Be Free Now

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People die of fear and they fear dying. GI John. God says fear not for I am with you , does He not. It Is period! Bravo, Lindsey! You knew how was in the background jamming you with all that stuff. And you mentioned how the devil will mix a little bit of truth with his lies. Just as you cannot longer separate the coffee from the poison, you cannot separate the lies from the truth. The whole message from the devil becomes a lie. And He will give you strength to choose the better action. Okeke, I have struggled with unwanted thoughts too.

Then God showed me how to get rid of them. Why does God give the devil permission to only disrupt the lives of the true believers, those that pray often, who are trying to obey his commandments, and speak the word to those that have no spirtual guidance. I understand God is trying to get our attention and wants to store treasures for us for our eternal life. They basically experience no suffering or heart ache and pain. Toya, your feelings that you are having are understandable, given the burden your are carrying. Let me see if I can put some light on this for you.

When I was first going through difficult trials, I also asked :Why??!! What do you want me to learn from this? What do you. When I began to ask like that, God began to answer. I know what you mean about others who seem to be getting a nice, comfortable free ride with no troubles at all.

“Demetrius - The Man Who Was Honoured In God's Work”

I used to wish for that, but now I see it as god sees it. Right now, the Olympic Games are going on in Rio. Imaging the pain, anguish, and discipline those athletes are under. Suppose someone made you get up early every morning, and you had to lift heavy weights and run a lot or swim a lot or perform very difficult gymnastic disciplines — but you had no idea you were training for the Olympic games, how would that feel? Lots of strain with seemingly no purpose. But then one day, you were sent to the Olympic games — and you won a medal!

In Hebrews 12, God talks about discipline:. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? It means they are absolutely no threat to the kingdom of hell. The devil may even help them to prosper in the things of this world, because he know he will have them in hell for etrnity.

The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Toya, you are in good company! God has His hand on you. Trust Him. Turn your life over to Him. I have been through triala happily and without a doubt in my mnd that God was woth me. Now I am going through almost the same thing for a second time. I could not articulate how it feels this time like this lady has…it is uncanny. And your answer explains exactly in a way that I now umderstand. I have hopes of putting togwther a seven page mini booklet and this time as I look at hunger and homeleasness again it seems that this time I am to qrite every acripture that comes to mind every step of the way.

So I have been and I find psalm is truly truly a miracle verse. It has been a qhile since I conciously walked woth the Holy Spirit so that is a little rusty in the Halo deparwnt joke. And to this Lady. It us true. The enemy obviously does use the same tactics over and over again. I have a big problem with the devil. The demon claims my soul and wants to possess me, another demon is helping. I have really big trouble. It enters my mind and lays thoughts into my mind, it wants me to bow before the devil. What can I do in this situation?

Thank you that Jesus is here with me right now. Lord Jesus, I put all my trust in You. Watch what happens. Also, speak Bible passages out loud. Start with the Gospel of John. I believe all the answers are in the Bible. I just need to read it more. I am doing a Bible Study with a friend, reading a chapter each night. I agree with you, Veronica, that there is no issue in human life that the Bible does not speak into.

As soon as the light comes on, they run for the darkness. Same with Satan and his demons. Read the Word out loud. Memorize passages that speak to your heart. Saturate your mind with Scripture. Watch what happens! If God is Love and lets Satan get away with all the evil he does to us then We all should be forgiven no matter how evil are sins are.??? So what you are saying, Brian, is that God ought to keep the devil from messing with us? But God, to prove a point, demonstrated to the devil that He God could do more with an inferior race humans — inferior to angels, including fallen angels than the devil could do.

Quite a demonstration. This for real. But the devil would try to trick you if he could. I am so grateful I stumbled upon this article. I do sometimes feel intimidated by people that have over half of the bible verses and can recite them by memory but hey we all start somewhere! I am blessed by our gracious God. I am thankful. God bless you all. I hope that anyone that is having a hard time. Just when I was beginning to think that God has left me because I have sinned against him I read this article.

It helped me learn the truth that God would never ever leave me. I tried to add a post before, sorry if this shows up twice. But I wanted to ask you, Jan, what your thoughts were on spirituality and physical pain. I have learnd a lot about the origin of this issue. There are many books particularly written by Dr. John Sarno that point to a psychological cause of these symptoms.

Basically your mind hijacks your body and sends out all kinds of problems to different muscles and organs causing a lot of disfunction. In another one of your articles you mentioned the guy that always had anxious thoughts, but when he played football and was so engaged in the game, the anxious thoughts went away. This is almost identical to the nature of my problem. I know this source is spiritual, and the solution is God. Again, thanks for the articles and this wonderful website. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

One possibility is described in Hebrews For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews I know this much: God often uses our struggles to strengthen us for Kingdom work. Ray, I hope this helps. Thanks a lot for the response. In the case of Job, his sufferings were caused by allowed by the devil. Though Job learned much through his trials, he was a prudent man.

But there are many cases where we humans, through our own will, make mistakes and do not follow the Word of God. We have a will, therefore we are capable of making these wrong turns. These wrong turns can and usually lead us into suffering — as the suffering itself can correct the error of our ways. Those are all great points, and ones we should all abide by. I have learned to trust God immensely these past several years. I have learned to forgive many people in my life. I have learned a lot of sin in my life. But the suffering continues. There are many that can relate to me.

I guess the summary of my our point is: Happiness is not a choice, nor is suffering. Even though choosing good and resisting evil are choices that we humans make, happiness and suffering do not correlate to them.


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Job is proof of that. I we just wonder if my our suffering is Job-like, or like that of grumbling and disobedient Israelites. Probably a combination, but will my actions make any difference? Happiness is a choice and suffering is a situation. If you have put your life in HIS hands you have no reason to gripe about your situation. Thank him for it. Christianity is a verb. We are to seek God first. Then, you can seek anything through Him. Seventeen years of my life was lived in chronic excruciating pain as they said I too had fibromyalgia. No I did not. I kept seeking and have experienced great healing.

If you will, first look up gluten sensitivity, chronic myofascial pain and most importantly The Highly Sensitive Person Dr. Elaine Aron. Keep seeking His word. God Bless. My mind is always occupied with nonsense nd negative stuff,then at the end of the day i will remember that i did not pray nor read the bible,so this has really helped me a lot. Thank you so much,God truly bless you! Keep encouraging us as children of God cause honestly,this journey is not easy. Keep well. When I was younger I was with the Bible Ministry and we constantly had to remember Bible scriptures and read our Bible all the time and I was surrounded by Believers constantly.

The word was being put in my mind. That childlike mentality. Then I entered the secular world and got distracted by clubs and music and having fun. Even though I did not drink alcohol smoke cigarettes or do drugs I still got caught up in other things that pulled me away from my daily devotion to God. And this whole thing that I just read reminds me of renewing my mind. Put on the mind of Christ renew your mind constantly lest Satan should get advantage of us. Only because I allowed to Satan to distract me instead of me being faithful to God. But God is faithful as long as I get my butt back in gear and get faithful I can see things getting better.

And therefore putting our minds right with God means we have to work at it and it does get hard. Sometimes it gets discouraging because we have other things affecting us from our lives and we know that Satan does not want us to be successful so he will distract us with many fun things or other things that bring it down.

This is where we need to dig in and be more stubborn. If your sick, you turn to the section on healing and all you find are scriptures on healing. If you are depressed, then there will be a section of scriptures for tart, financial troubles, etc. There are sections so you can directly go to Confess, read, memorize, scripture for your particular situation. Thank you Jan for speaking the Word. Sometimes we may not want to hear it. That means We have to renew our minds and do it. But We definitely need it! This website has completily changed my faith in a good way!

Before i discoverd this website, i tried to fight the devil on my own. And i no logger fear the darkness whenever i og to bed, because i know that god said that i can sleep peacefully! I will definitly suggest this website to my friends! Thanks so much for this article. I have fibromyalgia and have learned a lot about its nature and how it stems from the mind and afflicts the body. Of course he does not have a spiritual take on it. However, I still have quite a bit of body pain.

I know the devil is involved in all of these issues, but wondered if you had any thoughts on the physical body pain originating from mental, well actually spiritual, issues. Let me know. Hello,be strong. Kyla, I want to encourage you to look deep into where your trials are coming from. I feels terrible to go through something with as little information as possible…like walking around in the dark. I did a couple of things to get through some of the toughest trials in my life. I asked myself where is this pain coming from??? I asked God to help me to forgive all of those people that contributed to that pain…I was very specific as to whom they were and what they did to me.

I asked the Lord to take their debts from me and to do His will in Jesus name. Lastly I asked the Lord to send me the Holy Spirit to guide me through this turbulent time in my life and i begged him to talk to me and to tell me what he wanted me to do. I then read the word of God for instruction on what to do. I really hope this blesses you.

I just lived everything i read here above…Thank you so mouch for telling us the truth.. Blessings from Sweden? Only G. D knows why? I would like to deeply Thank God and the person who created all this good knowledge. Thank you so much for your help and support for this post and the time is here and there the time it took to set up all this. Your time and effort made a huge difference and it will inspire the whole world good and bad. Com thats how IT communicates. Gn zzzzzz…….. God bless me. Hi, Edwin, All glory be to God for whatever wisdom and knowledge you got here.

All I did was to put into a computer blog in a way that people who needed this help from God could find it. God bless u Mr Jan. Can the devil give a false joy-peace? I was I was having all these amazing signs cross my path, things on the radio, car plates, an incredible joy to work for God in the future…all things He calls us to do in the bible. Check, check, check! Then in a matter of 10 seconds, it was all taken away completely. Its like the devil led me to fake-work for God, only to yank the rug out from under me and is laughing hysterically.

Pray for healing for me? But it might make sense. The devil has studied each of us. The demons can somehow influence our emotions and feelings. So long as you are focused on the world system, they know they will have you for eternity. This message is too powerful and direct! It spoke to me sincerely and blessed me tremendously. I would love a follow-up. Thanks and God bless you so much. I have nothing but love happiness and joy, for my jesus Christ, which I love with all my heart, mind,body,soul and strength.

Ask yourself what extent you know God. Everytime i lay on my knees to pray,i asked Him to take a way my pain rather than understanding why He is letting me go through such a circumstance. He did not say that christian walk would be easy rather that He would help us overcome whatever we come across. Even Jesus Christ asked God to take away the cup of suffering before he was arrested but still he concluded that not what he wants but what the will of God is,he felt the pain that your feeling now.

And it is because i made God my bank and assistant to command and make sure He gives me what i want. Yes God gives but according to His will. Thanks for your kind words, Suzanne!

TESTIFY w/ yhafypyjih.cf

I want you and everyone to know that I pray for all of you every morning. God knows whom He sends to Word Blessing to find His truth proclaimed. I love Jesus around the world and back.. Please pray for my safety and protection the enemy is using my husband to hurt me and my daughteR. Be blessed in the name of Jesus? I need help please!!! Hello, Christopher, First of all: pay no attention to the lies of the devil.

When you know the truth, whatever the devil says is not important. I urge you to discuss this with your parents or with adults you can trust and who know about Bible truth. I realy injoed what you rote and i tell my family and friends all the time to be posatuve in life so no matter what hapens in my life god takes care of it everything you sead was rite to me and i hope other people read it.

I choose the lord Jesus Christ.. The devil had no place in my life. Thank your encouragement and strong faith. I have to say I love what you are doing.. The word of God has helped me in many ways.. I asked,I believed,I loved and I surrendered.. I can not forget his love.. I have been going on for about a year without reading the bible..

And exploring the metaphysical world.. I am so very greatfull.. Thankyou for your service.. Her book has several pages of categories. Each category hss Bible verses targeted for that topic. Satan is attacking me by my finances. My Wife is a blessing, trying to comfort me through this. Thanx for your words! God wants us to rely on his understanding not ours. Thank you so much for sharing! This was something that I really needed to hear. I appreciate it so much! And now I can apply it to my life.

And may God continue to do a good work in you! Take care and God bless! I believe in God. I know he will always be my first and last love. I am a true believer in his word. Satan hates me. I continue to fight for strength every day. Some good thoughts you have but your a little bit deceived in my view! Kind of giving more homage to the devil then God Almighty himself in my opinion! Thank You very Much, Sir. Now i Know how to stand more firm against Satan.

More Grace. Thank you for this. I read every word. I started doubting God when I had a terrible nightmare about the devil and an Angel was there but the devil did his hardest to throw me off the Angel. I asked God within good faith to heal my blood pressure and I had believed he did and I even told my nurse I walk by faith not by sight and I even talked to my best friend about God and she had so many questions about God.

It field me with such joy. Then here came the devil in my dreams. My blood pressure was giving me false readings and losing my job. I still prayed and cryed to God for all of this. As I speak I am so down right now. But I pray everyday and cry to God and read my bible to keep fighting the devil off. I would die for him. Dorothy Rodriguez. What keeps me going is knowing that what God has poured into me is helping others as I pour it out to readers whom I will likely never see until we are all in heaven.

I will try by all means not to lose trust in God again by praying and reading the bible. But I am not going to allow satan to take me out. Hi Smith, I enjoy your article. I pray for more wisdom to write more. Those thoughts are from the pit of hell, and the devil is trying to drag you down there. But the Word of God is devil repellent. Ask God to help you. Help me, help me, help me!! Hello there Jan! You truly are one of his people! May glory be to Jesus Christ forever and ever, amen!

We truly are in a battle, a spiritual battle with unseen forces of evil. We truly have authority in the might name of Jesus Christ, may to him be the glory forever and ever. I was once lost and was headed for hell, but in his love for me, he came after me and showed me the truth, I praise Jesus Christ for all he has done! Thank you once again for your work being a faithful servant of God. I know for sure we will one day meet up in heaven and Jesus Christ will share his majestic glory and complete love with us believers and servants of God! I once was a notorious sin severed in the Devils Army of death and destruction for 22 years.

God knew my life and even tho I was a big sinner I also was a great worrier for the wrong cause.

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I fought the devil and won my first battle with his the evil devil himself. He had been attacking me for a long time but at the time I did not know it , but the more I read and reached the word of God which was to attack him and all the evil he has brought on everyone I was going to exspose him for he really was.

That I did and he was sick of it. So he showed his face to me in away you could not imagine. That I will keep undercover but only share in public due to I want everything one to be taught by it. Help somehow the devil got me to think against God and think he was against me and now I am stuck on enemy side and want back on God sidebut he got me to think evil and leave God.

I just wrote a private e-mail for some very needed help. As I read these comments I see that I could have just joined in the blog. You all are very much in my prayers, As I read, I see how we all are struggling and we are very blessed to have Mr. Please know how grateful I am to all of you for sharing. Smith, I know when I hear back from you I will have wonderful advise. In the meantime, I am feeling more calm and peaceful by searching around your site. Blessings to all.

There is one way- Make Jesus Christ Lord of your life. God will clean you out and all things will become new again. The devil will bluff and hastle you for a time but this is only to get you to turn back.. I know………been there done………. Blessings Jim. I am a fearful child of GOD. And I fear the Holy Spirit. I pray that GOD takes me out into the world and find Him and stay on the right path and just be around people like me. I like to be social with different kinds of people. Christian young youths like myself so I can stay on task and I can continue understanding, believing, trusting, and loving the Lord.

Greetings Jan, I beleive that man is not sovereign unto himself and must need an overlord or another words — we get out thoughts or thoughts influenced by either God or satan. No sir I beleive we are getting our thoughts from one or the other………….. Here are a few other things I know: Satan hates you; Jesus loves you.

Satan wants you to be tied in knots of fear, worry, doubt and torment; Jesus offers you His peace. Satan cares nothing about you; God wants you to know Him; Satan strives to take you to hell; Jesus lives to intercede for you in heaven. I could to on and on, but the point is: you have the freedom to reject God. Satan wants to keep you in bondage that is like hell on earth.

You get to choose. And by the way: doing nothing is the same as choosing the devil. To God be the Glory. Awesome read, will definitely apply it to my life. Greetings from Downunder. The bible says that any man who calls in the name of the Lord shall be saved. Believe…believe Jesus came and lived and that he died on that cross and was risen from the dead and God will save your soul.

He holds the keys to death hell and the grave and he is the final judge! God is merciful and his wish is to forgive you and keep you from hell. That is how you can break your commitment to satan!! Read the bible, he speaks through his word. Look around you, look in the mirror, your not an accident and he has a purpose for your life. What do you have to lose?? Other than your eternal soul. He loves YOU!! He is REAL! I dont believe in anything anymore. My 6 year old is always preaching the word of God and gets bullied by others.

I prayed for help for 1 almost 2 years.

Evangelicals and the Mother of God

Spent quiet time with God, read my bible and when i need help the most, utterly silent.. I read my bible as source of comfort, prayed 10 times a day for help. If He is so powerful why let us pray for years and do nothing. How shocking it is, and what an insult to the Head of the church, and to the Holy Spirit of God'. Sometimes we can be like that. Listen, I have my convictions as well as the rest of you, but let me say this: there are some good, godly brethren who don't agree with me on certain less than fundamental things, but they're godlier men and women than I'll ever be.

We need to have the bigness, and the broadness, and the maturity to be able to admit that! Then notice also that 'good report of all', the tense of 'all' points to a past report that still is valid in the present. Something that people said about Demetrius that was in the past, he had good report with everybody in the past, but it's still intact today - it's valid to say that he's still held in high esteem and honour by the church presently.

What a challenge! Are you here tonight and you once had a good testimony, you once had a glowing record, you once were honoured in God's work? Well, is it the case today, forget about the past, what about today? How's your testimony now? Well, it appears that Demetrius' good testimony not only was inside the church but outside. I think we can read that into the expression 'of all', he had good report 'of all', inside and outside. Incidentally, this is one of the qualifications of an overseer, 1 Timothy 'Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil'.

This is a challenge! It's hard enough having a good report of the folk inside the church, let alone those outside the church! What do they think of us? What do they think of you? Is it a revelation to you tonight that the non-Christian has not lost all capacity to judge what is good and what is true?

Christian testimonies are one of the greatest contributory factors, I believe, to the demise of Gospel influence in our day and age - those who do not have a good report of those without! Now just imagine for a moment, that all men and women inside the church had a good report of you, and all men outside the church had a good report of you - do you know what that would be? I've no doubt about it: revival! When are we ever going to realise that the world takes its notion of God from the people who say they belong to God's family? You know I listen - I nearly said 'religiously' - to Talkback, but you know sometimes, believe it or not, I'm sympathetic with David Dunseith because of the attitude of some so-called 'believers' who come on the telephone.

They haven't a notion of how to present their case, and sometimes that's the way we come across to the world. We grate on their ears, because they're not seeing an epitome of Christ, they're seeing someone who knows all the precepts but doesn't know anything about example, doesn't know how to live it!

Friends, we need to realise, as Richard Cecil once said, that people look at us six days a week to see what we mean on the seventh day. I know it's the first day for us, but the principle is the same. Do we mean what we say? Christian, maybe you don't set yourself up as any example or any positive influence, but don't miss it - that is not my point, that isn't - my point is this: whether you like it or not, you are an example, and you are in influence, whether good or bad!

The question is: whether it is good or bad? The Italian word for 'influence' is 'influenza', it was introduced into the English language in the mids speaking of 'influence' by the cold. It's very infectious, as you know - so is a good and a bad example. Is your example having influence, like the flu, on others? Or is your bad example like germs that are spreading throughout the assembly and among God's people? Some sit in meetings like this and they feel insignificant. You perhaps feel that, you know: 'What could I do for the Lord?

I don't have any obvious gifts, and they're certainly not gifts for public speaking, or anything upfront, or anything you might value as being worthwhile' - but friend, listen: no one is insignificant enough not to have influence upon others. No matter how insignificant you might feel you are, you have got influence on those around you. Never underestimate the effect of influence. In one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of all of England. In one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed.

In one vote brought Texas into the United States. In one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment. In one vote changed France from a monarchy into a republic. In one vote gave Adolf Hitler control of the Nazi party. That's what the influence of one person can do! Albert Schweitzer said: 'Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it's the only thing'. We are big on the Word, but minute on example. Our lives should be such as men may safely copy us and imitate us - could they?

I remind you of the question: what example are you? Now listen to me tonight: there are young people, and there are young Christians sitting in the wings of our meetings all over the province, and they have the potential of being a Demetrius or being a Diotrephes - what example are they observing in you? You know some Christians, all they do is gurn. Now you put it in your own terms, but that's the way it comes to me: all they do is moan and gripe, and you go to their houses for supper and you get a tall tale about all the wrong things in the church, and how people are unloving, this, that and the other - and it's going on, and I hear about most of it, most of it comes back, and it stinks to high heaven!

I'll tell you: I'm fed up with a lot of it. I don't know what God must feel about it. The big question is: what is your influence? What is your example? Someone has rightly said: 'We can do more good in being good than in any other way'. I heard a beautiful story about the poet Robert Browning.

He once wrote a poem 'Pippa Passes', about an Italian girl who, because of her poverty and her destitute family, was forced to work every day, every single day during the year, in the silk mills. But this year, for some reason, on New Year's Day she was given a day off. In sheer joy she walked home down the streets of her town in north-east Italy singing a song of faith in words, and Browning puts it in poetic form like this:. As she walked down the narrow streets, her thankful heart free and overflowing, her song reached people who at that very moment in time, at that crucial moment, needed to hear that song.


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  • An unmarried couple were moved by her verse to make some changes to their lives. An artist who was about to lose his temper was calmed. An anarchist, intent on assassinating the Austrian emperor, was halted. A churchman planning to murder a child for money was smitten with remorse. This young girl Pippa returned home from her walk later in the day completely oblivious and unaware to the unseen effect of her attitude and her song.

    That is the influence that example can have!

    Dear Church, Here’s Why People Are Really Leaving You

    Now look at Demetrius, verse 12 says that not only did the believers inside the church have a good report of him, unsaved people outside the church had a good report of him, the apostle John had a good report of him - but 'and of the truth itself', the truth itself witnessed to Demetrius' testimony! In other words, the genuineness of Demetrius was self-evident, and if the truth could talk it would say the same thing as the people in the church and outside and the apostle were saying - that Demetrius' life lived up to the teaching and the practices of God's word.

    Even God's word bore witness to Demetrius. Now listen to me tonight: sometimes we evangelicals are all talk, all talk, a lot of hot air; and there's only a hair's breadth between us and the charity in the world. Friends, when are we going to learn to live the Christ-life? Francis of Assisi said to one of his young monks: 'Let's go down to the town and preach'. The novice was delighted at being singled out by Francis, and he was gladly going to be his companion.

    So he went down with him to the town, and they passed through the principal streets, they turned down many of the byways and the alleys, they made their way into the suburbs. At great length they returned to the monastery by a circuit, and they found themselves eventually at the gate. As they approached the door the young man said to Francis: 'You've forgotten that we went down to the town to preach.

    Wasn't that your original intention? We were preaching while we were walking. We have been seen by many. Our behaviour has been closely watched. It is thus that we preached our morning sermon'. Now let me say, whilst we believe both the preaching of the word and example are necessary, what Francis was about to say to this young man was profound and I want you to listen to it very carefully. Listen: 'It is of no use, my son, to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere we walk'.

    It is no use to walk anywhere to preach, unless we preach everywhere we walk. Philip Brooks, the puritan, said: 'A person who lives right and is right has more power in his silence than another has by words'. The lectures you deliver may be very wise and true, But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do!

    What do you do? John ends this third epistle the way he did the second, with a personal touch of affection, saying that he longed to see them face-to-face. Then he speaks this word in verse 14 of peace: 'Peace be to thee'. Isn't that very appropriate in an assembly that is wracked by problems and strife? Here is Diotrephes stirring up problems, and the apostle is pronouncing peace upon them!

    Now listen to me tonight: a church may look outwardly successful, but the peace of God - listen to me on what the peace of God is: we understand 'peace' as being the absence of war or conflict, but in the Bible it is a positive term that invokes the blessing of Almighty God even in the presence of storms, troubles, trials, perplexities.

    Ultimately what it is is the very presence of Christ! I can show you that from John chapter The disciples are all afraid, and we read: 'Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you'. Verse 26 of John 'And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you'.

    Now listen to me tonight: here is a church wracked by problems that we can only imagine, and these problems in the first century Christian church did not stay in the church, because this is the life in any church today - perhaps, could I go as far as to say, in every church today - because there's no perfect church!

    But what this tells me in a tremendously positive light is that you don't need the church to be perfect to know the peace and the presence of Christ. There never was a perfect church, but the real challenge and question is: is anyone really prepared to let the Lord Jesus change us, and change our church? On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. Yes, please put up with me! I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

    We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. Because I do not love you? God knows I do! Their end will be what their actions deserve. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. So am I. Are they Israelites? I am out of my mind to talk like this. I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.

    I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

    For when I am weak, then I am strong. Forgive me this wrong! After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. If I love you more, will you love me less? Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit?

    We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.