The Hope in Us

I’ve felt and seen so many heavy hearts with all that’s been going on in the world. It’s enough that if you don’t have a strong understanding about who God is, your faith can easily be shaken. I’ve seen so many people wanting to know how we can do something & cause these shootings to stop happening, yet the problem is we are trying to address a spiritual problem with a physical solution. We are fighting the wrong enemy. We are not addressing the root issues. We are using the western medicine ideology so to speak by trying to mask the symptoms and control them by force because we’ve run out of answers and we don’t know how to address all aspects of the sickness as a whole. And really, whenever we turn to anything but God, we’ll always be out of answers. I remember hearing long ago how if you’re in Sunday school & don’t know the answer, just answer Jesus & you’ll be right every time. Well, if you know Jesus, you know the answer, and He is the answer to this problem. We who have been Christians for a long time make things so complicated when God wants us to become like little children again & know that Jesus will always be the correct answer to our questions and our problems. Instead, we think that’s too easy so we make the problem a lot harder & look to the problem for the answer rather than to the solution for the problem, which will always be Jesus. As Bill Johnson says, “Jesus Christ is perfect theology. He is the clearest manifestation of the Father. He is the exact representation of His nature.”

Picture of a cross I took on our honeymoon near San Diego.

For so long, I accepted the religious mis-interpretation of “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away”, I absolutely loved the song that sang “He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away, but blessed be His name”….& when I felt He did “take away” after some really hard years, my faith was so greatly shaken not thinking I could trust in the One that’s always been the only One I could always count on. It’s taken me years & some crazy revelation to get to the point that I actually can’t even sing that song anymore in good conscience. It took a hard miscarriage & an amazing friend who went through the unbearable praying over me after my miscarriage to realize just how much I thought deep down that maybe God did “take away”, that my beliefs that “God is always in control” needed to be uprooted with how easily Satan uses those religious misinterpretations of scripture to bind & twist God’s truth & allow us to take his bait in some of our most trying times. The world is asking us, “If God is a good God like we say He is, then why did He cause this to happen?” The church is asking, “If God is a good God, then why did He allow this to happen?” If we believe He is in control of the outcome & will do what He wants anyways, what’s even the point of us as Christans?

If God’s own children don’t know who He is & don’t feel like we can fully trust Him, how in the world do we think that we can get others to turn to Him? If we’re not entirely sure He’s always good, then how can we get others to repent? His goodness leads people to repentance. If we don’t know who He is, how can we represent Him to a lost & dying world? If we don’t know who He is, how are we supposed to imitate Him? How do we know who we are & what our assignment is? What is our purpose for being here?

The biggest move Satan has ever made, the biggest lie he has ever said, & continues to make & say is for God’s children to think that maybe God isn’t good, maybe He’s holding out on us. It happened with Adam & Eve & it’s still happening today. If “God is always in control”, what’s the point of even praying? Why would He tell us to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven if the world is just going to keep getting worse & worse & He’s going to rescue His church as though we’re a damsel in distress? Why would He say that Jesus is the first of many brothers & sisters & we’re going to do even greater things than Him if He didn’t even mean it? Can we trust some things that Jesus says, but not all? Do we actually believe what He says or are we the unbelievers?

It says all of creation is groaning and waiting with birth pangs together until now for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God. Sons and daughters of God who are “the brethren of Jesus who can do even greater things than He did? Where is our faith? If we believe in God, are we not His children? If we’re God’s children & Jesus’ brethren, are we not the church which God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles (the unbelievers), the glorious riches of this mystery which is Christ living in us, the hope of our glory? In Jesus’ name, the nations/the Gentiles (depending on your translation) will put their hope. Jesus is the desire of the nations. If this world is not desiring Him, maybe it’s because we’re not giving them Him. The problem doesn’t lie in the world, it lies in the church forgetting our first love & how desirable He is. When we forget His goodness, we don’t desire Him, we don’t seek & find Him, & we can’t accurately represent Him. We can’t represent the hope of our glory. If we don’t have hope & peace when He Himself is our peace, then we’re just going to be making useless suggestions. We don’t even have any glory to represent. We just start going through the motions, singing the same old songs, displaying the same old “worship” if you can call it that, turning to Him only when we’ve hit rock bottom. We don’t even have the signs that follow those who believe. The Bible says in Mark 16:17-20:

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” 

I have a hard time writing this because I know I’m part of the problem. I am one of the worst people when it comes to trying to be self-sufficient. I’ve had so many times in my life where God has come through for me, where He’s shown that He can do what I deem impossible by even my own hardworking perfectionist standards, yet the minute there’s a problem I find difficult, I immediately try to have a go at it out of my own strength first almost every time. Somewhere along the way, I’ve lost my childlike trust in Him and started embracing the religious effort that comes through my inability to let go & let God. I’ve lost the ability to fully trust in Him, so I try to take the reigns because I think I can do a better job than He does. It sickens me typing out such an explicit truth, but that’s exactly what it is & I need to call it what it is if I’m ever going to get freed from it. It’s a lot easier calling things for what they are after you’re already freed from them & much harder when you’re still going through them.

When God healed my broken collar bone when I was a young child after my dad thought I was making a big deal out of nothing & moved it & the dr. thought it was so broken, it might never fully recover, I saw a video where a nation had turned to God & God healed the land during a famine. There were fruits & vegetables the size of people’s arms. I remember immediately thinking that if God can do that, surely He can heal my arm & as soon as I thought it, He did. I didn’t ask a ton of people to come around me & pray a specific prayer. I didn’t do anything but have a revelation of His goodness & strength & believed it. I felt my collar bone being healed as I was able to move it freely, & I didn’t call for anybody to come around me, but as soon as I was healed, the entire congregation came around me praising Jesus. That’s part of the hidden riches of His glorious power that is in us, our hope of glory. We have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead living in us. We have a solution for every problem that is in this world. When are we going to start living like it? When are we going to humble ourselves & pray & seek His face & turn from our wicked ways? When are we going to pray for & heal the sick? The insignificance of who we are is usually just the type of people He is looking for so that is of no excuse (that freaking lie popped up into my own head so I had to combat it with truth)- David was the smallest of all his brothers & God used him to kill a lion, a bear, Goliath & his 4 almost as tall brothers & committed adultery & killed her noble husband yet God said he was a man after his own heart in every area but that one, Moses stuttered & God used him to lead all the Israelites out of Egypt, Abraham was a coward & lied about his wife being his sister not once but twice because he was afraid he’d get killed over her beauty & listened to his wife & slept with his servant to bear a child after he didn’t trust God, yet God used his lineage to bring about Jesus & blessed all the nations through it when he & his wife were too old to theoretically even have babies, I could go on & on. Just know that our weakness is the soil that God likes to show His strength. There is no partiality with God & the fact that we are insignificant without God & that our goodness is nothing apart from Him makes us all the more desirable for Him to use us & that gives me hope, & I’m hoping it gives all the people who read this hope.

To be honest, this is coming from someone who has always dealt with depression on & off, who actually ended up in the emergency room for over 10 hours after attempting to kill myself after I lost trust in God & didn’t see a point in living, who honestly wished for a few people to die who I felt hurt me so badly I didn’t feel like I could forgive them & thought it’d be easier if one of us would die. The problem with this world is they don’t have hope when the people who should be the hands & feet of Jesus & the representation of Jesus forget how good He is & that He is our hope so we no longer look to Him first as our solution. The problem is that we as a church are not a light on a hill that cannot be hidden. The problem is we’re pointing to the problems instead of offering a solution. The problem is that instead of being the salt of the earth and the preservers of men like Abraham was when he asked God to please not destroy Sodom & Gomorrah if there are at least 50 righteous people all the way down to 10, we are looking for a way out & only caring about ourselves. The problem is we’ve forgotten how much God saved us from so we lack any compassion for those who are “in sin” as we once were. The problem is we actually somewhat believe that we are missing out on some of the fun when we see others sinning because we don’t truly believe that God knows what’s best for us & we’re jealous that they’re “getting away with it” so to speak. The problem is that those with problems don’t want what we have to offer, & for good reason, because we clearly aren’t offering what they need & we don’t have much to offer. The problem is we aren’t healing the sick & we’re not casting out demons & where the heck are the sick & the demon-possessed supposed to turn to? The problem is they’re turning to psychiatric drugs that actually can worsen their symptoms when we should be offering them Jesus. The problem is we aren’t salt, we aren’t light, and we aren’t love, & we’re nothing but clanging cymbals in the world’s ears. People give up their lives for those they love, yet we’re too busy as a church caring about ourselves, looking for a way out, giving into a spirit of fear of what might happen, when we should be the ones running towards the fire risking our lives for others, unafraid of the outcome because we know where we’re headed & we shouldn’t have any fear of death.

Taking away freedoms won’t solve the problem. Putting guns in the hands of those in authority might control it somewhat, but it’s still masking the symptoms & not getting to the root issue. Only Jesus can heal the hurting hearts of those who are hurting enough to hurt others. When are we going to love Him enough to seek Him? When are we going to become desperate enough to turn from our wicked ways & pray? When are we going to realize He’s so good that no perverse thing even pails in comparison? When are we going to be & offer the solution to the problems rather than just cause more noise in the midst of all the fighting and arguing? When are we going to offer the Truth & Love that sets people free?

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
-2nd Chronicles 7:14

“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

                                                                           -John 16:32-33

 

Newborn Sinners?

17967_533563951818_7237959_nWhen are we considered sinners? At what age after birth? Do people believe that newborns are capable of sin? Are we sinners at birth? Does being human and having human attributes qualify someone as a sinner?

I know my answers to these questions, but I honestly wonder what others are, especially among Christians. I get it. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And I’ve read the passage from Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me”, but does it mean what so many of us have been taught for so long? I think this does an amazing job of sharing what I believe God has been showing me in the past year that is just one of the lies I’ve never understood. I always wonder how people can claim that newborns are born sinners, or that we’re sinners from birth when Ezekiel makes it pretty clear we don’t inherit our parents’ sin. Or the fact that if newborns are born sinners, would not Jesus be considered among them as He came in the flesh? Does temptation alone make someone a sinner? Does it not say that Jesus was tempted in every way, yet was without sin? Does sinning not require an act on our part or even entertaining sinful thoughts? Which sin has a newborn baby committed? Was it when he/she had to cry to communicate that he/she was hungry, tired, or went potty? Is that not how God created us? Did He not look on His creation and say it was good? Did He not make us in His image?

Or here’s another angle: when He talks about being born again or being a new creation, what would be so great if we truly believe that being born automatically means we’re sinners? I whole-heartedly believe that our goodness is nothing apart from God and that we are born with a selfish nature, but does that mean that by just being born the way God made us, we are sinners? There have been so many who have shared that we cannot know if a baby is going to hell or not because of this. Yet God said to Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you;” and through David: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.” Does the Bible not say that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb? And after we have been forgiven of our sins and walking in the Spirit, is God/the Bible a liar when it says we can overcome sin?

I had a really intense spiritual war/dream that was going on in my head last year that I had to seriously pray through and ask for clarity for quite some time that night and I felt like God was saying how we will act out what we believe about ourselves. In essence, if after we have been born again, we believe the accuser of the brethren and believe that we’re not who God says we are, we will act out of those lies. If we believe that Christ’s blood wasn’t enough, that His forgiveness isn’t enough, that we’re still sinners, then we will act out of that lie. However, if every time we are tempted, we believe what Jesus says about us, in Christ, we can overcome that sin. Will we still be tempted to sin? Of course. Do we have to fall every time we’re tempted? No. And if we do fall, are we then defined by our sin or by His righteousness? That’s the problem we’ve been encountering. All it takes for someone to sin is believing a lie-about God and about ourselves, thinking we know better than God, rather than whole-heartedly trusting Him. Are we capable of that even after being filled with God’s Spirit? Yes. However, we are not defined by our weakness anymore. We are defined by His righteousness. And as we walk in the newness of His Spirit and are born of God, we cannot sin.

Faith Like a Child

One of my favorite photos of me as a baby. :)

One of my favorite photos of me as a baby. 🙂

Sometimes I wish upon everything to have the child-like faith I once possessed. I think sometimes it’s easier for kids to understand more about the Kingdom of God than we adults do. Sometimes I feel like I need to strip off all the things I’ve “learned” that have led to self-righteousness at times and go back to the foundation that caused me to hunger for God in the first place. I’ve shared some of my desire for God at a young age due to my mom’s hunger for Him and her constant prayers over my siblings and me, but God really made Himself and His love known to insignificant me when He healed my collarbone at a young age.

When I was a young kid-I’m guessing 6 or 7, the two neighborhood boys my age and I were taking turns on the slide. Of course, as it is with kids, they got so excited about going down that one of them started getting way too pushy. I wanted to go backwards that time and asked if he could scoot back, but instead he pushed me off. I still remember glimpses during that time (almost as if I had an out of body experience where I can still see my mom looking out at me through the kitchen window and almost as though I can see myself falling from her point of view). With the weird angle of being mid-trying to turn around, I fell on my collarbone. At the time, my dad thought I was just making a big deal out of nothing, and moved my collarbone that I told him I could not move on my own when he asked. Of course, I screamed like a baby. I remember them temporarily setting it and later wheeling me into St. Francis hospital since any movement was painful with all that the collarbone’s connected to, only to hear the dr. say that it was broken so badly, it may never fully heal. My mom had a habit of going to a Word of Life Church (or Word Alive?) occasionally in addition to the church I regularly went to and brought me with her that night. It was no accident-purely Spirit-led as they ended up having a video (yes, at the time, it truly was still called a video) they played with a TV and VCR they had wheeled in.

I still remember watching what the Holy Spirit was doing in the country that was being shown. After turning their country over to God, they had huge vegetables the size of people’s arms and bigger where there was once a famine and as I was watching it, my faith in God grew knowing that if He could do that for them then surely He could heal my arm; and when that happened, I remember getting feeling in my what-was-then-casted arm and lifted up my arm in the middle of the video, shouting, “God healed me!” I still remember the whole crowd of people at that church coming around me and praising God for healing me!

I had a huge desire to share how good God was after that. I told the neighborhood boys all about Him and invited them to church with me; but after a while, while I still had a huge desire for God, my experience and the things I saw around me didn’t seem to line up. While I learned more about God and the life He calls us to live in the Baptist school I went to, I had forgotten His great love for me and dwelt more on all the things I could or should be doing for Him. I grew insecure in His love and tried to earn it by living the best I knew how and when I still wasn’t confident in it, I lost my desire to live. Even at a young age, I struggled greatly with depression and sought to find purpose in life.

It wasn’t until I was 12 1/2, the youngest allowed to go to a church camp to Philly we called boot camp that I was reminded of God’s great love for me, was filled with the Holy Spirit and true Joy, and was given a reason for living. This was my first poem I wrote after being filled with the Holy Spirit when I was 12. I saw others who reminded me of my passion when I was younger, and it made me yearn for that again. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times God showed up on my behalf and made Himself known to me since then-sometimes even in the smallest answers to prayer. From healing me of a sudden-popped out jaw during boot camp that was hurting immensely, to ANY time I needed $5 for a meal at work & didn’t have cash for it (I used a debit card for everything)-sometimes I would just happen to get 5 different random people tipping me $1 each  when nobody usually liked paying more than the then $19 charge to park and was told nobody tips garage cashiers to a stranger handing me $5 just in time or even someone dropping off a meal & telling me I didn’t need to pay, to a reader of my old blog I didn’t know who was on the other side of the country saying she felt like God wanted her and her husband to give me their tithing money of $200 that week after my sister said THAT day she could come to my high school graduation if I could get half the plane ticket that would cost $400 & I never told her I needed that amount, but she had sent me a $200 cashier check just in time. I’ve mentioned before how my husband and I had a really rocky relationship for years, but I knew that God brought us together from Him answering some crazy prayers I had from years before I met my husband where I had asked God to specifically lead my husband to do different things in a time of confusion in past relationships and we had many prophecies as well from different churches and people that didn’t know our situation that only confirmed us being together. God knew I needed every singly one of those confirmations during the rough years and I can’t thank Him enough for giving them to me or for helping us get to the place we are now that I had lost all hope for. There were so many more that I could go on and on.

Life definitely wasn’t “easy” growing up-in fact God seemed to show up most in the most difficult times, but He made Himself so real to me and gave me a reason for being and true joy in the midst of some of the hardest times during my teen years. I never doubted that God answered prayers or that He was real because of how real He made Himself on my behalf, and I knew it was all due to Him and His goodness. I couldn’t take any of the credit. I wasn’t anyone special, and I knew He wanted to answer prayers and be that real for everyone and loved sharing Him with anyone I came across. I wrote Him almost daily in my journal-a continual reminder of His goodness in answering prayers, would dance in worship to Him in my room and even at a Spirit-led Tuesday night worship service at my church I often walked to, and read the Bible for fun as I loved hearing from Him and knowing all I could about Him.

Around that time, I prayed that God would do whatever it takes for me to become even closer to Him. I wanted all He had to offer, to grow closer to Him than ever before. I shared some of my struggles since then, but not all. Along the way, I lost a lot of my child-like faith in Him and saw a huge decrease in my prayers being answered. After almost a decade of feeling like I screwed up too much for God to accept me after being so close and turning my eyes more on my circumstances than on Him, God has been reaching out to me in ways only He could. For the past year, God has been revealing so many things I’ve allowed to get between us. Most Christians might say these things are good as outwardly I continued to try to do a lot for Him and others and didn’t rock the boat so to speak, but as I’ve shared, a lot of it has come from an insecurity in His love for me-almost as though I felt like I could earn His love if I just tried harder or did more. But I know better now-or at least I’m re-learning that NOTHING I can do can earn His love. I already have it. You already have it. We just need to accept it and walk in His love for us and walk out His love for others continually reminding ourselves of all He’s done for us and where we were without Him. Only then will our love not grow cold. Only then can we sustain a faith-filled walk seeing Him answer prayers on our behalf. Only when we fix our eyes on Him and His goodness and remember where we came from and share our stories/testimonies, knowing He wants to do for others what He’s done for us, and sharing what He’s laid on our hearts for others through seeing them through His eyes can we be effective in our walk towards Him. Everything else just leads to self-righteousness and makes us think that we’re better than others who are struggling in other areas than we do or makes us feel like we can earn His love by something we do because we aren’t already secure in His love. Trust me, I’ve been there for so long. I’m not entirely sure I’m completely out of that mindset yet as it seems to be a continual struggle for me, but I don’t plan on stopping here. I know there’s more out there- and He is so much more real and powerful and amazing and awesome than we could ever imagine because I’ve only seem glimpses and tasted samplings and it’s always enough to lead me to come back for more. 🙂

I read these verses this morning:

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Mark 16:14-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Great Commission

14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[a] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Christ Ascends to God’s Right Hand
19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

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A few things popped out at me that I put in bold. First off, Jesus rebuked the unbelief and hardness of heart of those who didn’t believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Then He told them to go into ALL the WORLD and preach the GOSPEL to every creature. Then, it says that whoever believes and is baptized will be saved and that these signs will follow those who believe- in Jesus’ name, we will cast out demons, speak with new tongues, take up serpents, if we drink anything deadly, it will not hurt us, and we will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. A couple verses later, it shares that as they preached EVERYwhere, the Lord worked WITH them and CONFIRMED the Word (His Word will not return void) through the accompanying signs-all the signs He said would follow those who believe.

It just makes my heart cry out, “Oh God, help my unbelief!” Like I said, the more I struggled and focused my eyes on my circumstances rather than on God, the less I saw my prayers answered. However, I know there’s more out there because not only does God say there is, but also because I’ve experienced it. I’ve been so blessed to visit a few churches this past year-a couple in Minnesota and 1 here and am always so blessed to read and hear what’s going on at Bethel Church in Redding, CA where God has been moving and confirming His Word with accompanying signs and my heart has been burning within me for that again and let’s just say, the tears have flown freely during those times causing a desire and passion for God that had been dormant for some time. I’ve heard from many and read articles saying that we should be happy with JUST the Word of God and how anyone who’s not satisfied with that is just looking to be entertained, yet Jesus Himself said the accompanying signs followed those who believed. Also, in Matthew He said how if the mighty works/miracles had been done in Tyre and Sidon and Sodom as they were done in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes and remained ’til that day and their-Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom’s (very wicked places) judgment would be more tolerable than those cities He performed mighty works in that weren’t turning their hearts towards Him. There’s just something about God moving and confirming His Word with signs that shows people His realness and His heart towards them that they cannot deny is God and it makes them face their Maker. Without it, we’ve only reduced the gospel to mere words. God is looking for true worshipers who will worship Him in Spirit and Truth. He inhabits the praises of His people. He desires to make Himself known to us.

Jesus says to the Pharisees in John 5:

36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 41 “I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.

Sometimes I just wonder if we limit God because the circumstances of our lives have drawn us away from keeping our eyes on Him that we no longer truly believe He’s alive today and still wanting to make Himself known and is bigger than His Word. Sometimes I wonder if we’ve forgotten His love for us and go back to trying to earn His love by the things we do and no longer have the love of God in us just like the Pharisees lacked it. We always equate the scribes and Pharisees to hypocrites and horrid men-after all, Jesus called them hypocrites, but do we ever see ourselves in them? These guys, while we know what the Bible says about them, knew Scriptures-shoot, the scribes were the only ones who were taught to read and write, they loved money, and justified themselves before men, but God said He knew their hearts and what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God. Are we ever like that? Am I ever like that? Do I try to justify myself before men and reduce God to Scriptures instead of allowing Scriptures to point me to Him Who gives life? Do I forget all He’s done for me and lose sight of His love for me and others? Do I try to live and hold others to an impossible standard to earn His love rather than allowing His Spirit to take root in my heart and bear His fruit? Do I readily accept His Kingdom as a child does or do I look at those who are seeing the fruit of His Spirit and His mighty works with envy and turn it into skepticism all in the name of Christianity? If anything, as far as I can tell, skepticism and unbelief are the opposite of what Jesus taught and out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants He has ordained strength and perfected praise. May God give us the faith, strength, and praise of a child who readily acknowledges and accepts Him.

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If you want to be really challenged and encouraged, you should watch this:

Sunday Morning 1/25/15-Bethel sermon