HATE EVIL, LOVE GOOD

HATE EVIL, LOVE GOOD

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. —Romans 12:9

“I don’t believe in good and evil. It is relative. You might believe something is evil, but I might believe it is good. You believe your way and I believe mine.” This type of logic is illogical. Is it good or evil to steal? If you say that it is OK to steal then I am going to take your wallet and all your stuff. Is that OK? Is it alright to kill? If you say it is OK to kill babies in the womb, then why can’t anyone be killed? After all, it was a court decision that OK’d the killing of children in the womb. Can the court also decide to kill the elderly or the “defective” people or those of a particular race or religion? Muslim governed countries routinely execute Christians. Who is it that will decide that a person lives or dies? The government? The courts? The elitists? Joseph Stalin had over 42,000,000 killed. Mao Zedong killed 37,000,000. Adolf Hitler had over 20,000,000 killed. Chiang Kai-shek had over 10,000,000 killed. Vladimir Lenin had over 4,000,000 killed. Hideki Tojo had about 4,000,000 killed. Pol Pot had over 2,000,000 killed (R.J. Rummel, “Death by Government”). The U.S. has killed over 50,000,000 babies in the womb. That was OK’d by the courts and not much outcry is coming from the general population. What is wrong and right many times is decided by those with might—people in power positions. Do not think it will not happen again! Man, left to himself, can do evil, wicked and atrocious acts against fellow man. This is satanically instigated. Maybe the government will decide to take your money, OK’d by the courts. Those not in subjection to God are in subjection to the Evil One to do his will (II Timothy 2:26).

Followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are to hate evil and cling to that which is good. We are told in Proverbs 8:13 that “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech” and “Let those who love the LORD hate evil… (Psalm 97:10). Evil exists and it is only the willfully blind person who will deny this. People want to deny evil exists because if it exists it had to come from somewhere and Satan is called the Evil One. This is where evil originates from and no wonder people do not want to acknowledge that, because if they acknowledge that Satan exists then they will have to acknowledge that good comes from God, but the majority of people do not want to bow the knee to Him.

Instead, man says that man is basically good. We run a daycare. Let me tell you about the nonsense that man is basically good. When a very young child, one that does not talk yet, is upset at another child, many times they will bite the other child. Or how about the one year old child that was standing on the platform of a slide when another one year old was climbing up the ladder and he just kick her in the face? Where did he learn that? How about the one year old that slapped another one year old in the face or the one who purposely threw a toy to hit another child in the head? How was that learned? These are very young children and you can see the evil side of man in them already. Someone has said, “We are fortunate that toddlers are small and not our size because they would probably wind up killing us!”

Fellow follower of Jesus, do you hate evil? Are you clinging to what is good? Do evil actions and speech bother you or are you taking part in it? Oh, that we would cling to the One Who is Good and hate evil. May it be so!

Dear Father, may I call evil evil and good good. May I cling to that which is good and coming from You and hate what is evil and all the evil one stands for. May this be done in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus.

GOD LET THEM GO…

Therefore God gave them over… —Romans 1:24, 26, 28

He was not happy at all about it and did not take any pleasure in it, but he gave the would be thief over to the police. The young man had attempted to break into the house in the middle of the night, but the owner over powered him and called the police. Now he would pay the penalty as a law breaker.

God does not take any pleasure in giving over people to their own natural and base desires. But if they do not want to live for Him there is a line they cross and then He does let them go to live according to their own evil, fleshly nature. Individuals and nations are in danger of this judgment from God.

I know of a situation where a person was falling off a cliff and a much smaller person grabbed their arm. It was in the pitch black of night and there was no way of seeing how much of a drop it was. The smaller person could not hold them and let them go… Fortunately it was only a 10 foot drop.

When God gives people over or lets them go to live out their own desires, the consequences are much worse than a 10 foot drop and the final end is eternal judgment in hell. But here is how it looks for a person or nation when God lets them go.

*A heaven sent judgment– God eventually judges a person or nation who rejects Him. -*A suppression of truth by wickedness– Evil (Satan’s realm) seeks truth censorship. – *A denial of the plain truth about God– Plain truth about God is rejected. *A denial of God’s creation revelation– Creation by God is rejected. *A futile mind– The thinking processes of these people are pointless, vain and wasted. *A foolish, darkened heart– They have no wisdom without God’s Light *A fool– They claim to be wise, but in God’s eyes they are unintelligent, not sensible. *A focus on created things and not the creator– Concerned with the planet, not God. *A given over by God–They do not want to live for God, so He lets them go their way. –*A heart for degrading sexual impurity–Without God sexual promiscuity practiced. *A lust for shameful homosexual acts– Without God homosexuality practiced. *A received penalty for their error– Deviants will be judged. *A depraved mind to do what they should not do— filled with wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, God-hating, insolence, arrogance, boastfulness, inventing of evil, dishonoring of parents, lack of understanding, unreliability, unloving, unmerciful, knowingly rebelling against God, knowing the judgment to come, approve of others in rebellion (Romans 1:18-32).

As we read through this list we should be really concerned for the state of America and Americans as well as for the rest of the world. “Those who do these things also approve of others who do them.” Here are my questions: Who is approving these things? It is our government who is passing laws promoting these things. Who put them in office? We did! So, who is approving these things? We the people! I’d say the church needs to be in the forefront standing for what is right and be vocal about it. Individual believers need to be sharing the truth of what God says. Yes, God changes people through the gospel and He also desires us to have the proper “fast” (Isaiah 58:6-11). Just less than 80% of Americans “claim” to be Christian, but only 6% may really only be disciples from the statistics I read! Regardless, the church is the light for this dark world. Oh, that we would be shining and not… hiding.

Dear Father, please help us to shine the Light of Jesus wherever You desire us to!

HUNGER TO HEAR

Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight… Paul talked on and on… talking until daylight. —Acts 20:7, 9, 11

I was talking with a friend who had been attending a church where the pastor only spoke a 10 minute message. That was it— 10 minutes. What a contrast to the spiritual hungry people in the underground church in China. I was reading that when Westerners were going to speak in some of their groups that if they could not speak for at least 2 hours minimum then they should not come. What makes the difference between the two groups? It appears one likes a comfortable Christianity with little commitment while the other is truly committed to the cause of Christ.

How many of us in America who profess to follow the Lord Jesus Christ would have stayed to listen to Paul speak as mentioned in the above verses? Would you or I have excused ourselves for one reason or another? Do you and I really have a hunger to hear what God has to say? How much time did you or I spend listening to His Word this morning… or yesterday? Are you and I truly committed to the Lord Jesus and His will?

People will stay in line overnight to get tickets for a sporting event, a concert or even some special sneakers promoted by a pro-basketball player. In some countries where there is lack of food people will wait for hours to get some. How hungry are you and I for the Word of God— “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Dear Father, thank You for Your Word. Oh, may I truly desire to hear what You have to say to me and then be faithful in carrying out Your desires in the authority of the Lord Jesus.

DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR SOMEONE TODAY… AND REGULARLY!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. —Galatians 6:9-10

I appreciate the encouragement when someone does something good for me. Yesterday the local church where I serve gave me a card and gifts. Brothers and sisters wrote notes of encouragement. The notes are what are most important to me and I am grateful for their gifts as well which represents part of their lives.

When was the last time you or I did something good for someone? It could be for someone who knows Jesus or it could be for someone who does not know Him. According to the verses above we are encouraged to do good to all people and especially for those who know Jesus. But, we are also to be doing good to those who do not know Him.

So, what good can you do for someone today? Maybe for someone you work with or someone you go to school with. Hey, how about this one… it could be a family member or someone in your local church or a neighbor. Why not seek to make it a regular discipline to do good toward people? It will make a difference. It would be an encouragement and if we do not grow weary in doing good there will be a harvest! Don’t give up in doing good. It will have an effect.

A few months ago the local church where I pastor honored the local police department with a brunch and gifts. At one point the police chief stood and spoke appreciation for the church taking the time to do such a thing for them. He said, “Of the twelve years I have been the police chief of this town, this is the first time anyone has ever done something like this for us. Thank you. We greatly appreciate this.”

Yes, let us do good to all men, especially to those in the household of God, but truly, let us not forget to do good to those who are not in the household of God as well This is God’s desire for those who know His Son!

Dear Father, help me to do good for others today. Please give guidance in this and may the Lord Jesus be honored by what I do.

FREE OR IMPRISONED

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. —Galatians 3:23

Going into the state Prison to work with new believers has been a great joy and I thank God that I can be serving Him that way. I cannot imagine living in those conditions though and this prison is “nice” compared to other prisons in the world. I know one man that I met almost 30 years ago and he is still in prison, never to get out. But, he is freer than those on the outside who do not know Jesus. He may be in prison but when Ernie trusted Jesus almost 3 decades ago, he was freed in Jesus. Many on the outside may have all this world has to offer, but they are in a worse prison than concrete, bars and wire. They are trapped by “the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (II Timothy 2:26), but they think they are living as they want to. It matters not who they are. They are living an imprisoning lie without Jesus.

The law does not bring freedom, but captivity. There are those who believe we need to keep the law today, but they are absolutely wrong according to God’s Word. Those who claim the law has to be kept today are encouraging people to be in bondage. This was a warning that Paul gave to the Galatians (Galatians Chapter 3) and it is a warning to us as well— don’t go into bondage under the law!

Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Galatians 2:6). The law did not come until 430 years later (Galatians 3:17), but the promise to Abraham did not depend on the law, but on God’s grace (v.18). The law was added because of sin until the promised Seed came, Jesus. But, when Jesus came there was no more need for the law. The law could not give us righteousness (v.21), “But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (v.22-25).

How clear can it be? We are no longer under the law which was our guardian (a boy’s guardian or tutor, a slave who had charge of the life and morals of the boys of a family, not strictly a teacher). We are no longer held captive by the law, no, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). We are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24) “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Revelation 1:5). “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:15-18).

Those of us who have trusted Jesus are free! Now, “do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13). For those who have not trusted Jesus, you are being held captive to do the devil’s will. Oh, trust Jesus and be set free! For those seeking to keep the law, you are in bondage, not free!

Thank You Dear Father for the freedom I have in Jesus. Now, may I live faithfully.

PERSECUTION

…intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. —Galatians 1:13

It is reported in 2011 that there are 105,000 Christians martyred each year http://www.christianpost.com/news/shocking-figures-reveal-105000-christians-martyred-each-year-50976/. About every 5 minutes a follower of Jesus Christ is killed.

Many of those who kill Christians actually think they are doing the will of God. What they do not realize is they are in “the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (II Timothy 2:26). Saul, before he became Paul, “began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison” (Acts 8:3). “Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1 and headed on a week’s journey to Damascus to bring men and women who where following Jesus back to Jerusalem as prisoners. He said, “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities” (Acts 26:9-11). But the Lord Jesus appeared to Him and said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 26:14). Saul, who thought He was doing the will of God in persecuting the church, was actually doing these things against Jesus. But, praise God, Saul trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior and went from a great persecutor of the church to a great preacher in the church!

Down through the ages there are those who have persecuted the church and said it would go out of existence. Voltaire said Christianity would be gone in 100 years… His home was used to print Bibles and distribute around the world! Ingersoll said the Bible would be in the morgue in 15 years. He was in the morgue 15 years later and his desk purchased by a Pastor where he spent his life writing sermons on it. Nations around the world have and are seeking to destroy the church. They confiscate and burn Bibles and Christian literature. They burn churches and yes, they kill those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ. This is all done just because people love Jesus and the persecution comes from those who hate Jesus.

Jesus said, “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18). People need to understand this, “Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession” the Lord has said (Zechariah2:8). What will be the end of those who kill believers and do not repent? We get a glimpse of how those killed feel about it in Revelation 6:9-11— “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters were killed just as they had been” (Revelation 6:9-11). The Lord says, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” (Romans 12:19). May many of those persecutors come to Jesus before He judges them!

Dear Father, please intervene in the lives of many of those who persecute Your people.

LOVING SERVICE

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. —I Corinthians 12:7

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. —I Corinthians 12:18

…do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. …do not have love, I am nothing. …do not have love, I gain nothing. —I Corinthians 13:1-3

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. —I Corinthians 15:58

Do everything in love. —I Corinthians 16:14

It was a team sport and a team sport needs team players. Each member of the team is chosen for their individual skill, but that skill is to be combined with the skills of the other members of the team. In doing so the team becomes stronger than the individual parts working independently. Imagine a soccer play or basketball player handling the ball the entire game with no one else on the team touching it. Needless to say that team would not do very well and you could not really call it a team with one person totally controlling the ball. The rest of the team might as well sit on the bench.

So it is in the church. God has gifted each individual member of the church and placed them in the church according to His desires. The Holy Spirit is revealed in each individual of the church through the use of their gift(s) and that is for the common good of the church. Those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ but there is no evidence of or desire for Holy Spirit gifting usage, then something is not right. It could be a lack of knowing God’s Word (experientially), a lack of discipleship, disobedience or maybe the person does not even know the Lord Jesus.

Whatever spiritual gift(s) the Lord has given to each one of us, these gifts are to be utilized by the motivation of love, godly love. A person can have the spiritual gift of teaching and be a wonderful teacher, but if that person is not practicing that gift out of love for God and people, then it is worth nothing. There is no spiritual profit and that person is only making noise. Holy Spirit motivated love for God and people have to be the impetus in using spiritual gifts.

We should not let anything move us in serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us give ourselves fully to His work. Our labor in the Lord is not in vain! But, let us labor out of love or we are laboring is in vain!

Dear Father, oh, that I would grow in my love for the Lord Jesus Christ, for His people and for the lost. Help me to ponder the love You have for me and all that Jesus has done for me. Out of sincere appreciation, may I serve in Your love. May it be so.

FOOLISHNESS

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. —I Corinthians 1:18
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. —I Corinthians 2:14

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. —I Corinthians 3:19

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. —I Corinthians 6:9-10

The world we live in promotes sexual immorality. Many people don’t even believe that deviate sexual activity is deviate anymore. It is being accepted as normal— homosexuality, sex before marriage, adultery are all being seen as a normal part of life and not immoral. Greed is also promoted through state sponsored gambling and few have a problem with it. People not only see no problem with drinking, but now drug use is being encouraged normal.

Jesus came to save people from their sin which is so offensive before a Holy God. He hates sin and cannot have anything to do with it. He is perfect and we have to be perfect to know Him, serve Him and be with Him in heaven when we die. Jesus dying on the cross for our sins made it possible for us to turn (repent) from our sins, be forgiven and be made perfect in Jesus, not in ourselves in what we do, but in Jesus and what He has done for us.

To share what Jesus did at the cross sounds foolish to those who do not know Him. “How does somebody dying on a cross 2,000 years ago affects me today”, they think. They do not get it, but we who have been saved do get it. What took place at the cross is powerful. When we trust the finished work of Jesus on the cross not only is our sin forgiven, but God gives us His righteousness. We are clothed in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. When God sees the person who has trusted His Son He sees His Son’s righteousness and not our sinfulness. That is the only way a person can know God, serve God and be with Him in heaven after death. No amount of good works or deed can make us right before God. Only trusting Jesus does that. Then out of the gratitude of our hearts for Him saving us, then we serve Him.

All this is foolishness to the person who does not have the Holy Spirit and that person clings to the foolishness of worldly wisdom. Only when the Lord God Almighty causes light to shine into a person’s life can they truly understand what He has done for them. Otherwise, they will just be caught up in the immorality of this world. Oh, that many would come to truly understand what Jesus has done for them.

Dear Father, may You be pleased to shine Your Light into the lives of those people we share the gospel with. Only You can save a person from their sin as they trust the Lord Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross. Thank You for allowing me to know Jesus and how wonderful He is!

OBSTINATE!

But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. —Acts 19:9

Many atheists are obstinate people. Not only do they refuse to believe, but many of them find it necessary to malign those who do believe. Not only that, for some reason they feel it necessary to attack that which is Christian. If they don’t believe that is their choice. Do they attack the tooth fairy? Surely they don’t believe in the fairy! Why do they attack Christianity, the very thing they say they do not believe in? It is because they do believe and their attacks prove their rebellion against God! An atheist is only “a theist” in rebellion against God. Does an atheist have all information? Of course not! If they say they do, then they are lying. If they do not have all information then they would have to say there is a possibility that God does exist and that they just do not know it!

The context of the verse above was when Paul was at Corinth sharing God’s Word. There were those who “became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.” It was not that they could not believe, but that they made the choice and refused to believe. So it is with atheists. They simply refuse to believe. They evidence is available and plain to them, but like we are told in Romans 1:18-32 that they “suppress the truth by their wickedness.” They would rather “worship” created things, including themselves rather than worship God.

In Second Peter 3:3-9 we are told “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

This passage gives us insight to the atheist. 1- They are scoffers—they like to ridicule and deride those who do believe. 2- They want to follow their own evil desires— Here is the main reason they do not want to believe. They want to do their own will and not God’s will. They want to be the god of their own lives. 3- They mock the coming of Jesus. 4- They deliberately forget that God is the Creator. This is interesting because many atheistic scientists have to remind themselves that just because things appear to have design does not mean there is a designer. They have to tell themselves this! 5- They also do not want to acknowledge that there was a world-wide flood.

As followers of the Lord Jesus, we know God is an Awesome God and He is able to do whatever He desires. May people who are atheists “come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (II Timothy 2:26). Here something the atheist does not understand— though he does not want to yield to God and do His will he is actually yielding to the devil and is doing His will! May God grant them mercy to escape that trap!

Dear Father, oh that you would help those who claim to be atheists to come to their senses and trust the Lord Jesus. May it be so!

BE SAFE FROM THE COMING JUDGMENT

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. —II Thessalonians 1:6-10

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. —II Thessalonians 2:10-12

Oh, that’s what you believe! All ways make it to heaven anyway. Besides, I am as good as the next person. God will have to let me in. Really? Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything, regardless of how small it was? That makes you a liar and a thief! You have broken God’s law and He demands perfection. The only way to be perfect is to turn from your sin (repent) and trust Jesus’ finished work on the cross so you can be forgiven, have relationship with God, serve Him and be with Him when you die. You can only be made in perfect standing with God through His Son, Jesus.

I don’t believe that stuff! Really? Why do you take the Lord’s Name in vain? You use His Name as profanity to punctuate your sentences. If you don’t believe then why do you speak His Name in such a derogatory way? You see, if Jesus did not rise from the grave you would not be using His Name that way. If He was truly dead and not living today then He would not be who He said He was. But, the reason you use His Name that way is that He is alive and you are breaking another of God’s commands—-“You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name” (Exodus 20:7). So now that makes you are liar, a thief and a blasphemer. As a judge, a good judge, a perfect judge and a just judge— when you stand before Jesus on judgment day will you be guilty or innocent of breaking His law? Will you go to heaven or hell? Doesn’t going to hell forever concern you?

The verses above are a dire warning to you if you have not trusted the Lord Jesus Christ. Life is short and when death comes your destiny will be sealed. Trust Jesus, turn from your sins, serve Him and when you die you will be in that perfect place, heaven, with all who love the Lord Jesus. Don’t trust Him, reject the truth, delight in wickedness and that will be your choice to be condemned forever after you die. I truly hope if you are reading this that you will not make that terrible choice, but instead trust the Lord Jesus who loves you so much that He willingly laid down His life for you, took the penalty and punishment for your sins, died and rose the third day to give eternal life to all who would believe.

Will you trust Him? Instead of using His Name as profanity, will you now speak His Name to honor Him? I truly hope that is the case.

Dear Father, if there is anyone who reads this who has not trusted the Lord Jesus, please encourage them to do so.