Category Archives: Blessed

If God Is With You, Who Can Be Against You?

When YHWH is with you, you can not lose. When He is against you, you can not win. Saul was king and was trying to trap David so that he would be killed by the Philistines. Saul knew that David had the hand of YHWH upon him. He was that jealous and that driven against David. Study of earlier scripture in this chapter reminds us that Saul was acting this way in large part because “… an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul… ” (1 Samuel 18:10).

Saul even uses his daughter as bait in a trap to try to get David killed fighting Philistines, but with YHWH on his side, David succeeds every time and increases in his esteem and name among the people of Israel.

It can be a bit difficult to fully digest that an evil spirit came upon Saul from God, but that is the translation of the scripture. I suppose we could study it further for more nuance, but Saul was experiencing the results of choosing to please the people over choosing to please YHWH. The hand of blessing was removed and difficulty came in its place. We should take heed in our lives as well, that we seek to please YHWH more than man.

1 Samuel 18:20-30

David Marries Saul’s Daughter

      20Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him. 21Saul thought, “I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David, “For a second time you may be my son-in-law today.” 22Then Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David secretly, saying, ‘Behold, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you; now therefore, become the king’s son-in-law.’” 23So Saul’s servants spoke these words to David. But David said, “Is it trivial in your sight to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?” 24The servants of Saul reported to him according to these words which David spoke. 25Saul then said, “Thus you shall say to David, ‘The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26When his servants told David these words, it pleased David to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the days had expired 27David rose up and went, he and his men, and struck down two hundred men among the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife. 28When Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, 29then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually.

      30Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed.

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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.

Obey and Serve YHWH. Do Not Attack or Envy Those Who Support You.

Truly the only way to explain Saul’s actions against David was insanity or indeed an evil spirit. Saul was afflicted by an evil spirit because of his disobedience to YHWH. He became consumed with jealousy and resentment and even fear against David when he could plainly see the LORD’s anointing on him. David was a loyal subject and servant of the king as well as YHWH.

Let us take care not to let jealousy drive us against those who would support us. Also, let us humbly ask forgiveness from YHWH for our sins and turn from any rebellion against him. Let us seek to obey Him consistently.

We also see that David has the blessing of YHWH upon him despite the king being against him. YHWH is the one we should please if we must choose between him and men. I do find it intriguing to consider the trouble was caused by “an evil spirit from God”.  YHWH is to be revered and held in awe, not taken for granted.

This real history is as dramatic as a story can get. Hollywood story tellers are nothing compared to our almighty Father. His story if filled with real life record of drama and excitement that we can learn from and apply in our lives.

1 Samuel 18:10-19

Saul Turns against David

     10Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand. 11Saul hurled the spear for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David escaped from his presence twice.

      12Now Saul was afraid of David, for the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. 13Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him. 15When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. 16But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.

      17Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight the LORD’S battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” 19So it came about at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.

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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 Wants Us to Do Good Deeds and Reject Evil

As I continue to read the different introductions to the letters to each of the seven churches, I begin to notice that Yeshua introduces Himself a bit differently in the letters. In one He highlights the sword (word of YHWH). In another, He highlights the eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze. I am almost sure there is significance there to be unlocked through further study and prayer. The symbolism has meaning. I have not conducted a truly deep study of Revelation, however. If you feel led to do so, I encourage you to test multiple sources and ultimately test everything back to scripture itself.

Revelation 2:18-29

Message to Thyatira

      18“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:

      19‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. 25‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; 27AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28and I will give him the morning star. 29‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Yeshua reminds the people that He knows their deeds and that their deeds matter to Him. He wants more than just acknowledging Him with words! That goes for us as well.

He is not pleased that the people are tolerating a false prophetess among them, who teaches them to do things which are displeasing to Him. Notice she is not a witch, who outright claims to follow Satan. She is a “prophetess” who would seem to present herself as part of the church. He gave her time to repent and now judgment will follow. He offers the same to those who follow after her.

Let us not miss that He searches our minds and hearts, but also gives us according to our deeds. Living for Christ is so much more than a short sinner’s prayer and coming to the altar once. There is an expectation that we change and live according to His ways. We should not tolerate false teaching. We should not mix and mingle or blend good with evil.

Yeshua clearly tells us here that it is not enough that we live according to His word, but we also reject those who are leading fellow believers astray. We are not to just sit on the sidelines, but speak against and separate ourselves from them.

Those who hold fast to His teaching and overcome the world will be rewarded. There is a blessing of obedience and a curse of disobedience, which is consistent throughout scripture.

Deuteronomy 28:1-68 ESV

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …

Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

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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.

May His Face Shine Upon You

What a beautiful blessing we find in Numbers 6, intended for the audience of Aaron and his sons. I pray this now for myself, those close to me, and also for pastors and leaders who follow Christ with a genuine heart. I pray it for those reading through the scriptures with me daily… and I sure appreciate if / when you pray for me as well.

Numbers 6:22-27

      22Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

      24The LORD bless you, and keep you;

      25The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

      26The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’

27“So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

Another translation captures verse 24-26 slightly differently… “may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you”. I certainly want to have that relationship with Him and please Him in that way. I want other brothers and sisters in Christ to do so as well.

Numbers 6:24-26 Living Bible (TLB)

24-26 ‘May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may he be gracious to you, show you his favor, and give you his peace.’

Take some time this morning and pray for yourself, your family, brothers and sisters in Christ, and for whomever else you feel led to pray for today.

May the grace and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Blessed Is The Man Who Perseveres Under Trial

The book of James is very direct and to the point. There is a lot of solid guidance inside and I find I must go more slowly in order to avoid skipping right over some. As such, I will break James 1 into more than one article.

James 1:1-18

Testing Your Faith

      1James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.

      2Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

      5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

      9But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.

      12Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

Considering it joy when we face trials is certainly not the reaction of the flesh and self. James highlights one way in which YHWH uses such difficulties to develop us personally. It is a great attitude and if you need to ask YHWH to help you experience your trials with that attitude, go ahead and ask for his help.

James encourages us to ask for wisdom if we need it. Who doesn’t! I do indeed ask the LORD for wisdom and often. I can try to study and think and understand a situation, but sometimes he has something in mind that I will not possibly put together on my own. I need his wisdom.

The warning from James is also a good reminder… don’t ask if you don’t expect him to answer. Ask with confidence that he is able and will help you. Ask with faith. This does not mean you will always get what you ask for, but the LORD does want us to approach him with a confident faith.

The next round is a bit challenging. For a person of humble background to glory when in a high position sounds easy enough, but the flipside for a rich man to glory in his humiliation… that sounds tough. I believe the context is that rich people may have a tendency to be self reliant instead of reliant on YHWH. When they  face defeat or challenges (e.g. humiliation), perhaps that brings more humility to help them submit more fully on YHWH and recognize their dependence on him.

James also warns about a common misunderstanding that still is around today. YHWH is not the one who tempts you. He may allow you to be tempted, but he does not tempt you into sin. That comes from our own lusts. James does not even point to Satan here, but to ourselves. Let us remember we inherently have a sin nature. Through Yeshua we are made clean and through the Spirit we are led to more holy living.

I find it very interesting that the next chapter talks about every good and perfect gift coming from above, after talking a lot about humiliation and hard times. These can indeed be gifts to the one who endures and grows stronger and more faithful in the LORD. I would definitely say in my life that enduring trials has helped me to grow closer to the LORD, though I still don’t ask for more trials!

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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 Blessed Are the People Whose God Is The LORD!

I really appreciate the example David sets in his psalms. He prays to the LORD and asks for help, yes, but he first focuses on praising and recognizing YHWH for who he is and what he has done. He does not simply jump into a list of requests or demands. He comes before YHWH with humility and thankfulness and focuses first on the greatness of our God.

Psalms 144

Prayer for Rescue and Prosperity.

A Psalm of David.

     1Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle;

      2My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My stronghold and my deliverer,
My shield and He in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.

      3O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You think of him?

      4Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.

      5Bow Your heavens, O LORD, and come down;
Touch the mountains, that they may smoke.

      6Flash forth lightning and scatter them;
Send out Your arrows and confuse them.

      7Stretch forth Your hand from on high;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,
Out of the hand of aliens

      8Whose mouths speak deceit,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

      9I will sing a new song to You, O God;
Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,

      10Who gives salvation to kings,
Who rescues David His servant from the evil sword.

      11Rescue me and deliver me out of the hand of aliens,
Whose mouth speaks deceit
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

      12Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants,
And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;

      13Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce,
And our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;

      14Let our cattle bear
Without mishap and without loss,
Let there be no outcry in our streets!

      15How blessed are the people who are so situated;
How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

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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 LORD Disciplines Those He Loves

Transitioning from Judges 5 to Judges 6, we see a continuation of a pattern. Israel disobeys the LORD and does what is evil in his sight, the LORD hands them over to enemies for a time, the people repent and cry out to the LORD, and he raises up a leader to bring them out of bondage.

The whole cycle repeats. It hinges on the obedience of the people to YHWH and their not doing what is evil in his sight. It does not hinge on the strength of their military. There is no mention of that.

We should take heed as we see this pattern. YHWH does not change. We should not expect our own nations to be immune from this cycle if we wish to be followers of Yeshua. We should not expect our personal lives to be immune from this cycle. Quite the contrary. He will discipline those he loves as a father does. I am a father. I don’t discipline children I don’t know or that don’t know me. I discipline my children and I do so in part for their own benefit.

Hebrews 12:6

    6FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”

Let us keep this in mind personally and as a nation and act accordingly.

Judges 6:1-10

Israel Oppressed by Midian

      1Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. 2The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. 3For it was when Israel had sown, that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the sons of the east and go against them. 4So they would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey. 5For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in like locusts for number, both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to devastate it. 6So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the LORD.

      7Now it came about when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD on account of Midian, 8that the LORD sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out from the house of slavery. 9‘I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all your oppressors, and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land, 10and I said to you, “I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me.”’”

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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.

Bless All The Servants Of The Lord, Including Those Who Serve By Night

Psalm 134 puts focus, albeit very short, on the work of the servants of the LORD who serve by night in the sanctuary. It is an interesting idea to stop and reflect on celebrating and praying for those who serve the LORD when noone else is around or watching. We may not have priests in YHWH’s sacntuary anymore, but there are many who are on the mission field or helping people in odd hours when perhaps most of us may be simply sleeping.

It is also a good reminder that our LORD never sleeps. We can come to him anytime.

Psalm 134

Greetings of Night Watchers.

A Song of Ascents.

     1Behold, bless the LORD, all servants of the LORD,
Who serve by night in the house of the LORD!

      2Lift up your hands to the sanctuary
And bless the LORD.

      3May the LORD bless you from Zion,
He who made heaven and earth.

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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.

Prayer for the Lord’s Blessing Upon the Sanctuary

Psalm 132

Prayer for the LORD’S Blessing upon the Sanctuary.

A Song of Ascents.

     1Remember, O LORD, on David’s behalf,
All his affliction;

2How he swore to the LORD
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,

3“Surely I will not enter my house,
Nor lie on my bed;

4I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,

5Until I find a place for the LORD,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

6Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah,
We found it in the field of Jaar.

7Let us go into His dwelling place;
Let us worship at His footstool.

8Arise, O LORD, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your strength.

9Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your godly ones sing for joy.

10For the sake of David Your servant,
Do not turn away the face of Your anointed.

11The LORD has sworn to David
A truth from which He will not turn back:
“Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.

12“If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I will teach them,
Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.”

13For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His habitation.

14“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

15“I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her needy with bread.

16“Her priests also I will clothe with salvation,
And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.

17“There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth;
I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed.

18“His enemies I will clothe with shame,
But upon himself his crown shall shine.”

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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.

Strong Advice From Joshua As He Prepared To Leave

Joshua was a strong leader and servant of the Lord. He looked beyond himself and to his people. When he was preparing to leave his leadership position, he wanted to address the people with some guidance to keep them on the right path. I find it very meaningful to read and reflect on what he said and seek to apply it in my life still today.

Joshua 23

Joshua’s Farewell Address

     1Now it came about after many days, when the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies on every side, and Joshua was old, advanced in years, 2that Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and their heads and their judges and their officers, and said to them, “I am old, advanced in years. 3“And you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the LORD your God is He who has been fighting for you. 4“See, I have apportioned to you these nations which remain as an inheritance for your tribes, with all the nations which I have cut off, from the Jordan even to the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun. 5“The LORD your God, He will thrust them out from before you and drive them from before you; and you will possess their land, just as the LORD your God promised you. 6“Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, 7so that you will not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them. 8“But you are to cling to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day. 9“For the LORD has driven out great and strong nations from before you; and as for you, no man has stood before you to this day. 10“One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you. 11“So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the LORD your God. 12“For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, 13know with certainty that the LORD your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you; but they will be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you.

      14“Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed. 15“It shall come about that just as all the good words which the LORD your God spoke to you have come upon you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the threats, until He has destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you. 16“When you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you will perish quickly from off the good land which He has given you.”

The first thing Joshua does is give credit to YHWH for all that has been accomplished during his time in leadership. Wow. I wish more of our leaders today would start this way instead of always taking credit themselves for any little thing that went well. I want to try to always give glory to YHWH.

Keep the law of Moses. Do not stray from it.

Do not mingle with the pagan nations and their false gods. Do not intermarry with them as it will become a snare for you. Remain a set apart people.

Seems simple really, but still today we must check ourselves on whether we are doing these three things… trust in YHWH and give him glory, obey his commandments, avoid mixing and mingling with other false belief systems.

Pray the Lord gives you insight in these areas for your life.

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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.