Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

Pastor Ron Lewis, Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


Ephesians 5:33  This week Pastor Ron wraps up his series, “Spirit-Filled Husbands and Wives,” with the final conclusion for marriage.  Also, he points out some of the privileges and blessings that are ours when we are the Bride of Christ.

Notes:                                                                                                                              songofsolomon2_16

E.  The Final Conclusion for Husbands and Wives (V33)

1.  Husbands loves your wives…

2.  Wives respect your husbands…

3.  Some Privileges and Blessings that come along with being the Bride of Jesus Christ…

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Please click on the link below to listen to this very encouraging sermon.

Final Conclusion for Marriage

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Pastor Ron Lewis:  Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


 

Acts 22:24-36  This week we study part 3 from Pastoacts2_36r Ron’s series, “The Sermon that Launched the Church.” Peter declares Jesus Christ was the Messiah, and that He died and rose again and is now sitting at the right hand of God.  He proves that Jesus Christ whom they crucified was both Lord and Christ.

Notes:

B.  Peter Theme:  Proclaiming the Resurrected Christ (V22-36)

  1. The Life Of Christ  V22
  2. The Death of Christ V23
  3. The Resurrection of Christ V24-32

a. Peter declares the resurrection truth V24

b. Peter supports that truth from the Old Testament V25-28

c. Peter explains the prophecy and applies it to Christ V29-32

4. The Exaltation of Christ V33-36

a.  The exaltation of Christ declared V33a

b.  The exaltation explains Pentecost V33b

c.  The exaltation of Christ was also spoken of by David V34-35

d.  Peter’s thesis statement reiterated v36

Please click on the link below to listen to this wonderful Easter message:

Resurrection & Exaltation of Christ

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Here is an article by John MacArthur that I’d like to share with you.  I know first hand how much trouble worry can add to a person’s life.  I want to thank John MacArthur for writing this and sharing his wisdom on this issue as I know from sharing with people over the years that worry is a huge problem even among Christians.  We can be conquers!


Worry is a common temptation for all of us. The source of the anxiety might vary from person to person, but no one is completely immune. For some, it’s even a favorite pastime, occupying large portions of their days by troubling over their doubts and fears about the future.

You can click on the link below to read all of this article by John MacArthur.

Worn Out by Worry.

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MR900020735    

It seems like she is really in a bad mood lately, doesn’t it? Our nation has  had extra bad weather over the past month or so.  And, who gets the blame?  Mother Nature is the one who makes the headlines.

New York State Thruway Shuts Down, Leaving Hundreds Stranded – December 2, 2010

“A New York State Thruway was shutdown Thursday after a storm dumped up to 2 feet of snow on the area, leaving hundreds of motorists stranded and spending the night in their vehicles.”

Some of my own family members were stranded in this shutdown for several hours.  It was like a blizzard as the snow came down in buckets.  The road closed down and traffic came to a stop.  To top it off they were on their way home from the hospital with their special needs child who had just had his tonsils out.  But, thank the Lord, someone came along and got them unstuck and they were able to finally get back home.  Some people were stranded there overnight in the same location.  According to the news reports, Mother Nature had hit the city hard. 

Then came the terrible rain storms in California: 

STORM DAMAGE:  MOTHER NATURE OWES OC $23 MILLION, 12/19/2010  —   OC Weekly

“Original Post, December 27, 11:16 a.m. : ​​If you’ve been living in OC the past two weeks, you know it’s been a wet existence. Downpour, after downpour, slanted rain, water rising from the ground, flooded gutters. It wasn’t the most pleasant time to be singing the praises of living in Southern California.

Mudslides left families stranded (Silverado Canyon) and major roadways blocked off to traffic… Car accident reports spiked, as motorists were spinning out of control or were blinded on the wet roadways. Four hikers were stranded in the San Gabriel Mountains, requiring a helicopter rescue by Los Angeles fire fighters…

It go so bad that Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado declared a state of emergency in nine Southern California counties.”

Blizzards in the Midwest closed down roads and left motorists stranded in their cars. In North Dakota there was a 100 car pile up.  Airports were closed and many holiday plans were ruined.  At one point up to 17 feet of new snow was dumped in the mountains. 

MOTHER NATURE STRIKES AGAIN 12/30/2010  abc news

There was an unusual tornado outbreak for December in 7 states right around New Years.  These caused 6 or 7 deaths, and terrible destruction.  Missouri was one state hit pretty hard on New Year’s Eve.

What is wrong with Mother Nature anyway?  Can’t she cut us break? All his devastation and heartache.  

It’s the gift that Mother Nature just keeps giving this season—snow. More is coming to southeast Michigan.  Freep.com  Detroit Free Press, 1/06/2011

……

Mother Nature delivers Heavy snow, frigid temps descend on southwest Montana. Bozeman Daily Chronicles  11/24/2010

……

MOTHER NATURE IS GOING TO BE COMPLETELY OBNOXIOUS!  The Weather Channel 1/7/2011

I’ve been thinking about all of these storms being blamed on Mother Nature.  Does she have PMS?  Well, no, not really. She does not actually exist, therefore, she could not have PMS.   If you believe in Santa Clause then maybe you believe in Mother Nature.  She is simply a myth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Nature

So, who or what is responsible for natural disasters and horrible weather outbreaks?  God is! That’s right, but you won’t hear that on the news.

Now if you think my point is groundless and that a loving God would not do such a thing as allow terrible storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, blizzards, freezing rain, damaging winds, and other natural disasters, to come upon us, then let me take you to the Word of God and show you what God Himself says.

God is the God of the universe.

Isa 44:24 NASB  Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone,

God created all things through Jesus Christ, and He continues to this day to hold it all together.

Col 1:16-17 NASB  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.  (17)  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

God is in control.  He is Sovereign and can do whatever He pleases.  Nothing happens by chance.  Nothing!  He is in total control of the weather.  He causes the weather.

Psalm 135:5-7 NASB  For I know that the LORD is great And that our Lord is above all gods.  (6)  Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.  (7)  He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries.

Psa 148:8 NASB  Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

Why does God cause bad weather?  I do not know His reasons because we cannot comprehend it.  He has His reasons and they have to do with His divine providence.

Job 37:5-7 NASB  “God thunders with His voice wondrously, Doing great things which we cannot comprehend.  (6)  “For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ And to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’  (7)  “He seals the hand of every man, That all men may know His work.

God directs the weather and storms.  He is orchestrating it. Verse 13 may help us understand as it says it might be for correction, or for His world, or for his lovingkindness.  That again is hard to understand, except, not all storms are bad.  He brings rain to water the crops so we have food.

Job 37:9-13 NASB  “Out of the south comes the storm, And out of the north the cold.  (10)  “From the breath of God ice is made, And the expanse of the waters is frozen.  (11)  “Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning.  (12)  “It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, That it may do whatever He commands it On the face of the inhabited earth.  (13)  “Whether for correction, or for His world, Or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.

Notice in verse 7 below He says He is the one “causing well-being, and creating calamity.” This is eye opening to me! I’ve never noticed that verse before.  God Himself creates troubles.

Isa 45:5-7 NASB  “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;  (6)  That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other,  (7)  The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.

Amo 3:6 NASB  If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?

……

What if, just for conversation, what if, we would insert the word “God” in these headlines in place of “Mother Nature?”  How would that sound on the nightly news.  Let’s try some on for size.

STORM DAMAGE:  MOTHER NATURE GOD OWES OC $23 MILLION

MOTHER NATURE GOD STRIKES AGAIN 

MOTHER NATURE GOD DELIVERS HEAVY SNOW, FRIGID TEMPS DESCEND ON SOUTHWEST MONTANA.

IT’S THE GIFT THAT MOTHER NATURE GOD JUST KEEPS GIVING THIS SEASON–SNOW.

How would that sound?  Kind of odd wouldn’t you say?  But, do you know what?  There’s a lot of truth in that!

Listen and watch for the term, “Mother Nature,” and when you come across it simply change it to God and see how it sounds.  It puts a whole new perspective on things don’t you think?

What is our reaction when we hear that Mother Nature wreaks havoc?   We feel bad for the people who were involved.  We simply say to ourselves, “That’s  Mother Nature for ya,” and more or less except it and continue with the cleanup. 

On the other hand, what if we acknowledged it was God’s doing? What would our reaction be then?  I think we might realize how fragile life is and that we have no control over nature.  We might throw ourselves onto the mercy of God, and pray He would spare us.  We need to take stock of ourselves and gain an added reverence and respect for God.  Most importantly, we need to get right with God.  We need to be ready in the event that it would be our time to move on from this life.  This perspective would have a positive impact on us and our country.  I truly believe that.

Quote by Gil Rugh “Nothing happens by an act of Mother Nature; everything happens by an act of Father God!”

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Dear Heavenly Father,  I come before you a poor soul who has been graciously saved by grace.  Lord, I don’t know why you chose me, but I am forever grateful that you did.  I certainly didn’t deserve anything at all.
You are a holy God and you are full of mercy and grace.  Lord, I lift up to you all of those who read this prayer and ask that you open up their eyes of understanding to know that they are sinners because of their heritage in Adam and Eve.  When they sinned in the garden, sin entered into the world and has been passed down from generation to generation. 
Help the reader take a good look at themselves and be honest.  Help them see that they  are not capable of saving themselves but need a Savior.  God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to this earth in the form of man so we can identify with Him. Your precious Son took on all the sins of mankind when He went to the cross and died.  He took on mine and He took on the sins of those who read this prayer. Oh, Lord, thank you that you made a way for us to be right before a holy God.
Jesus beat death when He rose from the grave three days after he was buried.  He is ALIVE, in Heaven right now at your side.  This shows us that we too can have the promise of a new life after death. 
I pray that the reader will turn to you Lord. That they will bow their knee to you and allow you to be master over their life.  Lord, please open their spiritual eyes so that they may see their desperate need. 
Your Word tells us that this life is not the end of it all.  When we die we will either go to heaven or hell depending on who we serve down here.  Some will continue to serve themselves and will not respond to your Word.  They will spend eternity in Hell.  Your Word teaches that Hell is a real place and it is eternal torment.  Lord, please, don’t let anyone who is reading this prayer go to Hell.  I beg you Lord. Please help their unbelief right this minute.
There are others who believe they are Christians and on their way to Heaven, but have been deceived by false teaching.  Lord, if anyone is reading this prayer falls into this category, please give them a nudge in their hearts to examine themselves to see if they are truly in the faith.  It is not by good works that they will be saved, and it is not by being a nice person, joining a church, giving money or anything else man can do. 
Lord you want us!  You want our soul and you want our bodies for service.  If there is someone out there who does all the right things in their mind, but does not love you God, does not love your Word, and does not love their fellow Christian brothers and sisters, then by you own Word, that person is not saved.
They need to be born again.  Born anew, and become a new creation.  That is what you do for us.  And, it is wonderful that you actually adopt us into your family, God.  You become our Heavenly Father, and we can call you Father.  Once that happens then you take care of us.  We don’t have to worry or fear anymore.  We will have peace deep down inside knowing when we die we will go to Heaven.  There is no uncertainty about it.  We can be sure! 
If there is someone reading this that is not sure, then Lord I pray you will touch their heart today and nudge them to get right with you.  Open their eyes that they might see.  Help that person to become one of your family members Lord.  Help that person to make a fresh new committment to live the rest of their life for you and not for themself.  Help them to allow you to be Lord and Master.
Oh, this is a beautiful time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  But, it is so much more.  It is a time when we can take a look at ourselves and make sure we are on the right path for eternity.  Jesus did so much more for us than we can even imagine, and Heaven awaits us with multitudes of blessings and things we can only dream of.  What a day that will be when we meet him face to face! 
Lord, please bless the readers of this prayer and have mercy on them. 
In Jesus name, thy will be done.  Amen

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Thanks for What we Have in Christ

This Sunday Joel Spencer was our speaker for our special Thanksgiving message.  He brought us to Colossians 1:1-23 to highlight some things that we have to be thankful for as Christians.

Have you ever thought about how many times in a week you say, “thank you?”  We say it all the time, and it is polite to say “thank you.”  We thank the cashier in the check out line when they hand us our change or bags.  We thank strangers when they hold open a door for us.  We thank our spouses when they do something nice.  Thanksgiving is a part of our lives.  But, how many times do we thank God?  And, if we do what do we thank Him for?

In this message we will see several things that we can thank God for if we are Christians.  I hope you will be encouraged to think about all that God has done for us and be forever grateful.

Click below to listen to this uplifting message.

Thanks for What we Have in Christ – Joel Spencer

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Do you know that when we become Christians we are finally complete in Christ?  At least from God’s perspective.

Before we were born-again we were on our own.  The Bible teaches that we were dead in trespasses and sin.  We were in the realm of Satan’s kingdom, and were subject to sin, death and hell.  Isn’t that an awful picture of those who live in the world today without Christ?

So, how are we complete in Christ now?  What does that mean?

Let’s take a look at Colossians 2: 8-15 to find our answer:  These are marvelous scripture verses and loaded.  I can only skim them.

Col 2:8-15 NASB See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

First of all Paul tells us not to let the world take us captive through philosophy or man’s worldly ideas and deception, and not to follow the traditions of men.

(9) For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

Wow!  In Christ, in His human body dwells all the fullness of Deity!  That is amazing.  He is complete!

(10) and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

If you are a Christian you also have been made complete!  Let’s try to see what that means as we read more of this passage.  Christ is also the head over all rule and authority.  Keep that in mind.

When we were saved we were completely saved:

(11) and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; (12) having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

This is talking about our salvation.  We were made spiritually complete in Christ when we were saved.  When He died on the cross we somehow joined Him.  At the moment we were saved, we were baptized with the Holy Spirit, (not water baptism).  And, we died and were raised up with Christ by God.  God raised Jesus from the dead literally, and He raised us from our spiritual death.

When we were saved we were completely forgiven:

(13) When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, (14) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

We were spiritually dead because of our sins and the uncircumcision of our flesh.  But God made us alive with Christ.  He forgave us all of our sins, past, present and future.  He nailed them to the cross and canceled out the debt that we owed because of them.  God the great judge declared us to be free from the penalty of sin.

Joh 19:30 NASB Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

When we were saved we were given complete victory:

2Co 5:17 NASB Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

(15) When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

When Jesus died on the cross He also went and disarmed all the rulers and authorities.  He was victorious over them and took them all captive.  That is great news for us because they no longer have any hold on us.

Heb 2:14-15 NASB Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Being complete in Christ means that we can live in this world without fear.  We are capable of being victorious over sin.  The sting of death has been removed so we don’t have to fear that anymore, and we do not have to worry that we will spend eternity in hell.  Satan has been defeated and he can not claim you as one of his.  I like that!

Eph 3:16 NASB that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

When we get these things settled in our minds, it is much easier to face life.  Trials and temptations will come our way, but knowing we are complete in Him, gives us the courage to face them head on.  God is always in control and sovereign over what happens to us.  We can trust Him to make our path straight and to take care of us in every situation.  He loves us as a dear Heavenly Father and will take care of his children.

2Pe 1:3-4 NASB seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (4) For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Isn’t that an uplifting scripture?  We really don’t have to worry about things.  God has granted us everything we need that pertains to our life and to be a godly individual.  He gives us that through the true knowledge of Him.  As we study the Word we learn how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God and He also gives us the power to be successful in doing that. That power is in us because Christ is in us and it is the same power that raised Jesus from the grave.  Now that is power!  We can even escape the corruption that is in the world. I praise God for that. 

I pray we will all try to realize all that we have in our possession when we become Christians, and that we will know in our hearts that we can overcome anything that comes our way.

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Lessons Learned/Practical Application
by Kimberly Northrup-Vaughn

God has accomplished great deliverance in my life. I still have so far to go, but He has delivered me from the pits.  I praise God for what I have been through because it brought me to such desperation that I was willing to seek God with every ounce of my being in order to find my way out.

From my experiences and the WORD OF GOD I believe that we can all be free. By this I do not mean that we will never again struggle with fear or anxiety or panic attacks. However, I believe completely that this means we do not have to live with these things controlling us or being a controlling factor in lives. We don’t have to live with them hanging over our heads. Why am I so confident of this? Because in His Word God makes it clear that He wants to be the only One that has power over us.

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Luke 16:13)

While this last passage in particular addresses the love of money, the principle remains the same – We can only have one master. If fear and anxiety rule and control us, then are we really allowing God to have control over us?

Jesus also promised that those who gave their lives to Him could have an abundant life.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)

In Jesus we are not meant to simply exist and survive, but we are meant to THRIVE – to be truly alive!

With all of that in mind, here are some practical things I have learned, and I believe these things can help you along on your journey too:

1.  If we go to the Word of God and our anxiety only gets worse (as I’ve heard some of you all say, and as I experienced.), this is not from God.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

We have to remember that we have an enemy (Satan) that is looking to discredit the authority or power of God’s Word. He does not want us to be free. So it is only normal that we who are seeking to be free would encounter obstacles of anxiety when we go to God’s Word. After all, if we become free from the power of anxiety in our lives, Satan has a lot to lose and God has a lot of glory to receive.

So don’t let increased feelings of anxiety to stir you away from God’s Word. Instead, let it make you all the more determined – Look into God’s Word until you find peace!

2. The Word of God is SO important to us in our struggles.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) “He sent forth His Word and healed them.” (Psalm 107:20) 

No matter the struggle or issue, all the answers and help we need are in there. We can be familiar with all the stories and verses, but we need to always go back with a heart and mind that are willing to learn something new. The Holy Spirit is always ready to bring us to new levels through the Word, even through verses we have heard a million times.

3. We can’t just be encouraged by the Word – we have to apply it. Not just with areas of anxiety, but also with other areas where we are struggling.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)

When we apply the truth, God shows us over time how He is faithful to accomplish His Word. As we take steps of faith in our lives and see that God remains faithful and true, it encourages us to take more steps.

4. We who are in so much bondage to anxiety and fear need to make the Word our lifeline. Carry Scriptures around with you. Make them always in front of you. Tape them on your cabinets and bathroom mirrors, in your car, or wherever else you will see them frequently.

5. Don’t just focus on Scriptures about anxiety and peace. Focus on Scriptures about God’s character. Like Psalm 145:8-9.  We need to let it sink into our hearts and minds how good and loving and powerful our God is!

6. Find ways to get in-person Christian fellowship. Maybe your first step of faith is inviting someone from your church over to your house to visit you, even if that means them coming to your bedroom, if you are stuck in your bedroom. Even if it’s just a pastor. One of the ways that God shows us His love is through His people. When we experience God’s love, that helps to cast out the fear.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18)

7. We need the body of Christ. Don’t allow pride to keep you from asking for prayers as much as you need it (not just in this group, but with other Christians you know too). Sometimes we’re tempted to think, “Oh they’re sick of hearing from me – they don’t want to hear this.” But that is from the enemy. The Bible makes it very clear that prayer plays a crucial part in certain trials and spiritual battles.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

8. Be desperate and be honest with God.

 “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea.” (Psalm 102:17) To be destitute is to be needy – We show we have great need of God when we go to Him for more than a quick prayer. These quick prayers make Him out to be more like our wish-granter rather than our soul-fulfiller.

9. Ask God for wisdom – in everything.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

Stop analyzing things and trying to understand things on your own. Our own wisdom hasn’t exactly put us where we want – we might as well give it up and trust God’s wisdom. It is FAR BETTER than our own!

 “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:8&9)

10. “But when he asks (for wisdom), he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6&7) 

Keep on asking God to help your unbelief, as you encounter it. Jesus honored the man that cried out

“‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” (Mark 9:24)

Be the “persistent widow” (Luke 18:1-8) in asking for the Lord to help your unbelief.

JESUS is the ultimate healer and deliverer. Every single one of us can be FREE, as we allow the blood of Jesus to touch every crevice of who we are!

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