Tag Archives: Do not Fear

Out into the deep


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They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep (Ps. 107:23, 24).

He is but an apprentice and no master in the art, who has not learned that every wind that blows is fair for Heaven. The only thing that helps nobody, is a dead calm. North or south, cast or west, it matters not, every wind may help towards that blessed port. Seek one thing only: keep well out to sea, and then have no fear of stormy winds. Let our prayer be that of an old Cornishman: “O Lord, send us out to sea–out in the deep water. Here we are so close to the rocks that the first bit of breeze with the devil, we are all knocked to pieces. Lord, send us out to sea–out in the deep water, where we shall have room enough to get a glorious victory.”
–Mark Guy Pearse

 

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I am a perverse and unruly patient!


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(Letters of John Newton)

I am bound to speak well of my Physician—He treats me with great tenderness, and bids me in due time to expect a perfect cure. I know too much of Him (though I know but little) to doubt either His skill or His promise.

It is true, I have suffered sad relapses since I have been under His care. Yet I confess, that the fault has not been His—but my own! I am a perverse and unruly patient! I have too often neglected His prescriptions, and broken the regimen He appoints me to observe. This perverseness, joined to the exceeding obstinacy of my disorders, would have caused me to be turned out as an incurable long ago—had I been under any other hand but His! Indeed—there is none like Him! When I have brought myself very low—He has still helped me. Blessed be His name—I am yet kept alive only by means of His perfect care.

Though His medicines are all beneficial—they are not all pleasant. Now and then He gives me a pleasant cordial; but I have many severe disorders, in which there is a needs-be for my frequently taking His bitter and unpalatable medicines!

We sometimes see published in the newspapers, acknowledgments of cures received. Methinks, if I were to publish my own case, that it would run something like this:

“I, John Newton, have long labored under a multitude of grievous disorders:
    a fever of ungoverned passions,
    a cancer of pride,
    a frenzy of wild imaginations,
    a severe lethargy, and
    a deadly stroke!

In this deplorable situation, I suffered many things from many physicians, spent every penny I had—yet only grew worse and worse!

In this condition, Jesus, the Physician of souls, found me when I sought Him not. He undertook my recovery freely, without money and without price—these are His terms with all His patients! My fever is now abated, my senses are restored, my faculties are enlivened! In a word, I am a new man! And from His ability, His promise, and the experience of what He has already done—I have the fullest assurance that He will infallibly and perfectly heal me—and that I shall live forever as a monument of His power and grace!”

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A thing or two about sorrow


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So I endure all things for the sake of those chosen by God, that they too may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus and its eternal glory. (2 Tim 2:10)

If Job could have known as he sat there in the ashes, bruising his heart on this problem of Providence—that in the trouble that had come upon him he was doing what one man may do to work out the problem for the world, he might again have taken courage. No man lives to himself. Job’s life is but your life and mine written in larger text….So, then, though we may not know what trials wait on any of us, we can believe that, as the days in which Job wrestled with his dark maladies are the only days that make him worth remembrance, and but for which his name had never been written in the book of life, so the days through which we struggle, finding no way, but never losing the light, will be the most significant we are called to live.
—Robert Collyer

Who does not know that our most sorrowful days have been amongst our best? When the face is wreathed in smiles and we trip lightly over meadows bespangled with spring flowers, the heart is often running to waste.

The soul which is always blithe and gay misses the deepest life. It has its reward, and it is satisfied to its measure, though that measure is a very scanty one. But the heart is dwarfed; and the nature, which is capable of the highest heights, the deepest depths, is undeveloped; and life presently burns down to its socket without having known the resonance of the deepest chords of joy.

“Blessed are they that mourn.” Stars shine brightest in the long dark night of winter. The gentians show their fairest bloom amid almost inaccessible heights of snow and ice.

God’s promises seem to wait for the pressure of pain to trample out their richest juice as in a wine-press. Only those who have sorrowed know how tender is the “Man of Sorrows.”
—Selected

Thou hast but little sunshine, but thy long glooms are wisely appointed thee; for perhaps a stretch of summer weather would have made thee as a parched land and barren wilderness. Thy Lord knows best, and He has the clouds and the sun at His disposal.
—Selected

“It is a gray day.” “Yes, but dinna ye see the patch of blue?”
—Scotch Shoemaker

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The light of a new morning


 Lamentations 3:22-24

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

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The word of God says a new day brings new mercies. I think about that a lot on my morning walks before work. Just looking at things in the light of a new day often brings an entirely new perspective. Depending on the weather and the light, things take on new hues and subtle changes. Delicate flowers explode with color and beauty in the noon day sun, but even weeds have a certain shimmer in the first sprinkles of early morning dew and a new days awakening sunlight. I like to hike and take photographs and in order to capture God’s creation you need to notice certain things. I think there is hidden beauty in things often overlooked and my life is a lot like that sometimes. If I am not careful, and focus on earthly troubles my mind is no longer at peace and trusting in God’s promises. I can easily forget that my worries and cares, even afflictions are part of the school of Christ…only leading me to my eternal home and rest in Jesus.

James Meikle wrote in Solitude Sweetened

“Again, in the dark night of adversity, there are beauties seen, that were never seen in the broad day of prosperity. Manasseh, all the time he reigned in Judah, though it was a land of light, never knew God until he was taken among the thorns, bound in fetters, and carried to Babylon, where he prayed, was heard, pardoned, and liberated; and “then Manasseh knew that the Lord, he was God.” Thus, in the depths of affliction, he learned maxims more sublime, and of higher consequence, than he could attain to when seated on a throne. O desirable distress! that discloses and magnifies heavenly excellences, and diminishes earthly vanities!”

“From the depth of afflictions we see stupendous things”.

These are lessons I need to learn to find joy and comfort in. Let me leave you with some encouragement from God’s word that we can stand on no matter our circumstances today.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Romans 8:37-39

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Proverbs 1:33

But all who listen to me will live in peace,
untroubled by fear of harm.”

John 14:27

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

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Yet I will trust Him


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Though he slay me, yet will I trust him (Job 13:15).

For I know whom I have believed (2 Tim. 1:12).

I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I will believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
‘I trust in Thee.’

I will not doubt, though all my prayers return
Unanswered from the still, white realm above;
I will believe it is an all-wise love
Which has refused these things for which I yearn;
And though at times I cannot keep from grieving,
Yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing
Undimmed shall burn.

I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain,
And troubles swarm like bees about a hive.
I will believe the heights for which I strive
Are only reached by anguish and by pain;
And though I groan and writhe beneath my crosses.
I yet shall see through my severest losses
The greater gain.

I will not doubt. Well anchored is this faith,
Like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale;
So strong its courage that it will not quail
To breast the mighty unknown sea of death.
Oh, may I cry, though body parts with spirit,
‘I do not doubt,’ so listening worlds may hear it,
With my last breath.

“In fierce storms,” said an old seaman, “we must do one thing; there is only one way: we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.” This, Christian, is what you must do.

Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you; and then you can do but one thing; there is only one way. Reason cannot help you; past experiences give you no light. Even prayer fetches no consolation. Only a single course is left. You must put your soul in one position and keep it there.

You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may–winds, waves, cross-seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers–no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm, and hold fast your confidence in God’s faithfulness, His covenant engagement, His everlasting love in Christ Jesus.
–Richard Fuller

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The Cross


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It’s been so since long I have been here. My heart was injured but slowly healing. The past three years have been the most intense and difficult of my life. Loss and illness, sadness and frustration filled it and I needed time to process that and figure out how to keep moving. Battle weary, but not worn down I had to guard my heart for a season. I think I forgot how to do this blog thing in the process so this may be a jumbled mess. I apologize for that, but it’s at the least an exercise of opening my heart a little again.

In this season of my life I found myself pondering some strange things.  Well strange to most people probably.  I wondered what life would really be like if all of your comforts in life were taken away? I thought about why so many people I know are comfortable…cozy in homes with two car garages and plenty to eat, full of toys and Bluetooth and happy families.  Work all week and church on Sunday if you are a Christian, or a weekend full of honey-do lists and fun,  maybe a trip to a theme park or the beach. The occasional tragedy and hard times that we all face but even after life often goes back to trying to grasp that sense of comfort and normalcy again.   Vanity of all vanities as the very comfortable King Solomon would say.  Some people are born into abject poverty or chaos,  in one way or another much less comfortable circumstances.  Age old questions I guess and I  don’t have any answers, but  I still find myself mulling them over once in a while.  This story caused me to really stop and think about riches in this earthly kingdom, and far greater things  in the one to come http://www.lifenews.com/2014/06/10/meriam-ibrahims-brother-in-law-brutal-pre-execution-flogging-will-take-her-skin-off/

I think of people like Corrie Ten Boom who never really had a lot of money or luxury, but in a providence only God understands was asked to give up her comforts, most of her family and nearly her own life for the cause of Christ in the Holocaust.  I am so guilty of scanning social media, comparing myself to friends and wondering why I am less comfortable than them when in fact I am rich compared to most of the planet, and spiritually rich beyond all measure. God forgive this sinner for her discontent! Comfort, ease and a false sense of security are lures to my flesh and I know so much better than to even think they might make living temporarily better.  I don’t know a whole lot but in these past few years I have learned that  no matter the mood or circumstance I can lift my eyes to Christ, trusting that my heart will follow soon when I read His word and believe and contentment and joy flood my soul. What a gift we have Christian Brothers and Sisters! Like Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians  I can say “ for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content”.   God’s promises are eternal, never fading and they are available to the most comfortable of us and the least.

I am going to quit yapping….Martyn Lloyd-Jones got me started and now I will let his words finish this. 

 

“To whom does the invitation of this cross come?  It comes to the failures, the people who know they have gone wrong, the people who are filled with a sense of shame, the people who are weary and tired and forlorn in the struggle. . . .

Do you despise yourself, kick yourself metaphorically, and feel you are no good?  Weary, forlorn, tired, and on top of it all, sad and miserable?  Nothing can comfort you.  The pleasures of the world mock you.  They do not give you anything.  Life has disappointed you, and you are sad, miserable and unhappy, and on top if it all, you have a sense of guilt within you.  Your conscience nags at you, condemns, raises up your past and puts it before you, and you know that you are unworthy, you know that you are a failure, you know that there is no excuse, you are guilty. . . .

And then on top of all this, you are filled with a sense of fear.  You are afraid of life, you are afraid of yourself and your own weakness, you are afraid of tomorrow.  You are afraid of death, you know it is coming and you can do nothing about it, but you are afraid of it. . . .

This is the amazing thing about the cross.  It comes to such a person, and it is to such a person above all others that it brings its gracious and its glorious invitation.   What does it say to you? . . . You are not far off, and the cross speaks to you with sympathy.  That man dying on that cross was known as the friend of sinners.  He was reviled by the good and the religious because he sat down and ate and drank with sinners.  He had sympathy. . . .

Not only that, he will tell you that he is ready to accept you.

The world picks up its skirt and passes by.  It leaves you alone, it does not want to associate with you, you have gone down, you belong to the gutters, and the world is too respectable to have any interest in you.  Here is one who is ready to receive you and to accept you. . . . Sit down, he says.  Wait, stop, give up your activities.  Just as you are, I am ready to receive you.  In your rags, in your filth, in your vileness.  Rest.

What else?  Pardon.  The cross speaks of benediction, of pardon, joy and peace with God.  It tells you that God is ready to forgive you.  It says, listen to me, your sin has been punished.  I am here because this is the punishment of sin.  Listen to me, says the blood of sprinkling.  I have been shed that you might be forgiven, pardoned, at peace with God.  Oh, thank God, there is also cleansing here.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross (Wheaton, 1986), pages 168-170.

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I will lift my eyes


Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—

he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—

the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—

he will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.


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Mr. Tentmaker


 Recently I spent a week in the Hospital recovering from surgery. I waited on this procedure for over a year, and was in quite a bit of pain during this long wait. My family and friends were a huge support to me, and my Pastor and Church were there for me in ways only God could have orchestrated. I am so thankful to them but I was especially helped by a small book my Pastor brought me. It’s by Dave and Jan Dravecky and it’s called “Do not lose Heart”. Meditations of encouragement and comfort.
 
This book, written during Dave’s battle with cancer is a gem of encouragement and strength. Struggling through so much pain and fear, I am humbled reading about the journey the Dravecky’s faced but blessed to be able to read about God’s promises and comforts in their lives and encouraged knowing those same promises are available for any child of the King. This small excerpt I am sharing today is just one little treasure found in this book.
 
2 Corinthians 5:1-5
1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee

In the midst of tremendous fear, doubt and worry I laid hold of God’s promise of “A heavenly dwelling”. I took my disintegrating tent and I camped on the deed God had given me for a new home. I knew the Spirit lived within me, and I knew the Bible likens the Spirit to “a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” As hard as it was to face the very real possibility of my imminent death, this was a great comfort to me

The messages in these scriptures from 1 Corinthians helped me get through my ordeal with Cancer. Speaking of comfort…and tents and houses, I want to share the following piece, titled “O Mr. Tentmaker.” I hope it blesses you as much as it did me.

It was nice living in this tent when it was strong and secure and the sun was shining and the air was warm.

But Mr. Tentmaker, it’s scary now.

You see, my tent is acting like it is not going to hold together; the poles seem weak and they shift with the wind. A couple of stakes have wiggled loose from the sand; and worst of all, the canvas has a rip. It no longer protects me from the beating rain or stinging fly.

It’s scary in here, Mr. Tentmaker.

Last week I went to the repair shop and some repairman tried to patch the rip in my canvas. It didn’t help much, though, because the patch pulled away from the edges and now the tear is worse.

What troubled me most, Mr. Tentmaker, is that the repairman didn’t even seem to notice that I was still in the tent; he just worked on the canvas while I shivered inside. I cried once, but no one heard me.

I guess my first real question is: Why did you give me such a flimsy tent? I can see by looking around the campground that some of the tents are much stronger and more stable than mine.

Why, Mr. Tentmaker, did you pick a tent of such poor quality for me? And even more important, what do you intend to do about it?

O Little tent dweller, as the Creator and Provider of tents, I know all about you and your tent, and I love you both.

I made a tent for Myself once, and lived in it in your campground. My tent was vulnerable too, and some vicious attackers ripped it to pieces while I was still in it.

It was a terrible experience but you will be glad to know they couldn’t hurt me; in fact, the whole occurrence was a tremendous advantage because it is this very victory over my enemy that frees me to be a present to help to you.

O little tent dweller, I am now prepared to come and live in your tent with you, if you’ll invite me. You’ll learn as we dwell together that real security comes from my being in your tent with you.

When the storms come, you can huddle in my arms and I’ll hold you. When the canvas rips, we’ll go to the repair shop together.

Some day, little tent dweller, some day your tent is going to collapse; you see, I’ve designed it only for temporary use.

But when it does, you and I are going to leave together. I promise not to leave before you do.

And then, free of all that would hinder or restrict, we will move to our permanent home and together, forever, we will rejoice and be glad.

(Author Unknown to Me)

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God is our Rock-on which we may rest secure!


I Do Not Change!

James Smith, 1861

“I am the Lord — I do not change!” Malachi 3:6

Every created thing is liable to change.

Angels have changed — and become devils.

Man has changed — and become a sinner.

The world has changed — and lost its original beauty and excellence.

The seasons change — winter gives place to spring, spring to summer, summer to autumn, and autumn to winter again.

Our feelings change — the sad gives place to the joyous, and the joyous to the sad again.

Our circumstances change — the poor become rich, and the rich become poor.

Our relations change — some are removed by death, others to a far distance, and some become alienated from us.

All within and without us will change, and there may be greater changes than we have ever witnessed yet.

But amidst all the changes we have experienced within, or witness without — we have one unfailing source of comfort: the Lord never changes! He is the same, and will be the same forever. He is in one mind, and none can turn him. Let us then seek to be impressed with this cheering declaration made by God himself, “I am the Lord — I do not change!”

Blessed be his holy name — with him change is impossible!

Here is our rock — on which we may rest secure!

Here is one friend — on whom we may always depend!

An unchanging God, lays an unchangeable foundation for our faith, hope, and comfort. With David, therefore, amidst all the changes of life we may sing, “The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted!” What the Lord was to David — he now is to us; and what he now is — he ever will be.

There can be no change in his LOVE to his redeemed people. Other’s may cease to love us, may turn against us, and even hate us — but if the Lord love us once, he loves us forever. Having loved his own that are in the world — he loves them unto the end. His love is everlasting. It is like his nature — eternal. If the Lord loves me in January — he will love me in June; and if he loves me in June — he will love me in December. The God of love, who has set his love upon us, says, “I do not change.” Go back as far as we will, we shall never arrive at the beginning of his love; and go forward as far as we may, we shall never come to the end of it. The love of God is eternal love.

There can be no change in his PURPOSES.
Originating
as they do in the highest wisdom,
formed
as they are for the glorifying of his own nature,
comprehending
as they do all our needs, and
aiming
as they do at our welfare
— they are unchangeable.

According to his eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord — he arranged all things that concern his people, both on earth and in Heaven. And now he works all things, after the counsel of his own will.

All his purposes culminate in this one point — to do us the greatest good, and in so doing to get himself the greatest glory. God’s purposes embrace all the days of the year, and all the events of every day in the year; and, therefore, though I know not what may take place, I know that all things shall work together for good to those who love God, and are the called according to his purpose.

There can be no change in his PROMISES to his redeemed people. The word of the Lord stands forever, and the thoughts of his heart unto all generations. God has made many exceeding great and very precious promises:
they embrace all his people,
they provide for all our needs,
they forbid all our doubts and fears,
and they secure to us all possible good.

There is a promise . . .
for every day,
to meet every trial,
to cheer every believer, and
to give us confidence under all the changes of life.

By the promises, God pledges himself to his people, and engages to . . .
supply all their needs,
conquer all their foes, and
glorify himself in all their changes.

God’s promises are as immutable as his nature, for Heaven and earth may pass away — but his words shall never pass away. Man may break his word — but God cannot; man may change his mind — but God will not.

There can be no change in his RELATION to his redeemed people. Is God is my Father today — he will be my Father forever.

For me, he will ever feel a father’s love;
over me, he will ever exercise a a father’s care;
to deliver me, he will ever stretch out a father’s hand.

Earthly parents may cease to love their children, may cease to care for their offspring, may refuse to help those who ought to be dear to them as life itself — but it can never be so with God! He asks, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” He admits, “Yes, they may forget.” But he adds, “Yet will I never forget you.”

Correct us he may, he will, if we need it — but turn his back upon us, close his door on us, or shut up his heart against us — he never will!

There can be no change in his SYMPATHY. Through Jesus, God has a fellow feeling with his people; he is touched with a sense of their infirmities; in all their afflictions, he is afflicted. His heart throbs in unison with theirs. He ever makes their bed in their sickness.

He is full of compassion.

He is plenteous in mercy.

He is ready to forgive.

He waits to be gracious.

Let who will, become hardened against us — let who will, fail to sympathize with us — the Lord never will. “We may therefore rejoice in the prospect of all the changes that may take place in the future, and say, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear!”

Does the Lord say to us, “I do not change!” Then he encourages us to trust him with an unshaken confidence. We may trust him at all times. We may trust him with what we value most. We may trust him to make good in our experience, every promise in his word. However the dispensations of his providence may change — he will remain the same, in his love, purposes, and sympathy to us. Therefore we may say with Job, “Though he slays me — yet will I trust in him.” Let us endeavor to exercise a full, steady, and constant trust in the Lord from day to day, remembering that, “those who trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed — but abides forever!”

Does the Lord say to us, “I do not change!” Then we may go to him in all our trials, difficulties, and troubles! We may pour out our hearts before him, plead his precious promises, and expect answers of peace from him. He who heard and answered Jacob — will hear and answer us. He who listened to David and delivered him — will listen to and deliver us. He who appeared for Israel in the desert as their circumstances required — will appear for us as ours may require. Abraham’s God is ours, and he will be to us what he was to Abraham — even our shield, and our exceeding great reward.

Does the Lord say to us, “I do not change!” Then let us rejoice and be glad, for God’s immutability will be . . .
the ground of our security,
the source of our comfort, and
the foundation of our peace.

What shall we fear — with God, the unchangeable God on our side? Of whom shall we be afraid — with the omnipotent and immutable Jehovah, to take our part? Beloved, let us anew surrender ourselves to God, exercising confidence in God, and engaging to work for God.

Lost sinner, if God will not change — then you must, or your end will be fearful. He has said, “The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God.” You are either wicked — or righteous, depraved — or holy; if the former, your doom is dreadful, except you repent. Change — God will not; change — you must, or . . .
die without mercy,
perish without pity, and
be punished without end!

O come to Jesus, and obtain pardon, peace, and everlasting life!

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