Wanderer, Come Home

Wanderer, come home.  Find what you went looking for in the heart of the Father once again.  As with the prodigal, His arms are opened wide waiting to receive you to Himself.  Your return puts gladness in His heart.  Today is not too late for your feet to rejoin the path of those who walk the road of righteousness.  This path will bring calm to your spirit and peace to your soul once again.  In the refuge of His wings, you will again experience true safety, comfort, and love.

Wanderer, come home and fall into the embrace of the One whose love for you is as fresh today as it was on the day you were born.  He has not waned in His feelings about you.  His greatest desire is to have you where He is for all eternity.  Turn not away from that embrace.  Turn inward to Him.  Let His love wash over you.  Let His healing balm restore you.  Today is not too late.  Turn to the shining Son and walk in His light.  Feel the warmth of His radiant countenance smiling upon you once again.

Wanderer, refuse not His call.  Refuse not Him who loves you so.  While all people matter to God, you matter too. Experience His compassion of salvation offered through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Please, come home and make the great return today.  The Shepherd of your soul awaits (1 Peter 2:25).

“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 

And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12-14)

“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save  a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20, NKJV)

More Inspirational Reads:

“Return to Me!”

“You Make a Difference to God!”

“Restored!”

“Regrowth!”

“Wash Me Jesus!”

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“What Would Jesus Say?” – part 2

“The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4

Purpose.  Purpose.  Purpose.  This is how Jesus spoke.

Continuing to cover this verse in Isaiah, we see that Jesus never used words in a flyaway fashion.  With everything He spoke, it was either with a purpose, for a purpose, or to fulfill a purpose – or all three in one.

When we think of “with a purpose”, we can think along the lines of healing, miracles, and deliverances.  Jesus, in those instances, spoke with the intent to deliver an individual from some illness, or spiritual oppression, or to perform a miracle such as the feeding of the five thousand.

When we think in terms of “for a purpose”, we can think along the lines of the parables He taught.  In those instances, He spoke for His audience to gain a greater understanding of something, particularly Kingdom principles.

And, when we think in terms of Jesus speaking to “fulfill a purpose”, we can easily associate this with prophecies such as the one He spoke from the cross: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  Those exact words open the Messianic psalm found in Psalm 22:1.

Jesus used His words with exactness and preciseness.  In this chosen verse in Isaiah, we see His words were carefully chosen “that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.”  The right words at the right time, especially for the weary worn, are a special kind of sweetness to a soul that dreadfully needs it.  Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones,” and nobody could do this better than the Lord Jesus Christ.  He said, “…the word that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” (John 6:63).

Becoming more aware of the intentionality of our words can help us to use our speech in a way that mimics that of our Savior.  Words without aim tend to get us in trouble.  The Bible encourages us that “He that hath knowledge spareth his words. . .” (Proverbs 17:27), while opposite that it warns, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin. . .” (Proverbs 10:19a).

A wise person, Proverbs continues to teach, is one that “that refraineth his lips” (Proverbs 10:19b).  Not only does this one refrain speech from being unnecessary and unprofitable but a person who acts with this sort of discipline can also be seen as one who will train their words.

Previously, I wrote,

“James gives us the best possible illustrations of the power of the tongue by referencing it to two things we can easily understand.  In James 3:3-4 he writes, “Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths,  that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.  Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.”  Through these two examples using a horse and a ship, James shows that mankind has down through the years discovered ways to bring these powerful objects under control.

Both of these instruments are used for control.  They both direct the course of which way the operator wants each to go, be it a rider or the governor.Both are great examples of how these large and strong objects can be made to comply with the will of him who is controlling that little, vital piece.  If these little things under proper control can move great objects into obeisance at its master’s will, what more of the little tongue?” (Word for Life Says/ Don’t Speak Against the Destiny God Has For You!)

We may sometimes struggle with guiding our tongue in which way to go, but Jesus’ tongue was always controlled with purpose and aim, and just as His Father, those words were spoken with the intention to see them fulfilled (Isaiah 55:11).

We have the power to discipline our speech, to train our words in which way they should go.  The Holy Spirit is our guide and if we are actively applying the fruit of the Spirit principles found in Galatians 5:22-23, the whole of our lives, including the way we speak, will have a good aim and be filled with good purposes.

How we direct our mouths is up to us.  When our lips part to speak, may they speak the same way Jesus would.

This three-part mini-series is adapted from a Sunday School Lesson I previously published titled 4 Ways to Use Words Better.  You can click on that link if you are looking for a deeper study on this topic.

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Count Your Blessings!

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” Psalm 103:2

I love Autumn.  To me, it is a season of tucking in.  The air turns a little cooler, with just a hint of crispness touching you amid the fall breezes.  Smells change as we turn from super floral fragrances to that of cinnamon, spice, and everything nice.  Schedules, prayerfully, slow down a bit as the run around of summer dissipates and more time is gathered around home and family.

For me, the feeling of fall brings an added bonus.  It seems that with the shifting of seasons we become more reflective and our hearts turn more to being appreciative of what we have and have been blessed with.

One day recently, things did not go according to plan.  My schedule was shot and the things I had on my agenda for the day – well, most of them didn’t happen.  But, as I spent time thinking about it, I just began to mentally thank God for all the things He did allow me to do.  Although my plans went awry, I was able, in those moments, to be there for others, to support them, and help them.

Lately, I have felt a strong impression on my heart to literally count my blessings.  Not by number, but by being more appreciative of daily things.  The day may have been hard and full of work that was strenuous, but I thank God that I was able to work it.  I may not have gotten the whole house clean, but I thank God for the small chores that I was able to accomplish.  The food on the table may not have been food cooking show worthy, but I thank God, not only for the food but for the opportunity to serve my family in this capacity on this day.

In the little things, as well as the big things in life, there are so many reasons to be grateful.  If we truly took a moment to reflect, we would readily say that God has been so good to us.

Life is going to happen.  And while we are living, it’s going to happen to us all.  Some days are going to go off perfectly, without a hitch, and we’ll feel like we can take on the world.  Other days may feel like a constant struggle – just making it through – can’t wait until bedtime comes and bring this day to a close.

Whatever the day brings, may our hearts find reminders of gratefulness in it.  Focusing more on God and the blessings that He has already provided can tip the scales, allowing the counting of blessings to far outweigh any negatives we may face.

How does Autumn speak to you?  Do the changes of the seasons stir special feelings inside you?

Whatever this season brings you, I pray God’s best for you in it all.

Blessings ~

“Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;” Psalm 105:5

“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?” Psalm 116:12

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 118:29

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

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“What Would Jesus Say?” – part 1

“The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4

Words, despite the children’s poems we recite, we know and have more than likely experienced the stinging effect of the wrong words spoken at the wrong time.  We know that just as easily as words can build, they can also tear down and hurt the receiver of them.

One thing is certain, our world is full of words and full of people who like to use words.  The human language and the ability to communicate with one another is a beautiful thing.  It is when we mar that beauty with unrighteous speech rolling off our tongues and flowing from our mouths that we get into trouble.

People have practiced communication skills for centuries, and yet, when it comes to the daily application of speech, sometimes we falter and do not use the words that God has given us in a healthy and productive manner.

If we are going to learn how to use the tongue healthily, the best example is that of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus had all the right words at the right time.  He knew how to speak compassion when it was needed most.  He knew how to speak conviction in truth without berating another.  And Jesus knew how to speak life.

In Isaiah 50:4, we see the prophesied Servant, whom we know to be the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ talking about the words He uses and the way He uses them to speak.  There He says, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak. . .” 

Never do we see Jesus in the Bible using words in a frivolous or lackadaisical manner.  Words and how they are used are powerful, and Jesus, just as His Father, knew the value of words and used them as such.  To Him, everything that came out of His mouth was to be treated carefully.

Jesus’ heart was always, and I do mean always, to do the will of the Father (John 6:38).  In everything, right down to going to the cross, God’s will was His number one priority (Luke 22:42).  With the will of God governing His whole life and ministry, even the words He spoke had to be what “The Lord GOD hath given me.” 

In Isaiah, that which was given is described as “the tongue of the learned;” as one who had been taught by God what to say and how to say it.  One can speak something that is true, but how the message is delivered can affect how another receives it.

In John 12:49-50, Jesus said, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.  And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”  Jesus, even in His speech, sought to bring glory and honor to the Father.

Through this, we see that Jesus was very strategic with the words He uses.  In this part, we have learned that Jesus is our best example in valuing words and in understanding the importance of using speech that is not only healthy but also God-honoring.  Jesus treated the words He spoke very carefully, and we should too.

In the days coming, we are going to explore this verse further in two more parts of this three-part mini-series.  May we learn what God wants us to say and how to say it, so that we, too,  may have “the tongue of the learned” relating to one another in speech even as Jesus did, so that we will know how to speak. 

This three-part mini-series is adapted from a Sunday School Lesson I previously published titled 4 Ways to Use Words Better.  You can click on that link if you are looking for a deeper study on this topic.

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com articles/lessons/worksheets may not be copied or redistributed without the express written permission of WordforLifeSays.com.  Please see the COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.  Blessings to you.

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Shamgar, Who?

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“And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.” Judges 3:31

Reading through the pages of the Bible, some stories leap off the pages while others hardly get a second glance.  There are some stories and lives we know a lot about.  Action and suspense surround their name.  Then, we have those little-known characters.  People who, without a diligent search, may not have been seen at all with a quick read.

But one of the greatest blessings we find in the Bible is the stories of the “unknowns,” or those we read of by name but really have not much more to go on.  These people and the offering of their lives and stories to the pages of Scripture remind us that everyone’s story matters.

Many today have a comparison problem where only the flashiest, biggest, most sensational stories and people grab the attention of the headlines.  And, yet, throughout the world over, daily there are those who go unrecognized by the masses, but they make a huge difference in their circle, in their sphere of friends and family; they make a difference in their world.

Shamgar, noted early in the book of Judges, had this one verse that spoke of his contributions to Israel’s deliverance.  Other than an honorable mention later by Deborah (Judges 5:6), that’s all we really know of him.

But to God, we don’t need a whole chapter or book dedicated to an individual to see that to Him, they matter.  God pays attention to the littlest details of our lives and to Him, every contribution we make for God, His kingdom, and His people – none escapes His notice, and they all matter.

The widow who put in two mites, nobody knows her name, but Jesus honored her actions (Luke 21:1-4).  And with that, there are countless stories of the named and unnamed in the Bible, throughout history, and even in our world today who are only recognized by our heavenly Father.

If you feel like you aren’t celebrated here, no worries.  If you don’t even have one verse dedicated to your earthly achievements (none of us do), it’s okay.  God knows you and you have a reward of faithfulness coming your way (Colossians 3:23-24; Revelation 22:12).

Take heart, and keep pressing forward.  Your worth to God is so much more, and your story, no matter if it is big or small, is important and worthy of note to our heavenly Father.

Other Good Reads:

“What Will Our Story Tell?”

“Your Content Reads More Than Your Cover!”

“Overlooked? Not By God!”

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“Lay it all down!”

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

Lay those burdens down!  Give yourself permission to release it, and let it all go.  Grab hold of the confidence of His Word, and cling to it for dear life.

This world is raging.  Things we’ve never seen before are unfolding at a frightening rate.  Hurts are dissimulating families.  Distresses are speaking despair into lives.  Lay it all down!

Refuse to pick it up today!  That fear; that feeling – refuse it space in your world today.

Who does God say I am?  What does His Word speak over my life?  That’s what I choose to pick up today.  That’s what I am choosing to carry with me.  Not these burdens.  Not these worries.  They are hindrances to my progress.  They’re deflating my steps.

I want to run!  I want to run for You, Jesus!  I want to run my race well and effectively.  But, in order to run, I have to release some things that’s been holding me down.  I must cast disappointment aside.  I have to get rid of any sin that’s stopping me from running full speed ahead for the Lord.  I have to throw away everything that’s not working for my heavenly good and trust in God the Father who is.

Lay it all down, dear friend, lay it down.  The heaviness it holds it’s not worth it.  Don’t coddle it.  Don’t get comfortable with it.  Don’t declare this is how it is now.

No, get rid of it.  By faith, be determined.  By faith, walk in the confidence of the God who has spoken beautiful things over your life.  By faith, don’t just claim His peace – live it, because it’s already yours!

The weight is not yours to carry, but His peace is.  Run your race with Him and be blessed.

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com articles/lessons/worksheets may not be copied or redistributed without the express written permission of WordforLifeSays.com.  Please see the COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.  Blessings to you.

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“What will you do in the end?”

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You are watching the movie.  The scene is intense.  You are waiting for something climactic to happen.  Then, so as not to disappoint the viewers, the characters stumble upon a ticking agent.  On it, there is a clock whose time is counting down indicating when it reaches zero, something big is going to happen.  The time will be up.

We love those moments when the story keeps us on the edge of our seats.  When it makes us stay glued in anticipation of what the characters are going to do now, or what’s going to happen in the end when the signal comes and there is no more opportunity to avert the crisis.  Danger is imminent.  The time of warning is over and the cataclysmic event starts now!

While it might be fun to watch on the screen as the suspense builds and the action unfolds, there is a very real countdown coming and once it reaches its end we must ask, “What will you do?”

The problem is so many are unprepared for what the end will bring.

Jeremiah had to confront the people with this line of questioning in his prophesying.  The Lord used Jeremiah to let the people know about the wickedness He sees in the land.  But, He also uses Jeremiah to confront false prophets who prophesy lies and love tickling the ears of the people and the people who give ear to it.  In Jeremiah 5:30-31, he writes, “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will you do in the end thereof?”

With wickedness pervading the land the people needed a good, healthy dose of Holy Ghost truth spoken into their lives and not messages that sugarcoat their wrongs and make them believe that they are still okay and that God is still going to bless them. Because there is an end coming and what is it going to profit them if they have not learned to live holy, if they have not learned to repent, if they have not learned that there is a right way before God to live, but they are not there yet.

Yes, we have the promise of heaven before us if we are living lives of righteous faith before God but on the other end of the spectrum, there is a very real, horrible place called hell.  It is a place for judgment and punishment that will never see an end.

Too many are unprepared for an eternal future in one place or the other because they are not taught to be ready anymore.  They are not taught that tomorrow is not promised and that they could step into eternity at any moment.  They are not taught that holiness matters and that God requires holiness for He said, “Be ye holy; for I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:16).

Instead, there is a lot of tickling of the ears.  Messages that continually show us how to prosper here and tell us that we are next in line here even though this earth is not our final home.  While I enjoy a good message of blessing myself, I and everyone else also need to know how to prosper and push for the eternal goal of heaven.  Without it, what will you do in the end?

In that time to come, how will you be prepared for the reality of what lies ahead?

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein . . .” (Jeremiah 6:16a).  When you do that, when you seek the proven path of God’s word and choose to live by it then we have this promise for our end, “ye shall find rest for your souls,” (Jeremiah 6:16b).

Sadly, many choose not to listen for the rest of that verse tells us, “But they said, We will not walk therein,” (Jeremiah 6:16c).  They made the decision for their eternity.

The way forward into eternity with God is through the old proven path of His sound Word.  God relayed through Jeremiah that when He delivered His people He instructed them to “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you,” (Jeremiah 7:24).  But, the truth became clear: “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward,” (Jeremiah 7:25).

They chose a backward mentality after the things that would not profit them in the end.

Daily we find ourselves running against the clock to get this done and that.  May we all take heed that there is a spiritual clock we are racing against, and one day it will read “Time’s up!”  What will you do in the end?  A very real question that will one day require a very real answer.

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“Who have you been glorifying?”

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” Psalm 50:15, NKJV

Who gets your praise when you get a reprieve from the madness all around?  Who receives your honor when troubles dissipate and deliverance has been brought forth?

Have you attributed your successes to your own wisdom?  Has your ingenuity received the credit for plans coming to pass?  Have you praised yourself, thinking, “Look what I have done?”

Who have you been glorifying?  Don’t pat yourself on the back for a job well done when you know if it had not been for the Lord on your side, you would not have what you have, do what you do, and be in the position you are in.

God is not only our Heavenly Father, He is also our mighty defender and our deliverer.  He invites us to seek Him in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1), and He will be our present help.  When we come to Him, and call upon Him, and He delivers us, please do not give His glory to another, or take it for yourself.

Recognize what God has done in your life and honor Him alone.

“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say;

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:

Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.

Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 124:1-8

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“Study Him!”

“The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them,” Psalm 111:2, NKJV

Why such doubt?  Why such confusion?  Have you studied Him?  Have you studied the works of our God?

Open your understanding to the truth of who He is.  Open, and expand your knowledge of our Heavenly Father.  Seek Him, and search Him out.  As the greatest treasure that is to be found, don’t stop digging till you have unearthed His glorious truths.

“His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever,” (Psalm 111:3, NKJV).  So, dig deep, my friends, and find Him for yourself.

Look through His holy pages and see Him.  See what He has done.  See the testimonies of the lives that have walked in those written lines.  See the things He performed in them and through them.  See what He continues to do even in this day.  See, and believe.

For where the truth of this treasure is, it leaves no room for doubt and confusion.  Truth eats up the empty spaces that make room for lies.

Therefore, study Him.  Let not your appetite be quenched by the false junk and ideologies of this age.  Take your fill of God, our Father.  Learn of Him.  Explore Him, and you will not only be satisfied with that which nourishes for all eternity, but you will enter an abundant adventure of a lifetime today (John 10:10).

It’s there, in those pages of the Bible.  Seek Him.  He’s not hiding from you.  Study Him, and enrich your own life further and deeper than you could have ever imagined.

“He has made His wonderful works to be remembered . . .” Psalm 111:4, NKJV

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We Need the Lines!

Image above by Joshua Choate from Pixabay

There is a road I have traveled for over 20 years.  I have a love/hate relationship with this road.

This road is beautiful because it gives you the chance to get off the busy highway and take the least congested route to certain locations.

This road travels you through a beautiful neighborhood with equally beautiful houses.

This road is wide, allowing traffic to flow freely through the area.  The width of the road could possibly accommodate two lanes of traffic on each side of the yellow middle line going down its center.  Even though the road may be big enough for these extra lanes of traffic on either side, signs are posted all along the road saying, “Drive In Single Lane.”

On this free-flowing, 30 mph road, it is hard for some drivers to adhere to that sign.  Sometimes the drive can be a bit contentious when a driver decides to ride your tail to encourage you to move faster (even if you’re already over the limit).  And when that urging fails or the impatience of the other driver runs thin, they scootch around the other driver because the single-lane life is not for them.

Recently, I had an opportunity to travel this road that I don’t get the chance to frequent that often anymore and I noticed a big change.  Now, there are new lines painted along the road.  And in case you’re wondering, they were not lines that turned each side into two lanes.  Rather, there were more yellow lines that narrowed the way of travel, letting you know in no uncertain terms: “Drive In Single Lane.”  To further encourage adherence, middle partitions were put in the center of the road to block extra access.

Seeing these lines, I immediately thought to myself, “We need the lines.”  On this road, those lines give clear direction and actually bring peace to what could have once been a contentious drive.

Sometimes I think we are trained to think open and free-flowing is always a good thing.  It can be good with proper restraint and discipline.  Alas, free-flowing for many gives the assumption that I can do what I want, when I want, and how I want.

But think on this, God’s Word is filled with instructions, commandments, statutes – lines, if you will, not to confine us, but to give us a life far greater.  Jesus taught, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).  

You see, my friends, we need the lines.  We need the instructions.  We need the statutes and commandments.  We need the road to be narrowed for our benefit so that we might gain a greater life.

“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Isaiah 35:8

Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:23-24

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” 1 Corinthians 9:25

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