King Solomon’s Advice (poem by me)

Wise King Solomon had something to say,
About how man wasted his day,
He warned us long ago of the emptiness chasing things brings,
Things like: Multiple advanced degrees,
Fancy wine and brie cheese,
Deep tissue massages,
And big houses with boat garages,
You may ask: Then what shall we do with our time and such?
Be thankful to God whether in little or much.

*Based on Ecclesiastes

© 2015 Kim Bond

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Biblical Argument for Celebrating Christ’s Birth on December 25

The Bible does not tell us the exact day of Jesus’ birth, but it gives us clues.

Clue#1 The first chapter of Luke in the Holy Bible tells us that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb six months after his cousin, John the Baptist. (See Luke 1:26-40.)

Clue#2 John the Baptist was conceived shortly after his father, Zechariah, received the message from the angel Gabriel.  It is written that Zechariah met with Gabriel while he served in the temple. (See Luke 1:8-25).

Theory Based on the Biblical description of Zechariah’s service in the temple, some scholars believe he served during Yom Kippur (in September or October). This means John the Baptist would have been conceived in September or October.

Conclusion If John the Baptist was conceived in October and Jesus was conceived six months later, Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit in April. If Mary conceived on April 2, Jesus would have been born on December 25.

I hope this nerdy calculation helps you draw closer to Christ and glorify God this holiday season. May your Christmas be merry and meaningful!

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More Than Luck

Psalm 121:7 says, “The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life…”

The sound of screeching tires sends a chill down my spine. The terror probably started with the car accident I experienced as a child. My dad was driving my brother and me home from a Christmas party when our car was hit by a drunk driver. The car was incredibly mangled, and my dad and I were hospitalized for awhile. Yet when I look at the picture of that car, I wonder how we survived at all! People have always said we were lucky, and for a number of years I agreed. Now, I am absolutely positive it was not luck. It was the Lord who protected our lives.

A similar experience happened again when I was a teenager. I was driving at night down a curvy, two-lane road when suddenly my car slipped off the edge of the pavement into a small ditch. I over-corrected by pulling the steering wheel too much and flipped the car completely upside down!  My door was jammed, but I was able to crawl out of the window. My only injury was a tiny scratch. For years, I considered myself merely lucky.

It wasn’t until I saw how the Lord protected my son that I truly understood how God has kept watch over me and my loved ones. I could be called somewhat of a “helicopter mom” because of the way I have always watched over my son. That’s not my nature, but it is something I have learned because of his inordinate attraction to dangerous situations.

I suppose this can be said of many boys, but with my kid it seems like something more. It like there is an invisible force that means to do him harm. If I shared every harrowing encounter he has experienced, we would be here all day so I will just share a few examples. He nearly choked to death—thanks to God, he lived. He nearly drowned while swimming in a river when he was pinned under by the current—thanks to God, he still lives. Then there is his asthma—thanks to God, he is well.

I trust God’s Word to do exactly what He says in Psalm 121:7. Psalm 121:7 says, “The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life…” I need only reflect on the wonderful ways the Lord has kept this promise (even before I knew Him). What greater love is there than this? Only that He would lay His own life down for us that we may have eternal life.

Although our physical bodies may one day die, we can fully trust in God’s protection over our eternal lives if we have received salvation. If we accept Christ’s blood as payment for our sins, we can know that we will receive the promise of eternal life. God is full of love, true to His promises, and never lies. I pray your life and the life of your loved ones is anointed by the protection offered in Psalm 121:7 and that all of you accept His blood as payment for your sins that you all may receive eternal life. God bless!

*Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Divine Providence

“…Freely you have received; freely give.”—Matthew 10:8

My brother and I were raised by a single mother with little or no child support. Our car was a lot older than my friends’ cars. For most of my elementary years, I qualified for and received a free lunch from my school. My classmates wore name brand clothing, but I knew better than to even ask for it. Yet, I never went to bed hungry for lack of food a day in my life. I always had warm clothes to wear, and we always owned a car. I suppose my humble background inspires a deep understanding of what it means to have very little, but it also gave fruit to a great faith in God’s provision.

Even after I graduated from college, I struggled financially for many years. It still amazes me to see the strange and funny ways the Lord provides for me at just the right time. Once I had absolutely no money, and someone in my family sent me a check without knowing my circumstance. Another time, an electronics company reimbursed the full price of my electronic because of some defect that had been found in some of the products. (Mine worked fine.) Another time, my car insurance paid for my vehicle because of a little hail damage. Those are just a few of many examples of how God blessed me with provision that had His signature—the unexpected miracles when I needed them most.  Freely I have received so freely I try to give.

I still am not swimming in cash, but what I do have— I give to God. Sometimes it is things I donate to the Salvation Army. Other times, I donate some time to volunteer to help someone out. Also, I like to share my inspiration and talent to write. That’s how this website got started. Recently I was also blessed to be able to contribute a story for an anthology that is giving 100% of the profit to a charity that assists the poor. (If interested in learning more about this book, click Birds of Passage.)

I hope you, dear reader, will freely receive grace, forgiveness, help, treasures, and talent. Then, in turn, I pray you will freely give all of those wonderful gifts in obedience to God’s Holy Word. I can personally tell you that both giving and receiving glorify God, help us draw near to Christ, and inspire a deep fulfillment in one’s being. Have a blessed weekend!

*Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Curse of Childbirth

“To the woman he said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children….'” — Genesis 3:16

I became a Christian before I became a mother, which afforded me the opportunity to naively consider the above verse before I actually experienced it. One such unenlightened thought is this: Is it still a curse with the development of modern medicine?

My unlearned mind continued to question and explore the weight of this curse. Every mother had endured this pain. How painful could it really be? Many eager mothers continue to have multiple children even though birth control is readily available and effective. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and have endured various types of pain in my lifetime. I consider myself “tough.”

In the delivery room, my thoughts abruptly changed. Yes, pain in childbirth is still a severe curse. After all, you experience hours of painful contractions before an epidural can be administered (if you choose to get one). Yes, indeed! It is still a curse. For such a natural process, nothing quite seems to happen too naturally. How do all mothers make it thought that pain? I salute them all and confess it was my prideful thoughts.

As the Bible says in John 16:21, a woman does forget the pains of birth because of the joy that a child is born into the world. Sometimes the forgetfulness may not be immediate. It may happen after a mother has overcome the fears, surrenders to the sacrifices that must be made, and develops a relationship with her baby. Yet the joy is real and just as sure as the pain!

I reflect on the birth of my first child as such a miracle and blessing even though the process was cursed with pain. It was such a blessing, in fact, that I also chose to have a second child. We are now blessed with a family of four.

Over all of these thousands of years, the curse on Eve has not been lifted while the miracle of birth still triumphs over pain. I am equally convinced the curse of sin is death while the miracle of Christ’s sacrifice triumphs over the penalty of eternal punishment. God’s Word stands and—just as it says—not one stroke of it will disappear until everything is accomplished (Matthew 5:18).

I wrote this article to share my heart about God’s Word and my personal experiences. After reading it, I am realizing it could be intimidating to a mother who is pregnant for the first time especially if the mother is not in the perfect situation. For that reason, I want to encourage pregnant women that giving birth is the best decision and give you a link to a local group of special people who can help you in your circumstance. Contact Hand N Hand Pregnancy Help Center (Missouri) or a pregnancy help center in your area. There is no need to go through it alone. Joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Thanks for reading and  God bless!

Homosexuality & Other Issues

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As a longtime online religious forum contributor, I can honestly say I have witnessed a fair share of people state they reject Christ because of their opinions on homosexuality or abortion or some other other political issue. As a longtime church member, I can also say I have heard the true-life stories of a fair share of people stating they are homosexual or that they received abortions—yet they still committed their lives to Christ. It seems ironic that people would feel so strongly that they must defend someone else’s political rights that they themselves would reject their God and opportunity to obtain eternal life based on the “Christian view” of certain political issues. This is especially disturbing considering the fact that opinions of Christians vary so greatly. Today, I want to implore the strong-minded, Non-Christian political activists reading this blog to reconsider their rejection of Christ. I am not asking you to abandon your political views about any issue—just your view of Christ.

Take a moment to consider how God feels about you. Maybe you feel unsure about God’s feelings for you. Well, let’s look at what Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) says about it: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. If God will not let anything in all creation separate you from His love, then why would you let political issues come in between you and your Creator?

 If you have decided you no longer want political issues or anything else to stand in the way of your acceptance of Christ and His promise of eternal life, then pray this prayer: “God, I accept Jesus as my Savior. I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe He died on the cross and rose from the dead. I believe His death is the sacrifice that paid for my sins and His resurrection is a promise of eternal life. I choose to commit my life to You, Lord. Thank You for my salvation. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Submission

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When Christians hear the word submission, their minds may automatically jump to the controversial subject of submission of wives to their husbands. However, all Christians are called into a lifetime of submission. Christians are called to submit first and foremost to God as stated in James 4: 7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God….”.  Jesus lived in perfect submission to His Father. He never argued with Him about His rights or rebelled against Him. Instead, He yielded to His Father’s will because He trusted Him. He is our example.

We are called to submit to the government and other authorities. Romans 13: 1 states, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” This means everything from following speed limits to paying taxes. It means we cannot use our own judgment or take what is entitled to us.

Common sense tells us to submit to our bosses, but Christians are called to do even more than submit but to “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” in Ephesians 6:7. Putting forth our best efforts is a testimony to our boss and coworkers that God is good. If you think you are being treated unfairly, do not seek revenge with poor efforts.

Christian children must obey their parents as it says in Ephesians 6:1 , “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” This basic relationship teaches us to know our place.

Submission is an attitude fortified with humility and obedience. These are characteristics God wants to instill in us because we cannot live in a proper relationship with the Lord unless we are trained in submission. If we cannot submit to earthly authority, how can we submit to God?

Ephesians 5: 22 states, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” As women’s rights gained prominence, the above verse became increasingly controversial. Some non-Christians think it is demeaning to women. Even some Christians think this is a verse that was meant for the time period it was written in and does not apply to us. I do not think it is demeaning or outdated.

Our Creator gave a masterful order to the universe. He instituted the laws of gravity. Our Father in heaven also established an order in families. Jesus should be the head of every household. Husbands are called to submit to Him, wives should submit to their husbands, and children must obey their parents.

Women have been given the gift of beauty, the ability to bear children, and a powerful influence over their children’s lives. Yet, women are called to submit to husbands. This does not mean wives should become robotically compliant to their husbands. It means they should yield to their husbands.

Husbands should never misuse their authority to control or abuse women. Rather, they should delegate authority to other people in the household. They should seek the opinions of household members before making decisions. In this way, they become a good Christian husband and father.

Christian wives will become unhappy if they must assume a leadership position because a husband is refusing to lead. When both husband and wife struggle for power, households are too argumentative. Christians who feel their household is out of balance should seek their God-given assigned identity in Christ by meditating on Scripture and praying for ways to conform to God’s design for families.

Christians should have an attitude of submission towards God. Our earthly authority provides a great training ground to learn how to submit. When we submit to authority, we humbly obey God as we should. Whether it is the federal government or our boss or a husband, we respect God’s plan for order when we yield to their authority.

But what about when the authority figure or law goes against God’s Word? What then? God is the highest authority in the Christian’s life. Christians should always obey God even when authorities in your life command you to go against what God or His Word is telling you to do.

In the book of Daniel, we read about Daniel’s character. He was faithful to God and submitted to authority. He worked hard and behaved righteously. His qualities earned him a promotion. The jealous officials inspired a decree which forbid Daniel to pray to God. Yet Daniel ignored the decree that lead him away from God and kept on praying! He feared God more than man so God rescued him from the mouth of lions.

Christians must always fear God more than man. Christians should never depend on the law to tell us what is right or wrong, but we should rely on God’s Word. Believers should tell corrupt bosses they will not break the law to help their bottom line. Christian women should not quietly submit to abusive husbands but seek God’s will in their lives. Those are exceptions in which acting righteously and justly according to God’s Word is more important than submitting to authority.

In most circumstances, submission to authority is a useful tool to help us draw near to the Lord. If we love the Lord, we will submit to authority. In doing so, we are a good example and witness to others. Throughout our lives, we must remember our King in heaven is our ultimate authority. Our Father who loves us deserves our undivided loyalty.

PRAYER: Lord, Help us to draw near to You by submitting to authority. Give us the courage to stand firm on the Word when authority leads us astray. Thank You, Lord, that You hear our prayers. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Draw Near Through Christian Media

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James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Maybe you are seeking God’s will for your life and are unsure how to follow His path. If you want to hear God more clearly, I challenge you to sacrifice some of the time you spend on non-Christian media and choose Christian instead. Imagine how much your relationship with God would improve if you began listening to Christian music, watching Christian television, and reading Christian literature.

People claim certain Christian songs helped them to overcome temptation when struggling against addiction. The Bible tells us to “make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation” in Psalm 95: 1. In fact, lots of non-Christians have come to Christ by listening to Christian music. Once you discover what a difference Christian music makes in your life, you will be ready to incorporate Christian television into your schedule. You will see how it is almost like Jesus is standing in your living room offering the solutions and guidance you have been praying for all these years. Another great way to draw near to God is through Christian literature. That term covers a variety of things including The Holy Bible, non-fiction books that teach us, fiction books written to touch our hearts, devotionals that guide our prayer and thought life, beautiful poetry books, uplifting magazines, and more! Remember this website offers lots of forever free ebooks (click here) including the latest: Spiritual Citizens (click here).

Once you are engaged in Christian media, you will be more prepared to share your own talent. Whether it is creative writing, art, photography, music, or something else, God wants you to use it for His kingdom. Don’t let fear or pride stand in the way. Gather up all of your patience, perseverance, and inspiration. I pray you will draw nearer to God when you take a step of faith and create like Him!

When a storm hits our life and shakes us, we wish God were near. Don’t wait for the storm. Draw near to the Lord now so you cannot be shaken when the heavy winds start blowing in your life.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Contracts

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God is a god of promises. He makes a lot of them, and He keeps them all. While God does not want us to put rituals before Him, we can read in the Bible that rituals have a place in our relationship with Him. He is a God of covenants and contracts and of written promises.

It seems right that as children of God we would also enter into contracts and written promises with Him. What kind of contract would You enter? I am thinking our contracts (or written promises) might include promises to give up certain sins like misusing alcohol, sex, drugs, food, etc. It might include taking a step to becoming more Christlike like promising to volunteer time, to tithe or be more generous, or to read our Bible more.

PURITY CONTRACTS

Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure…” Is God calling you to a life of purity? Maybe you are unmarried and tempted to have premarital sex although you want to wait….or maybe you’re someone who views pornography but wants to make a commitment to stop…or perhaps you have been cheating on your spouse and feel ashamed before God. Whatever your circumstance, God is waiting for you to make a real commitment to Him to stop.

Some families encourage their children to enter into a purity contract to refrain from premarital sex, then give them purity rings to remind them of their promise.

  • If you have decided to wait until you are married and have never entered into a contract, I encourage you to do so right now. Your written promise might look like this: I promise to God, my future spouse, and myself to keep my mind and body sexually pure until marriage.
  • If you want to promise to stop viewing pornography, you may want to make a slightly different promise like this: I promise to God, my (future) spouse, and myself to keep my eyes, mind, and body from sexual immorality and pornography.
  •  If you struggle with faithfulness, consider this promise: I promise to God, my spouse, and myself to stop all adulterous affairs, confess my unfaithfulness to my spouse, and never enter into another affair.

These are short samples of what your sexual purity contract could be. You can personalize your promise and include Scripture and details or keep it simple. Just remember to type, print, and sign your very own purity contract. It could be the beginning of something beautiful. I pray you will have strength and success on your path to purity.

MODERATION CONTRACTS

Moderation commitments are for areas of your life that need more discipline. Moderation contracts should not be used for known sinful behavior. Moderation contracts are for normal activities that may require more discipline in your life. Christians feel convicted by simple activities that are out of balance like overconsumption of food, drinking excess amounts of caffeine, and oversleeping.

  • Your written promise may look like, “I promise God and myself to consume food only for nutrition and not out of boredom or comfort.” It could contain more details like a promise to consume more fruits and vegetables or encouraging verses. (Serious eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia can be life-threatening. Seek professional counseling instead of contracts for eating disorders.)
  •  Another example may be “I promise God and myself to enjoy a suitable amount of rest in my life to renew and refresh my body. I promise not to sleep to avoid problems. I choose to embrace joy and life by rising in a joyful mood and tackling the day with God.” It might include a goal bedtime and wake-up time or a limit. Your promise may include a promise not to be late to work by pressing snooze.
  • Over caffeinated? “I promise God and myself to drink only 2 cups of caffeinated coffee/tea/energy drink per day. I trust God to give me energy to do all of the things He wants me to do today.”

Your moderation contract may be something completely different. Listen and pray for what it is God is asking you to be more disciplined about. Just remember to type or write your promise and sign your name to it.

ENRICHMENT CONTRACTS

There are easy ways to enrich your life, the lives of others, and your own relationship with God. They could include decisions to become more generous with your time and money. Some examples would be to attend church more often or to give your time by volunteering your service or to contribute money to needy people.

Sometimes all we need to do is change our attitude around. Instead of thinking of some things as chores, we should consider them opportunities. Think of all the opportunities these promises would provide for you to meet people….people who could become your spouse or your best friend. I hope that motivates your attitude to change, but I hope your deepest motivation to enter a contract is love. Let it be love….love for God that you want to become more like His Son and love for His people that you want to help them realize there is a God through your generosity.

  • Your contract might read, “I promise to God and myself to attend church every Sunday that I am not sick or out of town.” If you already attend church, maybe you could promise to invite at least one person per month or season or year.
  • It might say, “I promise to God and myself to volunteer my service to at least one event per year.” It could be something specific like volunteering to act as a childcare worker at your church or in your community.
  • Your written promise might say, “I promise to God and myself to give to every person/organization who requests money…even if it is just one dollar.” Your contract may involve finding one organization where you give regularly. It may state something about giving things instead of money.

These are just examples. Feel free to write your own enrichment promise about whatever God has called you to do. Either write or type and print your promises. Just remember to sign your name. Then enjoy your new enriched life.

REMEMBER your salvation does NOT depend on your holiness. Jesus’ blood on the cross has purchased your salvation. These written promises only act as a tool to help you draw near to the Lord with an increasingly holy life. It is an outward display of a renewed heart and mind. It is a helpful reminder to our flesh to yield to the Holy Spirit as He guides us into a more holy life.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

About Islam

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Experts estimate that there are over 20,000 Christian denominations. Each one has their own different beliefs and practices. It would be hard to make a statement of faith that they all agree on.  The same is true when it comes to Islam. With that in mind, I will still try to explain a few general differences between Islamic and Christian beliefs (even though it may not apply to every Muslim) in a few short blogs.

The Muslims I know are very agreeable in general and will not argue most points of the Bible. Many even believe in Mary’s virgin birth (although they do not believe Jesus is the Son of God). However, there is a sharp conflict when it comes to the history of Christ and the cross. Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. They believe He was spared death and taken up to heaven. To them, the cross has no saving power since they do not believe a sacrifice was ever made on it. To us, Christ’s death on the cross was the sacrifice that saves us from sin. Christ’s resurrection guarantees we too will be raised up from the dead. Therefore, the cross is the cornerstone and symbol of our faith, yet it is insignificant in Islam.

Muslims believe the Bible is an inspired (but corrupted) holy book. The Qur’an (written several hundred years after the death of Christ) is considered a more pure sacred text for Muslims. Christianity teaches God’s Word is without error.  2Timothy 3:16 states “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” If we believe God gave us the Word of God, it stands to reason He has protected it over the years. Scripture has been proven reliable by many transcripts including the Dead Sea Scrolls. Jesus authenticated the accuracy of the Old Testament by quoting it. History and archaeological finds support Biblical accuracy. (Archaeological discoveries have actually disproven the historical accuracy of the Qur’an.) The more you study the Holy Bible, the more it becomes apparent it is an incredible piece of literature because it is the literal Word of God.

With so much common ground, it seems odd that so much controversy would arise from these two religions. Why do we hear about so much violence towards Christians from Islamic countries? The reason is the Qur’an actually commands holy war against non-Muslims who refuse to convert. ” Islamic Extremists” is the name we commonly call Muslims who literally interpret the Quran as a legitimate authorization to kill non-Muslims. However, there are many peaceful Muslims so it is important to differentiate between “peaceful Muslims” and “Islamic Extremists.” Peaceful Muslims living among us condemn the killing and persecution just like we do.

The Bible was completed and closed around 400 A.D. Christians believe the Holy Bible is the final authority. No prophecy can supersede the Holy Bible. God warns us in Revelation 22:18 never to add to His Words. Yet several hundred years later, Muhammad claimed to have received a message from the angel Gabriel. This message was compiled in the Qur’an. Muslims believe the Qur’an supersedes the Bible in authority. Muhammad reminds me of the old prophet in 1 Kings 13. A man of God had been commanded by the Lord not to eat or drink on his journey. He even rejected the king’s offer to sup. Yet an old prophet convinced him that he has received a message from an angel that told him to bring this man of God to eat with him. The man of God defied God’s command and dines with the old prophet. The man of God’s disobedience cost him his very life!

As Christians, we should always have a warm smile and a kind word for peaceful Muslims living among us. As for the extremists, Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you in Matthew 5:44. I hope that, in time, more Muslims can agree on its superiority to the Qur’an. I pray you will be God’s instrument for delivering this truth. It is a spiritual battle and one that can be won through the Holy Spirit’s supernatural enabling. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2 that he did not come to them with persuasive words or human wisdom but with the testimony of God with fear and trembling. Christ has told us to testify. All we need to do is be obedient.

If you are a Muslim who has accepted Muhammad’s message over God’s own words in the Holy Bible, what will happen to you? Repent and become a Christian today with this prayer of salvation: Father God, Forgive me my sins. I believe Your Son Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. I trust His death paid for my sin. Send your Holy Spirit and make me new. In Christ’s Name, Amen. If you can’t accept my words, take the truth from a former Muslim. It is enlightening to both Muslims and Christians. Watch this amazing video testimony by a Muslim who turned Christian: http://www.cbn.com/tv/1403094459001May the light of Christ walk before you everywhere you go and prepare the way in His mighty all-consuming power!

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!