God Sick Of You? – 161

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I’ve heard people say God made them sick to teach them a lesson. A sickness from God to teach them patience. What? Epilepsy from God? Mental Illness? Auto accidents? Cancer?

Consider: Jn 14:9. Jesus says whoever has seen Him has seen the Father. Jn 10:30. Jesus said the Father and He were one. Heb 1:3 says the Son is the exact representation of God. To see Jesus is to see God. To hear Jesus is the hear God. What Jesus did, and what He did not do, all reveal God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for Col 2:9 says all the fullness of Deity, of God, dwelt in bodily form in Jesus.

By virtue of the incarnation, Jesus is God in the flesh.

Now – look at the Gospels. Who did Jesus make sick? Or refuse to heal? Who did He fail to heal? To whom did He say that God was teaching them a lesson with their sickness? Or that their sin was keeping them from being healed?

Yes, in His hometown they stumbled in unbelief over the carpenter’s son, and only a few were healed. Are we from His hometown? Did we know Him as the carpenter’s son? Nope. So we have no cause to stumble.

In Mt 8:16-17 it says, “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.””

If Scripture says He came to take them away, and the Gospel accounts record just that – then the concept that God gives sickness – is wrong! Some denominations say God healed then, but not now. Nope. Some think it was only to prove He was the Messiah, not that He cared at all about people. Nope.

Perhaps you prayed and were not healed. And someone told you it was a lack of faith on your part. Or that there was sin in your life. Or that you haven’t done enough with the talents God has given you. Or you are harboring unforgiveness. NO!

Jesus is the SAME, yesterday, today, and forever. Heb 13:8. Believe it, pray again, receive your healing – and COME ALIVE!

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Not By Might – 160

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You’ve likely read Zech 4:6 “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, `Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
Might. It’s the strength found in a team, a group of people.
Power. It’s the strength of an individual. God is not impressed with what we can do (Ps 147:10) or the might of a nation, an army, an enemy, or the church. 

It is His Spirit ALONE that accomplishes His purposes, my friend. Let us not boast in our supposed abilities (Ja 4:13-16). Nor struggle with the notion that God expects, demands, we do great things for Him.

Let me tell you a story. Long ago I was helping out in a large conference our church was holding. I had volunteered to help set up rooms, provide water, direct people – little things but necessary things. One morning I prayed, “Lord, show me someone who needs a hug.” Can’t get much more “little” than that, more humble, I thought.

After one session concluded, and I was arranging chairs for the next, in walked — SuperServant! Cape flowing in the breeze. A double “S” on his chest. Eyes twinkling. He grabbed 6 chairs at a time, loudly asked where they should go, made a commotion of helping. All eyes fell upon him.

SuperServant! I knew him. My hands balled into fists, I felt like punching him! And the Lord said, “He needs a hug, he’s doing this because he feels rejected.” I could not do it. I was battling anger. I left the conference. Went home. Fell on my bed. Cried in my pillow: “Lord! I cannot do even one little thing for You!” I sobbed.

“That’s right,” He said. “You need My help in everything.” Quite a lesson, for us all, don’t you think? And me? I arose with a new found understanding of what it means to rely upon the Lord for everything.

Don’t trust yourself, my friend. Don’t condemn yourself either. But as Paul says in Col 1:28-29, “Proclaim Jesus, admonish and teach Him with all wisdom; to present every man complete in Christ. Do this, but strive according to His power, which mightily works within you.”

Today, rely upon the Spirit – and COME ALIVE!

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Stressed! – 159

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Are you stressing out in trying to fulfill your destiny? Trying to accomplish something great (by human standards at least)?

Well, listen, Father has given us the gift of LIFE – to enjoy, and in doing so we shall fulfill our destinies. DON’T STRESS OUT – but CHILL OUT as you ENJOY – THIS – LIFE!

Thanks to JESUS, there is now JOY in LIVING. In living under the New Covenant. Friend, we cannot fail, or come short, for God has already JUSTIFIED us. He has already made us the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. 2 Cor 5:21. He is NOT DISAPPOINTED when He looks at you, dear believer!

We are accepted in the Beloved! We are IN Christ. In order for the Father to judge us, He would have to judge His Son again. He cannot do that.

Although Jesus has given us a COMPLETE SALVATION – religion will say that we have come short and there is something more for us to do. NO! It is a Great Salvation. Heb 2:3. God, having performed such a great salvation, now simply wants us to enjoy it with Him! To plumb its depths and heights and give glory to His Son.

Thanks to religion we find Christians worldwide who believe in salvation by grace, but also believe it is all up to them. They are racked by thoughts of “am I good enough?” Perhaps you are one of them.

Remember Ro 5:17? We’ve been given the GIFT of RIGHTEOUSNESS through which we will reign in this life. Religion, and culture today, stresses performance. Great performance earns the reward, and there are plenty of losers. That is not the KINGDOM message.

So, if you have been caught up in DOING, STRIVING, STRESSING OUT to hear the Master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” stop! New Covenant life is BEING. BEING IN CHRIST. Being at the feet of Jesus. Just BE in Jesus and allow Him to do it.

Today, let us cease striving, but enter His rest, allow HIS ministry to flow through us, as we COME ALIVE!

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Wrestlemania – 158

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Spiritual warfare  a wrestling match, Paul tells us in Eph 6. By GRACE, we have armor from God with which to gird ourselves: truth, righteousness, peace, salvation, faith – the Word of God. It takes place primarily in the mind, for in 2 Cor 10:5 we are told to take captive evil thoughts. Like depression. Loneliness. Rejection. Grief. Anger. Violence. Sexual vices. Self-pity and more. They don’t belong to us. They are not our thoughts!

By GRACE, we have what it takes – God’s power and authority – to take every ungodly thought captive. Jesus has given us HIS victory. HE has raised us up to sit with Him in heaven, with authority, far above these things. Eph 2:6. Where do these ungodly thoughts come from? 

Demons are the authors of evil twisted thoughts, and conditions, and many sicknesses. All 4 gospels record Jesus casting out many demons. Few Christians cast them out today, few believe they even exist. Why? Well, one of satan’s lies is that they don’t exist! But friend, they do and they are warring against us. Thankfully they are subject to us in Jesus’ name. Lu 10:17.

CONSIDER: have you ever said or done something that you afterward regretted; something that hurt someone, hurt yourself? Maybe you said,
“I don’t know what came over me.”
“I don’t know why I did that.”
“I don’t know why I said that.”
“I couldn’t believe it was me speaking.”
Perhaps someone—someTHING was inspiring you.

Paul in Gal 5:19-21 speaks of the works of the flesh. Demons will try to rile up your flesh. To get it working evil things. Anger. Violence. Impurity. Whatever! And if you have given place to them before, you may even feel them in your body. Your body may seethe with anger – or burn with desire. Before you know it, you act in the flesh, and suffer the consequences.
 And those demons who inspired you now shout condemnation at you! It’s a LOSE-LOSE if we DON’T challenge them. 

Today, may our Lord Jesus by His grace grant you the gift of discernment of spirits. It’s time to wrestle – and win. Yes, it’s time to COME ALIVE!

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Once I Was Dead – But GOD – 157

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God, “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace we have been saved—” Eph 2:5.

Paul tells the Colossians the same thing and more. Beginning with ch 2 vs 13 – “And you, who were dead in your trespasses, God made alive together with him, (sound familiar?) having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This God set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities (those demonic powers who would condemn us and try to control us) and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Jesus.”

I ask you, who is doing the work in these passages? Ourselves – or God? Who is the active one? Ourselves – or God? Who is making us alive? Ourselves – or God? Who is doing the saving? Ourselves – or God? The forgiving? The canceling? The nailing? The disarming?

Dear friend, let’s not be fooled into thinking salvation came our way through our own merits, or that we had a hand in it, or our good works earned it. It’s by grace we have been saved through faith. It’s not our doing; it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8.

That phrase, “have been saved,” is in the perfect tense, meaning that our salvation is fully secured. It’s done. The whole process of “salvation by grace through faith” is a gift from God – not something that we can accomplish ourselves.

When a person was crucified, there was nailed to the cross the list of accusations, the reasons, why that person was being crucified. In Col, Paul tells us that all of OUR debts, sins, offenses, transgressions, you name it, were written there. All – of – them. Jesus was crucified because of our failures.
And because of the Cross, the devil’s power has been broken. He still tries to accuse us – but wait! That sin, real as it may be, has already been nailed to Calvary’s Cross. There’s Jesus’ blood, pouring down from the Cross in full payment. The accusations, however real, have been paid for. Hallelujah!

It’s time we believe it – and COME ALIVE!

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Faith Shield – 156

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“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one.” Eph 6:16. Fiery darts – from the devil. Roman shields were large, door sized; covered in leather, wet down before battle – a flaming arrow hitting the shield would be extinguished.

Our shield of FAITH extinguishes the devils darts. What are his darts? Thoughts that come zinging at you. Day. Night. From the Internet, media, people, co-workers, bosses, demons. Yes, demons. You didn’t think those fearful condemning thoughts came from you, did you?

Well “Have faith in God.” Mk 11:22. Have faith in God – like Paul in Acts 27:25 when the ship was storm tossed, he says, “So take heart men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.”  Don’t trade your faith for fear – have faith, and it will turn our exactly as God has said. Today’s looming disaster will be tomorrow’s awesome God victory — a true Come Alive experience!

Everyone but Paul on that ship feared for their death. Hmmm. Remember Heb 2:14-15 —

“ Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those (us) who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

It’s a big temptation friend, to fear – for safety, for your job, for danger. Immediate death, or slow death from job loss, sickness – whatever. The devil wants us making decisions, taking action – based on fears, not faith. That’s the path to lifelong slavery, even though Jesus has broken the bondage for you. Don’t remain under it!

God has not given us a spirit of fear. 2 Tim 1:7 so we can resist it. Jesus has made the devil, powerless in our lives. But you can choose to believe his lies, make bad decisions, and be enslaved. Don’t! Let’s listen to the Holy Spirit, ok?

“The Lord is my helper; we will not fear….” Heb 13:6. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 Jn 4:18.

So live in the love of God; fear not; stand behind that shield of faith – and COME ALIVE!

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Everlasting Love – 155

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Jer 31:3 – “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness…”

Everlasting love. Eternal. Never vacillating, oscillating, fluctuating. Never dries up under the Summer heat or freezes up in Winter’s cold. Steadfast. Constant and perennial. Out of that love God, it says, draws us to Himself. The Holy Spirit is constantly at work in the hearts of all people. 

Everyone wants to be loved. And to love. We talk about it. Write song after song about it. But apart from the Lord, it’s always conditional love. Conditional love is broken love – because someone didn’t measure up. They failed. And with the failure, love disappeared. We soon get the message: “if we want to be loved, we have got to measure up.” Not only that, but conditional love often sets achievement levels that are beyond reach. So people go off looking for love in all the wrong places, places that are full of hurting people. Hurting people who minister rejection out of a fear of rejection.

We may enter into a competition for acceptance, approval, or affection. It generates alienation. One guy wins the girl, one girl wins the guy, and all the rest are losers -coping with rejection as best we can and entering the next competition for love full of the fear of rejection. Many give up.

Consider: the Father has not rejected anyone – Not even Jesus when He became our sin offering at Calvary. But it may have felt that way to Jesus. On the cross He quoted Ps 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The rejection feeling was the worst ever! When it was over, Jesus paraphrased the vs 39 of that Psalm, “He has done it” – or, “It is finished.” Jesus experienced this for us so we could experience God’s unconditional acceptance, His love, forever and ever!

God loves us unconditionally not because we are somebody; He loves us – and we become somebody! He loves us as if there were no one else to love! Nothing we can do can add to God’s love for us. Nothing we can do can lessen that love! 

But we can cooperate with that love. How? By receiving His love today and everyday. 

So today, receive the love of God, and COME ALIVE!

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The Lesson – 153

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The other day my lovely wife commented: “Before you are able know who you are in Christ, you need to know who Jesus is.”

Jesus Christ is our focal point. Our identity comes – through Jesus. As we come to know, truly know – Him, and then who we are IN Him – we can more readily recognize what in this life comes from God, know what to resist, how to walk uprightly, and so much more. As believers we are sons of the Most High, the All Mighty God, who is Father. Who is love. But do we know that? 

People often read Mat 25:21, “…well done good and faithful servant….” And focus on service in their church, on the mission field and so forth. Please don’t stumble. Jesus spoke those words when the Old Covenant was still in effect.

Believers in Jesus have been adopted. We are sons. A son and a servant are very different persons! Servants are paid wages, punished if they do not perform. Sons serve without payment: the entire kingdom is theirs already! They serve – out of love. Doing God Stuff is their delight.

Jesus is our Redeemer. Purchaser. Savior. The tender mercies of God – the Dayspring from on high in the flesh. God revealer. Righteousness imparter. Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. Who has removed the separation between God and man. Judgment has been superseded – by Grace.

Until a person knows Jesus, and begins receiving the grace of God – they will see God as demanding. Expecting. Impersonal. With requirements. There will be that fear that they are ‘not good enough’ and fear that God will be disciplining – and by that they mean punishing them – for their failures. Many failures. 

True, Heb 12:5-11 speaks of God disciplining His children. But read it in the Message Bible for some insight. He instructs – Educates – not punish. He trains. Listen: God will not break your arm to teach you a lesson! Do you want a lesson from God? Ro 5:8 “…while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Now THAT’S A LESSON!

Today, consider God’s lessons through His Son – and COME ALIVE!

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Jesus Forgives – 154

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As you come to know Jesus – and your new identity in Him – everything changes. It takes some time to grow into our new identity as Sons of God. The Gospels show again and again knowing who Jesus is comes by revelation knowledge, not book learning.

For example – in Lu 7:36-50 we find a woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. It’s found only in Luke’s Gospel.

Jesus is dining in the house of Simon the Pharisee. None of the customary greetings were given Him. No welcome kiss. No washing of His feet. No anointing of His head with oil. Simon certainly had no idea who Jesus REALLY was.

Dining typically took place in the inner courtyard, which usually had a pathway to the street. And along the pathway comes an immoral woman! Everyone tenses. Except for Jesus. She stands behind Jesus, and the Greek says she unleashed a flood of tears. Then undid her hair to wipe His feet – At the time, undoing one’s hair in public was a sinful act.

Kissed His feet, anointed His hair with the perfumed oil. Shocking everyone – but Jesus. Jesus receives her. Says she loved much. But that is not why she was forgiven.

You see, by faith it was revealed to her – JESUS – as one who would not reject her. She SAW JESUS as one who could and would forgive her. He could, and He did. It was her faith that had saved her, said Jesus. Luke 7:50.

Her faith, my friend. Her faith. As she approached Jesus, step by step – Love overwhelmed her – forgiveness enveloped her. She was loved – forgiven – she knew it by revelation knowledge. Just as Peter suddenly knew Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God.

It happened to me, Jan 18, 1976 when I stepped out of a church pew to respond to an altar call to declare Jesus my Savior and Lord. I took one step into the aisle, and – love overwhelmed me. I knew God was real, He loved me, He forgave me, He received me just as I was; BEFORE I could verbalize it, I knew it, and like that woman in Jesus’ day, a flood of tears poured down from my eyes. A flood my friend. A Holy Spirit flood.

Ask Jesus for revelation knowledge of Himself. Col 1:9-10. He WILL answer – and you’ll be well along to knowing who YOU ARE. You’ll COME ALIVE!

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Price Paid – 152

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At Hank’s Place we believe THE GRACE OF GOD is-  always – totally – completely – sufficient – for you, for me, for everyone – for all time!

I saw a FB post the other day that said, “Many want the anointing—but how many are willing to endure the crushing (picture of an olive) to produce the oil?” Really? Really? So pious, such a challenge. Are YOU WILLING to pay the price?

STOP right there my dear friend! This is bad thinking and defiled religion! When God looked around and saw there was no one – Is 59:16, HE bared His mighty right arm. HE sent forth a Savior. That Savior paid the price for everyone. To bring many sons to glory. New Creations – sons of God – in righteousness. YOU pay the price? Rubbish!

Consider Elijah – did he pay the price? Read 1 Ki 16-17. You’ll find repeatedly: “and the word of the Lord came to him.” To various prophets. Then Elijah suddenly appears, with the word of the Lord, and continues in the word of the Lord. Friend, Elijah heard, believed, acted. Where was the price?

Consider Elisha – did he pay the price? In 1 Kings 19:16 the Lord tells Elijah to anoint Elisha in his place. 3 verses later he tosses his mantle upon Elisha and Elisha responds, in faith, sacrificing his father’s oxen as an offering and followed Elijah. Where was the price?

How about when Elisha asks for a double portion of the anointing – 2 Ki 2:9-12. Elijah says, ‘now that’s a hard thing, but if you see me carried into heaven it will be so.’ To see? He saw! Faith! Elisha asked, and believed – and received!!! What price my friend, what price?

Consider Moses – did he pay the price? Exodus 3. Moses saw – the burning bush. He heard the voice of God. He removed his sandals. He believed. He received. 

Do you see? Even under the Old Covenant the anointing came ONE way: by faith. 

Oh, and John the Baptist – did he pay the price? Luke 3:2, “…the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” John heard, John believed, John received and acted.

OLD or NEW Covenant, the anointing comes but ONE way: by faith.

Today – do you desire a greater anointing? Then ask! Then hear – the word of the Lord. BELIEVE IT – and RESPOND! You’ll help many – COME ALIVE!

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God Protected – 151

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Listen to 1 Jn 5:18: “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” The Message Bible expresses it this way, “The God-begotten are also the God-protected. The Evil One can’t lay a hand on them. We know that we are held firm by God.…”

And don’t forget Luke 10:19, “Behold, I have given you (this is Jesus speaking to His disciples – disciples like you and me) authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”

But you say you gave a testimony in church and have been sick for a week? Spoke in a Christian meeting and the devil’s been kicking your uh, back-side ever since?

Well, consider these 2 passages—and don’t let him! These verses declare we have God’s protection, and God’s authority over the evil one. BELIEVE the TRUTH my friend, and in your believing, act! Speak out. Remember how Peter got out of the boat and walked on water? Mt 14:29. Until he saw the wind. He believed, and acted upon Jesus’ words. Then his seeing – the wind – became his new believing and he began sinking. 

Back to 1 Jn 5:18. The concept John is presenting is that of a wedge. The devil seeks to drive a wedge between us, and God. Didn’t he try the same thing with Adam and Eve in the Garden? But “He who was born of God” – this is a reference to Jesus, protects us; we cannot be separated from God. Any separation you are experiencing is an illusion, a lie.

So keep the faith my friend. Jesus is watching over you. You are in the palm of the father’s hand. John 10:29. We no longer have a ‘sin condition’ that allows the devil to assault us when he pleases. We have been joined to God. 1 Cor 6:17

What about Job you ask? Why would you live by events that happened before God’s covenant with Abraham, and before the New Covenant in the blood of the Son of God? Don’t run your life by what you think it says in Job, ok? 

Today – thanks to the grace of God, you can resist the devil. And he will flee from you. Ja 4:7. And you know what? You will experience a new dimension – in COMING ALIVE!

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Supplied by God – 150

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At Hank’s Place we are CONTINUING IN THE GRACE OF GOD – join us, please!

Please look at Phil 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” The Amplified bible says it this way, “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

The Greek word for supply is pleroo (pardon my Greek), related to a word used to describe the fullness of God. The Amplified is spot on when it says God will liberally fill us to the full, fill up all hollow spots, cause us to abound, load us up with everything we have need of, making us so filled up that we are totally complete. In all things. In every aspect of our lives.

Again, thanks to Jesus and His unique work of salvation at the cost of His life – for us – now God shall liberally, fully, gloriously, abundantly, supply all our needs by imparting richly and furnishing abundantly, in a lavish and magnificent way – measured not by our standards or any worldly standard, but according to His riches in glory – all disclosed and discovered and realized in Jesus Christ! That’s POWERFUL dear friend! Think about it!

The immensity of God’s provision toward us is beyond our imagination. What’s that you say? “If His provision is so huge, then why do I have such debts and pains and lack?”

The answer may be found in the preceding verses: Phil 4:15-18 where we find Paul thanking them for their participation in the gospel, in giving and receiving, in gifts for others and for himself. Friend this is NOT “Give so we can get!” The Philippians were people of faith, and love, who saw God’s provision, saw themselves in His hand, who saw His commitment to them; and in response they were generous in giving away from themselves, in helping others in need. 

So today, dear friend. Let us look to Jesus! Let us look to our Father! Consider His love, His faithfulness, our adoption as sons of God. His covenant with us through Jesus’ blood is unbreakable. 

Consider, and soon you’ll be freely giving, receiving – receiving and giving. Life will become such a sweet adventure, for you will have COME ALIVE!

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Lavish Grace -149

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At Hank’s Place we are CONTINUING IN THE GRACE OF GOD!

Check out for instance, Gal 3:5 “So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” I love how the Message Bible says this: “Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?”

God lavishly provides us—with Himself! Whoa! That means in a VERY GENEROUS and EXTRAVAGANT manner. The original Greek word is choregeo (chor-ah-yeg-eh-o), and came to refer to the wealthy patron or patrons of the arts who would underwrite all the expenses of the chorus, the dancers, the show. It was a place of honor and importance because of the great personal expense involved.

So we can say that God, out of His grace, lavishly, extravagantly, provides us with His Spirit, thanks to Jesus and Calvary! Check the wording. If you’ll check the Greek wording carefully, you will find that Paul is not referring to a single instance, a miracle here and a miracle there, a healing here or there. He is referring to a continuous floodtide of answered prayers. Of healings – of deliverances – of miracles. Oh how marvelous is the grace of God my friend!
Unbelievers may question the existence of God or His provision, but believers can soon discover, with simple faith, a LAVISH SUPPLY of all manner of blessings from His incredible, generous nature.

Paul is saying our Father is the patron, the sponsor, the backer, the choregeo—who has underwritten lavishly the total cost of our lifetime walk with Him. Jesus paid the TOTAL PRICE of our redemption at Calvary.

And Jesus urges all to come unto Him, weary, heavy laden, racked with guilt and failure. “COME!” He says! And as we do, He starts us on a journey that is fully and lavishly provided for, a journey in which we have COME ALIVE – at last!

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Opportune Time – 148

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The theme here at Hank’s Place in the New Year is CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.

This message was free flowing from a frigid location in Northern New Jersey. Read Romans 1 and John 4 for background.

In short, it doesn’t matter how people are typecast or profiled. It doesn’t matter what you think about them or they about you. What matters is that TODAY is the Day of Salvation – always – and the fields are white to harvest.

This means there are those ‘out there’ in the group you may think are rejects, God deniers, who have ears to hear, who are ready to receive, who are ready to believe, and you know what?

In believing, they will COME ALIVE!

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Lies Evolve – 147

 

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The theme here at Hank’s Place in the New Year is CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.

We have been sharing about sharing the Gospel with all cultures, with the wise and the foolish.

Ro 1 is so fascinating. The self professing wise men, who deny God, become fools. And  they suppress the truth in all unrighteousness. Ro 1:22, also vs 18. A clear example of this is the theory of evolution and the billions of years old earth – taught in most places as factual and true. Taught by these God-deniers! Exchanging the truth about God for a lie, they now serve the creature rather than the creator. Ro 1:25.

I don’t know about you, but someone with Phd’s after his name boasting about how his papa is a monkey just seems so incongruous, don’t you think? Or the argument that the Big Bang and evolution MUST have occurred because, well, here we are – is pretty flimsy, don’t you agree? 

But without God in the equation, man can be as gods, like satan offered Eve in the garden. Don’t fear evolutionists, friend. You don’t have to believe their religion, and that’s what it is because it comes down to faith. Science and the Bible are in amazing harmony. But the wisdom of this world is busy suppressing the truth, telling outright lies, and bullying those who would speak out truthfully.

Did you know in the past decade there have been findings of T-Rex bones in Montanna with soft tissue and blood cells in them? Search the Internet and see for yourself. This means that those bones are only a few thousand years old, in agreement with young earth theories. And there are literally hundreds of other scientific findings that the God haters try to suppress. 

Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel or your origins, my friend. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the LIVING GOD, by God! Walk in the truth, fear NOT.

They lie to avoid accountability before GOD. Yet anyone, any evolutionist, could say, “Lord Jesus, be merciful to me, a sinner.” And just like the tax gatherer in Jesus’ day, that person would be forgiven and justified – in fact – believing upon Jesus causes that person to COME ALIVE!

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Truth Suppressors – 146

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The theme here at Hank’s Place in the New Year is CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.

Not only is by grace through faith (Eph 2:8) the ONLY way we can be saved, grace is the only way by which we can have the strength to STAND in these wild days.

Around us it seems the world is falling apart at the seams. In the apostle Paul’s day – similar issues. But Paul was not shaken. Ha! In Romans 1, and the Romans were a very sophisticated society, and Rome was a turbulent place back then – he speaks of sharing the Gospel with the wise AND the foolish – of sharing with ALL cultures!

But there’s Paul! “For I am not ashamed of the gospel,” he writes, “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” adding, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith” Ro 1:16-17.

Dear friend, I don’t know the culture or society where you work and live, but by the grace of God be strengthened, and never be ashamed of the Gospel! It’s the power of God – to save ANYONE who believes the Message concerning His son – eternally. 

And how is that Righteousness of God revealed in the Gospel?
1st that God is Righteous – and that Righteousness demands Sin be punished.
2nd that God is Love – and that love caused His Son to suffer and die at Calvary as OUR substitute.
3rd that Christ’s Righteousness is imputed to US believers. This is REALLY GOOD NEWS!

Still, men foolishly deny this Good News. They reject God’s LORDSHIP over them. They deny God’s existence, they refuse to honor Him – and miss the entire purpose of life. How foolish indeed!

Are you afraid to share the Gospel? FEAR NOT, but continue in the grace of God – listen to the Holy Spirit. Those ‘experts,’ the ‘qualified,’ those professing to be wise – have become fools. Ro 1:22. It’s their own doing. They are lonely, empty and lifeless on the inside. Don’t fear them. 

Perhaps you will even have opportunity to share the Good News with them. Wise man or fool, your culture or a strange one, if they believe and receive the Good News you share, they will –– Come Alive! Now how grand is that?!

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Continue in GRACE – 145

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It’s the new year and here’s a New Year’s admonition. I didn’t say resolution. Some people call New Years resolutions simply a ‘to-do’ list for the 1st week of the new year, lol.

Here’s the admonition – it’s from Acts 13:43. Paul and Barnabas, after speaking in the synagogue at Pisidai Antioch, urged the people who believed their message to CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD. What a great word – GRACE. The Grace of God – He gives us favor unconditionally – we can’t earn it – we can only receive it. Many try to earn it and go empty handed. Don’t that be you my friend!

Are you working so hard that you are on the verge of burnout? CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.
Worried that you are not doing enough for Jesus? CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.
Are you distracted by generational curses, demons, end times anxiety, idle talk? CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.
Are you facing financial difficulties, sickness or demonic oppression? CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.

Want to make something of your life in 2019? Simply CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.

When it comes to God and our relationship with Him, it is GRACE from start to finish. There is nothing else we need. And nothing else that will help.

GRACE comes to us by faith alone. Eph 2:8. So to continue in GRACE really is the same as what I said at the end of last year: continue in the faith. GRACE – it’s really another word for JESUS – John 1:16 says “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

Think about it. And how about this year we resolve to keep our eyes upon JESUS. He is the faithful One. He will see us through. He will help us; He will do the impossible for us.
Yes, this year, let’s receive from Him grace upon grace.

Speak with Him – often. He always has time for His children. He created time; He created us. Whatever our problems may be, Jesus is our total, complete, all in one solution!

And you know what? As we continue in the GRACE of God – we COME ALIVE!

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CONTINUE in Faith – 144

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Let’s close out 2018 with an admonition from Colossians: beware of teaching that devalues Christ and Calvary, and fails to appreciate the new identity every believer has IN HIM.

Christ is supreme. We believers are IN UNITY with Him – which means sharing in HIS power and authority. Believe it, for it is true. Now press on to maturity, resist sin, pursue holiness in Christ.

Col 1:22 says Jesus has made us holy, blameless, beyond reproach, but vs 23 adds: IF you continue in the faith. Peace. This is not conditional salvation or favor; the actual Greek is clear that no doubt is expressed, no conditions. We are joined to the Lord. We are already holy and perfect as He is. Paul is simply saying you will not see it unless you believe it! It is true – but you will not walk in it except by faith.

The unholy mess of our lives – has been hidden in Christ. The HOLY ONE. We have been made holy and perfect forever. Think about it – and give a shout out to JESUS!

It’s also repeated in Heb 10:10, 14. By the will of GOD we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ – once for all; and by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. That last phrase simply means we are learning to live as Christians, as who we really are.

Col 2:9-10 says we have been brought to fullness in Him. Don’t buy into messages that put an emphasis upon your lack and what you have to do in order for God to bless you. You are already a New Creation In Him and He is in You – and all by His doing. So stop struggling to get what you already have been given!

How do you continue in the faith? By realizing the truth: IN Christ we lack for nothing. IN Christ we have received every spiritual blessing. IN Christ we are full, complete, including being holy and righteous.

I hear someone saying, “But Hank, you don’t know what I’ve done!” Dear friend, I say, “You don’t know what Jesus has already done for you!” 

So as 2019 begins, continue in the faith – you’ll COME ALIVE!

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Merry Christmas – 143

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Are you troubled by the merchandizing, the manipulation, the greed and excess of the Christmas season? Don’t be! Here is a little history.

Pope Julius I in 320 designated Dec 25th as a holy day – to counteract the excesses of the Saturnalia celebrations in Europe dating from pre-Jesus times.  The edict – didn’t work. People enjoyed their revelry and celebrations, choosing to repent afterwards. 

Now fast forward to Puritan England in the 1600’s with Oliver Cromwell. He came into power by promising to eliminate Christmas celebrations, and he did! Afterward, King Charles II’s party came into power by promising to make Christmas as wicked as before. And they did!

Get this: most genuine Christians of the time loathed Christmas, considering it an instrument of the devil for sin. When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, they outlawed Christmas. There were no church celebrations, businesses were ordered open and anyone caught celebrating was subject to arrest and fines. And that’s the way it was in America – for over 200 years. In fact Congress continued to meet on Christmas Day up to 1856. 

However, over time outrageous Christmas revelry began to re-emerged in America. 

THEN – in 1822 “T’was the Night Before Christmas” was written by Clement Clark Moore and for the first time Christmas was seen in America as a joyous holiday for children. Christmas as a joyous family affair appeared on the scene – with gusto.

THEN – in 1834 Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” and Christmas in England was never the same. The crushing dehumanizing industrial revolution had to give place and time to consider the wonder of the birth and life of a Savior. Jesus was making an appearance of sorts back into Christmas in England, then America!

There’s more, but gradually over the rest of the century, joy, family, giving, and worship replaced pagan debauchery, lewdness, revelry and drunkenness in both countries.

What about gifts, you ask? Glad you asked! The tradition of gift giving, at first a simple and modest gesture, exploded in America following “The Night Before Christmas.” Merchants, sensing great opportunity, placed Santa everywhere and people quickly adjusted their celebrations to include him. And spending. A lot of spending.

“Put Christ back into Christmas?” Historically – in America – that’s not very accurate. He was not officially in those Christmas’s of early America, and A Christmas Carol was quickly overstepped by ol’ Santa Claus and extravagant gifting.

But don’t YOU to be depressed my friend! YOU make the difference – why not make your own celebration of Christmas as true believers have done for ages? Put Jesus into YOUR Christmas. Hey! Don’t you see Him in the wreath, the evergreens, the candles, the tree?

BEST OF ALL share JESUS with others – JESUS – the Greatest Gift of all! 
You can – and as you do, many will hear – and they will COME ALIVE!

 

                          M e r r y   C h r i s t m a s  from Hank’s Place !

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Advent HOPE – 142

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A friend of mine once worked in a ward for Alzheimer’s patients. They said the doors were locked to keep the patients from wandering out of the facility. The button code to open the doors was printed in big letters over the doors so visitors could easily get out. But the Alzheimer’s patients stayed in because they never looked up!

There’s a medical reason for that, having to do with visual and cognitive portions of the brain that are affected by the disease, and the patients felt more secure and stable looking down to see where their feet were going.

Check the news, world, national or local. Politics. Government. Immigration. Increasing attacks against Christians, Christianity, Christmas. Get immersed in it – and hope flees. Soon our head hangs down, low, lower, even lower as we contemplate the entire world going down the drain and us with it!

Wait! We have Almighty God above as our Father! Stability? Security? You betcha! Christian, LOOK UP!

Especially in this Advent season—LOOK UP for our God is the God of all hope! Remember, the eye of the Lord is on those who … hope in his steadfast love. Ps 33:18.

Rejoice in hope of the glory of God… for it’s a hope that does not put us to shame – because of God’s love poured into our hearts. Ro 5:2&5. Let’s be as the Psalmist in Ps 42 & 43 and speak, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” LOOK UP!

Hope in God and forget not His works. Ps 78:7. Remember Abraham, for in hope against hope he believed he would become the father of many nations, because of God’s promise to him. Ro 4:18.

Let’s LOOK UP and hold fast to the hope set before US, for it is impossible for God to lie. Heb 6:18.

And now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, and COME ALIVE!

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Christian Greatest Mark – 141

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We have been looking for identifying marks of a real Christian – not just externals like “Do they go to church?” The Antiochian believers were the first to be called Christians: little anointed ones. We can surmise their conversation and behavior focused upon THE Anointed One – Jesus!

And in Jerusalem those early Christians were hungry to learn all they could about Jesus, were in fellowship, prayer, shared communion, gathered in homes, and had awesomely generous spirits. Acts 2.

What else? 1 Cor 12. Those baby Christians at Corinth manifested the GRACE gifts of God – The Charismata – they were Charismatic! We’ll go there another time, for Paul, in the next chapter, reveals that the greatest – is love.

Which brings us to 1st John. It’s about God and love. They cannot be separated, because God IS love. Anyone claiming to live in God’s light yet hating a brother or sister is still in the dark, writes John. He adds, loving the world, wanting your own way, has nothing to do with the Father. But wanting God’s way is indicative of the Anointed One at home within you. You desire – to ‘do’ – His desires!

No one living deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin, John says, for God’s seed is within them. But the one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor the one who won’t love the brethren. A simple test. 1 Jn 3:10.

He adds that even as Christ gave His life for us, we no longer live just for ourselves but for our brothers and sisters. John explains that first we were loved, and now WE LOVE. Loving God includes loving people. 1 Jn 4:21.

MOST Christians don’t understand the GRACE of God. Don’t know they are fully accepted in the beloved, in Jesus, by the Father. Rather than freely receive the love of God, and from that, loving others; they are worn out, feeling like failures, trying to measure up to some performance standard. And trying to love others without having first received the amazing love of God. 

If that’s YOU my friend, STOP. SIT. Throw off that garment of performance. RECEIVE the love of God. Soon you’ll be loving others and people will remark — you are different! What’s happened? You have COME ALIVE!

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Christian Identifying Marks_2 – 140

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Last message we learned that when Barnabas checked out those believers at Antioch (where they were first called Christians) – that he came and SAW the GRACE of God. And he was glad – and encouraged them to keep on believing in Jesus, moving forward in Jesus, not back to Judiasm.

Those Antiochians were filled with joy concerning Jesus the ANOINTED ONE in them. Everything about them radiated JESUS – and the heathens around them, being revolted by the light, by the anointing, sneeringly called them Christians. 

What else distinguished those early Christians? Glad you asked. Was it church service, missionary work, boldly confronting Jews and heathen in the marketplace? We can find an answer in Acts 2:42-47. 

The passage says they devoted themselves – to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship. What would the apostles have taught? Likely everything they knew about Jesus from living with him and everything He taught and told them. Those believers wanted MORE and MORE of Jesus! And fellowship! Sharing with each other the joy of their salvation, and sharing Jesus. And communion and prayers – remembering the body of the Lord broken for us, and His blood shed, all for us. And praying. Lots. In the temple. In their homes. Having glad and generous hearts. Selling off their goods to share with others in need. Praising God continually.

Yep they sound just like you today, right? What? That’s not your life? Overwhelmed by the love and the grace of God? Hungering for more of JESUS everyday? Every moment? Gathering with like minded brothers and sisters, to share in communion and meet the needs of the needy?

Yes, sadly the cares of this world can made the gift of eternal life and the Living God who gives it, rather dim. And the pressures of church life with its DO DO DO demands is wearying even to think about.

But there is an easy solution, dear saint – turn to Jesus. Get quiet at His feet. Talk to Jesus. Ask of Him. Listen. Listen some more. Ask to know the love of God. Though you may be weary and worn out, the Holy Spirit, in a matter of moments, can cause you, cause all of us – by His touch – to COME ALIVE!

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Christian Identifying Marks – 139

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After the stoning of Steven, the early church experienced persecution. Acts 8. Christians were driven out of Jerusalem. A number of them passed through Antioch, a large city of about a half million people in southern Turkey. They shared the Good News only with Jews. But then the Hellenist believers came through, preaching the Lord Jesus to the Hellenists in Antioch. Hellenists were Greek speaking Jews who lived somewhat according to Greek ways. The church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to check things out.

Do you know what he found? Acts 11:23 says ‘…he came and saw the grace of God.’ He was glad, and exhorted them to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose. He was telling them to KEEP ON BELIEVING. Don’t go back.

Believers were first called Christians at Antioch. Meaning, “Little Anointed One.” For the first time, believers in Jesus had an identity of their own apart from Judaism.

So what characteristics do you suppose marked an early Christians? Well, let’s start with the name Christian. That was a derogatory name given believers by the Greeks and Romans! Why?

Perhaps they were telling everyone that Jesus, THE Anointed One, saved them and cleaned them up and was living IN THEM. That they were joined together with Jesus, THE Anointed One. They were living lives centered upon – the Christ – THE Anointed One.

Jesus was on their lips. Something like followers of sports teams today. True example. I asked my lovely wife Mary about the Green Bay Packers (point to Hat). I got a 12 minute dissertation concerning their performance this year! Followed by another 10 minutes of comparison with the Pittsburgh Penguins of hockey. A 4 word question with a 22 minute reply!

So let’s say the joy of Jesus had filled these Antiochians and everyone was hearing about THE Anointed One, JESUS! Oh, and if you ask Mary about Jesus, be prepared to stay awhile!

I’ll be sharing other passages with you in the next Hank’s Place. In the meantime, dear believer, don’t be ashamed of your faith in Jesus. Let the anointing of the Anointed One flow through you unhindered. Let him flow – to help you – help others – COME ALIVE!

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Continue – 138

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Have you got what it takes to continue in the faith? And if not, will you lose your salvation, that mansion in heaven or other heavenly rewards? Dangerously lifting Col 1:22-23 out of their context, it can sure seem that way as:

“he (Jesus) has now reconciled (you) in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard.…” Boy that started off great but became terrifying!

Not only that, but in Acts 13:43 Paul and Barnabas spoke with the people of Pisidian Antioch, urging them to continue in the grace of God.

They also traveled through Lystra and Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to continue in the faith. Acts 14:22.

In the Old Covenant, ‘continuing’ was the difference between life and death! It was ‘continue or be cursed!’ Fear can be quite a motivator, but even fear wasn’t enough to keep Israel on the straight and narrow, was it?

Is Paul applying threats to us? Not at all! Remember, Jesus became curse FOR US that we would become totally righteous before God, forever. 2 Cor 5:21. Paul is urging us to keep on trusting Jesus with our lives in the same way we did as when we began.

He says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught….” Col 2:7.

The Colossians were in danger of walking after the flesh. Not in terms of drunkenness, lusts, murders and envies, but in moving away from their true identity as heirs of God, sons, gained through unmerited favor alone, and trying to earn it, trying to keep it – through the things they did. Trying to do things to get God to bless them, when in Jesus they were already totally blessed. 

Just reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God – that’s how you continue in the faith. Jesus at Calvary made us righteous and holy and pure, totally so, and forever so. And that’s how we are in God’s eyes my friend. But you will not see it unless you believe it! And you can not walk in this truth – except by faith!

You are already complete in Him. Believe this truth today — walk in it — and COME ALIVE!

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Overcomer? Yes you are! #137

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Here at Hank’s Place we have received of His generous bounty – grace upon grace. Jn 1:16.

For example, let’s look at Jn 16:33: “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Tribulation? Are you alive? Then you will experience difficulties, ordeals, trials, adversity, hardships, sorrows, trauma, afflictions, setbacks, sadnesses, woes, griefs, pains, agonizing times! 

Not due to our mistakes but because we are citizens of this world. Ouch! But — Jesus has overcome the world. And because we are IN Him and He is IN us, it means our new nature is that of an Overcomer. That’s Good News indeed!

John tells us, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 Jn 4:4.

Overcoming is not about us and our strength and our endurance but depending and leaning upon Jesus. Jesus is the ONLY way we overcome.

How do we depend and lean upon Jesus? 1 Jn 5:4-5 tells us: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith!” Our faith is in Jesus THE Overcomer – in us. ACT LIKE IT IS TRUE – because it is!

To get through the trials of life exercise that faith. Don’t fear, for faith is a gift from God, Eph 2:8. You have enough faith to overcome. That’s awesome!

As Ro 8:37 declares, “But in all these things, these tribulations, we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” You ARE more than a conquerer, through Jesus. Circumstances may say you are not. But circumstances – LIE.

Don’t try to make it on your own. Expressions like “try harder” and “never give up” will not give you overwhelming conquering victory if they lead you to trust in your own strength, and not His. “Try harder?” How about “Trust harder!”

Again, circumstances LIE. God says you ARE more than a conquerer. And someone who is more than a conqueror has — COME ALIVE!

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