Truth comes from totality

The whole story reveals all of the truth; not standalone snippets. This doesn’t mean standalone snippets are not true. It means until the whole story is available for consideration, the details cannot be compared to each other in totality so that the whole truth can be known (Proverbs 18:13).

It’s kind of like when a parent asks their child if they’re telling the whole truth. A little here without a little there leaves us without the sum total, right?

The scriptures are a source of record even to atheists, but to be fully useful, even to theists, the scriptures must become a source of truth. This only comes by allowing the entirety of the Bible to tell the entirety of God’s will. This is like comparing puzzle pieces sitting in a box to puzzle pieces that have been placed together.

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#bible-study, #devotional

What does the Bible say about a Christian’s conduct

By Douglas M. Williams Sr

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all point tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15; Matthew 4:1-11).

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:21-22).

“And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5).

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12).

When we have a question about something, we should think about ‘what would Jesus do?’ We have seen the letter WWJD written on different places.

The above verses show us the perfect example of Jesus; how we are to follow Him; and always practice the golden rule.

Consider the following guidelines when deciding if something is right or wrong:

  1. The Personal Text: Will doing this make me a better or worse Christian?
  2. The Social Test: Will doing this influence others to be a better or worse Christian?
  3. The Practical Test: Will the results of my doing this be desirable?
  4. The Universal Test: If everyone should do this, would it improve or degrade society?
  5. The Scriptural Test: Does the Bible endorse it, or is it expressly forbidden by the word of God?

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

“Prove all things, hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).                                       


#bible-study, #christian-living, #conduct

What does the Bible say about being in Christ

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, butaccording to the Spirit” (Romans 8:2).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

The word “in” is a little word, but very important and meaningful. The Bible speaks so many times about being “in Christ” as shown in the above verses. So, we can see the importance and necessity of being “in Christ” if we are to be saved and enjoy all spiritual blessings.

Redemption is “in Christ” (Romans 3:24); Paul writes to “those who are sanctified in ‘Christ’,” (1 Corinthians 1:2); and Paul writes to the “saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful ‘in Christ'” (Ephesians 1:1). In addition to Christians being new creatures “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17), the Bible says that all Christians are “one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

How are Christians in Christ, and how are all spiritual blessings in Christ? At John 15:1-6, Jesus uses the illustration of the vine and branches, Christ is the true vine, and His disciples are the branches. As the branches receive life-sustaining nutrients from the vine, Christians receive life and all spiritual blessings from Christ. If one is not “in Christ” they are not saved and do not enjoy spiritual blessings. But when one is “in Christ” it is like a branch attached to a life supporting vine, and they receive salvation, spiritual life and blessings, peace, fellowship, hope, etc.

How does one get “in Christ”? The Bible says that only baptism puts one “in Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:3-4). But baptism must be preceded by faith, repentance, and confession (Mark 16:16; Luke 13:3;Matthew 10:32-33). The last thing one must do to be “in Christ” is to be baptized.

Are you in Christ?                                                  

#bible-study, #in-christ

What does the Bible say about preparation

By Douglas M. Williams Sr

“Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12).

Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I got and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3).

Remember the rich farmer that the Lord said was a fool, because he was selfish and left God out of his plans. He was indeed unprepared to meet God!

God’s word exhorts us to prepare to meet God, and that heaven is a prepared place for Christians that live for God.

The Bible has much to say about preparation. David prepared for building the temple before his death. Noah prepared the ark for salvation. Ezra prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord. John prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. The Jews made preparations for the Sabbath day. Jesus taught the need for preparations in His parables as in the Ten Virgins. The Bible speaks about the things God has prepared for those who love Him, but that hell is everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

As noted above our greatest concern should be to prepare to meet God and receive an eternal mansion in heaven. This preparation is made by faith in Jesus that leads to repentance, confession, and baptism for the remission of sins. Then living faithfully for Jesus until the end of life (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10).

The song, “Prepare to Meet Thy God” encourages our preparation by stating, “Careless soul, O heed the warning, for your life will soon be gone; O how sad to face the judgment, unprepared to meet thy God.”

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people!


#bible-study, #spiritual-preparation

What does the Bible say about the sinner’s prayer

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr

The Bible does not say anything about “The Sinner’s Prayer” as is taught by so many today, which they teach will save a person who is outside of Christ.

The Bible teaches that a believer (Mark 16:16; Hebrews 11:6) must repent of sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38); confess faith in Christ (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:10; Acts 8:37); and be baptized to be forgiven as sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Revelation 1:5).

As we hear people talk of “the sinner’s prayer” or read it, the wording is different but the message is about the same as copied here:

“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I know you died on the cross for me. I now turn from my sins and ask you to forgive me. I now invite you into my heart and life. I now trust you as Savior and follow You as Lord. Thank you for saving me. Amen.”

As noted above this idea cannot be found in the Bible to save a person outside of Christ. But the Bible says one must obey Jesus as also noted above. The Bible teaches that salvation is in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Timothy 2:10), and the only way to get in Christ is to obey the gospel that is completed by baptism (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:26-27).

The Bible shows us that when believers asked what to do to be saved, they were told to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). Thus, the disciples were carrying out the Lord’s instructions (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).

The Bible does teach that a Christian, who is in Christ, is to confess sins, repent, and pray to God for forgiveness (Acts 8:13-24; James 5:16).

It would seem that there is misunderstanding about what one outside of Christ and one who is in Christ, as a child of God, must do to be forgiven. This is a good example to “Study…rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

God bless you in your study of God’s word and obedience to it. If I can help you, please let me know.


#bible-study, #prayer

What does the Bible say about what happens when we die

By Douglas M. Williams Sr.

Death is a subject about which we do not like to think, and especially our own. We know, as the Bible teaches, that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Thus, we need to consider death seriously to make preparation for it. Amos 4:12 tells us to “prepare to meet thy God.”

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#afterlife, #bible-study, #death, #judgement, #soul

They named him Ezra

I don’t know why it even bothered me. It certainly was none of my business, but somehow I couldn’t get past the fact that this young couple named their little baby boy Ezra. It sounded so antiquated to me, so out-of-date. I thought of how he would hate his name when he grew up. It reminded me of when as a young girl I told Raymond Elliott, our preacher, of how when I married and had a baby boy I wanted to name him Ishmael. Raymond immediately came back reminding me I should check out the name before labeling a child with that name for life. I never forgot his suggestion and never named our son Ishmael. Well, some would say, “There’s nothing in a name. It doesn’t matter.” Doesn’t it?

Ezra has a book in our Bibles named after him. I’ve read it more than one time…lately because this is still on my mind. But you know what I’ve found? Ezra was a fine man. Read what the Today’s English Version records in Ezra 7:6-10:

“Ezra was a scholar with a thorough knowledge of the Law which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to Moses. Because Ezra had the blessing of the Lord his God, the emperor gave him everything he asked for. In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra set out from Babylonia for Jerusalem with a group of Israelites which included priests, Levites, Temple musicians, Temple guards, and workmen. They left Babylonia on the first day of the first month, and with God’s help they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month. Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.”


  1. Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord.
  2. Ezra had devoted his life to practicing the Law of the Lord.
  3. Ezra had devoted his life to teaching all the Law of the Lord’s laws and regulations to the people of Israel.

I imagine with the fine Bible training this little fellow is getting, one day he will want to read the book of Ezra for himself. And when he does without doubt he’s going to be mighty pleased with his name. I know I am. There’s something important in a name.


What does the Bible say about hope

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr

“That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments” (Psalm 78:7).

“Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5).

“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:24-25).

“And now abides faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

“Lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:18-19).

Hope is defined as “Desire with expectation of obtaining that which is desired,” and is so important in our lives on this earth and ‘to the hope of eternal life’” (Titus 1:2; 3:7).

Hope is one of the three greatest things that Paul mentions in the last verse of his great chapter on love. In that familiar verse Paul mentions faith, hope, and love, and it is interesting that Paul mentions these three things again in Colossians 1:4-5, where he says, “we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all saints, because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven.” These are certainly three graces that should always be conspicuous in the life of every Christian.

We should be rich in faith; full of love; and abound in hope as we prepare ourselves for our inheritance in heaven. Let not these three kindred spirits be strangers to your souls, but let faith, hope, and love always abide in your heart.

Of the things we know about hope, have we given proper consideration to the fact that hope is one of the things whereby we are saved (Romans 8:24)? Since the Bible points out that all are guilty of sin (Romans 3:23), our great need is salvation. God in his love and grace has done His part, and Jesus died for us that we might be forgiven.

Our part is to obey by believing, repenting of sins, confessing our faith in Christ as God’s son, and being baptized for the remission of our sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Then with the Lord’s help we are to live faithfully for Jesus (Revelation 2:10), and He will save us eternally in heaven.


#bible-study, #christian-hope

What does the Bible say about afflictions

By Douglas M. Williams Sr

“Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1).

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Affliction is trouble, hardship, difficulty, adversity, tribulation, and grievous distress. It causes pain, grief, sorrow and suffering.

Afflictions come in different ways, and everyone has them from time to time. How grateful we should be to know that we have a loving heavenly Father who knows and understands our afflictions and that the Bible offers comfort, help, and salvation as we trust the Lord in faith and obedience. In our afflictions it might be of help to think about the woman in her troubles that said she liked to think of her favorite verse. When asked what it was, she replied, “And it came to pass,” and explained she was glad the Bible didn’t say, “that it came to stay.”

The Bible says, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). “O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction” (Jeremiah 16:19).

In Acts 7:10 we read that God was with Joseph and delivered him out of afflictions. In Hebrews 11:24-25 we read, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”

God has not promised us a life free of affliction, but he has promised He “will never leave nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). God bless you, and may He always help us look to Him in faith and obedience that we may enjoy all of God’s blessings, and especially His spiritual blessings in Christ and salvation in heaven.


#afflictions, #bible-study

What does the Bible say about the religion of Christ

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr

“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:26-27).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24).

The above scriptures and others indicate the urgency and seriousness of the religion of Christ. At Acts 15:25-27, the Bible speaks of those “who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Yet, today, many times people do not feel that religion is anything about which to get excited. Like some modern clothing, religion has become casual and, in some cases, slovenly. But God doesn’t accept such easy religion that costs nothing. “Again,” Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

God has blessed us with a time of affluence, and a good life in so many ways. Compared to former generations, for example, we have air-conditioned homes and automobiles, and even farmers have air-conditioned tractors. Let us never take these blessings for granted, but always be thankful and use our blessings in service to others as we glorify God.

Remember, Jesus, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Also, the following passage is so much needed by our materialistic society: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (of heaven) (Revelation 22:14).


#bible-study, #religion

What does the Bible say about quarantine?

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr

“The priest shall isolate the one who has the sore seven days,” and then the priest shall examine the person and if necessary “the priest shall isolate him another seven days” (Leviticus 13:4-5).

These verses refer to isolation, and in all probability most of us have heard more about quarantine and isolation in recent days than ever before. Also, notice the possibility of the isolation being for fourteen days. Sound familiar?

The context of the above verses refer to God’s laws concerning leprosy from Leviticus chapters 13 and 14.

Leprosy was a very terrible, dreaded, and fearful disease. The leper was not permitted to mingle with others, and in fact, if approached by people he had to cry out the warning, “Unclean! Unclean!” (Leviticus 13:45). Thus, the reference to leper colonies. This is shown when ten men who were lepers “stood afar off” and “lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!'” (Luke 17:11-19). By the way, this is a sad situation as Jesus healed these ten, and only one came back to thank Jesus.

Other examples of leprosy in the Bible: Moses (Exodus 4:6-7); Miriam (Numbers 12:10); Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-14); Amaziah (2 Kings 15:1-5); Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:16-23); a man healed by Jesus (Luke 5:12-14).

Our problem of quarantine is not leprosy, but Coronavirus or Covid-19. We need to take pre-cautions and follow the guidelines that have been given, and pray much, diligently and fervently that this virus might soon stop the illness and death it is causing (James 5:16). God is still in control!

Let us be grateful to everyone who is working to stop this virus. We are all in this together even though we are apart!


#bible-study, #quarantine

What does the Bible say about Bible study

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

“Search the Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

“These (in Berea) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

These people studied with an open mind and an open Bible, and such is a winning combination to learn God’s will for us today.

Some thoughts in this article are from A. L. Franks of the Magnolia Messenger. As he stated, it may be that you should lay this article aside (for a while) and start your daily Bible reading right now. Because you can go to heaven without reading this article, but you can’t go to heaven without learning and obeying the teachings of the world’s greatest Book.

We should make daily Bible reading and study a part of our daily routine like we do in eating, sleeping, etc. God bless each of us in our diligent daily Bible study. You will thank God throughout eternity for the time you spend reading and studying His precious Word.

These lines of an unknown author are titled, “An Unused Book”:

“Mother, I found an old dusty thing high on the shelf – just look!”

“Why that’s a Bible, Tommy dear; be careful – that’s God’s book!”

“God’s Book!” the child exclaimed; “then Mother, before we lose it,

We’d better send it back to God, for you know, we never use it.”




What does the Bible say about forgiveness of sins

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr

“Forgive all my sins” and “cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 25:18; 51:2).

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”…For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neitherwill your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:12, 14-15).

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do’” (Luke 23:34).

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Since sin is real, and separates one from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), everyone should be interested in how to be forgiven of sin. As stated above David often wrote about being forgiven of sin in the book of Psalms, and there are many other references both in the Old and New Testaments.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

The gift of God is the forgiveness of sin that God provided for everyone through the gift of His son to die as a sacrifice on that old rugged cross.

This gift of God must be received according to the conditions given in God’s word. For a gift to be a gift it must have a giver and a receiver. God is the giver and we receive it by obedience to His commands. These commands, or conditions, are faith (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6); repentance (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38); confession of faith (Matthew 10:32-33; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9-10); baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21); and a faithful Christian life (Revelation 2:10; Matthew 10:22).


#bible-study, #forgiveness-of-sins

What does the Bible say about sin

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:2-3).

In referring to Jesus the Bible says, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” John 1:29)!

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). 

“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

Sin is that which is contrary to the law of God. Sin is doing wrong, and violating the requirement of what is right. The Bible defines sin as “transgression of the law,” that “all unrighteousness is sin,” and “whatever is not from faith is sin” (1 John 3:4; 5:17; Romans 14:23) There are two forms of sin:

  1. The sin of commission, which is, doing anything forbidden by the law of God.

2.  The sin of omission, which is, not doing what is required by the law of God.

The Bible has much to say about sin. Jeremiah 51:5 states, “their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel,” and 1 John 5:19 says, “The whole world lies in wickedness.”

From the time that Adam and Eve first sinned, people have always been guilty of sin. The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Because of sin God destroyed everyone by a flood, except Noah and his family. In view of the above thought, we can understand and know that, sadly, sin is rampart in our world today.

Young’s concordance lists about 700 references to sin. We can see that the Bible has much to say about sin. Sin is a terrible thing to God, and separates people from Him. The Bible lists sins in Matthew 15:19; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8, and says sin cannot enter heaven. But God has made it possible for us to be forgiven of sin as we obey Jesus who died on the cross for us.

#bible-study, #sin

God has blessed us with special talents

In the book of Exodus, chapter 31, the Lord was talking to Moses. He gave Moses the instructions on how to build the tabernacle. In verses 6-11 God told Moses he had given special skill to all the naturally talented craftsmen so they could make all the things He had instructed them to make. Then He named the different things. All of it was difficult work, it seemed to me, but the thing that really caught my eye as a seamstress was the job the men had to do in embroidering the priestly garments. As priests, Aaron and his sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar would be set apart from the common people. They were to make a chest piece, an ephod, a robe, an embroidered tunic, a turban, and a sash. These items were to be made of the linen cloth and embroidered with gold thread and blue, purple, and scarlet yarn. I read where the way they got their gold thread was taking gold and beating it flat, then slicing it in thin pieces with which they could use to embroider. This was sewn in with different colors of yarn.

God said he had given special skill to all the naturally talented craftsmen. They were given wisdom by God in order to do their tasks. All of us have special skills. God wants us to use them for His glory. Think about the special talents and abilities that you have and how you might use them for God’s work in the world. A talent must be used or it will diminish. It is like a broken bone. You use it or you lose it.

As a man you may have a good singing voice. You can use this in leading the singing in the services of the church. God has given you this voice to use for Him.

As a lady, you may be a good cook. What better way can you serve God than by preparing a dish and taking it to someone less fortunate? Look for opportunities to use your talent.

As a young person you may feel there is nothing for you to do. Not so! Many young people have the “gift of gab” and a kind word spoken to the elderly by a young person is a prized gift. A kind, “You have on a pretty dress,” “I’ve always admired you,” “I missed you,” can really make a person’s day when spoken sincerely.

Many of us can take a minute to make a telephone call to show we care. We can address a Get Well card and mail it. We can pray for others. We can use the special skills God has blessed us with in His service.

We are not put on earth for our own satisfaction! It was not God’s will to put us here to survive, making a living, do our own thing with our own little family, and attend the services of the church. We were put here for a purpose, HIS PURPOSE. We are here to teach others, to grow His church. We must not face God on the day of judgment and say, “My voice wasn’t good enough,” “I didn’t think they would enjoy my cooking,” “I didn’t know what to say,” or God forbid, “I didn’t have time to call, send a card, visit, or pray.” He has equipped each of us with special skills. Let us do the work He has placed us here to do. Let us sing with fervor, “Here am I Lord, send me.” 

#bible-study, #talents