What Are You Seeing

\We’ve been called to greater works, but they are by the same pattern.

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John 5:19 – Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

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I urge you to take a really close look at the words of our Lord as recorded in our Text for Today.  You may have already discovered it, but it you haven’t you’re about to be immersed deep into one of the strongest revelations expressed in the Word of God.  Read His words closely.  He begins with, “Verily, verily.”  It’s like saying, “I tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.”  Now read further.  Jesus said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.”  Since Jesus spoke ONLY truth, these words mean eternity to me; eternal rewards, eternal judgment, eternal records.  If Jesus could “do nothing of Himself,” the as an heir of God and joint-heir of Christ, the same truth must apply to me, and for that matter, to EVERY believer.  I can truthfully say that as it pertains to the works of the Lord, “I can do nothing of myself.”  And as it was with Jesus Who said He could ONLY do what “He seeth the Father do,” so it is with me, every other man or woman of God on this planet, and every believer.  If ANY Christian, regardless of position, title, rank, or perceived authority thinks differently, it’s time to wake up.  ANY person who believes he/she can do the works of God by some other pattern is DECEIVED, and ANY person who tries to convince you of the same, he/she has him/herself become a DECEIVER in his/her own rite.

So there you have it.  What will it be?  Will we continue as we have traditionally done, or shall we make some changes.  Shall we pursue the power of God on our own terms, or shall we choose to NOT be conformed to this world, but rather to transform ourselves by the renewing of our mind so we may proves what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God?   The choice is ours.  What will it be?  As the Father sent Jesus, He has sent us.  We have been called to greater works in a different covenant than that in which Jesus walked the earth.  But the same pattern by which Father worked in, with, for, and through Jesus is the same pattern by which Father chooses to work in, with, for, and through you and me.  It’s time to change, dear saint, to doing it Father’s way.  What we hear Him say, and what we see Him do is the rule.  Not what we hear Him say through another, or do through another.  We can learn from them, but the Master is Jesus, NOW AND FOREVER.

Manna for Today – John 5:19-29; Romans 8:17; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 16:23; Romans 12:1-2; John 17; John 20:21

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As Long As I Work

This may be a very telling element in our desire to see the works of God today.

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John 5:17 – But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

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Before anything else, look at the word “hitherto.”  It comes from two Greek words, “heos” and “arti.”  “Heos” means “as far as; how long; while.”  “Arti” means “this day; here; now.”  Now take a moment and reason with me as we put all that together.  It might sound like this; “My Father works “this day, here, and now as far as, how long, and while I work.”  When we view the words of Jesus in this manner, it seems to indicate a very powerful principle.  To me it says, “As long as My Father works, I work,” AND “My Father works as long as I work.”

Think what you may, but these two thoughts are absolutely Biblical.  Here are some thoughts for your consideration.  Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father do.  In short, as long as the Father worked, Jesus worked.  Should it be any different for us today?  Jesus said Holy Spirit has come to a Helper to us.  What is it that He is to help us do?  That answer should be quite simple.  He will help us do those things that are pleasing to the Father.  And since Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all in perfect agreement with the same mind, then as long as my works are pleasing to Father, He will continue to work in, with, through, and for me to bring honor and glory to Himself.  After all, Jesus said it is honor to the Father when we bring forth good fruit.

Now my question for provocation of self-examination.  Since Father and Jesus never change, and since we are to be imitators of Jesus, my question is this.  Since Father works as long as I work, what am I doing that keeps my Father engaged in my life at the working level?  And secondly, am I aware of what Father is doing in which I need to be personally engaged?  These are two very probing and illuminating questions we can each as of ourselves.  Ask them of yourself today and every day.  Be honest with yourself about the answers.  Do what you must in your life to arrive at the truth for these two questions.  To some degree, your eternal rewards will be determined by your answers, AND your corresponding actions.  Make it a great day! 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; John 14:12-14; Mark 16:15-20; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8;    Ephesians 5:1

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Change Really Hasn’t Changed

Sometimes, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

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John 5:16 – And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

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The French have an adage that says, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.”  It means, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”  In many respects, that is a particularly poignant statement.  It is to that end that I write today.  In speaking with a friend recently, she reminded me of something she once said to her father, a life-long personal friend, that gave him quite a chuckle.  She said to him that she found it remarkable that in the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the religious community persecuted Him for doing good works on the Sabbath, but today, the religious and secular communities push their agenda on the church to keep us from doing good works on every day BUT Sunday (the church equivalent to the Sabbath).  What is the sad truth about that statement is that too many leaders in the church acquiesce to that kind of thinking, and refuse to stand up for the faith and press forward with the thinking that the good works of the church should be taking place EVERY day inEVERY place as a witness to EVERY person.  So while things seem to have changed so greatly over the centuries since Jesus walked the earth, in reality, the church still battles the same old religious spirits Jesus did.  They may be dressed differently, speak different words, and seem to promote different agendas, but in reality,  the same old religious spirits are still lurking around every corner.

My friend, it is time for the Christian community, and in particular, Christian leaders to follow the command of the Apostle Paul regarding communion. We need to judge ourselves regarding our faithful embracing of Biblical command, the example of Jesus in His earthly ministry, and the true leading of Holy Spirit.  If ever there was a time for teaching the church HOW TO BE LED BY HOLY SPIRIT, it is NOW!  TODAY!  AND EVERY DAY!  Traditions that are not in compliance with Scriptures need to be prayerfully considered, and perhaps, down to the last detail.  If we are to be imitators of Jesus, don’t you think it’s time we spoke like Jesus, acted like Jesus, taught like Jesus, prayed like Jesus, and do I dare mention, fast like Jesus?  Just a thought . . .

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; Romans 8:14

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Attention Getter

It’s difficult to communicate with people who are not paying attention. 

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John 5:14 – Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

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In the Navy, it might be called “a shot across the bow.”  An older Army term might be “firing a range finder,” or a warning shot.  What I am speaking about is “an attention getter;” something that brings one to an awareness of very near possibilities.  For Jesus, this would often take the form of healing for someone.  Once a healing had taken place, once a miracle had been performed, He usually had the undivided attention of at least SOME of the people, and usually MANY people.  Though people of first century Jerusalem were much like people of today, one element touching people of our hour is different.  Jesus ministered as a prophet under the law of Moses.  But today, it’s different; much different, and SO MUCH better.  We now minister as “able ministers” under the New Covenant.  The Old Covenant has now been fulfilled, and we minister, not as a Moses or Elijah, but as the redeemed of the Lord, new creatures in Christ Jesus, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.  And Jesus said, “the least in the kingdom of God” is greater than John Baptist, and it was this John that Jesus called the greatest prophet ever born of woman.  That puts you and me in a highly esteemed and divinely empowered class of ministers of the New Covenant.  Think of that!

So if anyone should be able to attract the attention of people long enough to see them healed and delivered, it should be the New Testament church of today.  Now once again I call to your attention the manner in which Jesus dealt with the man He healed at the pool of Bethesda.  There was such a crowd at the pool, in order to not create a great turmoil, Jesus, once He had healed the man, conveyed Himself away.  But later, after the man’s encounter with the inquiring Jews, Jesus encountered him in the temple.  At that encounter, now having the man’s full attention, Jesus speaks to him of what was evidently an issue that opened the way for destruction to enter his life.  Though Jesus did not speak to a specific matter, He said to him, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”  If we will change the world about us, we first need to get their attention.  Father has anointed and gifted us for that very purpose.  Let’s take healing, deliverance, and provision to them.  That will get their attention.  And having their attention, they will listen to the answer for their problem, and deal with the sin.  Jesus already defeated it.  It’s time for us to get busy with the work at hand and follow His pattern.  Just a thought. 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17

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Carry On!

 

Who should dictate the time and place of your testimony?

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John 5:10 – The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.

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Are you a Christian?  Has Jesus redeemed you from the curse of the law?  Have you been made a new creature in Christ Jesus?  Of course, all three questions are really the same, just stated in different terms.  If your answer is “yes,” then to whom do you belong?  You are no longer owned by Satan, sin, or sickness.  Neither do you belong to yourself.  In fact, you’ve NEVER belonged to yourself.  From birth you belong to your parents.  From birth until you reached a personal age of accountability, you were the Lord’s.  From that point until you were born again, you belonged to your spiritual father, Satan.  And from the point of the new birth until this current moment, you belong to Jesus.  So you see, you’ve never really belonged to yourself; always to someone else.  Yet how many people in the earth today see themselves as “their own person?”  I have found that my life is so much more peaceful, blessed, and enriched when I hold fast to the truth that I belong to the Lord, that He is MY Lord, and that He (either as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit) is my Savior, Healer, Provider, Deliverer, Teacher, Leader, Guide, Comforter, and so much more.  There are surely times when knowing I belong wholly to Him that I am greatly comforted in full realization that He will take care of me if I will only trust Him.

That being said, I make two additional statements.  Since Jesus is my Lord, He is IN CHARGE of my life.  And since it is by faith AND by purpose that I serve Him, I must accept responsibility that I am IN CONTROL of my life.  God NEVER forces me to do anything. That is a demonstration of His love for me.  I follow, obey, and keep His commandments because I CHOOSE to do so.  That is a demonstration of my love for Him.  And since He is IN CHARGE, it becomes my responsibility to do His will, and that includes offering forth my testimony whenever and wherever He wills and instructs.  I must also remember that my testimony is not always in words.  I may be in a place where I must not speak, but the life I live speaksALL THE TIME.  It speaks TO all, AT all times, IN every place, and that without exception.  In our Text for Today, the man carrying his bed was his testimony.  Was it lawful for him to testify of God’s work on the Sabbath?  Yes.  Therefor carrying his bed was lawful, for it was his testimony.  When you control that which formerly controlled you, you are carrying your testimony.  Carry on! 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 8:14; John 16:13; 1 John 5:3; John 14:15

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Rise Up and Walk

Perhaps greater than the WILL TO WIN is the WILL TO PREPARE TO WIN.

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John 5:8 – Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

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In working with people in the arena of leadership, I often say to them that most people I know have the will to win, but far fewer have the will to PREPARE to win.  Simply observation will demonstrate the accuracy of that statement.  In that same thinking, how many people do you know who want to be healed?  To proper?  To always live in victory?  To have true peace?  And the list could go on.  Most folks I know want all those things.  Too often, their problem in possessing them arises, not from God keeping them from such blessings, but from those same folks keeping themselves from the blessings.  They certainly have the will to have them, but alas, sadly lack the will to place and keep themselves in the place to receive and maintain them.  And this is far more common for believers than it may appear at the beginning.

Take a moment and read our Text & Manna for Today.  The readings are brief, but they paint such a vivid picture.  It is obvious that the will of God for His children is that they be blessed, healthy, prosperous, free, and victorious.  Yet such is lacking from the lives of so many believers.  But why?  Reading our Text for Today will reveal at least one of the reasons.  Look at the Words of Jesus; there is a process.  First the man was to rise up, then take up his bed, and then walk.

Certainly the person who is being kept down (by whatever device) desires to rise up.  But too many of them don’t want to take up their bed, or remove their comfort zone.  Even in sickness or poverty, people get comfortable, and people love comfort.  It should be evident from the Scriptures that your heavenly Father wants you to be comfortable, for He has given us the Comforter to abide with us forever.  But God wants our comfort to be in Him, not it our own devices.  Your bed is not your place of comfort; that should rest in Holy Spirit, and He is a mover in your life, NOT an unmoving fixture.  So when you “rise” from your circumstance, you should expect to remove the natural comfort zone.  But there’s more.  You need to “walk,” too.  In other words, when you rise from your circumstance, not only do you move your comfort zone, but you move yourself as well.  So today, my dear friend, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk.” 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; Psalm 84:11; Luke 12:32; 2 John 2; John 15:7; Mark 11:22-24;      Isaiah 54:17

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Conquer Your Enemy

When you’re knocked down, you need to do more than just get up.

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John 5:8 – Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

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In the natural world, history has proven that until an enemy is truly conquered, hostilities will not fully cease.  Whether openly, or behind closed doors, or even in the caves of the hills, a true enemy is working and devising plans to distract, disturb, and destroy their would-be conqueror.  The same is true in the realm of the spirit.  Jesus has “destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil.”  And yet, by the weakness and ignorance of a believer, that same devil can distract, disturb, and even destroy his/her life, for his sole purpose in the earth is to steal, kill, and destroy.  My friend, it is not enough to see your enemy defeated, you must see you enemy as destroyed.

Look at our Text for Today.  The cripple man had lain on his bed, whether at home, or at the pool of Bethesda for so long, that he viewed what was really a deceptive trap of Satan as his comfort zone.  I speak of his bed.  His bed, perceived by the cripple man as a place of comfort, perhaps even safety, was in reality a lure of attraction keeping him from pressing in, rising up, and moving on with his life.  Do you remember blind Bartimaeus whom Jesus encountered on the road to Jericho?  His blindness was his ailment, and aside from the alms that might be given him, his coat was his only comfort.  It was his warmth in the cold, a pillow for his head, perhaps a shield from the sun.  But when Jesus came by, he cast that aside.

And what did Jesus say to the cripple man at the pool of Bethesda?  (1) “Rise” – get up and separate yourself from your perceived comfort; (2) “take up thy bed” – take control of what cradled you in power-lessness; (3) “and walk” – get moving, for laying down, staying put, and the thinking that held you there is not where you need to be.  How about you?  What is it from which you need to “rise?”  What is it over which you need to exercise conquering dominion, that is to say, “take up?”  And where is it you need to go; what is the path you need to “walk?”  The truth stands before you, speaking those very words into your life today.  He wants you well, strong, growing, prospering, and being a blessing for His Kingdom.  “Do you want to be well?”  I know the answer, so “rise, take up your bed, and walk.” 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; Philippians 4:13; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Isaiah 54:17; 2 Samuel 22:33; Psalm 84:11; Galatians 3:13-29; Hebrews 2:14; John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

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Will You Be Made Whole?

It’s a simple question.  How will you answer it?

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John 5:6 – When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

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Oh, dear friend, I have wonderful news to share with you today.  It’s about healing, and the wonderful provision Jesus has made of it for God’s Covenant people.  I’m writing about you and me, this body of believers we call the Church, the body of Christ, the redeemed of the Lord.  I have an extreme longing in my spirit and soul that every member of the body of Christ hear, receive, embrace, believe, act upon, and live out his/her life in the fullness of health as provided by the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I am sure you are familiar with the events surrounding our Text for Today.  Take a moment to read that passage in John 5:1-17.

Jesus asked one question of the cripple man.  “Wilt thou be made whole?”  One translation says Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?”  I believe he did, but he had been so inundated with doubt, unbelief, and hopelessness for so long that when that simple question was asked of him, he could offer a simple answer.  “Yes,” would have been all he needed to say.  But the clouded, unbelieving mind will, without hesitation, attempt to cloud the minds of others just as it is.  People hate being isolated, and want to think folks around them understand their plight.  But friend, I don’t need to understand what is flooding through a person’s mind who is afflicted with cancer.  I need to keep my own mind clear and firmly fixed on the promises already established in the Word of God.  The clouded mind holds no answers of faith.  The heart filled with unbelief holds no answer of faith.  ONLY God’s Word and a heart and mind stayed on that Word embraces the answers of faith to the questions of any problem.

Let me ask you; “Do you want to be well?”  If there is sickness or disease in your body, the answer is a simple one.  I already know the real answer.  And what I want you to realize today is that it doesn’t make ANY difference what the name of the illness is, how long you’ve been afflicted by it, what doctors say the outcome can be, even hopeless, or where you are at this present moment.  You see, there is standing by you at this very moment the Healer, and this wonderful Healer Who never changes is saying to you right now, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk.”  Oh I pray you receive my words today, for they are truly words from the Lord; they are “life to those who find them and health to all their flesh;” they are “spirit and they are life.” 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; Hebrews 11:1 & 6; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; 2 Corinthians 1:20;      1 John 5:13-15; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8

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Why Wait?

A group of lepers once asked, “Why sit we here until we perish?”  Perhaps we should ask the same.

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John 5:4 – For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

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Stop for just a moment and seriously consider what I ask.  If you have a need, perhaps even a desperate need, why would you wait to receive that need met when it’s not necessary?   If you were truly hungry, why would you put off eating a nourishing meal for two days when you could have one right away?  If you were in pain, why would you put off receiving relief from that pain and the healing from the issue that caused that pain for weeks, months, or even years, if you could be remedied from that situation today?  Now think of the man at the pool of Bethesda.  He had been a cripple for 38-years.  He had been brought to the pool daily for a long time, at best hoping to be the first person in the water when it was troubled, but all to no avail.  Yet he kept coming, or had someone bring him there daily.

It is obvious that he was unaware of Who stood before him asking him if he desired to be well.  Whether he was simply blinded by years of seemingly hopeless circumstance, or was simply not aware of Whom Jesus was, we don’t know.  But when a simple question was asked, he couldn’t answer it accurately.  I have discovered that when people are generally hopeless in their own thinking, regardless of how much hope is set before them, they cling to their hopelessness rather than let go of it and embrace true hope and faith.

In training leaders, I ask them, “Why wait?” as it regards their goals and dreams.  Most people are like the farmer who is waiting for perfect weather to plant his crops.  It’s not likely to happen.  When the season; to plant comes, the farmer must get busy doing the right things in the right seasons.  In Christ, NOW is the time for action.  What do you need from the Lord?  Go to His Word.  Discover what His Word says about your need or desire.  Build your faith on what His Word says.  When you have faith developed on His Word, the time to receive you need or desire is NOW.  You don’t need to wait for an angel to show up.  They’ve already been sent forth.  You need to act on your faith, NOW!  Angels have already been assigned to carry out God’s Word when it is spoken in faith.  Gifts of the Spirit are great, but they only work as Holy Spirit wills.  Faith in God works any time you put it to work.  Do it NOW!  Why wait?

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; Hebrews 11:1 & 6; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; 2 Corinthians 1:20;      1 John 5:13-15; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8

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Let It Be

God is ALWAYS good, and ALWAYS right.  When He speaks, we should agree immediately.

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John 5:2-3 – Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.   In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

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Again today I consider the “pool of Bethesda,” or as Bethesda interpreted would say, “house of kindness, or mercy.”  The word “kindness” means “to make one’s self useful; to act benevolently,” and “mercy” speaks to the matter of demonstrating compassion.  But rather that considering how what it was CALLED was really not what it WAS in function, let us consider what we must do to be demonstrably accurate by BEING WHAT WE ARE CALLED.

When a statement pleased the king of medieval times, one would likely hear him say, “So mot it be,” or something very similar to that.  The word “mot” was derived from the French, and it means “word.”  What the king was saying was, “According to the words that have been spoken, so let it be.”  So today, let us consider briefly WHO and WHAT the Lord calls us.  We, the church, individually and collectively, are     (1) the body of Christ; (2) the family of God; (3) the head and not the tail; (4) above only and not beneath; (5) lenders to many nations and not borrowers; (6) a house of prayer; (7) lively stones; (8) heirs of God; (9) joint heirs with Jesus; (10) lords & kings over whom Jesus is Lord and King; (11) prophets & priests; (12) ambassadors for Christ; (13) Christians [anointed ones]; (14) sons/daughters of Jehovah God; and I could go on.   I believe it is important that we recognize where we presently stand in order to accurately journey to where we need to go.  Where we, as a rule, generally stand, presently, is short of the mark the Lord has established for us.  Where we are going is to that place in which we are recognized for what He has already called us; what He has already said we are.  So let us not tarry where we are, but rather strive to stand, walk, and live in that place of recognition to which we have been called, to which we belong, and of which our God has already made us partakers.  As one song writer so eloquently penned, “Let the church be the church.  Let the people rejoice.  For we’ve settled the question; we’ve made our choice.  Let the anthems ring out; songs of victory swell.  For the church triumphant is alive and well.”  LET IT BE! 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 12:34-37; Romans 3:4; Psalm 119:89;     Isaiah 55:11; Deuteronomy 28:1-14

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