Category Archives: Miracles

A Closer Look at the Two Witnesses In Revelation 11

There is a lot to unpack in every chapter of Revelation. I can not hope to unpack it all in a short daily article. It really is an invitation for each of us to dive in and study here. Often times YHWH has multiple levels of meaning in the events which have or are yet to unfold. In Revelation 11, we read about two witnesses. I can refer you to GotQuestions.org, which is a useful and credible resource for study, though not infallible by any means. There is an interesting summary of some thoughts about the two witnesses. I would add to their article that I think the reasoning around Enoch and Elijah is a bit weak, as some people we know have died twice… e.g. anyone Jesus or His disciples raised from the dead. Thus relying on everyone dying once is a flawed approach.

I would also recommend some thoughts on the subject by Bill Cloud at Shoreshim Ministries on his Returning to our Roots podcast where he has a four part series about the two witnesses.

Beyond two specific individuals being raised and speculating about who they are, we can also consider that Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the prophets. Bill Cloud develops a theme in which Elijah also represents those who came to follow YHWH from among the Gentiles. If we follow that out a bit we could also consider that Christians and Jews could also represent the two witnesses more broadly. The Jews represent the Law or truth, which sadly most Christians have tossed aside or changed. The Christians represent faith (in Messiah), which is lost among the Jews.  I would encourage you to invest the time to listen to the podcast series and perhaps read the article on GotQuestions.org or study further on your own.

It is good to develop study habits to dive in further beyond the initial reading of a tough chapter in the Bible… or in the case of Revelation, a tough book of the Bible.

One thing is for sure in Revelation 11 and that is that YHWH is always in control. The two witnesses are untouchable until He allows them to complete their message and be ready to be executed, so that He can raise them up again and perhaps get the people’s attention once more. We need to fret or fear that YHWH is reactive or surprised or trying to figure out what to do next. He already knows how it will all progress. If He knows that for the world at large, He also knows that for any struggle or concern that will affect your life. Lean into Him. Rely on Him. Trust in Him. If He is with you, nothing can stop you.

Revelation 11:1-14

The Two Witnesses

      1Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2“Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. 3“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.

      7When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. 8And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

      11But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. 12And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

      14The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Rejoice and Be Thankful As You Praise the LORD

In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah was barren and came before the LORD asking for a son. She said she would dedicate him to the LORD’s service if he gave her one. The LORD delivered and Hannah kept her promise. What is striking about this historical account is that she did not, once she had her son, flip on her commitment to YHWH and suddenly start complaining about wanting to keep her son. She was overjoyed and thankful to the LORD. She truly had faith to feel that good handing her long-awaited son over to Eli the priest to raise him in the service of the LORD.

1 Samuel 2:1-11

Hannah’s Song of Thanksgiving

      1Then Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
My horn is exalted in the LORD,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

      2“There is no one holy like the LORD,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.

      3“Boast no more so very proudly,
Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;
For the LORD is a God of knowledge,
And with Him actions are weighed.

      4“The bows of the mighty are shattered,
But the feeble gird on strength.

      5“Those who were full hire themselves out for bread,
But those who were hungry cease to hunger.
Even the barren gives birth to seven,
But she who has many children languishes.

      6“The LORD kills and makes alive;
He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

      7“The LORD makes poor and rich;
He brings low, He also exalts.

      8“He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S,
And He set the world on them.

      9“He keeps the feet of His godly ones,
But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;
For not by might shall a man prevail.

      10“Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”

      11Then Elkanah went to his home at Ramah. But the boy ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest.

For those of us who have trouble with Hannah giving away her son, remember that YHWH did not ask her to do so. She made that promise of her own volition. We should take care in any promises we make to YHWH. Scripture is clear, however, once we make a promise to the LORD, we should keep it. If for some reason you make a promise that is too hard to keep, then I suppose you humbly go before the LORD and ask forgiveness in not fulfilling or strength to fulfill it. In either case, it is better not to promise him something at all rather than promise and not fulfill.

Keep in mind that in Hannah’s view, the child would not exist without YHWH’s intervention to open her womb. She therefore was expressing her thankfulness to the LORD by dedicating her son to his service.  It was an act of strong faith.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Fleece of Gideon and The Patience of YHWH

It seems YHWH knew that was really stretching Gideon in this assignment. He was very patient to show him signs multiple times. I think that this partly was due to YHWH understanding that Gideon was not used to this kind of direction from and relationship with the LORD. Clearly, if Gideon was afraid of the men of his father’s household when he took down the altar to Baal and the Ashera pole, YHWH knew he would benefit from the signs with the fleece to set him up for success going against the Midianites.

I think we can also conclude that as YHWH’s relationship communicating with someone matures, so do his expectations for obedience without signs and wonders. I think Moses is a good example of this idea. He started with many signs and wonders and much reassurance from YHWH. Later, YHWH was displeased when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it in the wilderness to bring forth water.

We can ask for signs, but we do want to develop our relationship with the LORD so that we need not have signs every time he gives us direction, even if it is challenging.

Judges 6:33-40

    33Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. 34So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. 35He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.

Sign of the Fleece

      36Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, 37behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.” 38And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.” 40God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

I am very grateful our Father is patient and kind and understanding of his children’s doubts and fears. When we are new to accepting his specific instruction or when he asks us for something that seems really challenging, he knows it is hard for us.  I also understand that he wants us to mature over time in our relationship with him so we overcome those doubts and trust him, even without signs like the fleece.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Whom Does YHWH Choose?

The story of Gideon is remarkable, but sometimes we can focus on the broad picture of what is recorded about Gideon and miss some of the details. For example, let us not miss how dramatic it must have been for Gideon to come face to face with an angel of the LORD who delivered him a message from YHWH. We see also that Gideon went quickly to prepare a offering, without being asked.

Another key message I want to highlight today is that we should be very careful when we have a tendency to make assumptions about whom YHWH would choose to deliver a message or to give a spiritual gift (perhaps like prophecy). YHWH often chooses those whom people would not choose. King David (smallest and youngest of his brothers) is one example… and Moses (a murderer who had run away from justice) is another. We see in Judges 6 that Gideon is yet another that man would not pick.

Judges 6:11-24

Gideon Is Visited

      11Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. 12The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” 13Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14The LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” 15He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” 16But the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” 17So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me. 18“Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”

      19Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them. 20The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21Then the angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight. 22When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” 23The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” 24Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Let us be very slow in judging what type of person or what background they should have in order for YHWH to use them. Often he chooses those that man would not to better demonstrate his glory. Of course we should still test everyone and what they say or teach against scripture.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Gospel Of John Is True And It Is Only A Summary

The book of John closes with two important points, we should take care not to overlook. The historical records of Yeshua in the gospels are true. John was not written down by some people who heard stories, but by John himself, who witnessed these things. Secondly, he made no attempt to record all that Yeshua had done. He provided a summary of the wonders and teachings he witnessed.

John 21:24-25

   24This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

      25And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

Let that sink in as you reflect on all that the gospel tells us about Yeshua and his ministry. This is just a summary.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Yeshua Returns Again To His Disciples (After His Death)

It is hard to miss the obvious in John 21. Yeshua has risen from death and come to his disciples. This is truly miraculous and prophetic. Don’t overlook it as common just because you have heard it so many times. However, I am also struck by another perspective in this passage.

Even after death, Yeshua returned to his disciples with an attitude of a servant’s heart. He miraculously delivers a huge haul of fish where they could not catch anything and he prepares the fire and cooks the fish. It is an amazing example for each of us who follow Yeshua for how to treat one another.

John 21:1-14

Jesus Appears at the Sea of Galilee

     1After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. 2Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.

      4But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.

      9So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” 11Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

Jesus Provides

     12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

This can not be explained away as the disciples imagining his return. He cam several times. According to other gospels, he reappeared to many over 40 days. Our Lord was truly resurrected and he came back in patience and love to serve, encourage, and fellowship with his disciples.  He once again lives out the role of provider.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

 

Why Was The Gospel Of John Written?

The gospel was written to document the signs and wonders which Yeshua demonstrated. As many wonderful miracles as are recorded, it does not include all, but rather a sampling. Let us recognize this as the historical record that it is and not just a book of moral stories. In believing we will truly experience life in his name.

John 20:30-31

Why This Gospel Was Written

30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Experience Peace, Hope, and Joy In Knowing Our Lord Has Risen!

Let us not miss the emotional rush we, as followers of Christ, should get as we realize that he is indeed Messiah and Savior. He died for our sins, but he overcame death! He ascended to heaven, but he lives still! May we never take this for granted, but remain uplifted as we reflect on it. May we continually experience peace, hope, and joy in our Lord.

John 20:1-18

The Empty Tomb

     1Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

      11But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

How Will You React To Yeshua’s Miracles?

Face with the miracles that Yeshua has done, we each must decide how we will react. Will we accept the evidence… accept the miraculous? or will we just be disturbed by it and become afraid that it will be disruptive to our lives if we believe. It is not only individuals, but also churches and organizations and people groups as a whole which must ultimately grapple with this decision. In many cases, people refuse to see or cannot see the evidence right before their eyes. We see one such example in John 11 as the Pharisees hear about Yeshua raising Lazarus from the dead.

John 11:38-53

      38So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42“I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

      45Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.

Conspiracy to Kill Jesus

     47Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48“If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” 51Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.

Are you ready to accept the evidence of Yeshua in scripture? Evidence around you still today? Or are you going to resist and dismiss or ignore the evidence such as miracles that still happen around us?

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

So Obvious A Blind Man Can See It

Sometimes the works of Christ are so obvious that any should be able to recognize it. However, some are bound and determined to hold to their own traditions and beliefs and look past any scripture, past any miracle, and refuse any witness that declares Yeshua to be Messiah. It is not new. Jeremiah witnessed it, Christ witnessed it, we witness it still today.

Jeremiah 5:21

 21‘Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
Who have eyes but do not see;
Who have ears but do not hear.

Mark 4:23

23“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Let us pray for those who refuse to see, that YHWH would open their eyes and ears so that they could see and understand the truth of God’s kingdom.

John 9:13-34

Controversy over the Man

     13They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. 14Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17So they said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.”

      18The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, 19and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” 20His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. 23For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

      24So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” 25He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?” 28They reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29“We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” 30The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. 31“We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. 32“Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33“If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.

Do not be intimidated by those who seem to have a lot of confidence or have studied formally. Sometimes the simple can see and understand what the “learned” cannot. You can explain and you can reason with people about Christ, but some are spiritually blind. They can not see. Pray for them, that God would open their eyes and ears so they can recognize and understand His kingdom and His truth. Pray also for yourself and other believers that YHWH would continue to open your eyes to the full truth of the scriptures, of His instructions. There are many who are living according to what churches or parents have taught them, but that are not living according to all that the word of God states in the Bible. Test everything against scripture. Hold to that which is good. Be teachable and change those things which you learn about God’s kingdom that are different than what you were taught, even when it seems emotionally painful or difficult. Put God first and everything else will be put in proper perspective.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.