The True Nature of God

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog post or even been involved in the world of blogging. I needed to take a break, but I’ve missed communicating with my blogging friends.

Usually I write a blog post when a spiritual thought, a thought that I think might help or encourage others, keeps coming to my mind. This is the case with the following post.

A person could become really confused about the nature of God while watching TV and viewing social media, especially during political campaigning. I hear politicians on opposite sides of an issue quoting scripture (usually out of context) in an attempt to legitimize their positions.

Add to this news reports about terrorists slaughtering innocent people in the name of God (Allah), and you can understand why people are confused about this being we call God.

Even within churches there is confusion about the character of God. A man from a church we attended told me that he was dying of cancer. He went on to tell me that he believed God gave him terminal cancer for all the bad things he had done before becoming a Christian. I was shocked and saddened that this man believed that God was out to get him.

I wanted so much to change his confused view of God. I wanted to challenge him by asking why he thought that God waited until he was a Christian to take him out with a cruel disease; why didn’t God just strike him down with lightning when he was living an unrepentant life?

The worst aspect of ALS is not being completely paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. Nor is it having to be fed through a feeding tube (no Thanksgiving dinner for me). Not being able to speak, especially at times like this, is by far the worst aspect of this horrible disease. I really wanted to remind this good Christian man that it was when we were at our worst that Christ died for us.

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) (If God sent Jesus to die “for us,” than He is for us, not against us).

I was also once confused about the true nature of God. I suppose that I would have been classified as agnostic; I believed that there probably was a God, but I didn’t believe He was a personal God like Christianity teaches. But, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I was alone and bored in a hotel room one night when I opened the Gideon Bible on the nightstand and began reading the New Testament.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but after reading for a few hours, I really felt that my foggy thinking about God began to clear up. For the first time I realized that Jesus Christ defines the true character of God. Apart from Christ, one is free to redefine God into anything he or she desires Him to be.

After finally making a commitment to follow Christ, before even stepping one foot into a church, I made a commitment to myself that I would never allow popular culture, politicians or even priests and preachers to redefine the God I came to know from reading the New Testament.

That was over thirty years ago and that commitment is challenged virtually every day; but it is still the foundation of the hope and peace I feel when going through difficult trials.

confusion
I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but one of the things I’m most thankful for is that, in this confusing and ever-changing world, “God never changes.”

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on November 25, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 118 Comments.

  1. Well said Bill. Thank you for the insights you so faithfully share. I also appreciate your vulnerability in that, even though you are a mature Christian, you’re still learning. You are on the frontlines in faith my friend. Continue to be a strong and courageous witness to the one whom Christ portrayed perfectly. Continue to write and love in your shalom Bill as God reveals himself to you. Your brother in Christ Denny.

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  2. Well said Bill. Thanks for the

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  3. We do hope you came to see by now, that Jesus is the sent one from God, God’s only begotten son, who is the way to God and not God himself like many in Christendom believe.

    We do hope you found your way to Christianity and left all the human dogma’s and pagan rites to the side.

    Lovely to hear you also bringing the Good News, which was a task the master teacher had given to his disciples, and which true Christians should do as well.

    We wish you lots of strength and a long continuation in spreading the Word of God.

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  4. Thank you Bill! I can’t tell you how much I appriciate this post. True to character you said it the best I’ve ever heard.

    I also want to thank you for your encouraging words about my blog. I felt God spoke through you because it came at a time when I was earnestly seeking God for direction. I plan to get back at it and look forward to however God uses me.

    Oh and I am so glad you are back at it as well!

    Blessings!
    Gina

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  5. Hey Bill, we miss you! Praying!

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  6. I am so glad you have a “voice” through writing. Not long ago I had wondered how you were, and prayed for you. Thank you for pausing in your day and reading and “liking”. Many blessings, God is Good!

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  7. I was just thinking about you today, wondering how you are. I hope you’re doing well, and that you’re still as positive and encouraging as you were when you wrote this post. Blessings and love to you. Thank you for reminding me of the true power of Jesus tonight.

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  8. Thank God for the Gideon Bibles! I still have one given to me at a VBS in 1977! Even though I did not follow Jesus till 1994 I kept it and would read Proverbs whenever I thought about God. Nice post. It’s true many Christians are confused about God and His salvation. We have the same passion, to help people understand the God we serve. God bless!

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  9. The True Light!

    I understand what you are saying. I’ve been going through the same thing myself. But I am being encouraged by a number of people to stay and keep my page open. Not sure what to do just yet, but if you are truly back to blogging again, then “welcome back!”

    ~Steve

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  10. As always, inspired and encouraged by your words. God has used you mightily to bolster our faith. I tell people your story all the time. You and your family have been in my prayers these past few weeks.

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  11. Bill, I thank God for you! Happy New Year and I hope we hear from you again soon.

    Grace and peace,
    Vanessa

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  12. Ahhh! I found you again! As ever, thank you for your encouragement!

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  13. The fact that I just read through 75 comments on your recent article about the nature of God is a testimony to the difference you are making in people’s lives. Thank you for re-inforcing my trust in a God who loves and cares for us and who is present with us in all situations and in all places. May God continue to bless your ministry—for it certainly is a ministry!

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  14. You have an extraordinary testimony, Bill. May you and yours have a blessed Christmas!

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  15. Praise God for that Gideon Bible that you read and brought you to know who God really is. We all go through trials, difficulties, and disappointments, but our God leads us and supplies us through it all. I thank God that He richly blesses us through His Son Jesus Christ and we have the firm hope of everlasting life. Amen!

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  16. Hi, Bill. I just stopped by to reread your post, and to let you know I’m thinking about you and your family–praying for God’s peace and joy to surround you during this Advent season, and that God’s comforting arms will hold you in your most difficult moments.
    Warmly,
    Elouise

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  17. What an encouraging message! I am so glad you posted again.

    Blessings,
    Theresa

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  18. That simple isn’t it, yet so hard for so many to grasp. Thank you Bill for sharing your powerful testimony. God bless you and your family. Sherri.

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  19. Im thankful for you Bill. Thank you my brother.

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  20. You make the most important point of all – Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. If you don’t know Jesus you can’t know God. Thank you for this timely post, Bill. Wishing you and your family God’s best, at Christmas and always.

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  21. God bless you, Brother, as you soldier on despite your limitations. I spent most of my life thinking God was “mean” and “punishing”–even though I was saved, I was clueless; God and Jesus were far distant figures, and the Holy Spirit was a blur. I’m thankful for His faithfulness, that there’s no such thing as “too late” with Him–He desires that we know Him intimately, and He kept His hand on me. I was 59 when I finally caught the revelation about all that Jesus IS, all that He’d died to give me in the abundant life. Now I’m 63, and these days I enjoy the intimacy of fellowship with Him–He’s a father to the orphan, a husband to the widow; we have FUN together as He teaches me how good He is, how much He cares about the smallest and BIG things. I’m living in His Grace, under His unclouded and unmerited favor; and I’m learning to “rest in Him”, not be so anxious as I used to be. He always has MORE for us, Bill–every time I think He’s surely outdone Himself in blessing me, there’s more. Recently He asked me, “why do you always think the last good thing I did for you was really the LAST of My love and abundance?” He knew the answer–earthly fathers often do not reflect our Heavenly Father. And just think–when we leave this world and go Home, the MORE will be an Extravaganza! I can hardly wait! God bless you, pressed down and overflowing throughout this beautiful season of Christmas, and into the New Year. Sis Jael

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    • Thank you for sharing your testimony, Jael. I started this blog to strengthen hope in God for those that have little hope. As you already know, it’s really difficult to find hope in a God that you view as “mean,” “punishing” and “distant.” I never got that tortured picture of God from reading the Bible on my own, but people can cause you to get a warped picture of God. I’m glad you now view God differently.

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      • Unfortunately, it is usually people and churches without grace who give folks the wrong idea about God–and then the enemy makes certain they only read condemnation from God’s beautiful Word. But as we know, God can steer us to His grace, and straighten out the crooked path so that we find His unconditional, life-changing Love. God bless you for offering the world His HOPE today, Bill–blessings most abundant!! You are in my “blog-family” prayers!

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        • Thank you, Jael. You are so right about some churches focusing only on condemnation verses. These churches also condemn churches for focusing too much on grace. I don’t believe it’s possible to focus too much on grace; it’s certainly possible to pervert the true meaning of grace, which many churches are doing, but we need more preaching/teaching on the true meaning of grace.

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  22. Thank you for that in a time where we seem to go with the loudest voice in the room. I find that my personal relationship is what matters the most even though so many people try to tell me differently. God bless you! Please take care! 🙂

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  23. Bill, what a great reminder that God never changes.

    On occasion I can feel God’s peace fill my spirit and I am reminded of past instances at the same time – A small child skipping around the church doors as my parents talk with friends, a teenager chanting with a crowd at a pro-life rally, an adult hugging my husband at the bedside of my father when Jesus came for him. In an instant I am taken back…How awesome is our God that He sends us both a signal of His love and a reminder that He was & will always be with us.

    Thank you for your post.

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  24. Welcome back! Great article.

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  25. So glad to see you back!! As I have pondered a few traditional church doctrines and practices and had various discussions with my daughter lately, I couldn’t help but consider God’s character. That the church itself has had a hand in causing confusion and actually driving people away because of a wrong understanding of God’s character is so sad. I must admit that I sometimes struggle and have to remind myself. Just this morning, a line from a current movie came to mind, “Real or not real?” as I struggled with the account of Job and God’s character.

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    • Thank you, Rene.
      I completely agree with you about churches being the cause of confusion regarding God’s character. This is why I think, when defining God’s character, we must always begin and end with Christ – WWJD. “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:15)

      Liked by 1 person

  26. linda l christianson

    You are such a faithful man. Your journey has been far from easy and yet you can encourage the rest of us. God Bless you. I have missed your post and happy to read one today.

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    • Thank you, Linda.
      I’m afraid I haven’t been very faithful when it comes to keeping up with this blog. In regards to encouraging others, through many difficult times I finally figured out that we’re encouraged ourselves when we encourage others. Not doing so always leads to discouragement, and when we’re discouraged, we discourage others.

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  27. Dearest Bill, thank you again for reminding us that we too can have this unshakable hope in our unmovable God. His indescribable love for us in Jesus is unchanging and undeserved! Thanks for making it simple in this not so simple world!!!! Be blessed, dear brother!

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    • Thank you, Heidi.
      I do think one of our jobs as followers of Christ is to spread the good news in simple terms. As I said, everything is getting so confusing, the Gospel message should be simple enough for a child to grasp.

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  28. Thank you for sharing this excellent article, Bill! You are one of the most excellent inspirational bloggers I have ever read~I am so thankful for you!
    May the Lord Jesus continue to use you to inspire many for His glory and to advance His holy Kingdom on this earth, IJN
    I hope you & your precious family had a wonderful Thanksgiving! God bless you!
    Suzanne

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  29. I am so glad you decided to post…thank you. Jesus said “I Am the way, the truth, and the life…” The truth does not change, God is the truth.

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  30. Great word and awesome testimony to God and His unshakable hope…..

    Thirty years. And He is faithful as ever, even though our faith fails, He holds us fast.

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  31. Bill, I admire your desire to help others understand and embrace the grace of God. I, too, am glad the Lord is a reliable Rock. His Word is the only solid thing we have to rely on here on earth. I love the worship song about kingdoms and kings passing away– but not the name of Jesus.

    Thanksgiving Blessings to you and your family ~ Wendy

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  32. Happy Thanksgiving, Bill and family
    Thank you for your blog. It is always a joy to see things in a new way😊

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  33. Bill, your strong faith stands in stark contrast to the confusion and constant change that characterizes our world today. You’ve not shifted in your beliefs, in spite of ALS. You still hold tightly to the scripture-truths you embraced over 30 years ago. (Maybe the Gideons should consider tucking your testimony inside each Bible they place!) Those of us who read your blog are so encouraged by your faith. Thank you for persevering!

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  34. Thank you, Bill, for another good blog. Despite the difficult impairments you endure, your mind is clear and your heart is generous to share your insights. God bless you!

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  35. Bill, thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom in this post. Have missed your voice! Abundant blessings to you and your family!

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  36. Bravo…I understand exactly what you are talking about! I wish you continued peace in your heart…and even though you won’t be eating the turkey dinner, I’ve a feeling you will be surrounded in love and thankfulness! Many blessings to you…it was nice to see you in my inbox!! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂 ♡

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  37. Amen. Thank you for using your writing voice to speak the words the Lord has given you. Walk in obedience, walk in healing.

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  38. This girl s incredibly encouraging friend. We share many of the same sentiments and I assure you that while not using your audible voice, you do speak boldly, eloquently and truthfully for the Lord!! Have a happy Thanksgiving and I, too am thankful for a God who never, ever changes!

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  39. You are always a blessing, Bill, and have been much missed. May we all be so well grounded in our faith. Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

    A.

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  40. “Jesus Christ defines the true character of God” That says it all! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Kim K

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  41. Great thoughts…. Thank you for sharing them. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  42. I’ve missed seeing your posts. This is a very important one. Thanks.

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  43. jacquelinegwallace

    Very good. Very true. Thank you for posting this piece. Our small group Bible study is made up of people who love to study books of the Bible (Praise God!). This time we are going to study basic systematic theology so many of those confusing ideas and thoughts about God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, sin, salvation, the church, etc. can be laid to rest on the foundation of the scriptures!

    Like you, I usually post when something is on my heart. I can’t just make up words and send them out to say I’ve blogged! My desire, like yours, is to help and encourage others on their journey. The book I’ve written to expand on that theme of building up the body of CChrist, Brokenness to Beauty: Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life, is nearing the end of the publishing process and I’d like to ask you if you’d review it for me. Let’s talk 🙂

    Enjoy the Thanksgiving time with your wonderful family. God bless you all.

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  44. It is so good to hear your thoughts again. I too see Jesus as the expression of God’s love that we can understand and follow. And that is central to my faith, not religions or laws. I have to keep returning to that focus in the middle of so much confusion even among Christians. Thanks for the affirmation and reminder.

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  45. Thanks, Bill. I much appreciate the grace in your life– grace to be thankful in all things.

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  46. So good to read something from you again, Bill! And thank you for your spot-on approach to the subject. Have a blessed Thanksgiving. And beyond!

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  47. tabitha59reachingout

    This was beautiful. Thank you. Your testimony and obvious love for God shine bright in this dark world. I look forward to meeting you in heaven one day, when you will be fully restored in every way. Your faith in God is strong and beautiful. God bless you. 🙂 Debbie

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  48. Love the image

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  49. Bill, I was so glad to see your post this afternoon–you have been missed! You put into words the vow God also laid on my heart a million years ago: “that I would never allow popular culture, politicians or even priests and preachers to redefine the God I came to know from reading the New Testament.” I refer to those influences as, “the court of public opinion” and I too battle against its pull. Thank you for the great post and the reminder that we love and serve an awesome God. ( :

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  50. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

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  51. My husband is a Gideon, placing Bibles in motels for people to read. How encouraging t hi s post is. Thanksgiving is not only about food. (Though I’ve been cooking for two days.) It’s about what you’ve written here. May grace and mercy follow you this weekend.

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  52. “Apart from Christ, one is free to redefine God into anything he or she desires Him to be.” What a brilliant and profound statement! Thank you for sharing this post. Strength and peace are coming your way.

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  53. Such a beautiful post and, as like all your others, filled with pearls of wisdom. cannot imagine the frustrations you must feel by not being able to verbally speak these words of encouragement to those you encounter like the man who thought God was out to get him. You reach so many though through this blog, I hope that offers some comfort. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  54. What a happy surprise to find a post from you, Bill! We live in a time of great confusions, for sure. Which God did not author. Thanks for your clear, unconfused personal witness. To which I can only say Amen! And have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.
    Elouise

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  55. Great to see you back.

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  56. Great to see you back!

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  57. So thankful for this inspiration…it is wonderful hearing from you:-)

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving, wrapped in the love of Jesus.

    Bernadette

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  58. How often I allow the world to rock my boat and skew my vision. Thank you for this timely reminder, Bill. May your Thanksgiving be filled with joy and warmth. Grace and peace to you…you’ve been missed!

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  59. Karen Suttle Sanchez

    AWESOME!!! You are simply amazing and the insight that you have and how the Holy Spirit uses that insight to not only help people see more clearly just how great our God really is, but to challenge us to a new level of commitment in our walk with the Lord. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! Love you and Mary sooooo much!

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  60. You’ve been missed, my friend. Your insights are so relevant to now–we all seem to want to define God by our own limited ideas and concepts. Hearing from you, with where the Lord has you, makes what you say so powerful. Thanks for the reminder of the truth and hope with have in Jesus.

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  61. I have missed your loving wisdom. Your heart has only grown bigger since last listening to you…thank you for letting a little bit of that out…for all of us to hear. Hugs & continued blessings and a glorious thanksgiving to you and yours!!

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  62. Happy Thanksgiving! And thank you for writing encouraging truths.

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  63. Hello Bill – as I read your wonderful post I hear the waters of life from the throne of God, Himself, (Rev 22:1) flowing through you to us. You are constantly entering into His presence with your thanksgiving and praise (Psalm 100:4). Being in His presence provides you with what you need to guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Prov 4:23). Thank you for the choices you’ve made; for choosing to share those choices with us; and for sharing the beauty of what our Heavenly Father has worked in your life. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with His Presence!

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  64. Great post and so good to see you back Bill. You are right, God never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

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  65. So glad you’re back to the world of blogging. Missed your spiritual insight and heart. I do hope the guy with cancer has an opportunity to read this blog.
    You are spot on about God’s character never changing. I was reading my journal from three years ago. Lots of drama with my daughter’s wedding preparations, but I was clinging to scripture and God’s faithfulness.
    Now, there’s different circumstances, new drama, in my life. But the same verses and God’s faithfulness applies. How sweet that Thanksgiving allows us to thank God for WHO HE IS regardless of our circumstances

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  66. Thank you for this. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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  67. Thanks. Great post.

    The ongoing attempt of the enemy is to transform the truth into a lie masquerading as truth, and this must also involve the attempt to transform the real nature of the Lord Jesus into something false. For unbelievers, it is understandable that false perceptions arise but it should never be so among believers. It is imperative, as you have well stated that we, especially as Christians, do not fall for such deception.

    It is indeed true that the Lord Jesus is FOR us. What more could He have done to prove this? It is why Abraham was called by God His friend. He trusted the Lord. He knew the Lord is good and that He is FOR us.

    Happy Thanksgiving, brother.

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  68. Thank you for another inspiring and truth filled post, Bill. So thankful you have God and praying you will have a wonderful time with Him and your family and friends this Thanksgiving. You are an inspiration and example to all of us!

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  69. Amen. I couldn’t agree with you more. God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving. Turkey isn’t required to be able to enjoy a day set aside to be thankful and enjoy all that God has done.:0)

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  70. Hi Bill: You are so right in that He never changes. That is part of our assurance and gives us hope we can get nowhere else. With all that’s going on in this crazy world right now I have to look to Him more than ever for that hope and confidence that we as Christians will survive it all. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and blessings to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. Wonderful post, Bill! Thanks so much for sharing your heart through your blog … even though ALS has taken your speech, it has not taken away your voice. I know it is a huge task for you to prepare your blog and get it online, but there are many of us who appreciate it and look forward to hearing your voice of reason and of hope. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your sweet family!

    Liked by 2 people

  72. Amen! May you have much peace and a happy thanksgiving.

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