Bible Devotions

Pursue Love

Read 1 Corinthians 13. 

What Love Isn’t

Love isn’t the warm, gushy feeling you get when being romanced by your sweetheart.  Love is not a sexual desire or longing for physical interlude with another person.  These are examples of mere feelings.  While feelings may accompany love, they are not love.

 

What Love Is

According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  In addition, we know from 1 John 4:16 “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  These attributes of love are really attributes of God and those who love God. 

 

Steps to Love

We need to realize we have a choice to love.  Love isn’t easy or free of effort.  It takes a decision to love.  It takes determination to continue to love.  Most importantly it requires the Holy Spirit to love.  As God is love, we can not love without God’s presence.  That’s where the Holy Spirit comes into play.  For those who believe Jesus died for our sin and rose again for our eternal salvation, the Holy Spirit is given to us and enables us to love. 

 

Results of Love

There is no doubt when someone loves.  You can see it in their life.  Love exhibits it self in your life and the lives of others around you.  Jesus gave us lots of examples to follow: washing His disciples’ feet, feeding thousands, denying His will and following His Father’s will, and laying down His life for His friends, as well as many other examples.  Love changes things.  Love forgives.  It extends mercy rather than judgment.  Love builds up rather tearing people down.  Love seeks to restore rather than destroy.  Just look the relationship of God and His people.  Although His people repeatedly sinned and rebelled against Him, He still made it possible, through Christ, to be saved. 

 

Above all else we can choose to do in this life; the greatest of these is the choice to love.  Pursue love today. 1 John 4:7 NKJV says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

 Lord, thank you for loving us and enabling us to love you and others.  Help us choose to love and follow your example.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit in us to lead us in your love.  In Jesus’ name Amen. 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.


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Avoid Things the Lord Hates

These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him; Proverbs 6:16 NKJV 

Read Proverbs 6. 

The book of proverbs is a wonderful gift of God.  It is written for our instruction to provide us practical advice for living, how to get along with others and how to make godly decisions.  We are wise to heed the instructions found in this book. 

Let’s look at the seven things mentioned in Proverbs 6:17-19:

(1)   A proud look

(2)   A lying tongue

(3)   Hands that shed innocent blood

(4)   A heart that devises wicked plans

(5)   Feet that are swift in running to evil

(6)   A false witness who speaks lies

(7)   And one who sows discord among brethren

Now before you dismiss this list and say to yourself “I don’t have any of these”, please prayerfully consider where you might be deceiving yourself.    While we may not have hands ready to kill, we may struggle with feet swift in running to evil.  Another way to put it is our willingness to do our thing rather than God’s.   

Or have you ever pretended everything was going well in a relationship, but underneath it really wasn’t?  Well, that example falls into the “false witness” camp.  Are you argumentative?  Do you always have to be right?  Again that’s a good example of sowing discord.  Do you try to figure things out on your own, without consulting God?  This too I’m afraid, is an example of a heart that devises wicked plans. 

We are not free from this list.  It applies to us in some shape or form.  We would be wise to listen to God’s Word, seek His counsel and forgiveness. 

For further study, you might consider comparing this list with the last five of the Ten Commandments found in Deuteronomy 5: 17-21.  See if you can recognize how both lists relate to our relationships with others.

 Lord, thank you for your life-giving word.  Help us to see our self as we really are – in need of your Spirit to guide us in righteousness.  Thank you for dying to pay for our sins.  Thank you for rising again to give us life eternal.  In your precious name, Jesus we pray. Amen. 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.

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Kiss the Son

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.  Psalm 2:12 NKJV 

Read Psalm 2.

Have you ever looked around at the world today and wondered what was going on?  Why does everyone seem to be angry, jealous, and selfish?

The psalmist saw worldliness in his generation, just as we do in ours.  Verse one says “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?” However, he didn’t use the depravity he saw as an excuse to deny God himself.  Instead he chose to praise God, reinforcing in his own mind God had everything under control.  “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill in Zion” says the Lord in verse six.

In verses four and five we see the wicked would not go unpunished: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.”

Be encouraged, no matter how bad it gets around us, God knows what He’s doing.  Listen to the psalmist in verses 10 through 12:  “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.   Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

The reminder in this psalm is two fold.  First, we need to turn our self away from worldliness and keep our self God-centered.  Second, we are not of this world if we have put our trust in Jesus Christ. 

 Lord, thank you for your precious word conveying your love and mercy to all.  Enable us to turn away from worldliness and set our minds on you.  Enable us to trust you more fully this day.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.

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And it was Good

Read Genesis 1.

What was good?  Everything God created.  Really?  Everything from the light and land to stars and man all of it was good.  Why is that?  Because God has a plan and specific purpose for everything He made.  Let’s review.

Light – He created light to separate the darkness.  He divided night which was dark and day which is light. 

Heaven – He created a firmament to divide the waters above and below the heavens. 

Land – He gathered the seas together in one place, so land would appear.  Land was the foundation of the rest of His creation. 

Plants – He created grass and herbs and fruit trees.  All of these plants gave seed to repopulate themselves.

Stars – He created the stars, sun and moon for the specific purpose of being used for signs and seasons, giving light to the earth and to rule over day and night.

Water Creatures and Birds – He created everything that lives in the waters and the birds which fly above the waters.  All of these were to be fruitful and multiply.

Land Animals – He created all the animals that dwell on land and each one being able to repopulate it self.

Man – He created man, in His own image, to have dominion over all He had created.  He also expected man to be fruitful and multiply. 

 

What does all this say about God, His purpose and plan for people? 

(1) God is creator of all.  He made everything we see and even the things we can’t see up in the heavens.  He is all powerful, as everything was made by Him simply speaking it into existence.  Nothing is too hard or impossible for God.

(2) God had a purpose for everything He made.  There was nothing just thrown together on a spur of the moment.  There was purpose in each creation.  Thought and intention went into the making of all we see.  Everything exists for a reason. 

(3) Everything God created was good.  After each thing He made, He’d step back and say “it was good.”  In fact, in verse 31 it says “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”

 Lord God Almighty, hallow be your name your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  You desire all praise.  You alone are worthy.  You have every right to reign for you created it all with purpose.  Thank you for your Word which leads to your truth.  Enable us to understand you more.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.


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Love is a Result

It is the finished product.  We cannot wake up one day and decide to love everyone.  It may work temporarily.  As soon as the object of that love does something hurtful, we stop loving.  That’s our nature.

Jesus said, “You can do nothing apart from Me.” He means it.  All our efforts to love, our self-will and determination will fail. 

Only God’s love lasts forever, unchanged.  Even when the object of His love turns their back on Him, God still loves them.  For the Bible tells us nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.  Hell can’t, heaven can’t, our fears can’t, and even our mistakes can’t.  God is love, therefore, His love remains forever.

If we crave more love in our life the answer is found in Jesus Christ.  First John 4:15 says, “whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God.” As long as we abide in God, we can love others.  First John 4:4 says, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Jesus said in John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”  First John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

As a result of abiding in God, and He in us, we will love one another because it is His Spirit in us doing the loving.  John 3:6 tells us we must be born again to receive this Spirit. When He comes to live in us He is responsible for guiding us in all truth, convicting us of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come, which helps us stay on track with God’s commandments.

Then the fruit appears.  Galatians 5:22 tells us the first fruit of the Spirit is love.  Everything the Spirit, of God, does is loving.  Once we accept Jesus Christ into our life, God gives us His Spirit which empowers and equips us to desire and do what is pleasing to Him.  That means we have the ability to love others as our self and love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Just because we have received God’s Spirit doesn’t mean we automatically love all the time.  For God designed us each with free-will.  We can choose to walk by the Spirit or by our old worldly ways.  The Bible calls this walking by the flesh.

God gives us every opportunity to love.  He has equipped us to love, but the choice is still ours.  Next time we are tempted to ________________________, (you fill in the blank), S.T.O.P. Before you react, respond or rehearse how you might react, think of this acrostic.

S eek God’s perspective

T urn to God’s Word

O pen your heart to truth

P ray for God’s leading

Hiding God’s word in your heart and mind is a great way to guard against temptation.  You may be tempted to become easily angered, be rude, be selfish or any number of other ungodly things.  Whatever your temptation God always provides a way out.  Seek Him before, during and after the trying time and you will have peace that surpasses all understanding.

Thank you, God, for helping us to love as you have loved us. Thank you for your Holy Spirit to guide us along the pathway of life and righteousness. Thank you for making us right in your sight by the gift of Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Do You Believe In The Son of Man?

This seems like a simply question, doesn’t it? My guess many “Christians” might answer that question with a resounding YES!

However, before we answer the question we might consider what the phrase “The Son of Man” means.

Matthew 16:13-17 NIV says:

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

There are 83 references to “The Son of Man” in NIV translation.  Not all are references to Christ, but the ones with “Son” capitalized are.  Here are some for your consideration:

  • Matthew 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  • Matthew 24:27 “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
  • Matthew 25:31 “”When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.”
  • Luke 21:36 “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
  • Luke 22:69 “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
  • John 1:51 “He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
  • John 5:27 “And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.”
  • Acts 7:57 “”Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.””

We can see clearly from these verses, the Son of Man is title displaying authority and Diety.  As we ponder on these verses, we might be inclined to add other fitting titles such as: Son of God, Messiah, King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, and Almighty God.

Now think for a moment of all God has done.  He spoke the world into existence. He created all we see from nothing that was seen.  He created all the plants, the animals, the earth, the sky, the stars, the planets, and the sustaining power of the balance of our solar system.  He created people with a free will.  He gave us creativity, communication, and intellect. He holds the waves of the sea in His hand.  He is without time because a day is as a year to Him.  He healed people through touch, sight, and simply speaking it.  He raised people from the dead.  He spoke dry scattered bones back into place and breathed life into them. He caused the sun to stand still.  The earth quakes at His presence.  All of creation cries out in praise to Him.  Nothing is impossible for Him.

God, in the form of Jesus, reigns over everything.  You and I are included in everything, whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not.

If we do choose to believe Jesus is the Son of God, then we are agreeing to be under His authority.  We willingly yield to His agenda for our life and sacrifice our own.  In order to place our self under His authority we must be willing to accept our position when compared to God.

Let’s think about what position that might be.

He is God.  We are His creation.  He is Author of life. We are alive because He made us.  We can nothing apart from Him.  He holds our very breath in His hand.  God is holy, without sin, without deceit, and without hypocrisy.  In Him is every good gift.  We are not holy, we are stained. We are not pure, we are tainted with sin. We are not honorable, we are manipulative, selfish and hypocritical.  He is merciful. We are critical and judgmental. The list could go on. Just remember what Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  This sin we speak of has to be dealt with.  Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death.”

We must see this about our self to fully appreciate how great God is.  He loved us enough to do something we could not do for our self. He made a way to cleanse us from every wrong. He took our sin upon Himself, and died in our place to pay for our sin.  The last part of Romans 6:23 says “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The sin is dealt with.  It is finished.  We who believe in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, are forgiven our sin-dept.  We are dressed in His robe of righteousness, as if we had never sinned to begin with.

If we have fully grasped the meaning of God’s authority and our position under His authority, our life should show some signs that we are different beings.  Jesus said you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.  Through faith we believe and are saved by His grace.  Our obedience to God’s Word is one outward expression of the inward transformation.  But think you can short cut the process by avoiding looking at our sinful self and just trying to do more good things than bad, for that is evil in God’s sight.  The good works done are done from a heart so radically changed by the grace of God it is done in reverence and love for HIM and nothing from our self.

Now, having looked at the authority of God compared to our sinful state, are you able to answer the question?  Do you believe in the Son of Man?

Lord, Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for coming to earth, dying for my sins, and raising to life again to free me from sin and death. Thank you for loving me that much! Help me to live in a way that’s pleasing to you. In your name I pray. Amen.

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Yet you have not returned to Me says the Lord. Amos 4 NKJV

Do God’s people really need reminding to return to Him? Yes. Apparently they do as we see in Amos chapter 4.

The opening verse is used five times in this chapter and every instance He is talking to the children of God, Israel, God’s chosen people.

If we are not careful to watch and pray to stay close to God, we will stray or drift away just as Israel did.

Let’s take a look at the offenses God’s children committed that are recorded for our benefit.

  • They oppressed the poor
  • They crush the needy
  • They got drunk
  • They bring sacrifices every morning and tithes every three years
  • They offer thanksgiving sacrifices with leaven
  • They proclaim and announce their freewill offerings

The Hebrew word for “oppress” is “asaq” meaning to press upon, for example to defraud, violate or overflow. Further definition includes get deceitfully, deceive, defraud, drink up, oppress, use oppression, oppressor, do violence, an do wrong.

The Hebrew word for “crush” is “rasas” meaning to crack in pieces, literally or figuratively, break, bruise, crush, discourage, oppress, and struggle together.

God cares for the poor and needy. In what ways do we find ourselves oppressing or crushing the poor? Remember, to not think about the poor is just as bad.  God wants us to care for the poor and needy. Deuteronomy 15:11 says “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’”

How often do we drink our problems away? Proverbs 31:5 tells us drinking makes us forget the law and pervert justice for all the afflicted.

What about sacrifices? How often do we ask forgiveness from God? God would rather we obey Him from the beginning than continue asking forgiveness. 1 Samuel 15:21-23 says “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

What about the good we do?  Are we quick to brag about it? Proverbs 20:6 says most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?  Psalm 5:5 says the boastful shall not stand in Your sight, you hate all workers of iniquity.

As we read God’s Word and study how the people responded, we can learn much about our self.  With God’s Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth, we can know how to take an accurate assessment of our self.  Once we recognize sin in our life, we confess it to God and knowing Jesus’ work on the cross has already forgiven our sin, we can ask for His power to avoid the same sin in the future. God is faithful an just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But we have to be willing to turn to Him. Are you?

Father, thank you for your Word, your Spirit, your desire to do what is pleasing to you. Thank you for so many second chances.  In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of ___________, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment…” Amos 1:3 NKJV

This phrase is repeated 8 times in chapter one and two combined.  Each time a different city or people group is called out. There are two categories of people mentioned in this ominous phrase. One category of people was anyone who did bad things to God’s people. We see Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab in this category.  The other category of people is God’s chosen people – Judah and Israel.

Six of those cities were being punished for things done against God’s people. They had done violent things, took people captive, delivered people into captivity, pursued his brother with a sword, and burned the king’s of Edom bones to line.

But interestingly God’s own people were also included in these phrases.  Judah is judged for having despised the law of the Lord, and keeping His commandments, and allowing lies to lead them astray. Israel is called out because they sold the righteous for silver, sold the poor for a pair of sandals, perverted the way of the humble, incest, defiling God’s holy name, idol worship, and drinking wine of the condemned.

Why does any of this matter to us?  This section of Scripture clearly shows us God will hold each of us accountable for our actions. That should cause us to shudder a little bit!

Which category of people do you fall into? Are you in the group opposed and against God’s people? Are you among God’s people?  In either case you will be accountable to God for your actions.

Let’s say you answered “I’m part of God’s people.” That’s great.

Let’s look at the flaws God pointed out to see if any apply to us today.

Judah despised God’s laws. They did not keep God’s commandments and were led astray by lies.

Do any of these apply to you? Are you despising or obeying God’s laws? Do you follow truth or lies?

Israel was more concerned about money than people. They perverted the humble with heavy regulations. They allowed incest in their families. They defiled God’s holy name and worshipped idols instead of God.

Is there anything that comes before God in your own life? Watch out that’s idol worship. Are you caught up with the cares of this world? This too can be a slippery slope leading to idol worship.  Are you a perfectionist, holding others to an impossible standard?  This is what the religious elite in Jesus’ day did and He scolded them more than once for it.

Father God Almighty, thank you for your word that reveals the truth. Help us recognize the truth about our self and turn to you for mercy and forgiveness.  Thank you for your hearing us. Thank you for your faithfulness to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness through Jesus Christ. In His precious name we pray. Amen.

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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The Lord will be a shelter for His people… Joel 3:16 NKJV

The prophet Joel spoke of the “The Day of the Lord” coming. It is the Day of Judgment, when all the wrongs will be compensated.  It is a terrible and yet wonderful thing to behold.

Only those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning.”

Then the Lord will be zealous for His land and pity His people. The Lord will answer His people.

The Lord will

  • Remove you from the northern army
  • Cause the harvest to bloom
  • Cause the rain
  • Restore all the locusts have eaten
  • Satisfy you
  • Defend you
  • Pour out His Spirit upon us
  • Save those who call on the name of the Lord
  • Cause victory for His people
  • Strengthen His people
  • Be a shelter for His people
  • Pay back those who brought evil against His people
  • Acquit Judah and Jerusalem of bloodshed
  • Dwell in Zion

No matter what the circumstances look like, God is able to deliver us out of them. Look not at your foes. Look not at all you lack. Look not at the problems facing you.

Look, instead, to Jesus, the One who is able to rescue you.  God Almighty knows your troubles and has the power to save and deliver you. But it requires your trust. You must turn to Him, trust in His ability. Fear not, be glad and rejoice. For the Lord has done marvelous things!

Father, thank you for helping us through the difficult times in our life.  You provide a way out of every temptation.  You provide the strength we need to face all opposition.  We are ready to trust you. Deliver us Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Mixed with Faith

Read Hebrews 4.

 

Truth Sets Us Free

The gospel is preached to all.  Sadly, they heard and it did not profit them.  Those who mixed the gospel with faith believed and received the promise.  Which side are you on, the side who heard and didn’t profit them or the side who heard and mixed it with faith?  We must first hear the word and be open to receiving its’ message.

 

God’s Word is Truth

The word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and it is the discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart.  All things are naked and open to Him and we must give account one day.  Do you allow God’s Word to reveal the nature of your thoughts and intents of your heart?  Are you willing to understand your true condition before God?

 

Our Part of the Equation

If we are brave enough to face the truth, we are responsible to hold fast to the hope we have in Christ.  We can not harden our hearts in rebellion, but rather be diligent to enter His rest or else we fall into the same disobedience as those who came before us.  Therefore, we hold steadfast our confidence in the Lord to the very end.

 Eternal Rest Our Reward

For those who have believed do enter that rest.  To believe we hear the truth and mix it with faith until we believe.  When we have allowed God’s Word to penetrate our hearts, mixed with faith (trust) in God, we have confidence He will do what He says. 

 

In conclusion, my fellow believer, we are to mix the truth with faith and believe so we may enter into the rest our Lord promises to give those who hold steadfast in our confidence. 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your finished work of redeeming those who believe on you. Thank you for your penetrating truth to set us on the pathway of life eternal.  Thank you for the strength to be diligent and steadfast in our confidence in you.  In Jesus’ name Amen. 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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