Not Perfect But Forgiven??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #533

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #533   Not Perfect But Forgiven???

 

When we think about being a Christian, we often get so wrapped up in our own world, and activities (Albeit good works, but sometimes our ‘good intentions’ just turn into ‘busy’ness rather than God’s ‘business’!) that we can become proud in our self, rather than Jesus.  We must continually hold ourselves accountable to Jesus and His call; to remember that it is only by HIS grace that we are who we are, where we are, and able to do what we do—doing all for HIS glory, by HIS power, and with the presence of HIS Holy Spirit.  I am reminded so often of what God has done for me, where HE has brought me from, and what HE has brought me through, and the forgiveness that He brought to my heart!

I am not bogged down by false guilt from the past, but I am humbled when I recall the life of sin that God saved me out of.  No, I wasn’t a criminal in the eyes of the world, but I was a sinner in need of a Savior!  And much like Paul, when I remember what was in my heart, and what Jesus cleansed me from, I am humbled and often reminded that I’m not better than anyone else—I must keep my eyes on Jesus and HIS call and biblical standard; yet I must never compare myself to others, or lord it over those who haven’t seen HIM yet.  I ever seek to remember that “but for the grace of God, there go I”!

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord,

who hath enabled me,

for that he counted me faithful,

putting me into the ministry;

13 Who was before a blasphemer,

and a persecutor,

and injurious:

but I obtained mercy,

because I did it ignorantly

in unbelief.

14 And the grace of our Lord

was exceeding abundant

with faith

and love

which is in Christ Jesus.

15 This is a faithful saying,

and worthy of all acceptation,

that Christ Jesus came into the world

to save sinners;

of whom I am chief.

16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy,

that in me first

Jesus Christ might shew forth

all longsuffering,

for a pattern

to them which should hereafter

believe on him

to life everlasting.”   1 Timothy 1:12-16

Salvation is purely and totally initiated by God, we come to Him because He calls us, opens our eyes to see Jesus, and our ears to hear the convicting voice of His precious Holy Spirit calling us to Him! And what a blessed privilege to not only be called to be saved, but to be called, equipped and anointed to share His message with others—remembering that it’s HIM not me, even as John shares the testimony of Jesus!

No man can come to me,

except the Father which hath sent me

draw him:

and I will raise him up

at the last day.

45 It is written in the prophets,

And they shall be all taught of God.

Every man therefore that hath heard,

and hath learned

of the Father,

cometh unto me.

 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father,

save he which is of God,

he hath seen the Father.

47 Verily, verily, I say unto you,

He that believeth on me

hath everlasting life.”  John 6:44-47

Oh, how much God loves us—and yet we are so easily distracted by the ‘one’ who seeks to destroy us!  Oh, precious Lord, help us to see with your eyes, to see the enemy for what he is!

The thief cometh not,

but for to steal,

and to kill,

and to destroy:

I am come

that they might have life,

and that they might have it

more abundantly.” John 10:10

Jesus has come, lived a perfect life, died for our sin, and arose victorious over sin, death and hell, and in His victory, He grants forgiveness of sin to all who will come to HIM! Today!

Giving thanks unto the Father,

which hath made us meet to be partakers

of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13 Who hath delivered us

from the power of darkness,

and hath translated us

into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14 In whom we have redemption

through his blood,

even the forgiveness of sins:”    Colossians 1:12-14

And because I’m forgiven, I can extend grace and truth to others—even those who don’t want to receive it.  But I can only do His will through His power—with HIM, never on my own!

Abide in me,

and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit

of itself,

except it abide in the vine;

no more can ye,

except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine,

ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me,

and I in him,

the same bringeth forth

much fruit:

for without me

ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

I can choose to rely on myself and accomplish ‘nothing’ of eternal value, or I can choose to walk with Him, talk with Him, lean on Him, and follow Him to see and know HIS glorious grace and power.

I can do

all things

through Christ

which strengtheneth me.”    Philippians 4:13

And Paul tells us how we can maintain this blessed state, and I’ll leave you to ponder “these things” today!  Blessings on your journey!

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things

are true,

whatsoever things

are honest,

whatsoever things

are just,

whatsoever things

are pure,

whatsoever things

are lovely,

whatsoever things

are of good report;

if there be

any virtue,

and if there be

any praise,

think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Check every thought at the door, with this eight-fold test of The Word, and the enemy will be thwarted.

Submit yourselves therefore

to God.

Resist the devil,

and he will flee

from you.” James 4:7

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Real Rock Of Ages??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 13 No. 01

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 13 No.01 A Real Rock Of Ages???

 

I love the old gospel songs, and “Rock Of Ages” is one of my favorites.  It was written by Augustus M. Toplady in 1776, and I’d simply like to share its clear gospel message, which has never changed, with you today:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone
.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling
;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee
.

I/we must absolutely come to Jesus with “nothing in my hand”!  It is not by our own righteousness that we receive “everlasting life”, but by faith in the substitutionary, atoning sacrifice of Jesus! It is HIS blood that imparts forgiveness of sin, salvation and righteousness to us!

For he hath made him to be sin

for us,

who knew no sin;

that we might be made

the righteousness

of God

in him.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus paid the price of our salvation with His own blood, and when we receive Him by faith, God imparts HIS righteousness to us, all because Jesus took on our sin at the cross.  Yet to receive Him we must come empty handed to God, trusting in what Jesus did for us, not our own goodness or works that we have done.  Paul gives us a clear picture in his message to the young preacher Titus. My pastor reminded me of it yesterday morning in his message, and I thought it a timely reminder to share it with you today.

Put them in mind to be subject

to principalities and powers,

to obey magistrates,

to be ready to every good work,

2 To speak evil of no man,

to be no brawlers,

but gentle,

shewing all meekness

unto all men.

3 For we ourselves also were sometimes

foolish,

disobedient,

deceived,

serving divers lusts

and pleasures,

living in malice

and envy,

hateful,

and hating one another.

4 But after that the kindness

and love of God

our Saviour

toward man appeared,

5 Not by works of righteousness

which we have done,

but according to his mercy

he saved us,

by the washing of regeneration,

and renewing

of the Holy Ghost;

6 Which he shed on us

abundantly

through Jesus Christ

our Saviour;

7 That being justified

by his grace,

we should be made heirs

according to the hope

of eternal life.”  Titus 3:1-7

God makes us His children, heirs of “eternal life” “through Jesus Christ our Saviour”!  He is our “Rock” of all the ages!  The Psalmist pictures this amazing parallel frequently.

For thou art my rock and my fortress;

therefore for thy name’s sake

lead me,

and guide me.”  Psalm 31:2

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,

when my heart is overwhelmed:

 lead me to the rock

that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

He only is my rock

and my salvation:

he is my defence;

I shall not be moved.

7 In God is my salvation

and my glory:

the rock of my strength,

and my refuge,

is in God.”  Psalm 62:6-7

Jesus also uses this analogy of the ‘rock’ to show us that we must depend on HIM, not self!  He paints a clear picture of the difference that knowing Him will make!  And while we can’t judge where others stand with God, we are to judge ourselves, for Jesus says that His presence in His own will make a difference—not always in the same way, not always in the same time frame for everyone!

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit

is hewn down,

and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits

ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me,

Lord, Lord,

shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;

but he that doeth

the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day,

Lord, Lord,

have we not prophesied

in thy name?

and in thy name

have cast out devils?

and in thy name

done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them,

I never knew you:

depart from me,

ye that work iniquity.”    Matthew 7:20-23

Jesus makes it clear that just “saying so” doesn’t make one a child of God—but the person who does “the will of my Father”!  It is “not by works of righteousness which we have done”, but by the life-transforming salvation that Jesus’ blood provides; yet Jesus makes it clear that when we are born again we are empowered by His Spirit to do God’s will—and we can, because our house is built on the “Solid Rock”! Even as Paul and James both talk about our life-works reflecting the presence of His Spirit within us—that is the proof of whose we are—not depending on what we say/claim that we ‘are’!

24 Therefore whosoever

heareth these sayings of mine,

and doeth them,

I will liken him unto a wise man,

which built his house

upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended,

and the floods came,

and the winds blew,

and beat upon that house;

and it fell not:

for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that

heareth these sayings of mine,

and doeth them not,

shall be likened unto a foolish man,

which built his house

upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended,

and the floods came,

and the winds blew,

and beat upon that house;

and it fell:

and great was the fall of it.”  Matthew 7:19-27

Whether it’s in the construction arena or our spiritual life, a solid foundation is essential to a safe, secure and reliable future!  And JESUS IS the “Rock of Ages” on whom we can depend!  Scripture is replete with references to this very “Rock of Ages”!

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD,

Behold,

I lay in Zion

for a foundation

a stone,

a tried stone,

a precious corner stone,

a sure foundation:

he that believeth

shall not make haste.”  Isaiah 28:16

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,

but fellowcitizens with the saints,

and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation

of the apostles

and prophets,

Jesus Christ himself

being the chief corner stone;

21 In whom all the building fitly

framed together

groweth unto an holy temple

in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are

builded together

for an habitation of God

through the Spirit.”    Ephesians 2:19-22

To whom coming,

as unto a living stone,

disallowed indeed of men,

but chosen of God,

and precious,

5 Ye also,

as lively stones,

are built up a spiritual house,

an holy priesthood,

to offer up spiritual sacrifices,

acceptable to God

by Jesus Christ.

6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture,

Behold, I lay in Sion

a chief corner stone,

elect,

precious:

and he that believeth on him

shall not be confounded.

7 Unto you therefore which believe

he is precious:

but unto them which be disobedient,

the stone

which the builders disallowed,

the same

is made the head of the corner,

8 And a stone of stumbling,

and a rock of offence,

even to them which stumble

at the word,

being disobedient:

whereunto also they were appointed.”  1 Peter 2:4-8

My simple question for each of us is, “Have you come to the Rock of Ages for salvation, by repentance and faith in Jesus, or will you be crushed when you face Him?”  While it may seem over-simplistic, the truth is that we can believe and bow before HIM now as Lord and Savior, or we will bow before HIM as judge—with no opportunity to accept the saving grace He is offering you today!

And being found in fashion as a man,

he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,

and given him a name

which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

of things in heaven,

and things in earth,

and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue

should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”   Philippians 2:8-11

The question isn’t ‘will you bow?’! The question is ‘when?’ will you bow before Him; now to receive His saving grace, or will you bow before Him at the Great White Throne with no recourse and no excuse!

For the wrath of God is revealed

from heaven

against all ungodliness

and unrighteousness

of men,

who hold the truth

in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God

is manifest in them;

for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him

from the creation of the world

are clearly seen,

being understood

by the things that are made,

even his eternal power

and Godhead;

so that they are without excuse:”  Romans 1:18-20.

God hasn’t changed, nor will He ever change—He “is love” and He has offered you salvation in HIS Son, Jesus; but if you choose to reject Him, there is a day of reckoning coming. While I know this isn’t a very popular truth, it is truth, and I must share it—I pray that you will receive it with all the love that God has intended, as a warning to avoid the judgment for sin! And I offer this warning, as a friend of mine often says, “in His love and mine”!

And I saw a great white throne,

and him that sat on it,

from whose face the earth and the heaven

fled away;

and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead,

small

and great,

stand before God;

and the books were opened:

and another book was opened,

which is the book of life:

and the dead were judged

out of those things which were written

in the books,

according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead

which were in it;

and death

and hell delivered up the dead

which were in them:

and they were judged

every man

 according to their works.

14 And death and hell

were cast into the lake of fire.

This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written

in the book of life

was cast into the lake of fire.”    Revelation 20:11-15

Check out your foundation—the storms will come in this life, and judgment will come for all, and the ‘rock’ or the ‘sand’ will be manifest.  Are you building on “The Rock of Ages”?  Or are you building on the ‘sinking sand’?  The choice is yours, but there is a test coming!

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

Forgetting Our Manners??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #532

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #532   Forgetting Our Manners???

 

I hope you had a pleasant Valentine’s Day—that you got to spend time with the people in your life, whether by phone, or text or in person.  Time with the people we love is a gift from God, and yet we often forget to thank God for our life, our blessings, for the greatest Valentine (testament to love), Jesus, as well as others!!!

I pray that we will never forget our debt of gratitude to others, especially our Lord! He has given so much, not only ‘to’ us, but ‘for’ us!

And you hath he quickened,

who were deadin trespasses and sins;”    Ephesians 2:1

He has given us life, His life—new life IN Jesus.

Jesus answered and said unto her,

If thou knewest the gift of God,

and who it is that saith to thee,

Give me to drink;

thou wouldest have asked of him,

and he would have given thee

living water……

13 Jesus answered and said unto her,

Whosoever drinketh of this water

shall thirst again:

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water

that I shall give him

shall never thirst;

but the water

that I shall give him

shall be in him a well of water

springing up

into everlasting life.    John 4:10, 13-14

I love this picture of ever-springing water that wells up, imparting everlasting life through Jesus!  I’m so grateful for “life”—the life that Jesus gives us—born anew from the deadness of sin.  His life springing up like an artesian well in us! I love the sweet taste of water springing from an artesian well, and in the mountains, you can often see water springing out of the mountain, and people will come and get water from that bubbling spring!  What a treat. But God has given us the greater gift—a living spring —His Son who took on human flesh and blood, who walked among sinners, who revealed God to us, and even more importantly, HE died for our sin on Calvary!  All because HE. loves us!!!  Have you invited Him in!  Have you received that wonderful gift of eternally springing life within you? If you have, won’t you take some time today (every day) to thank Him for this unparalleled gift? Thank YOU, Jesus!!!

For God so loved the world,

that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world

to condemn the world;

but that the world through him

might be saved.”  John 3:16-17

Jesus gave His life a sacrifice for sin, that we might live! Will you heed His call and thank Him for the love and grace HE poured out at Calvary?

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:

if any man hear my voice,

and open the door,

I will come in to him,

and will sup with him,

and he with me.”  Revelation 3:20. Amen!!!

To Be Or Not–It Will Show??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #531

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #531   To Be Or Not—It Will Show???

 

Shakespeare said, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”  James put it a bit differently as he reminds us of something that I often say, “Saying so, doesn’t make it so!”  Just saying I am a believer must be accompanied by the works of goodness that God has called and equipped us to fulfill.  We aren’t saved by works—not in any way—but we do express our faith by our works.  Like the old question, “What do you get when you squeeze a lemon?”; what seems like the natural answer isn’t always the answer.  While we would expect to get “lemon juice” if we squeeze a lemon, there must be “juice” in the lemon first, or we will get nothing!  Well it’s the same in the life of a Christian!  When we come to Jesus in repentance and faith, HE imparts His Holy Spirit to each one who is born again, and we are that “new creature” in Christ Jesus—created ‘for’ good works—but never ‘by’ good works.

For by grace are ye saved

through faith;

and that not

of yourselves:

it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works,

lest any man should boast.

10 For we are

his workmanship,

created in Christ Jesus

unto good works,

which God hath before ordained

that we should walk

in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10

Genuine believers are “created in Christ Jesusfor good works, and James reminds us that while we must “be” HIS before we can “do” His work—works which manifest the presence of Christ in us before the world.

But be ye doers of the word,

and not hearers only,

deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word,

and not a doer,

he is like unto a man

beholding his natural face

in a glass:

24 For he beholdeth himself,

and goeth his way,

and straightway forgetteth

what manner of man he was.

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect

law of liberty,

and continueth therein,

he being not a forgetful hearer,

but a doer of the work,

this man shall be blessed

in his deed.

26 If any man among you seem to be religious,

and bridleth not his tongue,

but deceiveth his own heart,

this man’s religion

is vain.”  James 1:22-26

So, my question this morning is simple!  Are we being doers of the word—or are we “hearers only”? James makes it clear that if all we have is “talk”, we may be “deceiving your own selves”! God, help us examine our own hearts and see what YOU see, then, to align our heart and life to You, Your Word and Your will for “me”!  Being a faithful picture to the world of a vibrant, living faith in Jesus?

Search me, O God..know my heart...”    See Psalm 139:23

Confident Or Cocky??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 26

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No.26 Confident Or Cocky???

 

It is important that as believers, we exhibit our confidence before a lost and dying world, yet never with arrogance.  We can have absolute confidence in our Lord, yet we must be on guard against a cocky attitude of heart.

Being confident

of this very thing,

that he

which hath begun a good work

in you

will perform it

until the day of Jesus Christ:”     Philippians 1:6

You see, our confidence is in Jesus, our Lord and Savior, not in ourselves.  There is no place for arrogance, self-righteousness, or selfish pride!  The only thing that we have to be proud of is our LORD—oh how I cling to HIS cross and remember that HE has given me immeasurably more than I could ever earn or deserve. He “giveth more grace” for each day—it’s all about HIM not me—for “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us”!

For the grace of God

that bringeth salvation

hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that,

denying ungodliness

and worldly lusts,

we should live soberly,

righteously,

and godly,

in this present world;

13 Looking for that blessed hope,

and the glorious appearing

of the great God and our Saviour

Jesus Christ;

14 Who gave himself for us,

that he might redeem us

from all iniquity,

and purify unto himself

a peculiar people,

 zealous of good works.

15 These things speak,

and exhort,

and rebuke

with all authority.

Let no man despise thee.

3:1 Put them in mind

to be subject to principalities and powers,

to obey magistrates,

to be ready to every good work,

2 To speak evil of no man,

to be no brawlers,

but gentle,

shewing all meekness

unto all men.

 3 For we ourselves also

were sometimes foolish,

disobedient,

deceived,

serving divers

lusts

and pleasures,

living in malice

and envy,

hateful,

and hating one another.

4 But after that the kindness

and love

of God our Saviour

toward man appeared,

5 Not by works of righteousness

which we have done,

but according to his mercy

he saved us,

by the washing of regeneration,

and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

6 Which he shed on us

abundantly

through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7 That being justified by his grace,

we should be made heirs

according to the hope

of eternal life.”  Titus 2:11-3:7

Because God “so loved the world that HE gave”—we can have life, new life in Christ Jesus!  We must never forget that it is of God’s mercy that we are saved.  Even as Jeremiah wrote, after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, knowing his confidence was anchored in his God, not himself!  After all, it was God who had warned them for some 40 years to repent, with very little response to Jeremiah’s message!

This I recall to my mind,

therefore have I hope.

22 It is of the LORD’S mercies

that we are not consumed,

because his compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning:

great is thy faithfulness.

24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;

therefore will I hope in him.

25 The LORD is good unto them

that wait for him,

to the soul that seeketh him.”    Lamentations 3:21-25

There was also a contemporary of Jeremiah’s latter years, who received a message from God for those who would respond—and that message is as true for us today as it was those thousands of years ago.  Have you responded to God’s call?  Have you humbled yourself before Him, and come to know God through His son Jesus?

And such as do wickedly against the covenant

shall he corrupt by flatteries:

but the people that do know their God

shall be strong,

and do exploits.”  Daniel 11:32

And they that be wise

shall shine as the brightness

of the firmament;

and they that turn many to righteousness

as the stars for ever and ever.”  Daniel 12:3

But how can we know God and turn others to righteousness?  There is only ‘One Way’, Jesus, and seeking Him through His Word and through prayer.  And when we draw near to God, and depend upon His grace and power, we can learn to recognize the opportunities that He gives us to share the gospel of the cross.  Even as He gave to Paul, who testified of his total reliance on Jesus blood, and the truth of the “crucified” and risen Lord Jesus!

And I, brethren,

when I came to you,

came not

with excellency of speech

or of wisdom,

declaring unto you the testimony

of God.

2 For I determined not to know any thing

among you,

save Jesus Christ,

and him crucified.

3 And I was with you

in weakness,

and in fear,

and in much trembling.

4 And my speech

and my preaching

was not with enticing words

of man’s wisdom,

but in demonstration

of the Spirit

and of power:

5 That your faith should not stand

in the wisdom of men,

but in the power of God.”    1 Corinthians 2:1-5

As John shared in his gospel account.

But as many as received him,

to them gave he power

to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe

on his name:

13 Which were born,

not of blood,

nor of the will of the flesh,

nor of the will of man,

but of God.

14 And the Word was made flesh,

and dwelt among us,

(and we beheld his glory,

the glory as of the only begotten

of the Father,)

full of grace and truth.”   John 1:12-14

So, as we consider the choices that lay before us this week—may we approach them with humble confidence, yet with boldness as we speak the truth of the Gospel; not swelling with pride and arrogance, or lording it over those we encounter, as if we were better than they, but humbly sharing the truth of the cross.  May we join with Paul in recognizing our own sin and weakness, and follow the Lord  Jesus who calls us—to take up our cross (which means that we are to die to self and live to Him) as we follow Him; yet even that is done by God, His Holy Spirit whom He has given to dwell within every believer, and through His power—that it may of Christ alone.

I am crucified

with Christ:

nevertheless I live;

yet not I,

but Christ

liveth in me:

and the life which I now live

in the flesh

I live by the faith

of the Son of God,

who loved me,

and gave himself

for me.”  Galatians 2:20

Jesus summed it up in John 15.

Abide in me,

and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,

except it abide in the vine;

no more can ye,

except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine,

ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me,

and I in him,

the same bringeth forth

much fruit:

for without me

ye can do nothing.”  John 15:4-5

So, remember that while “I can do all things through Christ”, it is only because “Christ liveth in me!  Confident in HIS love, grace and power—never being cocky in my own power!

Pride goeth before destruction,

and an haughty spirit

before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

Humble yourselves

in the sight of the Lord,

and he shall lift you up.”  James 4:10

Praise Him today!

Great is the LORD,

and greatly to be praised;

and his greatness

is unsearchable.”  Psalm 145:3

Amen and Amen!