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Archive for October, 2009

My First Language

Bro. John:
 
I am so thankful for the power of God!  As in Bro. Gary’s dream, it overcomes everything!  When I read the sarcastic sentence below (taken from a comment that Bro. Gary emailed yesterday on a YouTube video of a brother receiving the holy Ghost), I could not thank God enough for putting in my heart the truth that overcomes lies concerning speaking in tongues.  When God puts it in your heart, He also puts His confidence there.  Because of the Word of God that came to my heart years ago, I can read this and have compassion for this person knowing he is blind to the truth and his heart has not been touched by God.  God help him.  From his comment:

“. . . . Why in the world would God want anyone talking this way when you can already speak English!! You don’t think He understands that???. . . .”

When I read this, I was so wonderfully reminded what God told me concerning speaking in tongues and the English language.  In a meeting years ago in Henderson, as I was enjoying His Spirit, but not as freely as I should have, God spoke:  “This (speaking in tongues) is your FIRST language now; English is your second”.  Hearing these words, the new man within me rejoiced all the more!!  I don’t think God has an issue with languages — He knows which language identifies His children!  🙂  He knows who believes and who does not, and speaking in tongues is HIS stamp of approval that separates the two:  “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; . . .”  New tongues — the FIRST language of the new man!   “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”  I love thinking of it this way:  the First language of the First family (Father and Son).  🙂

You know, Bro. John, I think comments like this man’s come our way not only to cause us to humble ourselves to realize how blessed we are, but to appreciate what a privilege it is to be the “taught of God”.  As Jesus said:  “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.  Every man therefore who has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto me.”  
 
Every time I am reminded of the beauty of what God has done in each of our lives, I just melt at His goodness and love.  I am thankful for this man’s question.  It quickened in me the joy of that day when God let me feel the liberty of the sons of God; essentially, “Be free in the FIRST language of the new man!”  It is not even a matter of whether God understands English because He understands everything and everyone.  It is not what God understands that is to question; it is what we don’t understand without His Spirit.
 
It has been wonderful today recounting the treasures of God in my heart.  It always leaves a yearning for more.
 
Sandy  
 
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

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Amen, Sister Sandy!
I love this part of a verse that you quoted, “They shall all be taught of God.”  In the original Greek, the phrase “taught of God” is one word, and it is an adjective.  So, what Jesus was really saying is that a distinguishing feature of those who truly are children of God is that they are “God-taught” people.  Something about that stirs up joy in my heart.

jdc

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The Son

Pastor John,
I was thinking on the Lord today, and how that the Son was the beginning of His creation and the end of it.  As I understand it, God only created the Son, and then through the Son He created everything else.  Is that right?  Did God only create the Son, thus making the Son the first and last thing that God ever created?

thanks
robert
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Yes, Rob.

The Son is “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” thing that the Father ever created.  Everything else everywhere was created through the Son, according to the will of the Father and by the power that the Father gave him when He created him.  The Son is de facto God over all that exists, but that he himself has a God over him, the Father, who is greater than the Son (Jesus said that).  This truth — that God from the beginning had a Son “by whom He made the worlds” serves as the basis for the New Testament.

Pastor John

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Pentecostal

I’m learning HOW IMPORTANT it is for us to distance ourselves from Pentecostal Christianity (not the people, of course).  If we are afraid and don’t distinguish, we will be rejected by a lot of people who otherwise would maybe be interested in God, and with good reason.  The way in which the Spirit is presented in most Pentecostal places is embarrassing.  Pentecostal doctrines/actions/teachings/behaviors are completely…. well, messy.

PS.   Have you seen “Jesus Camp” yet?  It’s on Google videos.  I had to watch it in parts, because I couldn’t take the whole thing at one time.  THAT is how a lot of people view Pentecostal experiences.

Bekah
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I agree.  Pentecostal Christianity is nothing like it was fifty years ago.  It has, in fact, become a part of the abomination that those old Pentecostals hated and were fleeing from when they became “Pentecostal” in the first place by receiving the holy ghost.

“Pentecostal” Christianity is a lot like the Disney corporation.  It is making its living on the good reputation which a previous generation legitimately earned.

Daddy

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http://www.goingtojesus.com/tongues-at-spirit-baptism.html

 

Dear John,
 
I received the booklet “Speaking in Tongues” with interest.  I am always looking for sound teaching booklets to stock for my congregation to purchase for their growth.
 
It looked to be a very balanced treatment of tongues but as I read further, I realised that I probably fit into the description you give of “a reasonable man (or woman) may be slow to agree”.
 
At the moment, I do not believe that you must speak in tongues to be saved, as you do, acknowledging that you are very much in a minority.
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I can already tell that we will have a problem communicating because you use the word “saved” as a synonym for “converted” (and I am in the vast minority who use it rightly), but I will do the best I can to give you my best answers.
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 Therefore, I have a few questions:
 
Firstly, let me say that I speak in tongues.
However, I cannot be absolutely sure that I am speaking another language, as I don’t understand it. I have never felt the Holy Spirits 
‘moving upon me’ to speak in tongues, such as was my wifes experience, but I believe I do speak them, by faith.
 
Also, I tend to believe (currently) that tongues is available to all christians.
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Speaking in tongues is available to everybody on earth if they repent and believe the gospel of Jesus, Christian or not.
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Now, my questions:
1. Is it possible that Paul is acknowledging in 1Cor 12 that not all those who have been baptised by the Spirit (vs13) speak in tongues?
Are vs 28-30, with the rhetorical questions that must all be answered  ‘No’ (to be logical and consistent) pointing out that NOT everyone who is baptised by the Spirit will demonstrate tongues?
Could Paul be pointing out that humans are varied in their response to God’s Spirit?
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The subject of the chapter is gifts of the Spirit.  As I pointed out early in the book, my topic was not the gift of “diverse tongues” but speaking in tongues at Spirit baptism.
Yes, at first blush, what you say about vv. 28-30 seems to be the case because the only logical response is “no”.  But isn’t it the case that Paul is speaking of ministry there, the use of one’s gifts and functioning in the body, not the simple testimony of the Spirit when it comes in?

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2. “These signs shall follow those that believe” Are you saying that tongues must accompany EVERY believer because of this verse? That would seem to mean no-one is a christian until they had also cast out demons, drunk poison etc.
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Those signs mentioned in Mark 16 were not meant to be a complete list, any more than the nine gifts listed in 1Cor 12 are meant to be a complete list of all the gifts that God gives His children.  There are billions of other gifts available (some are mentioned in Rom. 12).  Likewise, there are more miraculous evidences that distinguish “those who believe” from the world.  Jesus’ point in Mark 16 was simply and obviously that the real people of God are those who experience the miraculous, not those who call themselves Christians and join a church.
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3. On page 32 you state: “Still, if the traditional doctrinal position of the Pentecostals is true…” My question is “Well is it true?”. A few line above you were saying that traditions and doctrines against ‘us’ are set in stone… I don’t actually believe that. I believe EVERY tradition and doctrine is up for re-examination at all times.
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Theoretically, perhaps.  But practically speaking that is not at all the case.  Would to God that His people would sincerely re-evaluate what they are taught.
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Even the 1900’s proposal that tongues are the “initial sign”.  Because if the traditional doctrinal position of the Pentecostals is 
NOT true, then “the only logical and biblical sound conclusion is” that a person may be baptised in the Spirit (saved)
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there you go with that “saved” thing again.  tsk, tsk.  :).
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and then “be filled” (eph 5:18 present / ongoing filling activity ) with varying intensity, and varying manifestations of the Spirit.
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Whether or not the traditional Pentecostal view is correct, that would be true.
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 I believe that even Jesus was subject to a varying flow or ‘filling’ or baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 5:17) Doesn’t the fact that the Bible states that the power of the Lord was there for healing shows that at other times it was NOT there?
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Yes.
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4. I read your thoughts about Oral Roberts’ letter, I was interested in your comment about the word Salvation being used as a synonym for conversion.
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If you will give some serious study to that issue, you will agree with me that everyone should stop using the strange “get saved” language that developed during the 20th century.
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But what I found strange was your thought that doctrine of holy spirit baptism at or after conversion was indefensible… Why?
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I did not say that Spirit baptism AT conversion was indefensible.  Spirit baptism IS conversion.  What is indefensible is the typical Pentecostal/Charismatic doctrine that one becomes a candidate for Spirit baptism only AFTER one is converted.  That is biblically indefensible, and blatantly so.
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 It seems to make sense to me that “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Spirit” therefore, ‘calling on the name of Jesus’, either as an act of salvation or any time after HAS to be Holy Spirit inspired, or Breathed.
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C’mon, David!  Cut out that non-sensical “get saved/salvation stuff!  🙂
Paul’s point in 1Cor 12:1-3 is that no one can say Jesus is Lord and know that they are telling the truth without having the baptism of the Spirit.  I could bribe a wino out on the street to say the words, “Jesus is Lord” with a bottle of wine any time I wanted to.
Secondly, “calling on the name of the Lord” is a biblical phrase with a very specific meaning.  It refers ONLY to the communication of God’s children with Him.  According to Zephaniah 3:9, “calling on the name of the Lord” can only be done by those who have received a “pure language”, and according to Paul in Romans 10, only those who are calling on the name of the Lord will receive salvation in the end.
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5. By holding this position, are you not in danger of “loading up the people with burdens too heavy to bear, while you yourselves don’t lift a finger to help them” (Jesus to the Pharisees). Because if you are wrong, then you will have made heaven inaccessible to many, who then go to hell for no reason. It seems to me to be a dangerous opinion to hold, IF wrong.
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On the contrary.  If what I am teaching is wrong, I have barred no one from eternal life.  If I have provoked some to seek and to received the baptism of the Spirit, and they do not really need it, I have not harmed them at all.  And if the baptism of the holy Ghost is not needed, then those without it will not be barred from heaven just because I told them they had to have it.  Jesus would not condemn them on the basis of someone’s false doctrine.
Secondly, the baptism of the holy Spirit could not possibly be one of the “burdens too heavy to bear” that false teachers add to the backs of sincere people.  It relieves men of burdens; it does not add burdens to them.
YOU are the one in danger of damning souls who trust you if your doctrine of wrong.  You teach men that they need not have the baptism of the holy Ghost (with the evidence of speaking in tongues).  But what will you say to them in the end, when they and you learn that they did in fact need it?  And even more importantly, what will Jesus say to you?
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6. Are you saying that to be saved one must accept the saving grace of Jesus PLUS perform a particular action. Must there not be, therefore, a split second in time where a person has been saved before they speak in tongues? or is the work of Jesus not complete until AFTER we have done our bit? Thus placing the burden of salvation back on human action rather than God’s action?
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shooo!   Would you mind if I replace your “saved” with a biblically accurate word so that I can give you a biblically accurate answer?  Thank you.  Here, then, is your real question:

6. Are you saying that to be converted one must accept the saving grace of Jesus PLUS perform a particular action. Must there not be, therefore, a split second in time where a person has been converted before they speak in tongues? or is the work of Jesus not complete until AFTER we have done our bit? Thus placing the burden of converted back on human action rather than God’s action?

Speaking in tongues is not “a particular action” of a man, nor is it “a bit” that we do; nor yet is it “human action”.  It is a verbal expression prompted by the power of God.  The grace that truly saves is the grace that leads us to repent of sin and receive the Spirit that Jesus died for us to have.  The human part is only obedience to the word of God.  Peter said that God gives the holy Spirit to every person who obeys Him (Acts 5).
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I too wish my whole congregation spoke in tounges, as it is so beneficial to them and to us all, but I have to say, your book has not convinced me.
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It will take some time and experience for that to happen in any case.  It sounds almost irrelevant to the subject at hand (but is not at all), but if you would concentrate on learning the biblical way to use the word “saved” and all its forms, my teaching would begin to make more sense to you than it does right now.  That would be a good first step toward fellowship.
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I ask these question to ascertain if I understand you correctly and also to see if you have any more evidence for your view, 
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Not really.   The evidence in the book is just about it.
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but also to see if in fact, the wider understanding of the holy spirit is true.
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The truth is the widest view we dare take.  Beyond that lies “the broad way that leads to destruction”.
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My suspicion is that your position is dangerous to the kingdom of God.
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It isn’t possible that there be any dangers to God or His eternal kingdom.  I think you mean to say that my teaching presents a danger to the religious system known as Christianity.  With that, I agree completely.
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I say this sadly, because I know your heart is to grow the kingdom, and also that I’ll see you in heaven, when we’ll all know what we thought was right or wrong, but when it will be too late to change anything.  Better we keep an open mind now… so that’s why I read your book with interest.
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Neither you nor I know that we will see each other in heaven.  Since salvation will only be given to those believers who do the will of God and only “he who endures (in the love of God) to the end shall be saved”, we can have the hope of salvation, and pray for each other to attain to it, but we cannot know what the righteous Judge will say to us until we stand before him.
But you are right to say that when that time passes, nothing can be changed.  So, let’s take the present seriously and ask God to help us, and all who trust in Jesus, to “speak the same thing, to be of the same mind, and the same judgment”.

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Yours in Christ,
and possibly brutal honesty,
but always with Love,
David Hooper.
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I felt no brutality at all in your letter, David.  And I thank you for writing.  Please stay in touch, and feel free to write with as much brutality, or love, as you feel led of the Lord to write with.  I enjoy this kind of communication.  God bless you for sharing your comments with me.

Respectfully,
your servant in Christ Jesus,
John Clark, Sr.

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Part 2

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Dear John,
Thanks for your comprehensive reply.

Firstly, I know email can sound really blunt, let me assure you I’m not offended or angry or anything.

I’ve never heard of the difference between Saved & Converted, I might look into. But really, I think we can waste time arguing over words, when really that’s a side issue to the point in question. It becomes even more irrelevant when the ‘common understanding’ of a word actually changes its meaning over time, and becomes a different word. e.g. Awful used to mean “full of wonder” but now it means “bad”. So I use words to convey an overall sense of the topic, not in total accuracy. But thank you for re-wording my final question rather than continue to comment on my use of words – if we’d been having a conversation I would have adapted my words to suit you, but you can’t do that in a letter : )

I can’t see why we should stop using “saved” and go for “converted” converted is rapidly turning into something you do to a stolen car.
also, I don’t see the point in arguing over words, when we’re told not to in 1Tim. 6:4 (.. unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words…) I’ve grown up listening to endless discussions over words and have come to the opinion that God is more concerned with fruit than so called accuracy, ie. he doesn’t care if a person knows they’ve been saved or converted as long as they’re going to be with him forever.

Now, I have to say that I didn’t fully understand some of you answers…
But let me clarify a few times you misunderstood me…
_______________
My suspicion is that your position is dangerous to the kingdom of God.
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It isn’t possible that there be any dangers to God or His eternal kingdom.  I think you mean to say that my teaching presents a danger to the religious system known as Christianity.  With that, I agree completely.

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No, I mean your position may cause less people to enter the kingdom.
But you did answer that by disagreeing.

The rest doesn’t really matter, as you ended up answering my question anyhow…

I guess what I’m still trying to work out is…
Do you believe that people who never speak in tongues may end up in heaven?

Thanks,
David.
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Thanks for responding, David.  Wish we could sit down and talk face-to-face, don’t you?

Short answer, no one without the witness of the Spirit has received the Spirit, and without the Spirit, a person does not belong to God.  How, then, could such a one be saved in the end?  The “come to the altar and get saved” ritual is a bizarre 20th century invention which I challenge you to find anywhere in the Bible, or even anywhere in  Christianity’s sordid history before the late 19th or 20th century.

There were several points that I made in the last email that you did not address.  Hopefully, you plan to do that later.

I do hope you will pursue the issue of “salvation.”  Pointing out what that word means biblically is not to quibble over words. (You can read more on that at www.GoingtoJesus.com.)  Paul was condemning such things as the monumentally ridiculous Christian conflict over homoousios verses homoiousios.  One major fact you will need to consider in your study of salvation vs. conversion will be that no one was born again before the Spirit came on the day of Pentecost.  That is critical to understanding what Jesus said about “saved” in the gospels.

Take care.
God bless you and those with you.

Your non-Christian slave in Christ Jesus the Lord,
John

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from Brad

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John, . . . dear brother john. . .

. . . Ohhh myyyyyyy. . . when I read correspondence such as this, I get all teary-eyed with admiration for your communication skills, notwithstanding the anointing that God has given you to accomplish such letters with so much tenderness, sincerity and precision–never compromising the truth to be “friendly” or agreeable—essentially being “no respecter of persons.”

I have endeavored to be “like” you in my communication with others, and it has proven to be powerful; sometimes encouraging and sometimes repelling, depending on the reader’s spiritual condition.

I would like to state , for the record, once again, that I am so thankful that God has placed me under your tutorship, and you have been my pastor and teacher, despite the difficulty of being in such a relationship, when we are “geographically challenged.”   ‘^}

You are my favorite writer.   I’ve told you this before, but. . . Sheeesh!  
Your works BLESS my soul and my heart.  

I see Jesus in you, frequently, and that’s a whole lot more than I’ve ever seen Jesus in any other minister in this world.  I PRAY that God will raise up others like you, perhaps even from the young ones currently learning under you in God’s NC family.   I just feel SO GOOD reading this correspondence between you and Mr. Hooper.  I am praying for him even now.

I look forward to seeing you and Barbara , Token and Naomi.  I hope we can make your visit more pleasant than ever.

Have a nice weekend.
Brad

PS:  re:

YOU: It isn’t possible that there be any dangers to God or His eternal kingdom.  I think you mean to say that my teaching presents a danger to the religious system known as Christianity.  With that, I agree completely.

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DAVID: “No, I mean your position may cause less people to enter the kingdom.”
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ME:  How could your position possibly CAUSE fewer people to enter the kingdom , when God is in control of who enters His kingdom?   Mr Hooper is confessing (without realizing what he is saying) that his doctrine helps more people to enter the kingdom , but your way prevents them.  !   —As if he or any other Xn ministers are in control of that, in the first place?   Wow.  What a faux pas.

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Rob – Psalm 119

Pastor John

Thank you for doing this and asking us to try it also. I enjoyed thinking on these things.

Rob
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Hey, you did a good job, Rob!  Thanks
jdc

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A blessed man, I am
Because you
Changed my life.
Don’t let me
Ever
Forget your mercy and tenderness.
Gold is nothing compared to your riches,
Hidden treasures await.
I need you everyday.
Jesus is the answer.
Keeping my mind on you, I pray.
Lord, may I always live for others.
Make my roots to go deep in your truth.
Never to forget your love.
Only you could
Put me in your family.
Quietly you work, even though you are
Ruler of the universe.
Saving me daily from my own ways and
Teaching me to live.
Understanding, you supply
Very thankful, I am.
Where would I be without your touch.
eXcellent are your ways
You are Holy, O Lord. Make my heart
Zealous, forever and ever.

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Donna – Psalm 119

What wonderful feelings, I loved doing this!!!
Donna

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And I loved reading this, Donna.
jdc

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All my ways are
Before you, my King.
Come and let me
Drink your living water
Every day.  Teach me to
Fear    
God, and
Hear your voice clearly.
I search for you,
Just as a deer searches for water.
Keep all my ways, my
Lord.  Keep
Me and
Never let me go.
Open my heart to your thoughts, they are
Precious to my soul. 
Queens and kings have not the life you have given to me.
Rivers of tears run down my face
Sadly
Thinking of your children, O God. Let me be
Unmoved by
Vanity, and always       
Walk close by your side.
eXcept I stay close to
You, my Lord, I would fall.
Zion is my home.

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Sandy – Psalm 119

Bro. John: 

Thank you for the opportunity to “fall in love with Jesus again”.   🙂    It felt wonderful writing this (still does!)

Sandy

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Good job, Sandy!

jdc

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Alas!

Before I knew of a

Comforter or

Dreamed that joy

Existed or that there was a

Father and Son,

Goodness, His Goodness, kept me, until the day

Heaven opened and

I received His Spirit!

Joy truly exists in the

Kingdom of God!

Love overflowed from the

Master who

Nurtured me and

Overcame my heart with

Peace and love

Quiet peace;

Rest oh my soul!

Search for him who has called you

Turn not aside from his love

Utter only his words

Vying always your love for him only

Waiting for that

eXcellent Day when

Your sweet Prince returns and

Zion is Home!

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