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« Reply #7725 on: August 28, 2022, 08:02:35 AM »

Can a Christian Not Sin?

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

If the question is asked “Does a Christian not sin?” then the answer is no. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us....If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:8, 10). Even the most godly Christian does sin occasionally—in thought if not in deed, in omission if not in commission. The God-given antidote is 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

But there is a danger if we use such verses as an excuse for sinning or for taking sin too lightly. If the question is asked “Can a Christian not sin?” then the answer is yes! God indeed, in Christ, has made every provision necessary for a believer never to commit sin, and we are without any legitimate excuse whenever we do.

This must be so for at least two reasons. In the first place, Jesus Christ in His humanity is our example, and He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He accomplished this, not because of His deity, but solely in His humanity.

Secondly, God has commanded us not to sin, and He would never command us to do the impossible. For every temptation, there is a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13), and we have no excuse if we fail to take it. Our only recourse is to repent and confess the sin.

Our text commands us to sin not! But then, it also reminds us that Christ is our great advocate before the Father. He is righteous and has already taken our sins away as our propitiatory sacrifice, so “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). HMM
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« Reply #7726 on: August 29, 2022, 07:57:30 AM »

The Fourfold Witness to Christ

“One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” (Deuteronomy 19:15)

In the Mosaic law, at least two reliable witnesses were required to convict a man of a crime. Jesus Christ was charged with blasphemy, claiming to be the unique Son of God. Not only was there the required double witness, but actually a fourfold witness to the “crime.” The witnesses not only agreed that the claim was made but also that the claim was true!

The first was John the Baptist, who said, “I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34). To so testify was John’s very reason for being, for he “was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light” (John 1:8-9).

There was also a second, more potent witness. “I have greater witness than that of John,” Jesus said, “for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (John 5:36). The great teacher Nicodemus had to acknowledge, “No man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2).

Furthermore, there was the direct testimony of God from heaven. “The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me” (John 5:37). “There came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (2 Peter 1:17).

Most importantly, there is the testimony of the Bible. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

We no longer have such direct testimony, but we will always have the Holy Scriptures, eternally proclaiming the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. HMM
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« Reply #7727 on: August 30, 2022, 07:30:15 AM »

U.S.E. Your Faith

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

Today’s verse contains a portion of Habakkuk 2:4, emphasizing that those who have been twice-born can live using the same faith that God granted us so that we could believe (Ephesians 2:8). An acronym for USE can help focus our thoughts.

U—Use what you have. Moses had only a rod when God called him to deliver the nation of Israel (Exodus 4:2-6). We should use the talent and equipment already in our possession, just like the widow of Zarephath, who gave her meager grain (1 Kings 17:10-16). Daniel used his secular position (Daniel 6:14-23), and Esther used her beauty and bravery (Esther 4:13-17) to accomplish His will.

S—Start doing it. Nothing happens unless we become involved. The priests of Israel participated in the miracle at Jordan when they obeyed and stepped in the river (Joshua 3:5-17). The widow did not reap the bounty until she followed Elisha’s instructions and borrowed pots from her neighbors (2 Kings 4:1-7). After the miracle of the oil, she surely wished that she had not limited God’s supply. The man who was born blind had to wash as instructed before he could see (John 9:1-7). And those at Lazarus’ tomb had to open it before they could see him resurrected (John 11:39). God instructs, we obey, and He performs.

E—Expect it to happen. The centurion understood our Lord’s authority when he asked Him to heal his servant (Matthew 8:5-13). The Syrophoenician woman insisted on being healed (Matthew 15:21-26), and the nobleman went home confident that his son had been saved (John 4:46-53).

Circumstances will vary, but God’s “formula” does not. HMM III
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« Reply #7728 on: August 31, 2022, 06:41:38 AM »

God's Grace

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Although Christ has set the believer free from legalistic bondage, he is now under a still higher law—the law of Christ. It is also called “the law of the Spirit of life” that has made us “free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

The law of Christ does not consist of many detailed ordinances that we are duty bound to obey. It is a law that we want to obey out of love for Christ. “Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). Paul says that “the end of the commandment is charity [that is, Christian love] out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5). James calls it “the royal law,” defining it simply as “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (James 2:8).

Instead of a law bringing us into bondage, it is “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25), setting us free from slavery to sin. It not only gives us the desire to please the Lord but also the will and the ability to do so.

It is not as though we are now without law and thereby free to indulge our carnal appetites. Paul explains his own new nature thus: “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more...(being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ)” (1 Corinthians 9:19, 21).

In Christ, “the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,” and He is “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 3:21; 10:4). But though we “have been called unto liberty,” Paul commands us to “use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Thus, to believe in Christ is also to obey Him. HMM
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« Reply #7729 on: September 01, 2022, 07:54:22 AM »

A True Slave of Christ

“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

In His final earthly days, our precious Lord boldly journeyed toward Jerusalem to that “beautiful awful cross.” This was set against the trembling fear of His disciples (Mark 10:32). He confided to them the upcoming tragic events of His last days. He would “be delivered unto the chief priests…and they shall condemn him to death…and they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again” (vv. 33-34).

Although the Master Servant demonstrated selfless boldness on His approaching suffering, James and John demanded that the Lord serve them and grant them dual thrones in glory, one on His right and one on His left (vv. 35-40).

Our Lord’s response was directed to all who are “in Christ.” We must take up that same cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34). Jesus called us slaves of the Kingdom, and said, “Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant [Greek doulos, lowest male slave] of all” (Mark 10:43-44). Jesus came to serve and to pay on the cross the purchase price for our redemption. His life and death serve as an example for believers to follow.

What is our attitude toward those who are spiritually bankrupt and in desperate need of the gospel? Do we intentionally serve those whom God providentially brings into our lives, or do we demand service? Like our Lord, are we interruptible, willing to lay aside the busyness of our all-important schedules to serve even the lowliest person in need?

Jesus did! CM
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« Reply #7730 on: September 02, 2022, 07:39:33 AM »

Life--Light--Love

“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:3-5)

The apostle John, designated as “the other disciple, whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2), used the concept of agape love more than any other New Testament writer, even teaching that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Likewise, John tells us that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5), and he uses the concept of light (phos) more than any other writer.

In just the same way, he uses the primary word for life (zoe) more than any other writer and discusses “that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1), identifying Christ as life and the fountain of life.

Christ, of course, has existed “from the beginning” and is the Creator of physical life on Earth (Colossians 1:16; Acts 17:28). But in a special way, He is “the life” (John 14:6), and, as we see in our text, “in him was life,” denoting salvation and eternal life based on His own atonement for sin.

Concerning light, Christ not only created physical light (Genesis 1:3) and later light sources (Genesis 1:14), but He is light, referring to revelation of the things of God to men, for His “life was the light of men.”

But most of all, “God is love.” The first time John mentions agape love, we are told that “God so loved the world” and that His free and undeserved love drove Him to give “his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Herein is love...that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). JDM
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« Reply #7731 on: September 03, 2022, 07:48:52 AM »

The River of God

“Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.” (Psalm 65:9)

The inexhaustible river of God, watering the whole earth, is nothing less than the refreshing rains coming down from the heavens, “visiting” the earth on its amazing journey to the oceans, whence it flows back up to the skies again. This river incorporates all the rivers of Earth, yet it is like no other river, for once it reaches the ocean, it rises into the heavens, there to flow back over the thirsty ground and finally descend once more on its endless journey.

What a wonderful provision is this river of God! Without it, all life on Earth would soon die. Far more valuable than gold, it continually “enriches” the earth on its regular visitations “to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth” (Job 38:27).

Thereby does God also prepare corn to feed man and beast. The word “corn” in this and other passages probably refers generically to any of the cereal grains that provide the basic foodstuffs for people and animals all over the world. This is implied in the creation passage itself. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth....And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat” (Genesis 1:29-30).

This is God’s wonderful life-giving river. “He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth” (Psalm 104:13-14). The Creator is also the Sustainer (Colossians 1:16-17). HMM
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« Reply #7732 on: September 04, 2022, 08:45:09 AM »

How to Respond to Defamation

“Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” (1 Corinthians 4:11-13)

Bible-believing Christians today, especially creationists, have become the object of intense vilification by the news media and by self-appointed spokesmen for the scientific and educational establishments. The natural reaction is to respond in kind.

But this is not the spiritual reaction. “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

We not only have Christ’s example before us but also His direct commandment. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake....Love your enemies, bless them that curse you” (Matthew 5:11, 44).

The apostles endured far more insults and opprobrium for Christ’s sake than any of us shall ever have to suffer. Yet Paul, speaking for them all, could say, in effect, “Being reviled, we bless; being defamed, we entreat, even though they call us the filth of the world!”

We can trust the Lord to take care of our reputations, for He is more concerned even than we, and His Word tells us: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). HMM
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« Reply #7733 on: September 05, 2022, 07:09:32 AM »

Man and His Labor

“Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.” (Psalm 104:23)

The 104th Psalm is a beautiful psalm of creation and the Flood, supplemented by God’s providential care of His creatures in the post-Flood world. Our text makes man’s activity seem almost incidental in the grand scope of God’s activities on behalf of His whole creation.

Nevertheless, it reminds us of God’s first great commission to mankind concerning that creation. “Have dominion...over all the earth...to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 1:26; 2:15). This primeval mandate, though still in effect as man’s stewardship responsibility for the earth and its creatures, has been seriously impacted by sin and the curse. “Cursed is the ground for thy sake,” God told Adam; “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Genesis 3:17, 19).

And so it is that men and women must work, and the work often is laborious, stressful, and unappreciated. Yet, the divine rule is “that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands...That ye may walk honestly...and that ye may have lack of nothing” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). “For... if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Thus, labor is necessary, even for those who don’t know the Lord. But it is far better if we work not just to earn a living but to please the Lord. “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).

Whatever our job is (assuming it is honorable), it can be regarded as serving Christ and helping to fulfill His primeval dominion commandment, and even as helping to lead others to know Him. Therefore, whether the work is easy or hard, we should be “always abounding in the work of the Lord...your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). HMM
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« Reply #7734 on: September 06, 2022, 09:58:04 AM »

The Father Testifies of the Son

“Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:28)

This is the last of three remarkable occasions during the earthly ministry of Christ when God the Father spoke directly from heaven concerning His only begotten Son. The first was at His baptism. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; also Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). This thrice-recorded testimony was given primarily to the forerunner, John the Baptist, who said, “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33).

The second was to three chosen disciples at the transfiguration. “Behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5). Years later Peter recalled, “This voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount” (2 Peter 1:18).

Finally, the Father spoke in the words of our text for the day in direct response to the prayer of His Son at the beginning of the final week before His crucifixion. The message was to His Son but for the people. Jesus said, “This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes” (John 12:30) as He spoke of His imminent death on the cross.

When God spoke from heaven, the message was to assure and encourage His own dear ones: John, the disciples, and Jesus Himself. But it has also become an exhortation to all people for all time. Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and God is glorified in Him. Hear Him! HMM
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« Reply #7735 on: September 07, 2022, 08:15:51 AM »

Preaching Against False Teachers

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

Jude, an earthly brother of our Lord, had become a leader in the early church by the time he wrote his epistle. He had intended “to write unto you of the common salvation” but instead was compelled by God’s Spirit to write and “exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 1:3) against the onslaught of false teachers. He writes “to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 1:15).

Few categories of people are so summarily denounced in Scripture as false teachers, those who teach error from within. Nearly every biblical writer echoes God’s hatred of them and their work. Here, Jude refers to Enoch’s ancient teaching to demonstrate the fact that God has always hated false teachers and has warned them of their doom. Unfortunately, many of today’s pulpits and “Christian” airwaves are filled with false teachers and their teaching, leading many astray.

But this is also a lesson to be learned by any who would teach, even born-again, God-gifted teachers. Error is a serious thing in God’s eyes, and a Bible teacher must continually submit to God’s Word and Spirit to discern and teach only truth. Evidently, it would be better for those teachers, seminarians, and others who espouse errors such as humanism, evolution, and other false concepts that a millstone were hung about their necks and that they drowned in the depth of the sea than to lead astray those “little ones” in their influence. JDM
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« Reply #7736 on: September 08, 2022, 08:17:02 AM »

The Three Appearings of Christ

“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)

The wonderful promise of this text actually refers to the third appearing of Christ. The New Testament speaks of His past appearing, His present appearing, and His future appearing. These three appearings are all set forth in one fascinating passage of Scripture, Hebrews 9:24-28, where three different Greek words are used in reference to the three appearings.

1. His past appearing. “Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Here the Greek word is phaneroo, meaning “become apparent after being hidden.” His appearing had been prophesied since the beginning of the world (Luke 1:67-70), and finally He had come.

2. His present appearing. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24). The Greek word here is emphanizo, which means “manifest or declare openly.” He is now our “advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), where He “also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).

3. His future appearing. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). The Greek in this case is optomai, meaning “gaze at face to face.”

Our text (Colossians 3:4) speaks of His future appearing at the Second Coming. However, here the Greek for “appear” is again phaneroo, the same word used for His past appearing in Hebrews 9:26, as discussed above. This usage assures us that His future appearing will be just as real to us as His past appearing was to His first disciples. And when He shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory! HMM
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« Reply #7737 on: September 09, 2022, 08:11:03 AM »

By Man Came Death

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

These verses, coupled with others throughout the Old and New Testaments, teach a very important principle not fully appreciated by those Christians who would hold that man evolved from lower animals or even that his tenure on Earth was preceded by millions of years. For if the earth is old, then death is part of the natural order of things, and billions upon billions of organisms have lived and died, struggling for existence, surviving only if they were “fit.”

Taken at face value, however, the Bible indicates a far different scenario. Evidently, at the beginning, all living creatures (i.e., conscious life as opposed to plants and non-conscious “animals”) were created to live forever. There was no death, for all were designed to be vegetarian (Genesis 1:30). God had warned them of disobedience to His one command: “For in the day that thou eatest thereof [i.e., of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] thou shalt surely die” (or more literally, “dying thou shalt die”) (Genesis 2:17). All of creation was placed under the curse of death at that time, the animals (3:14), the plants (v. 18), the ground (v. 17), and mankind (vv. 15-17, 19); all would be dying. Sadly, as we know all too well, this situation continues today (see Romans 8:22).

But if death is a part of the created order, what can our text mean? Furthermore, if death was not specified as the penalty for sin, what does the death of Christ mean? Belief in the concept of the old earth destroys vital doctrines, including our redemption through Christ’s death.

Thankfully, the reign of death and the curse will end one day (Revelation 21:4; 22:3) as God restores the creation to its intended state. JDM
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« Reply #7738 on: September 10, 2022, 08:04:32 AM »

Earnest of the Spirit

“Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 5:5)

This is a fascinating concept and a wonderful reality. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is said to be an “earnest”—that is, a pledge or deposit—on an ultimate fulfillment of a magnificent promise from God Himself. The word translated “earnest” (Greek arrhabon) is essentially a transliteration of its Hebrew equivalent (arabown), translated “pledge” in the Old Testament (see Genesis 38:17-20).

Now if the guiding presence of God, through the Holy Spirit, is merely an earnest payment, the fulfillment must be glorious beyond comprehension. This “selfsame thing,” as our text calls it, is a wonderful “house which is from heaven,” the spiritual body we shall receive when we go to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).

The phrase also occurs in 2 Corinthians 1:22: “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” In context, the earnest payment here is associated with the “sealing” of God and the assurance that “all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen” (v. 20).

The third and last use of this word in the New Testament is in Ephesians 1:13-14: “In whom also trusted...after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” We are “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), and He is to inherit all things.

Thus, the Holy Spirit, a present possession of all who have received Christ as Savior, is also God’s pledge of a glorious future—a perfect body, a great inheritance, and the certain fulfillment of all of God’s gracious promises. HMM
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« Reply #7739 on: September 14, 2022, 08:04:19 AM »

Deliverance from Fear

“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

There are many things in such a world as ours that can bring fear into human hearts—fear of want, fear of war, fear of rejection, fear of the dark, and a multitude of others. Some fears are rational, some are foolish, but all are very serious to those who experience them.

The good news of the gospel, however, can set us free from every fear. Remember that fear entered the world when sin entered the world. “I was afraid,” Adam explained when God found him hiding in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:10). The second reference to fear in the Bible, on the other hand, was when “the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). The Lord protects us and provides for us; we have His Word and need “fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4).

At least 19 times in the New Testament we hear the words “fear not” or “be not afraid” on the lips of Christ. Whenever phobias beset us or fears discourage us, deliverance is ours when we seek the Lord. Then “we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6). Even if we must sometimes “suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14).

Perhaps the greatest fear of all is the fear of death, but the Lord delivers us even from this fear, for He has conquered death. In His glorified body, He has said, “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17-18). 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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