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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #6015 on: January 03, 2018, 08:39:44 AM »

Infallible Proofs

“To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)
 
To the first Christians, faith in the deity of Christ was not a blind leap into the dark. Only God could defeat death, and they knew—beyond all doubt—that Jesus Christ had risen bodily from the tomb. They had seen Him, touched Him, and eaten with Him, alone and in crowds, in closed rooms, and out in the open.
 
The term “infallible proofs” translates a Greek word used only this one time, meaning literally “many criteria of certainty,” and it is significant that the inspired Word of God applies it only to the resurrection of Christ. It is not too much to say that Christ’s resurrection is the most certain fact in all history, and many large volumes have been published setting forth the evidences thereof. No wonder the apostle Peter could say, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
 
The apostle John testified thus: “The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us” (1 John 1:2). John not only saw Him in His resurrection body, but also in His glorified body, hearing Him say, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18).
 
It is true that we, like the first Christians, must believe on Christ to receive salvation, but this faith is not a credulous faith, a leap into the dark. It is a reasonable faith, based on many infallible proofs, and we can, therefore, trust Him with our eternal souls. HMM
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« Reply #6016 on: January 04, 2018, 09:46:10 AM »

True Deliverance

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)
 
Certain Christian workers practice what they call a “deliverance ministry,” but true biblical deliverance is better defined in terms of today’s verse, which, of course, is the last petition in the prayer that Christ taught His disciples to pray. True deliverance is deliverance from evil, whatever form that evil might take, and preservation until God’s kingdom comes. Let us observe several scriptural accounts of true deliverance.
 
Note that the Greek word for deliverance has the connotation of “rescue,” and this is its first occurrence in the New Testament; that makes its usage here especially significant. That the Lord will indeed provide such deliverance, if we pray for it in sincerity, is affirmed in many testimonies and promises. Burdened with the problems of his old sin nature, Paul cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But then the answer comes: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25). Even as his anticipated martyrdom was approaching, Paul could still testify, “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18).
 
Peter also assures us that “the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Peter 2:9). He is able to deliver His people from all the evils of this present evil world, to keep them and prepare them for the glory and the power of His coming kingdom, for He Himself is the Deliverance. “As it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer [same word], and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 11:26). HMM
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« Reply #6017 on: January 05, 2018, 08:24:32 AM »

The Earth Made New Again

“And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.” (Psalm 78:69)
 
There are a number of passages in the Bible that state unequivocally that the earth, in some form, is going to continue eternally. “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever” (Ecclesiastes 1:4).
 
However, this present earth and its atmospheric heavens must first be purged of all the age-long effects of sin and the curse, which now affect the very elements (or “dust of the earth”). Therefore, “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
 
Evidently, this fiery cataclysm is not an annihilation of the earth and its atmosphere but rather a great exchange of energies. The earth’s very elements will probably be converted into sound and heat energies by mass-energy nuclear-conversion processes, in order to burn out the great fossil beds and all other relics of sin and the curse. Then, however, God will reverse the process, converting these and other energies back into matter, thus “renewing” the primeval earth, which originally had been “very good” (Genesis 1:31). “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).
 
It is this new earth (that is, the earth made new) that will then continue forever. “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain” (Isaiah 66:22). “Because the [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). Then we shall forever “be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). HMM
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« Reply #6018 on: January 06, 2018, 09:03:53 AM »

The Raging Seas

“Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” (Psalm 89:9)
 
There are few things in nature more fearsome or more uncontrollable by man than a mighty storm at sea. Only the One who created the waters of the sea can really control them. But He can! “For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof . . . . He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still” (Psalm 107:25, 29).
 
One of the most striking demonstrations of the deity of Christ was in a storm on the Sea of Galilee when “he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm” (Luke 8:24). Note also the experience of the mariners sailing to Tarshish when they realized that the storm that was about to destroy them had been sent by the God of heaven because of Jonah. “So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging” (Jonah 1:15).
 
The Scriptures also compare opponents of the gospel to a raging sea. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20). Similarly, Jude says that apostate teachers are like “raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame” (Jude 1:13).
 
Christ used this same figure to prophesy the turmoil of the ungodly nations of the world in the last days. “There shall be . . . upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). But just as God the Creator can calm the raging waves of the ocean, so God our Savior can speak peace to the nations and calm each troubled soul. As our text assures us, He rules the ragings of every sea and stills them when the waves arise. HMM
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« Reply #6019 on: January 07, 2018, 08:35:02 AM »

God Remembers

“And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged.” (Genesis 8:1)
 
This verse contains the first mention of the beautiful word “remember” in the Bible, and it tells us that God remembers! During the awful cataclysm of the Flood, the most devastating event thus far in the history of the world, God still remembered the faithful obedience of Noah, and He even remembered every living thing!
 
We may forget many things, but God remembers: “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name” (Hebrews 6:10). Nor does He ever forget a promise. The first mention of “remember” in the New Testament is the Spirit-inspired testimony of Zacharias: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people . . . to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham” (Luke 1:68, 72-73). That promise had been made 2,000 years before, but God remembered.
 
God even remembers the sparrows: “Not one of them is forgotten before God” (Luke 12:6). And He certainly remembers His own children: “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).
 
Even after the children of Israel had gone deeply into idolatry, He could still say, “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness” (Jeremiah 2:2).
 
God remembers the evil as well as the good, of course. The one thing He chooses not to remember is the sinful past of those who have come to Christ for forgiveness. “And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17). HMM
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« Reply #6020 on: January 08, 2018, 09:59:56 AM »

If by Any Means

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Philippians 3:11)
 
The usage of this seemingly insignificant phrase, “if by any means” (Greek ei pos), follows a significant order of development in the New Testament. Occurring only four times, it is used to express the urgency of an object sought and the background needs and means for its attainment.
 
The context of the first occurrence is the presumed need for physical comfort and security. “Because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter” (Acts 27:12). This particular goal, however, was never attained.
 
The second is a more noble object, that of reaching an area of spiritual ministry. “Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,” Paul said. “Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you . . . that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift” (Romans 1:9-11).
 
The next occurrence speaks in even greater urgency, the object being the conversion of Paul’s Jewish brethren. “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles. . . . If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13-14).
 
The final occurrence is in today’s verse, speaking of the supreme importance of a Christ-centered life: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). By all means, therefore, we should, like Paul, seek to live for Christ, minister to others, and win souls for Him. HMM
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« Reply #6021 on: January 09, 2018, 08:40:31 AM »

The Heart of Our Understanding

“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” (1 Corinthians 14:20)
 
The wise man wrote long ago, “With all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). However, we need to be sure that the understanding we acquire is not perverted by the spirit of this world. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he emphasized the contrast between a darkened understanding and a spiritually illuminated understanding.
 
“Walk not as other Gentiles walk,” he exhorted, “in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:17-18). A blinded heart produces a darkened understanding.
 
Paul prayed, rather, that God would give them “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Ephesians 1:17-18). We need an understanding enlightened by the Holy Spirit, not darkened by a hardened heart.
 
By the same token, as today’s verse commands, we should seek to attain a mature understanding of the things of God, not remaining stagnant at the elementary level of understanding. It is dishonoring to the Lord who called us into His family to remain spiritual children. We should exhibit the faith of a little child, and be as free from malice as a little child, but in understanding we must grow! “For when . . . ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again . . . the first principles of the oracles of God . . . who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12, 14). “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). HMM
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« Reply #6022 on: January 10, 2018, 07:43:16 AM »

Justification

“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)
 
This is the first mention of the great doctrine of justification in the Bible­—that is, being seen as “righteous” by God. The same Hebrew word is translated “just” in Genesis 6:9: “Noah was a just man.” The reason why Noah was seen as righteous and therefore as just, or justified before God, was that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). This is the first mention of “grace” in the Bible. The first mention of “faith” or “belief” is also associated with justification. “[Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).
 
Thus, justification is by grace through faith in the Old Testament and certainly in the New. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” and also “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:24; 5:1).
 
Justification—that is, being seen and proclaimed as perfectly righteous, even in spite of past sins—must of course be authorized by God the Creator. “It is God that justifieth” (Romans 8:33). That God can indeed be both “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26) is based entirely on the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Christ, who conquered death. “Being now justified by his blood,” the Lord Jesus Christ “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 5:9; 4:25).
 
Now, although we are freely justified by grace through faith, such justification inevitably generates good works also, for “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). HMM
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« Reply #6023 on: January 11, 2018, 09:01:54 AM »

The Battle Is the Lord's

“And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47)
 
These were the ringing words of faith uttered by young David as he faced the Philistine giant, Goliath. Without armor, or spear, or shield, and with only a sling and five smooth stones, David confronted the nine-foot champion of the pagan army in the name of the true God, and soon the giant lay dead with his face to the ground.
 
The battle must always be the Lord’s. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Spiritual battles are not won by bullets, nor by ballots, nor by any human means. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7). “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. . . . Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 33:16, 18).
 
We even have a mandate to attack the enemy in His stronghold. Christ taught, “Upon this rock [of faith in Christ as divine Savior] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)
 
It is easy, in trying to do a work for God, to rely on human abilities and devices, but these will fail, for the battle is the Lord’s. When the battle is going well, we must not boast, for the battle is the Lord’s. When the battle is going hard, we must not despair, for the battle is the Lord’s.
 
He is our strength. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). HMM
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« Reply #6024 on: January 12, 2018, 08:02:52 AM »

Things We Know

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Peter 5:4)
 
In these days of relativism, situational ethics, and changing mores, it does a Christian good to note the many things in Scripture we can know, things we can count on, things that do not change. Following is a sampling of such truths, with little comment, intended to encourage the reader to extend the list, perhaps as an ongoing project.
 
We can know that Christ is God: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
 
We can know that we are saved: “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47).
 
We can know we are His dear children: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God” (1 John 3:2).
 
We can know His protection: “And they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
 
We can know He answers prayer: “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14).
 
We can know He will help us through temptation: “In that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
 
We can know how we should act: “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done” (John 13:15).
 
We can know He desires us to speak on His behalf: “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
 
We can know that He will come again: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).
 
We can know of our eternal rewards, as in today’s verse: “An inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). JDM
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« Reply #6025 on: January 13, 2018, 08:54:40 AM »

If So Be

“If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:3)
 
The little phrase “if so be” (Greek ei per) is used four times in the New Testament, each time setting forth a vital spiritual result established on the basis of a vital spiritual premise. The premise in today’s verse is that a new Christian has truly experienced the saving grace of Christ. The result will be that these “newborn babes” will truly “desire the sincere milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2). The “word” (Greek logikos) is always both pure and reasonable.
 
Then, “ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Romans 8:9). When a person truly receives Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells his body, and the result is that he will henceforth live in the guidance of the Spirit instead of the flesh.
 
But this life in the Spirit will necessarily entail suffering for the sake of Christ, and this is the premise that assures our future inheritance and glorification. The indwelling Spirit bears witness that we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).
 
Finally, our future resurrection is assured by the certainty of the bodily resurrection of Christ. “We have testified of God,” Paul says, “that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not” (1 Corinthians 15:15). Christ’s resurrection is proved as well as any historical fact has ever been proved, so the dead surely rise also.
 
These “if so be’s” of Scripture, although seemingly expressed in the form of conditions, actually speak great assurances. The true Christian life is one of thirst for the logical words of God, guidance by the indwelling Spirit of God, certainty of future resurrection, and anticipation of a glorious inheritance in Christ. HMM
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« Reply #6026 on: January 14, 2018, 09:32:18 AM »

Heavenly Calling

“As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:48)
 
In a wonderful sense, Christians are just passing through this world on their way to the permanent home awaiting them in heaven. “For our conversation [or ‘our citizenship’] is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Christ has prepared a “place” for us there (John 14:2), and it is there that we have “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
 
In view of such a glorious future, we ought to live not as those who are “earthy” but, as our verse says, as “they also that are heavenly.” We have, indeed, been made “partakers of the heavenly calling,” and so should always, in all we do, “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1), for He represents us even now in the heavenly places. He has gone “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24), and we have, in effect, already been made to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
 
We may not appear to be very heavenly now, in these poor bodies made of Earth’s dust, but “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49). As Paul vividly expresses it, the Lord Jesus Christ “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). “The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
 
Christians, indeed, constitute a heavenly people with a heavenly calling, even while still on Earth. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). HMM
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« Reply #6027 on: January 15, 2018, 09:35:11 AM »

What Jesus Said about Hell

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)
 
People do not like to think about hell—especially those who are headed there! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
 
We need to know that the Lord Jesus Himself often warned about the reality of hell. Today’s verse is in His Sermon on the Mount, a message often quoted because of its wonderful promises. Hell is also mentioned in the same sermon in Matthew 5:22 and 5:30. Jesus also stressed in that sermon that “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13). He later warned that we should “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
 
The religious leaders of the day were not exempt. To them, speaking of their religious hypocrisy, He said, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33).
 
Hell is also a place of fire or possibly of some fearful environment that could only be described adequately under the metaphor of fire. “Depart from me,” He will say to the lost souls at His coming judgment, “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Hell is called a “lake of fire” by Christ in John’s vision of Him on His great white throne, where He will have to say, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, . . . and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
 
Hell will indeed be very real—eternally real! Since Christ is both our Creator and our Savior, who died for our sins and defeated death by His resurrection, it is foolish for anyone to reject His revelation about hell. HMM
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« Reply #6028 on: January 16, 2018, 08:45:49 AM »

The Honest Use of Scripture

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Mark 7:13)
 
Jesus uttered these sharp words of rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees, who had encumbered the plain teachings of Scripture with numerous “interpretations” that enabled them to ignore whatever teachings they found inconvenient. The Lord Jesus Himself always took the Scriptures literally and as of divine authority, and so should we.
 
Furthermore, He taught that every word was true and authoritative: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). He also said that “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
 
Skeptics may pose certain difficulties in the Bible, evolutionists may ridicule its account of creation, and sinners in general may try to wriggle away from its moral constraints, but the Scripture cannot be broken! Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). He Himself is the living Word of God, and we dare not tamper with the written Word inspired by the Holy Spirit. Christ, of course, could and did in some cases extend and apply the Old Testament Scriptures, because He Himself was their Author, but He never questioned their factuality or literal accuracy, and neither should we.
 
Nevertheless, many modern “Christian” intellectuals and cultists are following in the example of the Pharisees rather than that of Christ, “wresting” the Scriptures for their gain but “unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). God has spoken plainly in His Word. It is our responsibility to believe and do what He says. HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #6029 on: January 17, 2018, 09:08:01 AM »

The Mighty Hand of God

“That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.” (Joshua 4:24)
 
The testimony of Joshua to the children of Israel as they entered the promised land reminded them of the tremendous strength in the mighty hand of God whom they were to fear and trust forever. This is only one of about 20 references in the Scriptures to God’s mighty hand. Moses had often recalled how “the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:8).
 
The first reference to God’s mighty hand is in Jacob’s dying prophecy concerning Joseph. “His bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24)
 
Like those of Joseph, our hands also can be strong when they are placed in the mighty hands of God. Some may note that this is only a figure of speech, for God is Spirit and has no physical hands. Yes, but “he that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psalm 94:9). God indeed is God of the mighty hand!
 
The final reference to God’s mighty hand and the only specific reference in the New Testament is in the apostle Peter’s exhortation to humility. “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6). Our human might is only a vapor, but “in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4).
 
Jesus said concerning His followers, “They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28). HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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