Peter’s Keys To Understanding God’s Purpose In our Trials

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After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen * 1 Peter 5:10-11.

God is supreme. To Him be glory, praise, and preeminence. He knows best. The Almighty, in His infinite wisdom often uses our trials to help us grow in faith, holiness, and goodness (all keywords of 1 Peter). Suffering (the crux of 1 Peter) is often the wheel used by the Master Potter to transform us into the holy vessels we need to be.

Jesus, our example, was perfected for His mission to die for the sins of the world by the things He suffered. Thus we are made and molded into Christ’s image, in part, through our struggles * Hebrews 5:8-9; 1 John 3:1-2.

Benefits of trials

Trials “keep us on our knees:. Peter admonished the suffering saints that “ GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you * 1 Peter 5:5-7

Trials keep us on our toes. Peter further instructs. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour * 1 Peter 5:8

Trials should draw us together. Peter instructed the Elders/Shepherds/Overseers/Bishops/Pastures. These terms apply to the same group of faithful, experienced, and committed men. Who were to lead, care for, be examples too, and manage the church from pure hearts * 1 Peter 5:1-3. Everyone else was to submit to their leadership and to one another, working together until Jesus, The Chief Shepherd, appears * 1 Peter 5:4.

Trials help us resist the devil and build comradery with fellow saints. Peter said “ But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world * 1 Peter 5:9.

Trials ultimately enable us to stand fast. Through them, God perfects, confirms, strengthens, and establishes us through life’s troubles (persecution for the faith in context).

God The Father knows what He is doing when He allows us to suffer for our faith. He is the Master Potter and we are the clay made by His hands.
Jesus Christ, our true Shepard, set the course for us to follow and was faithful to the end.

Therefore trials viewed correctly and endured faithfully keep us humble, keep us watchful, keep us together, and keep us standing. They keep us looking to and depending on the Master Potter and the Chief Shepard. For God’s glory!!!

God bless you

Jerry Groves D.Min.

 

Do you desire to help the hopeless, encourage the unhoused toward stability and sobriety, visit the desperately lonely in nursing homes, or comfort those who have been affected by tragedy? By building long term and sustainable authentic relationships with the end goal of making disciples for Jesus? This Bible-based resource can help you accomplish this. FOR GOD’S GLORY!

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Peter’s Keys To Anticipating & Overcoming The Surprise Attack Of The Enemy

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Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation * 1 Peter 4:12-13.

As cherished children of God, we must not think we will escape persecution for Christ’s sake. But rather we should expect them and arm ourselves to endure them through our faith. Peter gives us insight on how to understand why the faithful suffer (for the faith). Thus equipping us with divine resources in order to make our stand.

Peter begins chapter four with the truth that if our Lord Jesus suffered so will we. “So don’t be surprised”. It is part and parcel with walking faithfully with the Lord vs.1. Next, Peter instructs us ( as the Holy Spirit moves him) to not be shocked when old friends and acquaintances are surprised that we no longer pursue the course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries and malign us. Because we no longer participate with them in the pursuits of the flesh vss. 3-4.

“So don’t be caught off guard”.

He then tells Christians what to do, as opposed to what some of them/us used to do in the midst of persecution and slander.

First, we are to live our lives according to the will of God and not by the whims of the flesh vs. 2.
Second, we are to share the gospel with the spiritually dead. Meaning, when we see old friends trapped in old ways, we must tell them about Jesus and what He has done for us and what He can do for them vss. 6-7.

Next, we are to fervently love, forgive and serve one another without complaining. Because love covers a multitude of sins * 1 Peter 4:8. We are to speak God’s word and serve one another according to the gifts God has given us vs. 11.

Finally, Peter explains that Christians can be confident even during persecution. We can have assurance because the Spirit of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit rest on us vs. 13.

Therefore “if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” * 1 Peter 4:16.

We are not to be downtrodden but rejoice and give glory to God when troubled vs 13. We are not to be demoralized but know we are blessed when being demeaned for the name of Jesus vs.14.We are not to suffer as lawbreakers and sinners, but as “those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust our souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” * 1 Peter 4:19

Glory, rejoicing, blessing, and entrusting are not attitudes often associated with suffering. But as Christians who suffer for our faith in Christ. We confidently say to God’s enemies, “ If God is with us who can be against us * Romans 8.

And we are not surprised.

Let’s arm ourselves today with the power of God and refuse to be overcome by the sneak attacks of the devil.

God bless you

Jerry Groves D.Min.

 

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Peter’s Keys To A Blessed Marriage.

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For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS,
MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
“HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD;
HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.
“FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS,
AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER,
BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” * 1 Peter 3:10-12.

Peter moves from Christians conducting ourselves with faith, holiness, and goodness in society to the bedrock of society which is a godly home. He quotes Psalm 34:12-16 as an antidotal statement for those who follow God’s design for marriage. He connects Christians who live in integrity in society (law-abiding and hardworking [ see yesterday’s article]), to those who conduct/behave in the “same way” at home.

The NASB uses the term “in the same way” to connect acceptable behavior of Christians in society(holy, faithful, and good), to the home. The ESV, NKJV, and KJV use the term “likewise”.

In the same way (likewise), Christians are to walk in godly integrity in society, Christian wives are to honor and be submissive to their own husbands * 1 Peter 3:1. If he is not a Christian she is to win him with her respectful and chaste behavior. With her internal beauty, (not in makeup, perfume, and fancy hair and clothing). “But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” * 1 Peter 3:4.

Peter says if Christian wives behave in this manner then they are the daughters of faithful Sarah who reverenced her husband Abraham * 1 Peter 3:6.

In the same way (likewise) husbands are to honor their wives. He is to do this by recognizing and appreciating her femininity and point of view. He is to see her as an equal heir in the kingdom of God and treat her lovingly.

Peter says if he does this his prayers will not be hindered * 1 Peter 3:7

To accomplish this, it will take kindness, sympathy, and humility by both spouses. Thus forgiveness will be the order of the day and blessing when insulted will be the goal. This will result in receiving a blessing * 1 Peter 3:9. (This is easy to say but sometimes difficult to do). None the less these are God’s expectations for a good, faithful, and holy home.

Therefore, If we desire life, love, and to see good days (blessings from God). Our homes should be places of support and encouragement not harping, nagging, or condescension. They should be abodes where God is honored by the behavior of wives (women) and their husbands (men).

“ FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS,
AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER,
BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”

Pray our society will come to understand and accept God’s design for the home. Please pray for the supreme court in their decision making. Pray God is honored and obeyed.

God bless you and let us all bless our spouses.

Jerry Groves D.Min.

 

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Do you desire to help the hopeless, encourage the unhoused toward stability and sobriety, visit the desperately lonely in nursing homes, or comfort those who have been affected by tragedy? By building long term and sustainable authentic relationships with the end goal of making disciples for Jesus? This Bible-based resource can help you accomplish this. FOR GOD’S GLORY!

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Peter’s Keys to the Why, How, and Who to look to when suffering for the faith.

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Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all [slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation * 1 Peter 2:1-2.

Building on the theme of the book of 1 Peter. Which is “to make sure our conduct remains holy and good while suffering for the faith .” We formulated this statement based on the keywords of the book (see yesterday’s article). The apostle Peter gives us valuable keys to teach us how to accomplish this, why we should endeavor to do so, and examples we should look to for guidance.

The reason why Christians must endeavor to live faithful lives and endure suffering is because, we are God’s chosen ones. We are His elect, His priests, and His people. We are “ God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” * 1 Peter 2:9. Another reason why we must conduct ourselves with reverence while on earth is “ so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation * 1 Peter 2:11. And finally, we walk honorably before God and man because we have” been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps”. And because “ this finds favor with God” when we “do what is right” in the midst of our suffering for the faith * 1 Peter 2:15,19-20.

How do we walk in a holy and pure manner in such a corrupt world? We must desire God’s word and disavow sin * 1 Peter 2:1-2. We must walk in integrity, meaning, we must be law abiding citizens and trustworthy and dependable workers on our jobs. We must submit ourselves to government and to managers at work “ for the Lord’s sake * 1 Peter 2:13,18. We must “ Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king” *1 Peter 2:17.

Finally, Peter gives two examples we can look to for guidance. He first gives the illustration of a newborn baby who craves its mothers’ milk, seeking to satisfy its hunger and by feeding regularly, grows strong. In the same way, we must long to nourish our souls daily on God’s word. So that we may become faithful and mature Christians with respect to salvation.

The second example is our Lord Jesus Christ who is our perfect standard. “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; “while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” *1 Peter 2:23-24.

From time to time and at different variances, devoted Christians will suffer persecution (whether overt or covert)  * 2 Timothy 3:12. Persecution will come and it seems to be on the uptick in many parts of the United States. How do we maintain our holy walk with God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation?

  • We must remember we are God’s chosen people.
  • We must desire and meditate on God’s word daily.
  • We must look to our perfect Savior Jesus for our example.

We can do it with God’s help.

God bless you

Jerry Groves D.Min.

Please be on the lookout for my soon to be released book “Making Friends and Making Disciples.”

Image may contain: one or more people and textIt’s an easy to read in-depth resource for those who want to reach out to the community for Christ but don’t know how. It focuses on touching the hearts of those around us, as Jesus did. By meeting pressing needs, forming authentic friendships, and teaching precious souls about The Lord. Along with practical and essential steps that must be taken in order to initiate and maintain long term sustainable outreach within your community. There are heart-tugging, true stories of simple Christians serving, whom God is using mightily in his Kingdom. Let’s all be one!
E-Book Available now on http://www.Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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Peter’s Keys To Keeping our Faith During Trials.

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Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth *1 Peter 1:13-17

The epistle (or letter) of 1st Peter was written by the apostle Peter *1 Peter 1:1. It is believed to have been written after the prison epistles of Paul (about A.D. 65) and was meant to be a circulating letter. Peter is believed to have been martyred by the emperor Nero in A.D 67.

The letter was written to Christians who were suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus * 1 Peter 1:6,7.

The keywords in the text are…
-Conduct/behavior- 7 times.
-Faith- 11 times
-Holy- 11 times
-Good (meaning morally good)- 13 times
-Suffering- 16 times.

Therefore a thematic statement could be formulated from these keywords. “Make sure your conduct remains holy and good while you are suffering for the faith .”

How were the Christians in Peter’s day able to accomplish this? First of all, they had the full power of the Godhead supporting them. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit * 1 Peter 1:2. Second, they had God’s word to guide them * 1 Peter 1:23-25. Third, they were to love and support one another * 1 Peter 1:22.

Peter instructed them, (using imperatives or commands), on the keys of how to suffer for the faith patiently in 1 Peter 1:13-17. They were to remain focused on Jesus. They were to be obedient to God’s word. They were to be holy as God is holy. They were to fear God (not the Roman army). And they were to fervently love one another.

And so must we.

Let’s fix our eyes completely on Jesus today. Let’s walk in His word. And let’s not allow anything to cause us to look away from our hope.

God bless you

Jerry Groves D.Min.

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Repent/Return/Run

fleeNow if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus * Romans 6:8-11
 
“Deadman walking” is the ominous lament that accompanies the doomed soul to the death chamber. Those who have been given the death penalty for their crimes. For the Christian, according to the scriptures, we died with Christ by being immersed in the watery grave of baptism for the remission of our sins * Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:38. Never to walk (practice a sinful lifestyle again), though we all sin and fall short of God’s glory.
 
Yet there are Christians who, like the condemned soul of the death row inmate, have conjured up the dead man from the grave to fulfill the desires ( lusts) of the flesh. And have again become slaves to sin.
 
Paul admonishes Christians
 
“Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin [j]resulting in death, or of obedience [resulting in righteousness?” * Romans 6:16
 
The entangled Christian who has returned to the beggarly elements of the world is in essence “a dead man walking”.
 
Don’t you think it’s time to rise up from the muck and mire of the hog pen? To return to God from the sickening sight of consuming regurgitated sin over and over again. Sin, which is really consuming you * 2 Peter 2:20-22. Repent and come home to your gracious heavenly Father. Who is expectantly looking over the horizon for His child to come home * Luke 15:11ff
Run home today and stay by leaving the graveside of sin forever. Jesus will never go back to it. Neither must we.
 
God bless you
 
Jerry Groves D.Min.
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Three Things Required of the Beloved.

love letter imagesBeloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God * 1 John 4:1-2.

The aged apostle John, who in the gospel he authored, described himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved * John 13:23; John 19:26. Designated God’s children as His beloved.

The term beloved (one who is dearly loved) serves as a textual marker which helps us break up and better understand 1 John 4. It is used three times within the chapter *vs. 1, 7,11.

The first time it is used, the beloved (church) is warned against naivete but is instructed to put to the test things being spoken. Do not believe and test are both imperatives (commands).

Because some of the things being taught were true and some lies. The truth is Jesus had come in the flesh. The truth was John had heard, seen, and touched Jesus *1 John 1:1. The truth is they which are of God believe this. The truth is through Jesus’s sacrifice Christians overcome the world and the lies of the false prophets. Because greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world * 1 John 4:1-6

The second beloved vs 7 “Beloved, let us love one another”
Let us” commonly points to a Hortatory Subjunctive. This is a statement urging others to join in some action as well as (commanding oneself and one’s associates). It is roughly the same as first-person imperative (command)

“Love one another” is a reciprocal term denoting giving and receiving. The source of love and the standard is God. The giving of Jesus is the prime example of God’s love for us. If we don’t love one another we don’t know God, according to the text * 1 John 4:7-10

The last beloved is as follows. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” * 1 John 4:11.
If, should be understood as since in this verse. Ought carries a much stronger meaning in the Greek than in the English. It means to be under obligation to meet certain social or moral expectations, to owe.

Since God loved us and sent Jesus to die we are obligated to love one another. If we say we love God who we have not seen and hate our brother we lie. What’s the lie ( that we love God) *1 John 4:20.

*(awkward silence) Let’s pause for a moment and let that sink in.

Loving God and our brother proves God truly abides in us and we in Him * 1 John 4:18

Therefore the beloved of God (Christians).
1. Test the spirits against the word of God (Jesus came in the flesh, Jesus is the son of God and the savior of the world).
2. Love one another (in deed, not just word). We can’t hate one another and love God) it’s a lie.
3. Are perfected by God’s love (guided and matured by following God’s example of selfless love). As demonstrated by His giving His son Jesus for a sinful world.

Thus we need not fear the judgment when we love one another and trust Jesus. For perfect love casts out fear * 1 John 4:18

God bless you

Jerry Groves D.Min.

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The Treasures of Attending Church

preaching-untitledWhat did you learn in church on Sunday that makes you want to behave like a Christian today?

So many downplay the importance of assembling with the church for Bible study and worship. They say “I am spiritual, not religious.” Paul the apostle had other ideas as he wrote to the young evangelist Timothy (the preacher of the church of Christ in Ephesus). Observe.

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also * 2 Timothy 2:1-2.

From the verse provided we see Timothy was equipped and strengthened by assembling with the saints (Paul and many witnesses) 2 Tim 2:2. He was instructed to maintain and guard the standard of sound teaching he received and to pass them on. Paul referred to God’s word as treasure * 2 Timothy 1:13-14.

When the church assembles we hear the riches in God’s word taught and preached. We also pray with and for one another. You miss out on this close, unique experience when you are not here. We especially remember the Lord Jesus’ precious death through the taking of communion * Acts 20:7. We encourage one another and praise God with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs * Ephesians 5:19. We provide for works of the church and for pressing needs by giving back a portion of the bounty God has given to us *1 Corinthians 16:1-2

Through worship, we are reminded of God’s love for us, of Jesus death for our sins, of His resurrection from the dead for our justification, and of His imminent return to save the faithful * 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

We are encouraged to persevere and keep the faith no matter what. To shine our lights for the Lord in a dark world. To walk in the integrity of God’s word and to fight our battles (internal and external) with it * Matthew 4:1-11( Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 5:16).

It’s a lot, I know. But trying to go to heaven without going to the Lord’s church weekly is like jumping out of an airplane at 20,000 feet without a parachute and hoping for a safe landing, (good luck with that) * Hebrews 10:25.

What did you learn in church on Sunday that helps you be a better Christian today? A better husband, wife, parent, son, daughter, brother, sister, friend, neighbor, employee, teammate?

Nothing if you didn’t go and trust me it’s your loss for you are missing out on God’s treasure. (unless ill).

Come back to church soon. We miss you and you are missing out on the great blessing of assembling with the saints to worship our great God in spirit and truth * John 4:4!

God bless you

Jerry Groves

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Avoiding The Trap Of Hypocrisy

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The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him * 1 John 2:4.

There is often a disconnect between who we say we are and what we do. Of what is proclaimed and is acted out. John made it clear concerning our words. They are useless unless backed up by appropriate actions.

John called the 1st-century church on the carpet (held them accountable). Perhaps because some of their, like some of our, actions did not line up with their profession of faith. Some of them were saying they walked with God but they practiced sin (thus not keeping God’s commands) * 1 John 1:6; 1 John 2:4.

  • One manifestation of this was hating their brother  * 1 John 2:9-11.
  • Another was lusting after the things of the world rather than desiring fellowship with God * 1 John 2:15-17.
  • Still, others had become so blinded by sin, they left the church and denied Jesus as the Christ. Therefore they forfeited their relationship with the Father because they denied the Son * 1 John 2:18,19, 22-24. John called these people liars and anti-Christs.

Hypocrisy is defined as “ behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe …especially the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.”Miriam Webster

Let’s let that sink in for a moment……

Did it hit you like a ton of bricks or did it not prick your conscience at all?

I risk saying, we have all been hypocritical from time to time. We have all made confident assertions but failed to act them out in our daily lives.

The way to correct this self-deceiving behavior is to take off the mask fo falsehood, remove oneself from the stage of a play-actor, and truly follow God. This means, in context, walking in the light of God’s word, loving one another, and confessing Jesus as the Christ.

Talk is cheap when not backed up by the appropriate actions. Are we guilty of professing faith but not putting legs on it? People tend to not take us seriously when we are guilty of this.

Therefore let’s walk out the faith today and not merely talk it. Thus avoiding the lure of hypocrisy by being lured into thinking words alone determine our faith and not prescribed action.

God bless you

Jerry Groves D.Min.

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The Best Medicine is Prayer.

 

stethoscope_heart_smIs anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer [offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him * James 5:13-15.

Sick and suffering Christians have medicine at our disposal greater than any elixir pharmaceuticals can muster. We have the supreme physician. For our Creator designed and made us. He knows our inner workings intimately * Psalm 139. Therefore when we are suffering, sad, or sick, (whether it be physically, spiritually, or emotionally). We have the ultimate expert on call ready and able to help us.

Answered prayer can heal the sick and free the erring Christian from sin.

Yet prayer is often neglected by so many. But in times of need, when our burdens become too heavy for us and drive us to our knees we must ask our Heavenly Father for help and pray.

Medicine is good and often helpful in alleviating pain and harmful symptoms. God has graciously given humans great knowledge in healing the body. But when man’s best efforts fall short and we come to the end of ourselves, Christians can always pray. And if it is God’s will “ the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”

Let’s remember to pray for one another today.

God bless you

Jerry Groves D.Min.

 

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