Thanksgiving 2017

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The last few years have not been easy for me and my family but through it all we kept our eyes on God and He kept His hand on our lives. Without going into too much detail we had to move out of our apartment in the middle of December 2014 and move in with my wife’s parents. Not how we pictured the course of our lives. Our time there taught us many things but the biggest takeaway for me was my increased faith. There were times when my wife thought that we’d never get back out on our own and quietly I thought the same thing but I kept reminding her, and myself, that God had put us there for a reason and when the time was right He would move us back into our own place. Hindsight being what it is, the positives of being there far outweighed the negatives and for that I am truly grateful. It allowed us to help start a home church. I started studying the Bible again after a year or two of drifting away and started this blog. God had plans for us but He needed us to be in a place where we were fully dependent on Him. I’m happy to say that God did open up new job opportunities for me and my wife and along with that a place of our own. He honored our faith even when it seemed like we didn’t have much faith to work with. Being led through that time of difficulty made our family stronger and more focused and connected to God. So as I look forward to the future I can say that thanksgiving, to me, is more than just turkey and pumpkin pie. It’s a time to give thanks to God for every blessing He has given us no matter how small. I’m thankful for the lessons He taught me. No matter how hard they were at times. I’m thankful for my wife and daughter. God has truly blessed me with a wonderful family. One I wasn’t sure I’d even have but that’s a story for another day. I’m also thankful for those who took the time to follow this little blog of mine. It’s always been important to me to present the word of God in a world that only wants to hear comfortable lies over hard truths. Thank you for being there to listen and hopefully be encouraged by what I’m writing. You guys are awesome!

So take this time to reflect on everything God has done for you and give Him thanks. You might even be going through some difficult times right now but take it from me when I say I have been in your shoes and God is and will always be with you. It can be difficult to thank Him when you’re in the midst of a storm but fear not, He is most definitely there. Thank you again for letting me into your lives and have a safe and wonderful thanksgiving holiday.

The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
Psalms 28:7

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Love the sinner, hate the sin?

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We’ve all heard this said from time to time. There are many people taking up sides on this saying. Some claim it’s not biblical while others say it’s what we as Christians should be doing. Well here is my two cents, plus a lot of bible backup. This is not only biblical, it’s the heart and mind of God.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

First, let’s ask ourselves “what is sin?” Simply put, being willfully disobedient to the law and the will of God. There are two kinds of sin we need to recognize going forward in this. One is accidental sin. You’re doing some home remodeling or you’re out driving from point A to point B just minding you’re own business. Then, in the blink of an eye, you bring that hammer down on your thumb or someone fails to notice a red light and almost causes an accident. At that moment, you let fly some choice words that are not very nice. We’ve all been there but it’s not something we were planning to do. It was a slip that we ask forgiveness for almost immediately. As we get closer to Jesus, these accidents will become few and far between but since we are still human, they will crop up. The other sin is intentional sin. This is a well thought out plan. You make these choices willingly and do things you know are not pleasing to God. Intentional sin is what we are focusing on here.

When I was in my early twenties, I would go out with my friends. Nothing strange about that. My dad would take me aside from time to time and try to point out the “road blocks” as he called them. The things I might do that will lead to nothing but trouble. I told him that I’d rather fall in the ditches and learn that way then learning from his past mistakes. I was misguided. It was a few years later that I went back to him and apologized for not listening and taking his advice. As my father, he loved me enough to try and show me the pitfalls in the world. When I did fail, he never stopped loving me but he was not happy with what I did. He loved me, not my mistakes. That’s how God sees us and that’s how we should treat other Christians when they stray and opt to go the wrong way.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 3:23

Our sins keep up separated from God. In Romans 1:29-32, Paul gives the most wide-ranging list of sins in the bible. These verses demonstrate the scope of the worlds corruption, and while the world tries to rationalize their sins, in verse 32, Paul lets us know that God is a righteous judge and will abhor such things. I know there is a large group of people who don’t want to think that God would ever do that. They want to cling to the notion that God is a giant cosmic hippie that sits around and sends out waves of love. As long as we all hold hands and sing kum ba yah it’ll be alright. These people want to believe this because they want to try to justify their sins. If all God wants us to do is love, then He wouldn’t care what we do, as long as we love people. This is not the truth.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:8

God does love us, but our sin gets in the way. A way that has been made clear, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So, while we are choosing to reject Gods will for us, He still loved us enough, to send His son, to be a perfect sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven and we would turn away from sin and be reconciled to Him.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
Romans 6:23

I think it’s clear that God sent His son so we could be free from sin. He loves us but not the sin we live in. Sound familiar?
Now, lets look at the other half of this saying. “What is love?”

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

This is it. The one verse that can put Gods love for us in prospective. God doesn’t want any of us to go without Him. His love for us is far beyond what we can think or imagine. The sacrifice He made demonstrates the vastness of His love and how much He wants us to be reconciled to Him. While God wants everyone to come to Him, so they may know the full extent of His love, most will either reject Him or defend their sins with some form of self-righteousness, claiming they, not God, are able to work out their own sins.

Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
Jude 23

As Christians, we should show our love for each other. Not just by reaching out to help those in need of physical things, but also to help with spiritual needs. From the very beginning, Jesus’ ministry was about the Kingdom of Heaven, using signs and miracles to point to Himself. While He taught us to care for, help and love others, His true focus was making sure we would be with Him after this life was over. The only way to do that, is through repentance and turning to God. If we truly love our fellow man, then we should do whatever we can to free those enslaved in sin and bring them to the truth of God. By doing this we show that we understand that this world is temporary, and not a place we want to settle down in.

So go out today and love people. All people. Be a blessing to someone. But hate their sin enough to pull them out of the darkness and into the light of Gods truth.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously and He will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33

Christianity 101

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You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.
Hebrews 5:12
There is a movement in the world that is putting itself in direct opposition to the truth of God. Progressive Christianity is taking hold in the hearts and minds of people all over and drawing them to lies. It’s a world centered doctrine that’s allowing people to live lives in rebellion to God while their own sense of self righteousness is front and center. They reject Gods truth and rage against anyone who would dare to reach out to them and bring them to real biblical truth. We, as Christians, should be meeting this evil head on. Too many times I’ve heard these people claim that it was a Christian that drove them away. There seems to be a disconnect between us and those who need truth. I believe that we are not being trained up the right way, so that when we encounter someone on the progressive side, we can refute their false claims with biblical truth. This is something that I believe is lacking in the Church today. Most people are fine with going to church on Sunday and living like the rest of the world for the next six days.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be presenting a kind of Christianity 101. Simple things we should all have a grasp on, but in reality, need some extra help understanding. For some, this will be mainly a refresher, but there will be some who may not have heard this or may not have known how to word it, so they could be understood.
I’m pleading with you to understand that the spirit of the antichrist is at work in our world and if we don’t rise up to speak Gods truth, it will grow stronger and stronger until our voices will be drowned out by the enemy and his lies. It’s my prayer that these blogs encourage you and maybe spur you on to go out and meet these people. With Gods help we can bring them back from the edge of destruction and onto firm ground.
Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.
2 Timothy 2:25

It’s really a very small table.

Trying to reach people with what God lays on my heart can be tough. I’m not a celebrity or someone people seek out for advice. My ultimate hope is that what I post will lead people to God and His truth. Unfortunately the internet is filled with people claiming to speak on behalf of God but are pushing their own agenda and leading the ones following them down a wide and destructive path. These false teachers prey on those who are on the fringes of religion. They take people who feel marginalized and create a doctrine that allows them to live the kind of life that makes them feel good but is in reality in direct opposition to God.
One such person is John Pavlovitz who wrote a book offering a “bigger table” for everyone to sit at. His calls of inclusion welcome every kind of sin without any call for repentance. His followers have taken a seat at this table and swallowed every lie he’s served them. I’ve tried to talk to some of them on Facebook but they shout me down calling me all sorts of names. The author even called me a jerk just before he blocked me on twitter. Not very open and excepting. When you read his blogs with a spiritual mindset it’s easy to see his deception. Now I’m not saying I have all the answers but like I said I do have the Holy Spirit and this gives me knowledge of what God is thinking and feeling.
For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”
But we have the mind of Christ
1 Corinthians 2:16 (nkjv)
This bigger table is a great idea but the actual table, spirituality speaking, is much smaller than what is being offered by these false teachers. To go into every verse to back up my claims would take more time then I have now so I will present the scripture that I feel best speaks to my point.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Matthew7:21-23 (nkjv)
So Pavlovitz,who wants a bigger table, is telling us that God is accepting everyone here and in the hereafter regardless of their lifestyles but Jesus tells us something a little different. Many, while thinking they’re on the right path, will be turned away. This doesn’t sound like the sweet and accepting Jesus the bigger table crowd claim Him to be and that’s because in the end, He’s not. God cannot abide sin and that’s what Pavlovitz is pushing with his “ministry”. He wants to bring everyone together and celebrate and justify the sins of the people sitting around his bigger table. He sounds like someone who is practicing lawlessness.
A big table is an easily accessible one. One that many people can get to and sit comfortably at without much effort. This isn’t the way Jesus spoke of when He was comparing the road taken by those following the worlds ways and the narrow, difficult way that leads to the kingdom of God.
You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
Matthew 7:13,14 (nlt)
So once again Jesus tells us that that a few will find their way in while many will walk the wide path straight to hell. Pavlovitz and the other false teachers like him are like pied pipers leading their followers to destruction. Trying to present biblical truth to his followers is a difficult task. If they’re not doing some kind of scriptural gymnastics to get the Bible to fit their narrative they’re rejecting it completely calling it an ancient text written thousands of years ago and it doesn’t have any bearing on life today. In one of Pavlovitz’s blogs he wrote 10 reasons he doesn’t believe the Bible. Those are some gutsy statements from someone who claims he’s trying to “live-out the red letters of Jesus”. He wants to put on a saintly face all the while rejecting Gods word. You can’t have it both ways.
His message of a bigger table is one the world wants to hear. They want to live any way they choose without consequence relying on their own self righteousness to pave the way into the kingdom and Pavlovitz is pushing this fairy tale with vigor.
They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.
1 John 4:5
John Pavlovitz speaks for the world. He speaks against the kingdom of God with his narcissistic blog filled with the spirit of antichrist. I’d go as far to say this man may be past redemption but those following him still have a chance at real repentance. It’s my prayer that this message gets to those who need to hear it. It’s not too late to turn from whatever sin you’re in and turn to God.

The “gray area” is a myth

I’ve been studying the Bible for quite a while now and if there’s one sure thing I’ve found it’s that there is no middle ground with God. Neither He nor Jesus ever offered three choices. There are some people who claim that God offers many choices. That He works in gray areas but that isn’t true. These people are pushing a false teaching that allow those following them to not just live in their sins but to justify it to the rest of the world. This “gray area” doctrine will do nothing but give a false sense of security to the people believing it and ultimately lead them away from the truth of God forever. One such false teacher is John Pavlovitz. His teachings, while sounding good to the masses, is really a world centered message that has no connection to Jesus what so ever. It’s like cotton candy. It looks and tastes good but has nothing to benefit the body. He would have you believe that God is okay with you living in a sinful lifestyle.
One of the verses that showed me the black and white mindset of God was Revelations 3:15,16
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
Here God says that He doesn’t care which one they are, hot or cold, but He wants them to be one or the other. He’s not satisfied with a lukewarm attitude. So much so that He wants to expel them from Himself.
Here’s a sample of Pavlovitz’s work about living a gray life:
“As we move beyond the lazy theology and easy caricatures that seek to remove any gray from people’s lives, we can meet them in that grayness, right where they are without demanding that they become something else in order to earn proximity to us or to a God who loves them dearly.”
– A Bigger Table, Chapter 4: When in Rome
This “theology” he’s passing off as truth is the worst kind of tripe. If he really understood the Bible he wouldn’t create this gray area for his acolytes to live in. Contrary to what Pavlovitz says, there was and is no gray. This soft, squishy middle is a fabrication that does not exist. Quoting scripture won’t do any good for those too deep in his fiction, but if there is anyone out there who is desperately seeking truth then these verses are for you.
I’m going to tackle this quote in two parts. The “gray area” and his notion that you can remain who you are and be with God. First lets look at the verse that I believe expresses the lack of gray in God’s thinking.
He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
Matthew 12:30

there is no wiggle room in this verse. Jesus states clearly that you are with Him or you are opposed to Him. He offers no middle ground. As we will see in the upcomming verses and in the bible as a whole, God never gives a third option. It’s always His way or the worlds way and God is no friend of the worlds ways

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
James 4:4
Again, James tells us that there are only two choices. You can be a friend to the world, doing whatever you want with no thought of consequences all the while being God’s enemy or you can choose God and turn away from the world. Everyday you wake up is a gift from God and another chance to follow Him or continue to deny Him and walk your own path. A path that is wide, easily accessible and well traveled. A path that Jesus talked about.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:13,14
Once more Jesus gives us only two ways to proceed. He never mentions a third road that lets you continue in sin and follow God. It’s not in God’s nature to offer a gray area for His people to live in. If God wanted us to live in sin and be with Him He never would have sent Jesus to be our final and perfect sacrifice for sin.
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5
In order to have gray you need to mix black and white. In a spiritual setting you would need to mix light and darkness to make the place Pavlovitz wants us to live but that is not possible with God. God cannot and will not abide sin (darkness) in any form and in any degree. Paul says in Romans 6:23 that sin brings death but goes on to say that Jesus is our way to eternal life. Not with self righteousness ( I’m a good person) or by imitating the person of Jesus and leaving out the Spirit of God that is in Him. This brings me to the second claim Pavlovitz writes about in his above quote. We can come to God as we are and not change. This is a lie.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2
We are to have a new mind. To change from the world based thinking that seeks to pull us away from God to a way of thinking that glorifies Him and His ways. The only way we can have that kind of thought life is through repentance and allowing the Holy Spirit in and help us learn the truth of who God really is. Anyone who claims that there is a gray area that God operates in does not have the truth in him and is a liar and deceiver (1 John 1:8)
I know there will people who will argue these points and say that I’m cherry picking verses or that they were written by men thousands of years ago and not relevant for today but John Pavlovitz and others of his kind do this every day. He chooses the verses, mostly what Jesus said, and twists them to fit his agenda. Anything else that would prove him wrong gets thrown out and he’ll convince you that they are lies. I stated at the beginning that the people who are deep into Pavlovitz’s message will reject any kind of real truth opting for the fairy tale he writes but it is my prayer that if one person reads this and starts down the narrow path and seeks out the real Jesus know that He will answer you and reveal Himself to you.

Ambassador for Christ

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”    2 Corinthians 5:20
I’ve been a Christian since 2001.  I’ve always striven to never embarrass God with my words or actions.  I don’t always succeed.  There are times when I let my anger and frustration get the better of me.  Then, with God’s help, I’ll collect myself and move on.
There are some people who love to tell others that they are church going, Bible believing Christians, then, when church is over,  they turn around and roll in the same sin the rest of the world does, and see nothing wrong with it.
Social media has helped me see how a lot of “Christians” view the world and their own corner of it.  As a matter of fact, the inspiration for this blog came from one such encounter.
A friend of mine, “Jill”, shared a post from a friend of her’s expressing how great it was that she and her female partner have been together for a while and they were finally going to get married.  Jill gave her best wishes and told them she was happy for them and for what they were going to do.  This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Jill post stuff like this.  She attends church and claims to know her bible, yet she is a huge supporter of the lgbt community and what they stand for, even though it goes against everything God teaches us in the bible.  I confronted her about her support and how she should know better then to delight in their sin.  She and the couple getting married came back and attacked me for being a bigot.  Jill was very vocal about how I was wrong and that God never said gays shouldn’t be together.  I was very heartbroken to see Jill take the stand she did, and to this day she still promotes the homosexual lifestyle as a legitimate Christian choice.
Is Jill an ambassador of Christ, or is she walking hand in hand with sin: straight to the gates of hell?  You can say she is an ambassador…but of Satan.  While under the guise of Christianity, she’s pushing the enemy’s agenda.  This is only one example of millions of Christians, knowingly or not, misrepresenting God and His gospel.  So what does a true ambassador look like?  How should he or she be representing the kingdom of God?
An ambassador is a diplomatic official, of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state, to another, as it’s resident representative.  Some synonyms for the position are agent, emissary or minister.  1 Peter 2:9 tells us that God has chosen us to be the ones to speak for Him, telling the world how He brought us out of the darkness of sin, and into the light.  Jesus also tells His disciples (and to us) that we should go into the whole world and preach the gospel.  So God has appointed us and is sending us out into the kingdom of the world to represent Him and His kingdom.
 We shouldn’t worry what to say when we get out there.  Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit will give us the words (Mark 13:11).  We will speak only of what we know and that is the truth of God.  The Spirit of truth will guide us into all truth and He will only speak to glorify Jesus.  We take the truth of God’s kingdom and tell the world.
As ambassadors, we reflect the image of our King to the nations and people living there.  It’s our job to truthfully represent Him and everything He stands for: no matter what.  We are the light of the world and we should be shining that light for everyone to see.  If anyone should ask, we should be able to tell them why we live our lives for Jesus and rightly reveal His truth for their lives and the whole world.
There are many who claim to speak for Jesus but they go and deny Him by their actions and words.  These false ambassadors have been given a warning from Jesus Himself:
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
The wrap up:
Examine yourself.  Make sure when you make it known that you represent Jesus, you’re speaking the truth.  Don’t let the world corrupt your message and turn your thinking around so you look and act more like them then the one you claim to speak for.

The world wants wrong to be right.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
       Isaiah 5:13
When I talk about transgenders and anyone else in the LGBT, I use the word “delusion”.  My wife thinks it too harsh but I disagree.  Here’s the definition of the word.
– A belief that is not true
– A false idea or belief that is caused by mental illness
Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary

She believes “self-deception” is a more apt word.  On this we’ll agree to disagree.  I forget where I heard this quote so I’ll paraphrase it.  Giving a transgender an operation to change their sex is like giving an anorexic liposuction to remove their fat.
With the president proclaiming June as LGBT pride month, as well as the legalization of gay marriage last year, the delusions are growing more powerful and their acceptance has spread like a weed we can no longer uproot.

As a Christian, I see this world falling apart.  The delusions of a minority, overriding the God given common sense of the majority, feels like a huge tipping point.  Christianity has been under fire for about the last ten years.  More then the last five decades combined.  Sadly, more and more  churches are rolling over and giving in to sin, along with the rest of the world, and calling it acceptable.
“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
       Judges 21:25
the world at large is carrying on just as the Israelites did back then.  Whatever they feel like doing, no matter how morally wrong or debased.  As long as they like it, it’s fine.
I have a daughter who will be starting school soon and I don’t know what they’ll be teaching her.  Already the schools have to bow to the whims of the transgenders and in a year or two, who knows how bad it will get.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”
       Proverbs 22:6
This brings me to my point. What the LGBT and government are pushing on us is the justification of sin.  Proverbs 6:16-19 starts by saying, “These six things the Lord hates, Yes seven are an abomination to Him:”.  It goes on to list pride, lying, murder, those who oppose God, people who are quick to run towards sin and people spreading rumors to undermine God.  Sin is sin!  Big or small.  God doesn’t condone any of it!
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
       1 Peter 3:12
Now before anyone goes and decides to get upset over anything I said, God won’t allow sin into heaven.  He sent His only Son as a sacrifice for the  remission of sin and 1 John 3: 4-9 says that God doesn’t have sin in Him and those who are His practice righteousness and are like Him.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
       Romans 6:23
Now for the good news!  God doesn’t want us to be this way.  He wants everyone to come to the knowledge of Him and give up their sinful nature and be free.  Sin is an attractive slave master that fools you into believing a lie and trapping you there and the longer you are there, the harder it is to get out.  Not impossible, but really tough to let go.
THE WRAP UP:
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”          John 8:34-36

 

 

 

 

 

What is BLACK/WHITE

Over the years I’ve seen many posts, blogs and web sites claiming to speak in the name of God.  Many have been very good but a lot missed the mark and were nothing more then a place where people who claimed to be Christian used the platform to justify their sin and advance a lie to confuse those who don’t know what the truth really is.

It’s my hope to bring Biblical truth to the world and advance God’s kingdom into a world that hates and rejects His word.  In the coming weeks, months and if all goes well years I want to take what God is showing me and present it to the world. I’m not going to sugar coat the truth or tell people what they want to hear.  The truth is never easy if you find it offensive and I’m sure some will.

I named this blog BLACK/WHITE because that’s how God sees us and the world.  He doesn’t have a rainbow of greys.  He doesn’t have a middle ground.  In Matthew 12:30 Jesus told His disciples and those around Him, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”  Simply put, either you are with Him or against Him.  Don’t kid yourself and think you can go to church on Sunday and show everyone how great a Christian you are then go out the rest of the week and act like hell.  When the time comes to give an account for your life God won’t be swayed by pleas of mercy.  We have a small amount of time here and we have to make the most of it.  Give God your everything now so when you do see him on your day of judgment He will look at you and say “well done, good and faithful servant.”

I look forward to hearing any comments you may have.