Gone are the days of the Duke, John Wayne and the real men whom He emulated on the silver screen, that fought the battle of Iwo Jima and stormed the beaches of Normandy. Where have all the real men gone? Is it too late for our culture to see what authentic masculinity looks like. Men who sacrifice for their families and spend time with their kids wrestling and having tea parties. Men who open car doors for their wives and who charge into danger to protect the innocent while everyone else runs the other way. What our culture desperately needs in this critical hour in history is men, real men. I dare to say, godly men.

John Wayne portrayed an heroic man on the silver screen. He was good for the times when it was still okay for a man to be a man, and all that defined authentic manhood for the day. John Wayne symbolized for a generation all that was good and noble about manhood. But no longer, as we live in a culture and a society that attempts to throw dirt on what authentic masculinity is suppose to be and bury it in the grave of history. Men it’s time to rise up out of the ashes, shake the dirt off and climb out of the grave that this society we live in is trying to bury us in. Let our minds drift back to the memory of our fathers and grandfathers and may the memory of their voices haunt us until we are willing to stand.

Recently a large and well known company came out in attempt to put another proverbial nail into the coffin of authentic masculinity. They have taken it upon themselves to let men know what their options are for being a man. And to their ad my response is Thank you, but I’ll choose the Biblical option for authentic masculinity. Long before the Duke, men were given a model of real authentic masculinity. Masculinity modeled for us by the ultimate man. The God-man, Jesus Christ. In our hyper sensitive culture that wants to tell us what real men should be, I choose God’s model. I choose to follow Jesus. In the recent commercial by this big well known company they took it upon themselves, as many have done in our culture, to try and tell us what our options are for being a man. The only two options that was offered in this particular ad was the way of the brute who cheers on thug like behavior condoning violence as boys beat each other while the males passively stand back and continue to barbecue. Then we have the other males, I don’t call them men, ogling a woman as she walks down the street. What’s the other option they give us? Well if you don’t choose the passive father watching the boys fight, or the ogler then your only other option is the path of the feminine man who’s in touch with his feelings and appears vulnerable and weak.

What we need is men like Churchill who defied Hitler as he walked the bomb ridden streets of London to inspire his people during the height of World War Two when he was the only one standing up against the tyranny of Naziism that looked to spread like a cancer across the entire world. We need men like Lincoln who after recently losing the light of his life in his young son who just died stood at Gettysburg among the fresh graves and roused a nation to triumph over the evils of slavery. We need men like my grandfather who was transformed by his faith in his Lord Jesus Christ and will not tolerate another man cursing his Savior in front of him and his wife. I want to see men like my father who displayed the kind of love empowered by his Savior as I witnessed him take on the hardships brought on to him and his family by the wrongs done to him by others and was strong enough to turn the other cheek when wronged as he follows the example of his Lord and Savior. We need men who get up on Sunday morning and take their families to church and live out their faith the other six days of the week. The world needs men who read their Bibles and lead their families in Bible study and worship in their homes. What the world needs is another option. The world needs Jesus men. Men who follow Christ. Men who are empowered by His Holy Spirit to be like their Master. Men who represent their Savior.

According to the new standard being propagated, a man has only has two choices. He can either be a brute and thug, or he can embrace the feminist definition and cower down to the powers that be in this society that we live in. The ad left me with the impression that any man who chooses to be a real man of character, valor and integrity will be labeled in the former category of the brute and the thug. So that’s my options? I thank God that He has given us another option of what a real man is designed to be. If you really want to see what a real man is I just have one name, Jesus.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, “Jesus is His own best lesson.” There is no greater picture in all of history of what real man can be. No other can show us the picture of perfection of what the ideal man should be, no other than the God-man Jesus Christ himself. He came to this world in a barn for animals. He never threw a punch, he never went more than a few miles from His home, nor did He wear the fashion standards set by Hollywood. Yet, He was and is all that a godly man could ever aspire to be. What was His ultimate purpose? Why did He come? For what was His cause to leave the glory of Heaven and invade this earth? He came to give His life for a lost world in rebellion against Him and that stood against His righteous standard. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever should believe in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Romans 8:4 tells us. “But God commended His love toward us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The ultimate example of what real men do was demonstrated by the God-man Jesus Christ and his act of His great love for His children as He willingly stretched out His arms on the cross. In John 15:13 Jesus reminds us, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That’s what real men do and Jesus didn’t just suggest it, He demonstrated his great love when He didn’t look back to Jerusalem, but steadfastly set His face to walk to the place of the cross. The scriptures tell us Jesus went forward ultimately to walk the lonely hill of Calvary to die for a lost world in need of a Savior. He was abandoned by those closest to Him, but He walked on. He was beaten and spit upon, but He walked on. He was mocked and ridiculed as they put a thorn of crowns upon His head, but He walked on. He demonstrated the greatest love any man could have and He died not only for His friends, but for His enemies, for the rebel’s to His cross. He died for us as the scriptures tell us, “while we were yet sinners” and He did it out of His great love. What do real men do? Real men; God’s men live a life of sacrifice. The Scriptures tell us, “Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.” The days of the Duke may be long gone, but may God raise up godly men after His own heart, in this new generation. Men who look to Jesus as Hebrews 12:2 tells us, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” May God raise up men who say as the apostle Paul did, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” No, we don’t need the macho bully and we don’t need the pacified pansy. We need Jesus men.

May God raise up a generation of self-sacrificing men who follow in the footsteps of their Savior unashamedly and with a boldness that only comes from the truth found in the Holy Scriptures. Give me another option for what it means to be a man. Give me the Biblical option of godly masculinity as modeled to us by Jesus Christ, Himself. May God make me and men all around the world into men who follow the foot steps of the Savior. Men who will follow Him up the hill to Calvary and who are willing to pick up their cross and accept Jesus invitation to, “follow me.” Will you follow Him? Will you choose to be a Jesus man? Or will you follow the culture? The choice is yours in this most desperate time, the paths lay before us couldn’t be more in opposition. The path of least resistance following the culture of what they say a man should be, or path of the cross. Which will you choose this day? For me I choose the path of the cross and through His strength, I choose to follow my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His example of Biblical masculinity. What kind of man are you going to be. A man of the world, or a man who follows his Savior? Jesus is still calling to us today through His Holy Scriptures where He says, “Follow me.” Will you follow Him?

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

I said, “It’s dead.” And that was the first time my little girl experienced what death is in her innocent young life. I remember it vividly. She was only 2 years old, and we saw a dead bug on the patio and she asked, “What’s wrong with that bug?” I said it without thinking, “It’s dead.” And at that moment I wished I could capture those words and take them back from her innocent ears, but it was too late. She repeated what I said not understanding saying, “It’s dead?” How we want to protect our children and their innocence from the cruel realities that they will eventually be confronted with in this life, but the good news is Jesus has already addressed the issue of the cold lifeless painful question of, “Its dead?”

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he may die, yet shall he live.” Jesus addressed the question of death for Mary and Martha as they grieved over their brother Lazarus who had been dead for four days by the time Jesus arrived. And Jesus also addressed the issue of death for us, his children. As the scripture tells us, “O death where is thy sting, O grave wear is thy victory?” I felt the twinge of sorrow as I had to see a little bit of my daughters innocences fade away on that warm summer day, but that sting of death has no more power for the believer in Jesus Christ.

Because of Christ the grave has no more victory over us. Jesus had the final say. Jesus tells us, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” What great news, what joy. Unless the rapture happens in your and my lifetime, death will one day inevitably come to separate us from the ones we love, but death for the believer has no sting, and the grave has no victory for those who are in Christ. It’s only temporary. The sting of death is gone and the victory for the grave has been vanquished by our Savior. The sin debt that He paid on His cruel cross for each one of us who has come to believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the victory that He secured for us when He walked out of the grave three days later is ours when we believe and confess Jesus as Lord of our life and believe God raised Him from the dead.

Romans 10:9-10 tells us, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” I remember my own experience of losing the innocence of my youth. At just sixteen years old my family and I watched the flood waters engulf our world. We watched as the dark brown waters slowly encroached upon all that I knew in my limited understanding of the world. I was at a lost and slowly sunk into a depression. I remember my parents and their concern as they asked my grandfather, my Pastor, to talk with me. I sat across from my grandfather at my great aunt’s table where we met and expressed to him how I didn’t understand life and how it all seems to be out of my control and would be over soon. He looked me in the eye and I remember him saying, “David, all of us come to this understanding of life, your just learning it a little younger than most.”

Have you learned that lesson yet? That life is cruel and no matter what worldly success you may think you have attained that it can and will be pulled from your cold dead fingers one day? But there is hope. The only thing that really matters in this life is what you have done with Jesus. Have you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, or have you put Him in a box? Have you put Him in a box where you only call out to Him when a momentary crisis comes? Do you put Him in a box when the only time you think of Him is when you go to church on Sunday, if you decided to go at all? It is certain that one day, unless the Lord Jesus returns to take those of us who believe in Him in the rapture, we will all be put in a box. At that time whatever we did with Jesus will be determined and settled forever. Our fate will be sealed. Will death have its sting with you? Will the grave have its victory over your eternal soul? Will Hell claim you for it’s own? It will without Jesus. He is your only way. John 14:6 reminds us, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The only way to make it out of this world alive and to God the Father, in right standing, is through the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Will you choose Him today? If you will, you will be reminded as I was on that warm summer day with my daughter, that death no longer carries its sting and the grave no longer has victory over us who believe in Jesus. Charles Spurgeon said it well, “The first death we must endure unless the Lord should suddenly come to His temple. For this let us abide In readiness, awaiting it without fear, since Jesus has transformed death from a dreary cavern into a passage leading to glory.” Because of Calvary I can look death square in the eyes and I can gently look my young daughter in the eyes and sing, “Oh victory in Jesus my Savior forever, He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood.” My hope for you is that you may know that same victory over the grave and that death will no longer have its sting in your life. My daughter will eventually through the hardships of life learn the full reality about death, but my prayer for her is that she will also come to learn about her Victor, and receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Her only true hope. Mine and your only hope as well beyond the certainty of the finality of this life and for the hope of eternal life. My hope for you is that you come to know him too. And then one day you can look death in the face and say confidently as you quote the living Word of God, “O death where is thy sting, O grave wear is they victory?”

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

Peace, is something we all want but can’t find. You can’t buy it. You can’t sell it. You can’t acquire it without Jesus. Troubled waters can stir a troubled spirit. That was the case for the disciples as they struggled to survive in the midst of a raging storm. Where was Jesus? He was sleeping peacefully in the boat. So many times, as Christians, we too, like the disciples struggle and strive through out this life and all the time Jesus was with us all along.

They asked him, “Master carest thou not that we perish?” Jesus response was, “And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, ‘Peace be still.'” (Mark 4:39). Jesus should have been their confidence and trust. Regardless of the storm around them the disciples forgot the Master of the sea who was with them. Jesus was not worried. He was asleep on a pillow in the stern of the boat. After arising to rebuke the wind and calm the sea, Jesus then turns to his disciples, “And He said unto them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?'” (Mark 4:39)

Fear grips us like Peter. As he was walking on the water to Jesus he took His eyes off his Lord and started to sink. When we take our eyes off the Lord, we too begin to sink in fear when we become overwhelmed by the circumstance of our lives. Notice Peter’s problem. He took His eyes off Jesus. Pride tells us to take care of our problems ourselves. The world says, “It’s up to you to make it in this life.” God tells us, that He directs our steps. He is the one in control of our future. He determines how big and when the storms in our lives will be. We must keep our eyes on Him. And we can have this confidence knowing when we turn to Him and cry out, “Lord I can’t handle this anymore.” He will turn and say, “Peace be still.” Sometimes in His sovereignty He calms our storm and always when We turn to Him He will calm His child.

When life overwhelms you and the seas of circumstances overtake you, cry out to your master. You dear Christian can have this assurance, like the disciples in the boat with Jesus, He is with you too. Don’t look at the fierceness of the waves look into the eyes of your Savior and hear him say, “Peace be still.” Charles Spurgeon said, “The fear of God is the death of all other fears, like a mighty lion it chases all other fears away.” Scripture tells us “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” He is the only one we should fear and be in awe of His majestic power. He has the power over the wind and sea and He has the power to give you peace in the middle of your raging storm. Turn to Him. Look to Him. Call on Him. He is there.

And like Peter, you can cry out to your Savior and He will reach down and grab you out of the drowning fears that you face. His arm is strong enough and His love is great enough. He cares for you. Listen to the master say, “Peace be still” in your storm today. Remember in the midst of your storm He is there.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

You will here people say they’re holding on to the Lord, but your not strong enough. It’s His hold on you that saves you and keeps you. Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I’m the one who helps you.'” And John 10:29 Jesus tells us, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, an no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Your strength is not great enough, your will to hold on not strong enough. It is He, Jesus, that holds onto you.

Spurgeon once said, “It is not your hold of Christ that saves you, but his hold of you.” The LORD says, “Fear not.” Why? Why shouldn’t I fear, when my world seems to be shaken like the sparrow’s nest blown to the ground in downpour of the storm? Because He reminds us, “I am the one who helps you.” Psalms 121:1-2 proclaims, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” If you know Jesus Christ as your LORD and Savior, then you know the one who, “made heaven and earth” and the one who holds your hand and it is He who will bring your through the storms. Trust Him. He will not let you go.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

We often think of the place we go to meet God is at the altar in the confines of a Church, but Jesus can meet you anywhere. That altar of invocation can happen any place and that includes in a ’49 Ford. There’s a great song by Johnny Cash called, “Would You Recognize Jesus,” it says that you can find Him everywhere throughout the circumstances of your Life. The Chorus goes onto say, “Would you recognize Jesus if you met Him face to face, or would you think He’s just another face you couldn’t place? Jesus might not come in a chariot of the Lord. Jesus might be riding in a ’49 Ford.”

This song has special meaning to me as I reflect back over my life and my family’s history. Over sixty years ago now, my father was riding in a ’49 Ford with my grandma. They were going to pick up my grandpa from work. Just another average day. My grandparents were just young kids, still in their teens and struggling to get started in life. My father was just about two years old then and this was in a time before they had car seat laws for children. On that fateful day that afternoon to pick up my grandpa, my grandma’s car, with my father in the front seat, was hit by a drunk driver. The driver of the other car survived with just minor injuries. Not the case for my grandma. Looking at a picture of the wreck you would be amazed that anyone would have survived. They had to cut the door off to get to her and all she wanted was her baby who was violently thrown into the windshield. My father still has the scars on his face from this accident today. My grandma’s leg went through the floor board into the engine compartment and it is a wonder her and my dad survived.

She would go on to have over thirty six painful surgeries in attempt to save her leg and be in a body cast for many months. It wouldn’t be until years later that my grandfather and my grandma would make their decision to follow Christ. But long before they made their decision to choose Christ in the annals of eternity Christ chose to save them. I believe Jesus was riding in that ’49 Ford. He was there when they were hit. His hand protected that young baby from certain death and his teenage mother. He heard that baby’s cry and that mother’s voice screaming for her child. And more than that he heard their hearts cry for a Savior long before they knew they had need for one.

As I look back to see in the rear view mirror of my own life’s history, I can see God’s providence and his hand following me as he gently directed my steps and sheltered me through out my own life. Many years later I was driving my truck down to the church that my Grandpa now pastors to shovel the snow prior to the morning service. The road was still covered that morning in a layer of freshly fallen snow. And as I continued down the road that morning to the Church I encountered a dangerous stretch of road and lost control of my truck. Traffic was coming right at me and I couldn’t do anything, but He was there. Jesus guided my truck right into a telephone pole where I came safely to a stop and then the light on the pole fell down upon my truck. The light hit just the right spot as to not fall through my roof. As I sat there dazed and realizing what just happened, I realized God’s hand upon me. With my driver door smashed into the pole I had to crawl out the passenger side. As I stood there a lady came out and offered her phone to me. This was in the days before everybody had a smart phone. After I called my dad to come pick me up from my own accident, I surveyed the landscape and realized how blessed I was. Many people had lost their lives on that same road. I stood there and then I saw it. A ditch just fifteen feet from my truck that I could have landed in. It looked like something you wouldn’t be able to survive, but Jesus was there with me. This I know and it reminds me of what Augustine once said, “Man is immortal until his work is done.” I believe God had a reason for sparing me as I shockingly looked over myself to have just walked away with a few small scratches on my hand. Jesus was there.

The Bible tells us that man plans his ways, but it’s the LORD who directs his steps. He has been there all along in my life and the life of so many of my family. And if you will allow God to open your eyes, you will see Him too. And be prepared to be amazed. He is a loving God who seeks His children out and saves them. He is the LORD of host who hears your plea when you call to him. He was there at the dawn of creation. He was there in that lowly manger as he came to save His children. He was there on the cross as He took my sin as His own so I could be free from my sin forever.

Jesus was there in that ’49 Ford. He walked my grandparents through that tragedy and turned it into part of their testimony. My grandma with a stiff leg and the scars that remind her all these years later of that moment, will gladly tell you that she will one day get a new leg when she gets to heaven. More importantly she will let you know how blessed her and my grandpa have been to have already received their new life in Christ. The scars we carry as Christians can carry us through the pains of our life and strengthen us as we look back on them and see that God’s hand was upon us all the time. They remain to remind us that Jesus was there. Look to Him in your hopeless situation and circumstances and when you look to Him He will be found. But you must look and be Saved. May God open Your eyes and you will find Him there. He was in that ’49 Ford and He was with me in that truck and when you look to Him, you will find that He is there with you. What a blessing of assurance. May God open your eyes to see His Son in the daily circumstance of your life, guiding you in His redemptive plan of salvation. If you look you will find Jesus is There. You will find that the common places of life can be the best places to have an altar of worship to our Lord and Savior. Even if it’s an altar in a ’49 Ford in a moment of great need. When you look back you’ll find that Jesus was there. Look to Him. Worship Him. And give to Him the sacrifice of your praises that is due His Holy name. When you do, you’ll find that He is there.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

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When I open my eyes in Heaven; what a wonderful sight I will see

As I look upon my Savior; the one who bled and died for me

I will take in His majestic glory, as I humble my heart before Thee

I’ll be in awe on how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean

He reminds me of His blood He gave, to purify and wash me clean

And there I will praise Him forever, for His glory will be a wonder to see

I will sing a new song of worship, praising the one who died for me

Worthy is the Lamb to be worshiped, all praise I shall give to thee

I’ll be in awe of His splendor and glory, and with my redeemed heart I will sing

Holy, Holy, Holy is my Lord God my heart will ring

Worthy is the Lamb to be worshiped, worthy is Jesus my King

He died on the cruel cross at Calvary, so from the curse of sin I’ve been redeemed

There I will praise Him in glory

Forever to my Redeemer I’ll sing

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, worthy is Jesus my King

From the cruel fate of sin He saved me

Forever to His cross I will cling

By the power of His resurrection, life He gave me

There my Redeemer I’ll see

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

Broken Manicals

Chains…. Chains rattle, chains shake, we all have them and best of all chains break.

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Jesus is freedom….from your chains. Freedom is not… the ability to do whatever you want, or to be whatever you’ll be. Freedom is… to realize your destiny and to be what you were created to be… in Christ. Jesus can break your chains.

Jesus can set you free…

from the Slavery of a life that is not what it was created to be. A life destroyed by sin…chains… a life bound by the weakness of the flesh…chains… a life that is yet to realize it’s true purpose in life… chains… a purpose that is to be found only in Jesus…

Let Jesus break your chains…”If the son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”

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And When you’re free…yes the devil will come and rattle those old chains… He will remind you of what you were…but don’t believe him…. your chains are gone. Jesus has made you free, “free indeed.”

What do chains look like? Chains are shaped from the depths of our depravity. The deceiver disguises them in the appearance of freedom. He appeals to our lower nature. Chains say I am free to choose my way. I am responsible for me. I am free to do what I want. Chains are shaped by me. It’s all about me. It’s not about God, but me. That’s where our chains begin to be formed in our pride. Chains sound like reasons. I can have this drink, because I deserve it. I can go to this place where sin forged my chains, because I need it. I can take this drug, or live this way because this is me expressing who I am. When all we are expressing is our sin nature that builds our chains. We cover up our chains in the appearance of freedom.

The flesh will build your chains, but the Spirit will break them.

Chains. Everybody has them…

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They come in all shapes and your favorite colors…

They look like freedom and feel good at first. Until they start pulling us in a direction we don’t want to go. A place of addiction. A place called destruction.Places where we don’t want to go. Why? Because the Bible tells us, the end of the chains we call sin brings death. “The wages of sin is death.” Wages we earned. It’s what we deserve. Our chains bring suffering. Heartache. Remorse. And they bring consequences that we must face. Why? Because we forged our chains in our depravity and appeal to our sin nature. A nature that brings death.

What is sin? It’s whatever keeps us from hitting the mark of what God calls us to be. Sin is falling short of God’s righteousness.  

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“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…To declare, I say at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.”         ~ Romans 3:23-25 & 26

Your chains will keep you from reaching who you were meant to be in Christ. The Good News is Freedom from your chains is found in Christ!

He has the power to Break your chains and set you free. That freedom is found at his cross. And the power is his blood.  

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As the Roman soldiers nailed him to the tree with every pound of the hammer your chains were being shattered. Your chains cost something. They require payment to be freed. That payment came in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and His blood. The chains of sin and death tried to put their chains on Jesus, but he broke them. They tried and held him for three days, but he broke them. Why? Because He is God’s Holy one. The one and only person to walk this earth with no chains. No sin. And the Bible tells us that the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, comes to live in us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Now if those chains couldn’t hold Jesus. Then they can’t hold us any longer as we receive and then identify ourselves with Jesus in his death and resurrection.

Beware! Don’t think you can break your chains on your own. You can’t. Your hammer isn’t big enough. You need a Savior to rescue you from your chains. His name is Jesus.

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And when Jesus breaks your chains. The world will try to put their chains on you.The world likes chains and they demand that you like them too. And if you won’t accept their chains that bring sin and death. A death that is sometimes physical and always spiritual. And it’s always permanent.

They will put chains on you. But as Jesus tells us, “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”

The world’s chains can’t hold you once your sin chains have been broken. They may persecute you, ridicule you and despise you. But Jesus forgave you and saved you. No fear. Just “Be of good cheer” because the worlds chains our only temporary and your sin chains, which last forever, have been broken by the cross of Jesus and lost their power at His resurrection. You are free. Your chains are gone.

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“If the son therefore shall make you free. You shall be free indeed.” ~ John 8:36

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson