Heaven Is Real

2 CORINTHIANS 5:1 NLT 1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
If we expect the world to ever believe our message of Good News, we should not live like this life is all there is.
As Christian believers we should live and die like we believe the Bible, which clearly reveals this life is not the end.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, when we leave this body we immediately enter into the realm of ultimate reality with the Lord.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:8 NLT 8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
The spiritual realm is actually more real than the physical realm.
If you care to investigate, you will find there are multitudes of people who have visited Heaven and returned. Often it is because of a near-death experience.
Unanimously, their report is that Heaven is too wonderful for words. They try, but have trouble, expressing the glories and the joys of Heaven. No one, after experiencing Heaven, expressed a preference to continue living on earth.
1 PETER 1:4 NLT 4 and we have a priceless inheritance — an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
Heaven is better — in every way — than earth. While we should be faithful to fulfill our job here on earth and live out our lives doing the will of God, being His representatives, when it is time to depart we should not act like unbelievers.
As believers in Jesus Christ we have been delivered from the fear of death. Death has no sting left for us. Death cannot hurt us. We should not fear death.

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Throw Your Cares On The Lord

1 PETER 5:6-7 NET 6 And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand 7 by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.
Worry is associated with pride, as these verses reveal, for being humble is the opposite of pride. And pride will, sooner or later, cause you to fail, instead of lifting you up.
A person who worries is proud because their action shows they think they are better and more compassionate than God. When you analyze it, the thinking behind worry is really “God is not doing a good enough job taking care of me, so I better take over and figure something out on my own.”
Pride makes us think we can handle things on our own — apart from God. Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing — at least nothing that amounts to anything. (We certainly can mess up all by ourselves.)
One way to humble ourselves is to just put our lives in God’s hands and trust Him. It’s like getting in a car someone else is driving. You don’t want to get in the car of a stranger who may be untrustworthy. But God loves you more than you love yourself and desires the best for you, so you can trust Him.
God knows how to drive and what is needed to get you where you need to go. Since He loves you enough to die for you, surely you can trust Him with smaller issues.
The word “casting” in 1 Peter 5:7 means “to throw.”
Whatever is a burden to you, is troubling you, weighing you down, causing you concern, or tempting you to worry is included in what you are to throw over on the Lord. God wants us to throw all those things over on Him, trusting Him to work it all out for the best.
Then once you really throw them over to Him, you’ll have peace in your heart even though the problems still exist, because you know the Lord is working.
Throwing something is not the same as pushing it aside a little bit. Throwing something pictures getting rid of it completely. When you throw something you don’t have it anymore.
Instead of throwing the concern of the things they face over to God, many just try to push them away a little at a time. They ask God to help them, but they keep trying to solve things on their own.
Yes, we have a part to play, and we can’t just lock ourselves in a room and expect God to go out and live our lives for us. But the part we have to play is obedience. When God directs us to do something we are to do it. But worrying ahead of time about what will happen does no good.
You may find it helpful to perform a symbolic physical act like writing all your “cares” on a paper that you then throw into the trash. Symbolizing your faith by an act like this may make it more real to you.
Read the following translations to help you meditate on this verse and let the meaning deeply affect your thinking.
1 PETER 5:7 NLT 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
1 PETER 5:7 AMPLIFIED 7 Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
1 PETER 5:7 NJB 7 unload all your burden on to him, since he is concerned about you.
1 PETER 5:7 CEV 7 God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.
1 PETER 5:7 GNB 7 Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.
Although things may not be clear to you now, and things may not seem to be working out, God is trustworthy. So don’t depend on your own understanding, but trust in God. He knows what He is doing, and He loves you. You will understand better later on.
Worrying will never help. Instead of worrying and being anxious, throw all your cares on the Lord.

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Keep The Faith!

HEBREWS 4:14 NLT 14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.
Here on Earth, it is considered wise to save up for the future, to have a plan for how you will be supported in your old age. But how much more important should it be considered, to prepare for eternity.
Some day, you will be living in Heaven. Then you will be glad you trusted Jesus and honored Him here on Earth.
1 PETER 1:6-7 NLT 6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold — though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Jesus never promised that following Him would exempt us from facing problems in this life. But He did promise to always be with us, and to help us overcome whatever we face.
The devil’s whole strategy is to steal your faith in God. Whenever we receive revelation of God’s Word, it is to be expected that the devil will try to steal that word from our heart.
MATTHEW 13:19 NKJ 19 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
MARK 4:15 NKJ 15 “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
How could satan take the Word away from someone? Only by getting them to doubt it. By trying to arrange circumstances and feelings to make it seem like God’s Word is not true. Why else would anyone turn loose of God’s Word unless the Word does not seem to be working in their life?
God requires you to trust Him — and He deserves your trust.
HEBREWS 11:6 NLT 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
So hang on tight to your faith in God and His Word!
If things don’t seem to be working, ask God to teach you and give you understanding of how to act on His Word accurately. But never doubt God’s faithfulness to keep His Word. Not only will this benefit you in this life, but through all eternity.

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Fear Not!

LUKE 8:50 KJV 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
The KJV Bible tells us 63 times to “fear not,” and 31 times to “be not afraid” or “not be afraid.” Obviously, God is trying to tell us something very important!
Fear is the opposite of Bible hope. Bible hope is a positive expectation based on and supported by a belief in God’s Word. Fear is a negative expectation based on and supported by a belief in something bad. Both involve the imagination, the seeing part of our thinking, the ability to visualize something before it happens.
Fear results from the absence of faith in God. Fear is fed by faith in the devil. Fear is the opposite of trusting in God.
Faith in God produces Bible hope — expecting good to happen. Faith in bad things produces fear — expecting bad to happen. Faith is the support, the foundation, the underlying thing under both hope and fear. You cannot have hope (which is a positive vision) without faith (which is a choice to believe) in something. You cannot have fear (which is a negative vision) without faith (which is a choice to believe) in something bad.
It is your belief that supports, undergirds, and provides the basis for your hope or fear. The belief was a choice you made. Then it became part of your belief system. That provides the basis for your hopes or your fears.
Fear is the cause of all worry, for worry is meditation on fear.
Some may think some fear is healthy, but no true fear is good. We don’t have to fear something to have a healthy respect for it, and thus to act wisely. Fear makes people do irrational things. Reverence for God, sometimes called the “fear of God” is healthy, but has nothing to do with actually being afraid of God.
2 KINGS 6:15-17 NKJ 15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
When we look at the world situation, it is easy to cry out like the servant of Elisha. But when we are tempted to be afraid, it is only because we are not seeing the reality of the whole picture. God is for us, so no matter what comes against us, it can never prevail over us.
We should ask God to open our eyes to the truth. Then keep our focus on God’s Word, not on the temptations, lies, and roars of the devil.
Fear is fed by what we look at and listen to. We can resist fear by choosing to always focus on God and His promises.
DEUTERONOMY 31:6 NKJ 6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
When you remember that the Almighty God is ALWAYS with you (and in you!) why should you be afraid?
LUKE 12:7 NKJ 7 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
One way to understand how valuable you are to God is to consider the great price He paid to set you free — the life of Jesus Christ Himself!
Not even a good earthly parent would allow his child who trusted in him to be harmed. God loves you more than any earthly parent ever loved their child — and God has the power to fully protect you. So you can trust in Him.
But when we act in fear, we run from the protection of our wonderful Father God and open the door to our enemy.
We should be free from fear because God is for us and watches out for us. The worst that can happen to us (from a worldly perspective) is to die, but even then we will go to be with Jesus. With God on your side, there is really nothing to fear. Knowing God loves you should drive out all fear!
1 JOHN 4:18 NET 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love.
Yes, there will be struggles. There will be trials. But these are just opportunities to overcome and gain eternal rewards. In all we face in life, God has promised to be with us, and to help us. So what is there to fear?
JOSHUA 1:9 NET 9 I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the LORD your God, am with you in all you do.”

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Ask!

MATTHEW 7:7-8 NIV 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
In Matthew 15:22-28 a woman came to Jesus making a request of Him. Jesus’ answer was basically that she was asking for something that did not belong to her, because she did not have a covenant with God.
Yet she asked — and received! She didn’t just beg. She worshiped Jesus and appealed for mercy. She didn’t claim she deserved the answer — but she did ask.
This is one of the secrets of life. Ask! It works with God and it works in our relationships with people, too.
Ask questions. And ask for help.
Pride can prevent us from asking. Pride tells. Humility asks.
In marriage many people are unhappy. Yet they don’t clearly communicate to their spouse what it is they would like. Don’t nag! But respectfully and lovingly ask for what you desire.
Make your requests known. People can’t read your mind. (God knows our thoughts, but still tells us to ask Him for what we need or desire.)
PHILIPPIANS 4:6 NKJ 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Many people stumble through life disappointed that God has not given them more. One reason may be because God is waiting for them to have enough faith to ask Him for His help.
I don’t mean we should act like a beggar. But be bold in asking for what you need or desire.
We may hold back from asking because we think we don’t deserve good things. Probably true! But Jesus deserves good and He died so we could receive what He deserves. Jesus took what we deserved so we could have better.
MATTHEW 21:22 NIV 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
JOHN 16:24 NIV 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
JAMES 4:2 NLT 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.
Jesus said to ask. Actually, it is a command. Ask!

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Abraham’s Blessings Are Yours

GALATIANS 3:13-14 KJV 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Galatians tells us Christ redeemed us, so that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us.
What were the blessings Abraham enjoyed?
GENESIS 24:1 NIV 1 Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the LORD had blessed him in every way.
GENESIS 13:2 KJV 2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
Abraham’s blessing also extended to his descendants as they walked with God.
GENESIS 25:11 KJV 11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.
GENESIS 26:12-13 NIV 12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.
According to Romans, Abraham was promised the world for his descendants, and we who have faith in Christ Jesus are those descendants.
ROMANS 4:13 KJV 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
It should not be hard to believe that Jesus Christ is heir of this entire world. And remember that Romans 8:17 says we are joint heirs with Christ.
GALATIANS 3:9 KJV 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Abraham’s blessings do not come on everyone — only people of faith. Abraham was blessed because of his faith in God’s Word. We must receive these blessings by faith, also. So, if we refuse to believe they are for us, we will not have them.

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Focus On God

2 CORINTHIANS 4:18 NIV 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Many people are convinced they are too bad for God to help, or they have problems that are too big for God to handle. They seem to have more faith in their inability than they do in God’s ability. They seem to have more faith in the problem than they do in God. This happens when we focus on the problem, instead of looking to God who is the solution. As long as we focus on the problem and let it consume our attention, we will have faith in it to defeat us.
1 JOHN 4:4 NIV 4 . . . the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
We have a choice in what we focus our attention on.
The Old Testament contains an account illustrating how we must look to Jesus and His finished work on the cross, instead of looking at our problems.
NUMBERS 21:4-9 NLT 4 Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, 5 and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!” 6 So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. 7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 Then the LORD told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” 9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!
When deadly snakes are everywhere, biting people on every side, it would be extremely difficult to look up and focus your attention on a pole instead of looking down at the ground where the snakes were. But that is exactly what God instructed the people of Israel to do, and all who did were healed and lived.
Some might wonder why a snake was put on the pole, which was a type of Jesus being hung on the cross. It was because Jesus took our sins on Himself when He hung on the cross. The Bible says that He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us. And on the cross, that old serpent the devil, was defeated and de-fanged!
So, no matter how urgent the problem biting at your heels may seem, God’s answer for you is to look up and focus on God’s provision. Have faith in God!
God is bigger than any problem you face and can deliver you from any situation, no matter how bad it is.
JOHN 10:29 NIV 29 My Father . . . is greater than all . . .
Instead of thinking of how bad you are, focus on how good God is. His goodness is more than enough to overcome your badness. Instead of looking at what you lack, look at all God has. And remember He is your Father and loves you.
The devil tries to get us to focus on ourselves and our shortcomings, instead of focusing on Jesus and His ability to carry us through to victory.
Whenever the focus is pointing to us, instead of to God, you can be assured the devil has some involvement in those thoughts.
As long as you are focusing on yourself, you are not focusing on God. You have to make the choice.

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Forgive!

MARK 11:25-26 NKJ 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
You must forgive others. No matter what they have done. It is the command of God. But it was given for our benefit.
To not forgive hurts you. Refusing to forgive is like swallowing poison daily. It will destroy you.
Jesus said we should forgive when we stand praying. So we don’t have to wait until people apologize. Nor does forgiveness require a long time.
Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision to quit holding something against someone. When we forgive people we must release them and forget it.
You may think it is impossible to forgive someone who has deeply wronged you. With God it is possible. He never asks us to do something we cannot do.
LUKE 6:35-38 NKJ 35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Whatever we measure out is what will be measured back to us. If we want others — including God — to show mercy to us and forgive us — we must forgive and be merciful to others.
It is not enough to forgive only those people who have wronged us a little. We must forgive everyone!
MATTHEW 18:21-22 NKJ 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Surely Jesus was not setting a maximum limit on the number of times we should forgive. He gave an absurdly high number so we would realize He meant for us to forgive without limit — just as He forgives us.
LUKE 23:33-34 NKJ 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Jesus set a perfect example of forgiveness for us when He forgave those who mocked Him and crucified Him. But this kind of forgiveness is certainly beyond normal human ability or experience. It takes the power of God to do it. When we are born again we have access to that power through the love of God inside us.
EPHESIANS 4:32 NKJ 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.
We are commanded to forgive others in the same way God has forgiven us! Having God’s help is necessary to do that.
COLOSSIANS 3:13 NKJ 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
It is not optional. If we desire God’s blessing and fellowship — we must forgive others as He forgave us.

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Esteem Others Better

PHILIPPIANS 2:3 NKJ 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
When you start thinking you are better than other people, you are on dangerous ground. It leads to actions opposite to divine love.
Be on guard! The Bible warns us, and we should take heed.
Of course it’s not just what we think of others that’s important, but how we treat others. However, thoughts always precede and determine actions. So, we must guard our thoughts.
PHILIPPIANS 2:3 NET 3 . . . treat one another as more important than yourself.
Yes, every one of us is better in some way(s) than some other person or persons. But not one of us is superior in every way to everyone else.
Of even more importance is that we should not value a human being by their looks, abilities or accomplishments, but by their value to God. God is the true judge of human worth and He thinks that person you are tempted to look down upon is valuable enough to die for.
When you judge someone as not valuable, or judge yourself as more valuable than they are, you are setting yourself up as a judge with higher authority than God.
JAMES 4:6 NLT 6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”
God resists the proud!
Only a fool would want God to oppose them or resist them. Therefore, only a fool, or an ignorant person, would want to be proud — which is thinking you are better than others.
1 PETER 5:5 NKJ 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
What do you have that was not given to you? Did you create yourself? So, what do you really have to boast about?
1 CORINTHIANS 4:7 NKJ 7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
Instead of being proud, be grateful for all God has blessed you with. And realize God has blessed you so you can also be a blessing to others — for they are important to God, too.
1 PETER 2:17 NLT 17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters.

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Glorify God In Death

ECCLESIASTES 3:1-2 KJV 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Death is a part of life we cannot escape.
The Bible does not say a certain time has been determined for you to die. It says it has been appointed for us to die once. After death there will be judgment (not reincarnation.)
HEBREWS 9:27 KJV 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
There is a time to die. When you have lived a full life, then it is time to face death.
It is also a good time to die when you can glorify God by your death. Too many people think life is to be grasped at any cost. Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s, and we should seek to glorify Him and please Him.
JOHN 21:19 KJV 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
ROMANS 14:7-8 NLT 7 For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
I am planning ahead to glorify God in my death. Some people are only concerned with their comfort. But I desire to leave a good testimony pointing to the reality of my faith in Jesus Christ.
When I have lived a full life and am satisfied I have finished my course, my plan is to make sure all my affairs are in order, then tell the Lord I am ready to come home. I don’t plan to stay around doing nothing but causing trouble for my relatives just to be able to stay here on earth a few more days.
Too many so-called “believers” don’t really seem to believe in God and Heaven. They act like life on earth is all there is and every effort and expense should be exerted to stay here every second possible.
PHILIPPIANS 1:21,23 NLT 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.
Should believers have to be dragged out of this life in a drugged stupor kicking and screaming to stay here in this sin- infested planet one more day, instead of joyfully giving up the ghost and eagerly going to meet our wonderful Lord Jesus?
While none of us can claim to be experts on dying, Scripture seems to indicate that an individual has a part to play — either in hanging on for dear life, or in giving up the ghost (spirit).
LUKE 23:46 KJV 46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
GENESIS 25:8 KJV 8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
What kind of testimony will you leave behind? Will your friends and relatives see your life and death, and be inspired to follow you — and the One you claim to be following, Jesus Christ?
If you don’t think it matters to God how you die, consider the hall of fame of faith in Hebrews 11. Three of those mentioned tell how they left this earth.
The world needs to see that faith in Jesus Christ gives us a triumphant passage through death.
So, let us die in faith, just as we have lived in faith.

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