Last night I tossed and turned worrying about today because today is one of those days that I have a lot to do. But at 7:07 this morning, the Lord placed within my spirit how to conquer my worries with a perfect plan…in just seconds!!!

Now had I consulted the Lord prior to my journey down worry lane, I would have been blessed with a good nights sleep, but I didn’t and I suffered

I’m telling you this because if you’re like me, we tend to worry about things and forget to place them in Jesus hands. He knows all about us and He said in His word, He loves and cares about us. So today, starting right now, let’s commit to laying down our worries and committing ourselves to Jesus. My night of worrying was calmed in seconds by Jesus…it literally took Jesus seconds to calm my storm and He can do the same for you; if you allow Him

May the grace of God keep you and the love of Christ Jesus forever rest upon you from this day forth!…Amen

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To many times, we change who we are to get the attention of others, but not with God!

God loves you for who you are. Not for what you do. Not for what you possess and not for where you live. Those things do not concern Him.

When He created you, He created you in His love and no matter what you do, say or become, He will always love you for you, so you don’t have to change to impress Him or get His attention…He’s already aware of who you are and He already loves you for you!

May the grace of God keep you and the love of Christ Jesus forever rest upon you from this day forth!…Amen

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Wanting to Die…

kill me

God please kill me! Take my life and let me die!

Do you ever wish God would simply kill you? Do you sometimes feel so tired of this life that you wish God would end your life, or that perhaps you wish you were never born? If so, you aren’t alone.

Many people in the world go through periods where they crave death. This life can be so difficult. Losing a loved one, experiencing career trouble,  financial loss, relationship problems, health issues, and more can make you feel as if you want to die. Life can sometimes seem as if it has nothing more to offer us, and that our only hope of peace is to exit this corrupt world.

God Please Kill Me–People In the Bible Who Wanted to Die

It may surprise you to learn that some of the biggest “Bible greats” also had moments where they wished death upon themselves. After Moses risked his life to free the Israelites from Egypt, they all began grumbling and whining against him for some meat. This bothered Moses so badly that he said to God:

Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”

-Numbers 11:13-15

In the book of Job, we see that after Job is stripped of his health, family, and wealth– he laments and curses the day he was born:

Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

–Job 3:11

And Elijah, after embarking on a mission from God, finds himself so depressed that he utters:

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.  So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the Gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there,  while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die.

“I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

1 Kings 19:1-4

And even Jonah, after being swallowed by a great fish for 3 days, and preaching to the city of Ninevah, became frustrated that the city repented and was able to avoid God’s wrath, he wishes death. The story reads:

Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
–Jonah 4:5-11

Wanting to Die and Leave This World

Just from those Bible verses alone, it is quite easy to see that even the greatest prophets in the Bible had moments of despair. They all had moments when they threw up their hands and said, “God please kill me! Take my life and let me die now. I’m done with this pitiful life and this corrupt world. I have no reason to live!”

I think it is a natural human response that when life is overwhelming, we want to give up. We want to press an “exit” button and simply shut down, and terminate our lives. And when we turn on the news and see children molested, women raped, people murdered and chopped into pieces, alleged criminals avoiding jail, haters of God and immoral acts, and more–this world can look pretty hopeless and disgusting.

But we are all here for a purpose, and all things will eventually play into God’s sovereign plan. Just as God had purposed the men above, he has also purposed you in this life. Sure, Moses had a moment where he wished death, but he marched on to fulfill God’s plan for his life, and is now considered one of the greatest Bible prophets of the old Testament.

Job lost his health, wealth, and family, but was blessed by God and eventually got double of everything he lost previously (except for his kids, because he will be with them in heaven). Elijah may have had his moments of despair, but he eventually rides into the heavens in a whirlwind on a chariot of fire and is referenced as one of the great prophets. And Jonah, despite wanting to die after going through so much effort, was able to save a city of over 120,000 with his preaching.

Do You Wish God Would Simply Kill You Too?

Yes, life gets tough. I have found myself praying for God to kill me as well at some of the low points of my life (and trust me–I’ve had plenty of them). But I am always glad He didn’t listen. I imagine that the prophets above were also glad God didn’t listen, as they would have never experienced a greater reward later had they taken an early exit.

When you feel as if you want to die, remember that great men (and women) have felt the same way you have. People who went on to change the world felt exactly like you at times.

Just like Job, you may lose it all one day–your health, your wealth, and even loved ones. But don’t give up–one day you may have double. Like Joseph, you could be imprisoned in a strange land one day as a slave, and sitting as second in command to a powerful nation the next.  You may be sent out of Egypt as a murderer on the run like Moses, and leading a nation to freedom years later.

In all things, never forget that God has a divine plan, and we are all partakers in His sovereign ways. And when the ways of this world get you down, look up to the risen Christ and know that God always keeps His promises, and that one day it will all be worth it–just as it was for the men listed above. Whether in this world or the next, God will bless His children.

–God bless

Article by B. Page

Image by Shutterstock

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When God Writes the Blueprint For Your Marriage


Originally posted by Logos Resource Pages by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.

There is one key statement about marriage that occurs four times in the Bible. To my knowledge, this is the only statement about marriage that God includes four times in the Bible. Lets take a look at this statement

Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Matthew 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Mark 10:7-8 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

The outline for this chapter is going to focus on the three recurring statements in these verses leave, cleave, and one flesh. Since God so often repeated these things, once before man fell into sin and three times after he fell into sin, I believe Gods blueprint for marriage can be found within these verses.

Outline Gods Blueprint For Marriage

Leave — Husbands & Wives Are Directed To Leave Their Fathers and Mothers!
Cleave — Husbands & Wives Are Directed To Cleave To One Another
One Flesh — Husbands & Wives Are Directed To An Exclusive One Flesh Relationship


Husbands And Wives Are Directed To Leave Their Fathers and Mothers!

What It Does Not Mean


    1. It does not mean you ignore, abandon or forsake your parents Mark 7:9-13 makes that clear that God does not approve of this! 1 Timothy 5:4 , 8indicates a special responsibility for children and close relatives to care for the widows in the family.


  1. It does not mean that you must make a move away from the vicinity in which your parents live “Living too close to parents at the beginning of a marriage may make it more difficult to leave, but it is possible to leave your father and mother and still live next door. Conversely, it is possible to live a thousand miles away from your parents and not leave them. In fact, you may not have left your parents even though they are dead.” Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne Mack, page 1)

What It Does Mean

Once you are married there is to be a fundamental change in your relationship with your parents. Leaving your parents means


    1. The husband-wife relationship is now the priority relationship Your relationship with your parents must now take a back seat to your relationship with your spouse. In fact, all other relationships must now be secondary.
    2. It means that you are more concerned about your spouse’s ideas, opinions, and directives than you are of your parents Some times there is a power struggle between the two sets of parents. A husband and wife must be careful that they do not allow the parents to manipulate them.
    3. It means you must not try to change your mate simply because your parents do not like something about him or her.


  • It means that you are not primarily dependent on your parents for finances, affection, approval, council, etc.


Pointers For Parents

Parents, your goal should be to prepare your children to leave, not to stay. As they advance toward maturity you should train them to be independent of you, not dependent on you. Teach them to be decision makers and to manage their money carefully.

Husbands and wives make your mate your best friend, not your children. Dont become too emotionally dependent on your children. As your kids get older be sure to cultivate common interests with your mate. Learn to do things together and deepen your friendship together. Parents who make their children “their life” are in for difficult times when they leave the nest. Im not saying to ignore your children, but I am saying they should be second and your spouse should be first.

When your children have married, dont try to run their lives! Dont criticize their spouse. You must allow the husband to be the head of his home, to make decisions for himself, to look to his wife, not you, as his helper and his responsibility. You must encourage your daughter to look to her husband for companionship, encouragement, affection, guidance, etc.


Husbands And Wives Are Directed To Cleave To One Another! The Hebrew word translated cleave in Genesis 2:24 is dabaq (daw-bak’; 1692), which means to adhere, stick or be joined together. The Greek word translated cleave or join to in the New Testament passages is proskollao, (pros-kol-lah’-o; 4347), which means to glue to. Marriage glues two people together!

Look at Mark 10:7-9 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. God planned marriage to be permanent. It is a vow until death do we part! Dr. Wayne Mack says this of marriage “Marriage means that a husband and wife enter into a relationship for which they accept full responsibility and in which they commit themselves to each other regardless of what problems arise.” Marriage is an irrevocable covenant or contract to which we are bound. God is clear about that. Malachi 2:14 says; Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. (See also Romans 7:2-3; Matthew 19:8-10)

Gods kind of marriage involves a total and irrevocable commitment of two people to each other in good times and in bad times, agreements and disagreements, in joy or in sorrow, in sickness or in health.

God’s kind of marriage means that people know that they must face problems, discuss them, seek God’s help in them, resolve them rather than run from them, because there is no way out. They are committed to one another for life. They must cleave to one another today and tomorrow, as long as they both shall live. So, work at keeping your marriage strong!

  • One Flesh

Husbands And Wives Are Directed To An Exclusive One-Flesh Relationship. Becoming one flesh involves the act of marriage but is more than just that physical act. Within the bounds of marriage and only within that boundary the sexual relationship is holy, beautiful and good (see Hebrews 13:4; Proverbs 5:18-19). A husband and wife are a team. Each is to be as concerned about the other’s needs as he is about this own (Ephesians 5:28; Proverbs 31:12 & 27).

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Trusting God With No Regrets


Originally posted by Godfruits(10 Things You Will Never Regret By Putting Your Faith in God)

Put your faith in God! There really isn’t a better life to live by than by His standards! Although life can be filled with many regrets, following God’s righteous path will leave you absent from any feelings of regret. In the life of a Christian, there are some things that you will never regret doing:

1. The Art Of Praying. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

“pray continually”

Prayer is the ultimate communication tool for man and God. Spilling your heart out to your creator will not only bring you peace,  but will also strengthen your relationship with him.

2. Dedicating Your Life To Christ. (Romans 12:1)

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

When you throw away your old personality and put on this new personality – that of a Christian- you are setting a fine example for everyone around you. By dedicating your life to Christ, you are committing to living a life of purpose and love.

3. Enhancing Your Bible Knowledge (Psalms 119:105)

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

God’s Word is an vital source for each and every one of us. It enriches our lives every time we read about God.

4. Being Humble (Philippians 2:3)

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,”

 Jesus was the most humble being to have ever existed. Hailing from the highest position in the heavens, he walked among humans. Imitating Jesus will prove to bring us much benefit.

5. Loving your neighbor. (Mark 12:31)

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.””

Nothing bad will ever sprout from love. Love is the drive that motivates each and every one of us to better our lives and those around us. If we love our neighbors, no crime would be committed. Instead, we would all be striving towards living in a beautiful utopia.

6. Spreading The Truth About God. (Matthew 6:15)

“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Nothing feels more rewarding than to bring the good news to the people of the nations. We are messengers of God and will always speak about His grace.

7. Put God In Control Of Your Life (Proverbs 3:6)

“in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”

Putting God first and in control of your life will probably be the best decision you’ve ever made.

8. Resisting temptation. (James 4:7)

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

By resisting temptation, you are making yourself free from many negative consequences. Temptation leads to sin, which will poison your life. Abstaining from temptation will evade the dangers of unwanted pregnancies, STDs, and many other dangers.

9. Finding Refuge Within God (Psalms 118:8)

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.”

Taking refuge in God will prove to be comforting. If he isn’t already, he is our solid rock that will protect and shield us in our time of need.

10. Holding Fast To The Fruitage Of The Spirit. (Galatians 5)

Jesus said that his Father is glorified whenever we execute the fruitage of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control is everything we need to have in order to live long and healthy lives.

Image by Shutterstock

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When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom


If you never wonder whether God loves you, this little article isn’t for you. It’s for those of us who have hit rock bottom, right there at Jesus’ feet. We bring nothing but shame to Jesus, day after day after day. We’re the ones who have catastrophic failures in our Christian walk. It’s a wonder anyone loves us still, let alone God. We are the ones who hide our sin for a long while before stepping out into the light. No one has to tell us we are fallen people—we see the vileness of our heart everyday. And so the notion that God loves us every day, no matter what can get a bit too scandalous for our taste. It’s like hearing that Hitler’s mom was super proud of him—every day, no matter what—at the height of his power. It doesn’t feel right; it doesn’t compute so easily when you’ve met a horrible sinner in person. Especially when you wake up to see that person in your bathroom mirror. Every day. No matter what. There you are with morning breath, a sinner.

I wish it wasn’t always so hard for me to grasp the love of God, yet this is what he wants from me. He wants us to believe he exists and that loves us tremendously…still. As screwed up as we are. He is love, and he loves us.

So. Let’s all just calm down and rest in God’s love lest we run off ruining our lives trying to prove how evil we really are. Not that I’ve tried that or anything, but if I had tried that, I’d tell you that the plan isn’t a good one. Don’t try this at home, people. Trust me, it won’t feel as satisfying as you think to surprise people with how evil you can be.

In the end, no one will be surprised to know that human beings are inherently evil people with evil plans and evil plots to rule over one another. God said it many years ago and humanity’s atrocities continue to affirm this: we are a fallen people. We will all die and turn into dust bunnies. Nothing good will come of our (fallen) attempts to prove how evil or how wonderful we are. Give it up. In the end none of that matters anyway.

Nothing matters except that you choose to believe that God loves you and that he offered his son’s death in exchange for your eternal damnation. Your accepting that gift means you understand that Jesus’ blood continues to wipe your slate clean, every day. God is not caught off guard by your actions. There’s nothing you can do to make God love you any more and nothing you can do to make God love you any less. Just believe it. Every day, no matter what.

Article by Grace Biskie

Image by Shutterstock

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Lord, I’m Not Humble Enough!

prayer man

Being humble for most people brings to mind a form of weakness. If someone practices humility, it means they’re not a “go-getter” and don’t care about performance or working hard. It’s the weak one who is humble and is dependent on someone else (hopefully you sense my sarcasm). Why do you suppose the Bible has so much to say about being humble? Maybe we’ve got it all wrong and the one who practices humility is actually the strong one?

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

God cares for us. He is mighty. He calls us to humble ourselves under Him. Not because He is a controlling God that wants you to bow down to Him because you are nothing, but rather because He wants to exalt us and care for us. As we humble ourselves, that is when we truly worship Him. We’re trusting Him with what’s going on in our lives and believing He is the provider instead of ourselves.

Stop Putting Everything On Your Shoulders

I’ve noticed lately in the majority of my conversations with people that everyone is tired. We’re busy. We’re weary. We’re taking on a lot of responsibilities. We’re working hard for our families. We’re trying to attend as many social events as possible. We’re trying to pay the bills as best as we can. We’re just trying to “get by.”

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus doesn’t seem to be talking about a life that is full of anxiousness and weariness as we follow Him. He makes a point to state the exact opposite on how we can find rest in Him. He is speaking to those that labor and are heavy laden.

I can’t speak for you personally, but I know for a fact that we are all suffering from this. We are working too hard. We are thinking way too much mentally. We are putting things on our shoulders that don’t belong there. We are forgetting what Jesus said and what He has done when we feel that it’s “all on us” to get things to happen. Most of the time, we’re probably putting so much effort into the wrong things all together (I am guilty of this too).

In today’s culture, we’re told if you labor and are heavy laden then you are doing the right thing. You are sacrificing for your family and friends. You are pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and working hard to hopefully one day achieve paradise (retirement) where you get to do nothing as you live out the rest of your days. This is wrong. Don’t let culture tell you that putting everything on your shoulders is wisdom. Trust Jesus when He tells you that His burden is light.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:4-7

Trust In God’s Character

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” –Philippians 4:8

Most of the time when we don’t humble ourselves, we are really saying we don’t trust God. There are times as a follower of Christ when we forget God’s character or doubt Him. We’re told in Scripture to think on the things of God. To meditate on anything worthy of praise.

These things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, or excellent are all praiseworthy because God is all these things. You’ll never find an area of the Bible that contradicts God’s character at the end of the day and that should encourage us in those moments of doubt.

Most of all, when God gave His one and only Son for us (John 3:16), it tells us a lot about His character. That sure doesn’t seem to come across to me like a God who is a tyrant and just demands power all the time. It doesn’t seem to match up to a God that doesn’t care about us. He knew that we could only come to Him through His Son who had to suffer and die before rising again. With that perfect knowledge that only God can have, He followed through and sacrificed His Son for us. Not only does that tell us everything we need to know about God’s character, that shows us just how much He loves us.

Look At The Humility Of Jesus

Jesus is our ultimate example of humility. Out of obedience to His Father, He humbled Himself all the way to the point of death on the cross. The Bible says because of this that God exalted Him just like how it says He will exalt us (1 Peter 5:6-7).

“And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:8-11

If Jesus practiced humility Himself, then why would we think we don’t need to? Why would we consider this weakness? Even He was dependent on His Father and this was a good thing, in fact, the best thing. It was a God glorifying thing in every way. We couldn’t even have a relationship with God if it wasn’t for what Jesus did for us in the first place (John 14:6). We had to humble ourselves to trust that Jesus is King and to ask Him to be our Lord and Savior. This is no different today whether you’ve been a believer for a week or 50 years.

We still need Him in everything we do. We still need the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us wisdom in all matters. We still need help to practice things that are honorable, pure, lovely, commendable, or anything praiseworthy. We are still not capable of doing anything on our own and will never be. As soon as we begin to live in a way where we are no longer dependent on God to do everything for us, we are forgetting our first love and proclaiming what Christ did for us was not enough.

As you’re reading this, take a deep breath and let it out. It’s going to be ok. As a follower of Christ, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, I promise that you can give it to Him. This is because God’s Word is true. What Jesus did was enough. And you have the Holy Spirit and can trust Him to lead and guide you. Humble yourself and pray to God truly casting your anxieties to Him and trust that He does indeed care for you.

Article by Mike Mobley

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Breaking Your Alabaster Box


  “Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with odor of the ointment.” – John 12: 1-3

         “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:42

         “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.” – Mark 14:3

The two sisters of Bethany loved Jesus. Their home was always open to Him. Their hospitality and service of love proved irrevocably their devotion and spiritual standing. While all of this is granted, immediately on closer examination, we see a great difference in their lives. The road, so to speak, forks. The likeness changes suddenly into two dissimilar religious lives.

Martha illustrates one life. The Scriptures bring out facts about her life and conduct that find a strange response and recognition by the people who are only regenerated. Let us notice a few things said about her. “She was cumbered about much serving.” Oh, that much serving, and that heavy feeling that arises often as a consequence in the Christian life! The wrinkles and care-worn expression in many Christian faces spell the sentence “cumbered about much serving.” Her eyes were on her sister. One of the hardest things in the world for a regenerated person to do is to keep his eyes off his brother. Then her grief was increased by having “to serve alone.” This is a great trial to the soul that has not passed into the Heavenly zone of the sanctified life. Again she was “careful and troubled about many things.” Her life was full of anxiety, worry, fretting, and fear about the past, present, and future. This is true of multitudes of professed Christians today.

Mary illustrates the sanctified life. The things said about her bring out the hidden traits of her character.

1. She gave her most costly possession to Christ. Many Christians keep back the costly things. They will give of their money, but withhold their name and reputation. However, the sanctified soul feels there is nothing too good or costly for Christ.

2. Mary broke the alabaster box because she would not use it for anything else. If she had only taken the lid off, it could have been used for something else; but she made a complete sacrifice, and broke the box. When Moses smote the rock with his rod, he broke the rock, and the water poured out. Gideon’s three hundred men broke their pitchers to let out the light. Jesus broke His own body on the cross that He might save the world. So those who would have the highest Christian experience must break their boxes. You will find that the saints of all ages have had to break their boxes, and the Devil does not like that.

There are many boxes we must break, if we would receive the Holy Ghost. There is the Church box, the sectarian – the ecclesiastical box, the financial box, the social box, all of which should be broken for Him. Then you must break the box of affections. Many times the affections are set on things that are wrong. Now God does not destroy our affections or freeze them. But He gently unwinds them from earthly things, purifies, and sets them on things above.

3. Notice the fragrance. When Mary broke the alabaster box and poured it on Jesus, the house, we are told, was filled with the sweet odors. When Jesus poured out His life on Calvary, earth and Heaven were filled with the fragrance of His life. The fragrant oil which she poured out is a type of the Holy Ghost. So the Holy Ghost brings to us the very fragrance and sweetness of Heaven. There is something about the sanctified, Spirit-filled life which cannot be put into print. “It is the breath of Jesus in the heart, the vapor from the river of life, the perfume of the Rose of Sharon, the elixir of prayer. This is far more in the sight of God than all the outward hulls of religious form and teaching which only serve as the alabaster box to this divine spikenard of Heavenly love.” The holy anointing oil compounded of myrrh, calamus, cinnamon, and cassia made a most delightful odor. “But it was not as fragrant as Holiness itself. Think of perfect love, perfect peace, perfect faith, and perfect joy all poured into a purified heart. The fragrance of such a life soon steals through the home, is felt in the church, distributes itself through the community, and even goes around the world. The spices of Ceylon can be smelled leagues away at sea, but the perfume of a Holy life crosses seas and lands, belts the whole world, and even after hundreds of years is as fragrant as the first day it started forth to bless mankind.” The sweet incense consisted of select ingredients. When these were crushed and beaten into a fine powder and finally offered by fire, the sweet fragrance arose to fill the Holy place in the old tabernacle. In like manner when God takes us and breaks us and puts us through the fiery tests, it is then our prayers and tears ascend up to God as a sweet smelling savor.

Years ago a young successful preacher became rich. He was engaged to a very wealthy lady. When she became sick and died, it broke his heart. He lay on the floor for hours each day for two or three months weeping and fasting. Later he went to India as a missionary and gave away his great wealth to those people. For forty years living in a small room he served God and those people. William Taylor met him and led him into the “more excellent way.” He renounced Calvinism and joined the Arminian Methodist Church and was known all over Bombay as a devoted saint of India. God often breaks our plans and our affections that we may pour out our prayers, our love, and tears on the feet of Jesus.

4. She sat at His feet. What a picture of contentment, rest, quietness, and humility. “It was the nestling attitude of a little child sitting at a mother’s knee.”

There is a beautiful grace known as “Sanctification” which takes all worry and unrest out of the heart and deposits within a rest and peace which cannot be described. A sense of unmistakable fullness is realized. The consciousness fills one that every part of the soul and body has been reached. There is a sense of being inwardly healed, for an exquisite experience of purity is felt. The soul fairly melts with a baptism of perfect love, and through it all and in it all, the Spirit of God whispers to the soul this is sanctification.

5. She “heard His words.” What words of comfort, words of love, sweetness, and tenderness. “She sat at His feet and drank in the deep ocean meaning of His words, and gazed into the depths of His Spirit, until she was nigh beside herself with divine fervor. She yearned to give the highest possible expression of her personal love for the Master. Her act at the banquet beautifully illustrates those believers who reach the highest state of divine contemplation and those whose love becomes a burning flame.”

There is special blessing pronounced on those who have ears to hear what the Spirit has to say. Listen to the prophet Isaiah, “Hear and your soul shall live.” How simple! How sublime! “The river of crystal love flowing into my panting spirit simply by listening to the ripple of its flow. Cease your useless struggling; hush the self-noise of your self-will and heart; get quiet; listen to Jesus – only let His words float into your ears, down into your heart, and it will heal. If our entire soul will but hearken to Christ, His word will heal our soul, His voice will soften and pacify us.” Oh, to sit at His feet and like Mary of old, drink in the ocean meaning of His words.

6. Mary chose the good part. We are told “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42. Here you have the key to Mary’s marvelous life. She chose the more excellent way. The word “chosen” in the above quotation explains the difference between the two sisters in Bethany. Some would try to make it appear that the difference between Mary and Martha was a purely natural one – a mere question of temperament. This is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. This would make God unjust. No person can choose his temperament. There are three factors in every life which can make or break us: heredity, environment, and willpower. Heredity has to do with our natural birth. Environment has to do with our surroundings and associates. But, if we will make God our choice forever, we can be made a partaker of Divine Nature. Then God will work miracles in our lives. God can take a Jacob with a fallen twist in his very nature and by conquering and subduing him, change him into a prince overnight.

Notice the power of choice in some Bible characters. “Ruth and Orpah go for awhile side by side, and Orpah seems much more devoted of the two.

Notwithstanding all her kisses and caresses, Orpah goes back to her heathen people and her earthly life. Ruth, with her quiet, unostentatious manner chooses the people of God and cleaves unto her mother-in-law. Thus her whole nature moves on majestically in the line of God’s covenant and blessing, and the heir of all the promises.

The secret of Moses’ life can be summed up in one word “choice.” He was the great lawgiver and leader of Israel. It was he who went up into the Holy Mount and spent forty days with the Lord. He brought with him a perfect pattern of the tabernacle with its golden candlesticks, the golden altar of incense, the Holy of Holies with its golden ark of the covenant. Moses gave to us a set of moral codes which has affected every civilized nation on earth. But all of this dates back to one word “choice.” As he looked out over Egypt with her great wealth and pomp and glory, we are told by the Hebrew writer, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”

God seems to take a peculiar delight in showing His love to the heart that wholly chooses Him. It must be a single choice. Christ describes it in the words, “One thing is needful.” Saint Paul says, “This one thing I do.” “If there be but one thing needful, then all other things and beings are not needful. They can come or go, can smile or frown, can be for us or against us, and all the time the soul in the enjoyment of perpetual love and presence of Christ is amazingly lifted above the force and influence of them all. The trouble about many things is gone. A great contentment and indescribable satisfaction reigns within.”

7. Mary had an independent blessing: Jesus said “which shall not be taken from her.” Thank God for such a blessing. The Comforter has come to abide. The Dove of Peace spreads her wings within the inner chambers of the human heart and lifts her angelic voice with Heaven’s sweetest message “Peace be still.” We enter into a Divine Sabbath of rest and unfailing sunshine which has no end, though the earthly sun hide its face for days. Things of time and earth fail to disturb this inner repose. All through the trying hours of the day the blessing holds good like a golden lump of honey which seems to have been lodged right in the middle of the heart dripping sweetness and tenderness into all parts of the entire being as the hours of the day go by. The blessing is with us in the morning hours, and all through the day this undergirding is realized. The cares of life and the assaults of men and devils vanish as the waves split and fall to the right and left under the irresistible prow of the rushing steamer. Christ has a blessing for each of us that shall never be taken from us without our consent. We die with it in the soul, enter Heaven with it, and go through all eternity enjoying it. No one can take it from us as long as we choose to keep it. Trouble may beat upon us; tongues may slander us; riches may take to themselves wings and flee away and leave us in poverty; old age may creep into this temple of clay; but nothing shall be able to rob us of this Pearl of Great Price. It abides with us forever.

8. One more thing about Mary’s experience. The blessing came back on her own head. When she broke the alabaster box and anointed the feet of Jesus, she then wiped His feet with her hair. We see in this act that the blessing and sweetness came back on her own head. In like manner when we pour out our prayers, love, and money to bless others, the blessing to a very great extent comes back into our own lives. This will continue to draw interest as long as we live here or hereafter. In the words of a great saint I heard preach nearly forty years ago concerning the poured-out life: “The love that we pour out comes back on our own head. The love that Jesus poured out will come back on His own head. The tears you shed and the prayers you offer will come back to you. The life poured out will come back like birds coming home to roost.”

Jesus said Mary had anointed Him against the day of His burial, but Mary did not know she had done that. A child of God will often do and say things he did not intend to do. A preacher will say things under the guidance of the Holy Spirit away beyond his knowledge, and things he did not intend to say because God is dealing with the people. It is a wonderful thing to serve God. It is a wonderful thing to have the Holy Ghost in you. If you belong to God, you will write words, you will pray prayers, you will preach sermons, you will give money, you will do many things without being conscious why you are doing them. It is a wonderful thing to pray and to think and to walk and to teach and to live in the Holy Ghost. Jesus gave Mary a memorable reputation. He said, “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” It is two thousand years since this incident and Mary is still remembered by this act. God tells us that the memory of the just shall live forever.

Dear friends, God wants to give you a blessing that will transform your life. Do you know there are gifts, talents, and powers lying hidden away in your soul which will never be discovered until they are quickened by the Holy Ghost? When this takes place, oh, what praying; oh, what preaching, what unction, what power, what liberty and Heavenly anointing! Your words, looks, and manners will bless people. I trust the Holy Ghost will reveal these things to your hearts and give each one of you a Mary-like experience which shall not be taken away from you.

Article by Todd Strandberg

Image by Bravenet

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Jesus Saved Me from Black Magic and Demonic Possession


If I knew what this life would hold for me, I never would have come out of the womb. I was raised Jewish and even went to Jewish preschool. I attended temple almost 4 days a week learning Hebrew and Bible classes until the time I was 13. My entire childhood, and well into my adulthood, I have been chronically ill.

At age 13 I had a Bat Mitzvah, which is a ceremony to initiate growing children into adulthood. I spent many days at the temple, reciting Hebrew prayers and participating in Jewish festivals. I recall sitting in the temple, even as a child, thinking, ”why am I saying these prayers? I do not feel anything.”

I was abused sexually as a young child and physically as well as mentally until the time I was 17 and removed from the home. Well, I was not really removed from the home so much as I removed myself. I attempted to kill myself at age 17 and was sent to a mental hospital for 2 weeks by law. After that my older brother took me into his house where I spent under a year learning good and well how to take drugs to numb my problems.

Following this, I proceeded to a prestigious college where I engaged in promiscuous sex, which was my way of looking for love, and more intoxicating and dangerous substances. During this time, I somehow managed to stay alive and earn two B.A. degrees, one being in Religious Studies. It was here that I learned about other religions and began to be fascinated by eastern religions and in particular, Hinduism.

My debauchery continued for a solid 7 years, during the time my repeated respiratory infections and fevers never ceased. My family relations were strained as they also suffered horrible illnesses, drug addiction, gambling addictions, and too many other things to name. My grandfather was involved with the mafia and from what I was told was the originator of pornography distribution within the U.S.

In retrospect I see now that when my grandmother died in 2001 is when all the evil problems got triggered. Most people do not know that when a relative dies, their sins are passed onto the next generation. My interactions with people led me to begin to meditate and pray in Sanskrit to Hindu gods. I found myself engaged in practices like shamanism, reiki, pranic healing, and attending new age courses and anything related to religion. I also found myself mixed up with the wrong friends. One of them began to do evil magic on me. This was the beginning of my downfall.

Years progressed and by 2005, I found myself the prey of a handful of so-called ”psychic healers” who promised they could remove the evil possessing me “in the name of Jesus” and actually did witchcraft and magic against me. The entire story is contained in my book for which I am searching an agent or publisher.

This ordeal nearly killed me and led me to an Islamic Sufi healer who used more magic methods to try to remove the evil because I was ignorant that he was doing any kind of magic. All I knew was I needed it all to stop and another person was telling me they could remove it so I had to listen. Before I knew it, I was heavily involved in performing magic on my own behalf to try to counteract the evil that was done to me. The evil was the blackest and began to try to give me heart attacks and kill me. I used every prayer and method I could find. Every religion. Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam. Nothing worked. Nothing changed. This went on for years.

The evil kept on trying to kill me day in and day out. In the time between 2005-2010 I nearly died 3 times. And every day was a struggle not to kill myself. Every day was a fight for my life. My faith in God grew stronger, as my health grew weaker. I could barely walk 3 minutes. It was like I was 90 years old. Not to mention the torment psychically and spiritually that can only be understood by those who experience it. The fact I am alive at all right now to write these words is an absolute miracle.

I had given up. God had abandoned me, or so I thought, and I was going to go and live with an Indian guru because in the Hindu ashram was the only place I could somewhat function. Even talking to one person was a living nightmare in the regular world because of what would happen spiritually to me. All the evil in and around a place would enter my body and I could not stop it.

Then at the end of January a friend of mine encouraged me to go with her to see another ”psychic”. I told her no way that I would never go. After the way the last people ruined my life? Yeah right. But she kept insisting even though I kept telling her no. Finally I gave in. And what happened was the answer to countless years of prayers.

The “psychic” was no psychic at all but was a Jesus prophet who could communicate directly with Jesus and who could see all that had happened to me in vivid detail. She could see that I began being possessed by demons at the age of 2. She told me that Jesus was telling her to tell me that if I followed Him and did what she was telling me, I would get the healing I had been praying for and all the evil and torment would be removed from me. She told me that the demons knew what I was coming here to do, and that they began to attack me in the womb. But now Jesus was gathering his spiritual warriors and I was one of them.

She advised me to remove all of the Hindu items I had from my house and told me to begin to clear everything out that was ”not of Jesus Christ”. She told me that Jesus would save me from the living nightmare and it would be completed in five weeks exactly to the day.

I found it hard to believe. I had already had two others tell me the same thing who had only made my life much, much worse. Yet she was not asking or taking any money from me. This was the difference. So again I had no choice but to hear her. She was way too convincing.

A week later she gave me a water baptism as I asked God to forgive me for all of the things I did wrong knowingly and unknowingly. From that day, February 2, 2010 all of the evil began pouring out from me in the most shocking way. I went online to start to learn spiritual warfare prayers so that I could fight Satan because he was alive and well in my bedroom. I was on my own. Not one person in my area was qualified to help me.

It was the day before the five weeks was up and one evil spirit was still attached to me. But I had faith that God would not have lied to me and that the five week time frame would be the end. The night of the last day I was being attacked in my sleep as usual.

When I woke up from this attack Jesus was in front of me and the words ”destroy it” came to me. So I said this spiritual warfare prayer: “Father in the name of Jesus Christ, please remove this evil spirit from me now and destroy it.” At that moment, Jesus Christ removed it and it has never returned since. All the evil, magic demons, and even psychological trauma I suffered as a child has been removed from me. Completely.

Only God could do this work. And it was nothing that happened until I took Jesus as my Savior and let go of the past way of life I was living spiritually. It was nothing I ever wanted. I loved my Hindu way of life. It took several weeks to throw away all my Hindu religious items, but I did it and I have never looked back because I finally have the peace of mind I have been dying for so long. Now instead of controlling me, I control the demons.

It has been shown to me through my long battle that there is no other way through which these kinds of evils can be healed and removed. If you want to truly be free of the evil that is harming you, no matter if it is from magic, occult involvement, generational problems, demon possession, or other things, the ONLY way that this is going to ever happen for you is for you to accept Jesus Christ into your life and heart and repent for your past behaviors.

Long before I was led to Jesus I began a web-site at http://www.black-magic-rescue.com for other people who were suffering from demonic possession and black magic and I counseled them. Now, everyone who comes to me is guided to Jesus. Even life-long Christians can become victims of black magic and evil problems. Even those who have consulted pastors have not gotten fully healed. And most people, pastors or not, just simply do not know how to heal things like this.

Because there was nobody in my area to help me or deliver me, Jesus had to show me himself. He was and is telling me exactly what to do to heal from occult problems even months later and the information is coming directly from God and I am documenting it. Although it may not be new information to some, the information is coming directly to me from God. Since I know how the devil works because I lived with it so long, God is showing me secrets. For people who have been involved in the occult and false religions for many years, basic prayers are not enough. The prayers need to be specific. I know now that everything I have gone through will enable me to help others in a very rare way.

There are many people from all over the world including Pakistan, Africa, and India where black magic is very prevalent. And they can easily find my web-site and get the help they need. And even those who will not immediately take Jesus as their savior, at least I plant a seed and hopefully God will move on them one day in the near future.

I am grateful that God has provided me the web-site and the ability to reach out to others from all over the world.  It truly is a highly effective medium.

May Jesus save every person who is suffering in this world from evil problems.

Article by BlackMagicRescue

Image by Black Magic Spells

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Satan Told Me to Kill Myself


I had basically a normal happy childhood, with caring parents who loved 
us. I had no teaching though about salvation, or how to know the true God of 
the bible. My parents left that up to the catholic church. I spent half of 
my school years in catholic schools, and half in public schools. I was a 
quiet kid, and did not speak really unless spoken to.

  I had an older brother and sister, and I was the youngest for 8 1/2 years. 
Then my parents had another child. I was used to getting a lot of attention, 
and that quickly changed. Of course, the new baby needed more time and 
attention than me, but I felt rejected, I did not understand it all. I felt 
like my parents did not love me as much anymore. It was at this point in my 
life, I started becoming depressed quite frequently, and as time went on, I 
felt happiest when alone. I started to feel uncomfortable around family 
members, feeling like an outsider, and always felt like I was a burden to 

  Later on in my childhood, I accepted the idea that I must just be a bad 
kid. I noticed that I did not enjoy being around my little brother, like the 
rest of the family did. Then I started having evil thoughts come into my 
mind about physically hurting my brother. This always made me sad and 
depressed. Because, I did not want to hurt him, I wanted to love & enjoy him 
like everyone else. At this time I didn't know much about Satan and how he 
works to destroy anyone he can!

   As a teenager I was rebellious, I dove into a life centered on myself, 
and seeking pleasure. I smoked cigarettes, and chewed tobacco. I looked at 
as much pronography as possible, magazines mostly, but some XXX movies. I 
smoked pot, took acid, snorted cocaine, and drank acohol heavily. I listened 
to the most evil heavy metal music available (Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, 
Iron Maiden, Motley Crue to name a few). I lived mostly for sex, drugs, and 
rock n roll. It was my god at the time, and my savior for a short while (it 
was actually, leading me quicker to my destruction). It was in these 
rebellious teenage years, that I started having thoughts about killing 
myself. I was afraid to do it, but it happened so much (thoughts), that I 
believed it was probably only a matter of time. I always daydreamed about 
people coming to my funeral, or how they would react when they found out I 
died. Would they cry? Would they say good things about me? By their
reactions did they really love me? I didn't really feel like living, but I 
certainly didn't want to die either. At this point of my life I basically 
felt unworthy of anyone's love.

  Sometime during my late teen years, or early adult years, I started a new 
plan.I decided being mr. nice guy, would eventually make me happy, and solve 
all my problems. I tried to [be] everything to everybody. That was mission 
impossible, mankind is so hard to please. This did not work, it made things 
worse, I became very anxious, very fearful and very insecure, and not to 
mention, I lost my individual personality. I got to the point where I 
couldn't even make a simple decsion without constant questioning. I was 
always worried about what others thought about me.

  My life got to a point to where I could not even converse with family and 
friends. The pressure to please (to be everything to everybody), and feeling 
like I was always on stage in front of an audience, was to much for me. I 
would even have to muster courage before calling my parents, or going 
somewhere with friends. After a while I totally dreaded talking on the 
phone, or just coming in to contact with people.

  One night I was talking to my mom & dad on the phone. I could barely 
speak, everything was forced and jumbled. I was terribly anxious, and so 
afraid to even talk to my own parents. After the terrible phone call, Satan 
made his big move to seal the deal, and get me to take my life (therefore 
sending me to an eternal hell). I started hearing in my mind, over and over, 
the same time I had evil violent thoughts running through my head.

  I was trying to fight the thoughts (power of positive thinking), but that 
was fruitless, and I was losing the battle. I stopped eating, stopped 
sleeping, and stopped basically doing anything a normal person may expect to 
do. I did a lot of pacing around in fear, not knowing what to do. Mentally 
there were no reasoning skills whatsoever, I had absoulutely no control of 
my mind and what went through it!

  I really wanted to give up, and find a way to kill myself, but everytime I 
got real close, a thought came into to my mind, that said, you could not do 
that to your family. I agreed with that thought (which I know was from God), 
but could not figure out how in the world I could live anymore. My whole 
life had been getting progressively worse year by year. If it got any worse, 
I would either totally loose my mind, hurt somebody in an uncontrollable 
crazy rage, or what I felt was the best option kill myself. I didn't know, 
but God was getting ready to give me another option. What was it? A new 
life, a brand new start through His Son Jesus Christ. Let me explain.

  On the fourth day of Satan's big offensive, I was watching t.v. I was 
futilly trying to take my mind [off] of things. I was flipping the channels, 
flipping, flipping, flipping, finding no peace, no comfort, until it 
happened! I came upon TBN (note: I do not agree with most of what they do on 
that station, but God can even use them to save someone), and a man was 
about to be shot out of a canon. I stopped to watch. After he was shot out 
of the canon, he took his helmet off, and he started talking about his life. 
He talked about he had tried just about everyway of living, but always felt 
something was missing, never had complete peace. I felt like he was reciting 
my own life's story. Then he said after so many years of looking he finally 
had found what he was looking for. I was probably literally on the edge of 
my seat at this point. He said it was a personal relationship with the Lord 
Jesus Christ. He said Jesus Christ was the only one who could fill that 
void, and make us complete. No one but Jesus Christ could do it. Not drugs, 
not pleasure, not being mr. nice guy, not family, not friends, nor anything 
in this whole world could do it, but Jesus! He told us at the end how to 

   Pray to God admitting first that I was a sinner, believe that the Lord 
Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and was raised from the dead, 
invite him into my life to be my Lord and Savior, and trust in him for my 
eternal salvation.

  It was at this point the Holy Spirit entered me, and I became a child of 
God. [After I was saved from a message I saw on TBN...
I started reading the bible every day and praying all the time. When I decided 
I better start going to church again, probably a year later, I naturally 
went back to the Catholic Church, the only church I knew. By then I had 
probably read thru the whole bible, and heard many messages about the Lord. 
When I went back to the Catholic Church, I immedialtely felt something was 
wrong, I could not articulate it, but I felt the Lord pointing out many 
errors, that they were teaching, that were contradicting His Word. 
I left that Catholic Church after about six months, 
and started going to a conservative Baptist Church.]

I am now a changed man, praise be to God alone. I do not even resemble 
the person I was seven years ago. I have a wife and two beautiful children, 
I'm happy even in the tough times, and I am full of hope for the future. I [have]
peace in all things when I realize the Lord is my shield, and that he will 
never leave or forsake me. The best thing is, the One who created me love[s] me 
and always will. He loved me even when I was His enemy. He is truly an 
awesome God!

[My parents, sister, brother, and many other 
relatives are Roman Catholics. My mom said she will never leave the church, 
but I know our God can do what is impossible for man, and save them all. 
...Hopefully if God is willing, he will use me 
to lead others to the truth which is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ of 
the KJV bible.]

  I would like to mention one last thing, that all my years going to mass 
every Sunday, going to catholic schools I never heard any gospel that would 
lead me to way of salvation. You would think that someone so desperately 
looking for a savior, would find it, if it was to be found in the catholic 
church. I love all the people in [the] catholic church, and hope they will come to 
know the truth as I have and be set free! My parents, and many relatives are 
among those still trapped in the catholic church, not knowing they are on 
the wrong path. I have written this testimony for the specific purpose, to 
let people know they cannot be saved by adhering to the teachings of the 
catholic church, or by any other fruitless way of living, but only through the 
blood of the Lord Jesus Christ!

  John 3:16
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. For 
God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world 
through him might be saved.

A servant of the Lord Jesus Christ

How has life changed since knowing Christ?

 At this time I am spending most of my time learning about the Lord, how to 
serve him, how to witness to others about him, and apologetics how to defend 
the faith against false cults (especially catholicism).  As far as spiritual 
gifts it seems like the Lord has mainly used me to be an encourager to 
brothers and sisters in the faith. He has used me to witness to a small 
number of people in word, but alot I know in action. I feel the Lord leading 
me more towards sharing the gospel boldly. I'm not where I'd like to be 
concerning witnessing boldly about the Lord Jesus Christ, but that is a 
great longing of my heart, and I know if it is the Lord's will, it will 
happen. I have a young family, 2 children, 1 three year old daughter named 
Angel, and a six month old son named Christian. The Lord also has me 
building a strong bond with my wife and children, that I know the Lord will 
use as a witness to others one day, if not even now. Again in all these 
things praise be to God that he could use a man like me! The Lord can use 
anyone if they are willing to let Him!

Peace of Christ Jesus be with you in all things,


Brother Steve

Image by Shutterstock

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