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Sanctification


Old Testament Sacrifices Replaced With A Better Plan

high priest
In the Old Testament, the high priest used to go into the Holy of Holies once a year in order to cover the sins of the people for the next year. Before he could do that though, he went through an elaborate ritual where he had to first be cleansed. For us under the new covenant of Jesus Christ, it is different.

A Priesthood Not of Aaron

In Hebrews Chapter 7 we learn about Melchisedec who Abraham paid tithes to. His descendants because they were still “seed” in Abraham paid tithes as well, including the priestly line of Levi. Like Melchisedec, Jesus Christ was a high priest who did not come through the lineage of Aaron.
The writer then goes onto say that under the New covenant, or New Testament, we have a new high priest, Jesus Christ who became a high priest, not in the Levitical Law of the Old Testament In the Old Testament, sacrifices had to be made by the high priest continually for sins, but that Jesus because he was not a high priest in that sense because he was not of the tribe of Levi. The priesthood changed. As the high priest, Jesus didn’t have to continually give sacrifices he provided the ultimate sacrifice which lasts forever.

A Forever Sacrifice

The old Levitical Law was weak and didn’t go far enough. It made nothing perfect, but it did point to a better way which Christ in himself fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled this by becoming a priest after the order of Melchisedec who did not have the lineage of a priest. His sacrifice replaced the Old Covenant Sacrifice and was the better sacrifice in that it was did not atone from year to year, but was a permanent solution.

Water Baptism

In the temple there was a piece of furniture called the laver. The laver, or basin, was a large bowl filled with water located halfway between the brazen altar and the Holy Place and was made totally of bronze. The priests used it to was their hands and feet before entering into the Holy Place. It stood as a reminder to the people for the need of cleansing before approaching God. The priests aloned for their sins through sacrifice at the brazen altar, but htye cleansed themselves at the laver before serving in the Holy Place, so they would be pure and not die when approaching God.
Baptism in water is not a new concept that originated with John the Baptist. Baptism has been a part of Jewish tradition since God first gave the law to the Israelites. People are cleansed in full immersion in a number of religious ceremonies where there is a major change. When a woman is married, she is cleansed from her past. When a proselyte comes into the Jewish faith, they are cleansed. They stand before the congregation, denounce their old ways and their old gods, vowing to follow the one true and living God.
John the Baptist was born to be a priest, but he was a priest who was different from any other priest. John in his priesthood became Jesus first evangelist and was an evangelist to the Jewish people. He pointed the way to Christ Rather than living like the rest of the priests, God chose for him to go out to the people and become “the voice crying in the wilderness”. He took the laver out to the people. He went out to where the people were to prepare them for “the coming of the Lord” by physical and symbolic cleansing through the act of immersion baptism. He prepared the people so that their hearts and minds would be open to God’s word through Jesus Christ.
When Jesus came to John, John recognized that Jesus did not need to come to him for cleansing because he was already pure and holy. Jesus, however, knew that because he was the second Adam he had to go through everything that his future followers would have to go through, so he insisted that John baptize him in the river of living (moving) water.

In Ephesians 5:25-27 it says “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

In Hebrews 10:22 the writer says, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [with blood] to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

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Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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A number of years ago, back before I even joined the military, I was sitting in my room praying. I was asking the Lord about my future, and I heard a voice in my spirit. He said, “Your linea will be two-fold.”

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What is Linea?

I asked the voice if He meant blessings and He said, no, linea. I asked Him what is linea and He told me to look it up and I said I didn’t even know how to spell linea, so He then spelled out the word to me. I looked it up, but, of course I didn’t find that word in my dictionary.
I then asked my Dad what he thought the word meant (without telling him where I got the word, of course, he’d have thought I was crazy.) He said that he thought that it probably had something to do with lineage or perhaps line.
I thanked him for his answer and then went back to the dictionary. There, in the origin of the word line was the Latin root linea which literally meant linen thread. I thought I had an understanding concerning the meaning of the word two-fold meaning that it would be double.
My question then became what was the significance of linen in the Bible? I looked up the references to linen in the Bible and it was the material that priestly garments were made of. The signature verse relating to this for me as a Christian, however, was Revelation 19:8 which is “And to her (the Bride of Christ) was granted that she be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints (believers).”

 

Where Do We Get Clothes of Righteousness?

What is the righteousness am I as a Christians clothed in? I don’t have righteousness in myself. The righteousness that I am clothed in is the righteousness of Christ. It says in Isaiah 64:6 that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. However, the passage goes on to say that if we put ourselves in God’s hands, and allow ourselves to be molded by Him like clay in a potters hands, we become His people. In the New Testament, we learn in Acts 4:12 there is only one name (authority) that we can be saved (made whole) and that is in the authority of Jesus Christ.
I have recently revisited this prophecy that God gave me and have taken a closer look at the word two-fold. I looked it up in my Strong’s Concordance and discovered only one passage that talks about two- fold (Matthew 23:15) and it refers to how the Pharisees (hypocrites) made their followers worse than the children of hell. I knew that this was not the word that God had for me, so I looked at the word a little deeper. I learned that the word used in this verse was distomos which means two-edged and so I looked at the other verses that used this term two-edged and Hebrews 4:12 came to my attention. It says, “For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

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Times When God Spoke to Me Profoundly

  • What God was trying to tell me that day (as well as starting to teach me how to diligently study His word) was that Jesus Christ is my righteousness, and that I can learn to trust Him in every area of my life, no matter what. I need to realize that His Word separates the worldly things from the spiritual things.
  • He has been telling me this in many other ways through the years. When I was in bootcamp, one of the girls in my company was concerned that her mother would not be able to make it to our graduation. The Lord prompted me to tell her that not only would her mother come, but so would her whole family! I did, and they came just as the Lord told me to tell her!
  • When my son Jeremy was little, I was concerned because I had to leave him while I was away in with the Navy Reserves. The Lord told me that I was not just trusting him with the people caring for him, but that I was also leaving him in God’s hands. My son remained safe.
  • A few years later, I was left a single parent. My younger son Jonathan’s father had died and Jon had no father (not my other son Jeremy’s father). I asked God to be his father and when I reminded God of that, he showed me that he was living up to his promise to be his father.
  • Most recently, I had to leave my husband because he was abusive with me, but I left my daughter behind with him because she wanted to stay where she was. After much prayer, I decided to leave her in God’s hands. I knew that her natural father loved her and that physically and emotionally, she was safe with him even though I was not. It has been the hardest thing that I have ever done. I see her and talk to her from time to time, and in our conversations, I am reassured that God has been protecting her and more importantly, he has been guiding her because she is a believer in Christ and she hears his voice too. Her steadfast faith is a real blessing because her father, my husband (we are not divorced) claims to be an agnostic now and he is living with a woman who says that she is an atheist. I pray daily that the Lord continues to show my daughter his wisdom. I pray that her trust in God influence her father and yes, grudgingly, I pray that he influence my husband’s girlfriend as well.

The Linea (righteousness) that I wear is indeed has sharp edges that separate. It divides the truth from the fables. It divides the carnal (physical) from the spiritual. It divides belief from unbelief. The righteousness of Christ in me is pure and undefiled. May my walk through this life continue to reveal His Truth.

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Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Will you live forever with the one who died to save you?

Will you live forever with the one who died to save you?

Have you had something bad happen to you that caused you to feel sorrow? Of course you have. If you have lived on this planet more than five minutes something unpleasant has happened in your life. (Yes, five minutes, perhaps you don’t remember, but you had some pretty rough things happen to you during those first five minutes. You left that safe warm place where everything was done for you and you could swim at leisure into a rude world where you feel hunger and cold and wet.)
Have you ever blamed God for the bad things that happened in your life? I know I have What I have discovered though is that stuff that happens to us is never God’s fault and very seldom in his perfect will. It says in I Peter 5:8 that our enemy is like a lion looking to devour us. Sometimes, though, we cannot even blame the enemy. Sometimes it is simply my own desires that causes bad things to happen. Other times its not the enemy or ourselves that directly causes bad things to happen. Sometimes bad things happen because of the fallen nature of all of mankind. (Remember that rude awakening into the world, that’s part of this fallen nature.)

My Deepest Sorrow

What has been your deepest sorrow in your life? My deepest sorrow was not when my house burned down with all of my possessions, nor was it when three of my family members died within six months (All of them claim a relationship with Jesus Christ, so I expect to see them when my life also ends here on earth.) No, the deepest sorrow I have ever felt was when my husband decided that he not only no longer wanted to work on our marriage, but that he no longer felt that he could accept that there really is a God and that God cares for him. That knowledge that he has chosen to be an agnostic continues to grieve me more than anything else I have ever had to face in my life. I do however have hope in this situation because this is not the first time that I have been through this same situation.
When my relationship with my first husband ended, I was devastated then too. I remember praying and asking God why it happened. I asked what I had done so wrong that my marriage was ending. As I lay there on my bed, a voice inside of me, which I took to be God, told me that it wasn’t just me that he was leaving, but he was also deserting God as well.
I knew that what the voice was telling me was true. I knew that my husband at the time was running from God not just from me. God told me to simply keep praying for him.
So I did. Even though I had not seen or heard from him in years, I kept praying for him . I prayed for him until one day I was praying in church when a picture came into my mind. The picture was of me entering into Heaven. I pictured a bunch of people standing on the crystal sea, praising God. Then I saw the crowd of people part and there was my ex-husband with open arms. He told me that he was so glad I was there and that he had been waiting for me.
I felt warm all over and excited because it was as though God was telling me that it was okay for me to stop praying for him, because he was now in Heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ and that he was there waiting for me.

He Wants To Be Our Friend

As I look at both of these instances, I realize that what I am doing when I am praying for these lost loved ones is that I am not only grieving myself, but that I am sharing God’s sorrow. In Isaiah 53: 3 says that what brings God sorrow is that we do not esteem him. IN other words, we do not give him per-eminence in our lives. Several times in the New Testament in Paul’s letters, Paul also shares in this type of sorrow.
Jesus Christ died for us so that we could have a relationship with him. He desires to call us his friends. As I think about this, I am reminded of the difference between an acquaintance and a friend. An acquaintance is often someone that we want to impress. An acquaintance is one of those people that we want to show only what is good about us.
With true friends, however, we can share not only our good times, but also the bad times. In being our friend, Jesus Christ also wants to share what grieves him. It is part of the relationship and to have his sorrow for those around me is not a burden, but a privilege that I am able and willing to share.

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Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.


Where God Speaks

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I have been trying to listen to God (Holy Spirit) through my spirit. A couple of months ago I learned that my spirit is found in my gut, rather than in my mind or in my emotions. Some of the places in a word in the original language says heart, should actually read “belly” or “gut”.

Years ago I learned that whenever I sensed something in what I called my intuition, I was always right. This understanding of gut knowledge has me now to hear from that place what it is that God has for me to do. My problem was that I did not understand that that place was where my spirit is.

God Spoke, I Listened

Because of the nature of my job, for the first time in eight months that I worked there, I have not had a single Sunday off until three weeks ago. I had been going to a Tuesday nigh and a Wednesday night  Bible study,  but could not get to church on Sundays.Because I had missed church, I determined that I would go to three services in three different churches. The first church was a denominational church, but the second two were nondenominational churches. In  the second, they had a food distribution going on in which I helped. In the final church, even though I had never been there before, I felt as though i was home.

At the end of the service, I felt the prompting in my spirit to go up to the pastor of the congregation and ask him if I could give a message at his church on June 7th.  As I said, I did not know the pastor, but I did feel as though I needed to ask.

It was not as hard to ask as I thought it would be. I even told the pastor that I understood if he said no. He did not however, said no. He said maybe. I didn’t hear back from him, but on June 7th, I showed up with a message.

Mind you, I had never preached a message in front of a church group before and I even told the congregation that. I was obviously nervous, but everything went well. I knew that I needed more experience and I really want to be able to do that more.

The Message

thunderstormThe message that I gave was out of Luke 11, John 11 and John 12. It was about Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus who sat at Jesus feet, listening to what he had to say. She faced ridicule from her sister. She questioned Jesus when he allowed her brother to die. She then received revelation that Jesus was going to the cross and she wanted to serve him by anointing his feet with Spikenard, an oil that offered physical, emotional, and spiritual healing because she knew the pain that he was going to face on the cross.

Today, like Martha, we are often too busy to take the time to listen to Jesus as Mary did. If we are to get revelation from God, then we need to take the time to spend at his feet listening.

We need to be willing to question Jesus. It says in the word that we receive not because we ask not. Perhaps our problem as Christians is that we think we are supposed to have it all together. The truth is, in our earthly physical bodies, we never will. It is only in Jesus that we can know anything of lasting value.

Nothing is really mystical about what Jesus offers us. Our duty as Christians is primarily to love as Jesus loved and to listen to what he would have us do next.

I hope that I never get too busy to listen to what Jesus Christ has to tell me.

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Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 


In Matthew 4:1-2, we saw that the Holy Spirit told Jesus to go into the wilderness and fast for 40 days and 40 nights. We learned about the fast itself.

Fasting, we learned,  was both a physical and a spiritual  cleansing process. When Jesus finished his fast, he was hunger. This was when Jesus was tempted not once, but three times by Satan.

There are many people who would tell you that it isn’t fair to compare the Son of God’s temptations with our own. I don’t necessarily see that as a legitimate argument because as we will see here, his temptations were greater than ours ever could be.

The word tells us in I Corinthians 10:13 “There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with temptation also make a way to scape that you may be able to bear it.”. Based on this passage, we have no legitimate reason to submit to temptations.

This passage in Matthew  shows how Jesus was tempted by temptations that are common to man. These temptations are commonly referred to as  the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride of life. By studying this passage, we can learn by Christ’s example how to overcome these temptations.

The First Temptation

In the first temptation, Satan tempts Jesus to turn the stones into bread. Jesus was hungry, and he could right then turn the stones into bread if he wanted. Jesus knew that he could do anything he wanted to do and turning stones into bread was not outside of his power. HOWEVER, Jesus knew that to turn those stones into bread was not in the Father’s will. He knew that God’s will for him at that moment was not for him to get his needs for food met in that manner. He knew that he needed to wait. He needed to be patient.He knew he was in a spiritual battle and he needed to fight this battle using spiritual weapons.

He used the Word of God to come against the temptation to give into his fleshly desires.

      He said “It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” -Deuteronomy 8:3

The Second Temptation

Then the devil took Jesus up to the holy city (whether he was there physically or simply in the spirit, the passage doesn’t say) what it does say is that he took Jesus to the highest point on the temple which was at the highest point in Jerusalem. He then suggested that he jump to prove that he was the Son of God. Then Satan quoted, or should I say misquoted Psalms 91:11-12

This passage says “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up with their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

What Satan said was,”he shall give is angels charge concerning thee and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Satan’s modus operandi is to make subtle changes in meaning. Notice in  the original passage, the angels were there to help him in his mission. Satan twisted it to mean that no harm would come to him, no matter what he did.

Jesus wasn’t tricked just because Satan quoted scripture. Jesus knew what the scripture actually said and he knew it in context. He said:

it is written, again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.-Deuteronomy 6:16

The Third Temptation

Then Satan took him to an exceedingly high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them and offered it all to Jesus under one condition, and that was that Jesus fall down and worship him.

The first thing to notice is that this was a definite temptation for Jesus. What Satan was telling him was that he thought he knew that there was no way for Jesus to win. Satan claimed to want to be the good guy and let Jesus have what he wanted. He could have the world, no questioned asked. Jesus didn’t have to do anything except worship Satan.

Jesus again quoted scripture. He knew that his father had him there on the mission of becoming the Savior of the World, that Satan was part of the problem, not part of the solution. He said:

Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written: Thou shalt worship God and him only shalt thou serve.-Deuteronomy 6:13

Satan left him and as Psalm 91:11-12 actually said, the angels came and ministered to Jesus there.


Happy 2013 everyone! How has the year been treating you so far? If 2012 was not a good year for you, take heart! Just because you think you’re a loser now, doesn’t mean all that cannot change in 2013.

Whenever I think of myself as a loser, I remind myself that in the genealogy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Matthew Chapter one that there’s a lot of losers, and I’m in good company.

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Look at Abraham. He was living with his parents when God first got hold of him. God told him to leave his father’s house and he didn’t listen right away! Then for years he and his wife tried to have kids and they couldn’t. His wife talked him into getting a surrogate. That didn’t work out either. But when Abraham allowed God to dictate his life. . .

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn. Jacob fights the angel. Canvas,137 x 116 cm

Look at Jacob. Jacob’s name meant “trickster”. He certainly lived up to his name! He tricked his brother out of his birthright. He stole his brother’s blessing from his father. He tricked his father-in-law out of sheep. But he also learned that you reap what you sow. His father-in-law tricked him into marrying his daughter Leah. Then later a riff developed between his father-in-law and him that made Jacob decide he had to sneak away with his family in the dead of night. Talk about a loser! But when God got hold of Jacob. . .

Rahab images

Look at Rahab. She was a prostitute in Jericho, but when God got hold of her, she became the mother of Boaz.

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How about Ruth? She was a Moabite who married a Jew who died in a foreign land. She and her mother-in-law Naomi went to Israel poor and broken. God got hold of Ruth who married Boaz and they had a son named Jesse.

David the Shepherd Boy.  Illustration for Aunt Louisa's Sunday Picture Book, printed in Colours by Kronheim (Frederick Warne, c 1890).

Next came David. He was the seventh son. His family didn’t think he’d amount to much, but God chose him to be king over all Israel.

David’s son Solomon was David’s son after an adulterous affair. Who’d have thought that Solomon would become the wisest and wealthiest king Israel would ever have.

Jesus_mary_joseph : Reenactment of the christmas nativity scene with real people Stock Photo

Joseph was just a carpenter. Mary was just a young girl. But these people who were losers in the eyes of the world were chosen to raise the child who would become the King of the Jews.

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Even Jesus, the son of God, was considered a loser in the eyes of the world. According to Isaiah 53:2 it says, “he hath no form nor comeliness and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him”. He died the most horrible agonizing death that humankind could devise. But God didn’t see him as a loser. God saw Jesus as his solution to our problems.

If you see yourself as a loser, you’re in good company! Realize, however,  that God wants to change that! The people in Jesus’ genealogy were no longer losers because God touched their lives. He wants to change your life too. Are you willing to let God touch your life? Spend time with him, get to know him. Read his word, talk to him, listen for his reply. He will change your life.

How has God changed your life?

This year I will be focusing this blog on the four gospels. Today we have covered Matthew chapter 1. Also under my pseudonym Author Cygnet Brown I have written two Christian Historical Novels in The Locket Saga–When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry. I am currently working on the third book in the series: A Coward’s Solace.


In my last post,  as we finished Chapter One of First  Corinthians, we learned that the Greeks used logic and the Jews used their understanding of the law  to understand everything. We learned that, because of their limited thinking, they did not understand God’s plan of salvation through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Today, in chapter two, we will discover how the Corinthians, and consequently, how we can develop wisdom of his powerful grace and love.

In the first few verses of this chapter (2:1-5) Paul refuses to take credit for the insights into God’s word that he gave them. He said that he was weak and fearful. I can imagine how he felt. I know that anytime I stand in front of an audience, my mouth gets dry, my hands shaky and sweaty. and i am afraid that I will make a serious mistake. But Paul did not depend on his own abilities.

Paul knew that he wasn’t the eloquent speaker. He depended on the Holy Spirit to guide him in all wisdom. Because he chose to follow the Holy Spirit, his  contribution to our understanding of God’s plan for humankind is outstanding. He wrote much of what became the New Testament. I believe this is in a large part, as he says in verse 2:2,  because he decided that he would put his focus on Jesus Christ and him crucified. I believe that if we also learn the power of Jesus and his crucifixion, our lives would be revolutionized as well.

In verses 6-9, Paul humbled himself to the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is the gospel of Jesus Christ. None of the rulers of this world system recognized this revelation. If they would have known, they would not have had him crucified. The prophets, nor the angels understood, but God made clear the mystery of the gospel through the apostles. God gives his wisdom to those who love him.

We discover in the remainder of the chapter that we can only understand God through his spirit. Our puny little minds cannot possibly compare to God’s wisdom.

The closest comparison I can give concerning this is by comparing the processing capabilities of our personal computers with the the knowledge of the internet. Our home computers have memory and they are truly amazing at what they can do, but compared to the internet, our computers are very limited. When we plug into the internet, we have access to so much more. .

Think about how foolish God must see us when we try to rationalize and explain away God. That’s why our minds are not sufficient to understand God. We need his spirit guiding us and revealing his truth in our lives. Just as our computers are inferior to the internet in supplying us with knowledge, so is our minds are inferior to what God’s spirit has to offer us. By having God’s spirit, we gain the mind of Christ.

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