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« Reply #7845 on: December 26, 2022, 08:08:41 AM »

Four Implications to Live By

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” (2 Peter 3:11-15)

God calls believers to patiently wait for that future cataclysmic event when the entire universe will be engulfed in a holocaust of fire, followed by the awesome arrival of a new heavens and a new earth. In these concluding verses of his epistle, Peter clearly lays out our template for waiting.

First, we must prioritize our temporal stay with principles found in Scripture (vv. 11-12), practicing all that is commanded in anticipation of the future kingdom’s arrival (Matthew 28:19-20). Second, our lives must be characterized by purity, or as Peter describes, “holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).

Third, living peacefully in this cursed creation (v. 14) anticipates embracing all events with confidence, knowing that our omnipotent God orchestrates “molecule movements” of every kind for His glory and for building up the believer in sanctification (2 Peter 3:18). As a result, we approach life with “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, [which] shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Fourth, we preach the gospel (2 Peter 3:15), guiding the lost to repentance, because believers understand and embrace the Lord’s patience. CM
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« Reply #7846 on: December 27, 2022, 07:16:12 AM »

Jesus Christ: Creator

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

The Old Testament uses several names for the One who created. For example: “For thus saith the LORD [i.e., Jehovah] that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it” (Isaiah 45:18). But the New Testament leaves no doubt as to who the Creator is.

Today’s verse states it clearly. The “him” in context is the Father’s “dear Son” (v. 13) who shed “his blood” (v. 14). Similarly, the favorite passage in John 1:3 identifies Christ as the Creator: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” “He was in the world, and the world was made by him” (v. 10). “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (v. 14). No member of the human race nor member of the Trinity fits this description except Jesus Christ. “God...hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Jesus Christ is the Creator, and once He put on human form, His creative abilities continued to find application. Several of His miracles involved creation out of nothing. Note the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:10-11), the transformation of water into wine (John 2:9-11), and bringing life from non-life—the raising of Lazarus (John 11:43-44)—just to name a few.

Perhaps the most important creative act of Christ is one He performs on repentant sinners every day. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). JDM
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« Reply #7847 on: December 28, 2022, 05:06:36 AM »

The Name of the Lord Jesus

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

This is the first of 144 references to the name of Christ in the New Testament. The word “name” (Greek noma) occurs only about 95 times when referring to any or all other names. This fact is itself a sort of commentary on Philippians 2:9: “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”

In biblical times, a person’s name expressed the character or attributes desired for a child by his or her parents. The reason for the name “JESUS,” which means “Jehovah saves” or simply “salvation,” was given by the angel: “He shall save his people from their sins.”

There is only one Savior, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12); but His name does save! “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).

Those who do receive Christ are thenceforth associated with His name—and therefore with His person and work. First, they are to be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). They are then to order their lives in a way that honors His name. “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).

He has given many gracious promises of answered prayer if we pray in His name, “that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16). The final use of “name” in the Bible stresses our eternal identification with His name, for “his name shall be in their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4) as we are united with Him in the age to come. HMM
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« Reply #7848 on: December 29, 2022, 07:44:10 AM »

Faithful and Just

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

All too often when we read or quote a favorite verse of Scripture, its familiarity gets in the way of our complete understanding of the verse. Such may be the case with today’s verse, one of the most beloved and oft-quoted passages of Scripture. To begin with, we must remember that the topic is sinful behavior. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), therefore sin cannot go unpunished. A faithful and just judge must punish such behavior; to forgive it is neither faithful nor just. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” of sin (Hebrews 9:22).

But the Bible also says, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father....Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 2:1; 1:7).

Jesus Christ fully paid the penalty for our sins. He died so that we don’t have to die, for God “hath made him to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God has further promised that “whoso confesseth and forsaketh [his sins] shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

God in His mercy and grace has declared it to be so. What was once devised as merciful and gracious is now “faithful and just.”

Because He is just, He cannot allow the punishment for our sin to be inflicted twice. Because He is faithful and has promised to forgive a penitent and confessing sinner, He will not only “forgive us our sins,” but “cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” thereby restoring the sweet fellowship broken by our rebellion.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). JDM
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« Reply #7849 on: December 30, 2022, 07:20:17 AM »

God's Grace and Glory

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.” (Psalm 84:11-12)

Yahweh vows to protect His children who walk uprightly, following Him in obedience. The sun and shield are a picture of what is positive and protective, illustrating both His grace and glory. Peter in his first letter to the church further signifies the importance of these two words: “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:10-11).

Considering Psalm 84:11 alongside 1 Peter 5:10-11 gives a fuller picture of God’s grace and refining hand, with the fourfold result that He perfects, confirms, strengthens, and establishes the believer. As one godly saint said, “God’s grace is waiting in perpetual eagerness for an opportunity to show itself, so He may repair our imperfections. Bad as we are, we would be far worse if we had less suffering.”

Think about this, believer. Since we have tasted that the Lord is gracious (1 Peter 2:3), we should not be afraid of anything He purposes for His children—even suffering, because we know it accomplishes perfecting qualities in our sanctification. Additionally, our hearts are further shaped by the Word of God chiseling away our impurities (2 Peter 3:17).

Finally, God’s grace will lead to glory (Psalm 84:11). Suffering comes first, along with His grace, and then comes the magnificent glory of our high calling. CM
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« Reply #7850 on: December 31, 2022, 07:13:21 AM »

Glorifying God Through Praise

“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)

The great summarizing commandment of the apostle Paul was, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). That is, every aspect of our lives should be so ordered as to glorify God in whatever we say and do.

This is a difficult rule to follow, for how do we determine whether such and such an action glorifies God or not? Nevertheless, there is one thing we can do that we can be absolutely certain does glorify Him—that is, offering to Him our praise and our thanks. We should offer praise for His person and work in general, thanks for what He is and does for us in particular. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me!”

This is His assurance and our incentive to praise Him in all things. “In every thing give thanks,” says the apostle, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

On this last day of the year, especially, praise and thanks should pour from our hearts and lips if we would “ordereth our conversation aright.” “Bless the LORD, O my soul,” says the psalmist, “and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2). Most of us all too commonly tend to forget all His benefits and fret over our troubles and burdens.

If we desire to glorify God, on the other hand, we should recount all our blessings and leave our burdens with Him. In the words of the old hymn: “Count your many blessings, see what God hath done!” Then will “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) fill our hearts and minds, enabling the indwelling Holy Spirit to “shew the salvation of God” not only to us, but in us and through us to others. HMM
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« Reply #7851 on: January 01, 2023, 08:15:49 AM »

All Things New

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:5)

The coming of a new year is a good time to consider that glorious time to come when Christ will make everything new again. In the present age, all things “shall wax old as doth a garment” (Hebrews 1:11) under the bondage of the universal law of decay and death; indeed “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22).

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). There, in the “new Jerusalem,” we shall each have “a new name” and sing “a new song” (Revelation 21:2; 2:17; 5:9). We shall have new bodies, “fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21), and a new dwelling place, prepared by Christ Himself among the “many mansions” in His “Father’s house” (John 14:2).

And all the old and dying things will be completely and forever gone. “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10).

What a “Happy New Year” that will be! In the meantime, we have His “new covenant” and have each been made “a new creature” in Christ (Hebrews 12:24; Galatians 6:15). Since all His words “are true and faithful,” we know His promises are sure. Therefore, already, “old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” through faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). HMM
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« Reply #7852 on: January 02, 2023, 11:15:14 AM »

Seeking Worshipers

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” (John 4:23)

Here is an amazing revelation—that the omnipotent God of creation should actually be seeking those among His creatures who would freely come to love and worship Him! How could He possibly have to seek anything?

Yet, Jesus said He does! In some inscrutable way, it satisfies the infinite heart of God when we respond to His sacrificial love in gratitude and worship.

We see this also in the experience of the 10 lepers. All 10 had been cleansed of their leprosy, but only one, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks to Jesus. Note the wistfulness in Jesus’ reply to the cleansed leper: “Were there not ten cleansed?” He asked, “But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger” (Luke 17:17-18). The Lord indeed takes note both of the few who truly appreciate Him and also of the many who take His blessings for granted.

In the house of Simon the Pharisee, for example, the Lord Jesus took special note of the woman who washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, anointing them with the precious ointment in her alabaster box. But He also noted that self-righteous, critical Simon had provided no such services at all. Then He said, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47).

Whether or not we fully understand, the Lord does seek those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Therefore, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). HMM
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« Reply #7853 on: January 03, 2023, 08:44:18 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 #7854 on: January 04, 2023, 07:28:27 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 #7855 on: January 05, 2023, 08:46:07 AM »

With God Salvation Is Possible

“For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

One week before Passover, Jesus entered the bustling city of Jericho and encountered Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector. Being “little of stature,” Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree “to see Jesus who he was” (v. 3). Looking up at Zacchaeus, Jesus commanded him to quickly come down. Why? Because that day the Lord was going to show Zacchaeus and His disciples that salvation comes even to the most undeserving.

Before entering Jericho, Jesus met a rich ruler (Luke 18:18-34). Despite his genuine interest, he ultimately rejected Jesus’ invitation, leading the disciples to ask, “Who then can be saved?” (v. 26). Jesus responded, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (v. 27).

When Jesus called Zacchaeus, he joyfully (chairon) hurried to greet Him. And when Zaccheus gave half his possessions to the poor and repaid four times those he defrauded, the disciples saw the answer to their question. With this outward manifestation of Zacchaeus’ inward repentance, the Lord stated, “This day is salvation come to this house” (Luke 19:9).

What is the implication of this for you and me? It isn’t wrong to be rich and use our wealth for kingdom business (Hebrews 13:16). But like the rich ruler who walked away sorrowful after rejecting our Lord Jesus (Matthew 19:22), it’s wrong to cling tightly to our worldly possessions and forsake the offer of salvation. Like Zacchaeus, our salvation comes only through God, who does the impossible.

Are your material goods blinding you to the gospel? Have you repented of your sin? Are you trusting in the Lord solely for salvation? There is no other way. CM
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« Reply #7856 on: January 06, 2023, 07:58:56 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 #7857 on: January 07, 2023, 08:06:41 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 #7858 on: January 08, 2023, 07:47:04 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 #7859 on: January 09, 2023, 07:54:56 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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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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