The knowledge I have received

In the early 1970’s Jesus appeared at a prayer meeting and placed His hands on my shoulders and said, “I ordain you to preach My gospel.” He started up the staircase where I was sitting, and I leaned back and touched the hem of His garment. He stopped, looked back, and smiled at me, then ascended to the top of the staircase and disappeared. A man at that meeting did not know what was happening, but he was aware that something wonderful had happened.

Several years later I was in another prayer meeting in a different state and my spirit was caught up to a place far above the earth where I found myself standing between Jesus and Peter, James, and John. Paul was also there; he walked from our right to our left a few feet in front of us and disappeared from sight. Jesus told me that I had been born before my time and the knowledge I had received would be usable, but I must wait until God had completed a work in His people. He told me several other things and I returned to my body, which ached tremendously for weeks after this experience.

The knowledge I had received was the revelation of Himself. Looking back I can honestly say that I cannot remember one thing concerning the kingdom of God and the mystery of God that I have learned from man. Everything I know has come directly from heaven. This may sound pompous, but it is the absolute truth. I still remember that as a young Christian listening to my pastor, I often felt he and I were reading different Bibles. This has been my experience with preacher after preacher. For most of my younger years I gave others the benefit of the doubt and doubted myself. I believe this was due to my having PTSD, which I have struggled with for years.

Then one day the Lord gave me a vision in which I saw His mystery unfolding and unfolding and unfolding. It soon surpassed my understanding and I could no longer comprehend what I was seeing. Still, it continued unfolding. From that day on the Lord began instilling confidence within me, confidence that He had been leading me the whole time. It took several years for me to overcome the tendency to doubt myself and to accept that He was leading me. Now I have no doubt the knowledge I received was just that, knowledge I had received, not learned, knowledge received by way of revelation; it was the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

Some people get frustrated with me when I won’t give their opinions any thought. I try to explain to them that I know what I know, and therefore their opinions on this subject and that subject are nothing more than their opinions, and have nothing to do with the truth. They think I’m just a stubborn old goat. The truth is the Holy Spirit won’t allow me to entertain the opinions of man. Some think I’m someone who thinks he knows everything, or that I think my opinions are more truthful than the opinions of others, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m acutely aware that I know very little, and therefore I strive to form no opinions.

The knowledge of Jesus and His gospel is a part of me, and to even pretend that I might be considering something other than this knowledge is out of the question; I would be betraying the One who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I will not do that. 

The Lord set me apart from my mother’s womb (He was seen by the nurse on duty in both the delivery room, and the room assigned to my mother and me after my birth). And, when the time came, Jesus took me by the arm, led me to an altar, and knelt in front of me (He held my arm and walked me down the aisle and knelt in front of me; I was born again without uttering a word). There He became unto me a life-giving Spirit, breathing the Holy Spirit into me. He then began training me up in the way I should go and revealing Himself to me.

I read no books other than the Bible. I study no man, no denomination, no theories, no opinions (not even my own). I listen only to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The knowledge I have received (not learned), the knowledge Jesus spoke about, is knowledge that has come not from man, nor through man, but directly from a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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The last days

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths,” 2 Timothy 4:3,4.

This time has come. There are preachers chomping at their bits to tell you anything you want to hear. If you don’t care to learn obedience through suffering, one will convince you that you can use the authority of Christ to change your circumstances. Another will tell you that you no longer have to resist the devil and wait for him to flee; you can now use the authority of Christ and bind the devil, or just command him to leave. Do you want to go further and be like the Creator? Some will go so far to tell you that life and death are in the power of the tongue, and you are to be an imitator of God, and therefore it is His will that you imitate Him and speak things into existence, just as He did in the beginning. Whatever you want, there is preacher somewhere who will twist scriptures in a way to suit you.

Many of these preachers are nothing more than motivational speakers, who appeal to the flesh and give it a temporary emotional high. They have formulas for nearly every promise. And none of their formulas require you to submit to Christ. On the contrary, their formulas are only workable if you raise yourself up to the level of Christ.

It’s sad, but true, that for every vulnerable lamb, there is a ravenous wolf waiting to pounce. And no-one is more vulnerable than one who begins to follow Jesus, only to shrink back at the first sign of trouble. To keep moving forward in troubling times, we must submit ourselves to Jesus, trusting Him to deliver us when and how He wants. We must surrender ourselves to Him 100%. This is not easy to do. When someone tries to do it and fails, and does not admit his failure, he begins looking for ways around his troubles. At that precise second, the second he begins looking for alternatives, he enters a realm of vulnerability, where the powers of darkness set their sights on him and begin assailing him with fiery darts. 

These fiery darts often come in the form of scriptures, much like Satan used against Jesus in the wilderness. And these scriptures most often come from ravenous wolves disguised as shepherds. These wolves concentrate on a few scriptures that appear to apply to your situation. They conveniently leave out the truth that these same scriptures pertain only to those who have denied themselves, taken up their cross, and are following Jesus; those whose desire is ‘not my will, but thine be done’; those who seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.

These wolves are experts at putting the cart before the horse. They seduce people who have not given themselves 100% to Jesus, and teach them the tricks of the trade — declare this, decree that; claim this, claim that; speak life, speak things into being; move this mountain, move that mountain, etc. They teach the vulnerable anything and everything that will keep them from submitting to the authority of Jesus. They even claim that all Christians have been given the authority of Jesus, dissuading them from submitting to Jesus.  And they do this for the simple reason that they themselves have been deceived by the powers of darkness, and are now working together with Satan, preventing as many people as possible from submitting to Jesus. They have believed a lie, and, in effect, preach Satan, and call him Jesus.

These wolves in sheep’s clothing are not interested in the truth; they are interested in themselves; and God has given them over to their delusions. And believing their delusions are from God, they expound on them, thinking they are workers of God. These are the ones to whom Jesus will say, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness,” Matthew 7:23. And those who fall prey to their delusions will suffer the same outcome, unless they repent and submit themselves to Jesus.

Some of these people know they are thieves deliberately preying on vulnerable souls, but most of them don’t know they’re wrong. They think they’re right because they call on the name of Jesus, and use His name. But, in reality, they are doing exactly what the devil tried to tempt Jesus to do — exalt Himself and claim His right to the promises that pertained to Him. The devil tried hard to tempt Jesus to put God to the test, thereby exalting Himself to God’s level, as did Eve. However, unlike Eve and these self-proclaimed prophets of today, Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, and emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant. These ravenous wolves today teach people to do the opposite; thus, though they claim to preach Christ, they are, in reality, anti-Christ; this is the spirit of lawlessness that is engulfing the masses.

The lying spirit behind these false teachers is the exact same spirit who lied to Eve, telling her she would not die if she ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, whereby she became like God, knowing good and evil. It is the spirit who tempted Jesus in the wilderness. It is the spirit who, if he can’t get someone to turn against Christ, will try to entice that person to raise himself up to Christ’s level. This spirit has been an enemy of the divine order since the beginning. He thrives on insubordination because he himself is insubordinate. He delights in disobedience, which springs from lawlessness; whereas, God delights in obedience, which springs from submission.

This is very serious. There is God, who is the head of Jesus; there is Jesus, who is the head of man; there is man, who is the head of a woman, 1 Corinthians 11:3.This divine order was established in the beginning, Genesis 3:16. Whoever resists this divine order is guilty of insubordination, which is likened to iniquity and idolatry, 1 Samuel 15:23. These wolves and their followers proclaim the opposite. They subvert scripture, undermining its very foundation, teaching that man is equal to Christ: man has the same authority as Christ; man has the power to speak things into existence; man can decree a thing and it will be established, etc. etc. etc.

Dear friends, Jesus will one day return to receive His bride unto Himself. She will be holy and blameless and beyond reproach. She will offer herself to Him in complete submission, her only desire being to please Him. She will be spirit of His Spirit and the two shall become one. No man who exalts himself to the level of Jesus, and no woman who exalts herself to the level of a man, will be a part of this holy union.

Sadly, there are countless numbers in our churches entangled in this mystery of lawlessness, spouting verses and verses of scriptures, unaware they are promoting the spirit of anti-christ. Most who have fallen prey to these lies have done so because of their own selfishness; but some who have fallen prey are sincere Christians who became caught up in this heresy because its followers use scriptures, having not realized that scriptures are the devil’s most often used ploy.

Satan is crafty, he is savvy in his use of scriptures; and it is only by the grace of God that we can overcome him. The mystery of lawlessness, which has been at work since the days of Paul, is now unfolding before our eyes; the man of lawlessness is at the door. We must be on our guard, while at the same time, caring for the weak among us, snatching them out of the fire. 

I have been asking the Lord for some time now to let me write an uplifting letter that might encourage His people. Last week I heard from the Holy Spirit that the times are such that I need to draw attention to the mystery of lawlessness and the sinfulness of some of the teachings being peddled today. I humbly ask that you please give prayerful consideration to the content of this letter.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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Collision Course

Paul prophesied that in the last days difficult times will come, 2 Timothy 3:1. He further states that men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. He also said evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. One might argue that people such as these can be found throughout our nation.

Bills are being written that approve of abortions, one up to 40 weeks. Some of these may become law. Law makers are trying to eliminate the phrase, ‘so help me God’ from the oath to be truthful. Some new people to congress refused to place their hands on a Bible to take their oath and were allowed in, in spite of this. 

Our highways are flooded with drivers who willfully disregard posted speed limits. Many citizens refuse to come to a complete stop at stop signs, in direct defiance of the authorities that exist. And they do this even though common sense and common decency dictate that one should be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

Many women in our society are blatantly defying the word of God and claiming to be equal with men. I’m fully aware this particular subject is not popular, but I’m speaking to the church, where it is critical. One apostle said to the church at Corinth, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” This is the divine order; this is the will of our God. Therefore, a woman who claims to be equal to a man is like a man who claims to be equal to Christ. Both are insubordinate. 

(Men and women are actually equal in the kingdom of God; for as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. So in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. However, the Lord’s divine order remains, Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman.)

Our society has been turning from godly principles for some time now. The practice of homosexuality is now regarded as normal by many Americans; it is being celebrated on national television, both in shows, and in commercials. There are now laws that allow marriage between two men, and between two women. Some churches are now sanctioning homosexuality.

We are quickly becoming a nation of habitual criminals. Whether it’s a mother ignoring the God-given right to life by aborting a child, or a driver ignoring the stop signs and speed limits, or a woman trying to gain authority over a man, or churches sanctioning homosexuality, it is insubordination; and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.

The types of people listed in the first paragraph are becoming more and more prevalent day by day. Our society is in the grips of the powers of darkness and evil; for the mystery of lawlessness is at work. And the man of lawlessness, who comes showing no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor regard for any other god, magnifying himself above them all, will soon be revealed.  

Many today are under his control, some even teaching and preaching that we are gods who can create things with our words; and we can declare and decree things to come to pass; and if we want something we need only claim it, and we will have it. In essence, they teach that we are equal with God, having the power and authority to do what we please, whenever we please. And sadly, the arrogance and insubordination of these types of people are on the verge of becoming the norm. 

I believe our nation is on a collision course with the wrath of God; and I don’t think it can be avoided.

“The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; in the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught. The Lord has made Himself known; He has executed judgment. In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared. The wicked will return to Sheol, even all the nations who forget God,” Psalms 9:15-17.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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The desire of women

“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;                  male and female He created them,” Genesis 1:27.

Many things today point to the end of days, but none as cleverly disguised as the movement of women insisting they be regarded as equal to men. More and more women are raising themselves up, claiming they are equal to men. Some think they should be allowed to do anything a man can do. Others want total equality with men in every aspect of their lives. They don’t believe in being submissive to a man.

Daniel 11:37 tells us the man of sin, or man of lawlessness, who is to be revealed in the end times, will have no regard for the desire of women. Many suppose this to mean he will be against women. However, it does not say he will be against women; it says he will have no regard for their desire. Genesis 3:16b speaks of the desire of women, “Yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” 

So in these last days powers of darkness are disregarding the desire of women [men] and they are doing it by uplifting women to a lofty place where they don’t belong. Thus, many women today are forsaking their desire for their husbands, and are blindly going against the will of God, raising themselves to the level of men. 

There is also another movement today that is claiming that God is raising up an army of women to usher in the awakening and the coming of Christ. This movement is satanically driven, having been started by women who refuse to submit to the position in which they have been placed in the kingdom of God. One who heralds this movement claims to have had several experiences in heaven, one in which she claims to have learned there is no gender bias in heaven. She now preaches that since there is no gender bias in heaven, there should be no gender bias on earth. She uses the Lord’s prayer as her proof, ‘thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’ This lady insinuates that these words, on earth as it is in heaven, and her so-called experience, nullify Paul’s teachings concerning a woman’s place in the church.

Nevertheless, the Bible is still the word of God, and it still says man is the head of a woman. It is still true man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. It is still true a woman is not to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet; and that she quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression. But women shall be saved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint,”  1 Timothy 2:13-15. 

God is not inconsiderate of women, is He? His purpose for them does not diminish them, does it? On the contrary, He has appointed them to a place of great honor and high esteem; for His word says, “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered,” 1 Peter 3:7. And also, “It is much truer that the members of the body [of Christ] which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor,” 1 Corinthians 12:22,23a. Thus, women are to be treated with great concern and much tenderness, and are to be given great honor and high esteem. This is the will of God.

Women are to be loved and cared for by men as the church is loved and cared for by Jesus. Ephesians 5:25-33 speaks to how precious a woman is in the eyes of God and how she is to be treated, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.

We are to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:3. This is the divine order that leads to peace, security, and love in its highest form. It is the will of our God.

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” There is no inequality between men and women in the kingdom of God; both are equal, male and female. Only their purposes are different. 

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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The shaking

‘And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” And this expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain,’ Hebrews 12:26,27.

‘And His voice shook the earth then’ is referring to when the Lord God descended upon Mount Sinai in fire with smoke like the smoke of a furnace and the mountain quaked and there was thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud and a very loud trumpet sound, all making the people tremble. This was the first shaking. 

The second shaking involves the shaking of the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, as well as the nations, and all created things, (see Haggai 2:6,7). Revelation 20:11 also refers to this second shaking, “And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.” The only thing that will not be shaken is the kingdom of God, Hebrews 12:28. All created things will be removed by this shaking, vs.27, and that which cannot be shaken, the kingdom of God, will remain.

The truth of this coming shaking should be a catalyst for us to exercise diligence in seeking God and His kingdom, while at the same time realizing that all created things will one day be gone, their only worth being a temporary means to deal with our fleshly bodies while we occupy the earth; for when the perishable puts on the imperishable, the perishable (created things) will no longer be needed. 

If we procrastinate seeking God and His kingdom, we may find that the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things eventually choke the word we have received, and that it becomes unfruitful, (see Mark 4 ;18,19). “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,” Hebrews 3: 13. “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts,” Hebrews 3:15.

“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire,” Hebrews 12: 28,29.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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You cannot serve both

When I was in my thirties I thought about writing a book concerning the psychology of the cross. I wanted to point out the psychological benefits of each and every thing through which God leads His children; how intricately His designs and plans for us benefit us psychologically. I had forgotten about my wanting to do this until now; and I am now so glad I didn’t.

I have found there are some today who preach on the psychological aspects of the Word. They may mention the crucifixion of Christ from time to time, but very seldom. They also say very little, if any, about our responsibility to Christ. They mostly embellish the advantages of Christian principles. 

They lure people with their knowledge of the Word (some of them appear to have very high IQ’s). They expound on the Word with such ease that people think they must be walking hand in hand with God. But, in reality, they are using the Word of God as a means to an end, usually to attain an exorbitant amount of money. 

We must be aware there are those who preach what appears to be the truth, but their heart is not fixed on the Person of Jesus, nor the cross of Jesus. We will know them by their fruits. 

I believe those who use preaching as a means to attain riches would most likely walk away from preaching if their riches were taken away; for their hearts are not set on Christ, but on mammon.

“Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me,’” Hebrews 13:5.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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Some life changing experiences

When I was sixteen years old, before I became a Christian, I was sitting in a chair looking out a clear storm door, watching clouds go by. They caught my eye because they were moving pretty fast. As I sat watching them go by, a small cloud stopped as soon as I saw it. All the other clouds kept moving by fast and this small cloud sat motionless in the sky. Without realizing that I had stood up, walked outside, and down the driveway, I found myself kneeling in the street at the edge of the curb listening to a departed saint who was standing on the small cloud speaking to me. He told me my purpose in life was to help people. I asked how I was to do it and he said I would find the way. As soon as he spoke these words I saw a figure walking through the sky heading to the small cloud. I immediately looked to the ground because this figure was so brilliant I couldn’t keep my eyes on it. I glanced back at the cloud and the brilliant figure had reached the cloud and the departed saint said, “This is Jesus. I have to go now.” The little cloud began moving with the other clouds and I watched as it drifted away. This was the first I had ever seen Jesus.

A lady from up the street came to see me when I went back in the house and said, “You just had a vision, didn’t you?” I honestly had never heard of a vision (I wasn’t raised in church). I told her what had happened and learned that it was a vision. Years later I was born again and soon afterwards married a girl the Lord chose for me. Her name is Sandra. Sandra means ‘helper or defender of people’. I was to help people and she was to assist me. And we have found the way. 

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The night I was born again Jesus took my arm and walked me down the aisle of a huge open air pavilion at an Oklahoma Church of God campground. When I knelt at the altar He knelt in front of me. Two pastors were kneeling with us, one by Jesus, the other by me. The two pastors began talking to me, but I couldn’t hear a word they said. It was as if they were light years away. I was completely engrossed in the presence of Jesus. I don’t know how long we knelt there, but it seemed to be quite a while. When I finally went back to my seat, it dawned on me that I didn’t even pray at the altar; I had just knelt motionless in front of Jesus. Without uttering a prayer, I was in a brand new place, a place I had never before experienced in my lifetime. There was a Spirit in me who had changed everything; I was literally in a new life, a new realm, that I learned later was the kingdom of God.

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When I was a brand new Christian my grandmother and I had an argument. I ran outside and knelt by a bed of flowers and angrily slapped at a plant with several flowers on it. I immediately felt horrible for striking the plant and said, “I’m sorry.” The plant spoke and said, “I understand, and where there is understanding there is forgiveness.” This was the first time I had ever heard a flower or plant speak.

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When I was twenty-two years old I glanced at a sixteen year old girl whom I didn’t know, and the Lord spoke and said, “This is the girl you are to marry.” We met about a year later, and we married a year after we met. We just celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary this past December 22, 2018.  

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One Sunday a lady invited several people to her house after church for some soft drinks and snacks. While there, she invited my wife and me to step into her kitchen with her. Another couple heard her invite us and followed us to the kitchen. The lady began by saying she wanted to tell me about something she had never told anyone before. She said she was the nurse on duty when I was born and that when she entered the delivery room Jesus was standing in the corner of the room. She also said He stood in the corner of the room my mom and I were placed in after my birth. He stayed there until we were released from the hospital. She told us His presence was so brilliant it was hard for her to walk into the room to check on us, which she had to do several times a day. 

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When I was still a young Christian an evangelist held a revival at my church. He was a very humble man. He and his wife were staying at my pastor’s house and I asked my pastor what he was like. My pastor said, “I don’t know. He never comes out of his room. He stays in his room praying.” This gentleman preached his last sermon of the revival on Sunday morning. During that sermon I saw Jesus standing to his left and about a step behind him.

When the service was over my pastor told the congregation this brother and his wife had a service that same evening in another town many miles away and they had to leave immediately. He asked the congregation to remain seated until they had left.

I was very disappointed because I wanted to at least shake this man’s hand. I was sitting on the second row up front. I watched them walk out the doorway into the foyer and then hung my head disappointed that I didn’t get to meet him. As I sat there waiting for the congregation to be released I looked to my right and this humble man of God had walked back to shake my hand and tell me something. He said, “Jesus is going to lead you down a path you wouldn’t choose for yourself. Stay true to Him.” Right then I knew Jesus has some servants who are special, and this brother was one of them. His name was Rev. Robert Morgan.

Rev. Morgan finished his course years ago but his words still comfort me to this day. I don’t have many friends. Most people sit in judgment of me. But Jesus loves me. And I will continue walking the path that I didn’t choose for myself for the simple reason that Jesus is leading me down that path, and He does so in accordance to the will of God.  

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I was in a prayer meeting in Houston, TX with twenty or so people several months before I started Bible College. I was sitting near the bottom of a staircase. Jesus appeared and laid His hands on my shoulders and said, “I ordain you to preach My gospel.” After He ordained me (I felt the weight of His hands) He started up the staircase and I turned back, reached out, and touched the hem of His garment. He stopped, looked back, and smiled, then proceeded up the staircase. He disappeared when He reached the top of the stairs. 

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While in my second semester of Bible College the Lord told me to quit school and move back to Oklahoma because my natural father needed me. I did and we headed to Oklahoma. I hadn’t been with him 15-20 minutes and he had a heart attack and died. I prayed for approximately 30-35 minutes asking God to give him another chance (he wasn’t a Christian when he died). The Lord heard my prayers and mercifully raised my father from the dead. When he came back to life he was a born again Christian. 

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When I was in my thirties I attended a prayer meeting held in the loft of a barn. As we were all praying silently I was filled with faith and stood up and began to speak. Before I could complete a sentence my body fell to the floor and I found myself standing next to Jesus in a place far above the earth. He stood beside me to my left; on my right Peter, James, and John stood with us. Jesus began speaking to me, and, as He spoke, Paul walked from our right to our left several feet in front of us. Paul was looking directly at me. I felt like he knew me. It was that intense. Jesus told me I had been born before my time and the knowledge I had received would be usable, but I must wait until God had completed a work in His people. He then stretched His hand toward me and said, “You are the Apostle of the Restoration. There are two other apostles in the United States.” He gave me the name of one of them. After He said this, my spirit returned to my body. My entire body ached for weeks after this experience. 

When I was seventy-two years old, as I was walking through a doorway from one room to another, the Lord spoke, and said, “It is time.” 

Thus, lettersforchristians.com.

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These experiences have each had an extraordinary impact on my Christian life, and still do to this day. Our Lord is good. He is kind. He cares for each one of us. To Him be all glory forever.

 

His Ways and His Thoughts

Many use the truth of the love of God as a means to become popular and/or for financial gain. They speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining advantage. They say things like, “God loves you and therefore wants you to be financially prosperous; He wants you to become like Him and speak things into being; He wants you to declare and decree whatever you want, or whatever you lack, etc. He loves you so much that He wants you to have all authority in heaven and on earth.” These people peddle Jesus as a sort of life-coach and a personal handyman who helps you get whatever you want and fixes whatever is wrong.  

People who listen to, and give heed to, these people fail to take into consideration Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Many think they are blessed when people like them and accept them, or when everything is going their way, but the Lord says we are blessed when people persecute us, and cast insults at us. We are blessed when we are poor, when we mourn, and when we are humble. We are blessed when we persevere under trials, etc. 

These people deliberately withhold facts, such as, when we ask God for more faith, we are also asking for trials by fire, for faith is tried by fire, 1 Peter 1:6,7; and if we ask for the will of God to be done in our lives, we are also asking for sufferings, for it is the will of God that we not only know the power of Jesus’ resurrection, but also the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, Philippians 3:8-11.  

The Lord’s ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. We, as Christians, must bring our ways and our thoughts into subjection to Him by denying ourselves and taking up our cross and following Him. He is NOT our life-coach, or personal handyman, HE IS OUR LIFE. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. We are not to USE Jesus; we are to FOLLOW Jesus. We are not to WIELD His authority; we are to SUBMIT to His authority. 

Please weigh these words on the scales of the Word of God.

Rev. Jon Banks

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The Simplicity of the Gospel

The first Adam was created in the likeness of God, and, having sinned, stained the likeness of God he had been created in. The last Adam lived a sinless life and offered Himself for the sins of the first Adam, and for all who had inherited the curse which he received. We are now to lay aside the old self [Adam], the self that inherited a sinful nature from the first Adam, and put on the new self [Jesus], the self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness in the truth, the self which now lives by faith in God and in His Son Jesus.

The old self is of the earth; the new self is of heaven. We are no longer bound to the sinful nature inherited from Adam, we have been crucified with the last Adam [Jesus] and born again and are now members of the body of the risen Christ.  We no longer live for the things of earth, but for the things of heaven, where our new lives are hidden with Christ in God. Our old self which was created in the image of God has been stained by the sins of Adam, and therefore must return to dust. Our new self has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth; that is, we are being renewed in the spirit of our minds as we lay aside the old self and walk in the new. We no longer walk in the sinful ways of the old self, but in the righteousness and holiness of the new. And we do this by believing and trusting in Jesus who is now our source of life; He is our vine and we are His branches. 

As Eve was fashioned from the rib of Adam, so also are we, the bride of Christ, being fashioned from the inmost being of Christ, the life-giving Spirit. Our new self is hidden with Christ in God in the heavenly places, in the kingdom of God, which is of heaven, and in heaven. “[We] have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer [we] who live, but Christ lives in [us]; and the life which [we] now live in the flesh [we] live by faith in the Son of God, who loved [us], and delivered Himself up for [us],” (Galatians 2:20).

We in this new creation have been made complete:  “For in Him [Jesus] all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him from the dead,” Colossians 2:9-12. We were crucified with Christ, buried with Him, and raised from the dead with Him.

As believers in Jesus we must deny our old self and press forward in the Spirit, and take up our cross, and follow Jesus one day at a time. We daily lay aside the old and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth,” Colossians 3:1-8. This is walking by the Spirit; this is denying one’s self and taking up one’s cross and following Jesus. This is pressing forward to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

We must never complicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should instead embrace its simplicity. “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe,” 1 Corinthians 1:21. The foolishness of the message is its simplicity. To the world the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ is absolute foolishness. They see it as a crutch for weak people, a sort of psychological booster to get them by. But to those predestined by the will of God for eternal life (Acts 13:48) and called by the Holy Spirit, it is precious. Never lose sight of the simplicity of the gospel:  

The Word became flesh, lived a life without sin, was crucified and buried, preached to the dead, raised from the dead, and seated at the right hand of God. And God, being full of grace and mercy, placed all believers in the Son, and now reckons them as crucified with the Son, buried with Him through baptism, and raised up into newness of life with Him. 

In closing, the Word became flesh and put an end to the fallen nature of the first Adam by offering Himself as a pure and sinless offering for sin, after which He became a life-giving Spirit. He now gives new life to all who believe in Him, and this, by the grace of God. “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit,” 1 Corinthians 15:45. And, “The first man is from the earth, earthly; the second man is from heaven,” vs. 47. The first Adam inherited death. The last Adam arose to eternal life for those who live, move, and have their being in Him. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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Crucifying the Flesh

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires,” Galatians 5:24. How do we crucify the flesh? The Bible is very clear on this subject. “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God,” 1Peter 4:1,2. We crucify the flesh by enduring the sufferings and by learning obedience. 

As we walk by the Spirit one day at a time, our efforts to be obedient begin to become a way of life; a life in which we find that our flesh has less and less sway over us day by day. This is not dying to Self, it is learning obedience, and growing as we learn. It is the Lord training us up in the way we should go, teaching us humility, reverence, and all other godly virtues as we grow up into Him, our Lord Jesus Christ. 

When we try to die to self, we place our attention on our shortcomings and sinful tendencies. This is not healthy to the Christian. As Christians, we are to think of good things, things worthy of praise. There is nothing worthy of praise in ourselves, so we must lose sight of ourselves and set our minds on things above, where our lives are. To do this, we rely on Jesus and walk by faith in Him. This is why He told us that to come after Him, one must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Him.

We are sanctified at the new birth, set apart to God, and made holy by the blood of Jesus. Our Father then begins training us up in the way we should go by leading us through various trials in order to test us, — “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you…” 1 Peter 4:12. Peter exhorts us to rejoice in these trials for we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ, (vs. 13). He also instructs us to endure by humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt us at the proper time, (1 Peter 5:6). He goes on to say that we are to resist the devil, our adversary, firm in our faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by our brethren who are in the world. And after we have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us, (vs. 9,10).

In speaking of things such as worldly chatter, quarreling, wrangling about words and wickedness in general, Paul said, “Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work,” 2 Timothy 2:21. How do we cleanse ourselves? We cleanse ourselves by turning and walking away from everything that pertains to ungodliness, and pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart. We both crucify the flesh and cleanse ourselves by living to God. And we live to God by faith that we were crucified with Christ, buried with Christ and raised with Christ. It is through faith in Christ that we walk by the Spirit in the heavenly kingdom into which we were raised. It is through faith in Him that we overcome any and all things the evil one tries to use against us. It is through faith that we live and move and have our being in Jesus. He is all in all.

Paul wrote to some Christians who had been quarreling with each other, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” He immediately followed with, “AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God,” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. 

Paul was reminding them they also had been unrighteous, but had since become righteous by faith in the sacrifice of Jesus. We all need to be reminded of this very same thing from time to time, otherwise we could end up like these Corinthians, allowing our old natures to creep back in, or, even worse for some, getting stuck in a predicament of trying to save ourselves by works. 

Please test what I have written by the Word of God, and not by what’s been handed down by man; for as the angel told Daniel, “…many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase,” Daniel 12:4b.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Slow to Speak

Our son was in a small Christian school for kindergarten and first grade. We had to take him out of that school because his first grade teacher appeared to have a less than loving attitude toward him. When she learned that we were pulling him out of the Christian school and putting him in a public school, she told him he would no longer be a Christian, but he would be a publican for going to a public school and he would go to hell. He was so concerned about being a publican and going to hell, my wife had to go to the public school with him and ask his new second grade teacher (in his presence) if he could attend a public school and be a Christian. Thank God the public school teacher was a Christian with a good heart and conducted herself as such.

This may seem like a small thing, but consider this, every day there are countless number of Christians who think and behave like the Christian school teacher did — they speak of things they don’t understand, and, at times, do so with judgmental, and “holier than thou” attitudes. Consider also all the false doctrines going around now, doctrines people have concocted without restraint of any kind, leaving others believing they speak for God. For instance, 

decree something and God will make it happen (this came about by people using their own understanding and taking a verse of scripture completely out of context); 

claim the promises of God (this began as a man-made tool to try to overcome a lack of faith); 

create things by the words you speak (this came from the word of faith movement started by some wolves in sheep’s clothing seeking to devour the masses for monetary purposes by giving them what they want to hear). 

There are many, many more false beliefs being preached, all equally harmful, and sworn to be true, by preacher after preacher, and layman after layman.

Those who teach these and other fallacies are on a collision course to be judged by their words, and it won’t be pleasant for them. God is not mocked. “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life,” Galatians 6:8. We must always be careful when we speak to others about the things of God. We must never give advice to another unless we know our advice is born of the Spirit. Only then will it help someone. If we give advice that comes from the flesh, and not the Spirit, it will most likely do harm. We may then find ourselves on a slippery slope in our own Christian life for having harmed someone by speaking of spiritual things from our fleshly minds. Many continually go through struggle after struggle simply because they speak of spiritual things from their fleshly minds.

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment,” James 3:1. James continues explaining how hard it is to tame the tongue. This is something Christians should concern themselves with, for we will be judged by our words, and those who teach will receive a stricter judgment than all the others. If more Christians took James 3:1 to heart, there would be far less arguing over scriptures, and far less false doctrines floating around. We must be quick to hear and slow to speak. This is essential in the Christian walk.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Lest we be carried away

When I was still using my own understanding trying to learn the things of God I jumped on every Scripture I could find that resembled what was on my mind at the time. I also read many books written by Christians. Consequently, I ended up thinking things that were not true. It wasn’t until I learned to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s Word to me that I began learning the truths of God.

Many Christians today are still trying to learn the things of God with their own understanding. They jump from verse to verse, preacher to preacher, and book to book, trying to learn the things of God. As a result, their minds become weighed down with thoughts that often do nothing but confuse them. They end up trying this formula and that formula, hoping they’ll hit upon something that actually works. 

People who rely on their own understanding find themselves taking mental stands against anything that questions their beliefs for the moment. For instance, if one believes healing comes by claiming the promise, he will take a stand against any thoughts to the contrary. His struggle quickly erodes to a mind game, refusing even sound doctrine. In contrast, people who rely on Jesus listen from the heart, and, thus, never enter mind games, (nor do they claim promises from a holy God). 

 People who depend on their own understanding leave themselves open to the wiles of the devil and they end up, more often than not, fighting against the Holy Spirit, all the while thinking they are following Him. They blame the devil when they begin to doubt, when in reality, it is the Holy Spirit trying to warn them they’re heading down a wrong road. As a result, rather than listening to the Holy Spirit, they rebuke Him thinking He is the devil. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and leads them from one snare to another.

When we enter into the things of God with our own understanding, we lose sight of true faith. True faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. It is a matter of the heart; with the heart we believe, with the mouth we confess. If what we believe is not in our heart, it isn’t faith; it’s just our thoughts. We must keep our thoughts in subjection to the Lord, lest we be carried away by them. 

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Clouds Without Rain

A few days ago I heard a self-proclaimed preacher say Isaiah 43:19a is a scripture promising a miracle coming in 2019 for everyone who will sow a seed by sending him $43.19 before the end of this year. One hundred or more people are supposed to send him $119.00, and nine people are supposed to send him $1019.00 (the more dire your circumstances, the more money you should send). He said the Holy Spirit was speaking to these people through his mouth, after which he insinuated that to not send him this money would be an act of disobedience to God. He then took it upon himself to declare and decree these miracles to come in 2019 (as if he were some kind of god). I also heard two other men, both claiming they are apostles, saying nearly the same things on two other programs. 

Yes, I watched a little so-called Christian TV. It’s the first time I’ve watched it in well over a year, and I’m sorry I did. It left me once again feeling that there just might be a special place in Hell for these phony peddlers of God’s Word who speak lies and take advantage of naive people. 

These pompous, arrogant self-proclaimed preachers seem to believe their own lies, and have thousands upon thousands of followers who also believe their lies. As Paul wrote, “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived,” 2 Timothy 3:13.

May the Lord keep His chosen remnant safe from these thieves who use the Word of God for personal gain, and leave people grasping for straws, and trying to make things happen by speaking words, and by their supposed authority the arrogant have told them they have. They teach both the naive and greedy that they don’t have to pray and ask God for things, they can just declare and decree what they want, and God will make it happen. And, if you can’t make it happen yourself, you can send them money and they will declare and decree it for you.

These thieves are not confined to TV, they are in pulpits all across the Christian world. You will know them by their fruits. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit,” Matthew 7:18. Verses 22-23 tell us that even though they cast out demons and perform miracles, they do not belong to Jesus because they practice lawlessness.

“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness,” 1 John 3:4. It is evident these people practice lawlessness; for rather than submitting to God and becoming bond-servants to Him and His Son, they instead make themselves to be as gods and declare and decree as if God was their servant. They have formulas for how to do this and how to do that, and they’ll send you pamphlets with instructions to do what they do for a so-called ‘donation’. 

Dear ones, those who preach and teach these things are not of God, they are clouds without rain, clouds that float around as if they are spiritual guides for the masses, but their end will be their removal from the Kingdom when Jesus sends forth His angels, Matthew 13:41. Be on guard. 

Many people spend their lives chasing preachers and reading books, looking for answers and formulas for their problems when, in fact, there are no answers or formulas. There is only Jesus. Consider a true servant of God:  A true servant of God knows that all things are from God and through God and to God. A true servant knows that God is the creator and would never even suggest that Christians can create things with their words. A true servant of God would never lift himself up to the level of God, or tell anyone else to do so. A true servant of God would never preach about how to work miracles, or how to receive healing. A true servant of God preaches Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Rather than giving instructions and formulas on how to do this and that, a true servant guides the flock to the feet of the Good Shepherd in whom we live and move and have our being. 

Dear friends, “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him [Jesus] they are yes…” 2 Corinthians 1:20a. The key words in this verse are ‘in Him’. The promises of God are yes ‘in Him’. Fulfillment of each and every promise of God is found, not in formulas, or books, but ‘in Him’. Submit to Him, abide in Him, and you will find yourself saying, “Amen,” to the glory of God.  

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Preaching Satan and Calling Him Jesus

I was nearly brought to tears recently when I heard someone preach that in the beginning God spoke words to create things, “Let there be light,” etc, and then referred to Ephesians 5:1 that begins with, “Be imitators of God…”, and taking it out of context, said we are supposed to imitate God and speak things into existence. He also took the first part of Proverbs 18:21 out of context, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” and used it to prove his point. He was not speaking metaphorically, he was speaking physically. He was telling people who had gathered to worship and learn from God that they should raise themselves up to God’s level and be like God. I’m so grateful the Lord’s sheep will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers, John 10:5.

————————

You don’t have to join a satanic cult to follow Satan, you can simply follow the doctrines of most TV evangelists and many nondenominational preachers and be smack-dab in the middle of the will of Satan, and call him Jesus while you’re there. They preach the very things Satan spoke to Eve — you don’t have to listen to God, you can call your own shots, and to Jesus, you can take authority and make the promises come true. The devil’s end game for both Eve and Jesus was to have them bypass God and exalt themselves to His level. This is the same thing the word of faith movement and many nondenominational churches preach today. They are literally preaching Satan and calling him Jesus. 

If you disagree, try to stop your mind from running for a few minutes and listen to the Holy Spirit. 

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them.

Truthfulness

A friend called me yesterday to talk about some problems he was having. At one point I told him about times doubt would creep in when our son was going crippled and how I would immediately confess them to God and He would help me overcome my doubts. My friend said, “That’s because you didn’t own the doubts.” He went on to explain that someone had told him that, when we doubt, it is really the devil tempting us to doubt, and that we should take authority over the devil and rebuke him, and tell him to leave. So he was saying it wasn’t me doubting, it was the devil tempting me to doubt.

I told him that, on the contrary, I was most assuredly the one doubting; it was my mind entertaining the doubts. I did the opposite of what his other friend had told him, I “owned” my doubts. I confessed them to God and asked for mercy, and He, in turn, granted me mercy and grace abundantly, showering me with love and His understanding of why I was doubting. And because I was honest with Him He became my Rock, my Protector, and hid me beneath the shadow of His wings. 

I explained to my friend that our Father desires truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part He will make us know wisdom, Psalm 52:6. He doesn’t want us stumbling around fighting the devil like our lives depended on it; He wants us cuddling up to Him, casting our cares upon Him and taking refuge in Him. The Bible tells us that when we are harassed by the devil we are to submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee from us. It doesn’t say we are to rebuke him or bind him or send him away. It says we are to resist him and he will flee from us. Peter said, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you,” 1 Peter 5:8-10. 

We must always be honest and truthful with God. We have a high priest who was tempted in all things as we are and He sympathizes with our weaknesses. We can now draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, and receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. We don’t have to go before Him like mighty warriors in need of nothing. He would much rather that we admit our weaknesses, rather than blame the devil for them.

Rev. Jon Banks

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