Adam or Christ?

Ecce Homo – after painting by Antonio Ciseri. Jesus is sentenced to death by Pontius Pilot after the crowd call for his execution. AC: Italian religious painter, 25 Oct 1821 – 8 March 1891.

Doug Wilson speaks frequently and accurately about the crisis of masculinity in the church.

See here:

And here:


And it’s no wonder there’s a crisis of masculinity in America and the west at large because the church hasn’t modeled biblical manhood for the world. So the world has no one to point them in the right direction and say, “Hey, this is how you do manhood”.

For my entire life as a Christian I have struggled to be at home in the modern church. There’s so much of it I just don’t understand. And one of the greatest mysteries to me is the church’s misunderstanding of manhood and the general shape of a Christian male.

To borrow from Voddie Baucham, we’ve largely convinced ourselves that Christian men are above all, “nice”.

It’s the ole 11th commandment and it trumps all the rest, “Thou shalt be nice.” At all cost. Even at the expense of the 10 other commandments.

The idea of a Christian man who speaks directly, truthfully and with authority is anathema in the modern church.

This man is a sower of dissention, a brut or worse, “unloving”.

So the result is a thoroughly feminized church.

What do I mean (and what do I think Wilson means) by that? Well if I could distill manhood down to one word it would be this:

INITIATIVE.

Men take initiative.

So a feminized church is a church full of passive men.

And the tell tale sign of passivity in men is the spirt of avoidance. What do I mean by that? What is avoidance or passivity?

Avoidance and passivity is Adam, standing, watching, waiting and twiddling his thumbs while Eve chats up that serpent and ogles that fruit. He knows what the Lord said and what he gave him charge over but he’s gonna sit back and kind of passively watch how things go down without so much as saying a word.

Avoidance and passivity is reflected in the way that men refuse to engage and grapple with difficult issues. It’s the wolf at the door they refuse to acknowledge and if pressed to acknowledge it they quickly play it down as triviality or as a matter of secondary concern so as to be able to then avoid the issue altogether.

What are some examples? Just what Wilson’s explained here. There’s an elder’s wife who is acting outside her God ordained role within the body. Perhaps she’s insubordinate or insists on her own way. Perhaps she has a pet project that she wants to promote within the fellowship and the program itself is theologically or doctrinally questionable or even outright heretical.
Well the passive man’s first move is to avoids the issue altogether. His earnest hope is that every one else will be passive too and just kind of let Eve do whatever she wants.

Then if confronted with the issue by some brut within the congregation, “Yo fellas! That thing the dearly beloved Mrs Elder is promoting looks like a false teaching. Looks like an idol. Whatchall wanna do about it?”

Uh oh. Now the passive man has to respond. The issue’s been brought to his foot.

Well, being the passive fellow that he is, he wants to avoid having to deal with the issue in a direct way altogether so the typical second response after outright avoidance is to downplay the issue as much as possible so that it’s now seen as “not really an issue at all.”

Avoidance has a cousin named compromise and they both follow passivity around like a gaggle of miscreants.

Well what’s the root of this thing? Why are these supposed “mighty” men of the faith so invariably feckless?

What drives their inaction? What keeps their hands under their seat and their mouth shut when it ought to be open and what makes their words lying kisses when they ought to be a truthful sword that wounds.

It’s fear.

They’re afraid.

They’re afraid of what taking initiative against hot button issues will result in and that result is battle. Spiritual warfare.

They all know Ephesians 6. They can quote it with the rest of the Awana kids.

But they don’t KNOW Ephesians 6, they don’t know it experientially. They don’t know what the sword of truth is because they’ve refuse to pick it up and enter into the fray. Heck they’re reluctant to even acknowledge there is in fact a fracas all about them.

And all of that is because they are afraid. Suffering, the noble calling to which all Christian men have received their clarion call is a cross they won’t bear.

What do I mean?

I mean this.

If they engage in the battle before them and they speak truthfully and directly, say to the Elder about his wife and her penchant for false teaching, well they’re gon get a response. And it’s probably not going to be, “Hey thanks brother, I know that Proverbs teaches us that the wounds of a friend are faithful, so thanks so much for telling me what I didn’t want to hear or have to deal with.”

No they’re prolly gonna be called a sower of dissension, a muckraker, a busy body, a false witness and worst of all, “unloving”.

If they really force the issue they’ll be disruptive enough of the power brokers that a coalition will be built and they’ll be “reprimanded en masse” or worse “cast out”.

Outside the church this looks like getting fired and loosing your salary, 401K or pension. It looks like being unable to pay your mortgage, having to sell your home and an unhappy wife who’s grown accustom to having nice things. Yikes. No fun.

It looks like largely fighting real battles, real spiritual warfare against real spirts in real high places like government and big business and even in your local church. It’s looks like doing it alone with no brother in arms willing to get in the foxhole with you.

It looks like praying so intently and with such dread about the cross set before you you sweat drops of blood while your buds can’t bother to stay awake and pray with you. It looks like, regardless of what it means for yourself, for your own skin, you utter those same words as the one who went before you, “not my will but yours be done.”

You see fear or dread of suffering is common to every man. No one really wants to hang on a cross. That hurts. Bad.

But if we want to be faithful men. Men of good courage. We’re going to have to steel our minds and set our faces like flint that we’re going into battle. We’re going to war and there’s a high chance we’re not coming out of that tumult without a scar to prove that “we were there”.

Okay but there’s still a problem here. How do we get men who are understandably fearful of the cost of discipleship, to anti up and kick in like men?

In a word. LOVE.

You see a man who’s compelled by duty will only go so far. He’s sorta faithful. He’s compelled to do the right thing. But when the going gets real rough that man will stumble. He’ll fall and eventually, like the Peter in us all, he’ll run and hide and deny he ever knew us.

But the man who’s compelled by love. This man is ready to die. He willingly embraces the cross that’s set before him for the hope of the resurrection to come.

Stack up hell and all her armies and this man will stare them down flint eye’d and wooly haired. He’ll not be moved. He’s compelled by the very character of the Almighty God. He’s motivated by God’s own love working in him.

So how do we deal with the rampant feminization in the church and the passivity it produces?

How do we get men to act like men?

We preach Jesus Christ and his cross to them and we tell them the truth. It was love that ransomed you from your sin and it was born of the cross of suffering. It’s love that will unbind you from your fear and passivity but it will not come with out suffering.

When you finally settle it in your mind to love the Lord as he has loved you, to understand and embrace the axiom that truth does not come without suffering; well, then you’ll take up beside him on a cross of your own.

You’ll take those idols of yours, your nice comfortable life, your nice car, your nice job, your nice vacations and let’s not forget, most important to all of us men, the respect of other men; you’ll take all those false gods, you’ll set them on the altar and light ’em on fire to watch them burn as you embrace the cross your Master has set before you.

In doing this you’ll be doing actual battle against actual princes and principalities, spiritual forces of wickedness in high places exposing them to open shame. Know this; they, those evil spirits, they won’t take it lying down. They will come hard against you.

But know also this. The cross is the place not only of your salvation but also of your victory.

Standing victoriously in the truth, which IS Christ Jesus the Lord, you will join him in the power of his resurrection as you obey the Holy Spirit boldly and without reservation speaking the truth in love to brother and pagan alike.

In doing this, we’ll stand with Jesus in victory holding those scoundrels to open shame as we triumph over them in Him.

So what’s it gonna be men?

Adam or Christ?

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Are men good? Are they evil?

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Are men inherently good?

 

Or are they inherently evil?

 

If they are good, why do they do such evil things?  If they are evil, how do we know them to be so? Evil according to who? According to what standard?
 
Ask a man, any man, about almost anything and he will quickly make an appeal to morality. “That’s wrong.” “That’s messed up.” “They shouldn’t do that…”

 

But why?

 

Paraphrasing CS Lewis, it is because there is a way we know we OUGHT to behave… and yet… we do not.
 
And all of us admit it freely of our own volition.
 
Why is that?
 
The Bible says it’s because all men instinctively know the truth.
 
But they suppress it.
 
Why does a man suppress in his mind what his soul knows well to be true?
 
It is because he is in bondage to his own sin and the root of his sin is unbelief.
 
Unbelief in what?
 
That there is a God?  No. He knows this already. Remember, this is the truth he is already at work suppressing.
What he refuses to believe is what God has said about himself, about his own character; and therefore, what God’s own character means for man and his own fallen condition.
 
And what has God said about himself?
 
What must a man believe about God’s character in order to be saved from this bondage to sin?
 
In short, a man must believe that God is good.
 
He must trust in his steadfast love.
 
Man already knows that God is all powerful. He knows that God is all knowing. Remember, this is the truth that man already knows and yet he suppresses.
 
What he refuses to believe is that God IS love.
 
How can a man KNOW that God is love? That he is altogether good?
 
Because of this. That while man was yet dead in his sin, a rebel towards his maker and hostile to him in everyway God showed his benevolence to this rebel, this creature from the dirt, in this; that Christ Jesus, the Son of the living God, died for our sins.
 
All the evil that we all know exists and we’re all ultimately accountable for was put on Christ the Lord.
 
Your sin. My sin. All sin.
 
All the death, the destruction, the evil of every thought and intention of the heart was laid upon his shoulders. He was brutalized by men, because of men… FOR men.
 
Moreover because the Lord Jesus knew no sin himself, he conquered man’s greatest enemies, sin and even death by his resurrection from the dead.
 
Having paid in full the debt of sin for the evil we all know exists, he now offers you to freely share in his great reward. Eternal life in Him.
 
So why do you tarry?
 
Why do you persist in unbelief?
 
Why do you question the goodness of God in the face of Jesus Christ? If the Spirit of God is prompting you now…. believe.
 
Believe the good news!
 
Repent of your unbelief and so be saved from your sin.
 
If you are still reading this now, know that I am praying for you personally. I don’t know who you are but the Lord does. And I pray that he will soften your heart, that in hearing the good news of Jesus you will persist no longer in your unbelief.
 
If you read this and you want to talk about it please send me a PM.
 
Let’s just talk.
 
I pray peace to you in Jesus’ name.
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Intellectualism and Apostacy

For a long while now I’ve sensed the Holy Spirit impressing on me this axiom:

Intellectualism is the seedbed of apostacy…

What does that mean exactly?

I’ve got much I want to share about this but for right now I’ll just say this; if faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) then the falling away comes by deafness (Hebrews 5:11) and that deafness is the direct result of what I’d call “intellectualism”.

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” – Mark 4:21-25

 

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But what of the Holy Spirit?

Ask a Christian, or even an unbeliever, if they believe in God and they’ll often explain that belief in God requires some measure of faith and then, depending on their faith, they’ll answer accordingly.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrew 11:1

Indeed, it is a great step of faith to believe in God and a greater step still to believe the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the remission of your sin.

But what of the Holy Spirit?

When Jesus began to explain the coming of the Holy Spirit to his disciples he told them it was to their benefit, to their advantage, that he would leave them so that the Holy Spirit would come and that he would make his dwelling place with them and in them.  (John 14:15-17, 16:7)

In them.

The Holy Spirit, the God of all creation would make his dwelling place in the hearts of men. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

Stop for a moment and ponder the gravity of what Jesus shared with his disciples.  What it meant for them.  What it means for you.

The God who hovered over the face of the waters before the creation of the world and spoke all things into existence. (Genesis 1:2)

The God who made man and gives him life. (Job 33:4)

The God who flowed from the Rock. (Exodus 17:5-6, John 19:34, 1 Corinthians 1:1-4)

The God who convicts us of our sin, proclaims to us the good news of Jesus Christ, who makes the dead live, who seals us, who comforts us, teaches us and gives us hope.  (John 16:8 , Hebrews 3:7 and 4:2, 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 and 2:10 and 12-15, Ephesians 1:13-14, John 14:26, Romans 15:13)

This God, the Holy Spirit, has made his dwelling place in us.

Actually believing that, well that would require a monumental leap of faith wouldn’t it?

But the Scriptures are clear.  God of very God, the Holy Spirit has come and He has made his place in our hearts and we have become his temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Do you have the faith to believe this?

Do you believe in Him whom you have not seen?  Are you assured of the things you’ve hoped for?

Do you have the faith to believe what the Scriptures testify of the Holy Spirit?

Then let me ask you only this:

“…Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?” – Galatians 3:2

If then what began in you began by hearing with faith should you not continue in Him in the same way…

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” – Revelation 3:22

Grace and Peace to you in Jesus’ name.

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fear or love

It’s always interesting to watch people come to the realization that they aren’t in control.

Of anything really.

Not the weather or the stock market, or the electric grid or the water supply.

Man’s own frailty is a scary thing.

For some of us, it still hasn’t hit home that we’re not even in control of our next breath…

You went to sleep last night without remembering to set your lungs to auto mode didn’t you?

And yet here you are… breathing the King’s air, reading this post.

The fear of death is always before us. So when the normal order gets thrown out of wack, we get real scared, real quick. Ultimately, we’re all afraid we’re gonna die.

Have you ever considered why?

I’m going to suggest you’re afraid of dying not because you’ll cease to exist but because instinctively you know after death comes judgement.

We’re going to be called to account. And like Adam and Eve, we all know we ain’t got no clothes on… we’re naked, standing before a Holy God.

But what if I told you, you don’t have to be afraid anymore? What if I told you there was a way to clothe your nakedness and shame? To stand before a Holy God; better yet, to approach his throne boldly as his son or daughter; wouldn’t you want to know how?

A conscience set at ease, relief from the weight of the death that’s ever before us and the judgement that will follow.

A knowledge that even if the electricity never comes back on or if I fail to draw my next breath and leave this world to face the coming judgement that I could do so with a mind set at perfect peace.

Well you can. Here’s how.

Love.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

1 John 4:18

You see that fear, that dread that’s always there in the back of your mind; it’s the result of not having or knowing the perfect love of the One who made you and who will ultimately judge you.

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:8

How is God love? How can we know love?

“16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us”

1 John 3:16

That anxiety you’re always dealing with, it’s really just fear and it holds sway over you because you’re not at rest in the love of God that’s been shown to you in Jesus Christ.

After Adam and Eve ate that fruit, their eyes were opened, they realized they were naked. Then they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden and they too were afraid so they hid and tried to cover their nakedness.

And that’s what we do too.

We all know we’ve sinned. We’ve fallen short of God’s glory because of our disobedience. Because of our unbelief. We’ve all at one point or another heard his voice and we’ve all been terrified that when we come face to face with him, he’ll see we’re naked in our sins and we’ll face his judgement. And we will.

But here’s what a lot of us don’t know.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5

After Adam and Eve tried to explain to God why they were naked did you know that God provided “skins” to cover them?

While they were still standing their naked the Lord is his goodness had already provided a covering for them.

That covering was Jesus Christ the Lord.

In order to provide skins, a covering for their nakedness, something had to shed it’s blood. Something had to die.

The Lamb of God, that is Jesus Christ, was slain; even before the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)

Before Adam and Eve were even in the garden. Before they chatted up that ole Snake. Before they ate that fruit and even knew they were naked, the Lord had slaughtered a Lamb to cover their nakedness.

And this is love.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13

The love of God in Christ Jesus is the good news of his death and resurrection for the forgiving of our sins.

Do you believe this good news?

If not, why? What keeps you from believing? If you hear his voice, even now, proclaiming to you this good news, why do you harden your heart toward him?

What keeps you from believing that while you are still in your sins, God has already provided a covering for your nakedness? His own blood.

I’m going to suggest to you that you do not believe because you question if He really loves you personally. In spite of all your sin.

You look to your sin, your nakedness and you’re still afraid, still in unbelief that the good news of Jesus could really be that good.

As a man whose sin is ever before him I can tell you, it most certainly is that good. And if you would only believe this good news and abide in the love of God provided to you in Christ Jesus you would have his perfect peace.

That anxiety you’re constantly dealing with? That fear. In the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ once believed, it’ll vanish.

Believe me.

Believe Him.

Believe.

Believe the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the forgiving of your sins and so be saved. Know the love of Christ our Lord and approach his throne of grace boldly and you will find rest for your souls.



13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:13-19

Grace and peace to you in Jesus’ name.

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the greatest story ever told

Man I love this passage from Colossians.​​

The whole story of Jesus, who he is, what he’s done, what it means for his people, I’m telling you there’s not a better story you’ll find.

And it’s all true!


“6Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” – Colossians 2:6-15


“triumphing over them in him” Hallelujah!!

So the way Jesus triumphs over his enemies is by dying on the cross. It’s just the greatest “no way!” realization ever.

The gruesome, awful, shameful suffering he embraced, the death he died was the VERY means by which he destroyed his enemies and ransomed me to himself!!

The legal demand of my sin, which is death, was met in his body.

But because he himself knew no sin the grave could not, did not hold him and he has been well pleased to impart his victory over death to me simply by grace (for free) through faith (in believing) in this good news.

That is simply the most incredible, God glorifying proclamation I’ve ever heard.

I’m telling y’all. I know you’re probably reading this and you’re thinking, “dude he’s gone off the reservation” but I’ll challenge you this. Read the book. I dare you. Read the story and seek Him while he may be found and see if you don’t eventually come to the same conclusion:

Jesus Christ is LORD!

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to be crushed

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When Tozer talks about “hearts fit to break”. That’s it.

If the Spirit is the oil, the sweet fragrance, then we are the jar that is broken. In our brokenness the Spirit is released and permeates the room with His lovely presence.

There is a section of a book by Watchman Nee that I think may be the most profound extra biblical writing I’ve ever read. It’s entitled, “Waste”. To be wasted for the Lord. To be poured out.

To be utterly consumed by the fire so only that which is from the Lord, returns to the Lord, which is the Holy Spirit of God.

So it is, we are melded into the fold of our Triune God. Brought into the depths and breathe and riches of his incomparable love and grace and we are utterly consumed by and in it, a burnt offering, a precious sacrifice that produces gold, silver, precious stone.

In the end the only work that will stand before God is God’s work. All wood, hay, stumble will be utterly consumed so that the manifest presence of his Son Jesus will be preeminent before all things, whether in heaven, on earth or below.

This is what the Father is after, the exultation of the Son, this is what the the Spirit preaches, the testimony of the Jesus. And as we, his people are wasted for Him, set upon the fire and consumed, all that is left is the radiant image of the glorious risen Lord Jesus Christ, forever and ever and ever.

And the angels sing holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty who was, who is and who is to come.

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The hour is coming and already here…

“They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” – John 16:2

The same spirit that was at work in persecuting the apostles is still at work today. There is coming and already here a “church” that wears the world’s mantel, that walks with her in lock step, and that church will most assuredly hold the world’s cloak while it picks up stones to throw at the Bride of Christ.

When this happens, it’s my faith that Christ himself will be made manifest in His Bride as she prays for her enemies and those who would stone her.

Entrusting herself completely to her Bridegroom just as Stephen did before he expired, she will be kept in perfect peace knowing surely her Bridegroom is coming soon and that He who is most concerned with weights and measures, truth and error, will be bringing His awesome recompense with Him when he comes.
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A Prayer Request and a Word of Encouragement

Hey y’all, Kitty and I wanted to ask for your prayers and also to share something with you that we hope will encourage you as we head into the new year.
 
For about the last two years Kitty had been complaining that she was experiencing numbness on one side of her face and not the other side. She’s always had bad migraines but this seemed different so we decided she needed to see a neurologist.
 
As it turns out Kitty has a tumor in her brain and it will require surgery. It’s a meningioma and it’s on the base of her brain stem. It looks to be benign but it’s about the size of a golf ball and it’s certainly the cause of the numbness that she is experiencing and so it needs to be removed.
 
Kitty is currently scheduled to go in for surgery at UT Southwestern on January 21st and so I’d like to ask you if you could please join me in praying for my precious wife.
 
When we first got the news about three weeks before Christmas that it was, in fact, a tumor we were both pretty overwhelmed. Kitty was obviously devastated and I was shell-shocked and so we immediately sought the Lord in prayer.
 
At first our prayers were simply for peace and comfort. We told our families and our fellowship at Bear Creek Bible Church and they all began to pray for us as well.
 
The Lord heard our prayers and in the next 48 hours he did incredible things to answer us above and beyond what we could have ever expected.
 
Since then, Kitty and I have really been at peace about this entire ordeal. We are trusting Jesus to be sufficient for us. To be for us what only he can be, our Hope.
 
This year has been a difficult one for so many and because of that Kitty and I have felt burdened in our spirit to share with you the reason for the hope that is within us so that you too might know this peace that surpasses all understanding.
 
Simply put, Jesus Christ is our hope.
 
More than that, He is our all sufficient savior, He is our King and our Deliverer and because we have believed on Him and the good news of his death and resurrection for the forgiving of our sins we can now know His perfect peace.
 
We really wanted to share with y’all more of our testimony about Jesus and how he has gone before us through this ordeal and done great things and more importantly how you can come to know him and his perfect peace if you do not already.
 
If you want to hear more about the awesome things he has already done for us you can watch this video.
Thanks again for your prayers, may the Lord bless you and keep you all.

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A Flower from God

Cuddly curls, heaven’s gift
Grace from God, a Flower’s sweet kiss
 
Who will you be?
Where will you go?
 
Born of his blood
This I well know
 
Petals upon petals
Curls upon curls
 
Who could possibly be like this girl?
 
No one I tell you.
No, not one!
 
This Father’s most precious
Till his days be done
 
Sing you a song and tell you again
Of His sweet love till He be your friend
 
Fear not little one a Savior has come
Loving you always as your Daddy has done

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