Surrender to the Unknown

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Scripture

Genesis 12


Podcast

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Let’s dive deeper into Genesis 12:1 & 4.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” (7 promises later…) So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years olds when he set out from Harran. 

**The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household: 

The Lord told Abram to leave all he had ever known. Obedience builds faith. When Abram obeyed and trusted God he stepped into a deep relationship with God Almighty and had his faith increased the more he experienced God’s faithfulness and presence. But, Abram was told to leave… why? (Check out the podcast to find out… )

 

What will God do with surrender and obedience?

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**to the land I will show you.

Abram didn’t know where he was going. God hadn’t revealed the destination to him, just the first step.

As we step out in obedience and surrender, God reveals more and more of HIs plan to us.

In Luke 8:22-27 Jesus told His disciples that would go across to the other side of the lake. The disciples chose to step into the boat and go with Him. They faced storms and uncertainty of the unknown. Jesus woke to distressed men in need of a Savior. He calmed the storm and questioned the disciples faith because when Jesus says “Let’s go over to the other side” He will fulfill His word and you’ll get there. It doesn’t mean there won’t be storms, but with Jesus ion your boat all will be well, our job is to lean on Him, trust in His word and have faith that He will guide and protect our steps of obedience into the unknown. 

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(7 promises later…)

God made seven promises to Abram that would change his life and the world. Seven is the number of completion in scripture and it also is the number that represents God. In Revelations, 6 is distinguished as the number of man and 7 is the number of God. 6 always falls short of 7 and will never be 7. We, as humans, fall short of the glory of God and need His grace and righteousness through Jesus. It’s not a coincidence that God game Abram 7 promises. He is always faithful to complete the work He starts. He did it for Abraham and he will do it for you.  (Philippians 1:6)

7 days of creation. 

7 times the Israelites marched around the city of Jericho for 7 days and God delivered that city into the Israelites hands. 

7 pairs of every kind of animal were on the ark. 

7fold Spirit of God in Christ: Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, fear of the LORD, and a delight in obeying the LORD (Isaiah 11:2-3)

In Revelations….

7 churches in Asia (Rev. 1:4)

7 seals opened by the Lamb of God (Jesus) (Rev. 6:1)

7 angels stand before God (Rev. 8:2)

7 trumpets for 7 angels standing before God (Rev. 8:2)

7 golden bowls… of God’s wrath (Rev. 15:7)

…. to be continued…

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So Abram went, as the LORD had told him

Abram left his family, home and all that was known to follow a God and the unknown. 

There are times when God will pull you away and out of some stuff so that you can grow in Him.

Abram’s willingness couldn’t have been easy or without pain. But he wanted the life and promises only God could give him. When we recognize that God’s ways are far better than our own we begin to want His ways over our own. 

Hebrews 11:8-13 reveals that it was by faith that Abraham obeyed and went to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, even though he did not know where he was going.  He was looking past the circumstance he could physically see and into an eternal legacy provided by God. Abrahma would not live to see the promises on earth, he only saw and welcomed them from a distance. He understood that his citizenship was in heaven not earth; therefore, he lived to obey and surrender to God, who’s ways and plans greatly surpassed his own. 

We may not understand the reason or even see the purpose, but when we are obedient to God and desire His will, we will be blessed and be blessings to others. Surrendering to Him is the first step. 

Are you ready? What can you do today, in this moment, to fully surrender? 

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and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years olds when he set out from Harran. 

Finally, this journey is not meant to be taken alone. Abraham has Lot, Sarah and the LORD. This is a journey of faith, find community and relationships to join you on this road. 

There’s no age or moment in life that you have passed the point of being used by God. 

Surrounding to God’s will, God’s way, will always cause us to step out of what’s comfortable and cozy, but the blessings of obedience greatly outweigh the pain of surrender.


Related Scripture

Hebrews 11:8-13

Philippians 1:6

Joshua 24:2-3

Worship Over Worldly

Set Before You
Scripture

Jeremiah 11:6-11 and 21:1-10


Jeremiah 21:8 says … Furthermore, tell the people,This is what the LORD says: see I am setting before you the way of life and death.’

Let’s look closer into Jeremiah 21:8 and dissect it to grasp the deeper meaning.

**This is what the Lord says: See, I am

LOOK, LISTEN, PAY ATTENTION. God is all knowing, all powerful and ever present. He is the creator os the heavens and the earth. 

Isaiah 40 tells us that God sits enthroned over all the earth, its people are like grasshoppers and who can compare? He has no rival or equal.

Revelations 1:8 says “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” 

Our job is to pay attention, listen to His voice and be aware of His holy presence. 

**This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you

God has given us free will, the choice is ours to follow and obey Him or go our own ways. 

God sets before you the way of life and prosperity & death and destruction. (Deuteronomy 30:11-20) 

“Free will is a precise gift from God, for it lets us love Him with out “whole heart”- because we want to.” Matthew 22:37

**This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life

In the Gospel of John we learn who Jesus is by the 7 I AM statements He makes. We are going to look at two of those statements to understand how our free will is a sacrifice. 

He is

  1. the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6) 
  2. the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)

Jesus is the only way to eternal life and a life full of abundance on this earth. Through God’s amazing grace we have the opportunity to reign in this life through Jesus. (Romans 5:17) In John 4, Jesus offers the Samaritan woman life giving water that nourishes the soul from deep within, wells up inside and bubbles over with an abundant, fruitful life. Jesus’ manifested presence in our lives is the sources of freedom. 

**This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and death

SIN. 

Death entered this world through sin. All people have sinner and fall short of the glory of God. 

The mistake the Israelites kept making was to turn their heart away from God, disobey His commandments, and worship other gods. 

What do you worship? Just look at what you spend your time, energy and money on and you’ll find the object of your worship. 

 

 


Research & Define

  1. life
  2. death
  3. surrender

Questions for Reflection

  1. Has there ever been a time when you unintentionally allowed your devotion to slip away from God?
  2. What did you do to get back to Him?
  3. What is taking first place in your life today? What are you worshipping?
  4. How does this scripture help you see God and what He values?
  5. What are you worshipping in place of God today?
  6. What changes do you need to make to live a life of worship instead of a life influenced by this world?

Related Scriptures

Deuteronomy 30:11-20

Isaiah 40

Revelations 1:8

Romans 5:12-17

John 4:1-26

1 Peter 1:14-17

Romans 12:2


Memorize & Meditate

Write out Romans 12:2.

Meditate on this Truth.

Memorize this Scripture, let it renew your mind and change your heart.

We are living sacrifices to God by the way we live and honor Him. 


Prayer

Father God, I honor you today and humbly submit myself to you. I love you and want to live a life that pleases you. I am on fire for Jesus and choose to be alive to You and dead to the world around me. Nothing means more to me than pleasing You, Jesus. Every day of my life, I live to serve You. Holy Spirit, if there is any part of me that has been influenced wrongly by this world, I ask you to please reveal it to me and help me change my ways. I choose to worship you above all other things, above my life, above my dreams, above my desires.

In Jesus’ name! Amen.


The Podcast

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Smurfs & Purpose

Scripture

1 Timothy 4:8, 14-16; Acts 17:26-28


Podcast

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Research & Define

  1. purpose
  2. godliness

Questions for Reflection

  1. What passion for you have buried deep down inside? Have you given God a chance to dream with you lately?
  2. Have you tried something new recently? Have you stepped out of your comfort zone to help someone around you?
  3. How does this passage reveal God’s heart and character in a new way?
  4. What step do you need to take next?

Related Scripture

Ephesians 2:10

Jeremiah 29:11-14

1 Timothy 6:6

Psalm 37:1-11


Memorize & Meditate

Write out Acts 17:28.

Meditate on this Truth. In Him, not in ourselves, we LIVE, move and have our being… we are His.  

Memorize this Scripture, let it renew your mind and change your heart.


Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and preparing a purpose for me in advance. I trust in Your ways and Your timing. I know you are in control and fill me with purpose and a destiny to give Your name glory. Let my life be an example of Your love. Match my heart to yours and my will to Your will. Let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.


The Podcast

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Why I’m Always Late

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Scripture to Read

John 15


I went to pick up my daughter, Charleigh, from gymnastics camp. I was about 10 minutes early and if you know me, you know this is very surprising. As I was sitting there waiting with my toddler in the back–> clearly unhappy that she could not get out. I started thinking about why I’m usually late.. I don’t like being early. I don’t like to wait… Waiting annoys me. Waiting frustrates me. Waiting is my nemesis.

At that moment a friend sent me a sweet text to thank our Women’s Bible Study Group for including her friend because she hoped it would help her as she moved back home (to another state).

Immediately the Holy Spirit showed me how we all have a part to play- big or small. Our mutual friend was with us for such a short time and hopefully we, as a group, were able to plant a seed. Now God can send a harvester and nurturer into her life. It made my day because all day I was struggling with “waiting”.

Waiting to know what comes next. Waiting for Alex to finish residency— in 3 years. Waiting to see the fruits of motherhood. Waiting to feel important. Waiting to make a difference.

Her text to thank our group– was an answer to an unspoken prayer. It was God’s way of reminding me how much we all matter. How each of us have purpose and a difference to make- somehow, some way.

In John 15, Jesus tells His disciples that He is the Vine and we are the branches. In verse 2, He tells us that, as branches- extensions of Him- we are going to be repeatedly pruned in order to bear more fruit.

The wait is more about experiencing God than enduring the delay. Wait and See

Prune means to cut off what is dead.

Trees and vines cannot thrive if there is decay and rot. To grow and make progress we are to remain rooted and established in Him (Colossians 2:7).

Each one of us is imperfectly in progress, wild, wonderful and in process.

We have to allow God to do a work in us before He can do a work through us. Wait and See

I love how our God is the God of details, process and order. He cares about our everyday, ordinary. That’s where progress is developed, ordinary becomes extraordinary and small things becomes big growth.

I truly am trying to be on time and get places when I’m supposed to be- one choice at a time, one day at a time.

God is pruning me for whatever He has planned next. I need only surrender and be still. Waiting is not easy for me, probably like most people, but there’s process in the wait. I’m learning— always learning.

I invite you to join me in the pruning season to be primed for completion, maturity and joy (James 1:2-3).

Do what you know to prepare for what you don’t know. Wendy Pope, Wait and See


Research & Define

  1. Prune
  2. Abide/Remain (depending on translation):

Discussion Questions

  1. Who is the True Vine? the Gardener? the Branches?

 

  1. Why do you think Jesus says that even if branches are bearing fruit they must be pruned?

 

  1. How does God cut off or prune in your life today? What are the results of His pruning?

 

  1. What does it mean to bear fruit?

 

  1. How do we abide in Jesus?

 

  1. What does remaining/abiding in Christ look like for you?

 

  1. It’s to God’s glory that we do what? (John 15:8)

 

  1. What areas do you feel like God is pruning or removing in you so that you can bear more fruit?

 

  1. What command does Jesus repeat more than once? Why? (John 13:34-35; 15:12,17)

 

  1. What does this passage reveal or teach you about God/yourself?

Related Scripture

Matthew 21:18:22

Luke 8:1-15

Luke 10:27

1 John 4:7-21

Philippians 2:12

James 1:2-4

Colossians 2:7


Pray

Write out a prayer based on what you’ve studied in John 15. Let scripture be your words of praise and prayer.


** Photo by She Reads Truth

Mercy and Steadfast Kindness

My awesome church organized a church-wide reading plan. Today is Day 3!
Here’s my take on what I read.

Scripture to Read

Proverbs 3, Matthew 8-10, Exodus 28:29-30


Devotional

Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Have you ever felt like a human bouncy ball— you’re just all over the place? I have and often do feel this way.

This is the first time in my life I have a choice to work or not to work. I have a choice to stay home and be with my girls. I have freedom to set new goals and pursue my passions. This sounds like an amazing time, doesn’t it?

I.don’t.like.it.

I don’t know what to do with myself most days. I bounce around from idea to idea and think every idea is a great one… so I MUST ACT ON IT! I share these ideas with my husband and now he just laughs and waits for me to bounce to another idea.

This is not who I want to be, an unsteady, inconsistent, easily influenced person.

Proverbs 3:3 struck me this morning and I found myself digging deeper. First off, faithfulness caught my attention and of course love. I immediately thought of how my inconsistencies lead to frustrations and stress— on my family and myself.

Let’s take a closer look at the beginning of verse 3: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you.”

Love in this verse is the Hebrew word chesed, which “implies personal involvement and commitment in a relationship beyond the rule of law,” (Vine’s Concise Dictionary). Another way to look at this word is to think of marriage; it’s both legal and relational. Chesed is a devotion that is steadfast and full of mercy. 

Faithfulness in this verse is the Hebrew word ’emeth, which is usually paired with chesed. This word means truth and reliability. Faithfulness is a devotion that is firm and true. 

In Matthew 9:13, Jesus tells a Pharisee, who questions Jesus about eating with sinners and tax collectors, “to go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus desires relationship over religion and devotion over ritualistic behavior. He desires for us to be self aware, so that we can go out and make disciples; showing Him to the world. Before we can do that we need radical devotion that is full of love and faithfulness.

If there’s one area I’ve been consistent in, it’s been Him.

Back to Provers 3:3. The second part of that verse tells us what to do with loving kindness and faithfulness: “bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

In Exodus 28:29-30 we learn that the high priest, Aaron, wore a breastplate over his heart that bore the names of the twelve sons of Israel. This was to help Aaron make decisions for the Israelites in the presence of God.

What we clothe ourselves with is seen by others, it’s an outward display. What we write on our hearts is internalized and unseen by others. Aaron, the high priest, wore that breast piece as a reminder of the people and relationships that would be effected by his decisions.

We all have a sphere of influence and the ability to effect others with our decisions.

Jesus wants my devotion above any great idea. All He wants is a people that will follow Him when life takes unexpected turns and doesn’t turn out quite like we planned. He wants our hearts so full of Him that we pour out on to others.

Wear your relationships on your heart so that when life happens you remember what truly matters and who you are effecting with your decisions. Show mercy, act justly and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).

I’m learning, growing and making progress. Goals are being set, passions are being pursued, love is covering all of it. I will not be a bouncy ball any longer. I am a disciple, taught of the Lord. Obedient to God’s will with great peace and undisturbed composure, (Isaiah 54:13 amp).


Research & Define

blue letter Bible

  1. bind/binding
  2. love
  3. faithfulness

Related Scripture

2 Corinthians 3:3

Colossians 3:12


Questions & Reflections

  1. What are some areas that you need more loving kindness and faithfulness?
  2. What are you writing on the tablet of your heart?
  3. What are you fusing to your neck as a display for others to see?
  4. How does this verse remind you of your need for a Savior?

Memorize & Meditate

Proverbs 3:3


Pray

Heavenly Father, Thank you for this truth today. Thank you for providing tangible ways to live out your Word on a daily basis. I struggle in so many areas and need you loving kindness and faithfulness more than ever before. Teach me how to clothe myself with your love and faithfulness so that it pours out of me. Let my life lead others to you and not away from you. Holy Spirit show me what I’ve been writing on my heart and forgive me for any and all wrong motives and selfishness. I Pray this in Jesus’ name! Amen

A Little Bit of Yeast

Scripture to Read

Matthew 16:5-12, Galatians 5:9, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9


Devotional

I heard a message from a well loved pastor, whom I listen to regularly, teach on a subject I, personally, did not know much about or had studied. I didn’t have a solid, foundational knowledge on this topic to use in order to disagree. I just believed what he said because I trusted him. Since I didn’t do my own research and reflection before bringing this topic up to a friend, I wasn’t ready for her questions. I wasn’t confident in my own knowledge of this topic to really offer sound, biblical evidence to support this view.

In the days that followed we each did our own research and I discovered that I saw a different side to this subject. It’s not to say that I no longer trust this pastor, but I now realize how important it is to study and read scripture for myself. I can no longer take someone’s word just because they are behind the pulpit. I love how my Pastor tells not to take his word for it, but to go home with our notes from service and discover it for ourselves.

We have to be active participants in our own faith.

This concept isn’t new. This idea of discovering truth for yourself isn’t breaking news. But, it is important to remember and actually do. I am no longer an infant on milk, as Paul describes a new believer who is just getting their feet wet. Pastors and teachers of the Word are planters, sowers and nurturers, but only God can make the seed grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).

This means that we can learn from our pastors and teachers, but only God can bring true revelation and truth through His Holy Spirit. In order to allow growth to occur in our spiritual walks we must:

  1. Be in the Word on a regular, consistent basis
  2. Be careful how much of the world we allow into our ears, eyes, hearts, minds and bodies
  3. Be continually in prayer throughout the day–> I don’t mean in quiet, secluded prayer, but in conversation with God in everything we do.

In Matthew 16:5-12, Jesus tells His disciples to be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. These teachers of the law were educated and gifted with words. They did not believe Jesus was the Messiah and were contaminating the truth. This is important because, as Paul says in Galatians, it only takes a small amount of yeast to work through an entire batch of dough. If we aren’t aware of this we can be easily swayed by other’s opinions, thoughts and views.

I’m not a baker and don’t pretend to be one, but after doing some research I discovered that for two loaves of bread only a scant tablespoon of yeast is needed. Therefore, we need to be careful what we listen to, believe and speak without personally knowing. In this information age we live in, there’s always opinions, speculations, and “truth” buzzing around. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 that we are being equipped and built up in the knowledge of Christ– working toward maturity. We have a role in our growth.

Just like we saw in 1 Corinthians 3, new believers need help learning Scripture and truth, but as we grow and mature there’s responsibility and a commitment to standing firm in the Truth. It’s easy to be tossed around by waves and winds of every teaching, every pretty Instagram scripture, cultural fads or spiritual ideas. Thinking, reflecting and researching on our own is what will grow us to become, in every respect, the mature body of Christ Jesus.


Research & Define

blue letter Bible

Research two words from the Scripture to Read that stood out to you.

1.

2.


Related Scripture

1 Corinthians 5:6

1 Corinthians 2:6-16


Questions & Reflections

  1. What are some truths you’re dealing with right now?
  2. How can knowing Scripture strengthen your views?
  3. What’s one topic or viewpoint that you can study in scripture now? Ask God to help you filter through what others are saying and focus on hearing His voice.
  4. How does 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 relate Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:5-12?

Memorize & Meditate

1 Corinthians 3:7

Only God makes us grow. We just have to allow Him in. 

 


Pray

Father God, thank you for Your Word. Your Word is truth and life. Speak to each one of us through your word and through Your Holy Spirit. Open my eyes and ears to receive Your truth today. You are all I need and I trust in Your Truth. Help me to filter through the teachings and views that are washing through social media and the world right now. Give me peace in the midst of uncertainty and courage to question. You are not afraid of my questions. Thank you for teaching me and granting me Your Holy Spirit of wisdom and revelation. I love you Father God. I Pray this in Jesus’ name! Amen

A Dash of Doubt

I’ve been struggling. 

I have not written a devotional or blog post in a while. I needed to take a step back and evaluate what God was really leading me to do.

I needed to minimize distractions and focus on His voice. It’s easy to lose sight of Him and His direction when we get distracted by the world’s standards and what others say is important. That’s what I call a dash of doubt. It’s a passing comment from someone, a brief look at someone else’s life or a quick thought that can open the door for the enemy to jump right in mixing up the dash of doubt with a spoonful of desire for new, better or more, a cup of discontentment, and a whole box of feelings.

I’ve been struggling with restlessness over the season of life that I am in right now. I’m a stay at home mom, housewife, and the glue that keeps my family together. Those first two jobs are seemingly insignificant according to the world. But without the first two (momma and wife) I wouldn’t have the privilege of being glue.

“Do your everyday and your ordinary, Godliness is found and formed in those places. No man or woman greatly used by God has escaped them.” Jennie Allen, author of Anything

I’ve heard God tell me many times already to remain faithfully available and He will put me firmly in place. I knew coming into my 29th year of life that this was going to be a preparatory year for me. I clearly heard God tell me He was going to be refining, transforming and molding me this year. With this revelation I have had struggles— growing pains.

As a child I would get severe legs pains, growing pains, that would start at the top of my leg and pulsate down to my feet. When this happened I would cry out to my Mom who would then grab the heating pad and ibuprofen. She knew the drill. She knew what would cause the pain to subside. When the pain became this intense I couldn’t even walk. I would miss school and have to hang out with the heating pad.

That’s how my struggle feels right now. It’s painful because I’m growing. I know what will cause the pain to subside. I know that when I keep my eyes focused on Jesus and trust in His plan, His timing and His Big Story that everything will workout. When I stay in consistent communication with Him and remain thankful for what He’s given me, the pain subsides. I can walk, I can happily participate in my life.

In Genesis 3, we find Eve and the serpent having the conversation that would lead to the Fall of Man. Oh Eve… (face palm)

Let’s look at Genesis chapter 3 and see how Satan used the dash of doubt with Eve.

First, in verse 1 the serpent removed God’s Name “the LORD God” to say “God.” Little removals of God’s sovereignty are dangerous. It slowly diminished how we see Him and who He is— the creator of all mankind, the maker of the Heavens and the Earth, the Lord of lords and King of kings.

Then, in verse 2, Eve repeated two important things. First, she also removed God’s Name just like the serpent. Secondly, she repeated what God commanded regarding what to eat. She started losing sight of Him but tried to hold on with remembering what her purpose was on this earth. She tried. Ultimately, she fell into the pot where Satan put the dash of doubt with a spoonful of better, a cup of discontentment and a whole lot of feelings.

Verse 4 (NLT), says “the woman was convinced.”

Convince: to move by argument or evidence to belief, agreement, consent or a course of action.

It’s easy to be convinced when we lose sight of the Big picture, God’s Story and His truth.

A puzzle piece doesn’t make sense individually. Together, puzzle pieces make the picture complete.

Eve lost sight of that truth.

It’s easy to do what we want, what our flesh wants, what we already know to do. It’s more difficult to be consistent in obedience and remain steadfast, trusting God- especially when we are distracted. Eve removed God’s name- in essence- she lost sight of Him.

“Jesus says the way we glorify God, the way we step into His story, is by accomplishing the word God gives us to do… We play our part in His story, and the beauty is, it was what we were made for.” Jennie Allen, author of Anything.

I’m challenged by this passage of scripture in Genesis. I refuse to let Satan in with his manipulating recipe of lies. I’m choosing to meditate on His truth instead of my own self doubt. I’m choosing to remember my small, yet important, part in His Big Story. I’m choosing to remain in constant communication with Him.

Have you been challenged by Genesis 3 today? What distractions do you need to eliminate to better hear His voice?

God’s will for us is to remain in constant communication with Him- so when doubt slips in we are quick to speak with Him, letting Him fill us with joy and peace as we trust in Him, His timing, His plans. Rely on His truth above our own circumstances and thoughts.


Related Scripture:

Isaiah 26:3

Romans 7:23, 8:1-11, 15:13

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18