En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘elect’

Ishmael Must Go!

Posted by Scott on June 21, 2008

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: Genesis 21:8-13

But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned” (Genesis 21:12).

If Isaac represents the gladsome fullness of the fruit of the Spirit, then Ishmael represents some pet manifestation of our self-life in which we find comfort and delight and that we do not want to surrender. Some place value on what they have long suspected is not what God would have but that they were reluctant to give up. Perhaps it is some long-standing habit that we have been defending. There can be habits or values in our lives that are really some form of self-indulgence. God may allow them for a while, but the time comes when He says, “Now, these have to go.”

God says that Ishmael could never share in the inheritance with Isaac. This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6). When the time comes for us to stand before our Lord at the judgment seat of Christ, our lives will be classified into two areas: works of wood, hay, and straw, which are of the flesh; and those of gold, silver, and precious stones, which are of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). The Lord says to us as he says to Abraham, “Ishmael must go.” If you refuse to expose, examine, and remove that which is born of the flesh, even though God has said that it hurts you and He has shown you the peace, joy, and love that is the fruit of the Spirit, then you must face this choice as Abraham did.

Dr. Barnhouse once wrote, “Early in my ministry, I had the idea that I must strike out against all error wherever I saw it… if error was in some fundamental leader with whom I was in 95% agreement, I swung hard at the 5%.” This made Dr. Barnhouse a highly controversial figure, often unmercifully sharp and dogmatic. This zeal for truth became an Ishmael in his life. Then he tells how there came a time when the Spirit of God taught him to love, and he faced the choice—Ishmael had to go. He had to learn to be more understanding and more tolerant of some of the variant views of others.

He wrote, “Some time ago, I published a New Year’s resolution expressing regret that I had had differences with men who are truly born again. The results of that resolution were astounding. In the years that followed its publication, my ministry has been transformed.” The closing years of his life show much of his mellowing and of the sweetness of the fruit of the Spirit in one who before had been so harsh, critical, and demanding.

I don’t know what form Ishmael may be taking in your life, but I know there are times when God says to us, simply, this must go. There can be no manifestation of the life of the Spirit any longer until this is dealt with. Abraham obeyed. Early in the morning, he got up and took bread and a skin of water and, though it cost him heartbreak to do it, sent Hagar and Ishmael out, so that he might have the fullness of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Lord, I ask that I would sincerely long to be a completely yielded vessel of Your joy and strength and peace. May I have the grace to cast out Ishmael and find the fullness and joy of Isaac.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “Ishmael must Go! “ for more on this portion of scripture.

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Decisionism vs Repentance!

Posted by Scott on June 2, 2008

The church must wake up to the fact that about 95% of those setting in the church pews or seats today are lost and hell bound.  Most of these have made a “decision” for Christ in their past, but live as though they have never known of Jesus before.  Paul Washer gives a great talk on this very subject.

 

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Salvation Not By Asking Jesus Into Your Heart!

Posted by Scott on June 2, 2008

“There are so many people, especially in my own denomination (Southern Baptist). . . because of the pathetic theology and pathetic preaching . . . the people on our church membership rolls—are as lost as they can be. Because we have forgotten that salvation does not come by praying and asking Jesus to come into your heart; salvation does not come by going through four spiritual laws and saying a prayer at the end; salvation does not come by all these silly little mechanisms we’ve developed (that are unbiblical). It comes as a supernatural work of God through which God regenerates, makes the heart alive (Born Again), He gives the man repentance, He gives the man faith, the man repents, man then believes and is saved. And it is a supernatural work of God that manifests as much if not more of the power of God than when God stood on the first day and said, ‘Let there be light’.”

Comment by Paul Washer and agreed to by me.

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The New Heaven and New Earth On Earth!

Posted by Scott on April 19, 2008

So much is said today about “The New Earth”.  Every philosopher has his or her ideas, but most are just that, ideas.  However, what does the Bible say about the New Earth.  This might dispell a few myths that have been taught for ages that simply are unbibical including the newest fade proclaimed by Oprah and Eckhart Tolle.

We see the vision of the New Earth as seen by John in Revelation 21:1…”Then I saw a new heaven and new earth, for the first heaven and first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea.”

According to the commentary from Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible dated to 1961 he states that “passed away” in reference to the first heaven and earth has “passed from one condition to another”.  The greek word for “passed away” is “parerchomai” taking us to 2 Peter 3:10…”But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”  This gives me every indication that the earth will not be completely destroyed into a non-existant state, but it will be purified by fire making the foundation ready for the new earth and the reversal of the curse that has been on the earth since Adam first sinned.  The Ryrie Study Bible commentary on this verse notes that “the present creation will be destroyed on the earth as to cleanse it from all the effects of sin”.  This again makes way for the new earth on the old earth foundation.  The myth taught throughout much of Christianity is that the new earth will not be on this planet or on this foundation, but the scriptures would imply something else.  The late Dr. W. A. Criswell states in his book called “Heaven” from 1991 written with Dr. Paige Patterson under the heading “Heaven is a renewed world creation” in part of chapter one.  When speaking of the greek word “kainos” which is the only use for the word “new” in Revelation.  “Kainos” refers to quality or kind of character.  Criswell, “This word [kainos] never refers to annihilation but rather to re-creation and redemption”.  In Ecceliastes 1:4 that “…the earth abideth forever”.

In Revelation 21:2 we find the Holy City or New Jerusalem coming out of heaven to the new earth.  This comes after the thousand year rein or millennium.  This place will be on the new earth as the dwelling place of all believers during eternity with emphasis in 21:1-8.  In the book “50 days of Heaven” by Randy Alcorn he tells us “the future Heaven will be in the human realm, on Earth, in a resurrected universe”.  God will come to rein with His people in the New Heaven on earth after He restores it.  Acts 3:21 says, “Jesus must remain is heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.”  Refer to Isaiah 60:1-22 to back to that long ago time the glory of the New Jerusalem is described.

God is Omnipresent and can dwell whereever He chooses.  He wants to come to be with us in a place He made for us, His chosen people, the bride of Christ.  Another time in history God has come to be with us when Adam and Eve sinned…rather than just picking them up and taking them to heaven, God came to earth to visit them.  Jesus came to earth to embody the God-Man part of His plan.  Again, this is God coming to us.  We find His grace in both of these occasions. 

Anthony Hoekema said, “If God would have to annihilate the present cosmos, Satan would have won a great victory…Satan would have succeededin so devastatingly corrupting the present cosmos and the present earth that God could do nothing with it but to blot it totally out of existance.  But Satan did not win such victory!  On the contrary, Satan has been decisively defeated.  God will reveal the full demensions of that defeat when he shall renew this very earth on which Satan deceived mankind and finally banish fron it all the results of Satan’s evil machinations.”

The last part of that first verse says “the sea will be no more”.  Yes, on this earth there will be no separation anymore from God and His people.  According to Dake’s Bible notes, there will be an abundance of lakes, rivers, and smaller seas “forever”, but no more sea to separate us.  From one end of the earth to another we will have access to our God to never be separated again by ocean, sin, death, or anything.  This all takes place on the New Earth (resurrected old earth).  The curse that sin caused will be reversed and we can live forever without murder, hatred, sin, death, tears, lying, stealing, backstabbing, fighting, or any of the negatives of life.  I dare to tell you that this will be “Living your best life”.  Your best life is not now.

I have seen the notes in a few Bible’s that the New Jerusalem will be suspended over the earth. This has no biblical foundation that I have found.  When the curse on the new earth is lifted heaven and earth will not longer need to be separated as it is now.  The separation we experience now is because a holy dwelling place where God the Father is cannot mingle with a sinful depraved man on earth.  At the time of the New Heaven and New Earth they will be joined forever together as it indicates in Rev 21:1-2. 

It is absolutely exciting to study the scriptural meanings of the New Heaven and New Earth in contrast to the myths and even the new philosophy of Eckhart Tolle’s New Earth.   Man cannot create heaven on earth, but God can.   I can find no biblical basis for heaven being created within us…this is simply not the case according to the authority of the scriptures.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Homeland

“Think….of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven! 

Think…of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s hand!

…of breathing a new air and finding it celestial air!

…of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality!

…of passing from storm and tempest, to an unbroken calm!

…of waking up and finding yourself HOME!   HALLELUJAH!”

-by anonymous poet found by Ruth Ray Hunt of FBC Dallas passed on to Dr. Criswell

In Christ,

Scott

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Jesus Christ’s Limited Atonement?

Posted by Scott on March 12, 2008

 

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Why I Am a Calvinist: Intro….by guest blogger David “The Thirsty Theologian”

Posted by Scott on February 16, 2008

I think this might be the first time on this blog that I have ever stated, “I am a Calvinist.” I know it’s something I seldom say directly in conversation. It isn’t that I’m embarrassed about my convictions, it’s that such a statement is too often taken as fighting words and has too often led conversations off the path and into that magical land of equivocation, straw men, and revised history. Rarely, if ever, has it produced a sensible discussion of monergistic regeneration and the doctrines of grace. (And, as you may know, I hate arguing.) Perhaps here, where I can speak my piece without being interrupted and pummeled with red herrings, I can do better.What I intend to do is write a series of short posts, each dealing with one of the five points. These posts will take you through my process as I connected the dots and came to conclusions that I think are not only logical, but obviously Biblical as well. I believe that if a person is able to leave his presuppositions behind (an exceedingly difficult thing to do) and approach Scripture unbiased, the analogia Scriptura will lead inevitably to the Doctrines of Grace. I know that sounds insulting to Arminians who will claim that they have done exactly that. But I don’t believe it. I don’t believe they have laid aside their own notions of what is just, which is really the greatest stumbling block to the acceptance of unconditional election and monergistic regeneration. God’s justice must be made to conform to the Arminian’s idea of justice. There are Arminians who have worked out a sort of Scriptural apology for their views. However, the average Arminian’s objection begins with, “. . . but that’s not fair! God wouldn’t do that!”

This will not be a restatement or exposition of the Canons of Dort. My views may not exactly follow orthodox Calvinist reasoning. I didn’t come to my conclusions by reading systematic theologies, but through a long and rather painful process of discovering that Scripture disagreed with me more often than not. However, I do believe my Calvinism is mostly in line with historic Calvinism. This will not be a sophisticated argument. I intend to demonstrate that Calvinism is not a complex system that only appeals to theology students and would never be drawn from a plain reading of Scripture, but that it is the plain reading of Scripture. I also will not be going into such details as infra- vs. supralapsarianism, or the precise ordo salutis. I may be wrong, but I don’t think Scripture answers those questions as completely as we would like. In any case, I don’t have it figured out, so don’t expect to find any profound nuances of theology here.

As I have stated, I may not be Truly Reformed® in all of my reasoning, but I will affirm . . .

  • . . . that man is thoroughly corrupted by sin and will not believe and repent without supernatural intervention.
  • . . . that God has, before creation, chosen those whom he would call to faith in him, and has not done so on the basis of anything in us or anything we would do, but only “according to the good pleasure of his will.”
  • . . . that Christ’s death on the cross did not only make salvation possible, but actually secured salvation for all who will be saved.
  • . . . that every person whom God calls, without exception, is inevitably saved.
  • . . . that all who receive the gift of saving faith are also given the grace to unfailingly persevere to the end.

In the next installment (which will probably not come until next week), I will begin explaining how I came to those conclusions.

Direct Link to this site
David “The Thirsty Theologian”
-Scott Bailey 2008

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-From A Dad:After All the Punishment…God’s Mercy! Micah 7

Posted by Scott on January 2, 2008

 After all the punishment, the refinement, the sifting as wheat…our God desires to stop His wrath and heap upon us His mercy and grace to His elect, His chosen people, the remnant of exiles because of our failed humanity.  Micah 7 is a great conclusion for God’s people.

Whenever we find ourselves in the middle of such a sinful and wicked people, it is necessary to look to our Lord and wait on Him for relief, direction, and restful peace. 

In the events that surround our sinfulness, we must work through the punishing refinement that is necessary until the Lord in His gracious love subdues His wrath and begins to restore us, rebuild us, and expand the borders to which we are now confined.  During this refining period much like silver, all the impurities, the froth are burned away by an intense fire.  This fire brings us to .999% pure.  We will only be 100% pure at the time that our bodies are returned to our souls at the time of Christ second coming when we meet Him in the air. 

In the refining periods of our lives, the world watches with its sneering glow at how the God we claim to worship finishes His work in us.  This is the testimony that we lay hold of in our Lord. In Micah 7 we read the witness account of the world as it sinks to about the lowest point in its history at the time when even fathers and sons could not trust each other, because of the vile sinful wickedness that existed in that day.  In the midst of this time the world was watching to see if the God of Israel would spare His people.  At the height of His wrathful punishing restoration, the aroma of the Lord’s compassion fills the air like freshly blooming roses after a spring rain.  It is so strong that all people in existence in that area of the world could smell it.  His chosen people, the remnant, His elect were the recipients of this compassion.  The Lord’s tremendous unfailing love was blossoming again towards His people.  In amazement the others around witnessed this miraculous love and commented about this great testimony. 

The Lord promises His restful peace and prosperity to return to His people. 

          “I will do mighty miracles for you, like those I did when I

          rescued you from slavery in Egypt.”

This was a display for all that were watching this love affair between the Lord and His chosen people.  This was in order for God to be mightily glorified and honored in the day of His remnant’s restoration.  All the soulless arrogant people would be shown how insignificant they really are in the light of the larger providential plan of our sovereign Lord. 

In grand amazement the people could only wonder who this God was that put blinders on and pardon the sins of His people.  To their surprise the Israelite’s God did not remain angry for very long nor did He punish them completely for all their sins…His grace is always intervening shortly after His wrath has fallen when His people cry out to Him and call our Lord by name.  In a short period of time they realized all the events that took place was to rebuild His remnant and destroy those wicked proud sinful people who had taken Israel hostage.  They thought they could do as they pleased and get richer and richer off the backs of God’s people, but His wrath would soon fall upon them with no reprieve.  God can and will use people and events for His purposes, both the good and bad.  As this has played out, because God “delights in showing mercy”. 

We finish the story to find God, the almighty one, the sovereign Lord of us all with His arm open wide spreading His faithful and unfailing love out like a table cloth adorning a grand oak table with a feast fit for only the family of the King.  For those of us in the 21st century this promise of faithfulness and unfailing love remains.  This feast is still spread upon His table for us.  Our greatest need as believers is to turn back towards our holy and majestic God.  We will witness the most magnificent transformation in our lives as God pours out His fresh mercies, faithfulness, and unfailing love upon His chosen people.  The Lord wants us to move in the direction of holiness…a purified vessel ready for daily use by our awesome Creator.

 For You, O God, tested us, You refined us like silver.  You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.  You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.”  -Psalm 66:10-12

For those of us that are a part of this remnant, His chosen people, we will be refined, purified, and stretched.  However, the promise of God is that our ultimate end is not destruction.  We need to hold onto what God has promised us even though everyone around us including voices in our heads may tell us differently.  Difficulties will come our way…this is a part of the suffering we as believers must endure.  Many times as we march forward as we sense God would have us do, things may get worse before they get better, just count on it.  God is doing a far greater work in us than we could ever imagine.  In just a short time, our sovereign Lord will bring us into that “place of abundance”, as He promises.

Just as the Lord promised Israel He would rebuild their cities and extend their borders, He intends to do the same with us.  Although we may be surrounded by pitch darkness, the Lord will be our light. 

Are we ready to be rebuilt by an awesome God?  Are we ready to have our borders extended beyond our sight?  In the quest for His holiness we will experience His righteousness soon.

-Scott Bailey © 2008

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TULIP-Calvinism!

Posted by Scott on November 28, 2007

 Calvinism


The Five Points of Calvinism


This system of theology was reaffirmed by the Synod of Dordt in 1619 as the doctrine of salvation contained in the Holy Scriptures. The system was at that time formulated into “five points” in answer to the unscriptural five points submitted by the Arminians to the Church of Holland in 1610.


According to Calvinism:

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the Gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.


The Five Points of Calvinism are easily remembered by the acrostic TULIP


An Estimate of:
   • Calvin’s Character – A must read!
   • Calvin’s Work 
     _________________
   • The Closing Scenes of Calvin’s Life
   • The Will of John Calvin
   • Calvin’s Commentaries

T

Total Depravity (Total Inability)

Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists speak of humans as “totally depraved,” they are making an extensive, rather than an intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality — his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.

The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called “Total Inability.” The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God’s making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).


U

Unconditional Election

Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would “accept” the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).

This doctrine does not rule out, however, man’s responsibility to believe in the redeeming work of God the Son (John 3:16-18). Scripture presents a tension between God’s sovereignty in salvation, and man’s responsibility to believe which it does not try to resolve. Both are true — to deny man’s responsibility is to affirm an unbiblical hyper-calvinism; to deny God’s sovereignty is to affirm an unbiblical Arminianism.

The elect are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, though good works will never bridge the gulf between man and God that was formed in the Fall, good works are a result of God’s saving grace. This is what Peter means when he admonishes the Christian reader to make his “calling” and “election” sure (2 Peter 1:10). Bearing the fruit of good works is an indication that God has sown seeds of grace in fertile soil.


L

Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)

Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, “for whose sins did Christ atone?” The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save (John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28). Specifically, Christ died for the invisible Church — the sum total of all those who would ever rightly bear the name “Christian” (Ephesians 5:25).

This doctrine often finds many objections, mostly from those who think that Limited Atonement does damage to evangelism. We have already seen that Christ will not lose any that the father has given to him (John 6:37). Christ’s death was not a death of potential atonement for all people. Believing that Jesus’ death was a potential, symbolic atonement for anyone who might possibly, in the future, accept him trivializes Christ’s act of atonement. Christ died to atone for specific sins of specific sinners. Christ died to make holy the church. He did not atone for all men, because obviously all men are not saved. Evangelism is actually lifted up in this doctrine, for the evangelist may tell his congregation that Christ died for sinners, and that he will not lose any of those for whom he died!


I

Irresistible Grace

The result of God’s Irresistible Grace is the certain response by the elect to the inward call of the Holy Spirit, when the outward call is given by the evangelist or minister of the Word of God. Christ, himself, teaches that all whom God has elected will come to a knowledge of him (John 6:37). Men come to Christ in salvation when the Father calls them (John 6:44), and the very Spirit of God leads God’s beloved to repentance (Romans 8:14). What a comfort it is to know that the gospel of Christ will penetrate our hard, sinful hearts and wondrously save us through the gracious inward call of the Holy Spirit (I Peter 5:10)!


P

Perseverance of the Saints

Perseverance of the Saints is a doctrine which states that the saints (those whom God has saved) will remain in God’s hand until they are glorified and brought to abide with him in heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by God, he will remain in God’s stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about in his elect will continue until it reaches its fulfillment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ assures the elect that he will not lose them and that they will be glorified at the “last day” (John 6:39). The Calvinist stands upon the Word of God and trusts in Christ’s promise that he will perfectly fulfill the will of the Father in saving all the elect.


This description of the Five Points of Calvinism was written by Jonathan Barlow who acknowledges that not all those bearing the name “Calvinist” would agree with every jot and tittle of this document.-Scott Bailey 2007

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Canons of Dordt-Synod of Dordrecht 1618-1619

Posted by Scott on October 21, 2007

CANONS OF DORDT

Synod of Dordrecht

November 13, 1618 – May 9, 1619

FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE. DIVINE ELECTION AND REPROBATION

FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 1. As all men have sinned in Adam, lie under the curse, and are deserving of eternal death, God would have done no injustice by leaving them all to perish and delivering them over to condemnation on account of sin, according to the words of the apostle: “that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” (Rom 3:19). And: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom 3:23). And: “For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23).

FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 2. but in this the love of God was manifested, that He “sent his one and only Son into the world, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (1 John 4:9, John 3:16).

FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 3. And that men may be brought to believe, God mercifully sends the messengers of these most joyful tiding to whom He will and at what time He pleases; by whose ministry men are called to repentance and faith in Christ crucified. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:14-15).

Click Canon of Dordt for the rest of the information.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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-Irresistible Grace!

Posted by Scott on September 25, 2007

“In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation.  The external call (which is make to all without distinction) can be and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call ( which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion.  By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ.  He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success.  The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ.  God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.”

This is the 4th part of the 5 point of Calvinism by Steele-Thomas copyright 1963. 

Take this to God’s holy word and dig deeply into this theology.  Make your own determination based upon what God’s word says and these points.  I do believe with all of my heart that God’s grace is irresistible to those ready to believe.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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