Category Archives: Salvation

What is salvation? – Video

In this video Fran and I talk about the biblical concept of salvation:

NOTES:

Jesus is the saviour. Jesus or Joshua means saviour!

John 10 : The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. G4982

John 10:19 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, G4982 and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

Matthew 9:21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. G4982

Lost or saved?

1 Corinthinas 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved G4982 it is the power of God.

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, G4982 and in them that perish:

What does he save us from?

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

Romans 5 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved G4982 from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved G4982 by his life.

1 Thess 5 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Matthew 27 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

How are we saved?

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; G4982 but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. G4982

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved G4982 us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. G4982

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. G4982 Acts 4

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Acts But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, G4982 even as they.

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) G4982

For by grace are ye saved G4982 through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Titus For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. G4982

1 Corinthinas 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save G4982 them that believe.

1 Cor If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; G4982 yet so as by fire.

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved G4982 in the day of the Lord Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. G4982

1 Timothy This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save G4982 sinners; of whom I am chief.

Who will have all men to be saved, G4982 and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Hebrews 7 Wherefore he is able also to save them G4982 to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

1 Peter 1:19 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

2 Corinthians 6 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

2 Corinthians 7 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

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Jesus is God’s plan!

When we are talking about god’s plan of salvation we are really talking about a person: the God man Jesus Christ. His name means God is saviour or Joshua. Jesus the rescuer; He is God’s elect!

When did God come up with this plan?

jesusLet’s think for a moment. At what point in history did God come up with a plan to save humanity? Was it as a reaction to Adam’s sin? Did God have an emergency board meeting discussing what action heaven should take? No, God’s plan is and always will be the cross of Jesus – even before sin entered the world through Adam and Eve.

1 Peter 1:20 “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you”

Inventors of evil things

Incidentally, it seems a bit remiss of God not to warn Adam that if he sinned, not only would his children die but that they would burn for ever and ever tortured in hell? The simple explanation of course, is that it just isn’t true!

Romans 1:30 “inventors of evil things”.

I believe that only the wicked minds of men could invent and plan such horrible tortures inducing fear and control. That’s what religion does best! Look at its fruit: in the past – the inquisition and the burning or heretics. Today? Groups like Westbro Baptist Church and ISIS  (Islam has a similar theology of Hell based on gnostic Roman Catholicism but reserved for all those who don’t believe in Islam!)

Jeremiah 32:25 “And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”

However, I’m getting a bit distracted here. Just to say that God is a good God and he plans good things:

1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

Jesus draws all men

Anyway, back to my point. Jesus is God’s plan. He is God’s choice and we are ALL chosen in him. This plan is all about Jesus; he is the focal point of history drawing ALL men and ALL things to himself!

John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw (pull) all men unto me.”

John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

What is that attraction? It is power of unconditional love! Resurrection power!

Colossians 1:20 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

Jesus died for all

Anyhow, let’s have a look at what Jesus has done for us all at the cross. Firstly, Jesus didn’t just come to die for mankind. He came to die AS mankind.

2 Corinthians 5 “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again”

Therefore, this means that we should look at lost people around us differently. Not one of them is beyond the grace of God! Our only claim to fame, is that because we believe and are called christians, we now have been given a job to do: we are on God’s welcoming committee!

What about those who don’t hear this good news and die in their sins? Does death mean that Jesus gives up the search? After that point we are a lost cause? Death and the devil won! Just a minute though, Jesus came to save the lost – what can be more lost than missing the final call!

Jesus has the keys of death and hell so if he wishes to preach to the spirits in prison – who is going to stop him!

Jesus paid for all

Secondly, he’s paid everyone’s outstanding debt of sin!

1 Timothy 2:6 “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

John 1:9 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

1 John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Everyone is included! Jesus is the saviour of all men not some exclusive group!

Jesus  – the saviour of all

1 Timothy 4:10 “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”

For fun, let’s rewrite this verse as a Calvinist and then an Arminian:

If the bible was written by Calvinists this verse would say the following: God is not the saviour of all men only those that believe (the elect)

If the bible was written by an Arminian this verse would say the following: God wishes to be the saviour of all men but unfortunately he can only save those who believe in this lifetime.

Fortunately for us, the sentence structure is used identically elsewhere so the meaning is crystal clear with no ambiguity.

Galatians 6:10 “as we have opportunity let us do good unto all men especially those who believe.”

When you put these two verses together it leaves very little wiggle room as to the meaning of ‘all’.  In other words, Galatians 6:10 means that you are supposed to do good to everyone but ‘particularly’ (same Greek word in both verses) those within your sphere of influence: your neighbour, your church family.

Therefore, 1 Timothy 4:10 means: that God saves ALL. We all qualify but of course to experience that salvation we have to believe it! If we substitute other words instead of saviour the meaning abundantly becomes clear: “God is the judge of all men but especially those who believe.” (this is true by the way!)

Conclusions?

Consequently, could it be that Jesus wins all in the end?

Philippians 2:10 “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;”And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (see 1 corinthians 12:3) to the glory of God the Father.

1 Corinthians 15:28 “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

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God is a universalist!

God is a Universalist!

universalistWhat is God’s will regarding salvation? Is it to predestine and save only the elect and damn the rest: as the calvinist doctrine of double-predestination teaches?

This flies in the face of some crystal clear scriptures as to God’s will on the matter. I believe, that if you asked God about his plans he wouldn’t sound much like a Calvinist or Arminian! No, he would probably sound a bit like one of those heretical universalists!

In fact, I would be bold to say that what the early church Father Augustine brought in the church, from his greek platonic philosophical roots, was actually gnostic heresy and the basis on which the Roman Catholic Church and much of protestant theology (especially hyper-calvinism) has been founded.

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Therefore, the above scripture clearly teaches that God is a Universalist: in the sense that he wants all men saved! That’s his fool-proof plan! Even the fool ( the atheist who says there is no God) is not immune to God’s desire!

God’s will is…

Consequently, God desires two specific things:

Firstly, that ALL of us are saved from the best to the worst sinner. He doesn’t want anyone to perish.

Secondly, that we ALL repent. In fact, he commands repentance. In other words, he commands you to change your stinking thinking; your paradigm – the strongholds in your mind; your false belief system or maybe even your treasured theology!

Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:”

Therefore, it is quite clear what God wants. Who is going to resist his will? Are you stronger than God! Additionally, If God commands repentance then surely he wouldn’t ask us to do something we cannot do?

By the way, notice it doesn’t say ‘times of sinfulness’ but ‘times of ignorance.’ In simple language, God is saying: “You’ve been ignoring the reality guys. Wake up and believe the truth.”

Why does God delay?

1 Corinthians 13 and 2 Peter 3:9 tell us, that love (God), is long suffering or patient. That’s the reason why God doesn’t just wipe us off the face of the planet: HIS LOVE.  He wishes to save everyone!

So, don’t come up with statements like God is love but love is not God. Love is from God. You can spot it a mile off!

1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

His patient love is a bit like the pilot of an airliner refusing to take off on the runway until every last passenger is on board. The gates of the heavenly Jerusalem never shut! Rev 21:25.

Another clear verse that is forthright as to God’s will on the matter of salvation is:

1 Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

So, are we saying along with the Arminians (who at least agree with the goal)  that God wants all men to be saved – that in fact he can’t manage it? In other words, his hands are tied by our free-will so he can’t really be blamed that 98% of the population end up damned frying in their own juices for eternity!

It doesn’t seem very godlike of God to fail so spectacularly! I just don’t believe it!

Or maybe, its really our fault because we just haven’t evangelised and preached enough. That’s probably why Arminians are strongly motivated to preach – God bless them!

Already done!

My firm hope is that God indeed does achieve his stated goal. I’m convinced that God can do it!

In fact, I believe he’s ALREADY DONE it. It was finished by Jesus on the cross.

1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Did you have a choice to be in Adam? No, of course not. How many people on this planet are in Adam. Everyone! What is the result: death. Likewise, through the cross everyone is included in Christ. What is the result: life. There are now no outsiders; we are all insiders!

Is everyone experiencing this miraculous transformation? No, of course not because faith is how we experience and enjoy it. My part, as an ambassador of this Gospel, is to communicate this message of reconciliation. You are in Christ!

Romans 5:18 “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”

Look at the next verse:

Romans 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience MANY (a large number/ all of us) were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall MANY (a large number/ all of us?) be made righteous.”

Again, like 1 Corinthians 15:22 we have two contrasting sentences. Adam sinned. The result  = all of us made sinners. Jesus obeys. The result = all of us made righteous?

Do you see it? How did we become sinners? Was it through our own disobedience? No. It was through the disobedience of Adam!

Likewise, how did we become righteous? Was it through our faithful obedience? No, it was through the obedience of Jesus! 

To finish

To finish, here is a prophetic promise of God’s ultimate victory:

Psalm 22:7 “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.”

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How big are God’s plans?

How extensive is God’s plan of salvation? I mean, how really big does the ALMIGHTY God and creator of the universe think? How big are God’s plans for his creation?

God’s rescue plan – how big?

entebbeIn fact, if he tells us that he can do far more than we can ask or imagine then surely the Gospel has to be a hyper, super, huge, massive epic victory of monumental and universal proportions!

What can we imagine? What about something small-scale like the Israeli  Entebbe rescue operation – saving a few hundred hostages from the clutches of terrorists?

Or maybe, on a bit bigger scale, an operation closer to a Dunkirk, when the majority of the dunkirkBritish Army (338,000 men)  ‘miraculously’ saved from the clutches of the German invaders by an improvised armada of vessels?

What if, Gods plan of salvation is not restricted, as the Calvinists believe, to a small group of people the elect but is in fact universal in scope?

Israel only?

Of course though, when Jesus started his ministry, indeed it was confined to the tiny nation of Israel.

Matthew 15:24 “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

That is why, you must read the Gospel’s through the lens of Jesus coming to his own people: the lost sheep of Israel. Did others get in on the act? Oh yes of course, but it really awaited the Apostle Paul to explain how that God’s plan of salvation was for ALL people regardless of nationality, gender, skin colour or creed.

Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The whole world is included

In fact, John in his famous text makes the same momentous announcement: God doesn’t just love Israel. No, he loves the whole world and Jesus came to save ALL of it!

worldJohn 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”

Again, the despised Samaritans – who had no legitimate claim on God, assert that they are included in this world-wide salvation!

John 4:42 “And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”

All creation

Let’s not stop there though because this plan of redemption and salvation is not just restricted to human beings – it is for all creation! (Have you ever wondered why the disciples were told to preach all creation)

Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Colossians 1:28 “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

The reason for this, is that the fall of man has affected the whole of creation; creation groans. Consequently, God’s plan isn’t just to save a few people and then get them out of here and then let the whole lot fall apart in some divine demolition! No way! God cares not just about suffering human beings but about all creation! His plan is complete restoration. Anything less than this is not the Gospel.

Isaiah 11:9 “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

Therefore, the scope of the cross reaches from the lowest depths of hell to the heights of heaven!

universalColossians 1:20 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

Revelation 5:13 “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

Therefore, if you are part of the elect (a member of the church of the living God), then get busy – you have a job to do! All creation awaits your revelation! 

Romans 8:18 “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

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God’s brilliant plan!

God’s brilliant plan (according to calvinists and arminians)

If you are going to do anything major in life: say move house, get married or change career – planning is probably a sensible idea!  As we say in business: “those who fail to plan plan to fail”.  Of course, along with planning, we set goals. Hopefully, we ask the questions: “what are our targets; what are we hoping to achieve; how do we know we achieved it?”

The Calvinist version of God’s plan.

planSo, what about God’s plan of salvation for the world? What is his goal? Is he aiming just to save a few elect and fortunate souls – who have absolutely no choice in the matter – as calvinist theologians believe? Consequently, the unfortunate majority – who also have no choice – are purposed for destruction or eternal torture in hellfire?

Therefore, according to calvinist doctrine, one of the thieves on the cross went to be with Jesus in paradise because that was his destiny, while the other was destined for hell? Therefore, even though both equally committed crimes, irresistible grace found only one because that was his destiny?

Therefore for a Calvinist, God only plans for a small elect group of people to be saved and they have no choice in the matter.

Of course there are scriptures that support this view, so I believe aspects of Calvinism are likely to be true. Here is one :

Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Many Christians throughout history have believed this view of God’s plan. Notably George Whitefield and Jonathon Edwards.

The Arminian version of God’s plan.”

Alternatively though, maybe God doesn’t know or control the outcome and he’s hoping for the best? He’s thinking: “If I get a 10% return on my investment then that makes it worth while!”  Basically, this is what the Arminians believe: the end result is at the whim and free-will response of human beings and their ability to ‘sell’ this salvation message to their fellows. It’s all a bit of a lottery or gamble really!

imagesDoes God really ask for permission before he saves you? If you saw somebody drowning and you went in to rescue them you might even have to do what lifesavers do and knock them unconscious to stop them struggling!

Therefore, for an Arminian God does indeed provide for and plan for the whole human race to be saved but he leaves it up to the free-will choice of individuals. Of course,  this means that if they never hear about the choice that they should make then unfortunately – they go to hell as well! Additionally, this would also mean that salvation is restricted only to the last two thousand years that the gospel has been preached?

1 John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Many Christians throughout history have believed this view of God’s plan. Notably John Wesley and Charles Finney.

Conclusions so far?

In my opinion, both these two theological positions have both positives and negatives but are not water-tight theologically or even logically! Both, don’t quite make sense and are of course contradictory. Of course, both are apparently supported by scripture!

The question is: is the Almighty God really that incapable or powerless to save people? Or, maybe his love only extends to a small percentage of the human race? I mean, look around you – most people are not born again and don’t have any relationship with God – let alone attend a church!

Has the gospel failed therefore? Was Jesus death and resurrection a failure? Definitely not! I believe that the gospel plan is a victorious gospel. Love indeed does win – somehow. It has too! This Almighty God we are talking about! In the next article we will look at this plan of God in more detail.

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Love never fails!

1 Corinthians 13:8 “Love never fails”

loveRecently, I spent over three months meditating and praying for revelation and insight on my favourite passage of scripture: Luke 15; the parable of the prodigal son. As I wrote, I found myself thinking radical thoughts – I believe inspired by the Holy Spirit. The result was a book called ‘Lost’ and this article is really my conclusion to what I learnt writing the book.

Indeed, in writing this book I found my heart melting in the face of such unrelenting grace portrayed in these parables. My heart was warmed as I  began to believe that the Father, or papa of our Lord Jesus Christ, is much better than I could ever even imagine. This is a God, a father introduced to us by Jesus in these parables, that never gives up! He doesn’t stop looking for that which is lost until he finds it! Why? Because, the lost belong to him!

I mean, you lost your wallet you would be concerned and search high and low for it because it belongs to you!

My song love never fails!

The Calvinist version:

A humorous thought though, did occur to me while writing; if a Calvinist wrote the first of the parables in Luke 15: the parable of the lost sheep, it would go something like this:

“Jesus the good shepherd had a 100 sheep but only one of them was elect so he left the 99 lost sheep wandering in the wilderness! “

Of course, you have to understand Calvinism to get that one! And, not letting the Arminians off the hook – please forgive me all Calvinists and Arminians (I love you). They would say:

The Arminian version:

“Jesus the good shepherd had a 100 sheep but he only managed to rescue one or two of them (who were therefore elect) because the rest didn’t want to be saved and evaded capture. Therefore he gave up and came home.

No, Jesus the good shepherd is not satisfied with one sheep – he wants to save all one hundred! All the flock!

The Universalist version:

By the way, you know this – if your a collector of anything –  your collection is not complete until you have the last missing piece. Similarly, a jigsaw with even just one missing piece is unfinished! I believe that is how God feels about every member of the human race – no matter how wicked and perverted they are. Not one of them is beyond God’s grace. They are all God’s offspring as Paul declares in Acts 17:29

“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.”

Does that mean I’ve become a Universalist. Well maybe and maybe not as I will try and articulate in the following posts!

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Download my book ‘LOST’ – FREE!

bookIn this short and inspiring little book, Paul Noble reveals a Saviour-Shepherd-God who searches diligently for each of His lost sheep UNTIL He finds them. However, there’s no lost sinner MORE lost than the self righteous religious soul who regards him or herself as qualified for divine acceptance because of his or her own good deeds, done in a spirit of slavish servitude with expectation of just recompense.

But there’s hope for even the most  self righteous and self-deceived among us! After all, any of us might be such–given the right chemistry, temperament, and circumstances, right? I believe that you will find Paul Noble’s portrayal of our Saviour-God’s heart and diligence to pursue and restore us deeply touching and encouraging.

Our Heavenly Father will never force us to receive Him or recognise our father-child relationship with Him. HOWEVER. . .! Our Saviour-Shepherd-God CANNOT help being the Wonderful, All-Powerful LIGHT that He is, and there’s no inner darkness too black, obscure, entrenched or hidden that it can escape His healing radiance. His arms are ALWAYS open to us! May His Spirit inspire you to worship as you read these pages!

–Charles Slagle
Author of ‘From the Father’s Heart’

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