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Thread: Our Daily Bread

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    May 20, 2019

    Divine Escape

    So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
    John 11:53

    Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mystery The Clocks features antagonists who commit a series of murders. Although their initial plot targeted a single victim, they began taking more lives in order to cover up the original crime. When confronted by Poirot, a conspirator confessed, “It was only supposed to be the one murder.”

    Like the schemers in the story, the religious authorities formed a conspiracy of their own. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38–44), they called an emergency meeting and plotted to kill Him (vv. 45–53). But they didn’t stop there. After Jesus rose from the dead, the religious leaders spread lies about what happened at the grave (Matthew 28:12–15). Then they began a campaign to silence Jesus’s followers (Acts 7:57–8:3). What started as a religious plot against one man for the “greater good” of the nation became a web of lies, deceit, and multiple casualties.

    Sin plunges us down a road that often has no end in sight, but God always provides a way of escape. When Caiaphas the high priest said, “It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:50), he didn’t understand the profound truth of his words. The conspiracy of the religious leaders would help bring about the redemption of mankind.

    Jesus saves us from sin’s vicious grip. Have you received the freedom He offers?

    By Remi Oyedele
    Reflect & Pray

    What road are you going down that could take you further away from God? He offers real freedom. What do you need to confess to Him today?

    Give sin room, and it can take over a life.

    To learn more about the Gospels that record the life of Jesus, visit christianuniversity.org/NT331.
    ohn 11:45-53

    45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

    46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

    47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

    48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

    49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,

    50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

    51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

    52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

    53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  2. #1772
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    May 21,2019

    Marvelously Unique

    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Psalm 139:14

    Human beings are not special—at least according to the London Zoo. In 2005, the zoo introduced a four-day exhibit: “Humans in Their Natural Environment.” The human “captives” were chosen through an online contest. To help visitors understand the humans, the zoo workers created a sign detailing their diet, habitat, and threats. According to the zoo’s spokesperson, the goal of the exhibit was to downplay the uniqueness of human beings. One participant in the exhibit seemed to agree. “When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds them that we’re not that special.”

    What a stark contrast to what the Bible says about human beings: God “fearfully and wonderfully” made us in “his image” (Psalm 139:14; Genesis 1:26–27).

    David began Psalm 139 by celebrating God’s intimate knowledge of him (vv. 1–6) and His all-encompassing presence (vv. 7–12). Like a master weaver, God not only formed the intricacies of David’s internal and external features (vv. 13–14), but He also made him a living soul, giving spiritual life and the ability to intimately relate to God. Meditating on God’s handiwork, David responded in awe, wonder, and praise (v. 14).

    Human beings are special. God created us with marvelous uniqueness and the awesome ability to have an intimate relationship with Him. Like David, we can praise Him because we’re the workmanship of His loving hands.

    By Marvin Williams
    Reflect & Pray

    What are some practical implications of knowing and believing you’re fearfully and wonderfully made? What are some negative consequences of not believing this?

    God created human beings to be like Him.
    Psalms 139:1-14

    1 (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.) O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

    2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

    3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

    4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

    5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

    6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

    7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

    8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

    9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

    10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

    11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

    12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

    13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

    14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  3. #1773
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    May 22, 2019

    The Heart of Fasting

    The fasts . . . will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.
    Zechariah 8:19

    Hunger pangs gnawed at my nerves. My mentor had recommended fasting as a way to focus on God. But as the day wore on, I wondered: How did Jesus do this for forty days? I struggled to rely on the Holy Spirit for peace, strength, and patience. Especially patience.

    If we’re physically able, fasting can teach us the importance of our spiritual food. As Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Yet, as I learned firsthand, fasting on its own doesn’t necessarily draw us closer to God!

    In fact, God once told His people through the prophet Zechariah that their practice of fasting was useless since it wasn’t leading to service for the poor. “Was it really for me that you fasted?” God asked pointedly (Zechariah 7:5).

    God’s question revealed that the primary problem wasn’t their stomachs; it was their cold hearts. By continuing to serve themselves, they were failing to draw closer to God’s heart. So He urged them, “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor” (vv. 9–10).

    Our goal in any spiritual discipline is to draw closer to Jesus. As we grow in likeness to Him, we’ll gain a heart for those He loves.

    By Tim Gustafson
    Reflect & Pray

    How can God use spiritual disciplines as tools to break up the rocky soil of our hearts? What’s helped you draw closer to Jesus recently?

    God, I am so prone to seek my own pleasure and the approval of others. Help my life please You as I serve others.
    Zechariah 7:1-10

    1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;

    2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD,

    3 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?

    4 Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying,

    5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?

    6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?

    7 Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?

    8 And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying,

    9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:

    10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 05-22-2019 at 06:46 AM.
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  4. #1774
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    May 23,2019

    Throwing Stones

    Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.
    John 8:7

    Lisa felt no sympathy for those who cheated on their spouse . . . until she found herself deeply unsatisfied with her marriage and struggling to resist a dangerous attraction. That painful experience helped her gain a new compassion for others and greater understanding of Christ’s words: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7).

    Jesus was teaching in the temple courts when He made that statement. A group of teachers of the law and Pharisees had just dragged a woman caught in adultery before Him and challenged, “In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (v. 5). Because they considered Jesus a threat to their authority, the question was “a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him” (v. 6)—and getting rid of Him.

    Yet when Jesus replied, “Let any one of you who is without sin . . .” not one of the woman’s accusers could bring themselves to pick up a stone. One by one, they walked away.

    Before we critically judge another’s behavior while looking lightly at our own sin, let’s remember that all of us “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Instead of condemnation, our Savior showed this woman—and you and me—grace and hope (John 3:16; 8:10–11). How can we not do the same for others?

    By Alyson Kieda
    Reflect & Pray

    How can you put the lesson of John 8 into action in how you treat others? How can you use your own experience to help others facing similar challenges?

    Dear Lord, thank You for loving us! Help us to look with compassion on others and to be gracious in all we say and do.
    John 8:1-11

    1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

    2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

    3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

    4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

    5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

    6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

    7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

    8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

    9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

    10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

    11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 05-23-2019 at 06:04 AM.
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    May 24,2019

    “God Saved My Life”

    When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
    John 8:44

    When Aaron (not his real name) was 15, he began praying to Satan: “I felt like he and I had a partnership.” Aaron started to lie, steal, and manipulate his family and friends. He also experienced nightmares: “I woke up one morning and saw the devil at the end of the bed. He told me that I was going to pass my exams and then die.” Yet when he finished his exams, he lived. Aaron reflected, “It was clear to me that he was a liar.”

    Hoping to meet girls, Aaron went to a Christian festival, where a man offered to pray for him. “While he was praying, I felt a sense of peace flood my body.” He felt something “more powerful, and more liberating,” than what he felt from Satan. The man who prayed told Aaron God had a plan and Satan was a liar. This man echoed what Jesus said of Satan when He responded to some who opposed him: “He is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

    Aaron turned to Christ from Satanism and now “belongs to God” (v. 47). He ministers in an urban community, sharing the difference following Jesus makes. He’s a living testament of God’s saving power: “I can say with confidence that God saved my life.”

    God is the source of all that is good, holy, and true. We can turn to Him to find truth.

    By Amy Boucher Pye
    Reflect & Pray

    How have you experienced God rescuing you from evil? Who can you share your story with this week?

    God is more powerful than the father of lies.
    John 8:42-47

    42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

    43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

    44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

    45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

    46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

    47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 05-24-2019 at 05:58 AM.
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  8. #1776
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    May 25,2019

    Shackled but Not Silent

    About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
    Acts 16:25

    In the summer of 1963, after an all-night bus ride, US civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer and six other black passengers stopped to eat at a diner in Winona, Mississippi. After law enforcement officers forced them to leave, they were arrested and jailed. But the humiliation wouldn’t end with unlawful arrest. All received severe beatings, but Fannie’s was the worst. After a brutal attack that left her near death she burst out in song: “Paul and Silas was bound in jail, let my people go.” And she didn’t sing alone. Other prisoners, restrained in body but not in soul, joined her in worship.

    According to Acts 16, Paul and Silas found themselves in a difficult place when they were imprisoned for telling others about Jesus. But discomfort didn’t dampen their faith. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (v. 25). Their bold worship created the opportunity to continue to talk about Jesus. “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to [the jailer] and to all the others in his house” (v. 32).

    Most of us will not likely face the extreme circumstances encountered by Paul, Silas, or Fannie, but each of us will face uncomfortable situations. When that happens, our strength comes from our faithful God. May there be a song in our hearts that will honor Him and give us boldness to speak for Him—even in the midst of trouble.

    By Arthur Jackson
    Reflect & Pray

    When was the last time you found yourself in a difficult situation? How did God help you live out your faith and witness?

    Hard times call for prayer and praise to the One who controls all things.
    Acts 16:25-34

    25 Unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

    26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.

    27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

    28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

    29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

    30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

    31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

    33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

    34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 05-25-2019 at 05:46 AM.
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  9. #1777
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    May 26,2019

    The Call to Courage

    Be strong and courageous.
    1 Chronicles 28:20

    Among a display of male statues (Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, and others) in London’s Parliament Square, stands a lone statue of a woman. The solitary woman is Millicent Fawcett, who fought for the right of women to vote. She’s immortalized in bronze—holding a banner displaying words she offered in a tribute to a fellow suffragist: “Courage calls to courage everywhere.” Fawcett insisted that one person’s courage emboldens others—calling timid souls into action.

    As David prepared to hand his throne over to his son Solomon, he explained the responsibilities that would soon rest heavy on his shoulders. It’s likely Solomon quivered under the weight of what he faced: leading Israel to follow all God’s instructions, guarding the land God had entrusted to them, and overseeing the monumental task of building the temple (1 Chronicles 28:8–10).

    Knowing Solomon’s trembling heart, David offered his son powerful words: “Be strong and courageous . . . . Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you” (v. 20). Real courage would never arise from Solomon’s own skill or confidence but rather from relying on God’s presence and strength. God provided the courage Solomon needed.

    When we face hardship, we often try to drum up boldness or talk ourselves into bravery. God, however, is the one who renews our faith. He will be with us. And His presence calls us to courage.

    By Winn Collier
    Reflect & Pray

    What causes your heart to tremble in fear? How can you seek God’s presence and power in moving toward courage?

    God, I’m often so afraid. And when I am, I’m tempted to rely on my own wits or courage—and that’s never enough. Be with me. Give me Your courage.
    1 Chronicles 28:8-10

    8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.

    9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

    10 Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    May 27,2019

    A Living Memorial of Kindness

    David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?”
    2 Samuel 9:1

    I grew up in a church full of traditions. One came into play when a beloved family member or friend died. Often a church pew or possibly a painting in a hallway showed up not long afterward with a brass plate affixed: “In Memory of . . .” The deceased’s name would be etched there, a shining reminder of a life passed on. I always appreciated those memorials. And I still do. Yet at the same time they’ve always given me pause because they are static, inanimate objects, in a very literal sense something “not alive.” Is there a way to add an element of “life” to the memorial?

    Following the death of his beloved friend Jonathan, David wanted to remember him and to keep a promise to him (1 Samuel 20:12–17). But rather than simply seek something static, David searched and found something very much alive—a son of Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:3). David’s decision here is dramatic. He chose to extend kindness (v. 1) to Mephibosheth (vv. 6–7) in the specific forms of restored property (“all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul”) and the ongoing provision of food and drink (“you will always eat at my table”).

    As we continue to remember those who’ve died with plaques and paintings, may we also recall David’s example and extend kindness to those still living.

    By John Blase
    Reflect & Pray

    Who has died that you don’t want to forget? What might a specific kindness to another person look like for you?

    Jesus, give me the strength to extend kindness in memory of the kindness others have shown me, but most important because of Your great kindness.
    2 Samuel:1-7

    1 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake?

    2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.

    3 And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.

    4 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.

    5 Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.

    6 Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!

    7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    May 28,2019

    Never Alone


    He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.
    John 14:16–17

    While writing a Bible guide for pastors in Indonesia, a writer friend grew fascinated with that nation’s culture of togetherness. Called gotong royong—meaning “mutual assistance”—the concept is practiced in villages, where neighbors may work together to repair someone’s roof or rebuild a bridge or path. In cities too my friend said, “People always go places with someone else—to a doctor’s appointment, for example. It’s the cultural norm. So you’re never alone.”

    Worldwide, believers in Jesus rejoice in knowing we also are never alone. Our constant and forever companion is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. Far more than a loyal friend, the Spirit of God is given to every follower of Christ by our heavenly Father to “help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16).

    Jesus promised God’s Spirit would come after His own time on Earth ended. “I will not leave you as orphans,” Jesus said (v. 18). Instead, the Holy Spirit—“the Spirit of Truth” who “lives with you and will be in you”—indwells each of us who receives Christ as Savior (v. 17).

    The Holy Spirit is our Helper, Comforter, Encourager, and Counselor—a constant companion in a world where loneliness can afflict even connected people. May we forever abide in His comforting love and help.

    By Patricia Raybon
    Reflect & Pray

    As a believer in Christ, how does it encourage you to know that the Holy Spirit lives inside of you? How have you neglected God’s comfort?

    Jesus promised we will always have companionship with the Holy Spirit, who never leaves us.

    To learn more about basic Christian beliefs visit christianuniversity.org/ST101.
    John 14:15-18

    15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

    16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

    17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

    18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 05-28-2019 at 07:06 AM.
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    May 29,2019

    The Empty Bed

    Go and make disciples of all nations.
    Matthew 28:19

    I was eager to return to St. James Infirmary in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and reconnect with Rendell, who two years earlier had learned about Jesus’s love for him. Evie, a teenager in the high school choir I travel with each spring, had read Scripture with Rendell and explained the gospel, and he personally received Jesus as his Savior.

    When I entered the men’s section of the home and looked toward Rendell’s bed, however, I found it was empty. I went to the nurse’s station, and was told what I didn’t want to hear. He had passed away—just five days before we arrived.

    Through tears, I texted Evie the sad news. Her response was simple: “Rendell is celebrating with Jesus.” Later she said, “It’s a good thing we told him about Jesus when we did.”

    Her words reminded me of the importance of being ready to lovingly share with others the hope we have in Christ. No, it’s not always easy to proclaim the gospel message about the One who will be with us always (Matthew 28:20), but when we think about the difference it made for us and for people like Rendell, perhaps we’ll be encouraged to be even more ready to “make disciples” wherever we go (v. 19).

    I’ll never forget the sadness of seeing that empty bed—and also the joy of knowing what a difference one faithful teen made in Rendell’s forever life.

    By Dave Branon
    Reflect & Pray

    What are some things you can do to introduce people to Jesus today? As you share your faith, how does it encourage you to know Jesus is “with you always” (Matthew 28:20)?

    God, we know that people need You. Help us to overcome our fear of telling others about You.
    Matthew 28:16-20

    16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

    17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

    18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

    19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  13. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Old Ridge Runner For This Useful Post:

    DeadEye (05-29-2019),jirqoadai (05-29-2019)

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