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We live in a sin cursed world with wickedness on the increase. Many are affected by the evil that we see around us, but one thing is for certain, God is not to be blamed.
Roman 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
A. Torrey knew the meaning of this verse, and he called it “a soft pillow for a tired heart.”
Many of us have rested in Romans 8:28 when faced with an unknown trial. “We know” is used about five times in Romans, and it refers to common knowledge of the Christian – that which God reveals to us. Charles Spurgeon used to say, “I do not need anyone to tell me how honey tastes; I know.” And we know God is good and is for those that love Him and trust Him.
Here are some things to consider:
1. God is not evil, nor the cause of evil.
1 John 1:5 “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
2. God is not responsible for the bad decisions people make.
James 1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:”
3. God is aware of the evil that takes place.
Proverbs 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
4. Nothing takes God by surprise. God is ALL KNOWING, but man must still be responsible for his actions and decisions.
John 6:64 “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”
5. It is God’s choice whether He desires to intervene in certain circumstances of people’s lives.
Proverbs 21:1 “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”
Philippians 2:27 “For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”
6. God, at times, disciplines His children in love when they stray.
Proverbs 3:11-12 “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD love the correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”
a. When Jonah rebelled, the Lord prepared for him a great fish.
b. David was judged (lost his son) because of his sin.
7. People suffer from the bad decisions they make.
Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
8. People suffer from the bad decisions of others.
Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
9. God is fully aware of our circumstances, and God can use the evil that is done to us for good.
Genesis 50:19-20 “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
Job 1:12 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”
10. God knows what is best for us. The Lord may not always answer prayer according to what we would ask and hope for. Paul understood that God uses the trials in our life to help us stay humble and finish the course of God’s will.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient forthee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, thatthe power of Christ may rest upon me.
The Psalms are a wonderful piece of poetry. They are full of truth and testimony that can be sung not only to challenge us, but to comfort our hearts, especially when we may feel overwhelmed. Psalm 61 is tremendous encouragement to those that are perhaps feeling weary in spirit, or have a heavy heart, being burdened down by certain things.
CH Spurgeon said, “This Psalm is a pearl. It is little, but precious. To many a mourner it has furnished utterance when the mind could not have devised speech for itself.”
This Psalm would indicate to us that David was in exile (vs 2). David was driven into exile because of the rebellion of his son Absalom. David’s life was threatened and he was yet in danger. It would also denote that the Psalm would have been composed by David after he had returned to the throne. (vs 6) Delitzsch would have been correct in entitling it, “Prayer and thanksgiving of an expelled King on his way back to his throne.”
David’s response when he was overwhelmed
1. His Prayer
Psalm 61:1 “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.”
2. His Petition
Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalm 61:3 “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”
3. His Passion
Psalm 61:4 “I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.”
4. God’s Promise
Psalm 61:5-7 “For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. vs 6 Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations. vs 7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.”
5. His Praise
Psalm 61:8 “So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever…”
6. His Practice
Psalm 61:8 “…that I may daily perform my vows.”
(Hebrews 4:16) “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Prayer is an important component in having a close walk with God. At times, we all struggle to make time to pray and seek the Lord. However, if we are too busy to talk to God, then we are too busy.
Remembering that it is a privilege to pray – an honour to approach God and talk with Him – will help us to set aside time to pray.
Oswald Chambers said, “Beware of placing the emphasis on what prayer costs us; it cost God everything to make it possible for us to pray.”
Prayer brings us into the Presence of God in a special way.
We can go into God’s presence at any time of the day or night to obtain mercy and grace. It is a place where we commune with God. We can have the privilege like Moses to speak with God in an intimate way.
Exodus 33:11 “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend...”
Dwight Lyman Moody, “The Christian on his knees sees more than the philosopher on his tiptoe.”
As we set aside time to pray there are some things we must remember while praying:
1. Prayer calls down the power of God
Jeremiah 33:3 "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'”
Prayer is seeking God to do the impossible in our lives. No prayer - no power.
Hudson Taylor said, “The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge,”
2. Remain passionate in our prayers
We must guard against going through the motions. It is easy to pray without thinking. Remember, we are addressing the God that is in Heaven.
John Bunyan said, “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart.”
Matthew 6:7 “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
Dwight Lyman Moody, “Some people’s prayers need to be cut off at both ends and set on fire in the middle.”
3. Unconfessed sin will hinder our prayers
(Psalm 66:18) “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”
(Proverbs 15:8) “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.”
External acts of worship may be repulsive to God when the heart of the worshiper is not right with God.
4. We must pray according to God’s Will.
(1John 5:14-15) “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: vs 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
To pray according to God's will is to pray seeking what God desires, not what we would desire or insist that He do for us.
Oswald Chambers: “Never make the blunder of trying to forecast the way God is going to answer your prayer.”
We should not pray just to get from God, we ought to pray for His direction.
Corrie ten BOOM: “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”
5. Prayer must be mixed with Faith.
1 Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”
A life that is lived by faith will cause us to pray in faith.
George Muller once said, "“I believe God has heard my prayers. He will make it manifest in His own good time that He has heard me. I have recorded my petitions that when God has answered them, His name will be glorified.”
Matthew 21:22 “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
2 Peter 1:5-7 “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; vs 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; vs 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
In verse 1 the Apostle Peter writes to all who have obtained this precious faith, and in this passage we see a call to…
Note: God has given us all things necessary to fulfill His Will in our life regarding our Character and Spiritual Growth.
A man of God once said“we must be diligent in cultivating it. God does not make us holy against our will or without our involvement. There must be desire, determination, and discipline on our part.”
The Apostle Peter assumes that they already have faith in Christ. So he instructs them to add to their faith, to build-up their faith, to build on their faith.
Let us take the time to look at these 7 Graces very briefly.
(2 Peter 1:5-7) “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue…”
Virtue = Moral Excellence, It is to have Spiritual courage. It is to have the strength to stand for what is right in an ungodly world.
We do this by putting on the Armor of God. (Ephesians 6:13) “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Note: This Virtue is to be accompanied by Knowledge.
(2 Peter 1:5) "… and to virtue knowledge;"
Knowledge = It not just any kind of knowledge, it is knowledge that is from above, it is divine instruction in Righteousness, it is knowledge of spiritual truth.
CH Spurgeon once said “Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may draw from it as much as you please, without let or hindrance. Come in faith and you are welcome to all covenant blessings. There is not a promise in the Word which shall be withheld. In the depths of tribulations let this freedom comfort you; amidst waves of distress let it cheer you; when sorrows surround thee let it be thy solace.”
Remember the Hymn Eliza E. Hewitt wrote “More about Jesus”
“More about Jesus in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord.
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.”
Note: With Virtue, and Knowledge, God wants us to add Temperance.
Temperance = This is to have Self-Control… to be biblically proper, it is to have godly discipline,
Someone has defined this as “the controlling power of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God.”
Note: The next thing to add it “Patience”
Patience = endurance, perseverance, and constancy
Remember that the Hebrews writer states running the race with “Patience” The Christian life is not a sprint; it is a Marathon. We must always remember that the Christian life is a challenge to endure hardness by the Grace of God. Paul said “I finished my course”
It is good to start in the faith with a great thunder of glory; we must finish the race with much trials and testing.
Someone said “Perseverance is the art of bearing up and pressing on in the face of all that seems to be against us.”
(Acts 14:22) “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
Godliness = to live godly, to be like God. To be Holy as God is Holy.
Vernon Mcgee once said “There is a time in every boy's life when his dad is his hero and sometimes his idol.”
We are to have a strong passion to be like our God. Not to be a God, but to be like God in His character. To be like God or to be godly, addresses our way of life or our way of living …
We always see in Scripture that to be godly, there must be a rejection of worldliness.
(Titus 2:11) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
(Titus 2:12) “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
As you know the world is always fighting against God’s ways. The World wants to redefine the constitutions of God in Marriage, Church, and in moral ethics.
Notice what Peter writes in this first epistle setting up the platform for his second letter.
(1 Peter 1:14-15) “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: vs 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Brotherly kindness = Love for God’s people
(John 13:35) “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Brotherly kindness is the salt that helps make salty Christians.
It is a sad thing when you see siblings in the home and Christian’s in the church purposely dodge each other when they see each other.
Brotherly Kindness is an area in which God wants us to increase. God wants us to have a growing love one toward another. Not one that is stagnate or stale.
(1 Thessalonians 4:9) “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. Vs 9 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;”
Last but not least
Charity = Unconditional Love, a Super-natural Love, Divine Love, Christ-kind of Love, the laying down of one’s life kind of love.
Without this “love” we are nothing and we will mount-up to nothing. 1 Peter 4:8
God’s amazing love shed abroad in our hearts through Christ is the rudder on a ship that controls the large vessel
It is the engine on the plane that gives it power to fly
It is the wick in the oil that keeps the flame alight
It is the greatest among faith and hope
It is never character that ever fails
Once again the Apostles Peter states this character trait in his first letter.
1 Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”
Fervent Love = undying, without ceasing, Love
and to the courage of David the knowledge of Solomon;
and to the knowledge of Solomon the patience of Job;
and to the patience of Job the godliness of Daniel;
and to the godliness of Daniel the brotherly kindness of Jonathan;
and to the brotherly kindness of Jonathan the love of John.”
1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: vs 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
Charles H Spurgeon once said,”If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test. It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord’s faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father’s countenance is hidden. A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” is heaven-born faith.”
Do not pray away trials that God allows in your life. The wilderness is a good place when God leads you there. Many lessons are learnt in the desert. However, we must remember that when God leads us to a place He will supply His sufficient Grace. God will supply water in the desert, and He will lead us out in His good timing.
George Mueller once said, "God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hand as a means. I say—and say it deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith…We should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us.”
Paul cried out three times to the Lord to take away the thorn in his flesh, but he soon realized that God "works all things together for good to them that love God" and then Paul gloried in his trials.
(2 Corinthians 12:8-9) "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. vs 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
1 Peter 4:13 “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This verse (John 3:16) is a famous Bible verse amongst the believers and non-believers. It is a rich verse that proves God’s love through one of the greatest promises ever given to man – the promise of “everlasting life”.
DL Moody once said, “God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”
God planned, prepared, and promised eternal life with Him in Heaven before the world even began.
Titus 1:2 “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”
Unfortunately, in the beginning of creation the devil effectively deceived people into rebelling against God and living life without Him, causing them to miss out on God’s greatest promise.
To rebel against God and live without the Creator is sinful and has brought about an eternal death, which has been passed on to all of humanity.
Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Notice what Jesus said prior to John 3:16…John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:”
In John 3 Jesus is speaking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus, and Jesus points him back to the time when the children of Israel fell into sin as Moses was leading them to the Promised and Land (which is a picture of eternal life). Jesus was reminding Nicodemus of God’s Great Salvation that he offered them.
John 3:16 reminds us about a few things regarding Salvation:
1. The Source of Salvation
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world…”
2. The Sacrifice of Salvation
John 3:16 “…that he gave his only begotten Son…”
3. The Scope of Salvation
John 3:16 “…that whosoever believeth in him..."
4. The Seriousness of Salvation
John 3:16 “…should not perish..."
5. The Security of Salvation
John 3:16 “…but have everlasting life.”
Jesus said in John 10:10 “...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
What a blessing it is that our annual calendar has a time to remind us how precious our mums are. There is a generation coming that will not acknowledge their mothers at all. God’s Word mentions in Proverbs 30:11, “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.”
Like everyone else, mothers are not perfect, but they are special… Mothers fulfil God’s desire in bringing us into the world, now that is special. We must remember and be thankful for the sacrifice and pain our mums endured to raise us up from the start.
What a blessing to have a mother, but what a double blessing to have a godly one.
Emerson once said, “Men are what their mothers make them.” Abraham Lincoln stated, “No one is poor who had a godly mother.” Evangelist Billy Sunday declared, “I don’t think there are enough devils in Hell to search and take a young person from the arms of a godly mother.”
The right kind of a mother can make a big difference in a home, in a church, and in our nation! Notice what the Psalmist states in Psalm 16:6, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
Thank God for Mothers who are firm in their faith, their convictions, their prayers, and their love for their children and for the Lord. Mothers ought to be thanked every waking moment. Notice what Proverbs 31:28a says, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed.”
If you are one of those people who have the special privilege of being called “Mum”, I hope you will understand the impression and influence you can have in your family, church and this nation. There is an old Spanish proverb that reads: “An ounce of mother is worth more than a pound of clergy.” May God give us mothers that will keep fighting the fight of faith and not give up or give in by the grace of God.
We need mothers who will pray for their children; give a good, clear, godly and unquestionable pattern to follow; and encourage them on to honour God in all they do. We need mothers that will inspire their children to shine and do great things for God’s glory!
Charles Wesley said “I learned more about God from my mother than from all the theologians in England”
Charles Spurgeon said “I cannot tell how much I owe to the prayers of my good mother.”
2 Timothy 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
A little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday school presentation. His mother was in the front row to prompt him. She gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it did not help. Her son’s memory was blank. Finally, she leaned forward and whispered the cue, “I am the light of the world.” the child beamed and with great feeling and a loud clear voice said, “My mother is the light of the world.”
Mothers, we will not notice everything that you do for us, and sometimes we will forget to thank you, but “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).
As you continue to love and fear God, you will receive your true reward—a reward for every prayer, every sleepless night, every tear, every encouraging word, and every expression of love that you demonstrate by the Grace of God.
We love you Mum, and we thank God for you!
We all desire to have our prayers heard by our Heavenly Father; and our great God desires to hear our prayers. However, there are some things that hinder our prayers from reaching the ears of our God. When we look at Scripture we see a few things that encourage us to make sure we are in tune with God and have our prayers heard.
Sensitive to the Word
Proverbs 28:9 “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”
It is of the utmost importance to value and be serious about the Word of God. If we take God’s Word seriously, He will take our prayer seriously. If we would love to seek God through prayer, and have them heard, then we must love to seek and heed God’s Word.
Spurgeon once said “Philip was a searcher after Christ in the place where Christ loves to be—in the pages of Scripture—and you must be the same if you desire to find Jesus!”
Psalm 84:11 “…no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
Unconfessed sin in our lives will stop us from walking uprightly and in return will hinder our relationship and communication with God. The psalmist mentions that “no good thing” will God withhold from those that walk in integrity and truth. God also states that their prayers will have strength and prevail; in others words their prayers will be heard by God like God answered Elijah’s prayer.
James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Standing with Forgiveness
Mark 11:25-26 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Vs 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
A heart that harbors resentment toward others will defiantly hinder our prayers to God.
Sensitive to our Wives
1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
The Bible mentions that when the husband has an insensitive spirit towards the needs of his wife, his prayers will be hindered.
Standing with Faith
1 Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”
Matthew 21:22 “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
A life that is lived by faith will cause us to pray in faith.
George Muller once said "“I believe God has heard my prayers. He will make it manifest in His own good time that He has heard me. I have recorded my petitions that when God has answered them, His name will be glorified.”
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Negative thinking: Nobody cares
Positive thinking: Everybody cares
Biblical thinking: God cares
1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Negative thinking: I am nothing
Positive thinking I am something
Biblical thinking: I am made by God
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works…”
Negative thinking: I am not sufficient
Positive thinking: I am sufficient
Biblical thinking: God is my Sufficiency
2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;”
Negative thinking: I cannot change
Positive thinking: I can change
Biblical thinking: In Christ I can change
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Negative thinking: I am a looser
Positive thinking: I am a winner
Biblical thinking: I have victory in Christ
1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Negative thinking: I can’t wait
Positive thinking: I will wait
Biblical thinking: I’ll wait on the Lord
Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
Negative thinking: God won’t forgive me
Positive thinking: God will forgive me
Biblical thinking: God can forgive me
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Negative thinking: I will fail
Positive thinking: I will succeed
Biblical thinking: I must obey
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Negative thinking: I am fearful
Positive thinking: I fear nothing
Biblical thinking: God is with me
Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Negative thinking: I can’t do it
Positive thinking: You can do it
Biblical thinking: I can do it through Christ alone.