In a time long past, in a land far away,
A place so ancient and yet not unlike today;
Some would deny and say that is not true,
They’re old-fashioned, but we’re updated, modern and new.
But looking down through the corridors of time,
Nothing has changed-lawful is lawful and crime is crime,
Dark is dark and light is light,
Wrong is wrong and right is right,
Many deny it;
They decry it;
We are enlightened and scientific,
They were darkened and ignorant.
Modern man, so full of himself and his pride,
Looks to himself and sets all else aside.
Thinking himself wise with all his philosophy,
Dismissing and disdaining past history,
No cell phones, no computers, no technology.
What did they know about the origins of life and human sexuality?
They were steeped in far-fetched tales and mythology.
But if we look around with an open heart and mind,
We will see that there is much we can learn from past mankind.
So as we ponder and think and look to the ancient ones,
We can see there is nothing new under the sun.
Summer, fall, winter, spring, seasons come and seasons go,
Refreshing rains, bright sunlight, thunder, lightening, sleet and snow.
Seedtime and harvest, crops appear,
The earth endures year after year.
All in a rhythm that speaks of order, not chaos or chance,
All in a cadence that speaks of a Creator, not happenstance.
God’s word says look to the heavens and the earth,
And see the display of God’s glory in the great universe.
The mountains and the seas display His majesty,
All creatures great and small reflect His creativity.
God has revealed Himself in His magnificent creation,
He has given us eyes to see His general revelation.
He has made known His eternal power and divine nature,
To every earthly tribe, people, language, and culture.
But men suppress the truth and go their own way,
They did it long ago, and it’s still the same today;
Not wanting to acknowledge the truth of His existence,
Loving their own darkness, sin and wickedness,
They exchanged the truth of God for lies and speculations;
They look to human wisdom and declare themselves wise creations.
A darkened spirit overwhelms them, Leading to all kinds of lusts and sin,
Causing blindness and hardness in their hearts,
They have become foolish thinkers in their deepest parts.
Created to worship God and have fellowship with Him,
But rather rushing at breakneck speed into sin,
Rejecting God’s wisdom and revelation,
Refusing to acknowledge His rule over creation,
Replacing His glory with idols formed by mortal man,
Rejoicing in images fashioned by man’s own hand,
But God has stamped His likeness on their hearts,
So even as man rejects and departs, Looking to self and human accomplishments,
And decries God with all his rejections and dissents,
God has given him light and revelation,
He has shown Himself in His creation
So no one can cry foul and pretend not to know
No one can deny and say it isn’t so,
God has been clear, He’s proven to be near,
So no man is without excuse,
No one is hidden or a recluse,
God’s glory and attributes are known far and wide,
From one side of the earth to the other side, S
o as man represses the truth he’s been given,
He closes his ears and refuses to listen,
God gives him over to degrading passions,
To sexual impurity and unnatural actions.
Man jumps upon these immoral lusts,
Trading eternal treasure for moth and rust,
Relishing in his own sinfulness,
Justifying depravity and heartlessness,
Gossiping, boastful, arrogant, disobedient,
Doing what ever feels good and seems expedient,
Insolent, slandering, ruthless and greedy,
Taking advantage of the downtrodden, helpless and needy,
Storing up more and more of God’s righteous wrath,
Refusing to see he’s walking to destruction on the broad path,
But by no means be deceived, God’s perfect justice will be received
And His perfect justice will be dispensed,
All lawbreakers will receive their just recompense.
No one will be able to stand before the perfect Judge and whine,
“We didn’t know, You didn’t show us or give enough time.”
He’s made Himself known around the world,
Age to age, His divine attributes unfurled
For all who have eyes to see, He has established His majesty.
So if you do not see Him now, Call on His name to show you how.
He is good and gracious and full of love,
And anyone who looks to the heavens above
And asks with a broken, contrite heart,
Not wanting to spend another moment apart
From the glorious God who is merciful and kind
And showers blessing upon blessing upon mankind,
‘What must I do to be saved and belong to You?’
Will find the answer from the One who is faithful and true.
Turn from sin And turn to Him
Fall on His mercy, love, and grace
And find your name written in the heavenly place,
Received into His kingdom of Light No more darkness, striving or fight.
Now belonging to the One who died for sin.
Now clean and pure deep down within,
By the blood He shed on the cross,
Your life now all gain, the former no loss.
And live the rest of your life in peace with God,
No more wrath or iron rod, No more condemnation or guilt or shame,
But Beloved of God is your new name. Come to Him,
Call on Him,
Repent of sin,
Arms open wide, He’ll welcome you in.
His kingdom come,
His will be done,
In your life,
Peace with God and no more strife.
Rejoicing, joyful, filled with grace,
And one day with Him face to face.

# 85

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11: 28-30

In our present day where there is so much anger and strife and fighting and disunity and de-humanizing those who have opposing views, these words of Jesus bring so much comfort and we can become weary and burdened and heavy-laden.

And now is no different from then. “There is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1: 9 Jesus stepped into a world filled with oppression and violence and disunity and hatred and all kinds of bigotry. The Romans were viciously oppressing the Jewish people, keeping them in subjugation. At the hint of any rebellion or dissent, they ruthlessly went after the perpetrators and the roads were lined with those being crucified for the least offense against Rome.

And the religious leaders of Israel, rather than being shepherds of the people and teaching them of God, laid heavy regulations and burdens and law-keeping on their backs, looking down on those whom they were called shepherd and had great disdain for tax-collectors and “sinners” whom they deemed unworthy of their time.

Jesus stepped into this world. “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
Galatians 4: 4-5

He came with a new message of hope and He had compassion for the masses. “When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.” Mark 6: 34 Jesus’ reaction to the masses was in direct opposition of that of the Romans conquerors and the religious leaders. He looked and saw them through the eyes of love and compassion. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd, as sinners in need of a Savior.

And rather than look down on them with disgust and disdain, His compassionate heart went out to the and He taught them and cared for them and brought a message of life and hope. He saw them as sin-sick and heavy-laden and met them at their deepest point of need and after teaching and bringing good news, He saw their physical need for food and with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 couple of fish, He thanked His Father in heaven and began multiplying the food and feeding the masses until all “ate and were satisfied, and they picked up twelve baskets of broken pieces. and also of the fish. There were five thousand man who ate the loaves.” Mark 6: 42-44

Jesus satisfied and He satisfied in abundance. This feeding of the 5000 is such a picture of His care and compassion of us down to today. In a world of trouble and turmoil, we can look to the One who meets us in our deepest need and who satisfies our longings and who supplies all our “needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 19 What He did then, He does now in our topsy, turvy world, bringing hope to the hopeless and life to the lifeless.

All who look to the Son and His finished work on the cross on behalf of lost sinners and hear His cry of “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden” and come will be met with open arms, reconciled to the Father and at peace with God, have forgiveness of sins and declared righteous and will be granted eternal life.

Come and come now; do not delay. “Behold, now is the ‘acceptable time,’ behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6: 2

And as believers we can rejoice with thanksgiving in our salvation and for the “great love with which He loved us.” Ephesians 2: 4 and tell others of this glorious hope.

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Jesus

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.” Isaiah 53: 4-6

“But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;”
Isaiah 53: 10

Jesus willingly went to the cross and took on our sin and and the Father was pleased to crush Him so that we who repent and believe will be spared that punishment and judgement. The Father was not angry that Christ died, but pleased with His willing sacrifice. John 10: 17-18

And the temple veil was torn not our of anger by the Father, but to open up the very throne room of God so that now we can come into His presence with our prayers and petitions not through another human being but through our one mediator Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 2: 5

And we can enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus so that the tearing of the temple veil from top to bottom was symbolic of the opening of the throne room of God to all believers. Matthew 27: 51 Hebrews 10: 19-22

Hebrews 4: 16 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The cross was God’s plan of redemption–““Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man ]attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—
this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of [u]godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the [w]agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” Acts 2: 22-24

It pleased the Lord to crush Jesus for the salvation of His people and Jesus was willingly crushed for our salvation–it was all God’s plan to redeem a people for Himself who will spend eternity with Him in a state of perfection worshipping and glorifying Him forever. How amazing is that!!!

Salvation–
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. ]My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10: 27-30 We are kept safe in their powerful hands!! They won’t let go!!!

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 37-39 Nothing at all can separate us God and His love for us!!! We are completely safe and secure.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25 He keeps us from stumbling and brings to Him with great joy!!!

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Exchanging the Lie

Source: Exchanging the Lie

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The Good Shepherd–

Jesus–the Good Shepherd–John 10

11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

19 A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”

Jesus Asserts His Deity
22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. 24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.

”25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26 But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),

36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;

38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” 39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.

40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there. 41 Many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.” 42 Many believed in Him there.

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Norwood the Narwhal

Hi! I’m Norwood the Narwhal,
And I’m happy as can be.
I live way far up north in the icy cold blue sea.
Canada, Russia and Greenland are close by to me.

I live with my dad and my mom and little Sissy Nan.
We’re a fun-loving close-knit happy little narwhal clan.
We have neighbors and friends and much more family;
Life down here is happy as can be.

We live in a cool cave way down deep
Where we eat yummy fish
And have a safe place to sleep.

My dad builds houses for the Narwhal community.
That’s his job and he’s good at it as you will clearly see.
He builds houses in rocks and caves tucked far out of sight,
That way we’re all safe and sound throughout the day and night.

My mom’s a busy beaver keeping house for all of us,
She cooks and cleans and does all her mommy stuff,
She keeps us in line, doing our chores
Like making our beds and sweeping up the floors
And picking up seaweed floating in from distant shores.

And when our work is done,
It’s time for friends and fun
Nan and I love to swim and play;
We dart to and fro every single day.

Molly and Billy Beluga
are our cousins who live closeby.
We have a long tusk, they do not;
But we’re related nevertheless!!

They are our besties, our special friends,
We love them through thick and thin;
Playing chase and hide ‘n’ seek
Close your eyes! And don’t you peak!

We are fast, we are agile,
We are clever and sleek.
Darting in and out
From rock to rock
Swimming and racing
Floating and chasing!!
The fun never ends
Until, of course, our moms
call us in.

Yay!!! Dad’s home from his working day
Nan and I still want to play
Grabbing him by the hand
Hugging him hard as we can
We love our dad; he’s the best
Head and shoulders above the rest!

He swings us high up in the air
We laugh and giggle
We try to tickle

But just then we hear Mom say
Wash up!! Dinner’s coming!!!
We all come running
We’re so hungry!!!

Dad bows his head to pray
We are so thankful for each day;
Yummy cod fish on the plate
We scarf it down; it’s getting late

And now beddie bye time has come ,
Our wonderful, fun day is over and done.
We say our prayers and snuggle up;
Give Mom and Dad a good night kiss
Nothing can compare to this!!

I’m Norwood the Narwhal
And now I say good night to all!!!

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Sabbath

Question: “What is the Sabbath day?”

Answer: At first glance, the question “What is the Sabbath day?” seems fairly simple. According to Exodus 20:8–11, the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, on which we are to rest, in remembrance that God created the universe in six days and then “rested” on the seventh day. However, due to the misunderstanding and misinterpretation of some Christian groups, the meaning of the Sabbath day rest has been confused.

Some Christian groups, such as the Seventh Day Adventists, view the Sabbath as the day of worship, the day on which Christians should attend church/worship services. While these groups typically also teach that no work is to be done on the Sabbath, the concept of the “day of worship” is sometimes more emphasized than the “day of rest.” Originally, the Sabbath was a day of rest, and that purpose was retained in the Mosaic Law (Exodus 16:23–29; 31:14–16; 35:2–3; Deuteronomy 5:12–15; Nehemiah 13:15–22; Jeremiah 17:21–27). Under the Old Covenant, sacrifices were made daily at the tabernacle/temple. The “worship” was continual. And there were special commands given to Israel regarding a “sacred assembly” held on the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:3; cf. Numbers 28:9). The keeping of the Sabbath was the “sign” of the covenant between Israel and the Lord (Exodus 31:13).

The New Testament records Jews and converts to Judaism meeting in synagogues on the Sabbath (Mark 6:2; Luke 4:31; Luke 13:10–16; Acts 13:14, 27, 42–44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). Obviously, with no work being done on the Sabbath day, the Sabbath day would be the ideal day to have organized worship services. However, the New Testament does not command that the Sabbath be the day of worship. The church is not under the Mosaic Law.

The church is under the New Covenant, established by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible nowhere describes Christians setting aside the Sabbath day as the day of worship. The only Scriptures that describe Christians in any sense meeting on the Sabbath are in fact pointing to evangelistic efforts at Jewish synagogues, which met on the Sabbath day. Acts 3:2 records the early Christians meeting every day. The Bereans studied the Scriptures every day (Acts 17:11). Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2 both mention Christians meeting on the first day of the week. There is no evidence in the New Testament that the apostles or the early Christians in any sense observed the Sabbath day as the prescribed day of worship.

Traditionally, Christians have held their primary corporate worship services on Sundays, the first day of the week, in celebration of Christ’s resurrection, which occurred on a Sunday (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). It is important to understand, though, that Sunday is not the commanded day of corporate worship, either. There is no explicit biblical command that either Saturday or Sunday be the day of worship. Scriptures such as Romans 14:5–6 and Colossians 2:16 give Christians freedom to observe a special day or to observe every day as special. God’s desire is that we worship and serve Him continually, every day, not just on Saturday or Sunday. Please read our other articles on the Sabbath day and Sabbath keeping to explore this issue further.

Question: “How is Jesus our Sabbath Rest?”

Answer: The key to understanding how Jesus is our Sabbath rest is the Hebrew word sabat, which means “to rest or stop or cease from work.” The origin of the Sabbath goes back to Creation. After creating the heavens and the earth in six days, God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made” (Genesis 2:2). This doesn’t mean that God was tired and needed a rest. We know that God is omnipotent, literally “all-powerful.” He has all the power in the universe, He never tires, and His most arduous expenditure of energy does not diminish His power one bit. So, what does it mean that God rested on the seventh day? Simply that He stopped what He was doing. He ceased from His labors. This is important in understanding the establishment of the Sabbath day and the role of Christ as our Sabbath rest.

God used the example of His resting on the seventh day of Creation to establish the principle of the Sabbath day rest for His people. In Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15, God gave the Israelites the fourth of His Ten Commandments. They were to “remember” the Sabbath day and “keep it holy.” One day out of every seven, they were to rest from their labors and give the same day of rest to their servants and animals. This was not just a physical rest, but a cessation of laboring. Whatever work they were engaged in was to stop for a full day each week. (Please read our other articles on the Sabbath day, Saturday vs. Sunday and Sabbath keeping to explore this issue further.) The Sabbath day was established so the people would rest from their labors, only to begin again after a one-day rest.

The various elements of the Sabbath symbolized the coming of the Messiah, who would provide a permanent rest for His people. Once again the example of resting from our labors comes into play. With the establishment of the Old Testament Law, the Jews were constantly “laboring” to make themselves acceptable to God. Their labors included trying to obey a myriad of do’s and don’ts of the ceremonial law, the Temple law, the civil law, etc. Of course they couldn’t possibly keep all those laws, so God provided an array of sin offerings and sacrifices so they could come to Him for forgiveness and restore fellowship with Him, but only temporarily. Just as they began their physical labors after a one-day rest, so, too, did they have to continue to offer sacrifices. Hebrews 10:1 tells us that the law “can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” But these sacrifices were offered in anticipation of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the cross, who “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right of God” (Hebrews 10:12). Just as He rested after performing the ultimate sacrifice, He sat down and rested—ceased from His labor of atonement because there was nothing more to be done, ever. Because of what He did, we no longer have to “labor” in law-keeping in order to be justified in the sight of God. Jesus was sent so that we might rest in God and in what He has provided.

Another element of the Sabbath day rest which God instituted as a foreshadowing of our complete rest in Christ is that He blessed it, sanctified it, and made it holy. Here again we see the symbol of Christ as our Sabbath rest—the holy, perfect Son of God who sanctifies and makes holy all who believe in Him. God sanctified Christ, just as He sanctified the Sabbath day, and sent Him into the world (John 10:36) to be our sacrifice for sin. In Him we find complete rest from the labors of our self-effort, because He alone is holy and righteous. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can now cease from our spiritual labors and rest in Him, not just one day a week, but always.

Jesus can be our Sabbath rest in part because He is “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8). As God incarnate, He decides the true meaning of the Sabbath because He created it, and He is our Sabbath rest in the flesh. When the Pharisees criticized Him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded them that even they, sinful as they were, would not hesitate to pull a sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath. Because He came to seek and save His sheep who would hear His voice (John 10:3,27) and enter into the Sabbath rest He provided by paying for their sins, He could break the Sabbath rules. He told the Pharisees that people are more important than sheep and the salvation He provided was more important than rules. By saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27), Jesus was restating the principle that the Sabbath rest was instituted to relieve man of his labors, just as He came to relieve us of our attempting to achieve salvation by our works. We no longer rest for only one day, but forever cease our laboring to attain God’s favor. Jesus is our rest from works now, just as He is the door to heaven, where we will rest in Him forever.

Hebrews 4 is the definitive passage regarding Jesus as our Sabbath rest. The writer to the Hebrews exhorts his readers to “enter in” to the Sabbath rest provided by Christ. After three chapters of telling them that Jesus is superior to the angels and that He is our Apostle and High Priest, he pleads with them to not harden their hearts against Him, as their fathers hardened their hearts against the Lord in the wilderness. Because of their unbelief, God denied that generation access to the holy land, saying, “They shall not enter into My rest” (Hebrews 3:11). In the same way, the writer to the Hebrews begs his readers not to make the same mistake by rejecting God’s Sabbath rest in Jesus Christ. “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9–11).

There is no other Sabbath rest besides Jesus. He alone satisfies the requirements of the Law, and He alone provides the sacrifice that atones for sin. He is God’s plan for us to cease from the labor of our own works. We dare not reject this one-and-only Way of salvation (John 14:6). God’s reaction to those who choose to reject His plan is seen in Numbers 15. A man was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day, in spite of God’s plain commandment to cease from all labor on the Sabbath. This transgression was a known and willful sin, done with unblushing boldness in broad daylight, in open defiance of the divine authority. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp’” (verse 35). So it will be to all who reject God’s provision for our Sabbath rest in Christ. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

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