Drinking From The Cup The Father Has Given Us

by Mike Ratliff

And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” (Mark 10:37-40 ESV)

The truth, Biblical truth that is, cuts like a sword or the sharpest dagger ever seen. God’s ways are not Man’s ways or the ways of the world. No, God’s ways are antithetical to the ways of fallen Men. Many reading this can testify to losing close friends and having conflict within family groups because God has quickened them by His grace. Their faith is alive. They are regenerate. They now can see the truth and are able to obey God. This new life in Christ belongs to those who have found the narrow gate, which is Christ. They have passed through in belief and now are on the narrow way which leads to the Celestial City.

The conflict arises from this new life when it comes to bear on those around the believer who know not God. They may indeed be religious. They may be professing Christians, but neither of these things are guarantees of eternal life. The genuine believer is a possessor of the truth, God has written it on his or her heart. However, the unregenerate cannot grasp this truth. They see it as utter foolishness. When the regenerate believer walks in this belief with it affecting all parts of his or her life the unregenerate react in many ways. Anger, resentment, skepticism, hostility, and disdain are just a few of the reactions genuine Christians will encounter when they walk by faith.

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. (Matthew 10:5-14 ESV)

Obedient Christians will encounter two groups of people in their walks. Some are honorable the rest are not. The honorable receive the truth while the rest will not receive it to themselves nor listen to the truth. Jesus instructs us to shake off the dust from our feet as we depart from them. This is to show them that God’s peace is for others, not them.

Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:15-28 ESV)

The hostility from those unworthy of the truth is like that of a wolf pack going after a few sheep. How are the sheep to respond? They are to be wise and serpents and innocent as doves. They are to beware, to be careful. However, there will be times when the hostility will break forth into persecution. This can take many forms, but it is always going to be centered on hostility against the exclusivity of the Gospel. In our day the move is going full bore to open wide the narrow gate as far as possible, removing all of Christ’s restrictions on entering thereby. The narrow way is being made broad and as inclusive as possible. However, when the truth is spoken that these ways are unbiblical and not of God, the sheep who is drinking from Christ’s cup of obedience in speaking this truth will suffer persecution.

Their own families will turn on them. Their friends will view them as “insane.” They will be seen as religious fanatics and legalistic and treated as unworthy of any grace. However, it is during these times that God will put His words in their mouths to speak for His glory and to seal the judgment on those who are persecuting them. Jesus tells us that if we live obedient Christian lives then we will speak the truth and it will cause evil to come our way. We are not to fear those who persecute, but instead we are to fear God and obey Him instead of men.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:29-42 ESV)

No matter how horrible the enemies of the truth treat the believer who speaks the truth, Christians must remember that the Father is holding them in His eternal protection. Those who bear this and do not recant, but continually proclaim the truth in the face of God’s enemies will be acknowledged by the Son before God the Father. What a wonderful promise! In this post-Evangelical period of the Church this is not seen as the reward it really is. In our time it seems that the Church has lost its eternal focus and has become completely temporal. Because of this, the Gospel is changed into a man-made version of it that saves no one. It is one that offers peace with God for being religious or joining a church or saying a prayer. There is no mention of the Law and every person’s guilt before God because of it. There is no mention of why Jesus went to the Cross and why He had to become the propitiation for the sins of His people.

When the one who has drunk from Christ’s cup of obedience tells the truth against these lies then the heat and backlash from the neo-evangelicals and liberals comes quickly and seems deadly. Why? These “defenses” are fiery darts from the enemy himself. We must never stop preaching the truth about the high cost of discipleship. Genuine believers have given up their lives for their Lord. They have lost their lives for His sake. However, in this, they will find their true life.

When Jesus sent out His disciples He told them not to carry food or extra clothing. They were to depend on His providence which would be revealed in those people who received the Gospel gladly. However, Jesus’ earthly ministry ended. He is in Heaven with the Father. Before His crucifixion he revealed how things will be different for His obedient sheep.

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:35-38 ESV)

When Jesus sent the disciples out before, He had sovereignly arranged for their needs to be met. However, now things have changed. From now on they were to use normal means to provide for their own support and protection. The things Jesus told them to take and possess, the moneybag, the knapsack and the sword were figurative expressions for this. The sword was a dagger like weapon meant for protection, not aggression. However, His thickheaded disciples misunderstood what Jesus meant here. When they proclaimed that they had two swords, Jesus response was literally, “enough of such talk!” We know that Jesus did not mean for Christians to respond to unbelievers with the sword of steel by His response to Peter’s aggression in vv47-51. No, we don’t defend the Gospel with violence. When we are mistreated because of it and our refusal to compromise it then we will suffer the wrath of the unbelieving, but we still do not respond in kind. Instead, we tell the truth. We never compromise. We respond with the words God puts in our mouths. This is why we must know the Word of God.

Some reading this have felt a pang of guilt because they have genuine faith and are children of God, but they refuse to stand for the truth in the face of hostile family members or friends or co-workers. This stand is not a call to be obnoxious, but loving. There are times for the use of the Sword of the Spirit against the enemy and those he uses to attack the truth, but even then we must not resort to their tactics. Instead, we drink from the cup that the Father has given us and hope in His promises.

SDG

31 thoughts on “Drinking From The Cup The Father Has Given Us

  1. “Why? We have taken our eyes off the Lovely One, the Author and Sustainer of all Grace, and we have looked upon this world and its attractive offers. Have we forgotten how this world was killing us before we met the Master? Have we returned to the pigpen only this time dressed as the Christian life? The prodigal is now the faithful, the backslider is now insightful, the false teacher is now deep, and the worldly and careless believer is now free in Christ. This is not the death abolishing Jesus, this is the man made caricature who bears no resemblance to the One who calls us to leave this world and “Follow Me”. And the visible church certainly enjoys the poisons of this world but she has rejected the eternal nectar that is given to those who continually seek to lose their lives to find His and His alone.”

    Good post, Mike. Those words are from http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2008/03/he-has-abolished-death-ii-tim.html.

    We are indeed dead, and our lives are hid with Christ in God!! Forever!!!

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  2. Mike,

    This writing couldn’t have come at a better time. I was so discouraged today, and feeling forsaken.

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  3. You are so right Mike. There are those of us who have really felt the sting of rejection from family and friends because we have Jesus in us. They think we are ‘so out there’. Anyone who is a genuine believer will experiance that. We hear ‘Why do you have to be SO extreme’? Or, ‘Can’t you talk about anything without bringing God in to it’? Here is what bothers us about them. They think they are alright and going to Heaven!!!! They believe the lie of the devil. They say, ‘I’m a good person, why would God send me to hell, I pay my taxes, I don’t murder, rob banks, or beat my wife and kids’. They really believe the lie. They know there is a God, a devil, a heaven and a hell. Now they don’t want anything to do with the Lord, or the church goers who are ‘just a bunch of hypocrits trying to buy their way to heaven’. But they think they are going to make it to heaven! You know, ‘Gods a forgiving God’. You try in a gentle loving way to explain the gospel to them and they do not want to hear it. They say, ‘Well thats your beliefs and your opinion. You have your way and I have mine’. If you quote scripture to them or try to show them, look out! After a few times of that, then the one thing the Lord gave to us that is more powerful than all our ideas is prayer. We pray for them. Its hard to watch them do what they do unregenerated when we know and see the truth. Its like you want to shout, ‘I have the cure for the deadly cancer, listen to me, you don’t have to die.’ They act like you’re pushing heroin instead of Jesus. So we pray and we pray, and we pray. Nothing is impossible with God 🙂 They are no challenge to Him.

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  4. I am walking this narrow path. My husband has plotted against me for over a year for divorce..(even during our counseling sessions!)….He has been drifting from the Lord as my faith has been increasing (along with my boldness). His reasons for the divorce are “irreconcileable differences”. I see it more as a spirtual battle and satan has him decieved. I did not want the divorce, took the papers and put them in the trash. I took my case not to a courtroom of man but the court of Yahweh! The only JUST JUDGE of the universe. I prayed for my husband’s heart to change…it did not…..A police officer showed up on my doorstep with a court summons. I still did not step into the courtroom of man. I have talked with my husband and he gets primary residency of the children….(an anguished cry goes up from a mother’s heart)..I will still get to see them everday..but I am being driven from my home…..just 500 a month maintenance……but the Lord has provided me an apartment with all utilities included. My part-time job at McDonald’s has agreed to let me work a split shift..more
    income….and will be flexible in the summer where I can see my sons during the day. but I will have less income…only 20 hours per week….I was told get on state aid….I’m dropped from medical insurance…..it does not matter…I WILL NOT BATTLE ON SATAN’S TERMS…HE WANTS MY FAITH DESTROYED AND IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. IF I LOSE EVEYONE AND EVERYTHING PRECIOUS TO ME……LIKE JOB, I WILL TRUST GOD!!!!

    This has been the most severe trial of my life….it has not let up and my precious children are even speaking the word of God to this man..His heart is hardened….The Lord told me to let the unbeliever go. Now I must walk by faith that the “facade” faith my husband had will not totally unravel and the children will be spiritually damaged.

    When we live on fire for Jesus…EVERY DAY…..and love HIM more than the things of this world, we may pay a heavy price….even from those in our immediate family.

    My husband is running from God. But Jesus is my advocate (and I’m not in debt to Him thousands of dollars, like my husband is with HIS ATTORNEY). I’m trusting Him to provide for me. My Maker is my husband now, and I’ve told my sons I will not take off the covenant ring. I stood before Jesus the day I made my vows and I will not break them. He is faithful…and so I will be as well. It is a sign to them of God’s faithfulness……remaining in covenant even as my husband has wandered.

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  5. Mike,

    This post is a God send!
    I still get amazed at God’s timing.

    I was starting to feel discouraged and second guessing my talk with a co-worker yesterday – thinking I had said too much – BUT this post – it overwhelms me because it contains so much of what we talked about – I could just cry. Tears of joy and amazement – and thanksgiving for my Father in Heaven who knows and meets my every need! He again has confirmed His promise to comfort. I will always be in awe of this!

    Again, thanks for the post – and thanks be to God, for He is doing a mighty work through you.

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  6. T.J.,

    You are a perfect example of the fact that when we obey God and follow our Lord then things can become very hard to bear in this God hating world. I pray that you will continue to simply follow your Lord. I pray for your children to know Him and that He will continue to provide for all your needs.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  7. Sherry,

    God be praised that He works these things out like this. I wrote this in response to a “discussion” I had with a family member over the weekend. Then He used that to get this post online so others can be encouraged. Soli Deo Gloria!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  8. Paul, just would like to say one thing, your on the narrow path, they will start to ignore you or won’t talk with you or want you around. They leave you all alone. This is a form of persecution.

    Mark 3:20-21
    20Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

    In Christ,
    David

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  9. T. J. I will hold you in my prayers. I know the trial, with all the evils that go along with it. The preversion in the court room, when we stand up. I went throught the same thing in my life with my wife. Very difficult trial, but the Lord never give us more than we can handle. And at times it is very difficult to handle. I can share parts of it now, but then I couldn’t talk without remorsely crying. Remain in prayer and reading scriptures for you know that He is treating you as one of His children. Please try to keep your mind on things that are above and not things of this world. This will be almost 3 yrs of being on my own, and the Lord has provided for all my needs. He has help me in many ways and has protected me in ways that I can’t imagine.

    With all Sincerity,
    In Christ,
    David

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  10. David, They did just that. But the Lord kept me through it and also brought me the perfect wife! 🙂

    T.J. Our hearts and prayers are with you. We know how ugly divorce can be and is. The Lord will be with you every step of the way. Lean on Him for ALL, He won’t let you down.

    Mike, You’ve got to read this. Sounds like a bit of what your post is on.
    From belly—to cards or dice

    (Thomas Brooks, “London’s Lamentations” 1670)

    “Those who wear expensive clothes and indulge
    in luxury are in palaces.” Luke 7:25

    “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and
    fine linen and lived in luxury every day.” Luke 16:19

    “The rich man also died and was buried. In hell,
    where he was in torment,” Luke 16:22-23

    Luxury is one of the great darling sins of our age and day!
    It is a very God-dishonoring sin, and a God-provoking sin,
    and a soul-damning sin! It shuts men out from all the glory
    of heaven—and tumbles them down to the lowest hell!

    Look! no luxurious person shall enter into heaven. Of all
    sorts of sinners—the luxurious sinner is most rarely reformed.
    The adulterer may become chaste, the thief may become an
    honest man, the swearer may obtain a sanctified tongue;
    but how rare is it to see a luxurious person repent, break
    off his sins, submit to Christ, and walk to heaven!

    Of such professors who live and wallow in luxury and
    intemperance, if we compare Christ’s laws and their
    lives together, I think we may confidently conclude,
    that they are not Christians.

    Panormitan, a heathen, having read Christ’s sermon
    on the mount, and comparing those standards with
    the loose and luxurious lives of professing Christians;
    concluded that those people were not Christians.

    Chrysostom preferred brute beasts before luxurious
    people; for the beast goes from belly—to labor. But
    the luxurious person goes from belly—to bed; or from
    belly—to cards or dice, if not to something worse!

    “You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.
    You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter!”
    James 5:5

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  11. T.J.

    My prayers are with you,also. I was forced into a divorce myself at 50. Very painful and it has been 5 years now since I have been on my own. God does provide as I found a job within two months of moving to a strange town. Actually someone recommended me so the job found me. 🙂 (I used to help my self employed husband. ) Do keep your eye on Him. I really got caught up in a sinful lifestlyle after my divorce and what a mess I made of things. I married someone and divorced him a week later. That was over 3 years now and I feel very very bad about that. Now I just keep to myself and look to the Lord for my healing. I hope my brothers and sister will still talk to me after that confession. I really needed to get that out anyway.

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  12. God is good Deb. The fact that you would share that shows how far God has taken you from unbelief to belief. Your trust is in Him. You are growing my sister.

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  13. Mike,

    My question pertains not solely to today’s post, but to the general theme that God has led you to take up recently.

    I have asked your opinion previously on the Philip Yancey’s book, “What’s so Amazing about Grace”, but you had not read it. I came across a quote from this book in an online newsletter from a missionary our church supports. It reads:

    Our featured book for this update is What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey (Zondervan). A quote which captures the essence of the book is found on pp. 70-71. “Grace makes its appearance in so many forms that I have trouble defining it. I am ready, though, to attempt something like a definition of grace in relation to God. Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more–no amount of spiritual calisthenics and renunciations, no amount of knowledge gained from seminaries, no amount of crusading on behalf of righteous causes. And grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less–no amount of racism or pride or pornography or adultery or even murder. Grace means that God already loves us as much as an infinite God can possibly love…I cannot moderate my definition of grace, because the Bible forces me to make it as sweeping as possible. God is the God of all grace. And grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less. It means that I, even I who deserve the opposite, am invited to take my place at the table in God’s family.”

    To me, this seems a one-sided view of our Holy God. Do you have any thoughts?

    Grace to you!
    David

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  14. David,

    I believe you are right about that quote. It is very one-sided. It is right but there is more to God than His grace. For instance, all sin will be judged by God. The sins of redeemed believers was judged at the cross. The sins of the lost will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Yes, God forgives sin, but only the sins of those who believe.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  15. David – that is a fuzzy definition of grace. Love is another issue, God is love. But grace is the Siamese twin of redemption and cannot be defined apart from redemption. In a nutshell and embarrasingly finite, grace is salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus.

    One day we will know even as we are known.

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  16. Deb, Hang in there. Its o.k. to share 🙂 This is Pauls ‘better half’ speaking to you 🙂 I was married for 22 years, not saved, 2 kids, and then divorced. A year later, the Lord came and got me. As for the ex, he still isn’t saved and from what I hear and getting worse. Pauls ex ran off with her boss. They were married for 10 years and 2 kids, then the divorce. Paul was saved, she wasn’t and still isn’t. So for 10 years Paul was single. It was 5 for me. We met at church. We didn’t even notice each other for 6 months! Actually we met at a spagetti dinner the church had. We went to church not to find a mate, but to worship our Lord. In fact neither one of us were ever going to get married again. God said otherwise 🙂 It was painful for both of us during the years we were not married, but as you said, we were married to the Lord. He was enough for us, but the Lord had other plans. We have been married for almost 10 years now and it has been WONDERFUL!! 🙂 We just kept our eyes and heart on the Lord and He does the rest. Whats He say……Seek ye first the kingdom of God and ALL these things…………… 🙂 Blessings to you, Luann

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  17. Dear Mike, David, Paul and Deborah,

    Thanks for all your encouragement and sharing. Divorce is such an ugly thing. Yet Jesus can give us beauty from the ashes. My little apartment is a basement one. I am thinking in spiritual terms as Jesus laid down His life and went into the tomb…(the earth)..I too am laying my life down and going “underground”..but oh the joy and praises that will be taking place down there!!! Setting the place up I have already been worshipping inside the place and it is looking homey and feeling peaceful. One good thing…there will be no “spirtual batteling” going on for I and the Lord will be in agreement in this dwelling , HE IS LORD….and HE REIGNS SUPREME IN MY HEART!!

    I truly am sensing that I will remain alone with God and one day (if my husband repents and returns to me like the prodigal did) I will gladly take him back.

    This divorce may actually be the thing that brings my husband into a FULL SALVATION. He has stopped taking communion and says he knows he may face God’s judgment. The heart is deceitfully wicked. May we all come clean before you Lord and confess we are unworthy of such a great salvation..yet in your MERCY you offer us forgiveness. Blessed be the Name of the Lamb of God!! Jesus , may Savior!!
    Without You we would have no hope!!!

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  18. Thank you, Mike, for posting this. I have also been encouraged by the comments left here. I love to see the Lord at work in others’ lives!

    All of my earthly family, with the exception of my mother and myself, are unbelievers. Oh, that their hearts would be quickened and their eyes be opened! As I grow in my faith (I’ve known the Lord for 4 years), things seem to get tougher in my relationships with them. We live in an area (Smalltown, USA) that is very heavily churched, one that is disgustingly steeped in Churchianity, but one that is spiritually dead and starved for the Truth of God. About a year and a half ago, the Lord in His sovereignty brought together a few God-fearing, Christ-following, Bible-believing people who started a church, of which my mom and I are a part. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! But since we started meeting with these dear brothers and sisters in Christ, our family has grown even more suspicious of our faith and seemingly more resistant than ever to the Truth. I confess to anyone reading this that experiencing such a rift in the family, experiencing opposition from the people I’ve grown up with and care about, is not easy for me or for my mom. We are young in the faith, but we must believe that if we are His children, He will help us to stand firm. After all, it is He who began the work in us and who will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, to the praise of His glory.

    Grace to you all…

    In Christ,
    Brian

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  19. You are very welcome Brain. Thank you for sharing this brother. It looks to me as if God is maturing you and your mother. Never stop praying for your lost family members and be ready to give an account at any time.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  20. Luann,
    Thank you for sharing your happy ending. 🙂 I do believe I have run out of marriages.
    It’s just me and the Lord from here on. He is the best counselor,healer, and provider. When I feel lonely and depressed I just focus on Him and in no time I feel better.
    My ex hasn’t become a believer yet either. He was when I married him but that didn’t last to long. I pray for him. I pray for the man I married for a week,too. We are still friends.

    Mike,
    Thank you so much. Confession is good for the soul. 🙂

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  21. You all are wonderful sisters and brothers in Christ. No where else do I get such joy reading blog comments! Only in Christ can we count it all joy when we meet these trials of the worst kind.

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  22. Deb, Luann here again….. 🙂 Just to be married to the Lord is enough. He kept me and is still keeping me. In fact, Paul and I pray for our ‘ex’s’ salvation too. Glad to hear you are still friends with the guy for the one week. I was never going to marry again after 22 years of a slow burn, but hey, never say never because God may have different plans for you. But until then, your focus is right on sister!! 🙂

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