Don’t Be a Bystander

By Pastor Jeff,

Have you ever been a situation in which you know you should of stepped in to help someone in a dire situation? This is called “The Bystander Affect” which is defined as the following according to Britannica, “The inhibiting influence of the presence of others on a person’s willingness to help someone in need. Research has shown that, even in an emergency, a bystander is less likely to extend help when he or she is in the real or imagined presence of others than when he or she is alone. Moreover, the number of others is important, such that more bystanders leads to less assistance, although the impact of each additional bystander has a diminishing impact on helping.”

Probably the most common reason is more likely fear that keeps us from stepping in or stepping out.

We can witness this in several events in the word of God from the building of Noah’s Ark in which countless bystanders heard Noah’s warning of a coming flood but only Noah’s family and the the animals God brought entered this Ark. Elijah on Mt Carmel, 1Kings 18:21, “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” We see Elijah was not alone when he challenged Ahab and all the false prophets but no one would say a word until after the victory, 1Kings 18:39, “And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.”

Jesus many times in His ministry spoke in front of many thousands of people yet when He needed someone to speak up for Him in front of His accusers, all He has were bystanders. At the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior there was no doubt a very large group of bystanders in the crowd as we recall this was the, “Passover” so you had many thousands of Israelites in Jerusalem.

I think one of the greatest examples of the “Bystander Affect” is found in 1Samuel 17:1-4, “Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.” I don’t know how many men were with Saul but it was way more the a couple, lets read on, 1Samuel 17:8-11, “And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. 
And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.”
All bystanders, no one would stand up to this Philistine until the anointed King David showed up. Now many stories of David and Goliath picture David as just a boy but that really doesn’t seem to be the case, young yes, but probably in his early 20’s, and full grown as the reason that he didn’t wear Saul’s armor was not because it didn’t fit but because he didn’t feel worthy to wear it. David was not going to be a bystander and defeated the giant Goliath for the God and the nation of Israel.

As believers in Jesus Christ I believe it’s time for us to stop being bystanders and get into the Frey, it could be making your voice be heard in the political arena, which many think Christians shouldn’t get involved with. I of course disagree as we are seeing in our country what happens when we don’t make our voice known. The most important area to stop being a bystander of course is letting others know of what Jesus Christ has done for them. Not everyone will listen and accept the call but that doesn’t excuse us to avoid telling them, the world is becoming increasingly anti God as you can easily see everyday, but remember, it’s not God’s will for any to perish, but all come to repentance. We are given the great commission and have been given the power to share it, Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Stop being a bystander friends, Jesus is coming, and coming ver soon!

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When Words are Not Enough!

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By Pastor Jeff,

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.” This promise is repeated in Hebrew 13:5-6, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

As our family is dealing with the loss of two loved ones in a period of less than 15 months we have heard the statement repeated several times by people, “I don’t have words” or “I can’t even know what your are dealing with”. This is true as the old Indian saying goes, “walk a mile in his moccasins.” which is plain to understand that you can never feel or understand what another person is going through unless you have experienced the same thing. Even then can be difficult to comprehend as we all react to things somewhat differently based on our faith, relationship, and age.

This saying, “When you can’t look at the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark” comes from the movie in Alice in Wonderland, I had purchased a T-shirt with the phrase and had wore it to a interview from a local newspaper not thinking that a couple months later it would express my thoughts of today. It has been difficult and may never happen for at least me to go back and continue my life as it was before. It’s hard to be in a  group and discuss the things that once mattered to me. I even told people close to me that I need to be just left alone, that I had no interest in talking about it, but I know through it all that Jesus was there not telling me it will be alright but sitting with me holding my hand, handing me tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes (figuratively).

Listen, Jesus no matter how you feel, what you are experiencing, what you are thinking, in the greatest hours of despair, Jesus is there! Don’t always expect Him to speak words in your ears, to shake you, to even hug you, but know He is there, trust that!

It’s been very difficult in seeing any good of the tragic loss of my son and daughter and when I shared my daughters legacy in our church the scripture that God gave me is found in 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.” To be honest I don’t feel good about what happened, I do Love God with everything in me and I do believe I am called for His purpose. But the good I can’t fathom, it hurts way to much at this point in time to think that, but I do believe it. Maybe all that will come of it is that I will get to share my story how no matter what has come my way, I can stand, even if my knees may be weak and wobbly, I will still stand, and if you ever find yourself not able to look at the bright-side I will sit with you even in the dark!

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A Time to Weep!

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By Pastor Jeff,

It’s been a while since I have done a blog mainly because I was in a very sorrowful state for the past two months as we were preparing the passing of my wonderful daughter. It is still very hard to believe that she is not with us in this present world but I know without a doubt I will see her soon.

John 11:35, “Jesus wept” the shortest verse in the King James Bible and probably one of the more popular scriptures used in sermons today. I find it amazing how men try to make it out to be something more than it says. We all are aware of the circumstance of this event in which Jesus’ good friend Lazarus has passed away. Jesus when he arrives He is met by Lazarus sisters Martha and Mary who are obviously grieving over the loss of their brother and why Jesus did not come immediately and heal him before he died.

John 11:33-34, “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.” Many have tried to read something into this as Jesus was weeping because of their unbelief or lack of faith that He could not of only healed Lazarus but could of raised him from the dead. Once again I don’t think anything should be added to this scripture to further dramatize the emotion Jesus shared with those there.

Jesus wept, something every person on this earth has done one time or another, we cannot place Jesus on some pedestal that excludes that He was both God and man. Jesus felt emotion, Jesus is not above feeling our hurts, Jesus is not a God that is not acquainted with our grief. The Bible tells us differently, Isaiah 53:3-4, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

The last few months have been extremely tough on my family and me. I can count on one hand the days I have not grieved and shed tears over the loss of my daughter. It has been said the average person generates 1.4 ml. of tears a day, I have surpassed that by 20-100 fold. I lay in bed many a night crying before I fall off to sleep, I have had dreams in which I have been weeping and wake up weeping. I weep for my granddaughters who will grow up without there mother, I weep for her husband who will go on with life without his helpmate, and I do weep for myself over the thoughts of going on with events, celebrations, holidays without her, and I miss her so.

Jesus wept, and that gives me hope of a God who knows and shares my grief. I know one day joy will return in my life but today like Jesus did, I weep!

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Too Much Jesus?

knowing-jesus-too-much

By Pastor Jeff,

So, can you have too much Jesus? Of course the answer is NO! I will state that I wake up thinking about Jesus, I go throughout my day thinking about Jesus, and I go to bed thinking of Jesus. Would I want more of Jesus in my life? Absolutely! The Apostle Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 

So, with saying that, have you ever encountered someone who seemed so overbearing in his speech about what he or she knows about Christ that after a while you either cut his conversation off or avoided this person? I have, and I’m not debating someones relationship or dedication to serve and share the gospel. But when I look at the disciples and Apostles they were also able to have a conversation that befriended others rather ostracizing them. Most of the disciples were fisherman and I think that they were very at ease talking about fishing, giving advice, and maybe even joining others out on the boat here and there. Paul by Luke’s account in the Bible was a tentmaker Acts 18:1-3, After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.” He also could discuss the law and had knowledge of how government was run.

I love Jesus Christ and love telling others of His greatness and love for them, but I also can carry a conversation on other things, such as sports, politics, recent news, and other things that may help me to build a relationship with someone which will allow me to share the “Good News” with them. If I just brow beat them with what God says it may and I’ve seen it happen close the door to any future conversations with them. Apostle Paul gave us this insight in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.”

Jesus is my Lord and my Savior and I will shout His name to the nations but I will be open to conversations that show that I care about what others care about and when the opportunity comes will switch the conversation about Jesus Christ. Too much Jesus is I believe impossible but like Paul I will to whatever I can to win others to the gospel!

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Jesus Loves Me!

jesus loves

By Pastor Jeff,

Romans 5:6-9, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” 

What a powerful declaration of Jesus’ love for me! I make this a personal statement because the one thing I’ve learned in my 34+ years of being a Born Again Christian is that He really is a personal God. I know God so loved the world and it’s 7.6 billion people currently living on this planet, but when it comes to salvation and having a relationship with the creator of all things, it’s mono to mono! Nobody can make the day to day to decision to live for Christ for me and I can’t make that decision for anyone else even those I whole dear.

Jesus died for ME! Jesus loves ME! Jesus cares for ME! If I was the only sinner on this earth, I believe sincerely that God would took on the form of man, would of suffered, died, and been resurrected so that I could have eternal life! What an awesome God we have the privilege to serve.

I was recently was picking black raspberries in our back yard and had this revelation that of all the places I could of moved to. The one one place Jesus picked for us had wild raspberries on and around it. You may say big deal and probably most would never think a second thought about it. For me it is a big deal, for when I was growing up I had the great opportunity of spending many summers at my Grandparents house up North. I had an uncle a little more than a year older than me whom I spent these summers trying to keep from being bored; which didn’t seem to be an issue if my memory is correct. One of the things we did every summer was go out and pick wild raspberries as time to spend in the outdoors and they sure tasted good in our cereal (when my grandmother didn’t steal them on us and make jam). Of course for me picking them today brings back those wonderful memories as well as the fun of making jam and giving it mostly away to the ones we love. That, to me showed how much Jesus loves me and would care enough for those memories to put me right smack in the middle of several gallons of raspberries!

I love Jesus Christ very much, but His love for me preceded my love for Him from the beginning of time, 1 John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.”

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Revival Isn’t About Numbers!

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By Pastor Jeff,

When you hear the word “Revival” what is the first thing you think of? Huge numbers of people repenting, getting baptized in Jesus Christ name and receiving the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, right? Well if that’s the answer you came up with you would be wrong.

A good definition of revive is found in Merriam-Webster as1. to make (someone or something) strong, healthy, or active again 2. to become strong, healthy, or active again 3. to bring (something) back into use or popularity

Psalms 85:6, Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” Isaiah 57:15,For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Revival is not about numbers but is about getting our hearts right with God Almighty, James 4:9 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”  If we as a church draw closer in our relationship with Jesus Christ with no real growth in numbers, I will say, hey everybody, our little church in Janesville WI is having “Revival!”

Look, we really can’t save anyone, its only the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses a soul of sin, it’s our job to spread the gospel, but Jesus Saves! I do believe without a doubt that if the church does have true Holy Ghost revival in its midst. It will see growth in numbers, it’s just a natural occurrence, but let’s not put the cart before the horse. We see many groups that are seeing increase in numbers but have no real growth in Christ. Jesus had a name for these, Matthew 23:27-28, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” 

Let’s strive to revive the inside, then the outside will show true “Revival!”

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Don’t stop my Miracle!

miracle

By Pastor Jeff,

Miracles! Many of us Christians seem surprised when one occurs especially in the Americas where doctors and medicine is readily available. Some churches hold the position that the age of miracles ended after the Apostles all died. Well, not me! The bible makes it clear that there is one thing that will stop miracles Matthew 13:54-58, “And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” UNBELIEF! will stop your miracle in its tracks!

John 14:12-14 is completely opposite of the scriptures we just looked at for it says this, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” BELIEVING! that is the key to receiving your miracle!

Recently that, belief, was put to the test with me as I have shared about my youngest daughter being diagnosed with cancer again. I really took the wind out of my sails and made me question if stepping out in faith for Revival was a wise decision, for since then the devil seems to pulled out all stops in trying to get our focus away from Him. God however quickly reminded me of the many miracles that I have witnessed in just my families life and my strength was restored. This is the third time my daughter has been diagnosed and soon it will be the third time that she was healed by the power of the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. You seen pretty sure of that you may say, Yes I am, for I believe and I asked in His name!

There are so many miracles mentioned in the word of God and many are not just in the life of Jesus our Messiah. One of my favorites that really show that nothing to big nor small is important to God is found in 2 Kings 6:1-7, “And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.” I’m simply amazed by that word “swim” for I’m sure that most of us have never witnessed such an event. It may seem trivial that the Lord of Lords would be concerned by an lost axe, but His love for us is so huge that He sent the man of God to the rescue.

Miracles rarely go unnoticed; when you receive one, you cannot help but to tell others of what God has done. I will not let others who may not believe in miracles as I do get in the way of my miracle, I believe and am thanking Jesus Christ for them as I type this blog. God has never failed me and will not let the devil trick me into believing that God will not answer my prayers. I will praise my Jesus and look forward to how many will be touched by another miracle in my life!

Don’t let anyone get in the way of your MIRACLE!

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Distractions

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By Pastor Jeff,

Distractions! The world we live in currently is full of them and it seems that when you make a commitment to God the distractions come at you ten-fold! Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Recently as the title of this website declares, we have set about to seek for Revival at our church in Janesville WI. It must of really ticked the devil off because we have witnessed an all out attack on several of those that attend services here!

1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” The world we live in has enough distractions all by itself such as work, family, friends, just life in general that can mess with our time with God.

Then we have Satan, his imps messing with us, and I’ll give you an example. We all know if we are to see genuine revival we will need to commit ourselves to prayer. So, we set apart every Tuesday for this purpose and Friday nights have dedicated to worship and prayer as well. It seems that every event outside the church that can occur has been scheduled for you guess what night? Right, Tuesday or Fridays! Well to be fair the other nights can easily fill up with family events as well but it does seem that on these two nights it occurs more often that it did before we made the commitment.

Another distraction that affects our time is how the devil likes to attack ones family (I can attest that we have other families that are coming under serious attacks as well). I think he knows that if he tries anything with me I will just point out that the bible makes it clear that in the end of all things, he LOSES! But family, especially our children can really throw us for a loop. Though I am troubled by what the devil has done in my family, I still can stand and declare the marvelous works of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and declare this scripture found in Isaiah 50:7, “For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” AMEN!

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Another First!

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By Pastor Jeff,

This past Fathers day was another first that I hoped I would never have to be part of the ever growing group of parents that have lost a loved one. My eldest son Jeff passed away September 28th, 2017 and I never realized that I would then be part of this group. As result our family will forever have an anniversary date that we would gladly trade for a day much happier. We also have to endure holidays, birthdays, family events without the pleasure of seeing and hearing him laugh or make a stupid joke.

My heart goes out to any parent that has had to bury one of their precious children for any kind of reason. In my conversation with some I realize that the heartache will always be there and in a way I’m glad for that. He or she was a part of your life and I can’t count the hours that were invested in raising up your child. We shouldn’t just cast it aside with the old saying, “time heals all wounds”, some wounds always leave scars that can be clearly seen.

I’m forever grateful to have friends that pray and support me, but they cannot nor do I wish that they can fully understand the pain the lost of a child no matter how they were.

I do and never have lost my faith in this ordeal, if anything my relationship with Jesus has grown stronger as He continues to remind me that He loves me, John 3:16-17, “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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” I love my son that much as well as any of my children that I would gladly do the same in that I would lay down my life as well.

Jesus was God’s first and only begotten, but He loved us so much that He gave His own life that we are not bound to this sinful and dying world for we have this promise, John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Jesus Christ is my comforter and though I have more first coming as my birthday, the anniversary of his death, I know I’m not alone and will give Jesus all my heart, soul, mind and strength!

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The Devil isn’t the only liar! (part 4)

Lies.By Pastor Jeff,

Well its been a few days since I did my last blog on “Lies” and a lot has happened that made me step back a bit. I promised a more up beat message and that’s what you will get with this blog. Since then I found out that the doctors have diagnosed that my youngest daughters’ cancer has returned and that the prognosis is not good. I’m not calling the doctors a liar as they go by what they can see and past history as they diagnose patients. But I serve a God who is above past history, of what can be seen, for we find in Isaiah 53:4-5, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Though man through the fall has been prone to not be truthful, Romans 3:4, “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” Let God be true, despite all the non-truths (lies) that man is guilty of, we have in Jesus Christ a God that cannot lie, Titus 1:1-3, “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;”

This is so important because though mankind has difficulty in keeping our promises in spite of the most sincere of attempts, the promises of Jesus Christ are Amen and Amen! 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.” This promise is one that all of us so desperately need, “Love” God’s love for us is so great that God through Jesus Christ became a child, grew into a man, taught, healed, suffered and then died for us! It didn’t stop there because the the grave couldn’t hold Him down for on the third day He rose again and told His disciples that soon they would receive another promise, Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost and thank God it was not just for them for Peter declares in Acts 2:38-39, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” He has one more promise that will be fulfilled soon, John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

And God CAN’T lie!

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