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Week 10 – Knowing What We Believe

Introduction: In his letter to the church, Peter instructs us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) Knowing basic Christian doctrines is important for the Christian who wants to share the Gospel with others, for the believer who wants to grow in Christ-likeness, and for all who wage spiritual warfare against the devil, who will always try to make you doubt the truth. This lesson is a brief summary of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith. Each section will tell how the doctrine benefits the believer.


I. We believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God.“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (II Timothy 3:16 KJV)


A. The word Bible means “book“. It is a collection of 66 books written over a period of 1500 years by 38 different human authors.


B. The true author, however, is God, for the entire Bible is divinely inspired and without error in the original manuscripts.


C. The Bible is the revelation of God to man and the final authority for the Church and the believer in all matters of doctrine and daily living.


Benefit: The Bible is not merely a textbook for Christian doctrine. It is a guidebook for life-a handbook for Christian living. The Bible is proved true by the fact that when you put it into practice, it works: promises are fulfilled when you meet the conditions, prayers are answered, lives are changed, the sick are healed, etc.


II. We believe that God is infinitely perfect and eternally existent in three persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


A. What is God like?

1. The Bible describes many attributes, or qualities that belong to God. Some of them include:


a) God is creator. (Genesis 1:1)


b) God is omnipotent, or all-powerful. (Matthew 19:26)


c) God is omnipresent, or everywhere. (Jeremiah 23:24)


d) God is omniscient, or all-knowing. (I John 3:20)


e) God is eternal. (Psalm 90:2)


2. What is true of God the Father is also true of Jesus and the, Holy Spirit: they also possess the divine attributes. (Colossians 1:15-20; Acts 5:1-5)


B. Jesus Christ, the Son of God

Ten Important Facts about Jesus Christ:

1. As the eternal Son of God, Jesus was involved in creating the heavens and the earth. (John 1:1)


2. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb. (Luke 1:26-35)


3. While on the earth, He was both true God and true man. (John 1:1-14)


4. He lived a sinless life. (Hebrews 4:15)


5. He possessed tremendous miraculous power. (Hebrews 1:3)


6. He was crucified on the cross where He died as a sacrifice for the sins of all men. (John 19:16-33)


7. God raised Him from the dead on the third day. (John 20:1-9)


8. For forty days after His resurrection, over 500 people saw Him. (1 Corinthians 15:5-7)


9. He ascended to heaven right in front of the disciples’ eyes. (Acts 1:9)


10. He is today at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. (Romans 8:34)


C. The Person of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:2 “The Holy Spirit said …,“)

1. The Holy Spirit’s present ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. He accomplishes this by indwelling, guiding, instructing, and empowering the believer for godly living and service.


Benefit: In the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you, as a believer, can know that you are serving the one true God of the universe. God loves you enough that He sent His Son Jesus to die for your sins. Then, He makes you a new creation in Him and empowers you to live a Christ like life through the power of the Holy Spirit.


III. We believe that Satan and his demons are mankind’s enemy.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)

A. Satan, or the devil, is a fallen angel (Luke 10:18, 19), a created being, who was cast out of heaven because of pride and rebellion (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28).


B. Demons are also fallen spirits, or angels, who work under Satan to undermine God’s kingdom. The devil and his demons come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).


C. Hell was created for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41), and their eternal destiny is sealed. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and He gave believers authority over the power of Satan. (I John 3:8, Luke 10:19)


“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:18, 19 NIV)

Benefit: By knowing that there is a very real adversary, the devil and his demons, you become more alert in your day-to-day activities to his subtle schemes and temptations that would try to divert your focus from who the real enemy is.


IV. We believe we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9 KJV)


A. Because of man’s fallen, sinful condition, and because the consequences of sin are so very serious, salvation is necessary. God has graciously made salvation possible for all by sending his Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. All God requires of us is that we repent and believe the Gospel (good news).


1. Repentance-is turning away from sin and turning to God. Repentance is necessary for men to receive forgiveness of sins. (Acts 2:37-38)


2. “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” (Acts 3:19 KJV)


B. Salvation and the New Birth-Man is saved by grace, God’s unmerited favor, through faith in Jesus Christ and His blood.

1. Salvation is a gift of God and cannot be earned by human efforts. A person must be “born again” by the Spirit of God. In this new birth, Jesus comes to live inside the new believer. (Ephesians 2:8-9)


2. “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again.” (John 3:3, 7 KJV)


C. Living holy (sanctification)

1. In one respect, we were sanctified the moment we put our trust in God. This instantaneous work places us as sons and daughters of God.


2. Sanctification is also progressive. This means that even though we are holy in God’s sight and do not receive any condemnation from Him, we are to progressively become holy in our daily conduct. The Christian life is a life of putting off the old self and putting on the new self. (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)

Benefit: You are saved from eternal separation from God. While living on this earth YOU CAN live a holy and sanctified life as you daily put off the old man and put on the new. You are a new creation!


V. We believe that healing of the sick is a sign that follows believers.

“And these signs shall follow those who believe: In My Name.., they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17, 18 KJV)


A. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus healed the sick while on the earth (Acts 10:3 8), and He paid the price for the healing of your body through His death.

“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. by Whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2:24 KJV)

Benefit: The most obvious benefit of divine healing is that YOU CAN be healed!


VI. We believe that believers are to be water-baptized by immersion.

“Then Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” (Acts 2:38 KJV)


A. After you are saved, you should be baptized in water.

1. Water baptism is a picture, or symbol, of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. (Romans 6:3-5)


2. When you are baptized, you are showing your identification and union with Christ. You are dead to sin and must, therefore, be buried in baptism. As you come up out of the water, you come up, so to speak, out of the grave, raised from the dead (old life) to walk in newness of life.


B. Water baptism is an opportunity to publicly confess that Jesus is your Lord.

Benefit: Other than the fact that water baptism is a command of our Lord Jesus Christ, the act of being water-baptized causes you to remember that your body is dead to sin and that you don’t have to give in to the temptations of the flesh.


VII. We believe in the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

“For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit..” (Acts1:5 NIV)


A. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from salvation in which the believer is endued with power from on high for godly living and service. Speaking in tongues (an unknown tongue) was the normative accompanying manifestation to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and believers filled with the Holy Spirit should expect its accompaniment.

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: …they will speak in new tongues;…” (Mark 16:17 NIV)


B. How do you receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

1. You must be born again. (Acts 2:38, 39)


2. You must recognize that the Holy Spirit is given as a gift. (Luke 11:13, Acts 10:45)


3. You must desire and ask for this gift. (Acts 19:2, 6; Luke 11:9-13)


4. You must receive the Holy Spirit, in faith. (Acts 2:38, 8:15-19, 10:47, 19:2)

Benefit: There are many benefits of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the most outstanding benefit is that He gives you a special language in which you can pray and make intercession directly to God, even when you don’t know how to pray. (Romans 8:26)


VIII. We believe in the Church (local and universal).

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14 NIV)

A. The Church, or the Body of Christ, is a spiritual organism, with Christ as the head. (Ephesians 5:23) It consists of all true born-again believers everywhere. The only way to enter into the Body of Christ is by being born again (the new birth).


B. The LOCAL CHURCH is a part of the UNIVERSAL CHURCH. The Bible says that all believers are to be a part of a local church. (Hebrews 10:25)

Benefit: By being part of a local church, you are submitting yourself to spiritual authority (a spiritual covering). You are protecting yourself from false doctrine, seducing spirits, and deception. You are strengthened and encouraged by the other members of the Body of Christ.


IX. We believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“To the one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12: 8-10 NIV)


A. The gifts of the Spirit are supernatural manifestations given (as gifts) by the Spirit of God to the Spirit-filled believer.


B. Spiritual gifts are given to equip the Church to carry out its ministry until Christ returns. (Ephesians 4:12) They are given for the edifying and strengthening of the Church, which is the believers. (I Corinthians 14:5)

Benefit: Spiritual gifts enable you to be used by the Holy Spirit to encourage and help other believers grow to maturity. They bring unity to the Body of Christ and allow you to taste of the fuller working of the Holy Spirit that will be yours in the age to come.


X. We believe in observing the Lord’s Supper.

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (I Corinthians 11:26 NIV).

A. As a memorial, or a reminder of His death, the Lord Jesus ordained the Lord’s Supper (Communion Service).


B. When you participate in the Lord’s Supper:

1. You come into the presence of Christ and remember that He died for you.


2. You affirm that your sins could be taken away only by the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. You also affirm that you need Him and trust Him to forgive your sins and give life and health back to your soul.


3. You receive the spiritual nourishment and refreshment that Christ is giving to your soul. He loves you and has invited you to this Supper!


4. You are united with all other believers who participate in this Supper.

Benefit: As you partake of the Bread and the Cup, you remember that the Lord died for you on the cross; you are reminded of your desperate need for Him; and you can experience thanksgiving and joy in the celebration of this Supper of the Lord.


XI. We believe in the rapture, the Second Coming of Jesus, and the Resurrection of the Dead.

A. The Rapture:

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 NIV).


1. Believers should be ready for the imminent return of Jesus, for we do not know the day or the hour of His return.


2. At that moment, the believers in the grave will be resurrected, and those who are still alive will be caught up to the Lord Jesus in the air. Then, Jesus will personally escort them to heaven.


B. The Second Coming of Jesus:

“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 NIV)


1. Jesus will come back to the earth a second time to set up His kingdom. This will take place at the end of a seven year period of turmoil on the earth called the Tribulation. (Daniel 12:1; Revelation 6, 8-9, 16)


2. Jesus will return to the earth with His saints (I Thessalonians 3:13) to overthrow the Antichrist and his forces, to cast the devil into a bottomless pit, and to set up His earthly kingdom (Revelation 19).


C. The Resurrection of the Dead:

“And l saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” (Revelation 20:12 NIV)


1. Just as Jesus was resurrected, all believers will be bodily resurrected to everlasting joy with the Lord.


2. The unbeliever will be resurrected to judgment and everlasting, conscious punishment.

Benefit: Because of God’s great love for you, you know that in life and in death you belong to God. Whether or not you live to see Christ’s return, you have confidence that God has prepared a new glorified body for you in the resurrection and that you will share eternity with Him.


XII. We believe that heaven and hell are literal eternal places.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…” (Revelation 2 1:1 KJV)


“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever … If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:10, 15 NIV)


A. Heaven and hell are literal places reserved for people to live in after death and judgment.


1. Heaven will be the glorious home for all true believers in Jesus.


2. Hell will be the prison where the wicked will be locked up in torment and darkness forever-fully conscious, without any way of escape.

Benefit: Because you know there is going to be a resurrection of the dead, a catching away of believers, and a literal heaven and hell, you want to live a holy, Christ-like life here on earth. You want to always be ready for His return!

Posted in: Family of Faith - Discipleship

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Membership at LifeWay

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Explore Participating Membership at LifeWay Community Church

“…You are a member of God’s very own family…
and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.”
Ephesians 2:19


Perhaps you’ve been attending LifeWay for a while and you are interested in learning what it means to be a Participating Member at LifeWay Community Church.


LifeWay membership is a class where you will join others who want to further their spiritual journey by understanding God’s desire for you to belong to a church family. You will also learn why LifeWay C.C. exists, the uniqueness of our church, our vision for ministry as well as ways to belong.


At the conclusion of this class, you will have opportunity to apply for Participating Membership.


Our next membership class will be conducted in November.


If you’d like to be contacted about the next class, please email Pastor Eli at the attached link pe@lifewaycc.com

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Week 11 – Laying the Foundation for a Victorious Christian Life

Introduction: Before you can really grow in the Lord and live a victorious Christian life, you must be absolutely persuaded that you cannot make yourself holy and good in your own strength or by your willpower. Seeing yourself as weak and hopeless in Adam, you are then ready to receive Christ Jesus as your Savior from sin and as the giver of abundant life. Truly, without Him you can do nothing (John 15:5). In this class you will want to identify three areas:

  • Recognize you are hopeless to save yourself because you are born a child of Adam.
  • Receive God’s gift of the full payment for your sins.
  • Start living your life as a new creation in Christ in union with Him.

I. Recognize and understand the curse you are under by being a descendant of Adam. (Romans 5:12)

A. The fall of man in the Garden of Eden brought a curse of sin, sorrow, disease, strife, and death to the world and to you.

1. Adam and Eve were created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27).

2. The devil deceived Adam and Eve and tricked them into surrendering their blessings through disobeying God.

3. The story of the temptation and fall of man in Genesis 3:1-7 illustrates the same pattern that Satan uses on people today to get them to disobey God and “do their own thing.”

4. During Christ’s temptation as recorded in the New Testament, the devil claimed all the kingdoms of the world had been given to him. “The devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to Him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to‘ ” (Luke 4:5-6 NIV).

B. There are eight results of the Fall of Adam and Eve which affect your life.

1. Everyone stands guilty of sin before a holy God as a result of being in Adam. “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners ” (Romans 5:19 NIV).

NOTE: You do not have to do anything to receive the effects of the curse of Adam’s sin in your life-it comes with being a part of the human race. (Psalm 51:5)

2. The Fall resulted in spiritual death. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12 NIV).

3. The Fall caused man to hide from God. “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 NIV).

4. The Fall brought fear. “He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and l was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:10 NIV).

5. Man began blaming others for his sins and shortcomings. “The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it‘” (Genesis 3:12 NIV).

6. The ground became cursed. “To Adam He said. . . . ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17 NIV).

7. Man’s mind became perverted and wicked. “The LORD saw how great man wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5 NIV).

8. Man, without Christ, lives in darkness, without hope, and under the power of the devil. “The whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19 NIV). “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ . . . without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12 NIV).

II. Receive God’s gift of the full payment for your sins.

A. Jesus is the payment for sins-He came to pay the price to bring you back to God. “We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:11 NIV).

1. On the great Day of Atonement as found in Leviticus 16, we see in the illustration of the two goats an Old Testament picture of what Jesus did with our sins.

2. Goat one-the sin offering. The blood of one goat was brought into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled over the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant to cover sin. This was to point to the time when Jesus would shed His blood and bring it before God in heaven to satisfy God’s holy anger against sin and to pay the price of justice so that forgiven sinners could freely enter the presence of the holy God (Romans 3:25 NIV).

3. Goat two-the “scapegoat.” The high priest would lay hands on the goat and confess the sins of the people over the goat. Then, he would let it go in the wilderness, where no one lived and where no one could see. This shows that when Jesus removes our sins from us, they will never be remembered again. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12 NIV).

B. These are the steps to salvation:

1. Admit you are a sinner in need of a Savior (Romans 3:23).

2. Repent and turn to God (II Peter 3:9).

3. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10).

4. Ask God to forgive you and invite Jesus Christ into your heart (I John 1:9; Revelation 3:20).

5. Confess Jesus as your Lord (Romans 10:9-10).

6. Receive salvation as a free gift and not as a reward for good works (Romans 6:23).

7. Because you are saved, be water baptized. (Matthew 28:19).

III. Start living your life as a new creation in Christ in union with Him.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

A. Believe you have God’s new life within you. Not only have you had your sins forgiven, but also Christ has come to live inside you at the new birth and to give you His life within. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NIV).

B. Live with a new purpose -to be God’s worker.For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

C. Rejoice in your new destiny. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NIV).

D. Accept your new family.For this reason I kneel before the Father from Whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (Ephesians 3:14-15 NIV).

E. Receive your new inheritance. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18 NIV).

We Inherit:

1. Wisdom (James 1:5 NIV)

2. Clear conscience (Hebrews 9:14 NIV)

3. Divine healing (1 Peter 2:24 NIV)

4. Victory over the enemy (I John 5:4 NIV)

5. Victory over circumstances (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)

6. Victory over the flesh (Galatians 5:16 NIV)

7. The Spirit of life (Romans 8:2 NIV)

8. God’s provision for your needs (Philippians 4:19 NIV)

9. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

10. Success (Joshua 1:7 NIV)

11. Answers to prayer (John 15:7 NIV)

12. Fellowship with God and with each other (1 John 1:3 NIV)

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The Truth about God & Heaven

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Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws which govern your relationship with God.

1. God LOVES you and offers a wonderful PLAN for your life.

God’s Love
“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).



God’s Plan
[Jesus speaking] “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” [that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10).


Why is it that most people are not experiencing the abundant life? Because…


2. Man is SINFUL and SEPARATED from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.

Man Is Sinful
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).


Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way, and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is evidence of what the Bible calls sin.


Man Is Separated
The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).


3. Jesus Christ is God’s ONLY provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.

He Died in Our Place
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).


He Rose From the Dead
Christ died for our sins…He was buried…He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures…He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).


He Is the Only Way to God
Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me‘” (John 14:6).


It is not enough just to know these three laws…


4. We must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

We Must Receive Christ
As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).


We Receive Christ Through Faith
By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).


When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth(Read John 3:1-8)


We Receive Christ by Personal Invitation
[Christ speaking] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).


Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for your sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. You receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.


These two ways a person can live their life:


1. The Self-directed life – Self is on the throne. Interests are directed by self, resulting in discord and frustration. Christ is outside the person’s life.


2. The Christ-directed life – Christ is on the throne. Self is yielding to Christ. Interests are directed by Christ, resulting in harmony with God’s plan.


Which way best describes your life?


Which way would you like to have represent your life?


The following explains how you can receive Christ and have peace with God:

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer: (Prayer is talking to God)


God knows your heart and is not as concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, I invite you to pray this prayer right now and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.


If you prayed this prayer, you have just made the best decision of your life. Please let me know so I can send you some information. Pastor Eli Hendricks pe@lifewaycc.com

Posted in: About Heaven

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Establishing an Affair Proof Marriage

Affection, intimacy, fulfillment – everyone wants to experience these in life. Single or married, young or old, you have an inner longing to be close to someone. This would not be a problem except our society has been flooded with false information about intimacy and sex. People have come to believe that God is a prude, so they neglect His advice and end up in adultery.


God is not trying to keep something good from you. He’s trying to get something good to you. He’s looking out for your best interests so you can enjoy an intimate relationship with your spouse. Be wise, and take steps now to build an affair-proof marriage.


WHAT CAUSES AFFAIRS?

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:14 that adultery is a trap. The reason a trap works is because it takes its victims by surprise. People fall into the trap of adultery when they don’t recognize and address the unmet needs of their spouse or when there is unresolved conflict in their marriage. Unfulfilled or unrealistic expectations and self-image problems can also make people vulnerable to an affair.


PREVENTING AFFAIRS

You can avoid the trap satan has set by applying the truth of God’s Word. Here are some important steps to affair-proof your marriage:


1. Commit to God’s Standard

Proverbs 5:15 makes God’s standard very clear when it says, “Be faithful to your own wife and give your love to her alone.” Sex is not an unmentionable subject with God. He created us giving the sexual relationship to His people as a gift.


Sex in marriage is holy and right. But it is only holy and right within the confines of marriage. Satan’s lie says, “We love each other so it’s okay to have sex.” That’s not what God says. His standard is that sex is for you and your spouse to enjoy after you are married, not before marriage and not outside marriage.


2. Consider The Consequences.

Think of the consequences you will face if you are unfaithful to your spouse. Proverbs 6:32 says, “The one who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul.” Proverbs 6:26 says, “A prostitute will bring a man to poverty, and an adulteress may cost him his very life.”


God does not want you to have sex outside the safety of marriage. Beyond the obvious potential of sexually transmitted disease and unplanned pregnancy, adultery will hurt your spouse and your children. And it will tear you up on the inside, destroying your very soul.


3. Maintain Your Marriage.

1 Corinthians 7:3 says, “A man should fulfill his duty as a husband and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other’s needs.” When the emotional and sexual needs of our spouse are not being met, it is easier for them to be attracted to someone else who will meet them.


The Bible tells men in 1 Peter 3:7 to “live with your wife according to knowledge.” Literally it means you should find out what her needs are and meet them. This is written to men, but the same is true for women.


Most husbands and wives don’t have a clue as to what their spouse needs. Basically, men are looking for sexual fulfillment, a recreational companion, an attractive spouse, domestic support and honor.


Women, on the other hand, need non-sexual affection, conversation, honesty and openness, financial support and family commitment. Love each other on purpose and choose to do your part to meet your spouse’s needs.


4. Manage Your Mind.

Affairs always start in the mind. James 1:14-15 says, “Temptation is the pull of man’s own evil thoughts and wishes. These thoughts lead to evil actions and afterwards the death penalty from God.” Your own thoughts have the potential to set you on a destructive path. When you repeatedly follow that path in your mind and actions, a habit of sinful actions is set in motion in your life.


Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: Let him return to the Lord.” People often think something is wicked only if they do it, but notice it says that both the ways and the thoughts must be forsaken. Keep your thoughts pure and your actions will also be pure.


If you allow yourself to fantasize about someone, the next thing you know, you will become emotionally involved with them. That type of an emotional relationship can easily escalate to physical involvement. Pretty soon you are head over heels in an adulterous relationship and are rationalizing the affair.


Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: Who can know it?” You may think and say things like: “I just married the wrong person; If only my spouse met my needs I wouldn’t need someone else; Just one more time; God will forgive me, He wants me happy; This is my spiritual spouse.” These are all just rationalizations, and each one puts you deeper and deeper into the pit.


5. Keep Relationships Right.

It’s your responsibility to keep your relationships right. Here’s how:

- WATCH who you associate with. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “bad company corrupts good character.”

- NEVER listen to a member of the opposite sex’s marriage problems.

- BEWARE of “electricity” with anyone other than your spouse. Ephesians 5:3 says, “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.”

- STAY AWAY from anyone who flirts.

- AVOID inappropriate touch or hugs.

- MINIMIZE the opportunities to be drawn away from your spouse. Malachi 2:15 says, “Guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with your wife.”

- Finally, REALIZE that most affairs happen between friends; DON’T put yourself where you will be tempted.


You will be assured of a stronger marriage when you and your partner both walk closely with the Lord. As you appreciate that your marriage is a covenant made before God and welcome Him into your relationship – putting Him first in everything – you can have an affair-proof marriage!


HOPE FOR RESTORATION

If you have fallen into the trap of adultery, there is hope for restoration. Here are four steps to help you find your way back to sexual purity:


1. Acknowledge Sin. What you keep hidden in darkness cannot be healed. Confess the relationship as sin (see Psalm 51:1-4) and turn away from it. Pre-marital and extra-marital sex are unacceptable to God as are homosexuality and pornography. Repent and forsake the sin, and you will find God’s mercy.


2. End the Relationship NOW. Your natural tendency will be to say, “I’ll end the relationship tomorrow.” Tomorrow never comes. The Bible says in Psalm 95:7-8, “Today, if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart.” It will not get easier if you wait. Today is the day of freedom. You MUST end the relationship NOW.


3. Avoid ALL Contact with that person from now on. Change jobs, hang up on phone calls, get an unlisted number. Do whatever it takes! 2 Timothy 2: 22 says, “Turn your back on lustful desires and give your positive attention to goodness, integrity, love, and peace…” You must make a complete break – anything else will not be successful.


4. Rebuild Trust. Proverbs 31:11 says, “The heart of her husband safely trusts in her.” The foundation of marriage is trust. You must begin to live in a trustworthy manner. Purpose to demonstrate love and take time to build a good foundation for trust.


Your marriage will be restored as you commit yourself to God’s will and consistently choose to invest your time and affection in your spouse.

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The Power of Prayer

The greatest weapon you possess is the power of prayer. If you have an effective prayer life, it will keep you from being fearful and at the mercy of evil as it abounds in these last days. But if you are prayerless, you will also be powerless.


Answered prayer is God’s idea. The Bible tells us that the “effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) That means whenever someone who has been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ prays, there is every reason to expect an answer. It makes a difference when you pray.


For your prayers to be effective, you need to believe that God exists and that He will answer you when you wholeheartedly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”


The Bible instructs us to pray – over 250 times – and mentions “prayer,” “prayers,” and “praying” another 280 times. Prayer must be important to God! He wants a close relationship with you. He wants to be the one you run to with your problems and all of the situations you face. When you take your concerns to God, it makes a difference.


3-D’s of Prayer
God will never make you into a person of prayer. Your desire to pray is a good starting point, but if you are going to be strong in prayer, discipline will be required. It’s not always convenient or easy to pray, but it’s always the best choice you can make. When spending time with God becomes your top priority, you will find that praying becomes a delight.


Your heavenly Father wants you to know that when you delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) He literally places His desires inside you, and you’ll find yourself asking for the things He wants for you. When your will begins to line up with His in this way, your prayers become more powerful and filled with faith.


Pray the Promises
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God; if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15) You can be confident that God hears you and will answer when you pray “according to His will.” But how can you presume to know the will of God?


God’s Word is His will. If it’s in the Bible, you can be sure it’s what God wants for you. So when you have a need, find the promise – there are over 7000 of them in the Bible – that applies to your situation, and pray that promise. When you do, you will be praying according to the will of God. In Jeremiah 1:12, the Lord says, “…I am watching over my Word to perform it.” When you pray His Word, He will hear and bring it to pass.


Effective Prayer
Effective prayer can’t be reduced to a formula, but there are some keys from the Bible that will help you receive answers when you pray. Always remember though, that God doesn’t respond to your requests because of some ritual or pattern you follow. He is much more interested in your heart than your method.


Prayer connects you with your heavenly Father’s presence, and in His presence is everything you need. His wisdom, peace, confidence, and strength come to you as you pray. When your will lines up with God’s, your prayers are powerful and effective, releasing God’s power into the situations and the lives of the people you are praying for.


God is not reluctant to hear you and help you. He’s listening and waiting for you to call out to Him, and He is most willing to answer your prayers. When you pray effectively, you can receive the answers you need!

Here are some scriptural responses to questions about prayer:


WHO DO I ADDRESS WHEN I PRAY?
Jesus said, “…Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.” (John 16:23)


DOES GOD HEAR WHEN I PRAY?
“But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:3)

“But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:3)


WHAT SHOULD MY ATTITUDE BE WHEN I PRAY?
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)


WHAT SHOULD I PRAY ABOUT?
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)


HOW DO I “PRAY THE PROMISE?”
God said, “Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together…” (Isaiah 43:26) The Living Bible puts it this way: “Oh, remind me of this promise…” You “pray the promise” by speaking forth what God says in His Word as you pray. You can say something like, “Lord, thank you that your Word says…”


WHEN SHOULD I PRAY?
“…pray without ceasing…” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)


WHERE SHOULD I PRAY?
“I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting…” (1 Timothy 2:8)


WHAT IF I CAN’T PUT MY PRAYER INTO WORDS?
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)


In Conclusion…
One of satan’s greatest fears must be that Christians everywhere will one day rise up and pray with the authority of God’s Word. If all of God’s power was released at once, sin, satan, and all his demonic hosts would be totally destroyed. It’s time for you to arm yourself with God’s willingness to perform His Word. Pray and release God’s power through your prayers.

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Wisdom for Finances

What would you ask for if you knew God would give you anything you wanted? Would you request money, a long life, or some kind of prominent position?


When God appeared to Solomon and allowed him to ask for whatever he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom. God was so pleased with his request that He not only made him the wisest person who ever lived – apart from Jesus – He also made him the richest person. This set in motion a principle that we need to be aware of in dealing with our finances: wisdom always precedes wealth.


There are over 200 verses in the book of Proverbs that deal with money, and each of them fall into one of seven categories. Proverbs 9:1 says, “Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars.”


When the seven pillars of godly wisdom are in place in your life, they provide support for your financial success. If even one of them is weak or missing, you will have trouble with money.


Here are the seven pillars:

1) Honor God with your money.
Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”


God wants you to have money, but He doesn’t want you to trust in riches. He wants all your confidence to be in Him. When you honor God by giving Him the first of whatever you get, it breaks the power of the love of money off your life.


God says that, when you release what you have in your hand, He will release blessing back into your life. That’s why tithing (giving God the first 10% of all your increase) never hurts you financially. God blesses what you have left, and you are able to live better on the 90% than you would have on the 100%.


2) Be diligent and have a good work ethic.
Proverbs 10:4 teaches: “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes him rich.”


Laziness and idleness always lead people into poverty. God wants us to do everything we do with diligence and excellence. That means you should work hard, have a good attitude, and do the best you can with what you have.


No matter how old you are, God has things for you to do. If your goal is to get rich, retire and do nothing, you are probably not going to be very prosperous. But if your goal is to glorify God in everything you do, you will let Him be the driving force of your life. Then you will be successful in every area of life – including your finances.


3) Be careful of debt, and don’t co-sign.
Proverbs 22:7 reveals a very important truth. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”


When you take out a loan, you become someone’s servant. Until it’s paid off, you spend part of your time each week working to pay the lender instead of enjoying what God wanted you to have.


What about credit cards? They aren’t evil; just make sure you use them as a convenience, not as an alternative to saving. And always pay them off 100% each month so you don’t end up paying outlandish interest on them.


A debt mentality will prompt you to borrow for things like VCRs and TVs, or for vacations and going out to eat. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if an item depreciates in value the minute you take it out of the store, don’t borrow money to purchase it. There are some exceptions – like borrowing to get a car when the interest rate is low or at 0%. Generally, though, you will be much better off waiting and saving.


Proverbs 22:26-27 (NLT) says, “Do not co-sign another person’s note or put up a guarantee for someone else’s loan. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.”


What a shame it would be to lose something vital to your family as a result of co-signing for someone else’s loan. The spiritual principle  involved is that you should never assume    responsibility for something you have no     authority over. Since the Bible says that it is unwise to co-sign, don’t do it!


4) Be generous; give to the poor.
Proverbs 11:24-25 teaches: “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and He who waters will also be watered.”


Don’t have an arrogant attitude or be greedy. God will bless you when you love people and are generous with those who have less than you.


5) Seek counsel from those who have proven their wisdom.
Proverbs 13:18 says, “Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.”


The most prosperous people – those who get wealth and keep it – are teachable concerning financial matters.


Some people won’t accept advice either because they think they know it all or because they are afraid of looking foolish. They’d rather go broke than get help. It’s much better to seek counsel from a financially successful person than it is to keep reproducing costly mistakes!


6) Be financially faithful and avoid get-rich-quick schemes.
Proverbs 28:20 teaches us that “a faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”


It is better to be faithful with what you already have than it is to get involved with the latest get-rich-quick scheme. Faithfulness is important to God. Besides, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.  There is no greater insult to you and your family than to gamble your money away. You’ve worked hard, exchanging your time and your life to get it, why risk spending it knowing there may not be a return?


Before you buy that lottery ticket, remember whose money it is you’re using. Ultimately, it belongs to God, and you are the steward over it. Be faithful.


7) Walk in honesty and integrity.
Proverbs 15:6 says, “In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.”


Don’t compromise what you know to be right in order to get ahead. All the money in the world is not worth dishonoring God or losing your reputation. What good is it to be rich if you lose your spouse, your children, or your health?


You will be blessed as you put God first and apply these seven pillars of wisdom from His Word.

“The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22).

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Dealing with Anger

People are like pressure cookers. When anger is bottled-up inside and not dealt with, the pressure increases. With the pain of each new offense – if not dealt with – it is either vented in little bursts, or it builds up until it erupts like a volcano. Either way, venting anger solidifies a pattern of losing self-control.


Maybe you don’t struggle with anger, but you certainly know someone who does. Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.” That’s why millions of people walk around with smiles on their faces, but just under the surface, anger is waiting to explode. It rests in them, causing them trouble with things most people would hardly even notice. When they get mad, their reaction isn’t proportionate to the size of the issue. They aren’t reacting to the current situation, but to an accumulation of unresolved anger.


God makes it clear that anger can be defeated. Colossians 3:8 tells us, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” He certainly would not tell you to put something off without providing the means to do it.


Here are some keys to keep anger from dominating your life.


ADMIT YOUR ANGER

Just like a smoke detector ensures the safety of your family, anger serves as an indicator that something is wrong. But lives are never saved by smoke detectors unless someone acknowledges that the alarm is sounding!


Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Notice that it doesn’t say anger is a sin or that it’s wrong to be angry, but it does say you are responsible to deal with anger before it opens the door to evil in your life. Proverbs 14:17 tells us that an angry, quick-tempered person acts foolishly. When you don’t take control of anger, the devil uses it to lead you into sin.


If you grew up around anger, you may have a problem with your temper and not even realize it. If so, you are still responsible for how you handle it. No one makes you respond out of anger; you make the choice to throw things, hit people, swear or say things that hurt people.


Minimizing anger or making excuses for it only perpetuates the problem. You won’t get free until you admit you are angry and take responsibility for your angry actions.


STOP AND THINK

Whenever emotion rises, the ability to think clearly decreases. Nehemiah 5:6 states Nehemiah’s wise response after he had been told of a serious injustice that had taken place against the people. He said, “I became very angry when I heard their outcry and words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers…”


Nehemiah was angry, but he kept his anger within bounds. Even when provoked, he chose not to say or do anything in haste. Before deciding to rebuke the nobles, he took time to stop and think. He carefully considered what to say, when to say it, and how to proceed so God’s plan of justice could come forth.


You will never end up with God’s best in a situation if you say and do things hastily out of anger. James 1:19-20 says, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” You need to remind yourself to stop and get your emotions out of the way so you can think clearly before making decisions.


ASK GOD FOR HELP

There are many causes of anger including fear, frustration, insecurity and hurt. No matter what’s at the bottom of your anger, you can take it to the Lord and receive His help.


After all, He loves you and wants your relationship with Him to be strong. He wants to be at the center of everything you think, say and do. Even when you are angry, you can choose to ask Him for His help. Jesus said, “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22) Pray, putting your trust in Him, and He will help you defeat anger.


FORGIVE

We need to forgive people as much for our sake as for theirs. Jesus made this very clear when He said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25) Anytime anyone hurts you, no matter how deep the wound, you need to forgive them. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they did, whether they are living or dead, just forgive them.


When you choose to forgive, you’re released on the inside. The ones who offended you may never acknowledge their wrongdoing, but when you forgive them, the anger and wrath in your heart melt away.


WALK IN THE SPIRIT

Even after taking these steps, you can’t just say, “I’m not going to get mad anymore,” and think that will be the end of it. Victory doesn’t come when you stop doing negative things; victory comes when you start doing positive things.


In Galatians 5:20, Paul identifies anger as a work of the flesh.


Fortunately, in verse 16, he gave us the remedy for defeating our fleshly works. “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Simply put, you walk in the Spirit by reading, praying and meditating on the Word of God and then doing what it says.


As you become stronger in your spirit by focusing on the love of God, the things people do will no longer have the same effect on you. When something happens that would normally cause your flesh to respond in anger, your spirit will rise up and you will respond in love!


You don’t have to be dominated by anger. Take action now!

- Admit your anger.
– Stop and think.
– Ask God for help.
– Forgive.
– Walk in the Spirit.

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Overcoming Stress

Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

What is it in your lifestyle that stresses you? Perhaps you’re a single mom trying to make ends meet and still be a good mother. Perhaps your company is downsizing and your job is on the line. Or maybe you have an aging parent who needs special care. Despite all our convenient amenities, no one’s life is easy, and stressors are only getting more complex. We are all trying to find answers and relief from stress. Suicide and divorce are all too common today, and stress plays a heavy role in these. But there are real answers for life’s tough questions.


You can give your care over to God, and He will never fail you. He will destroy every yoke that will try to weigh you down. A counselor can bring temporary relief, but only God can permanently remove the care. What so many people have a hard time doing is letting go of the cause of stress and pain and giving it to God. I know that is hard to believe, but it is true. They ask, “Why is it like this? Does God have an answer? Is there a way out?”


Disappointment and setbacks are two of Satan’s most successful attacks against us. When promises are not kept, and dreams are shattered, people’s hearts are broken. Whether your heart was broken as a result of someone else’s sinful or treacherous behavior, or whether a self-inflicted blow broke it, does not matter. Too many broken hearts create a broken world, no matter how the damage was done in the first place.


The answer is found in the dumping ground. You do not have to carry your pain. By holding on to it, you are telling God you can handle it. Decide today to turn your care upon Him and leave it there.


God wants to use our stresses to bring change to our lives so that we align ourselves with His purposes, walk in the destiny He has for us, and be filled to overflowing with His joy, His peace, and His love. In order to embrace the changes God wants to bring in your life, start by examining yourself on the inside-your attitudes, motives, unresolved issues. As you examine yourself, you will begin to see glimpses of the greatness God has deposited in you. You will begin to see yourself as a treasure chest filled with possibilities, and you will begin to long for God to change you as He sees fit so that He can turn your possibilities into realities.

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Winning the War on Fear

 Jesus spoke in John 16:33 and declared:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In this world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” 

As the body of Christ goes, so the nation goes. Christians determine which way the nation goes. The reason this is true is that God does nothing in the earth unless His children ask Him. When we ask Him in Jesus’ Name, He said He will do it. When Jesus made this statement He was talking to His disciples-that is anyone who is a follower of Jesus. Hence, as Christians act on the word of God by praying fervently for our nation, the hand of God will move on our behalf and bring our nation to victory. As the body of Christ goes, so the nation goes.

Staying in prayer keeps you in faith. As long as you speak the word of God in prayer, faith comes, and fear is far from you. Jesus told his disciples; pray that God’s will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. And so that’s what we must pray.

Psalm 27:1 from the Message Bible says, “Light, space, zest, that’s God. So with Him on my side I am fearless; afraid of no one and nothing.” And that’s the way we’ve got to be, afraid of no one and nothing. Don’t let fear govern your life. Refuse to allow the enemy to dictate whether or not you’ll fly and where you will go. You do the dictating, because greater is the anointing that is in you than the devil that’s in the world.

Now declare what the word says. We are not going to win the war, we’ve won the war. We will not let the enemy make us forget what God’s word has already told us. Jesus said, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome.” And so, we live with the faith that we have overcome!

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