The transforming power of gratitude

17 ὥστε εἴ τις ἐν Χριστῷ, καινὴ κτίσις· τὰ ἀρχαῖα παρῆλθεν, ἰδοὺ γέγονεν καινά. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NA28)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old things passed away, behold he has become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

When Christ comes into your life, your life changes. God’s Word everywhere declares that a change is automatic when someone truly believes. However, this is not entirely a passive thing. There is something called walking in repentance that is our part. I am sure all of you know someone or you may have personal testimony pertaining to struggling with sin or sins for years that seemed to cling very close and no matter what, freedom from the sin(s) seemed like chains in prison. However we are commanded to not sin like that aren’t we? View article →

Texas governor: First Amendment, not Supreme Court ruling, is priority

According to ChristianExaminer:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a memo to all state agencies instructing them to prioritize compliance with laws that protect the religious freedom of the state’s employees as they deal with the fallout of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage in all 50 states.

“As leaders of this State, we have an obligation to secure the right of all Texans to live their lives according to the principles of their religious faith,” Abbott wrote.

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The Body Politic Is Queer

On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous decision to legalize same-sex marriage, Peter Jones of truthxchange penned a piece with this warning to Americans: You cannot introduce into society a life style, now considered legal, without it redefining what the culture must receive as morally and spiritually acceptable. Putting blue dye in one end of the pool affects the color of the water in the whole pool.

Now to Dr. Jones’ piece, which can be read in full over at truthxchange:

Ironically, this claim [“the body of Christ is queer”], by an ordained bi-sexual female, Layton E. Williams, in the PC(USA), appeared the day before the decision of the USSC to legalize same sex marriage in all fifty states.

Culturally, this legal decision represents an historic moment for the United States. The Declaration of Independence, declaring that rights and laws are endowed by the Creator, has been rendered meaningless by a fake redefining of marriage, with no reference to the Creator or to any objective standards. The charade is over. This decision indicates that what has been happening for some time is finally here for all to see: the USA is clearly a “godless nation.” Let public figures supporting this decision no longer say or sing: “God bless America.” or “Amazing Grace.” It is just as worthless as their view of marriage.

This is a victory for “progressives,” though we have not made much progress. Augustine in his City of God vividly describes the 5th century pagan “games” offered in honor of Tanit, the celestial “virgin” and mother of the gods. He also describes the public display of the goddess’s homosexual priests. “They were seen yesterday, their hair moist, their faces covered in make-up, their limbs flaccid, their walk effeminate, wandering through the squares and streets of Carthage, demanding from the public the means to subsidize their shameful life.”

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Proposed “Homage to Satan” Near Ten Commandments Monument to Be Unveiled

According to Christian News Network:

Satanic TempleA New York-based Satanist group has announced the unveiling of its sculpted ‘homage to Satan,’ which it seeks to place next to a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol building.

As previously reported, the Satanic Temple issued a news release about its intentions in 2013 following the filing of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which asserted that the presence of the Ten Commandments display on government property violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

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Idolatry and the Holiness of God

1 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”  (Genesis 35:1-3 NASB)
idolatry 1: the worship of a physical object as a god 2: immoderate attachment or devotion to something (from Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary)

I’m sure that most Christians’ conception of idolatry is one in which people fall down and worship some statue or image or a facsimile of something that appears to resemble a god. While that is an example of idolatry there is a more subtle form of idolatry that all people are neck deep in outside of the grace of God. If we look closely at the dictionary definition I placed near the top of this post, we will see that the first definition is our conception while the second is the reality that we must all agree that we are guilty of. The last word in that definition could easily be changed from “something” to “someone.” Then all we have to do is look in a mirror to see who that someone is. We are all guilty of idolatry to some level.

Justice Scalia Issues Scathing Dissent in Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Ruling: ‘Pride Goeth Before a Fall’

Christian News Network reports:

As one of the four justices that dissented from today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring that all 50 states must legalize same-sex “marriage,” Justice Antonin Scalia issued a sharp rebuke of his colleagues’ arrogance, warning that “pride goeth before a fall.”

“The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic,” he wrote. “It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the court to do so.”

Scalia was speaking of his disapproval of five black-robed justices issuing an edict that he opined was “highly unrepresentative” of the nation and “hardly a cross-section of America.”

“Today’s decree says that my ruler, and the ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court,” he said. “And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.”

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More A.A. Fun Facts for you and your friends

We frequently post articles written by researcher John Lanagan that bring to light the A.A. co-founders’ involvement in spiritualism and other anti-biblical activity. In this short piece Lanagan offers convincing evidence that these men were up to their ears in what the Bible calls sorcery during A.A.’s formative years. It’s unfortunate that many people have been led to believe that A.A. is a Christian based organization, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Ouija board game

“The ouija board began moving in earnest. What followed was the fairly usual experience-it was a strange melange of Aristotle, St. Francis, diverse archangels with odd names, deceased friends–some in purgatory and others doing nicely, thank you! There were malign and mischievious ones of all descriptions telling of vices quite beyond my ken, even as former alcoholics. Then, the seemingly virtuous entities would elbow them out with messages of comfort, information, advice—and sometimes just sheer nonsense.” (A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson, quoted in PASS IT ON, Wilson’s official A.A. biography, pg. 278) (emphasis mine)

“Do not seek out mediums and spiritists; do not seek out and be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:31)

“…[AA co-founders] Bill and Dr. Bob believed vigorously and aggressively. They were working away at the spiritualism; it was not just a hobby.” (Early A.A. member Tom Powers, quoted in PASS IT ON, pg. 280) (emphasis mine)

Want to learn more? Seances, Spirits, and 12 Steps

Reposted with permission.

Would the Son of God Contradict the Father?

              Marsha West

Marsha West

Is it true that Jesus never mentioned anything about homosexuality? That He never brought it up, even once? Most of us have heard the argument that the Gospels have no record of Jesus condemning homosexuality. There are individuals, especially from the militant homosexual rights movement, who utter this fabrication with all the raw hostility of liberals who think abortion is their God given right.

The “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality” argument is meant to bully people into believing that Jesus actually took a benign attitude towards same-sex acts. Liberals reason that if Jesus disapproved of homosexuality, He would have said so. Moreover, He never mentioned gay sex, thus He didn’t condemn it.

Most people, including some Christians, don’t have a clue what Jesus did or did not say on any given subject, let alone what He thought about same-sex practices, so they fall for the “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality” lie, hook, line and sinker.

So, does Jesus approve of homosexual relationships?

At the very heart of the Christian view of God is the Holy Trinity. (This is not an essay on Christian doctrine, so bear with me for a moment.) Classical Christianity has believed that God exists in Holy Trinity, or tri-personality — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is not three gods in one. Each Person of the Trinity is fully God. They are one in essence with three separate and distinct personalities. All are infinite and eternal. Jesus Christ, the Son, is the Second person of the Trinity. The Son is in perfect union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. They are never, nor could they ever be out of union with one another. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). The deity of the Holy Spirit is also evident. In Acts 5:3-4 Peter told Ananias that by lying to the Holy Spirit, he had lied to God.

Following is one way of illustrating the Trinity:

“H2O…is common water-two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. You can freeze H2O and you would have the solid, or ice. You can turn on your faucet and you would have the liquid H2O. You can hear the whistle of H2O that comes out of the tea kettle spout which is steam, but it would still be H2O. H2O can and does exist in solid, liquid and gas. The solid is not the liquid; the liquid is not the gas; and yet all three are of one nature: H2O. And that is exactly how it is with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is not the Holy Spirit.” (emphasis added – Source)

The crux of the matter is this: Those who try to make their case by arguing, “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality” are either ignorant of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, or they ignore it for the purpose of supporting a hollow argument. View article →

“I will not bow to the Court on this gay-marriage decision any more than the Founders bowed to British tyranny”

The words of Gov. Mike Huckabee on the Supreme Court ruling:

“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.

“This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny.”

“The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the laws of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment.”

What is Total Inability?

9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, “ There is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.” 13 “ Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “ The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “ Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; 15 “ Their feet are swift to shed blood, 16 Destruction and misery are in their paths, 17 And the path of peace they have not known.” 18 “ There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18 NASB)

The “T” in the Doctrines of Grace “TULIP” acronym stands for “Total Depravity.” The name for this point is unfortunate. While what it implies is true, it also lends a definition to this point that gives many people the wrong idea about what we are saying when unregenerate Man is totally depraved. That makes it sound like all outside of Christ are monsters. In a spiritual sense that is true, but in our experience in this world, some people are better than others. There are horrible criminals, such as terrorists, to be sure, but there are also very charitable people who do good works who would be insulted if you called them Christian. View article →

Rick Warren’s “Power of a Campaign for Revival and Spiritual Awakening”

Amy Spreeman, co-host of Stand Up For The Truth, has the latest on Rick Warren:

Rick WarrenSaddleback’s and Amurica’s pastor Rick Warren is talking revival and spiritual awakening! Can it be that he is finally preaching repentance and surrender to Christ? Well, not exactly. We’re talking about a movement by numbers again, from his latest email blast. What does the Bible have to say about this?

Rick Warren: “If God allowed you to baptize hundreds of new believers, add almost hundreds of new members, and increase your average attendance by thousands in just 40 days, would you call that a revival?”

I’d call it nickles and noses. Proof of revival is not in numbers. Remember, GOD does the increasing. Acts 3:19-21 “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”

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‘There Are Still … Minds to Change': Obama Hosts ‘Gay Pride’ Reception at White House

According to Christian News Network:

Barack Obama hosted a “gay pride” reception at the White House on Wednesday as part of LGBT month recognized by his administration each June, declaring that there are still “minds to change” on the issue.

Obama spoke to a crowd in the White House East Room while being accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He touted the achievements that his administration had made in the six years that he has been president.

“Together, we ended ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We passed a historic hate-crimes bill named in part after Matthew Shepard. We lifted the HIV entry ban, and this summer, we’re going to be updating our national HIV/AIDS strategy, which will focus on eliminating disparities that gay and bisexual men and transgender women face,” Obama said.

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What is Preserving Grace?

28 κἀγὼ δίδωμι αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀπόλωνται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα καὶ οὐχ ἁρπάσει τις αὐτὰ ἐκ τῆς χειρός μου. 29 ὁ πατήρ μου ὃ δέδωκέν μοι πάντων μεῖζόν ἐστιν, καὶ οὐδεὶς δύναται ἁρπάζειν ἐκ τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ πατρός. 30 ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν. (John 10:28-30 NA28)

28 And I give to them eternal life and they will never perish into the age, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the hand of the Father. 30 I and the Father are one. (John 10:28-30 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

I have always been puzzled why some become so angry when we declare the doctrine of eternal security of God’s people. Of course, those who do are the very same ones whose theology is man-centered and, therefore, based on the “Free-Will” of man, which is found nowhere in the Bible. When the will of man is discussed in God’s Word it talks of it being enslaved to his sinful nature and how the washing of regeneration at the working of God in man’s salvation, his will becomes free from that bondage. In any case, when we do declare the doctrine of the eternal security of God’s people, it is perhaps clearer to speak of their preservation rather than their perseverance. Perseverance means continued adherence to a belief despite discouragement and opposition. However, the reason believers persevere in faith and obedience is not the strength of their own commitment, but that Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit preserves them through Preserving Grace. View article →

Gospel for Asia’s Leader K.P. Yohannan to Speak at Calvary Chapel Missions Conference

Patheos columnist Warren Throckmorton has raised several questions with regard to the forthrightness of Gospel for Asia leaders. He writes:

According to this website, Gospel for Asia’s founder and president will speak at Calvary Chapel in Downey, CA as a part of a missions conference. I wrote the church to ask if Yohannan plans to address any of the controversies swirling around Gospel for Asia and will add any answer I get.

Specifically, it is not known if any leader at Gospel for Asia is going to publicly acknowledge that the leaders prevailed upon their own students and ministry partners to carry envelopes of undeclared U.S. cash to India in apparent violation of U.S. law. Thus far, GFA has not apologized for violating their own financial integrity guidelines or requiring students as young as 18 to engage in smurfing of large amounts of cash to India.

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You’re being secretly tracked with facial recognition, even in church

Kashmir Hill, columnist for Fusion, writes:

We know that Facebook has a vast facial recognition database so good that it can recognize you when your face is hidden, that the FBI has built a millions-strong criminal facial recognition system, and that Google’s new Photos app is so effective at face recognition that it can identify now-adults in photos from their childhood. But now facial recognition is starting to pop up in weird and unexpected places: at music festivals (to identify criminals); at stadiums (to weed out “sports troublemakers“) and at churches. Yes, churches.

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Pope says weapons manufacturers can’t call themselves Christian

Reuters reports that Pope Francis aimed both barrels at weapons manufactures. However, a large number of Catholics pay no attention to their pope on controversial topics such as this one as they realize that the beliefs he personally holds are steeped in Liberation Theology.:

People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.

“If you trust only men you have lost,” he told the young people in a long, rambling talk about war, trust and politics after putting aside his prepared address.

“It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause.

He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.”

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Mohler says Pope’s climate policy would devastate, not help the poor

According to ChristianExaminer:

Pope Francis was right to claim in his encyclical on the environment that creation care is a part of Christian theology, but dead wrong about the importance of fossil fuels for cheap, abundant energy for the developing Third World, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler said in a statement following the release of the papal document.

“Laudato Si is a very interesting document, by any measure … As stewards of creation, we are called by the Creator to take care of the world he has made. At the same time, several of the Pope’s central claims about climate change have more to do with the current scientific consensus than with theology,” Mohler wrote.

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Billy Graham’s grandson steps down from Florida megachurch after admitting an affair

According to the The Washington Post:

Billy Graham and Tullian TchividjianBilly Graham’s grandson Tullian Tchividjian has resigned from his pulpit at Coral Ridge Presbyterian, a high-profile church in South Florida, after admitting he had an affair. He released the following statement to The Washington Post:

“I resigned from my position at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church today due to ongoing marital issues. As many of you know, I returned from a trip a few months back and discovered that my wife was having an affair. Heartbroken and devastated, I informed our church leadership and requested a sabbatical to focus exclusively on my marriage and family. As her affair continued, we separated. Sadly and embarrassingly, I subsequently sought comfort in a friend and developed an inappropriate relationship myself. Last week I was approached by our church leaders and they asked me about my own affair. I admitted to it and it was decided that the best course of action would be for me to resign. Both my wife and I are heartbroken over our actions and we ask you to pray for us and our family that God would give us the grace we need to weather this heart wrenching storm. We are amazingly grateful for the team of men and women who are committed to walking this difficult path with us. Please pray for the healing of deep wounds and we kindly ask that you respect our privacy.”

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Hundreds of thousands rally in Rome against gay unions

Yahoo News reports:

Hundreds of thousands of Italians gathered in Rome Saturday to demonstrate against gay unions and the teaching of gender theories in schools, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tries to push a civil union bill through parliament.

Holding aloft banners reading “The family will save the world” and “Let’s defend our children”, a sea of people crammed into the San Giovanni square near the Italian capital’s historic centre to support family values.

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“Manifesto” where killer unveils Charleston as target of church massacre

Berean Research reports:

Several photos of mass-murder suspect Dylann Roof burning an American flag and posing with weapons at Confederate gravesites are shown in a piece over at Daily Mail (DM). Also included is a racist manifesto but it is unclear whether it was written by Roof. There’s no two ways about it — Dylann Roof is in the grip of evil.

Before I get to the article, I need to remind my brothers and sisters that we are not to be surprised by all the evil in the world, we are to expect it. The Bible tells us that since the fall of mankind a battle has been raging in the invisible realm between two opposing forces– good and evil. (Ephesians 6:10-19) The aim of the evil forces (Satan and his demons) is to deceive, devour and destroy. God’s people are aware of the spiritual battle. We know we’re being assaulted. We know we need protection from the enemies of the Cross, both spiritual and human. That protection comes from wearing what the Apostle Paul called spiritual armor. So every day, without fail, get dressed! By that I mean “put on the full armor of God.” This is not an option, brethren, it’s a command!

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“I Forgive You”: Families of Charleston Shooting Victims Urge Killer to Repent, Trust Christ

Christian News Network reports:

Family members of those who were shot and killed Wednesday night during a Bible study at a historic African American church in South Carolina addressed the gunman on Friday, forgiving him and calling him to repentance and faith in Christ.

“You took something very precious from me,” declared Nadine Collier, daughter of victim Ethel Lance, during a bond hearing in which gunman Dylann Roof, 21, appeared via video. “I will never talk to her again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you and have mercy on your soul.”

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Our Old Natures Never Die

In this devotional/teaching Pastor Ray Stedman reminds us that our old natures never die and we can be confused by its deceptiveness. His teaching is from Genesis 20:10: “And Abimelech asked Abraham, What was your reason for doing this?”

Has anyone had to say to you, As a Christian, what were you thinking of when you did this thing? Have you ever had to say it to yourself: What got into me anyway? I thought I was further along in the Christian life than this. Here I have done this thing that I thought had long ago passed out of my life. Whatever got into me? If you have ever had to ask yourself that, you need to learn the lesson Abraham had to learn here.

You are still capable of the worst sin that you have ever committed—and more. Abraham has been a coward for thirty years, and he is still capable of being the same coward he was at the beginning, hiding behind his wife, subjecting her to dishonor and disgrace and shame in order to protect his own skin.

This old nature with which we are born, which is perverted and twisted so that it never operates as God intended it to, is totally depraved. That does not mean that it cannot do what appears to be nice things in the eyes of others and even of ourselves. There is something about the old self, the flesh, which is able to simulate righteousness. In the flesh’s pursuit after pseudorighteousness, even if it succeeds in an outward demonstration of a sweet and lovely nature, it has never achieved anything but self-righteousness. Self-righteousness always demands self-praise, a longing to be admired and to win the attention of others. If you fail in your pursuit of self-righteousness, the result is self-pity. Either way, it is the flesh, and it can never please God. This is why when God comes into the human heart through Christ, He never tries to do anything about cleaning up that old nature. He writes it off as worthless. No matter how it looks in the eyes of others, if it comes from the self-advancing, self-centered core, it is worthless, and it always will be. What you now are in the flesh you always will be, if you live a hundred years. If you lay hold of that concept, you will find it one of the most encouraging truths in your Christian life, because it will release you from that awful burden of self-effort that tries to make the old nature behave itself. You must renounce self as the Word of God tells you to and quit feeding it, protecting it, polishing it up, trying to make it look good. Give it up. Accept all that Jesus Christ is in you and wants to be through you, for His nature is perfect.

Any dependence upon self always results in the kind of experience that Abraham had. After thirty years of walking with God and learning wonderful lessons in the spiritual life, the minute he steps out of a dependence upon God, he steps back into that same ugly nature he had in the beginning, and it is unchanged after thirty years. Old natures have to be kept under control by walking in the Spirit. Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature, Paul tells us (Galatians 5:16).

(Source)

Woman Who Helped Police Find Charleston Killer Credits God: ‘He Had Me Where I Needed to Be’

Christian News Network reports:

The North Carolina woman who helped police find the gunman who shot and killed nine members of a historic African American church on Wednesday is crediting God for placing her in the right place at the right time.

Debbie Dills, 51, works as a bookkeeper for Frady’s Florist in Kings Mountain. After attending church herself Wednesday night, she watched the news and learned of the shooting that took place in Charleston, South Carolina—several hours away. The next morning, she viewed the unfolding descriptions of the suspect and his vehicle, and her heart broke as she saw images of the grieving congregation huddled together to ask God to find the killer.

Dills told reporters Thursday that she was moved with compassion for those affected by the shooting and began praying for them as she drove to work.

“They were on my heart and my mind heavy,” she said. “I just was praying for them and hoping it would help them to find a little peace in such a terrible horrific situation.”

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