Monthly Archives: September 2013

God Is Not Allah

God vs Allah

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (Deuteronomy 6:4)

In our hypersensitive and politically correct world, our society has gone to extremes to avoid offending Muslims. Indeed, if anyone anywhere says anything even in the slightest sense negative about Muhammad or about Islam in general, there is a real danger of triggering a full-scale riot somewhere in the world. That being the case, many the world over, and especially here in the United States, bend over backwards to paint Islam in the best light, calling it a “religion of peace” and making distinctions between “radical/extremist” Muslims and the more peace-loving “moderate” Muslims. Nothing could be further from the truth. To further sugarcoat the bitter truth, a concerted effort has been made to equate Allah (the Muslim god) to the God of the Bible (Jehovah, Yahweh). They are not the same, and here I will attempt to show why.

First of all, God is a triune God; that is, He is three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in one Godhead. Without digressing into a lengthy discussion of the Trinity, I will just say that this is a doctrinal truth that is taught throughout the Bible beginning with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created …” The Hebrew word for God is ‘ĕlôhı̂ym (a plural noun), and the verb “created” in Hebrew is bârâ’ (a singular verb). Grammatically, the noun and the verb should agree in number so that a plural noun would have a plural verb or a singular noun should be followed by a singular verb. That is not the case here indicating the unified plurality of God. Allah is just Allah. For Muslims our idea of a triune God is blasphemous because from their perspective, we are worshiping three gods; therefore we are “infidels.”

Secondly, for the Christian (and eventually for everyone else (Philippians 2:10)), Jesus (the second person of the Trinity) is God. He is also the “only begotten Son of God.” This too is anathema to the Muslims. Allah has no son. Jesus was just a good man – a prophet like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Muhammad – but He was not God.

The similitude of Jesus before Allah is that of Adam; He [Allah] created him from dust. Then said to him: “Be” and he was. (Koran, Surah 3:59)

How can He [Allah] have a son when He hath no consort? (Koran, Surah 6:101)

By the same token, Muslims do not refer to Allah as “Father”:

And they [Jews or Christians] falsely, having no knowledge, attribute to Him sons and daughters. (Koran, Surah 6:100)

Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name” (Matthew 6:9). A Muslim cannot pray in that way.

Interestingly, the Koran teaches that Jesus was Virgin Born. In fact, Surah 19 is all about Mary.

Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus. The son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest Allah …

 She said: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?” And he [the angel] said: “Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a Plan, He but saith to it, ‘Be’ and it is!” (Koran, Surah 3:45, 47)

Perhaps you caught the phrase  “Word from Him.” The Koran often refers to Jesus as the “Word of Allah,” but the Word is NOT Allah. John 1:1 says that “the Word was God.” So, Christians are infidels because we attribute divinity to Jesus – Jesus IS God. The Koran teaches otherwise:

O People of the Book! [that would be Christians] Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: So believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is One God: glory be to Him: (Far exalted is He) above having a son … (Koran, Surah 4:171)

They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah – Allah will forbid him the Garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrongdoers be no one to help. (Koran, Surah 5:72)

Thirdly, Allah discourages friendship with infidels.

O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors; they are but friends and protectors of each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust. (Koran, Surah 5:51)

Jesus (God) on the other hand says:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for [God] maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45).

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

Allah encourages his followers to engage in physical struggle (war) in defense of the “faith”:

Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt. And those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons, Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) hath Allah promised good: but those who strive and fight hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward. Ranks specially bestowed by Him and Forgiveness and Mercy. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Koran, Surah 4:95-96)

Fighting is prescribed upon you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you. And that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not. (Koran, Surah 2:216)

Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight with you, but do not transgress the limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. And slay them [the unbelievers] wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah. But if they cease let there be no hostility except for those who practice oppression. (Koran, Surah 2:190-193)

This is just a small sample; there is so much more. By the way, just in case you suspect that these passages from the Koran are taken out of context, the Koran has no real context. It is a disjointed collection of sayings purportedly given to the prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It is not like the narratives or poetry contained in the Bible

Hopefully, I have supplied enough information for the reader to see the striking contrast between the God of the Bible and Allah of the Koran. But the most striking contrast of all is that the God of the Bible condescended to man in the form of “Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). Our God paid the price for our sins. Allah of the Koran expects his followers to die for him. The teachings contained in the Koran, not to mention all the other teachings contained in the Hadith, are dangerous to any Muslim believer who takes them to heart. I submit that moderate Muslims, just like lukewarm Christians, are people who are mostly ignorant of their sacred writings or for one reason or another have not taken their holy book to heart. These, whether Muslim or Christian, equate God and Allah, but the two are not the same. God is not Allah.

References:

‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, (Amana Publications, Beltsville, MD, 1999).

Robert Spencer, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, (Regnery Publishing, Washington, DC, 2009).

Pat Zukeran, World Religions Through a Christian Worldview, (Xulon Press, 2008).

 

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Rocks, Stones, and Dirt do What?

If we do not praise Him, the very rocks will cry out!

Creation Science 4 Kids

I read this verse the other day and noticed something rather odd. Have a look:

And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. Joshua 24:27

This isn’t the only place the Bible talks about minerals listening:

Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Deuteronomy 32:1

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. Isaiah 1:2

Now that’s some strange stuff! But pretty cool for geologists and astronomers.

Turns out this is only the beginning of what the…

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Limited Atonement, Part 1 – Setting The Wrong Limits

Limited Atonement, Part 1 – Setting The Wrong Limits.

Does God predetermine who will be saved and who will be lost, or does He leave that choice up to us?

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A Loving God

Bible-God Is Love

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)

In my last post, “An Angry God,” I tried to perhaps shock readers back into an awareness of the awesomeness of God, by calling attention to the wrath He is capable of displaying. However, He more often restrains His anger because of His mercy.

It is said that familiarity breeds contempt, and that is exactly what happens when all we consider is the kinder, longsuffering, patient and loving side of God. We put Him on a shelf until we need something from Him, and then we plead with all of our heart for Him to answer our prayers. We live our lives no differently than the rest of the world so that an uninterested observer can see no difference between the Christian and the pagan.

God is not someone to be trifled with. Indeed, if He were to confront us, we would be overcome with fear, and we would shake and fall down as dead men (Matthew 28:4). The prophet Isaiah came face to face with the living God (Isaiah 6:1-5). He saw Him high, and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. He was surrounded by angels who continually chanted, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.” At the sight of it all, Isaiah’s strength departed, and he cried out, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (v. 5). When Peter recognized the power of Christ “he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). When John saw Jesus in all of His Glory, he said, “when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17). God should not be taken lightly or taken for granted. He is GOD!

creating_adamThat said, God is a loving God. It is no accident that we find his first loving acts in the creation account in the book of Genesis. In the process of creation, Genesis records that He called all things into being only by His spoken Word. But when He created man, He made him in His own image. Not only that, but Chapter Two provides added detail telling us that “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The English word “formed” is the Hebrew word yâtsar which means to mold as a potter might mold a lump of clay to his liking. God took extra care in designing a body like the one He would one day inhabit.

ExpulsionFromEden

Later after the man sinned by disobeying God’s only prohibition, instead of carrying out the prescribed sentence – “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17, emphasis added) – God spared their lives and provided for future redemption: “And I will put enmity between thee [Satan] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

When Cain murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4), instead of killing him on the spot, God put a mark on Cain to protect him from a vendetta that might have been raised against him.

ark2Almost 1600 years later (Genesis 6-9) mankind had become so wicked and violent that God was ready to end it all. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8), and God saved His prized creation in saving Noah and his family.

God is often criticized for His order to the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites including men, women, children and their animals. The Canaanites were vile, wicked people who practiced child sacrifice and included all kinds of sexual perversions including the use of animals (bestiality) in the worship of the demonic gods – all of which is abhorrent to God. But God did not destroy them all at once as He did Sodom and Gomorrah. Instead, he gave opportunity for the witness of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to have an effect as they sojourned in their land. God spoke to Abraham, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years … But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:13, 16, emphasis added). God allowed for the repentance of these pagans during the time that the Patriarchs were in the land, plus 430 years that Israel was in Egyptian captivity, and 40 more years as Israel wandered the wilderness. That was a total of around 600 years that they had to repent. It may be worth noting, that while God commanded that they wipe them all out to purge the land of their wickedness, Israel did not fully obey God in killing them all. Consequently, they continually struggled with the lure of idolatry, which eventually destroyed the nation. God demonstrates His love through the patience He shows toward sinners in giving them every opportunity to repent, but His patience has limits.

Much more could be said about the love of God, but in the words of the old hymn:

Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.
(“The Love of God,” Frederick M. Lehman, 1917.)

The greatest act of God’s love was demonstrated when He took upon Himself the form of man, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). God’s love is so great that He paid the death penalty in His own flesh to save us from the wrath to come. The wrath of God is nothing to be trifled with, but His love is extended to anyone who is willing to receive it.

 

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What A Difference A Day Can Make

What A Difference A Day Can Make.

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An Angry God

Angry God

Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?  (Psalm 76:7)

When we think of God, we do not like to think of Him as angry; rather, we want to think of Him as loving, kind, merciful and patient. We want a “nice” God, not an angry one. But when we read the Old Testament Scriptures, we can come away with a very different perspective on God. Indeed, many atheists readily see this in the pages of the Bible, and are quick to point this out as they self-righteously boast that they could never believe in a God that acts so “irrationally” against people who do not wish to follow Him. They make a valid, albeit uniformed, point.

The English word “anger” appears 229 times in the Old Testament of the King James Bible compared to only five times in the New Testament. The Hebrew word most often translated as “anger” is ‘aph and it literally means “nose, nostril, or ire.” It describes an angry person who is breathing so heavily that his nostrils flare with rage. This Hebrew word appears 276 in the Old Testament, and with regard to God, it is translated as “anger” 198 times. Second to that is the Hebrew word chêmâh which means “heat, fury, passion or anger.” In relation to God, this word is used 94 times. Another frequently used Hebrew word is chârâh which means to “glow or grow warm, or to blaze up” with anger, zeal or jealousy. This word describes God’s anger 54 times. There are other Hebrew words that describe God’s anger as an outburst of passion, vexation, indignation, provocation or froth-at-the-mouth fury.  This is certainly not the kind of God we like to think about.

Why is God so angry, and what is it that provokes Him to anger? We see the first occurrence of English word “anger” applied to God in Exodus 4 when God assigned Moses the task of bringing His “people the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10). Moses gave God one excuse after another as to why he was not the right man for the job until “the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses” (Exodus 4:14). So reluctance to do God’s will angers God. The next instance where the word “anger” is applied to God is found in Numbers 11, where the children of Israel complained: “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp” (Numbers 11:1). God, Who provides everything for us, meets all of our needs and protects us from danger, is angry when we complain about our circumstances rather than respond to Him with a heart of gratitude.

On another occasion, Balak, the Moabite king, went to the prophet Balaam requesting that he curse the children of Israel. Balaam understood that these people were under God’s protection and was at first unwilling to accept the task. Balak persisted offering Balaam anything he wanted to do the job. At this second request, Balaam responded against God’s will, “And God’s anger was kindled because he went” (Numbers 22:22). Deliberately going against God’s will angers God. Since God would not permit him to curse Israel, Balaam devised a plan that would cause God to curse His own people.  “Balaam … taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication” (Revelation 2:14). “And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.” (Numbers 25:1-4, emphasis added). This may sound extreme, but it shows how God feels about the practice of idolatry – allowing anything else to take the place of God (Exodus 20:3). Idolatry makes God angry.

Later, as the children of Israel were preparing to enter the Promised Land, the tribes of Ruben and Gad requested to stay on the east bank of the Jordan because of its good grazing lands (Numbers 32). Moses feared that the remaining ten tribes might become discouraged, if Ruben and Gad did not join in the fight. He reminded them of another time when the people were discouraged by a bad report by 10 of the 12 spies (Numbers 14), “And the LORD’S anger was kindled the same time” (Numbers 32:10). God was so angry at that time that He was ready to wipe out the whole nation and start over with Moses (Numbers 14:12). Lack of trust or faith in God makes Him angry. Indeed, “without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6).

God demonstrates His anger in many ways throughout the Old Testament. The global flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6-9) is an extreme example of God’s wrath poured out on billions of wicked, violent people who had total disregard for God. At the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), God expressed His anger by confusing the languages of the people and scattering them throughout the world. Later, God evinced His anger on Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin of homosexuality, violence and all forms of wickedness (Genesis 19).

There are abundant examples of God displaying His anger throughout the Old Testament, but strangely enough, the New Testament mostly speaks of God’s “wrath” in terms of end times, otherwise known as “the day of wrath,” or with regard to an individual’s lost condition: “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36, emphasis added). “[T]he wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). Perhaps the reason for this is that God discharged the full measure of His anger and wrath on His Son, Jesus, at the cross. When Jesus cried out “τετελεσται” (it is finished!), God’s wrath was satisfied.

There is still the wrath to come, but from the cross to the present, God has withheld His anger for the coming judgment. It would behoove us, Christian and non-Christian alike, not to take this reprieve too lightly. God is love (1 John 4:8), but God is equally anger. Many Christians today reject the Old Testament teachings and want to hold only to what is taught in the New Testament. That is to reject a very fundamental truth: God is immutable, i.e., He does not change: “I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). James reminds us that all good things come “from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17, emphasis added). So why should we think that God’s anger has ceased simply because we turned the page from Malachi 4:6 to Matthew 1:1? We need to revere God and hold Him in awe for Who He is. We should have a healthy “fear” of God and strive to please Him with the way we conduct our lives. “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 20:7, emphasis added). “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [life conduct]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16, emphasis added). God still gets angry. Let us not make Him angry with us by living our lives in a manner that reflects poorly or negatively on Him.

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Fear the Lord

14348690_l Destroyed With Fire_123_dot_com

…fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

Reading often serves to feed the thought processes that inspire writing, but that has not been the case for me this past week. Instead, reading seems to have quenched the motivating fire to express in words ideas or thoughts that might encourage others. Indeed, what I have read combined with what I have witnessed in current events, have left me sapped and hopeless. I see no escape out of the tightening vortex that plunges our society, our nation and our world into greater and greater darkness.

I have been reading Mark R. Levin’s new book, The Liberty Amendments. I have no criticism of Dr. Levin’s work. He presents what to me seem to be some very rational and well thought out ideas for amending the United States Constitution to bring it back to the original intent of the framers. Dr. Levin proposes ten amendments and follows each with a detailed history of the debates of the framers contained in both the Federalist and Anti-federalist papers. Something that stands out to me and something that Dr. Levin overlooks, or for whatever reason fails to stress, is the fact that many of the framers looked to the Bible and to God’s direction in setting down what would become the law of the land. Dr. Levin takes the thoughts of these men, even though they themselves confessed their fallibility, to support the rationale for his proposed amendments. 

I am a supporter of the TEA Party movement. I am in agreement with their basic tenets; however their proposals for reform are flawed in the same way Mark Levin’s are. They propose rational enough changes, yet in every point they exclude God from any part of the movement. Nowhere is it suggested that any of the changes they are seeking are right because God says they are right. So, the effort becomes a total humanistic and secular exercise that is doomed to failure. Even if it manages to take hold, even for a short time, it will soon crumble on its foundation of sand – the dust of human frailty. The psalmist wrote, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12). Even Benjamin Franklin, a deist, understood this. He said, “[T]he longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men.” Prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, James Madison, one of the framers and fourth president of the United States, warned, “A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.” His words ring true today. It really does not matter how well thought out our plans for restoring our nation may be, if God is excluded from our plans, it is all for naught. In the words of the psalmist, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

Mark Levin, the TEA Party, and all who are concerned with the direction our nation is going are fervently seeking reform without consulting the Author of Liberty. They have become “fools [who] despise wisdom and instruction [from the Lord].” I omitted the first half of that proverb to make this very point. The alternative is to heed the beginning of that proverb that instructs us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). The word “fear” (Hebrew: yir’âh) means “fear.” It is not “reverence” (although that is a necessary part), nor it is a healthy “respect” (although that plays a part as well). Fear is “fear.” If the Almighty Creator can bring worlds into existence simply by His spoken word, should that not strike fear and awe into our hearts who are microbes in comparison to His vast created universe? If the Giver of Life breathed His breath of life into our nostrils and has the right and the ability to withhold that breath at His will, should that not bring us to our knees in thanksgiving for the life He has granted only by His mercy? If “He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again” (Job 12:23), should we not go to Him for counsel in restoring our fractured foundations? Should we not include Him in our plans?

As long as God’s voice is silenced, as long as His counsel is excluded, all efforts to change the course of this nation are doomed to failure. Frankly, I have no hope for the future of this nation – not as long as it is driven by the “wisdom” of frail and fallible men, and it really pains me to say that. There are many that suggest that we may be on the road to a new spiritual awakening – a great national revival; but my fear is that we have gone too far down the Romans 1 road. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools … Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts” (Romans 1:21-22, 24).  But in the words of the hymnist, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness … on Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Without the fear of the Lord, there is no hope for this nation.

 

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