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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #7995 on: May 25, 2023, 07:01:13 AM »

The Whole Law

“Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 18:58)

The absolute holiness of God is emphasized throughout the book of Leviticus, and this is the standard for all those created in His image. This is made clear, beyond question, when today’s verse is quoted in the New Testament: “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them” (Galatians 3:11-12).

It is not enough that a man keep most of God’s laws. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10).

It is obvious, therefore, that while “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12), no human being (except Jesus Christ) has ever been able to keep God’s perfect law, and all are therefore under God’s condemnation. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).

The widespread delusion that a person can be saved by good works is dangerous, and many are on the road to hell smug in their supposed goodness. To keep the law, however, the Creator Himself had to become man, and He did fulfill the law as our representative before God. Then, when He died, Christ “redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “Now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested...by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Romans 3:21-22). HMM
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« Reply #7996 on: May 26, 2023, 07:41:59 AM »

What Is Sin

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)

The Bible warns that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). These are strange days, however, and there are many “that call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Who is to say what is right and wrong, when even our U.S. Supreme Court implies that there are no absolutes?

God is the one who defines sin because it is He who will judge sin. The definition is multifaceted, for sin takes many forms. Most basically, as our text says, sin is the transgression of the law—not just certain laws but all of God’s law. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).

But there must be more than just formal obedience to God’s commands, for “all unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17). Furthermore, there are sins of omission as well as sins of commission. “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

When there is no specific law or command to guide our actions in a particular situation, the principle to follow is that of faith—that is, the confident inward assurance that we are doing that which honors the Lord, for “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

There is much more that could be noted, but it is clear that no one could ever measure up even to these demands, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All of us deserve the wages of sin, “but God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Now “the righteousness of God without the law is manifested....Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:21-22). HMM
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« Reply #7997 on: May 26, 2023, 07:42:52 AM »

What Is Sin

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)

The Bible warns that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). These are strange days, however, and there are many “that call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Who is to say what is right and wrong, when even our U.S. Supreme Court implies that there are no absolutes?

God is the one who defines sin because it is He who will judge sin. The definition is multifaceted, for sin takes many forms. Most basically, as our text says, sin is the transgression of the law—not just certain laws but all of God’s law. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).

But there must be more than just formal obedience to God’s commands, for “all unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17). Furthermore, there are sins of omission as well as sins of commission. “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

When there is no specific law or command to guide our actions in a particular situation, the principle to follow is that of faith—that is, the confident inward assurance that we are doing that which honors the Lord, for “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

There is much more that could be noted, but it is clear that no one could ever measure up even to these demands, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All of us deserve the wages of sin, “but God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Now “the righteousness of God without the law is manifested....Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:21-22). HMM
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« Reply #7998 on: May 27, 2023, 07:30:34 AM »

At God's Good Pleasure

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psalm 115:3)

We often raise questions about God’s actions, but He is never obligated to explain to us His reasons. It is enough to know that it pleased Him, for whatever He does is right by definition.

For example, if someone asks why God created the universe, we must answer simply that it was for His “pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places” (Psalm 135:6). He does not have to give account to us, for we also were created at His pleasure.

And why did He allow His Son to suffer and die on the cross? Although “he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him” and to “make his soul an offering for sin,” knowing that eventually “the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand” (Isaiah 53:9-10).

We may never be able to understand why God has done this, especially for sinners such as us, but we don’t have to understand. “It pleased God...to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21), not them that understand.

We can be sure that God does have perfect reasons for everything He does, and perhaps we shall understand it all in eternity. In the meantime, we are simply (with Paul) to be thankful that “it pleased God, who...called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me” (Galatians 1:15-16). He has, in some way beyond comprehension, “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:5), and that is enough to know for now. HMM
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« Reply #7999 on: May 28, 2023, 08:01:07 AM »

The Faithful Saying

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:11-13)

This saying may have been a song or other memory device that Paul recommended as a summary of doctrine. It expresses important elements of saving faith. First, Christ’s vicarious death gives us eternal life in Him. We “who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) have been created “in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24) and have “passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

Second, standing with Christ in this life attests to our reigning with Him in the next. The “persecutions and tribulations that [we] endure” are a “manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that [we] may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which [we] also suffer” (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5).

Also, denying Christ in this life will ensure that He will deny us for eternity. “Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).

Finally, even our unbelief will not affect Christ’s faithfulness. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:160). “For I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).

May this faithful saying be your foundation in faith. It is a guide to salvation and an anchor for eternity. HMM III
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« Reply #8000 on: May 29, 2023, 07:26:34 AM »

Christian Freedom
 
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

Liberty has always been a cherished concept to Americans, ever since the patriotic call of Patrick Henry for liberty or death. It was also a burning issue with the Jews at the time of Christ, chafing under Roman rule as they were. Many early Christians were actually slaves or even in prison for their faith. All those in bondage have longed to be free, and wars and revolutions have been fought to gain their freedoms.

But the worst bondage of all is slavery to sin. No army can free a man from sin, and if he dies in sin, he will continue in bondage forever. Among the last words of the Bible are these: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still” (Revelation 22:11).

It is only Christ who can set a sinner free. Christ died for our sins, and through faith in Him we receive full pardon and liberty. “Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin....Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:6-7, 18).

There is no greater or truer freedom than freedom in Christ. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Because of Christ, the very creation itself, now groaning and travailing in pain under the curse of sin, one day soon “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).
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« Reply #8001 on: May 30, 2023, 07:21:47 AM »

That I May Know Him

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Philippians 3:10)

Paul deeply desired to know Christ in an intimate fashion—to experience an even deeper relationship. In our text, he lists three things that will also be known if we know Christ.

The power of His resurrection: The victory of Christ over sin and death exhibited His great power. Paul not only longed for an ultimate resurrected body, “if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (v. 11), but he longed for the power over sin as well, “to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

The fellowship of His sufferings: Paul’s desire to know Christ was so great he was willing, if need be, to suffer as He suffered. And, indeed, Paul did suffer in many ways (as seen in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 and elsewhere). “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). “If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

Being made conformable to His death: Paul was willing to die as Christ died and soon did die a martyr’s death, beheaded in a Roman prison. But that is not in view here. Rather, he wanted to be like Christ in His death, gaining complete victory over all sin. “For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:7).

To know Christ in this way, to be conformed to Him as Paul desired, primarily demands developing the servant’s heart and selfless humility that took Christ to the cross (Philippians 2:5-8) to make it possible for us to know Him. JDM
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« Reply #8002 on: May 31, 2023, 07:49:38 AM »

All in All

“Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:3-4)

It is a thrilling exercise to note all the holy and gracious attributes attached to the name of God by the writers of Holy Scripture. In our text, for example, taken from the song of Moses, God is called a “God of truth.” According to the prophet Isaiah, the Lord is a “God of judgment” (Isaiah 30:18).

David called God both the “God of my righteousness” and “the God of salvation” (Psalms 4:1; 68:20).

In the New Testament, Stephen called Him “the God of glory” (Acts 7:2). Paul called Him both “the God of hope” and “the God of patience and consolation” (Romans 15:5, 13) when he wrote to the persecuted believers in the great capital of the Roman Empire.

To the carnal Christians in Corinth, He was called “the God of all comfort” and “the God of love and peace” (2 Corinthians 1:3; 13:11), and to the suffering believers in Philippi, Paul identified Him as “the God of peace” (Philippians 4:9).

The apostle Peter called Him “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10), and the writer of Hebrews recognized Him as both “God the judge of all” and “the God of peace” (Hebrews 12:23; 13:20).

Our God is, indeed, the God who is all in all to His people. He is the God of truth and righteousness, of peace and love, of patience and comfort, of hope and grace, glory, and salvation. “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3). Is He, above all, “Lord of all” in us who know Him? HMM
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« Reply #8003 on: June 01, 2023, 07:41:02 AM »

Places to Walk

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” (Zechariah 3:7)

In one vision given to Zechariah, Joshua the high priest is shown standing before the awesome throne in heaven. He is pictured as being clothed in filthy garments next to the angel who brought him. Satan was there with all his power, trying to resist everything Joshua was doing. Of course, the Lord was there too and rebuked Satan, calling Joshua “a brand plucked out of the fire” (Zechariah 3:2).

What follows in the vision is a beautiful picture of what God does for us when we are twice-born. The Lord commands the angels to “take away the filthy garments” because, He says, “I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” The attendants quickly “set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments” (Zechariah 3:4-5).

When we are created by God as a “new man” while down here on Earth, the spirit is changed, along with a new heart and a new mind, but one day we will be clothed in fine linen that represents the righteousness of the saints (Revelation 19:8)—all given to us when we were made righteous by the marvelous grace of our Lord Jesus.

What Zechariah is shown about the Joshua of old is the vast promises of a close working relationship with the Creator Himself—judging His house, having charge of His courts, and being given “places to walk” among the great personages of the courts of heaven. This is a picture of what it means to be a twice-born child of God. At the most basic of biblical foundations, a Christian has been identified by the Creator as one He desires to spend eternity with! HMM III
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« Reply #8004 on: June 02, 2023, 07:29:08 AM »

The Lamb's Book of Life

“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)

God does keep books! In fact, when David was pondering the time between his own conception and birth, he said, “In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance [that is, as my days continued] were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). It seems that God has a book for each person who is conceived and that all these together constitute the Book of Life, one great volume containing the names and deeds of every one who was ever given biological life by his Maker.

But many will reject (or simply ignore) God’s provision that would also give them eternal life. As David prayed in another psalm, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous” (Psalm 69:28). Note also Revelation 3:5 and 22:19. And that will be a fearful thing, for “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

Those whose names will not be blotted out of the book, of course, are those who have been redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). Not one person deserves to be retained in God’s book, for all have sinned, but they have “beheld,” with eyes of thankful faith, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and have therefore been redeemed by the Lamb.

Finally, only these will still have their names written on the rolls of the heavenly city. God’s Book of Life will have become “the Lamb’s Book of Life” on which are written forever the names of all those redeemed by His blood. HMM
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« Reply #8005 on: June 03, 2023, 07:42:55 AM »

After His Own Heart

“The LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people.” (1 Samuel 13:14)

Here, Samuel the prophet tells King Saul that Yahweh plans to supplant him with a better king—one who is after His (God’s) own heart. Enter King David. What aspects of David’s life made him deserve this praise, and can we copy those aspects today?

More context from our passage helps answer the first question. “And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God” (1 Samuel 13:13). If Saul did not keep the Lord’s commandments, then his replacement, David, did keep them. Thus, those who keep His commandments—doing whatever He says to do—characterize those who are “after his own heart.”

And David did just that, at times. For example, “then David enquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand. So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah” (1 Samuel 23:4-5).

David asked what the Lord wanted. The Lord answered. Then David did just what the Lord said, even when his men were “afraid” (1 Samuel 23:3). David feared God more than the daunting circumstances. And the result? David, led by Yahweh, saved a city.

David later lapsed in his pursuit of hearing and obeying his Lord. But like us, when he did listen and obey, he was “a man after [God’s] own heart.” Will I do today just what the Lord says? BT
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« Reply #8006 on: June 04, 2023, 07:25:18 AM »

By His Spirit

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

All the works men undertake that glorify the Lord and have lasting value are accomplished by the work of His Spirit. All human striving toward good purposes is nothing without the direction and aid of that same powerful Spirit. Psalm 127:1 says, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”

Christ’s ministry began with common folk. Jesus called forth Simon and Andrew as they were “casting a net into the sea,” and James and John while they were “mending their nets” (Matthew 4:18, 21). The first followers of our Lord were not the great and powerful of this world. The apostle Paul told the Corinthian church, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26).

Many of God’s elect don’t have riches, rank, or power because the kingdom of Christ is not dependent on these worldly things. Indeed, “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

God’s Spirit not only empowers His kingdom purposes and work but also individually provides the strength and fortitude we desperately need. Paul encouraged Timothy, saying, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). JPT
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« Reply #8007 on: June 05, 2023, 07:44:18 AM »

Wisdom for Encountering Trials

“Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:2-5)

Do you count trials as “joy”? Well, that’s what James commands in these beginning verses. His letter was directed to those Jewish saints who were scattered abroad—victims of intense persecution, hunted down because of their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s face it, we naturally dislike trials, with their accompanying chastening. Solomon acknowledged this resistance when he penned, “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction” (Proverbs 3:11). But trials have a targeted purpose in sanctification as God strategically perfects the believer in his pilgrim’s progress.

Who is your go-to first responder for wisdom when trials come knocking at your door? Maybe you seek a spouse, or friend, or you post on social media. Those choices may be helpful, but they’re limited at best. Instead, James 1:5 instructs believers that our Lord Jesus Christ is one prayer away.

Additionally, He freely and quickly gives the needed wisdom for our struggle. What could ever compete with divine wisdom’s offer? Certainly not the cumulative riches of this world (Proverbs 3:13-15). What’s more, our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, skillfully used this same wisdom to speak His creation into existence (Genesis 1–2), shaping the universe into perfection (Hebrews 11:3). Our part is to ask “in faith, [with] nothing wavering” (James 1:6) for this supreme wisdom. What are you waiting for? CM
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« Reply #8008 on: June 06, 2023, 07:42:46 AM »

Ye Which Are Spiritual

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

According to the New Testament, there are two broad categories of Christian believers, carnal and spiritual—that is, those whose actions and decisions are mainly governed by the “flesh” and those who normally are governed by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Paul noted this fact when he wrote to the bickering Christians in the church at Corinth. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1).

Even though true believers can behave carnally, the fact that they are “babes in Christ” confirms that they are “in Christ.” They just need to grow up, as it were, into spiritual maturity through partaking of both the milk and the meat of the Scriptures. Note 1 Peter 2:2 (“desire the sincere milk of the word”) and Hebrews 5:14 (“strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age”) for the God-given principle of Christian growth.

But our text also has a warning for spiritual Christians! When confronted with the fact of a “fault” (that is, literally, a willful sin) in the life of a Christian brother, we must remember that our own spirituality does not guarantee that we ourselves are immune from sin. We must be careful to help rather than to condemn such a weak brother because we still can “also be tempted,” even though we usually try diligently to obey God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

It is vital, the apostle reminds us, that “ye which are spiritual” maintain a true “spirit of meekness” in our interactions with fellow believers, as well as with the unsaved. HMM
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« Reply #8009 on: June 07, 2023, 07:55:39 AM »

Yet Not I

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)

The apostle Paul was, by any measure, one of the most dedicated and fruitful Christians who ever lived. If any man had a right to be proud of his writings, or his works, or his life in general, it was Paul. No doubt he, like others, had to wrestle with the sin of pride, reminding himself again and again that all he had done he owed simply to the grace and guidance and provision of God.

He could well have boasted, as noted in our text, that he had labored more abundantly than any of the other apostles, but then he brought himself up short with the remonstrance: “Yet not I!” All of his work and success therein he owed completely to the grace of God.

This phrase occurs just two other times. The first is when Paul is giving out his advice and wisdom concerning that most basic of all human institutions, marriage. “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:10). As wise (and even divinely inspired) as his words may have been, he must remind his readers that, after all, this was Christ’s command, not his!

The last occurrence is in Paul’s great testimony concerning his new and changed life in Christ. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). The transformed, holy, powerful life he was living was not his own accomplishment but due solely to the indwelling Christ. And surely, if Paul must so remind himself and his listeners, then we should never boast of our own life or works or words. Not I, but Christ—that is to be our testimony! 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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