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Thoughts to Live By

God’s Workmanship (The Christian)

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Once a person receives Jesus Christ as their Savior we are in the hands of Lord and we become His workmanship.  From that point He is working to develop in each of us the testimony we should be in the world  and the influence we need to be on the world.

As we allow the Lord to work in our life daily, there is to be a walk developing in good works (our service) that will be a benefit to everyone around us.  Lets look at what kind of walk would benefit others.

First, it should be a Walk In Faith.  Absolutely no one can be saved by his or her works. It’s faith Christ, Romans 5:1, and God’s grace, (unmerited favor). Ephesians 2:8,9.  We do not deserve salvation nor can we earn it.  But once we are saved, we are to walk by faith daily.

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2: 20.   See also Philippians 3:9.

Secondly, we are to Walk In Love.  We are not talking about human love but, rather, the love of Jesus Christ.  “Be ye followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.  We need to allow the love of Christ to live through our lives everyday.

Thirdly, we are to Walk In Fellowship.  “ For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord, walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8.  We are warned in 5:11 and 12 not to have the wrong fellowship.  But our fellowship is with the Lord, I John 1:3.

And finally, we are to Walk Cautiously and Carefully.  “ See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.”  Ephesians 5:15.   The word, circumspectly here means, to be cautious and careful about our conduct and speech.   People are watching and listening, so it is important how we speak and how we live our lives.

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Thoughts to Live By

Seek Christ First

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Who is number one in your life today? The only way for a Christian to truly be happy is when we put Jesus Christ number one, sitting on the throne of our heart, and in charge of our lives. But so often other things or even people can become more important to us and all of a sudden Jesus takes a back seat in our thinking, our decisions, and our actions.

When Jesus Christ is first in our lives, there will be very important things that will be evident to those around us and everyone will be able to detect that Christ is number one. First of all there will be a compliance to the Word of God. We will love the Word of God and seek to be in it daily. “O how love I thy Law! (Word of God) it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

His Word lights our path so we do not go in a wrong direction. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 When we stay focused in His Word, He will direct every step we take so we will not misstep and go in a wrong direction. “Order my steps in thy word, and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133. His word will give us understanding for every decision we must make. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Psalm 119:130.

Another thing that will be evident in our lives is a commitment to being right and staying right. As long as we stay in His word daily, pray and follow His voice we will stay right with Him. “For the ways of the Lord are right; and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” Hosea 14:9b And if we should fall into some sin and out of fellowship with Him, the Lord always bids us to come back into fellowship as He did Israel. “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.” Hosea 14:1 Because of the shed blood of Jesus we cannot only be saved for all eternity, but also confess any sin that is blocking our fellowship and enjoy sweet fellowship and service once again. I John 1:9

The third thing that will become evident is that we will be compelled to share the gospel to those all around our lives. This one thing drove the apostle Paul, everyday he lived on this earth, after his conversion to Christ, Paul’s preaching, sharing the gospel, in personal witnessing and winning people to Christ came from a burning desire in his heart to give the gospel to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 And when we have a part in people coming to Christ we always remember that we have nothing to glory in ourselves. Paul said, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is me, if I preach not the gospel!” I Corinthians 9:16

Is Christ first in your life today? If He is not why don’t you surrender to Him now?

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Thoughts to Live By

Making A Difference

Our 45th Missions Trip to Daytona Beach, Florida was blessed by God in a very powerful way.  This year’s trip took place on March 21 – 24, 2012.  On Wednesday, March 21st, the 61 young people and chaperones were trained the entire afternoon on how to approach people, engage them in a conversation, and in knowing how to explain to them how to be saved according to the Bible.  The adult chaperones (team captains) in how to manage their team of two boys and two girls and minister to their needs.

After yielding their lives in the Wednesday night service to be used of the Lord to win lost souls to Christ, these dedicated, fully clothed young people witnessed with a heart of compassion and the power of God on their lives.  For the next 2 and ½ days, they witnessed, with compassion and the power of God on their lives.  They shared the plan of salvation with compassion and boldness.  Each wore an orange wrist band that stated, “Compassion – Jude 1:22”.  “And of some have compassion making a difference.” These sold out young people won 1,006 people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ! Thirteen of these sold out young people had never won a lost soul to Jesus before this trip.  To God be the glory all thirteen of these young people won their first soul to Christ and many more throughout the 2 and ½ days.  I believe this is such a testimony of what the Lord can do through a yielded, surrendered vessel.  “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin:  but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”  Romans 6:12,13

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:  be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”  Psalm 100:4 We pause at this time to thank the Lord for the perfect weather (80’s and sunshine) the entire time we were there.  We thank Him and bless His name for granting to all of us power to witness with boldness and compassion to reach out to people from all over the world, and for safety for each.  All glory goes to you Lord, for the 1,006 people who trusted You as Savior!

I want to thank all the young people, their adult chaperones, from 20 churches and 8 states for allowing the Lord to use them in such a marvelous way!  Thank you for being teachable and especially for giving your all to Christ and being useable in His hands. May God bless all of you and I pray you will make your plans to be with us once again on March 20 – 23, 2013 should the Lord tarry His return!

We are cognizant that nothing can be successful without prayer.  We want to thank all those who prayed for this Missions Trip 45 and your part in 1,006 souls coming to Christ. In the 45 years of the Missions Trip to Daytona Beach we have had 102,773 professions of faith!

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Thoughts to Live By

Being Bold For Christ

“And now Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” Acts 4:29

One of the hardest things we find to do is to be a bold Christian for Christ and not fear what man will say or do when we proclaim His name to the world. To understand the event that brought this request before the Lord . Please read Acts 3:1-26 and Acts 4:13 – 29; Consider three things that were involved in the disciples request for boldness.

THERE IS THE PRAYER FOR BOLDNESS. Praying and asking the Lord for such boldness is more than just crying out to the Lord to provide that boldness.

First, there is a searching of one’s heart. Psalm 139:23,24

Second, there should be a conviction of sin and self desire in the heart by the Holy Spirit. John 16:7,8

Thirdly, there needs to be a repentant heart. Psalms 51:1-4

Fourthly, a confession of sin and self-desire. I John 1:9

Fifthly, an empty vessel to be filled by His Holy Spirit. Acts 4:31

THERE IS THE PURPOSE FOR BOLDNESS. There is a four-fold purpose for boldness for witnessing.

  1. People need us to be bold because people need the Lord. An example of this would be the impotent man in Acts 3:1-10 asking for alms at the gate of the temple called beautiful.
  1. To exalt the name of Jesus and not be ashamed of His name. Acts 4:7, 12
  1. The end result is that people get saved.

*The lame impotent man got saved Acts 3:12-19
*About 5,000 men got saved in Acts 4:4

  1. The final purpose is to take away all our fear. II Timothy 1:7

THERE IS THE POWER FOR BOLDNESS. One who is given ability to speak with power, that mighty power of God inherent in Christ. This power is lent to His witnesses and ambassadors.

  1. With this great power we are able to be a bold witness for Christ. Acts 4:33a
  2. Great grace is upon us. Acts 4:33.b
  3. The compassion of Christ should fill our hearts. Matthew 9:36

On March 21-24, 2012 AFC National Ministries will be hosting our Daytona 45 Missions Trip. Young people and adult chaperones will be coming from all across America to Daytona Beach, Florida to be trained one day and witness for 2 ½ days to the lost youth of America. In the past 44 years of this ministry sold out, fully clothed, spirit filled young people have won 101,767 people to a saving knowledge of Christ. Would you please pray for these young people and adult chaperones as we all seek this boldness from the Lord on our witness for Him? We will give a report in the next article of the results of God’s blessings. Again the dates to pray for us are March 21-24, 2012.

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Thoughts to Live By

Divine Deliverance

“Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.” Psalm 116:4

The Psalmist plainly tells us that the only true deliverance is divine deliverance. Notice, that he called upon the name of the Lord. He does not call on his friends or family to help deliver him, but only on the name of the Lord. God is all loving and merciful to all human beings. “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.” Psalm 116:5

There is a threefold promise of deliverance found hear in Psalm 116:8, “For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” Notice that the first deliverance takes place when we turn from our sin to Jesus and by faith we call upon His name to be saved. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13. When the Lord saves a person, he delivers their soul from death and hell. If you are reading this, and you have never been saved, why don’t you right now, by faith, call upon His name and ask for forgiveness of your sins and receive Him into your heart to save you?

Secondly, He delivers our “eyes from tears”. There are certain things that can bring tears to a christian’s eyes. Some of the causes for these tears could be trouble of some kind, a wasted life, a loss of a loved one, and even unconfessed sins. That is what is so important about a christian making sure everything is right with the Lord, turning our lives over to Him, and setting our love on our Savior. We find this promise in Psalm 91: 14-16, “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” And one day all tears shall be wiped away and there will be no more sorrow because we will be with Him for eternity. Read Revelation 21:4.

Lastly, He promises to deliver our “feet from falling”. Satan will do everything in his power to cause us to lose our footing and fall in our Christian walk. The psalmist said in Psalm 73:2, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.” Have your steps slipped, have you fallen down? Get back up my Christian friend, and realize first of all, that we are in a daily battle and we have all we need to be victorious. Jesus is our Captain, and our Rock. Psalm 40:2, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” We also have the Word of God to light our path and give us guidance. Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet; and a light unto my path.” Finally, we have the Holy Spirit to help us in our daily battle. Jesus said in John 14:16,17, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, (helper) that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Oh, what divine deliverance He provides for us! Let us believe it and claim it as His promise for us and serve Him daily.

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Not Ashamed

Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

The simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed clearly throughout the Word of God, beginning with the prophesying of His coming in Isaiah 9:6. He was born in lowly surroundings, the Son of God incarnate. John 1:26-47 The Bible tells us the purpose of Jesus coming into this world. “Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost.” Matthew 18:11. The description of the gospel is found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. When a person believes on the name of Jesus and receives Him; he or she will be saved! Romans 10:9,10,”That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Paul challenges us not to be ashamed of this wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. Why would he emphasize so strongly the need not to be ashamed of this great gospel? Consider with me the following reasons not to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. Because God gave His Son to be the only provision for man’s salvation. Jesus said in John 14:5,6, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
  1. Because of mankind’s need for His great love. God loves every lost sinner and does not want anyone to perish. He offers, as a gift, His Son to save anyone who comes to Him by faith. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Ephesians 2:4-9 His great love is a gift; it is perfect; it is eternal (never ending and unchangeable); it is sacrificial (He died on the cross for all our sins); and finally, the love of God is positively irresistible!
  1. Because God has chosen us (Christians) to tell the world of His great love, the the gospel. Our text in Romans 1:16 tells us “the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth:” Therefore, we have the charge, found in Matthew 28:18-20, the privilege, and the opportunity to tell those around us the good news that Jesus and only Jesus saves. We must tell the lost how to be saved. If we fail them, who will tell them? Romans 10:13,14, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (a witness) Why don’t you tell someone about Jesus today? We need to continue to be “a witness of these things” Let God use you to be His witness!
  1. Because of our love for Christ and what He did for us on the cross. Once we are saved, the love for our Savior should grow stronger day by day. And this is the result of His first loving us. I John 4:19, “We love him because he first loved us.” We are to walk in that love of Christ and share it with a lost and dying world that stands in great need of His love. “Be ye followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” Ephesians 5:1,2

Magnify His love from your life to someone around you today. It is always Christ in us the hope of glory and the only hope for the salvation of lost mankind!

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Troubled

 “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” Job 14:1

There is no doubt that man is born full of trouble, because we are born into this world without Jesus Christ as our Savior. That is why Jesus told Nicodemus, an unsaved ruler of the Jews in John 3:3. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When a person is without Christ and is full of trouble they turn to the world to try to fill their void and get peace. But peace only comes in receiving Christ into your heart to be your Savior. John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Even as a Christian, if we are not careful with how we live our life, the door than can be open to all kinds of trouble that can ruin our relationship with our Lord Jesus. Consider these things that could bring trouble to us.

  • A lack of obedience to the commands of Christ brings trouble. We as believers will miss out on some of the best of God’s blessing when we insist on disobeying Him. “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28
  • Disobedience weakens our fellowship with the Lord and also robs us of the peace of God being in our heart. An obedient heart is at the top of the Lord’s priority list. We are told in I Samuel 15:22, “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” Jesus said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
  • The circumstances of life that we have no control over can bring trouble. The loss of a job can bring tremendous hardship on an individual and also on a family. It may be financial problems within a home caused by other circumstances we weren’t expecting. So often, the temptation would be to seek help from family or friends. When these things happen it is not time to turn to someone else for help, but rather, turn only unto the Lord for your needs to be met. It is now time to Pray. Matthew 7:7; It is now time to Give. Luke 6:38; and it is time to Serve. Joshua 22:5.
  • An active sinful lifestyle always brings trouble. This kind of a lifestyle begins when we get away from God’s Word and take our eyes off our Lord. Than there is a yielding to temptation and a falling into sin. When a Christian finds himself in such a trap of sin there is only one thing to do – repent and get right with God. David gives us the pattern for repentance in Psalm 51:3b Acknowledge your sin to God; Psalm 51:3a Confess your sin to the Lord. Psalm 51:1,2 And start living for the Lord with a clean heart and renewed attitude. Psalm 51:10 Than the joy of Christ will be seen in your life and you will influence others in a positive way. Psalm 51:12
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Where Do You Get Confidence?

NANCY’S NOTES
By Nancy Erickson Reilly

“WHERE DO YOU GET CONFIDENCE?”

Have you ever wondered how some people seem so confident and present themselves to others as someone who is very certain in everything they do or say?  What enables an individual to behave with certainty in his or her life?

Confidence is defined as “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.”

For the Christian, we can be confident knowing that God’s strength is made perfect in our Weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  Suggested Scriptures to read are found in Philippians 4:13, 2 Timothy 1:7.

Our promise for confidence can be found in Proverbs 3:26, “For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”  The following are promises which we can rely upon each day.

  1. Jesus Loves Me.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
  1. Jesus Has a Plan for Me.  Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Suggested Scriptures to read Genesis 50:20, Ephesians 2:10
  1. Jesus Is With Me.  Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:  for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
  1. Jesus Will Not Fail or Forsake Me.  Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them:  for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
  1. Jesus Is At Work in My Life.  Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”  Jeremiah 32:27, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh:  is there any thing too hard for me?”
  1. Jesus Loves When We Talk Through Prayer and Bible Reading.  I Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
  1. Jesus Causes All Things to Work Together for My Good.  Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
  1. Jesus Is Conforming Me Into the Image of Himself.  Romans 8:29, “For Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
  1. Jesus Answers My Prayers.  I John 5:14, 15, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
  1. Jesus Give Me Eternal Life.  Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ:”
  1. Jesus Is Coming Again.  I Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:  and the dead in Christ, shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

As a Christian we can walk through our journey with confidence knowing that our Savior is walking with us!

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Eternal Security

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  John 10:27,28

There is such promise, comfort and security to every true believer in Christ found in these two verses.  It is so wonderful and powerful to know that we are saved eternally and secured by His promises now and throughout all eternity.  Eternal security is an important Bible doctrine for every believer to know in his or her heart based on Scripture.

First, we know we are eternally secure because when we come to Jesus by faith and receive Him as our Savior, he promises “and I give them eternal life.”  It is a gift from Him.  Romans 6:23, and we cannot work and earn it.  Notice He said it is eternal life and that simply means forever with no end.

Secondly, He says “and they shall never perish.”  What a direct promise from the lips of Jesus and notice that it has no condition connected to it.  Jesus clearly promises, “and they shall never perish.”

Thirdly, He will never lose one sheep that He has bought with His own blood on the Cross-of Calvary.   No one, can come in and steal one of His sheep, “neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  When we belong to Jesus through faith in Him, nothing and no one can separate us from the love of our Savior.  Romans 8:38,39.

Fourthly, He knows each one of His children personally.  “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”  These words should sink into every believers heart “and I know them.”  Oh, what a blessing it should be to each Christian to look at these words from Jesus and realize that He really knows me personally.  And when we hear His voice we should follow Him wherever He leads us.  When we hear His voice (and Jesus said “my sheep hear my voice”) we should not harden our hearts, Psalm 95:7,8 nor listen to other voices, John 10:4,5 but only hear His voice and always follow Him!

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Don’t Forget His Benefits

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

We need to give praise and blessing daily to the Lord for all His marvelous benefits that He provides for all true believers.  The following is a short list of some these marvelous benefits.

  1. Salvation through His sacrifice.  “Even as the Son of man came not be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:28
  2. Mercy unending.  “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”  Psalm 103:8, also read Lamentations 3:22,24
  3. Forgiveness of sin.  “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;” Psalm 103:3, also read I John 1:7,9
  4. Direct access to the throne of grace.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16
  5. Fellowship with our Savior.  “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us:  and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”  I John 1:3
  6. Constant guidance from God’s Word.  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  Psalm 119:105
  7. The privilege of telling the world of the Hope, we have inside us. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:  and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”  I Peter 3:15

“Bless the Lord O my soul…”!  We as Christians would be no less than an ingrate if we failed to give thanks and bless His name for all His benefits.  Let us never forget His benefits.