Category Archives: Controlling Thoughts

The Tongue Is A Fire

Let us take care to control our tongues. Much blessing and much trouble can come from that small part of our body.

James 3:1-12

The Tongue Is a Fire

      1Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.

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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.

Don’t Miss This Advice For All Christians

Don’t miss this advice for all Christians.

  • Live in harmony with the Lord.
  • Help fellow believers.
  • Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS.
  • Dwell on what is true, honorable, right pure, lovely, and of good repute. Practice these things.

Philippians 4:1-9

Think of Excellence

      1Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

      2I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

      4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

      8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

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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.

Follow Yeshua’s Example of Prayer and Submission

Yeshua sets the example for intense prayer. We have a hard time living up to His example. No matter what we face, however, let us follow His example and come before the Father in prayer. Let us submit to the Father’s will and trust in the Father’s wisdom, even if we have an opinion or preference which is different. We may even pray for the Spirit’s help that we would not fall into temptation.

Luke 22:39-46

The Garden of Gethsemane

     39And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. 40When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 43Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 45When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Let us model ourselves and our relationship with the Father after the example of Christ, whether we face big situations or every day small ones.

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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.

Overcoming Anxiety and Worry

Anxiety and worry can consume people, even those who are trying to follow Christ. The devil wants to steal, kill and destroy. He targets relationships, including that between you and your Father in heaven. Anxiety and worry are one tactic he uses.

He can even take our good intention to obey God and repent from sins and try to turn us in knots of guilt about every potential mistake we make. If he is effective in this guilt, he can separate us from God as we may become more distant due to our feeling of unworthiness and stress associated with constantly not “being good enough”.

If we let him, Satan can lead us to worry about our concerns of daily living and how we will accomplish what we feel we need to in life, whether it is the basics of food and shelter or more aspirational hopes and dreams. We may start to worry so much and soon find that we are assuming we must accomplish everything of our own power and we lose sight of trusting the Lord and His power. In many cases, the goals we set out to achieve are not even the Lord’s but only our own. If we are pursuing His will in our lives we can be sure He will provide the power and the path to accomplish it.

With the Lord’s help, we can resist Satan effectively.

When dealing with anxiety and worry it is important to pray for the Lord’s help and come before Him humbly. Seek His guidance in scripture.

Philippians 4:4-20

      4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

      8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

God’s Provisions

     10But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 14Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.

      15You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Don’t let Satan steal your joy! Rejoice in the Lord!

The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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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.

Trust God In The Desert; Faith and Obedience Bring Us To The Promised Land

Have you ever gone through a tough situation, one that was really emotionally and physically draining? It may have even lasted months or years. Let us remember to cling to God in these situations, trusting that if we are faithful He can turn all things to use for good.

Romans 8:28

  28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Let us take care not to complain and whine or worse… rebel against where God is leading us or bringing us through. Think back on the Israelites as the Lord led them out of Egypt and into the promised land. He performed many mighty miracles and yet as time passed, the people continued to stumble and make mistakes. They continued to complain and at times rebel against God. They saw only their immediate, short term struggles and kept focusing on those rather than focusing on and trusting the Lord who was leading them through the desert. They could not seem to focus and trust that the promised land was theirs at the end of the journey.

In fact, they even completely ignore their own accountability in making the journey take 40 years! God delivered them to the promised land and they disobeyed and did not take it because they were afraid of the people living there. They did not trust the Lord. Their journey got much longer. But as they complain in Numbers 20, they blame Moses and God rather than their own mistakes in disobeying the Lord.

Numbers 20:2-5

      2There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. 3The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD! 4“Why then have you brought the LORD’S assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here? 5“Why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink.”

How callously they chastise Moses and defame the Lord’s reputation and character, implicitly in their complaints about “It is not a place of grain or figs or vines …” in contrast to God’s promised land. They take no accountability for their actions being the cause of why they are in the desert still. Should not they be saying… “O’ Lord, forgive us and have mercy on us for our disobedience and lack of faith resulted in our remaining in the desert”?

Let each of us take care in our relationship with the Lord. Sometimes our actions create the bad situation we don’t like or make it much worse. The answer is not to get mad at God and complain. Turn to God and ask Him for forgiveness and help to get through the challenge. Ask Him for joy and encouragement. As Him for mercy and grace. These things He will give to a submitted and repentant heart.  God is indeed just, but He is also compassionate and kind.

Pray that He would use the difficult circumstances for good, for His glory through you. Pray He would bring good from the hard times. Then patiently and faithfully trust that He can and He will, even if it may not look like what we want in the situation. Let us cling to the Lord, knowing He may simply be bringing us through personal growth or to a place even better than where we started… as He was bringing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land. Rather than complain and blame the Lord, we should pray for the Spirit to help us be patient along the journey.

Trust God in the desert. Faith and obedience bring us to the promised land.

P.S. Want to know how God responded to the unrighteous complaints of the people? Read on further in Numbers 20. Once a righteous man interceded and asked the Lord for help, He provided them water, despite their general lack of faith and active complaining. I believe He did so to try to continue showing the people His glory to help lead them to trust and follow Him. Only in trusting Him would their journey truly get any easier as they continued in the desert.

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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.

Be Imitators Of God

Be imitators of God, walking in love and righteousness. Be apart from the world and its ways. Try to learn and live according to what is pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:1-21

Be Imitators of God

     1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

      3But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

      6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

14For this reason it says,
“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”

      15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

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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.

Petty Jealousy and Complaining Do Not Please the Lord

Jealousy can raise its ugly head in surprising places. Don’t think the church or church leadership is exempt. Maintain vigil against it. Be content with how Jehovah uses you and guides you. Envy not His relationship with someone else.

Even Miriam and Aaron fell to this sin and they had seen many mighty miracles and received guidance from the Lord. However, it appears they became jealous of how the Lord lifted up Moses with a more personal engagement. Their focus shifted from the Lord to themselves and perhaps their ego. Suddenly they are murmuring against Him. The Lord was not pleased.

Do not confuse this jealous murmuring with a correct rebuke or discernment against false teaching. We are to discern and call out false teachers or false doctrine. However, this was different. This was a jealous resentment for the attention Moses was getting and then undermining the unity of the leadership of God’s people.

Note how Moses does not hold a grudge. This is consistent with scripture referring to Him as a humble man. I would guess he was not pleased with Miriam and Aaron, but he intercedes for Miriam with the Lord anyway. We can only speculate if the Lord limited Miriam’s punishment to 7 days because of Moses or if that would have been the case anyway.

Numbers 12

The Murmuring of Miriam and Aaron

     1Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); 2and they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” And the LORD heard it. 3(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.) 4Suddenly the LORD said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam, “You three come out to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them came out. 5Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tent, and He called Aaron and Miriam. When they had both come forward,

6He said,
“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision.
I shall speak with him in a dream.

      7“Not so, with My servant Moses,
He is faithful in all My household;

      8With him I speak mouth to mouth,
Even openly, and not in dark sayings,
And he beholds the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant, against Moses?”

      9So the anger of the LORD burned against them and He departed. 10But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was leprous. 11Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned. 12“Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother’s womb!” 13Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “O God, heal her, I pray!” 14But the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut up for seven days outside the camp, and afterward she may be received again.” 15So Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was received again.

      16Afterward, however, the people moved out from Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran.

I pray our Father would help me to be his humble servant. Let me not get caught up in “being right” or “getting personal glory or credit”, but rather only in serving Him and doing His will for His glory. Let us pray for one another and not murmur against one another in jealousy.

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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.

Holiness Contrasted with Rebellion and Disrespect

God paints quite a contrast in Leviticus 24 between holiness and rebellion. He wants us to actively focus on keeping relationship with Him all day, every day… just as the Levitical priests were to keep the lights burning continually before Him.  We are not simply called to spend an hour a week in church listening to His word, but rather have a relationship with Him daily. With the temple gone, and the veil which separated us from God now torn open, we are invited through Jesus to be in relationship with the Father directly rather than just indirectly through the priesthood. We are still to spend even more time with Him on Sabbath as the Levitical priests did with the frankincense and bread. As we take a day off from working, we certainly have time to rest and pray and study the word… maintaining and growing our relationship with the Father.

Contrast that with how God deals with those who blaspheme and curse Jehovah. He is not pleased. It is deeply offensive to Him. There is simply no good reason for a godly, obedient person to curse the Father. Sadly, it is common place today in our culture to show complete lack of respect for His holy name. While you will not be stoned for such an infraction today, consider that our Father is just as displeased as He was by such action back in Levitical times.

Leviticus 24:1-16

The Lamp and the Bread of the Sanctuary

     1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Command the sons of Israel that they bring to you clear oil from beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually. 3“Outside the veil of testimony in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the LORD continually; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations. 4“He shall keep the lamps in order on the pure gold lampstand before the LORD continually.

      5“Then you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. 6“You shall set them in two rows, six to a row, on the pure gold table before the LORD. 7“You shall put pure frankincense on each row that it may be a memorial portion for the bread, even an offering by fire to the LORD. 8“Every sabbath day he shall set it in order before the LORD continually; it is an everlasting covenant for the sons of Israel. 9“It shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the LORD’S offerings by fire, his portion forever.”

      10Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the sons of Israel; and the Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel struggled with each other in the camp. 11The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. (Now his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) 12They put him in custody so that the command of the LORD might be made clear to them.

      13Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 14“Bring the one who has cursed outside the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then let all the congregation stone him. 15“You shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If anyone curses his God, then he will bear his sin. 16‘Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

Pray for our cities, states, nation, and around the world. Pray that people would once again gain a deep respect for Jehovah and put aside rebellion, denial of His existence, and worship of self. As a believer, be a light before men to show them the ways and love of God.

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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.

Spiritual Gifts Within the Body Of Christ

We are each parts of the body of Christ. Each of us with different gifts, talents, and abilities. The body functions best when all the parts work together. If a part is missing, it affects the whole body. The parts are not designed to work on their own, apart from the other members. Each part has a specific design and intent. What a wonderful metaphor for the body of believers who follow Christ!

1 Corinthians 12

The Use of Spiritual Gifts

     1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 3Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

      4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

      12For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

      14For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20But now there are many members, but one body. 21And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

      27Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
And I show you a still more excellent way.

Give thanks to God for how He made you. Pray for the Spirit to guide you in discovering and using your spiritual gifts for the glory and honor of God amongst the body of Christ. Let not envy rise up within you, desiring the gifts He has bestowed on others. All parts are needed. Do not use your gifts just for your own benefit, but rather use them to glorify God and serve the body of Christ.

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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.

The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is an important activity for us as followers of Christ. We should take the opportunity to approach it with respect and self control. Our attitude should be focused on Christ and that He died for us, shedding His blood and breaking His body. So, too, we can celebrate that He rose from the dead and lives still today.

1 Corinthians 11:23-34

The Lord’s Supper

     23For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

      27Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

      33So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come.

Let not the Lord’s Supper be just another meal we try to fill up on or just a ritual we do while thinking of what we will do “after church”. Prepare yourself and focus on the grace of Jehovah who sent His son to die in order to pay the penalty for our sin… yours and mine. Think of the love and compassion of Christ to willingly do so in obedience to the Father. Those of us who truly love Him should have humble hearts thanking Him for giving us a path to forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father though we don’t deserve it (grace),  and for not giving us the punishment we do deserve (mercy).

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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.