’s Work

The ability to know if a thing is of God is important because the supernatural realm makes up more than the things of God. Satan is a spiritual being. The hallmark of Satan’s work is deception. Paul said,

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this spiritual darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph6:12)

We are especially warned that in the last days there will be a great increase of deception in the earth. The Lord said that this deception would be so acute that even the very elect will have to keep up a special guard.

Consider these cautions:

“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.“ (Mat 24:24-25)

 “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2Ti 3:13)

 “ … there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

 “… in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2Pe 2:1-3)


 Appealing to the Flesh

The work of demons is closely linked to the prideful flesh of man. And what the prideful fleshly person attributes to God, are actually ‘soulish’ powers at work.

James  gives us the basic description of how the soulish person functions. James 3:13-18)

“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic..”

The word for ‘natural’ is the word, ‘psuichikos’.  This word speaks to the sensual side of our lower nature. Did you take note of how ‘psuchikos’ relates to, ‘demonic’? 

And so where you have bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, arrogance, earthy, natural issue at work, these characteristics give place for the demonic.

James goes on to describe what is truly of the Lord;

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”

When prideful flesh is at work it glories in itself.



Making Careful Examinations 

The way Paul taught believers is to check things was by use of the Scriptures. According to ‘what is written’ is always to be the testing ground for teachings, experiences, and prophecies.

Listen to Paul’s instruction on teachers:

“Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

“Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” (1Co 4:5-6)

Again, did you catch it? We are never to exceed, ‘what is written’.  If the teaching is truly of the Lord, it will always line up with the Word of God.

We must always check teachings to make certain they are in agreement with the true gospel message. This is where caution is important. It is easy to prove many things in the Scriptures, but are these things in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Satan does his work through half-truths.

Then we are to look at things that are said to be spiritual operations. Demonic spirits bring a false anointing. These spirits love to prophesy. They love to give information about people. They love to be the center of attention.


Learn Spiritual Balance

The balance comes where God’s people are told to keep a pilgrim attitude about life. We are to hold tightly to Jesus, and loosely to the world. There is a prosperity message making its rounds today that is very much earthly centered. Where is the balance?

Paul said,

“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

True Biblical prosperity has a spiritual base. It is an outflow of a proper relationship with the Lord. This proper relationship has a heart attitude in the word ‘humility’. We are to live with humble hearts before the Lord, never striving after things of the world.

The Lord Himself said that if we will seek first God’s kingdom, and His righteousness, then everything else will be provided for us.

What’s the message in all this? It is simple. As a believer you must learn to trust your own spiritual intuition and never ever hearken to the voice of a stranger. The Shepherd is the guardian of your soul. Trust in Jesus with all your heart.

Think about these things.

Here is a song for your meditation … Lead Me to the Cross’



In Christ always,



The Words of the Preacher

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“In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly. The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd.” (Ecc 12:9-11)




The greater part of my 71 years on this earth have been as a servant of the Lord. (47 years preaching and teaching.)

I want to add that I have always had a great love and respect for all of God’s called ministers. They will forever be dear to my heart. Yes, all ministers have their share of mistakes and struggles, yet it is the truly God called servant of the Lord who has been commissioned by heaven to declare the message of God’s Son to the world.

The apostle says it well enough:

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?


For my case, in addition to the gifts of preaching and teaching, the Lord has also gifted me with an ability to explain the gospel in a way that can be easily understood by those who chance upon my writings. On the web alone I have over 500 studies that can be accessed. (This number does not include another 334 postings that are found on an earlier blog.)

With that being said, I wanted to make note of the top ten of my 217 studies that are offered in this Journal. You may wish to find out why they have acquired the most readers.

Here they are beginning with the highest read study:

1. Jesus the wonder and mystery of the Bible

2. Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

3. Tongues

4. Passing Through the Valley of Baca

5. God’s Wings and the Blue Thread of Heaven

6. Salvation

7. How Secure are You in Christ

8. My Story

9. Honoring God With First Fruits

10. What Can Make Me Whole Again – Nothing But the Blood of Jesus

I pray these studies will bless you with the peace and grace that belong to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.

I want to dedicate this song to all God’s faithful servants. Perhaps you will appreciate it – Daddy Was An Old-Time Preacher

In Christ always,


This is My Beloved Son

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“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.


“For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory,


“’This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”– and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” (2Pe 1:16-18)




In this study we will take a closer look at one of the most wonderful mysteries in the Bible, that is, the mystery of the Father and the Son. The question we want to unravel is how the earliest Hebrew believers could hold to an absolute monotheism and yet direct their faith and their worship to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, as well as to God the Father?

Not everyone is very familiar with the early Jewish believer’s theology of Christ, while others are little aware of how the Messiah was seen in ancient beliefs of that time. Everything centered on the word ‘identity‘.

With this key in mind let’s take a closer look at the Father and the Son.


The Hallmark of Hebrew Christianity

Very often we fail to understand terms like, ‘And the Word was with God,‘ or, ‘He existed in the form of God‘, because these terms are in Hebrew thought form. They don’t always mean the same thing to us as they would to a Jewish person. These expressions were deeply embedded in ancient Judaism. They reflect on a great mystery to be found in God Himself.

The earliest believers saw Jesus Christ as intrinsic to who God really is. Jewish believers had been schooled in the Scriptures and in the ancient sages. They believed that in the one true God was a mystery that reflected on terms such as, ‘the Word’, or, ‘the Form‘, or ‘the Image‘, or ‘the Glory‘, or even, ‘the Shekinah.’

The earliest Christians were absolute monotheist. They believed that Jesus Christ originated in and came forth from the Father, that is, without becoming separate from Him in His spiritual essence. This was part of the mystery that they accepted.

However, what made this belief so strong was that the Scriptures actually wrapped themselves around this great mystery in God. These new Jewish believers were discovering Jesus and letting the words of Moses and the prophets unwrap themselves in their hearts and minds.

It wasn’t long before the non-believing Jewish rabbis countered by accusing the Christian Jews of believing in two powers in heaven. The rabbis used the book Hebrews as a backdrop in their accusations against the Christian Jews, and especially where it says,

“In these last days [the Father] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (He1:2)

It was this statement that pretty much qualified the earliest theology of the Jewish church. It says that in the last days God has spoken to us (or speaks to us) in His Son, and that it was through His Son that the Father made the world.


An Uncomplicated Theology

The early believers fully accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and as Yahweh of the former testament. They also firmly held to a Father-Son view of God.

Paul Himself brings this forth in reaffirming the sh’ma of Israel. He said,

“Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (1Co8:6)

Where Paul says ‘one Lord’, he is drawing on the ancient ‘She’ma’ creed of Israel.

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deu 6:4 NASB)

A great many scholars today are beginning to reach back to a more Hebraic form of theology. They are setting aside the notion that the Trinitarian doctrine is intrinsic to Christianity and that to be a Christian you must accept this form of theology.

This is not an affront against Trinitarian beliefs. It is simply for the benefit of a better understanding of how the early Hebrew Christians generally held to a less-complicated theology of the Godhead.

The point is that the earliest Christians were scriptural-centric. Both Jesus and the apostles instructed the evolving church to never exceed, “what is written”. The term ‘what is written’ had regard to Moses, David, and the prophets.

Thus we hear:

[Jesus] “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” (Luk 24:44-45)

[Paul] “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” (1Co 4:6)


The Divine Image

The apostles were expressing a very ancient belief held in Israel at that time. Jesus was looked at as the ‘eikon‘ (divine image) of the invisible God. The Judaic beliefs before the rabbis made their anti-Christ intrusions, believed that you had the invisible God who could not be seen, and God who makes Himself visible across history and across time. Or, as one early Christian writer said, “God brought forth from Himself a beginning.”

For the early Jewish believers, Jesus did not become for them a second god or another deity. Paul explained Christ as the hidden mystery of God. The apostle wrote,

“To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things.” (Eph3:8,9)

Regardless of how difficult this may seem to us, the groundwork had already been laid for the mystery of the divine image to be revealed. Here are a few Scriptural considerations:

“Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son’s name? Surely you know!” (Pro 30:4)

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. … 

“ … There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” (Isa 9:6-7)

“’What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord,” saying, ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET”‘? “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” (Mat 22:42-45)

“I [Yahweh] will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” (Zec 12:10)



My Lord and My God

How is it than an orthodox one-God, Jewish man could fall down before Jesus, and say, “My Lord and my God?”

And how is it that everything Jesus did in His earthly walk reveals that He was intrinsic to the very identity of God’s person? Jesus did God things.

And so we must agree with the Jewish author who stated that Christianity is the most Jewish of all the non-Jewish faiths.

I would go further as to say that Biblical Christianity fills out the Jewish faith in that the God of the Hebrews came into the earth as a man to fulfill His own program of redemption. Did the early Jewish believers worship the Father and Son as one God? Absolutely.

Now the big question — Does our salvation hinge on acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Lord God Almighty?

John said it well enough;

“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1Jn 2:22-23)



The Mystery Called, ‘Wonderful’

Do we still have a mystery? Sure we do. It is a mystery that is wondrous indeed. What we do know is that the divinity of Jesus lies within God Himself. And when we worship Jesus we are not worshipping a second deity. We are worshipping the Father in the Son.

For all our Christian, Jewish and Muslim friends, take time for this song. Let the Lord open your heart to hear from God - ‘O Come Oh Come Emmanuel’.

Your servant in Christ,


Why Our Goodness Cannot Save Us

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“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them [Israel] is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.


“For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:1-4)



I felt it would be good to offer a study on the subject of salvation by setting forth why a person cannot be saved by anything they do in their own efforts. Until this truth is realized, the struggle over salvation will always be there. Let’s talk about it.

It is important to understand that being saved has nothing to do with anything we can offer to God. What can a sinful race offer to a holy God? Everything we touch is imbued with sin. Our unsaved hearts are hearts of sinners. The human race is charged with sin, infected by sin, directed by sin, and corrupted by sin.

What can our sinful hands offer to God that would not be an offering of sin? We can offer God nothing. We are bankrupt of any righteousness.

David asked it best:

“What can I offer the LORD for all He has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the LORD’s name for saving me.” (Psa 116:12-13)

And so…


What Can I Offer the Lord

What can we offer God with a view to salvation? What do we sinful creatures have that would be good enough for God to accept us? Again the answer is, nothing.

We can’t clean ourselves up. It is our heart that is corrupt. There is nothing on our part that we can do to be accepted by God. Until we recognize this basic truth, we will never understand what salvation is all about.

Let’s press this further. Nobody prays through to salvation. Fasting and prayer are not issues of salvation. Having uncut hair does not get God’s attention. Whether you drink or smoke has nothing to do with salvation.

Going to movies or not going to movies is not a thing of salvation. No matter what we may think about these things, they have no relationship to salvation itself. No person ever becomes good enough to get saved.

We cannot change the inside by working on the outside. Salvation is about a heart condition. When the heart is made right, everything else will come into place. (In its time.)


We Are Powerless in Ourselves

So let me repeat — We are powerless in ourselves to think that anything good can come from us. Salvation has to come from God Himself. He alone is righteous and without sin. He alone is good.

Stop and think about what John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the apostles all taught on the issue of salvation. They were addressing a Jewish audience. The Jews hung their hats about being saved on the merits of Abraham.

In dealing with Jewish attitudes, Paul said that the Jews were just as lost as the pagans.  Why is that? It is because salvation can only come from God Himself. And the sinful state of Adam had casts its shadow across the whole of humanity.

All unsaved people are under the power and authority of a spiritual being beside God. Satan is actually called the god of this world.


Deadness of Sin

Paul brings out the deadness of sin:

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Eph 2:1-3)

Have we nailed this issue down firm enough? Once again, until a person realizes that they cannot be saved by any effort of their own, they will remain stupefied in how to be saved.

What then is the answer? The answer never changes. Salvation is trusting wholly in Christ and in His Lordship. Reading a bit further in Ephesians 2, we hear Paul say this:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph 2:8-10)


The Battle Over Grace

The argument goes this way,

‘That is too easy. Anyone can say they trust in Christ. Where is their experience? Where is their holiness? Where is their separation from the world? Where is their…where is their…where is their…???’

Do you see the problem with the argument of ‘Where is?’

All these responses continue to miss the message of salvation. What then is the central message of salvation?


“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.


“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.


“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Joh 3:16-18)


Salvation is Through the Son Alone

This is My Beloved Son

Did you catch it? Salvation is through the Son alone. The Son took the place of the human race. The Son took to Himself our separation from God. The Son died in our place.

The Son was judged with our judgment. The Son was declared sin so that we could be declared right before God. The Son resurrected from the dead as a sign that judgment had been met.

The Son entered back into heaven. And the Son is now Lord of all. He is above all. He has all authority in heaven and on earth.

So how then are we saved? We are saved by appealing to the Son. This was the message that Peter preached on the day of Pentecost.

“And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [Jesus] will be saved.” (Act 2:21)

This is the message that the great apostle Paul preached to the Gentiles:

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD [Jesus] WILL BE SAVED.’” (Rom 10:12-13)



The Eternal Law of Salvation

Out of the cross came the eternal law of salvation. It is the one law that Satan hopes no person ever sees clearly. This is why he keeps adding religious ritual to religious ritual, condition upon condition, law upon law, tradition upon tradition, and anything else he can throw into the mix.

Satan knows that any person who calls upon the Lord Jesus Christ with their heart in respect to salvation, will be saved. It is as simple as that.

Satan knows it. We need to know it. We need to be able to preach this simple message of faith in Christ to the harlot, to the beggar, to the drunkard, to the sinner of the deepest cut.

There is no other message that Christians are commissioned to preach. Our job is to preach the message. The message will take care of itself.


The Message Completes Itself

Yes, all the apostles preached the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and that faith in Christ as the risen Savior is what salvation truly is. In fact the only witness a person needs to know that they are saved is that they truly believe in their heart that Jesus Christ is their own Lord.

Faith in Jesus Christ itself is the testimony of salvation. This is where many people misunderstand the power of the gospel message.

The message of the cross carries in it the inherent power that accomplishes the work of salvation. The moment a person truly believes, the Holy Spirit enters that person’s heart and places the seal of salvation.

Paul explains in two places the power of the gospel message.

“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word [gospel message] of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” (1Th 2:13)

And again,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH [In Jesus Christ].’” (Rom 1:16-17)

And so, until we truly believe in Jesus Christ, there can be no seal placed on our heart. The seal carries God’s testimony.

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’


“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Rom 8:15-17)

Have you received the Spirit of God’s Son in your heart? Listen once again to the witness of salvation.

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’


“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Rom 8:15-17)


What Can Take Away My Sins

Some time ago I was asked to take part in a prayer breakfast for a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. When it came time for me to offer a prayer, I begin to sing the song, ‘What can wash away my sins.’ I will never forget how singing that song changed the atmosphere of the gathering from political to spiritual.

Are you ready for your heart to change? Perhaps now would be a good time to listen to it.

Jesus loves you,



God’s Wings and the Blue Thread of Heaven

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“Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jer 15:16)


“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” (Joh 5:39-40)



“You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; … 


… in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.” (Exo 20:24)



There are mysteries in the Bible that when disclosed actually become life gates of transformation in a believer’s life. Paul speaks of these wonders as steps from glory to glory. The point being that these mysteries are not hidden from us. They are actually hidden for us. They belong to all the children of God.

The greatest wonder and mystery of the Bible has to do with Christ Jesus Himself. Jesus is actually the very Word of God come to us in human form. He is the exact expression and impression of all that God is. Thus it can be said that Jesus Himself is the secret life of the Bible.


The Scroll of Heaven

I was twenty-five years old. The Lord had called me into the gospel ministry, but I was at a cross-road. I wasn’t sure which direction to take. It had to do with my future. What direction was my life to take?

The Lord has ways of speaking to us. It was in a service when I had my first vision from the Lord. In a moment of time I was totally out of the service. This was when the Lord begins to show me the things that I could have in life. They were things of wealth and blessings. It wasn’t a scene of condemnation. It had to do with a choice He was giving me. He would actually bless me in life.

But then I heard these words, “Or, you can preach My Word.” The very moment I heard those words, an open Bible floated down before me out of heaven. He said nothing else about wealth or blessings. As I looked at the descending Bible, my tearful response was, “Lord, I want to preach Your Word.”

The decision was made. Next thing I am back in the service as if nothing had happened. But the vision was so real that I could hardly contain myself. I couldn’t wait to share the vision with Betty. When we returned home that evening I shared what the Lord had spoken to me.


That was forty-four years ago. Have I had visions since? Oh yes. I’ve had dreams and visions and many other speaking of the Lord through the many years. The Lord has often shown me beforehand those things are were to come. (Especially about my calling to the ministry.)

But here is the lesson I want to get across. What I began to realize more and more is that the Bible is God’s speaking book. The Bible we love is imbued with the Spirit of Jesus. God speaks to His people by way of the Scriptures. And this is one reason that the assembling of God’s people in their respective flocks is so important. (More on that later.)

Point being – The reason the Bible carries the Spirit of Jesus is because the Bible originates from heaven, and Jesus is the Man from heaven. Does this sound odd? Let’s see.


In the Volume of the Book

There is a sense by which the Bible can be compared to the very garment that Jesus wears, and that His presence flows throughout His garment.

It is in this sense that the presence of Christ permeates the sacred writings.


“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.” (Heb 10:7)


The apostolic writer is quoting from Psalm 40:7,8.

The term for scroll (kephalis) originally spoke of the spindle and knob around which the parchments were wrapped. This is why kephalis can also be translated as ‘volume’ or ‘roll’. The ancients saw Psalm 40:7,8 as referring to Messiah.

For them the Torah contained the very life of God and His Messiah. The problem, however, is that the religious leaders had largely been disconnected from the message of the book. They had become Torah worshipers without taking to heart that the Torah had a message about God’s Son, the Messiah.

This is why Jesus said to them,

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” (Joh 5:39-40)

In this we can see that the idea of God’s life being in the book isn’t new to the Christian faith. For the Jews the Torah was a living thing.

Let’s see how this carried through when Jesus began His public ministry.


The Tassel of His Cloak

There was a woman who suffered greatly from a female disorder. Hearing about Jesus, she said to herself,


“If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” (Mt9:21)


We don’t often catch what she was really saying. The part of His garment she wanted to touch was the fringe (probably the blue tassels) of His cloak.

The Jews had a tradition about the fringe that spoke of God’s Messiah. The background for this was God’s commandment to Moses, saying,


“Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue.” (Num15:38)


The cord of blue was said to represent the throne of glory, or the heavenly life. Over time these tassels took on the term ‘wings.’

Let’s continue with the tassels…


The Wings of God

Ever wonder why the Holy Spirit is pictured as a dove? Recall when the Holy Spirit rested upon Jesus, the Word of God. The apostle said that all the Scriptures themselves are filled with the very breath of God.

Now, keep the throne of glory and the wings of God in view and you’ll have a bit more insight into Scriptures that speak of God’s wings, and why the lady wanted to touch the garment (tassels) of Jesus. A great many of the common people saw Jesus as God’s Messiah.

Listen -

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty … He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge.” (Ps91:1,4)


“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Mal4:2)

Then we hear Jesus say,

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” (Mt23:37)

Follow this with another Scripture:

“Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured. (Mar6:56)


What do the fringes have to do with the Bible

It all comes back to the Bible being the book of heaven. It comes back to Jesus being the Word of God. It comes back to the Scriptures containing the very power of God. It comes back to the Jesus speaking to us through the book of heaven.

In addition to our personal Biblical devotions, this is why it is so important for believers to be under sound Biblical teaching.

It isn’t the Bible that causes miracles and gives us the answers that we need. It is the voice that speaks from the Scriptures. Make this distinction and you have the true essence of why we love the book of heaven.

Recall when Jesus opened the scroll of Isaiah and began to read,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Cf. Luke 4:16-22)

It says the people were wondering at the gracious words that were falling from His lips. What made the difference in this case? It was Jesus speaking from the Scriptures.

Did you catch it?

The people were hearing living words from a loving voice. It is the voice of heaven that makes the Bible the book of heaven.


Hearing the Words of a Book

The Bible explains this aspect of hearing God from the book. For example, Isaiah 29:18,19, says,

On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the Lord, and the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”

Now back to the woman with the issue of blood. She had been taught that the blue thread in the fringe (tassel) represented the throne of glory and the heavenly life. She saw Jesus as that life.

We’ve also seen where the Bible itself can be likened to the garments of God’s Messiah. It can now be said that the blue thread that speaks to the throne of glory can be found running through the Scriptures.

Is the Bible heaven’s book? Does God’s Christ speak to us from the sacred writings?

Is Jesus is the living Torah, the book come alive?

Now let’s consider why attending church is essential to a life of faith.


The Flocking of God’s People

The word church in Greek is ekklesia. This word speaks to the new covenant community of the redeemed. It was used for Christian assembling and not the term ‘sunagogue’ which spoke of a Jewish assembly.

In Christian usage, ekklesia has to do with the call out, called together people of God. Every true believer has been called out of darkness, and called to be given to a flock of his or her assignment.

The Church is the gathering place of God’s people to hear the ministry of His Word. To say that we don’t need the church is a grave mistake. The Church is the body of Christ.

The primary purpose of the ekklesia is for the breaking of the bread, that is, the ministry of the Word of God. Jesus is always present in His Word.

God has always congregated His people in family groups.

“You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.” (Exo 20:24)

Notice carefully the statement, “In every place where I cause My name to be remembered [Heb. Mentioned], I will come to you and bless you.”

This is fulfilled where Jesus said,

“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Mat 18:20)



The Disconnect of Unbelief

A problem remains. Unbelief in its various form will cut a person off from hearing the voice of Jesus.

But it should not be thought that the Bible is God’s only speaking place. What the Bible does is teach us how to hear from the Lord. Whereas the Bible can be said to be His voice, we must also understand that God speaks to us in many ways, none of which will run contrary to what is said in the Scriptures themselves. This balance must always be maintained.

It takes awhile for the child of God to understand the principle of how God speaks to us. This is why it is crucial to spiritual growth that each believer be in the congregation of God’s appointment. As the man of God speaks from the Scriptures, we began to hear the Lord speaking to our own hearts.

It isn’t the man of God who is speaking to us. It is the Lord speaking from the book of heaven.

Notice what Jesus to the unbelievers -

“Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.” (Joh 8:43)

To those who believe -

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (Joh 10:27-28)


Have You Heard From Jesus Lately? 

Has Jesus ever spoken to you out from the book of heaven?


Everything rests upon how you view the message sent to us in a Book.


A Meditation on Mortality

Here is a song of years gone by, entitled, ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone.’ It was originally written by Peter Seeger in 1955. Seeger had communist leanings and yet he found inspiration for many of his songs from the Bible and from Christian teachings. Others later added verses to this song.

‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’ speaks to life and how vaporous it is.

As you listen, think about your life and what is happening in the world today…


A servant in Christ,

Looking in God’s Maturity Mirror

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“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

“And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Mat 18:1-4)



Have you ever thought about your spiritual maturity factor? Follow this study and perhaps you’ll see some indicators that can help gauge where you are in your walk with the Lord.

There are several places in the new covenant writings that speak to issues of maturing in a believer’s life. Paul said of the Corinthian Church,

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.” (1Co3:1)

It appears that many of the Corinthian believers were very immature in their walk with the Lord. Paul compares them to those who live a fleshly life.

The word for infant here is ‘nepios‘ [nay’-pee-os]. Nepios is an infant child not able to speak well. Metaphorically it has to do with one who is unlearned and unenlightened.

Paul later again draws on this term with the Corinthians:

“When I was a child (nepios), I use to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man (aner), I did away with childish (nepios) things.” (1Co13:11 – ‘Aner‘ is an adult male at the age of marriage.)


The Four Levels of John

There are a number of Greek terms that express levels of maturity in Christ. Whereas John does not draw on all the terms, he does provide a basic outline on Christian maturity.

Let’s gain some insight from John’s writings…

“I am writing to you, little children [teknoin], because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.

 “I am writing to you, fathers [pater], because you know Him who has been from the beginning.

 “I am writing to you, young men [neaniskos], because you have overcome the evil one.

 “I have written to you, children [paidion], because you know the Father.

 “I have written to you, fathers [pater], because you know Him who has been from the beginning.

 “I have written to you, young men [neaniskos], because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” (1Jn 2:12-14)


Nature’s Character Traits for Each Level

John does not list these levels of maturity in the order they are normally found. However, he does give character traits of each level.

Here are the Greek words that imply the natural progression in spiritual maturity.

(1) “Little children.” – The term is ‘teknoin.’ In the New Testament teknoin is always used affectionately. It is a nursery term for very small children. Teknoin is usually with regard to newer converts.

(2) “Children.” – The term is ‘paidion.’ This term often depicts a boy or girl at pre-adolescence, or partly grown, but not yet at a manly or womanly stage. The ‘paidion’ is under the management and learning stage where discipline and correction are very important. Jesus used it as a tender term for His disciples:

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Children [paidion], you do not have any fish, do you?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.’ So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.” (Joh 21:5-6)

At no stage in the believer’s maturity are we to discard the attitude of a ‘paidion’. It is the proper attitude every believer must have in order to enjoy a healthy walk of faith.  This is the term that Jesus uses in the beginning our study, where He said,

 “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children [paidion], you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [To enter in this sense relates to entering into and living in the dynamics of the kingdom of heaven.]

(3) “Young men.” – The term is “neaniskos.” This is a young man beyond the age of puberty, generally up to the age of 40, and often unmarried. This is the age where the person has learned to respect the Father’s discipline and has become manly (womanly) in their walk with the Lord.

(4) “Fathers.” – The term is ‘pater.’ This is a term for a male parent. Pater has to do with respect and often is used with regard to a teacher or one in authority. It the LXX it is used of prophets. The term associates itself with wisdom.

Have you found yourself yet?

Let’s continue. It is at this point where we see how John relates these natural traits for the age of our spiritual maturity. Understand this and you will have insight into spiritual grown patterns.

(Caps are for emphasis only.)

1st The LITTLE CHILDREN stage is the beginning of our journey. Little children need unconditional acceptance and affection. Their world revolves around parentage. What did John say about the little children?

“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.” (Vs1 and vs12.)

For a new believer there is no greater need. This is the age where the pastor and those who helped birth him or her into the kingdom must be very cautious to seeing to their care. (They are easily offended. They live strongly by their emotions. Their security is the parent. They often identify their salvation with the Church they attend.)

2nd The CHILDREN stage is the next natural progression where the believer begins to learn the authority of the father. Here love is coupled with discipline. It is at this stage that the believer learns that he can no longer get by with things he use to get by with.

The level of discipline that is required depends greatly on the child himself. What the child is now learning is that the world doesn’t revolve around him. Every little whimper doesn’t bring, “That’s alright honey.”

The child has to learn that there are consequences to bad behavior. This is often the age where believers experience the greatest difficulty in transition. (Feelings get hurt. Think they know more than they actually know, etc.)

What did John say about this age?

“I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.”

But what is the purpose behind this changing time in a believer’s life? Listen carefully:

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Heb 12:11)

The training produces the proper way of living the Christian life. It is where we are learning how to live as a mature disciple.

3rd The YOUNG MAN stage is where the believer lives as an overcomer. He has learned that the true walk of faith consist of taking a stand on the Word of Truth, and not on his emotions.

The character trait of this level is ‘overcoming!’ John said,

“I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” (Vs14)

4th Finally we have the FATHERS. This is the ‘deepening‘ of God. The fathers don’t just know that their sins have been forgiven. They are deeply acquainted with ‘Him who has been from the beginning.” (Vs14)

This may sound like a peculiar statement, but it has to do with the person of Jesus Himself. Whenever John uses the term ‘from the beginning,’ he has the mystery of the Messiah and of God’s Eternal Word in view.

This mature factor has to do with knowing and understanding.

The fully mature believer perceives things as they are. This is the highest level of our spiritual life. This knowing is the crown of a believer’s life.


The importance of each spiritual level

First of all, all believers know the Lord on the spiritual level where they are. For this reason most of us tend to think we know God better than we really do. We just haven’t advanced in our ‘knowing’ experience yet. This is why we get so adamant in doctrinal debates. But knowing God is not a doctrine. It is an experience of the heart.


Can we get to know God better? 

Yes indeed, we can get to know the heart of God better and better all the time. This is what spiritual growth is all about. And this is what Paul has in mind when he encourages the Corinthians to grow up in their spiritual life.

Paul said,

“Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory.” (1Co2:6,7)

Paul is speaking of the new covenant experience, where the Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ and then presents them to us. A little reading of the context will show this to be true.

However, it is important to remember that each stage of growth is perfect at its own stage. This does not mean that everyone will grow at the same pace. God’s discipline in our growing up always depends to a large degree on the child’s attitude. At the same time the Lord always disciplines us with love.


Take time to think on these things. I purposely avoided many of the technical aspects of the Greek terms used. Nor did I use some certain other terms that also speak of spiritual maturity. It is simply my want to help my readers have something to consider their own maturity level.


Here is a song for your meditation. ‘Lord, I Give You My Heart.’

In Christ always,


The Wisdom From Above

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“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

“And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (Jas 3:14-18)

“Does not wisdom call, and understanding lift up her voice? … ‘To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men. … Listen, for I will speak noble things; and the opening of my lips will reveal right things. For my mouth will utter truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.’” (Pro 8:1-7)


Journal Readers,

This is an entry that you would do well to follow all the Scriptures given. There is nothing more important to believers than to learn to draw on their heavenly life. This heavenly life is in the Scriptures as, the wisdom from above.’

I have a deep concern for many who call themselves Christian today and yet their entire life appears as a contradiction to that term. With some the attitude seems to be, I plan to be saved, I just don’t want God to interfere in my lifestyle.’ The problem is that their lifestyle is bringing ruin into their life.

It is never my point to question a person’s salvation in Christ. If someone tells me that they believe in Jesus Christ, I take that at face value. Nor do I wish to discourage anyone who is struggling over a life issue.

I know that God’s grace is greater than anything we may face in life. We all have our temptations and failures. Having a failure in life does not mean the person is not saved. However, there is an element in our salvation that needs to taken more to heart. It is found in the one word, ‘wisdom.’

Wisdom essentially means how to live. So, let’s talk about this wonderful mystery called ‘the wisdom from above.’ 


The Books of Wisdom

There are five books in the Old Testament that are called ‘Wisdom books.’ These books are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.

To God’s ancient people ‘wisdom’ was a mystery. Wisdom not only meant skillful living, but it meant directives from God. Very early on the sages saw a close connection between God’s wisdom and Light, God’s power and His Word, and with a special view to the coming Messiah.

We see this in David’s prophetic writings.

“For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.” (Psa 36:9 NASB)

In this next Scripture we see the hidden Christ as the fountain of life. We also see a reflection on this, when Jesus said,

I am the Light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)

David knew that the true wisdom for life could only be found in the heart of God. This is why it is said that David was a man after God’s heart. Actually there were certain things hidden in God that could only be revealed after the cross. David also knew this. And Wisdom was one of the things that was hidden in God.


A Wisdom Hidden in God

God’s ancient people always connected wisdom with rightness of life. Righteousness to them was defined as ‘right-wise-ness’. Yet wisdom still remained such a mystery.

Listen to Job:

“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can silver be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx, or sapphire.

“Gold or glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold. Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; and the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.

‘Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the sky. Abaddon and Death say, ‘With our ears we have heard a report of it.’ God understands its way, and He knows its place.” (Job 28:12-23 NASB)

Did you catch it? The wisdom of God is not an earthly wisdom. It is a wisdom that is hidden in God Himself. It is a heavenly wisdom.

Keep the term ‘hidden wisdom’ in view. This heavenly hidden wisdom is going to reappear in the new covenant writings.


Wisdom Found in Creation

The wisdom of God was also connected with creation.

“The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding He established the heavens.” (Pro 3:19 NASB)

To the ancients this wisdom from God also spoke of salvation and the coming Redeemer:

 “The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is his treasure.” (Isa 33:5-6 NASB)

Now see where Job speaks of the coming Redeemer:

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25-27 NASB)

It is important to keep in mind that Wisdom in the Bible always connects with the very life of God.
Which brings us to…


Jesus the ‘hidden wisdom’ of God

When Adam sinned against the Lord, he forfeited his life & his wisdom connection with God. Mankind would enter a world dominated by darkness & death.

The ancient sages taught that the original light of creation was to give wisdom for humanity to live by. When Adam rejected God’s command, the light of wisdom was hidden. They taught that this hidden wisdom would only come back with the Messiah.

This is where the New Testament writings open up. Most Hebrew people would have understood what John was writing, when he said:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Himwas life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (Joh 1:1-5 NASB)

To a Jewish reader all these statements about the ‘Word’, spoke to them of the Messiah.
The terms ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ are expressions that distinguish between those born of heaven and those who are yet in sinful darkness of this present world.
Pay close attention to the following Scriptures:

“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise [worldly wise] and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.’” (Mat 11:25 NASB)


“… giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:12-14 NASB)


“…rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” (Act 26:17-18 NASB)


“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.”(Eph 5:6-8 NASB)


“To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” (Eph 3:8-10 NASB)


“Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1Co 2:6-8 NASB)


Now we have the need to…


Draw on our heavenly wisdom

Paul explains that maturity in Christ actually involves learning to live from the wisdom that comes from above. The moment a person is born again they become a citizen of heaven. This means that all our resources in life, all our directives in life, and all our wisdom and skill in life are to come from a heavenly source.


Take note of these Scriptures:
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:1-3 NASB)


“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mat 6:33 NASB)


“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Php 3:20 NASB)


“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph 5:15-17 NASB)

Now keep in mind how James describes our heavenly wisdom:

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (Jas 3:17-18 NASB)


Don’t live beneath your privileges.

Don’t let others do all their thinking for you. You will often hear me say this but it is worth repeating -
- Jesus did not come to give us a better religion. And while we should thank the Lord for our placement in the body of Christ, always keep in mind that Jesus came to give us a direct relationship with the heavenly Father. Jesus came to teach us how to live from our heavenly life. -
How do I learn to live in my heavenly life? You ask! Jesus said everyone who asks, receives.
James said some other things about our wisdom from above. If you want to live in God’s wisdom, then you must be a true believer.

 “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.


“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.


“For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (Jas 1:5-8)


So, now is the time to begin. Don’t be double-minded. Take the yoke of Christ to yourself. Do it as an act of faith.

Make a quality decision where you can say without condition, ‘Father, not my will but Yours be done.’

Out of this decision will come a step-by-step walk with the Lord. This is how we actually draw on His strength and on His wisdom for life.

Listen to this song. The Lord wants to speak to your heart.



In Christ always,

The Goshen of America

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“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.’” (Gen 47:4-6)




There is no question in my mind that the United States of America is a God-created nation. From sea to shining sea we are unique in all the world. We are a fiercely independent people united as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The one major reason that makes America so unique in the world is that our government was set in place by the founders based upon Christian core values. And to this day 78.4% of Americans associate themselves with the Christian faith. (1.7% Jewish; .6% Muslim; .7% Buddhist; .4% Hindu; 16.1% Unaffiliated. [Statistics by 'The Pew Forum])

Note: On a world-wide basis 33% of the world’s population associate with Christianity, 19:6% Muslims, Hindus 13.4%

It is our Christian core values that has made American a beacon to the world. And while the United States is overwhelmingly Christian, yet it was the wisdom of our founders not to set up a state religion. We offer freedom to all who come to us.

Thus the compassion of America is best seen in the poem by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, 
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name,
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips.
‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Our Southern Bible Culture

I like to refer to our southern states as the ‘Goshen’ of America. What may seem odd is that statistics consistently show that the most patriotic people in America to this day are from the South. We southerners fully accept that it was God’s providence that this nation not be divided into two nations.

Probably the least understood issue has to do with the Civil War itself. The Civil War wasn’t actually a civil war in the truest sense. A civil war is about taking over the government of a nation by a faction. The southern states wanted to see two nations who could coöperate on the world scene in matters that involved both nations.

What is called the civil war was actually about succession. All the states held to the right of succession. While slavery was an issue it was not the dominate issue. (Slavery was on its way out in short time.)

For southerners the war was more about independence and culture. The south had a strong Bible emphasis built into their culture. It was not the same with the northern states. It remains that way even today.

According to Gallup polls the ten most religious states are: (Kentucky and Texas share same %. Notice the Bible Belt largely makes up the Southern Confederacy.)

85% Mississippi

The Bible Belt of America

82% Alabama
80% South Carolina
79% Tennessee
78% Louisiana
78% Arkansas
76% Georgia
76% North Carolina
75% Oklahoma
74% Kentucky
74% Texas

 The ten least religious states:

42% Vermont
46% New Hampshire
48% Maine
48% Massachusetts
51% Alaska
52% Washington
53% Oregon
53% Rhode Island
54% Nevada
55% Connecticut

A Southern Migration

Coming Home

But why? Why has there been for the past several years a migration from the north to the southern states? The short answer has to do with culture.

In the South you find a culture built around generations of a strong Bible emphasis. Out of this emphasis comes friendliness, hospitably, a special ‘spiritual’ kinship, and a genuine care for one another.

It is so sad how the South has often been displayed over time. ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ was written by a woman who had never been to the south nor had she ever been on a plantation. (Harriet Beecher Stowe.)

For those who would like to read up on the real culture of the South, I recommend, ‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to The South (and Why It Will Rise Again) by Clint Johnson. (There is also a Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War.)

There are a couple of movies that can help people gain a better understanding of southern culture: Gods and Generals, and, ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales. (Directed and starred in by Clint Eastwood).

Yes, it really is about culture. And, yes, I dearly love the United States of America. My family has fought in every war of this nation from the Revolutionary War on. We southerners love ‘Old Glory.’ We’ve fought for her and will fight for her again.

And by the way, the North really needs us. (Think about it. Whoever heard of ‘Northern Gospel Music.)

As for culture take time to view this clip, titled, ‘

A Tribute To Our Black Confederate Heroes

In love with Jesus,


Twisting and Turning in the Wind

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“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” (Eph 4:14-15)



In this entry I want to share how certain heretical teachings can be based on either a misunderstanding of the Scriptures or by stark misrepresentation.

Then you have the issue where a false doctrine is the calling card of false prophets and teachers. It is not my purpose to judge anyone in this entry as a false prophet. However, it is important for God’s people to be able to judge things for themselves. Jesus told us to judge with righteous judgment.

With regard to heretical teachings, David said it well enough -

“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD. How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.” (Psa 40:2-4)

David compared the miry clay with ‘those who lapse into falsehood’. Paul speaks of this as the trickery of men by craftiness in deceitful scheming, or, as, ‘winds of doctrine’. He is using the ‘wind‘ illustration in a Hebrew Biblical sense. The idea is of clouds and winds that make a promise of rain, yet produce nothing but disappointment. The boast works on the emotions, but are a mere illusion.

Hence -

Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.” (Pro 25:14)


What are winds of doctrines

Winds of doctrine are teachings that twist and turn the Scriptures to make them mean something that they don’t mean. Most believers at one time or another have accepted a teaching that was not true to God’s Word. This generally comes from immaturity. But believing a falsehood can also come from a defiant attitude. This is where a person has made a choice to believe a lie. Thus they become snared by darkness.

At this point it is important to point out how the charismatic movement that began in the early 60s, has become a breeding ground for heretical teachings. Through the goodness of the Lord, a great many true believers have escaped from that movement of ‘pyramid teachers’ by personal soul-searching and by a proper study of Biblical doctrine.

The term ‘pyramid teachers’ is a keynote. Most often a heretical teaching begins with a well-recognized, big-name, noted charismatic teacher. It then filters down the ranks until all the teachers in that movement are parroting the false doctrine. The thinking is, ‘How could so-and-so be wrong about anything. He is a chosen instrument of God.’ (Or such like.)

Let’s take just one charismatic false doctrine…


The ‘We are gods’ heresy

You may want to take time to view this entry:

Here are some but not all of the proponents of this teaching. These quotes are not taken out of context.


“You don’t have a god in you, you are one.” (Kenneth Copeland) “… You are a little god running around.” (Benny Hinn) I’m a god and you are a god.” (Jim Jones) “You are as much the incarnation of God as Christ was” (Kenneth Hagin) Until we comprehend that we are little gods, we cannot manifest the kingdom of God.” (Earl Paulk) I am a little god! Critics, be gone!” (Paul Crouch, TBN)


The godhood heresy is based primarily on two Scriptures portions. The problem is that both these portions are removed from their cultural and Biblical context.

First the Psalmist Asaph wrote,

“I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.” (Psa 82:6)

Then we have this from the New Testament:

“The Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.’

“Jesus answered them, ‘Has it not been written in your Law, “I SAID, YOU ARE GODS”? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’”? (Joh 10:33-36)

The heresy twist follows this line of thinking – All Christians are gods. The Bible says that we are ‘little gods’ on this planet. We are made in the image and likeness of God, and thus we are ‘little gods.’

Keep in mind this adage…


A text taken out of context is a pretext

No where in the Bible does it say that we are little gods. We are sons and daughters of God. Even those terms have to be place in their proper understanding. So what was the Psalmist Asaph’s point and why did Jesus quote from him? Good questions. The answer is not as difficult as it may seem.

The context of Psalm 82 has to do with the ‘rulers‘ of Israel. Verse 1 says, “God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers.” (The word for ruler here is ‘elohim‘.)

The rulers in Israel were given a dignity by God to represent Him in Israel. Verses 2 through 4 are charges against these unjust rulers.

“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” (Psa 82:2-4)

Then we have the Lord’s answer for these unjust rulers who held a certain God-given dignity.

“They do not know nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High. ‘ Nevertheless you will die like men and fall like any one of the princes.’” (Psa 82:5-7)

The ‘all of you’ remains in place for Israel’s leadership. Their role as ‘rulers (elohim)’ had well gone to their heads. They loved being held in high esteem. Their loved the acclamations. They loved to boast on their higher status as ‘the‘ rulers who represented God. What does the Lord say? You are no different from any other person. You are going to fall and die like any other person of high rank.


Why did Jesus use the Asaph quote

Thus we have the key to why Jesus quoted from Asaph. Two issues are in view.

(1) During the time of Jesus, each city had its own Sanhedrin, and then all Israel was under the rule of the Great Sanhedrin.  The Sanhedrin continued to use Asaph’s ‘elohim‘ statement for their placement in Israel’s society. They alone had the status of representing God. They alone were the elohim of God. (By the way, the term ‘elohim’ is a generic term. It can be translated other than as ‘god.’ – gods, judges, angels.)

(2) Secondly, Jesus turned their boast on their own head. Listen: “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”?

Did you catch what Jesus was saying to the rulers? If you are going to say that I am blaspheming, then you must also take this charge to yourself. What you charge Me with, would also make you a blasphemer. He caught them in their own foolishness. This is one reason that the Jewish rulers hated Jesus. They could never outdo His wisdom.


What is the point in all this

The point is that the ‘we are gods’ heresy is doing the very same thing today that it did during the time of Asaph and the time of Jesus. It is pride-centered, egotistical based, and creates an attitude of self-righteousness in those who take to themselves these teachings.

The point is that there are a lot of hurting believers coming out of the Charismatic movement. They have been damaged by heresy. The ‘we are god’s’ is only one of many heresies found there. The teaching that, ‘we can create with our words’, that ‘we are messiahs on the earth’, that, ‘Jesus was rich and wore designer clothes’, that, ‘any form of sickness is always of the devil’, and on and on and on, are all teachings that run contrary to the truths of God.

Heresies do not bring true freedom into a child of God’s life. They do just the opposite. They end up as bondages. 

It is as I said at the beginning of this entry -

“…heretical teachings can be based on either a misunderstanding of the Scriptures or by stark misrepresentation. … It is important for God’s people to be able to judge things for themselves. Jesus told us to judge with righteous judgment.”


While you think on these things, please take time to listen to Michael W. Smith, as he sings, ‘Draw Me Close to You.’


In Christ always,


There’s a Promise Coming – Restoration

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“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” (Act 3:19-21)



The eyes of the world are on the Middle East. We are seeing a conflagration (uncontrolled fire) working its way out from the regions of ancient Babylon. The heat is intense in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, not to speak of all the ‘***istan’ nations of the former Soviet Union. Keep in view that all these nations with the exception of Israel, are Islamic.

So much for all the diatribe on Islam being a religion of peace.

The apostle Peter told the Jewish people that Jesus had been received into heaven and would stay there, but would send times of ‘refreshing’ [special moves of the Holy Spirit] until the period of restoration of all things.

What did he mean by the term restoration? The Greek term ‘apokatastasis‘ means a restitution of a thing to its former condition. This expression denotes the times when the ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ is completed, and the conversion of the Jewish nation is at hand.

This was a primary concern for the Lord’s Hebrew apostles. Jesus clearly taught that the kingdom of God would be taken away from the nation of Israel until the day came when they would say of Him, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

In Acts 1:6, they asked Him,

“‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ Jesus responded, ‘It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.’”


The clock is ticking

This is why May 14, 1948 is so important to redemption history. Israel lost her nationhood in the year 70 a.d. She was brought forth again as a nation in 1948, and took her place among the nations. Thus we have Isa66:8 fulfilled;

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons.”

Then we have this from the Lord:

“And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles [other nations] until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)

Some like to think that a nation being brought forth all at once has to do with the church. However, this does damage to the prophecy.  Notice carefully that it is not simply a nation, but also a land that will be born in one day. The Hebrew for land [’erets] speaks of the earth. The land took on the name Israel on May 14, 1948, and land of Israel once again took her place among the nations of the world.

Without laboring this too much we also need to understand that the nation of Israel today is not the nation she is going to be. The Jews returning to the land is at the heart of Old Testament prophecy. Yet Israel today is largely secular, with Talmudic Judaism in charge of her religious affairs. The fact that Israel is largely secular is not a bad thing in comparison to the Christ-hating Talmudic religion.

(Most Jews do not hate Jesus. There are even Jewish-Christian churches and synagogues in Israel. According to my sources, the number one topic of discussion among Israelis today is about Jesus. The Lord is stirring their hearts. Any hatred towards Jesus and Christians comes largely from Orthodox-Talmudic Judaism.)


The mystery of the dry bones

When God spoke to Ezekiel about the dry bones, it had to do with the restored captivity of that time. However, it had a deeper meaning that would reach forward to the day when Israel turns to Jesus, and call upon Him as their Lord and Savior..

“He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, You know.’ Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones and say to them, “O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.”’

“Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. ‘I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.’” (Eze 37:3-6)


Now lets combine two Scriptures, one from the old and the other from the new. Both with the same goal.

First Zechariah 12:10:

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me [This is Yahweh speaking] whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him [Jesus the crucified One], and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him [Jesus] like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

Now Romans 11:25-27:

“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery — so that you will not be wise in your own estimation — that a partial hardening has happened to Israel [the Christ-rejecting nation group] until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved [nation group looks to Jesus]; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’”

The sins of the Christ-rejecting Israel can only be taken away when they come to faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ.

The message to Israel has never changed. When Peter addressed the Jewish leadership, this is what he said:

“He [Jesus] is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Act 4:11-12)

No one can ever be saved aside from receiving Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as both Lord and Savior. There are no exceptions.


A house restored

Let’s come back to what Peter said about the times of restoration:

“…that He [the Father] may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” (Acts 3:20,21)

The Greek term for ‘period‘ is chronos. It speaks of a particular time or space or season of events.

The Greek term for ‘restoration‘ is a double compound. It is only used here. But interestingly enough it is also used by Flavius Josephus for the return of the Jews from captivity, and for the restoration of the year of Jubilee. That is the how the term was understood during the time of Christ.

The period of refreshing and restoration that Peter speaks of has a dual focus. It includes the Church being refreshed during her journey on heart. And while the Church is being prepared for her departure, the Jewish people are being gathered to the land of Israel to fulfill her prophesied purposes. Hence, God is working with the Jews and with the Christians.

For the Jew there is a period of tribulation they must endure before the Savior comes out of Zion. The Bible also gives place for a pseudo-Church during the last hours of this age. (Pseudo refers to something that appears to be true but is not. A false pretender.)

The true church refers to those who are inborn of the Spirit and will not follow anyone other than Jesus, in spite of signs and wonders. The true Church will make her departure from the earth at the proper time. The pseudo Church will follow after lying wonders.


Tears for Jerusalem

Let’s listen to some of the last words that Jesus spoke over Jerusalem.

“When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44)

And again,

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me UNTIL you say, ‘Blessed is He [Jesus] who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matt23:37,38)

So, will the kingdom of God be restored to Israel? Will Israel really turn to the Lord Jesus and become part with His people? Can it be proved by the Scriptures? I believe it can. For your extra study consider these Scriptures: Isaiah 1:26Jeremiah 23:3-6Hosea 3:4,55:156:1-3.

That’s it for now.

Here is your song. Let the Lord refresh your heart. ‘There’s a Promise Coming Down’ by Joy Gardner…