Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Mar 20 2018

He Who Has An Ear

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches…” Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22 and 13:9)

This is a sentence that is repeated seven times in the book of Revelation. The word “hear” is used in the book of Revelation eleven times. Eight of those times, it is used in the sentence quoted above. That would lead us to believe that the word “hear” and the sentence quoted above are very important. So, let’s explore them.

The word “hear” in Revelation is the Greek word akouo, pronounced ak-oo-o. It translates “to hear” in the English. Depending on the context, it can mean “give audience of”, “come (to the ears)”, “shall hear”, “be reported” or “to understand”. Some of the meanings are also determined by the ending placed on the word. In the Greek, the ending on the word tells us whether it is a male or female or a group doing this. The context completes the rest.  However, this does not always come through in the English language.

In the case of the word “hear” in Revelation, it means to give an audience and understand or, more succinctly, to comprehend what is said. The idea in the context of chapters 2 and 3 is to hear what is said, take it to heart and do it. Each church is given this encouragement, because the situation of each church is different. And yet, the admonishment is the same for every one of them.

Next is the idea that the Spirit of God is talking to these churches. In John 14, we are told that one of the tasks of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin. Another is to remind what Jesus has said. What the Spirit is saying through John is for us to pay attention to what is being addressed, repent of any sin and then act on what we are called to do.

If you read chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, you will find that Jesus addresses a number of issues in the church. If there are issues in a church, that are also those same issues among its congregants. That is because a church is not the building. It is the people in the building.

John says that those who read Revelation will be blessed by it. Since we are clearly living in the last days, it is a good idea to do that reading so that we can be blessed, as well. After all, Jesus came and died on the cross to open up the relation between us and His Father in heaven. Should we not walk through that opening and be fully blessed by what Jesus says and did?

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References:

Revelation 1:3: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

Mar 17 2018

Your First Love

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. (Revelation 2:4-5)

Have you ever wondered what happened to the enthusiasm and sense of joy that you had when you first came to the Lord? Maybe it happened when you realized that you approved of something that you would not have a year ago. Maybe the realization came to you when you were examining yourself before receiving communion during a church service. (2 Corinthians 13:5) However it occurred, it greatly disturbed you.

Jesus addressed this very issue when He had the apostle John write to the church at Ephesus as quoted above. He was concerned because, in the course of all their activity on His behalf, they had lost track of the close personal relationship they had with Him.

It is clearly the wisdom of God that this was put in the Bible, because this is a common occurrence among Christians. I have experienced this myself more than once over my nearly 60 years as a believer in Jesus. Every time that it has happened, I was very disturbed about it. So, what can be done about it? Jesus gives us three things to do.

First, remember the height from which you have fallen. Take some time to think about how your came to Jesus and how you responded. I remember wanting to spend as much time with Jesus as I possibly could. I remember wanting to read His word, especially the gospels, because they contained the things Jesus did and said while on the earth. I remember praying to be more like Jesus.

The second thing Jesus tells us to do is to repent. This means to stop the process of drifting away and turn back toward Jesus again. In another place, Jesus tells us how to do this. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)  How did we do this in the beginning? That is why He tells us to remember the height from which we have fallen.

This brings us to the third thing Jesus told us, to do the things we did at first. When we remembered, we recalled those things. So, that means that we have to re-prioritize our lives so the time becomes available to do the things we did at first. When we first received Jesus, we gladly did those things and we automatically altered our schedules to accommodate our new found relationship with Jesus.

Jesus said something else in John 14:28. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The process of returning to your first love is aided by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus gave Him to us upon His ascension into heaven. (John 14:16 with Acts 1:4-5) Stay in the Word of God and let the Holy Spirit guide you in restoring your full joy in your relationship with Jesus.

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References:

2 Corinthians 13:5: Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?

John 14:16: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

Acts 1:4-5: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Mar 4 2018

Seeing Beyond the Noise

II Corinthians 4:17-18

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Today we live with 24×7 news on TV and cell phones which keep us busy with text, emails and…..calls.  We deal with the stresses of our everyday lives on the job, in our finances, our health and in our families.   People will attempt to escape with through their computers, radios and IPODS and often are led into slavery by the content & many temptations with its sexual and violent content (II Corinthians 11:3).   There is an overstimulation of our senses with the temporal creating a lot of noise which can easily blind us to that which is taking place in the unseen (II Corinthians 4:4).

There is an enemy that seeks to lead you astray by distraction even by “good things”. Like an invading army he wishes to occupy your mind with anything but the truth and promises of our Lord Jesus Christ.   He wishes to keep your eyes on the things of this world and not the things of God which are eternal (Colossians 3:2), shortchanging you of that which has true meaning and that which lasts.  Ephesians 6:12 tells us that there is a war going on for your soul.  Satan’s desire is to conquer and control your thought life building up strongholds of doubt and fear in places where the Word of God should reign with the certainty of all His hope and promise (II Corinthians 10:3-5).

God is Spirit and unseen to the natural eye (I Timothy 1:17).  Yet He is alive and active using all things for our good, even the hard things (Romans 8:28-29).  When we are overwhelmed by life, He will empower us to overcome (I John 5:5). In these times we need not ask God why, but rather what?  What is it that You, oh Lord wish to build in me knowing that You use all things for my good?  Ask God to open your eyes to enable you to see beyond the noise of the moment and to have understanding of His greater ways and plan for your life (Isaiah 55:9)!  In our trials God works on our behalf not only to bring the trial to an end, but to produce in us the Godly character that can come only from Him.

Lord Jesus, open our eyes that we may discern the things that are unseen.  Fill us with Your Spirit and the patience that He brings to wait on all that You are wishing to accomplish in our present circumstances. Help us to be still and know that You are God, Lord over all, today! (Psalm 46:10)                   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

REFERENCES:

II Corinthians 11:3 – But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

II Corinthians 4:4 – The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Colossians 3:2 – Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

II Corinthians 10:3-5 – For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I Timothy 1:17 – All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.

Romans 8:28-29 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son………..

I John 5:5 – Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Isaiah 55:9 – As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Psalm 46:10 – He says, “Be still, and know that I am God

Feb 10 2018

No Compromise

2 Kings 13:18-19
(Elisha the prophet speaking) Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground,” and he struck it three times and stopped. So the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you would have destroyed it.  But now you shall strike Aram only three times.”

Do you ever feel like you are not getting victory over a certain area of sin in your life?  There was a day when I would say that “well, I am not doing this or that all too much these days, therefore it was okay to indulge this area of my life just a bit.”  I would walk in a manner lying to myself that I had control over these things.  Time would pass and before I knew it I was enslaved to that sin yet again.  The enemies of Israel in the Old Testament represent sin.  The prophet said to the king in essence that had he showed vigor in his assault against that which sought to destroy him, as sin seeks to destroy us (John 10:10 says the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy), he would have conquered Aram in such a way that they could not return.  Where are you compromising and allowing the enemy to return or remain in your life?

1 John 3:8 tells us that “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” Christ had such a passion for us that He gave His all to bring us the ability by His Holy Spirit to have victory over sin in our lives and all that seeks to destroy us.  When we realize that the things we “play” with are seeking to ruin and keep us from the fullness of Life as He has desired for us……..there should be no compromise.

Lord, help us to recognize the areas in our lives where we may not be giving our all to You.  Fill us with Your Holy Spirit anew that we may walk in the power of Your might over sin.

If you are struggling with an area of sin, go to a mature brother or sister and confess your sin before them and receive prayer and counsel.  James 5:16 says and I have seen it be true in my life “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

Always here for you.

Jan 14 2018

Life’s Playoffs

I Corinthians 9:26-27

Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

The playoffs are here in the *NFL.  Every game, every play and even every action on the field counts more than ever for those who are playing to win.  And so it is for those of us who seek the prize that will last longer than any trophy or Super Bowl ring (I Corinthians 9:25).  We are in the biggest contest of our lives, everyday, as we face an enemy who wishes for the loss of all that God has for us and to take us out of the game (John 10:10). This is a team effort in the Christian life, as we are all part of His body (I Corinthians 12:27). We need more of His Spirit and each other as followers of Christ to win. 

When we share an edifying word or warn of the consequence of sin, we in essence are blocking the enemy from a tackle on our brother & making a way for a run to the goal line in their lives.  Every word we voice matters (Matthew 12:36).  When we act or speak in a manner that is unpleasing to God, we let the blitz of the enemy come in and set us back.  If we have committed a penalty, He will restore us to the game as He picked up all of our flags at the Cross. We can start first and ten with every new day (Lamentations 3:32-24)!

We need to run this day according to the play He has sent onto the field of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 27:11).  We need to discipline our lives through the study of His word to be useful to the team, ready for each new play (II Timothy 4:2).  Let us seek how we may gain yardage for the Kingdom, encouraging one another and doing good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).  Live each day for His glory, that His name may be glorified and you and those around you blessed in the process. Together with the coaching of His Spirit, we may be the winners in this life…..which is really not a game (John 14:26; I Corinthians 15:57).  ==================================================REFERENCES:

I Corinthians 9:25 – Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

I Corinthians 12:27 – Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

Matthew 12:36 – But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment

Lamentations 3:32-24 – The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Psalm 27:11 – Teach me Your way, O’ Lord, and lead me in a level path because of my foes.

II Timothy 4:2 – preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Hebrews 10:24 – and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

John 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

I Corinthians 15:57 – but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

*For those overseas, the NFL (National Football League) is professional American style football here in the United States.

Jan 7 2018

Magi’s Lead

Matthew 2:1-2

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’

The magi were scribes who studied holy texts left in Persia by the exiled Jews and recognized the signs in the heavens proclaiming the birth of The King (Numbers 24:17). They were seeking the one spoken of prophetically in the Old Testament who would bring life and salvation to the world, the Messiah.  Jesus fulfilled every scripture that was spoken of Him.  There were over 300 of them.  Mathematically incalculable are the odds of anyone doing this. George Heron, a French mathematician, calculated that the odds of one man fulfilling only 40 of those prophecies are 1 in 10 to the power of 157. That is a 1 followed by 157 zeros. Compare it to this; your odds on winning the state lottery are 14 followed by 6 zeros.  He is an amazing individual that they sought.

The Magi  traveled over 1000 miles to see the new born King who would redeem us from our sins. The One who is from eternity past and will live forever more (Isaiah 43:3; 13; Micah 5:2).  They brought Him valuable gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Prophesied was the One who would bring sight to the blind (Luke 4:18), bind the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3), heal our sicknesses and redeem the sinner from eternal death and restore relationship with God (II Corinthians 5:18).  He has come to bring the favor of the Lord to those who would come to Him (Psalm 84:11; Isaiah 61:1-2).

We need to follow the Magi’s lead and seek after our God, bringing Him the most precious gift that we can give to Him, our very lives.  He is worthy of all our worship.  In Jeremiah 29:13 the Lord says unto us ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’  The magi sought Jesus and found Him, indeed God led them there.  Today we can find the Healer of our souls as well when we sincerely seek Him and His will.  As He fulfilled all that was spoken of Himself, so He will He fulfill that which was spoken of those who trust in His ways.  He will lead you to the abundant life! (Psalm 23:1-2)

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REFERENCES:

Numbers 24:17 – I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star shall come forth from Jacob, a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall crush through the forehead of Moab and tear down all the sons of Sheth.

Isaiah 43:3 – For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Isaiah 43:13 – Even from eternity I am He,……………………..

Micah 5:2 – But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.

Luke 4:18 – ‘THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.’

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

II Corinthians 5:18 – And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ.

Psalm 23:1-2 – The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

Jan 1 2018

Only The Redeemed

According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)

As we enter 2018, we enter a world that has change dramatically in the last 20 years. We see lawlessness and terrorism on the rise as we feel less safe than at any time in our history since 1776. We are experiencing a falling away in the church and deceptions abounding both in an outside of the church. However, we can take courage and be encouraged at the same time.

While there have been more Christians persecuted than at any time in history, there have been more people come to Jesus than at any time in history.  The largest national Christian church in the world is the church in China. The nation of Israel has fulfilled the prophesies concerning its reestablishment in the last days, even to the point of American followed by several other nations acknowledging Jerusalem as its capital. The reports of Muslims placing faith in Jesus through miraculous visions and audible voices attributed to Jesus have almost become common place.

So, why is this all happening? I believe, as the scripture quoted above states, that we are getting close to the time when Jesus will return for his believers. Paul tells us to be encouraged by this truth. And so we must.

I ran across a song that used to be popular in the 80’s that reminds us of this encouragement. I will reprint the words below. The song’s title matches the title of this posting.

As I look around me/at these days we’re living in/

I question/ how much longer will it be/ till the Father/

reaches over/ to touch His Son upon the shoulder/ and

says, “Jesus, bring our family home to me.”

 

CHORUS

And only the redeemed/ shall hear His voice on that day/

as He comes on clouds of glory/ to catch His bride away./

The graves will then burst open/ and the dead in Christ

will rise./ We which are alive in Jesus/ will be changed

in a twinkling of an eye.

 

Up to now/ we’ve been looking/ through the glass so dark

and dim/ and only a few mysteries/ have we known./ But

I sense now/ in my spirit/ His returning is upon us./

With a shout/ and God’s trumpet/ we’ll soon be gone.

(Copywrite: lyrics & music: Mike Otten & Randy Brewer 1981)

Be encouraged. Things in the world look bad, but things in God’s spiritual realm are getting better all the time. Maranatha – Come, Lord Jesus!

Nov 12 2017

Ever Been Falsely Accused?

Jesus said, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.’” (Jn 15:20)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt 5:10-12)

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Peter 12-16)

Have you aver been falsely accused of doing something wrong or criminal that you did not do? It is very hard to deal with, especially if you don’t know Jesus.

In the Bible verses above we are given the way to handle an accusation like that. If you are doing what is right and are accused of doing wrong, Jesus knows what that is about. He was falsely accused of blasphemy by the religious leaders of His time. They did not believe that He is the Son of God and had to deal with all of His miracles and His teachings that made them look like the hypocrites that they actually were.  So, they carried out their plan to have Him killed. You know the end of the story.

In the passages above, Jesus tells us that we will be persecuted if we are his disciples. That persecution almost always has to be in the form of a false accusation, in other words, in the form of lies.

When this occurs, trust in God for two things.  The first is to believe that He knows what is going on and He is with you through it. This is hard, because you want to attack in return, but that won’t solve the problem.  The second thing is that He knows what it is like to be falsely accused and He knows how to help you with it. He will give you what to do and say for your defense.  There will be one of two results. Either God will set you free from it rather quickly or He will be with you through it to help you deal with it.

The last thing to do is to remember the promise which says, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus is the all just Savior.  He will make it right and reward you in the process, no matter what happens here on earth.

I have been through several of these.  They have not been easy, but God has been faithful through each one of them.  His word was fulfilled in each instance. Trust in God and follow the lead of Jesus in your situation.  He will bring you through and you will be full of His joy at the end of it all.

Sep 16 2017

What’s that in your hand?

Exodus 4:2-3

Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Ever feel as though you have nothing to offer the Lord that can make a difference?  Have you ever lacked confidence in yourself as you face impossible circumstances?  So was Moses when the Lord made Himself and His plan for Moses known to him on the mountain at the Burning Bush.   The Lord told Moses to cast a simple stick on the ground and Moses obeyed.  He then began to see the miraculous power of God manifest in his life!  The Lord would use the staff to perform miraculous signs with it bringing the plagues upon Egypt to change the heart of Pharaoh, parting the Red Sea delivering the Hebrews, vanquishing the Egyptian army, and causing water to come from a rock to refresh a weary people (Exodus 12:31; Exodus 14:16 & Exodus 17:5-6).

What do you face today that you need deliverance and refreshing from?  Or what do you hear the Lord speaking about the purpose which He has created you for that seems so impossible?  Whatever it may be, we need to cast all that we have in our hands no matter how little or how much before our Lord that He may use it and us to do great and mighty things.  The Lord will use His power to change the lives of those you pray for, deliver from the slavery of sin, lead out of dire circumstance and bring the life giving water of the Holy Spirit to us and those we minister to when we give our lives and all we have to His will.

In II Corinthians 12:9 the Lord tells us; “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.  Even as Moses did not feel strong or capable enough to do that which the Lord had planned for him, God performed it just as He said through Moses as he submitted and obeyed.  So also with you and I will God do all that He has said in His Word as we give our all to Him.  He has great things planned for the submitted life!

Sep 16 2017

Lessons on Life Jesus from Football (Soccer)

John 16:33

In the world you have trouble, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

The below note from my dear brother in Kenya, Steve, encouraged me greatly. I know it will encourage you as well no matter what you are going through.

“I watched a local football match in a school playing ground. As I sat down, I asked one of the boys what the score was. With a smile, he replied; “They are leading us with 3-0”! And I said, REALLY!! I have to say you don’t look discouraged.

“Discouraged?” the boy asked with a puzzled look …Why should I be discouraged when the referee has not blown the final whistle? I have confidence in the team and the managers; We shall definitely overcome!
Truly, the match ended 5-4 in favor of the boy’s team! He waved at me gently, with a beautiful smile as he left; I was amazed, mouth wide open; Such confidence; Such beautiful faith.

As I got back home that night, his question kept coming back to me: “Why should I be discouraged when the referee has not blown the final whistle?”
Life is like a game. Why should you be discouraged when the Almighty God is your manager? Why should you be discouraged, when there’s still life? Why should you be discouraged when your final whistle has not sounded? The truth is that many people blow the final whistle themselves; But as long as there is life, nothing is impossible and it is never too late for you. Half time is not full time and HIS calendar for your life is not man’s calendar.

Don’t blow the whistle yourself. BE ENCOURAGED! DON’T GIVE UP. With God all things are still possible!” Never Ever Give Up. Everyday is a fresh start with potentials. .. keep the faith…. keep on believing in God. form or another.”

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Reference:

Jesus promised us in John 16:33 – In the world you have trouble, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Abide in Him and by His Holy Spirit and by His mighty hand you will see His victory in your life!!