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Death WITH Christ

“…one died for all, therefore all died…Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh…therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” -2 Corinthians 5:14, 16-17.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” -Galatians 3:26-27

“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” -Romans 6:5-7

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” -Romans 7:4-6

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20

“Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until his enemies be made a footstool for his feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” -Hebrews 10:11-14.

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Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Rich Toward God, pt. 2

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I believe all Jesus’ parables are given to believers, and each time a man is spoken of, he represents a group of people.  This rich man represents a “church” which is carnal, or led by her darkened mind.  Immediately after making up his mind to build bigger barns to store up his grain and goods, God addresses him directly: You fool! (literally: “one without perception!”) This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’  To be seen as a fool by the God you claim to worship is truly sad. 

Jesus concludes this parable by contrasting two ways of life, which I believe are mutually exclusive:  “So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  The foolish rich man planned and labored to “lay up treasure,” i.e. to get ease and security, for himself.  As I mentioned before, it’s possible to, by all appearances, be very good in doing this, but the real issue is the SOURCE of the plan and action.  In this case, the source was this man’s own mind/soul. 

Being “rich toward God” is entirely differentRich toward God” literally translates “rich toGod,” meaning to be rich in God’s sight, or: “to possess and be that which God finds desirable.” The “rich toward God” have an inward ownership of spiritual riches such as wisdom, understanding, and fruit.  They are those who have been given eyes to see, ears to hear and have used these senses.  They have nourished the seed of God’s Word and life in them, and are producing a crop of spiritual fruit.  The independent soul of man cannot and will not value the things God finds desirable. No amount of success in any plan or goal which came from one’s own reasoning will survive the testing fire of God, thus the result will be “poverty toward God!”  We have to be so careful and diligent on this issue, because the transition from soul to spirit/Adam to Christ is not instant or easy, and many in their blindness continue to walk foolishly and will lose everything they worked for.

If we want to follow Jesus, we MUST NOT live from and according to that life and realm which is done away in Christ,1 which God has no desire for or dealings with.  Again, this can be called many things with fair accuracy: the old man, the carnal/fleshly/natural mind, the Adamic nature, soul, ego, self, natural life. This is the realm which in Christ has been done away, and what we must continue to reject.  It’s this we are to be set free from.  There is no other option – to follow Christ’s way requires rejection of self/flesh/Adam/soul/carnal mind/”reason.”  Jesus said so himself.  To persist in blindness and carnality, no matter one’s behavior or beliefs, will result in the loss of everything.

I think everyone is either storing up treasure from and for themselves, or coming to possess spiritual wealth in God’s eyes by seeking His word, heeding it, and humbling themselves (in other words, by following the way of Jesus).  If you sense truth in this, sincerely ask God to lead you to true wealth and seek Him diligently.  Repentance is always step #1, and it’s simply changing your mind to conform to what God is showing you by revelation.  I am leaning towards making a part 3 sometime in which I look at the famous teaching Jesus gave immediately following this parable, which makes more sense when you keep this parable in mind.  Maybe I’ll do so in a video.  I hope this blog is something the Spirit of God can use.  God bless you.

 

1. 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Rich Toward God, Pt. 1

 

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The words of Jesus are unparalleled, just as Jesus is unparalleled.  They are the foundation for those who would follow him. Everything else, including bible verses, must be filtered through his teachings.  If we are building our walk and understanding on the teachings of Paul, Peter, popes, pastors, presidents, preachers, or anyone else, we’re mistaken.  I would like to look at one of Jesus’ parables.

Luke 12:15-22 NAS77 And (Jesus) said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” (16) And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a certain rich man was very productive. (17) “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ (18) “And he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. (19) ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ (20) “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ (21) “So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (22) And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on.

I am convinced every parable of Jesus has an ultimately spiritual meaning and application. Therefore, I don’t think he is really concerned with whether people store grain up or not.  His concern is much deeper – where our awareness is and the source of life we are drawing from.  (More on that in a bit).  It’s very important to notice the very first thing this man does – he begins reasoning to himself.This literally translates he reasonedwithin himself.” Then, he begins consulting his own “soul” (self) for guidance. These two actions underlie the whole meaning of this parable.

I realize that reason and self-consultation may seem harmless enough in the eyes of man, but spiritually, these things are absolutely fatal. Remember, in Romans 8 and elsewhere, Paul taught that the carnal mind (our natural, rational, non-spiritual mind) is hostile to God, and can’t know Him.  Consulting his non-spiritual, carnal mind for guidance was this man’s fundamental error, leading directly to his demise.  What’s scary is he seemed to think he was being wise, having no idea he was off track at all. 

Because God sees spiritually and men see fleshly, many who profess to believe in Christ have been occupied with the wrong problems and ignorant of one of the fundamental problems, which is fairly simple: our fleshly mind and natural life, whatever form they take, are at enmity with God, period.  Behavior and correct beliefs are secondary issues at best. What matters to God is the substance being presented to Him; flesh or spirit, Adam or Christ, shadow or reality, tradition or truth, reason or revelation, pretense or humility.  Jesus makes it very clear the rich man is aware of and living from his blind carnal mind and soul, which is the “old” God now has no dealings with.This man’s wealth reminds me of Revelation 3:17, where Jesus summarizes the Laodicean church’s attitude as: “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing…”  But where man sees wealth, God sees destitution.

Immediately before telling this parable, Jesus gives a warning which also has to do with this parable’s meaning: Beware, and be on your guard against all covetousness; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”  Here’s an alternative translation: Be seeing, (requires spiritual light/revelation and rejection of the fleshly mind) and be guarding against all covetousness, because abounding life doesn’t come from the things one possesses.” Covetousness = a desire to have more. In verse 18, this man decides to build bigger barns to store up his “grain” and “goods.” I think these represent whatever our soul takes pleasure or finds security in. Perhaps “grain” specifically represents material possessions (food, money, houses, etc), while “goods” represent the good works we do which we feel endear us to God and ensure our place in heaven. The human soul is very fearful. Consulting his soul brought a fear of lack, leading to covetousness, leading to blindness, which led to a hard heart and being cut off from God’s spiritual, eternal, vibrant life.  What is more valuable than that?  This is why Jesus warned not to connect possessions and “life.”  In reality, they have nothing to do with each-other. 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Source of Corruption and Source of Love

“…He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2 Peter 1:4)

“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)

I noticed something striking as I read the passage from 2 Peter above.  In it, Peter actually tells us the source of the corruption in the world and how one can escape it!  I’m not claiming to fully understand or explain everything contained in that verse, I just want to show you some things that became clearer as I looked at this passage closer, some things I think will be quite helpful.  Understanding, I believe, is a prerequisite of manifestation. 

The corruption in the world has come, we are told, by means of “lust,” which is translated from the underlying Greek word epithumia.  Today we often associate lust with sex, but epithumia is more broad, essentially meaning “craving or passionate desire.”  It usually, but not always, refers to a craving for something forbidden or self-serving.

“Corruption” in scripture broadly refers to everything outside of God’s kingdom, because ultimately, everything outside of God’s kingdom will be destroyed.1  (I think that in a very real sense, even now God only “sees” those things that are part of His kingdom, but that’s another issue).  Everything of this physical world, as well as everything that has it’s origin in the heart and mind of man, apart from the spirit of God, is corruption.  It is all passing away.

In 2 Peter 1, I believe corruption is referring specifically to the nature of man, which has been fearful and self-preserving since Adam’s disobedience, and which violates Christ’s law of love.   This corrupt nature gives rise to all variety of self-serving desires (lusts) within man, and these desires lead to all sorts of wickedness, oppression, deceit, inequality, fraud, callousness, and abuse. 

The opposite of this corrupt nature is the divine nature of love, which is entirely unselfish.2 Love is the antidote for the corruption that manifests in our lusts.  If one is walking in love, one won’t be craving things that are outside God’s kingdom.  The good, useful, and pleasant things of this earth which the world lusts after are seen by those with God’s love as tools to be used or gifts to be enjoyed with thankfulness.  Walking in the love of God leads to one’s awareness set on  God and the spiritual realm, one’s desire to further His kingdom, and one’s heart to delight in the beauty and worth of spiritual things of God Himself such as love, mercy, faith, hope, peace, glory, kindness, and truth.  True love brings contentment in serving God in spirit, no matter what one’s situation is on earth. 

So, if love is so important, the question is: how does one get love?  There’s never a “do this” answer to spiritual questions, and spiritual things are never owned or possessed like some commodity.  Genuine love is always produced naturally, meaning without effort (though not without suffering).  Love is produced within you only as the one who is love manifests in you.  As your selfish, corrupt “Adamic” source of life diminishes (you die), by grace (God’s influence upon you), through faith (revealed truth), you are able to possess and express more of the new source of life, which is Christ himself and full of love (you are saved).  Love becomes your nature when Christ is revealed in you, and it grows progressively as his life is progressively revealed in you. 

This process happens as in our spirits (not our minds) we come to truly know, see, and apprehend what God has done in Christ and how God now sees us – having died and risen with Christ.  I believe God grants this “knowing” and “seeing” to those who are humble and desperate.  Scripture refers to the power that makes spiritual reality known as “light.”  This light, scripture says, is to dawn and shine in our hearts,3 making the promises of God real in our experience.  Peter rephrases this same idea in 2 Peter 1, stating we are to become “partakers of the divine nature,” i.e. the nature of love!  To partake of the divine nature actually means to have the same nature as God, to share in His life, to be one of His very kind, in the same vein as Jesus Christ himself.  Being separated (“having escaped,” 2 Peter 1 puts it) from the lust and corruption found in the lusts of our Adamic nature is simply a byproduct of this process.  In this season, this is what it’s all about.  

 

  • 1. 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, Hebrews 12:26-27
  • 2. 1 Corinthians 13:5
  • 3. 2 Peter 1:19, 1 John 2:8
 
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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Moses to Christ = Shadow to Substance

“Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”  -Hebrews 3:5,6

I’d like to expand on the meaning of this passage a bit.  Warning!  Rabbit trail immediately ahead, skip the portion in parenthesis if you wish.  (I realize that to some, it seems  pointless to examine the Greek meanings of Biblical words and phrases, but this isn’t always the case.  When I look at the Greek, I do so for one simple reason – I want to know the meaning that was being conveyed by the author!  There are many great English translations, but none are without any deficiency.  I prefer more literal translations, but I have also learned that a strict, literal interpretation from Greek to English might not make much sense unless you approach the text spiritually, which many translators didn’t.  In reference to the King James Version, I’ve heard it said that those who translated the text were “more interested in translation than in truth,” and priority number one for most translations is to make the text readable.  While this is understandable, it is also a problem if an awkward or strange literal meaning was conveying a spiritual truth.  This is just one example of why looking at the Greek can be useful). 

Notice that Moses was a faithful servant (meaning attendant) in God’s house.  It’s hard to overstate the importance of Moses’ role in regards to God’s plan for the Israelites of his day.  In Hebrews, Moses is basically being considered as the old covenant equivalent of Christ. Moses was THE go-between for God and all of Israel.  The Israelites actually said to Moses: “speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”2  Moses carried out this duty very well, and in Jesus’ day, Moses was still given the highest place of honor short of God Himself.

This is well and good, but Moses is long dead and most believers know (to an extent) that we aren’t under the law of Moses anymore.  So why would the author of Hebrews, who understood the new covenant very well, give such attention to Moses?  The reason is stated in the passage above: Moses’ ministry was for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later…”  This means God had a greater purpose behind Moses’ ministry.  All the laws, regulations and commands God gave to and through Moses were intended primarily to be a “testimony” – a physical, earthly representation – of this greater, ultimate spiritual purpose and reality which was to come thousands of years later in Christ.  In fact, all of the Old Testament stories, laws, and rules, (many of which seem strange and pointless), served this purpose in one way or another.  Amazing, isn’t it? 

Here’s the main contrast: Moses = attending servant in God’s house. He had no claim to rulership or authority over the house, he just was a faithful servant in the house. Jesus = son over God’s house (which consists of true believers!) Jesus had authority and rulership over God’s household which Moses never had.  Remember, Moses = servant, Jesus = son.  In a household, a servant, no matter how faithful and valuable they are, can never reach a status higher than a guest.  A son (or daughter) are and will always be a part of the household, an heir, an equal.  Jesus came to bring this transition; bringing carnal, law-aware servants into adoption as God-aware, spiritual sons.  He came to bring those who followed the shadow (the physical law of Moses) to those who possess the substance (spiritual reality).  It’s as stark a contrast as that between a reflection of an object and the object itself, or a drawing of a house and the house itself.  With the exact same thing in mind, John wrote: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”3  Paul wrote of this also, at length.4

Having laid this foundation, our passage states we are members of, participants in, and the very building materials of the house of God, “if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”  There always seems to be a pesky “if,” and we better not ignore it.  Having looked closely at the Greek, here’s what this means: “We are of God’s house if we seize and refuse to let go of the truth of the (radical) freedom of our sonship as well as the glorious rejoicing we have in the expectation of all that is given and promised, until these things fully mature within us and we take ownership of them.”  Amen!  I encourage you to re-read and meditate on these things, and look at the scriptures I referenced.  God bless you. 

  1. Hebrews 3:5,6
  2. Exodus 20:19
  3. John 1:17
  4. Primarily in the book of Galatians. Perhaps most clearly in 4:1-7.
 
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Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Alienated from Life

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart…”1

For several reasons, I’d venture to say that few church-goers have really examined this passage. But it really jumped out at me recently and I knew I had to look at it closer.  Paul prefaces this statment by saying he is “testify(ing) in the Lord.”  I was surprised to discover that in all his writings, this is the only time he uses this phrase!  I believe this means that what Paul is about to say is something extra pressing upon God’s heart, something he is especially concerned we hear.  Here it is again:

“…ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart…”1

A “walk” is a common idea in the New Testament, which refers to one’s manner of inward and outward life.  Many “walk” based on a mind and understanding that is vain and darkened, and the terrible outcome of this is being “alienated from the life of God.”  As I wrote about in my last post, God’s life, which is in Jesus Christ, is the only means of our salvation.  If we are alienated from this life, we cannot produce anything of value to God and cannot be “saved.”  This is actually very sobering. 

If you look closely, a “hardened heart” seems to be the root cause of this alienation, so we must be careful to understand what that is.  The “heart” could be said to be the core of one’s being where information is processed and where beliefs and ways of perception are formed and established.  The word “hardening” here literally translates “covered in a callous,” thus meaning impenetrable and unresponsive to stimulation.  In a nutshell, a hardened heart is a mindset that cannot receive or incorporate spiritual revelationThis is what God is primarily warning against

Check out these verses as well:  “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”2 

“And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?”3 

Christianity has perpetuated the mistaken notion that a hard heart is a lack of compassion.  This mistaken idea has taken root because our natural mind ALWAYS dumbs down deep, spiritual concepts in order to deal with them using the non-spiritual intellect.  What’s scary is many pious and well-behaved Christians unwittingly have hardened hearts; they cannot and will not receive anything that doesn’t fit in with their current understanding.  If you’ve been around Christianity very long, you’ve probably seen this.  Don’t forget this sober warning is given to believers.  Similar terms used in scripture are “stiff-necked,” “uncircumcised in heart,” “deaf,” “blind,” “stubborn” and “foolish.”   

I hope we comprehend how important this is.  Adherence to rigid doctrines and creeds is so dangerous, because they tend toward hardening our heart and alienating us from God’s life!  Also mentioned in this passage are ignorance (absence of knowledge/perception) and a darkened understanding.  Both are results of a hardened heart.  A darkened understanding is very simply an understanding that is without a basis in (spiritual) reality as exposed by “light,” which is always used in scripture to represent inward, spiritual revelation and truth from God.  Just as natural light exposes and reveals things, so does spiritual light.  In the spiritual realm, only what is revealed by light is properly called “truth.”  We see much evidence of this in scripture, including Jesus saying “I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness,”4 and Paul writing “…all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”5   Let us seek God’s light to shine on us and be brave enough to admit our absolute need for it.  I hope some light is dawning within us right now.  Let’s ask Him to teach us, seek to learn His voice, to rely opon Him.  God, who is Spirit, will do it.  It’s a process.

I want to look at the rest of this passage next time, which looks at the other side of the coin, focusing on what TO do instead of what NOT to do.  

  • 1. Ephesians 4:17,18 ASV
  • 2. John 12:40
  • 3. Mark 8:17
  • 4. John 12:46
  • 5. Ephesians 5:13-14
 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Reconciliation Before Salvation

“And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” 1

I think about Christianity quite a bit, the way it thinks and works.  I grew up in it and my thinking was greatly influenced by it.  Over the past several years, I’ve been re-learning and coming to fresh understandings by being taught by the Spirit of God Himself.  1 John 2:27, quoted above, is therefore a verse that means a lot to me.  It’s been a delicate and amazing process.

My observation is that Christianity has stopped pursuing truth and therefore been unable to change, grow, and follow God.  Change is often uneasy and costly.  For example, in many cases, if a pastor of a typical church were to make a significant or fundamental change, even if this change were toward the truth, it could very well result in the loss of the only livelihood he has ever known.  For others, turning toward the truth could mean being ostracized or persecuted by their own family.  These things are too costly for many to accept.  As a result, the average Christian who is content to follow his/her pastor  is rarely exposed to new, deep or uncompromised truth, and if they are, it seems foreign and strange.  Thus, many christians live their entire lives in a largely stagnant state.

As I’ve said before, probably the primary doctrine of focus in all of Christianity, one that is incessantly proclaimed, is “salvation.”  At it’s core, the common teaching of salvation is that through Jesus, we can be rescued from eternity in hell, promised eternity in heaven, and enter into “relationship” with God.  Salvation is said to be what all the “lost” people in the world need.  In the interest of brevity, I want to look at only one scripture that gives a better understanding of what salvation truly is.

“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” 2 

There are two main concepts here: reconciliation and salvation.  Tragically, concepts like these are all too easily glossed over as vague “christianese” terms, and their sharp distinctions are lost in the gloss.  In reality, these concepts are incredibly important, being purposes and results that intertwine with both the death and life of the Son of God!  

Allow me to point out a few things from this verse.  What the “lost world” needs is reconciliation, not salvation.  The enemies of God were reconciled to him by the death of Jesus Christ.  The word reconciliation has to do with an exchange; in this case an exchange from being an estranged enemy to being part of the “household of God” and at peace. 3  Reconciliation, at least in potential, is what was accomplished by the death of Jesus Christ at the cross.

It’s believers, who have already been reconciled, that need to be saved!  The agent of our salvation is the life of Jesus Christ.  How so?  We are progressively saved as the life of Jesus Christ, his spiritual nature, grows and matures within us, and our natural life diminishes.  That is salvation.  Multitudes of scriptures allude to this, and once you understand more of what salvation is, they make more sense. 4 Salvation is not an entirely future event or something you have right now, it’s a present unfolding process wherein the life of Christ grows within you and the influence of self, your natural life, diminishes.5  Isn’t that something you need?  No matter how good your behavior, it’s something we all need.  God doesn’t desire well-behaved believers, He desires wise sons who are filled with the same life that His only begotten son was filled with.  Without that life, the best-behaved among us are simply “whitewashed tombs;” nice on the outside, but spiritually dead inside.5

  • 1: 1 John 2:27
  • 2: Romans 5:10
  • 3. Ephesians 2:19
  • 4. Colossians 3:3-4, 2 Timothy 1:1, 1 John 5:11, 2 Corinthians 4:11, 2 Timothy 1:10…
  • 5. 1 Corinthians 1:18, Philippians 2:12, Matthew 24:13…
  • 6. Matthew 23:27
 
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Posted by on December 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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