Walk Resolutely

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Have you ever let fear and anxiety keep you from something God was calling you to do? Well, take heart! We have a God greater than any fear. Let’s top up our coffees and learn from him…

 

Readings for Sunday, June 30: 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

1 Kings 19: 9b–2; Psalm 16; Gal. 5:1, 13–25; Luke 9:51–62

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.        Luke 9:51

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A few weeks ago, I spoke at a Christian women’s convention, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) – Ontario Convention to be exact. There were about 150 women and clergy present. In November 2018, after prayerful consideration, I had accepted their request to be their keynote speaker. I truly did feel that it was something that God was calling me to do and I spent much time preparing for the talks.

However, as time got closer and the event was upon me, I must say that I was very nervous. What was I thinking? I had never done such a thing before? It’s a big task keeping 150 people engaged for a longer period of time; I’ve seen what happens to listeners when speakers are not seemingly engaging enough. (Just speak to any pastor, and they only need to speak for about 20 minutes.) Mankind can be a tough crowd! Besides, what did I have to say that people wanted to hear….  Well, despite my own fears, I resolutely headed onto the stage. Yes, I continued to move forward with a purpose because I trusted that God had brought me to that moment, even though I felt the full strength of those undesirable feelings.

Perhaps it’s because these feelings of anxiousness, and worry are so fresh for me that the above passage really stood out for me. “…Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Jesus knew what he was in for when he got to Jerusalem and yet he moved forward anyways, and with a purpose. Jesus knew exactly, or should I say even more so, how I had felt; how we feel, when faced with such scary, anxiety filled events in our life. Maybe it’s a surgery, maybe it’s a consequence to a sin, maybe it’s something that requires you to step into the unknown and step outside of your comfort zone, or maybe it’s the last steps of this earthly journey, like Christ’s. In any case, we can trust that Christ knows how you feel, he knows what you’re going through, he knows your fears, and he is desiring to walk with you through it.  In Christ, we too can walk resolutely in whatever lies ahead, despite our own fears.

(P.S. The talks went well. God was faithful to his promises and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ were gracious.)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please calm my worry and fears about__________________. Help me to walk resolutely and keep my eyes focused on you. Help me to trust that you are guiding me and with me every step of the way. I know that you will never leave me nor forsake me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

The Royal Children

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

I have always loved the Royal family. Have you ever considered yourself royalty? Let’s top up our coffees and ponder this for a moment….

June 17, 2019

Readings for Sunday, June 23: 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 65:1-9; Psalm 3; Galatians 3:23-4:7; Luke 8:26-39

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith… Because you are his [children], God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 3:28, 4:6-7

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Photo by Jared Subia on Unsplash

My husband and I have just started watching the TV Series entitled, Crown. It is based around the life of the British Royal family in the twentieth century. One thing I’ve noticed is that being an heir of royalty has its privileges. There was one scene where young Prince Charles was riding his tricycle, in a beautifully manicured courtyard, in and out of the guards with nannies fritting around after Princess Elizabeth up and left to oblige a beckoning from her father, King George VI. The guards remained tall and still as the young heir just nipped the side of their pant legs as he vroomed by and the nannies paid full attention to the young lad and his sister. Although the children had freedom to do whatever tickled their fancies, they were being watched over with great care for their well-being and safety.

In the same way, although we may not currently live in a breath-taking castle with beautifully manicured gardens and courtyards, (those will be coming later!) faith in Jesus’ salvation has instantly made us heirs of the greatest royalty of all, sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! What a privilege. In Jesus, we are 100% his children FOREVER!

Also, just like those guards and nannies, God himself, in the Holy Spirit, comes to us and guards our hearts to seek him and call out his name. He sends his angels to attend us. Therefore, bask in the assurance of his unseen guidance and protection as the events of your day and week unfold and that no matter what tickles your fancy, God is with you and you are His as you trust in Christ Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for making me an heir of your royal, holy Kingdom, your daughter/son, now and forever! I am not worthy of such a calling and yet it pleases you to lavish upon me the gifts and care as your beloved child. Guide me all my days and keep me in the saving faith of Jesus, my Saviour, always. In His name I pray. AMEN!

Who do you think you are?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Thank-you for your patience as I rested and rejuvenated over the past couple months. I can’t tell you what it means to have you join me again!

It is an especially exciting time in the church year as we celebrate Pentecost, the sending of the Holy Spirit to the believers in Christ. For “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in [Jesus’] name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

For this series of devotions, I am going to use the readings for the following Sunday as prescribed by the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) Church Year Calendar-Three-Year-Series. The number of devotions/ weeks have not been determined. I am hoping however, to go through a full calendar year, the Lord willing. With all that being said…

Let’s fill up our coffees and get started…

June 10, 2019

Readings for Sunday, June 16: 1 Sunday after Pentecost- Trinity Sunday

Prov. 8:1–4, 22–36; Psalm 8; Acts 2:14a, 22–36; John 8:48–59

Exalted to the right hand of God, [Jesus] has received from the Father

the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Act 2:33

“Who do you think you are?”

John 8:53b

“Who do you think you are?” Have you ever been asked that? It’s one thing if we are acting in arrogance and someone confronts us. However, could you imagine confronting God with such a statement? How arrogant! How self-righteous! Ugh… those pious Pharisees! Yet, don’t we – you and I- do that all the time?

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Photo by Richard Felix on Unsplash

When things don’t go our way, don’t we question our Triune, omniscient and omnipotent, all-knowing and all powerful, God?  When we don’t get the answer we want to a prayer, don’t we confront Him? Don’t we lay blame when we find out we have a chronic or life-threatening illness? Don’t we see God according to what we feel will fit our wants and needs? …and if he doesn’t fit our vision, don’t we yell out, “Who do you think you are?” If we are honest, I think we need to say yes; I need to say yes. Therefore, how are these actions and views any different than how the Pharisees saw God and how they saw Jesus? They’re not. Oh Lord, have mercy on us.

To see God rightly, you need to be in his Word and get to know him, get to know his character; His all loving, his all just, his all gracious character. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit together as the one who created, redeemed and keeps you sanctified through faith in Jesus’ salvation. God created every single part of you. He knows you intimately, and he loves all of you. He paid the consequences that your sins deserved because of his love for you. He even chooses to live in you and draw you back to him continuously. It pleases him to bless you inside and out because he loves you so much. Therefore, you can trust in His love, mercy and guidance. There really is no need to question him, ever. But if and when you do, go to him in repentance, trusting in his full and complete forgiveness. And may you shout from the mountain tops, “Do you know who He is? Come, let me tell you.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me when I question you. Please help me to seek you all aspects of my life, and trust you always, even when I don’t understand why. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon: The Victory of the Wise

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! A blessed Easter to you! He is risen: He is risen, indeed!

I pray your week and weekend went well.

 

Devotion 34   The Victory of the Wise

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

Proverbs 21:30-31

cross 2How appropriate to end our time with Solomon in Proverbs while rejoicing in the resurrection of our Lord, in his victory over sin, death, and the devil. Alleluia! Praise the Lord! The One who is wisdom has succeeded in his plan to reunite his created ones with the Creator. Through his actions he has redeemed his loved ones- you and me- from the foolishness of this world. He is victorious! For “there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.” (Proverb 21:30-31) Thanks be to God!

May your thoughts and actions over the next few weeks of the Easter season be nestled in this joyous reality of God’s love for you; a love that sent him into a battle against Satan, the world, and sinful man in order redeem you as his own and pay the penalty that was yours to pay. And may you keep your eyes focused on him through any and all adversity that may come your way, even unto death. For “the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 56-58) For in Christ we have the victory! AMEN! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive me for sending you into battle because of my sins! Thank-you for willingly going into battle on my behalf in order to pay the price that my sins deserve.  Thanks be to God that through your death and resurrection to life eternal, I too have life eternal even though I die. In the name and through the precious blood of my Saviour, I pray! AMEN!

Please note: During this Easter Season, I will be taking a sabbath from writing in order to rest and reflect personally. Also, Rick and I have been building a new home and are preparing to move, and I have been finding the responsibilities of work, the build, packing, as well as, other duties on behalf of my family, church family and other commitments a bit overwhelming. It’s time for a rest. As Jesus states, “… the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41b)

I will be back for our CoffeeTime at the start of Pentecost- Monday, June 10, 2019- with a whole new series of devotions based on the readings for the upcoming Sundays throughout the remainder of the church year and into the next. Please join me.

Shhhh…I may also have a little surprise to release to you at that point, as well.

In the meantime, a blessed Easter season to you and your family! …He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

Coffee w/t Solomon: The Foolish & The Wise Go Head-to-Head

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 33 The Foolish & The Wise Go Head-to-Head

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

It seems fitting that as we enter the week leading up to our Saviour’s arrest, judgement, death, and resurrection, that we have come to the final weeks of our time with Solomon in Proverbs. So, as we ponder the events of this Holy Week, may we see first hand the wisdom of God and the foolishness of man as they go head-to-head into battle.

Let’s top up our coffees and have Solomon commentate the events and actions of individuals on the night of this great battle…

Between now and Good Friday, take time to read Matthew 26:36-27:56

crucifixConsider the events that take place from the time that Jesus and his disciples are in the Garden of Gethsemane until Jesus’ last breath on the cross. From all the proverbs and themes that Solomon has shared, connect verses that reflect the actions of the individuals and ponder their wisdom and foolishness. Below are just a few verses from Solomon’s Proverbs that fit nicely:

Judas- whom to choose: Jesus or High Priest?

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. 13:20

A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. 21:6

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. 27:6

Pilate VS Jesus

A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it. 16:14

Caiaphas VS Jesus

The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright. 21:8

Jesus VS Satan

One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust. 21:22

 

During the Battle of Holy Week, we can see the wisdom of God in all the actions of Jesus, as well as, the multiple levels of foolishness by everyone else, ranging from Peter’s reckless sword handling and denials to Judas’ greed, betrayal and burden of guilt to the jealousy and corruption of the religious leaders. Oh how sad to see the depth of foolishness in these individuals due to their own sinful desires, which brought about the death of our Saviour.

Isn’t that us as well though? Are we not foolish to some extent. In fact, many of us can probably relate to Peter very well. Yet, isn’t it because of our foolish actions, our self-centered desires, our sins- yours and mine- that Jesus, in his Godly wisdom, permitted himself to be obedient to such foolishness and evil, in order to release us from the penalty of our sin? He did not – does not- desire us to remain in our sin and guilt and be overcome by it like Judas, but to obtain that complete forgiveness, as Peter did, and receive the Holy Spirit to strengthen us and help us to be wise unto salvation. Therefore, during this Holy Week, may you contemplate the depth of self-control, patience and wisdom Jesus revealed in his actions that led him to an agonizing death by the hands of mankind because of his immense love for you!

Prayer: Dear Lord, you permitted yourself to be left in the hands of foolish, sinful man in order to redeem me; a lost and condemned person. And my Heavenly Father “demonstrates his own love for [me] in this: While [I was] still [a sinner], Christ died for [me].” (Romans 5:8) Forgive me Lord! Thank-you Lord! In Jesus’ redeeming name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon: The Hard Worker and The Lazy Sluggard

Coffee w/t Solomon

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 32 The Hard Worker and The Lazy Sluggard

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.  Well, this week Paul joins us in our time with Solomon as they discuss the difference between working hard and being lazy. Let’s top up our coffees and see what they have to say…

The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on.          (Proverbs 16:26)

The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing. (Proverbs 21:25-26)

Proverbs 10:4; 10:26; 12:11; 12:14; 12:27; 13:4; 14:23; 15:19; 18:9; 19:24; 20:4; 22:13; 22:29; 24:40; 26:13-16; 28:19

hard workThere’s a fine line between being a hard working person and a workaholic, and between resting and being lazy. Living the balance is always the best way, but not always easy. There is a saying that goes, “Work hard, play hard,” which I believe sums up a proper attitude towards how we are to live our days.

We need to work. God made us to be productive and to ‘do’ something. He has given us gifts and abilities which we need to use for the good of our families and others. There is no greater sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction than putting in an honest day’s work. For many people, they may consider their work, to consist of many hours in an occupation that provides the means by which to have a roof over their head and food on the table for their families. However, our work also consists of the necessary tasks to properly fulfill all the duties of the different responsibilities or offices that we hold, like spouse, parent, or child. In all aspects of life we must be good stewards with all God has blessed us, and work at caring for the people and things with which God has entrusted each of us. By remembering that our daily work needs to encompass all of these areas of our life, hopefully, will keep us from focusing too much in one area and fall in to a workaholic state of being. Remember: God did not bless you with employment to allow your family and marriage to fall apart. In God’s eyes, your marriage and family are your first priorities and your employment is a gift in order to support them. Live in such a way as to let your employment and all you do be a blessing in your relationships with your family members. And above all, “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

On the other hand, by not working, by not being a proper steward of all the people and things he has entrusted to us, by being lazy, we are not fulfilling all that God desires from us. And as a result of our own actions, we will not- we cannot- even obtain what we need in order to maintain all that is needed for this earthly life, let alone survive it mentally and physically. May we not be as the servant in the Parable of the Bags of Gold where the master replies, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 25:26-29).

Therefore, with all that each day holds for you, may you “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. (Ephesians 6:7-8) And by doing so, may God commend to you “the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:15

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to do all that you would have me do this day. Help me to care for those you have put in my life. Help me not to be neglectful nor lazy, but wise and diligent. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon: Desires of the Foolish and the Wise

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 31

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well. I’m posting a few hours early due to March Break occurring in our neck of the world. In any case, I hope you don’t mind. Have a blessed week!

Let’s top up our coffees and see what Solomon has to say about the desires of the hearts of the foolish and wise…

 

Desires of the Foolish and the Wise

The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires. (Proverbs 11:6)

The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless. (Proverbs 11:20)

Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.(Proverbs 12:20)

Proverbs 10:8, 20; 11:27; 12:23, 25; 13:12, 25; 14:6, 10, 32; 15:14; 18:15; 19:22; 20:18; 28:5, 17: 29:10, 26

waterfront-home.jpgWhat is your greatest desire? What is it that you want most in this world? In all honesty, at this point in my life, I would probably blurt out, “A retirement home by the water.” Of course, there is the never ending desire for my children and family’s health and protection, as well as, mine and my husband’s. For some, it may be prestige, a certain level of success or salary. Is any one of these desires sinful? Not necessarily. In the above verses from Solomon, it’s not the actual desire that he is talking about, but how we desire to follow through with achieving our heart’s desire.

It is so easy to get caught up in our desirous ways that we set our hearts and minds on our own means by which to reach our dreams. By doing so can lead us down a very self-centred, destructive path. How many people have lost their families, marriages, employment, freedom because they let themselves get caught up in pursuing a goal by their own means. In our sinfulness, we can be drawn in to contemplating desperate and evil means in order to get what our heart desires. For these people, their desire becomes their personal obsession. This is what Solomon is referring to as foolish.

On the other hand, those who lay their heart’s desire before God, while continuing to trust him first and foremost in their life, can live day to day having the peace of knowing that if and when it happens, it will be in God’s timing; that in all things for their life, they say, ‘Thy will be done, Lord!” This is the peace of the wise. This is the delight and joy of the wise. Does this require patience, discipline, obedience and guidance? Absolutely! The perfect setting through which the Holy Spirit will be working to produce his fruits in his children.

Therefore, don’t hide your heart’s desires from the Lord, as if you can do anything in secret anyways. Instead, seek the Lord and his will for your life. Lay these hopes and dreams before him and let him have control over them for your life. Then, be patient and watchful. If they are to occur, he will permit them to happen in the perfect time, and if they are not, then may he grant you peace to let them go. But in all things, seek the Lord first, living in his redemption and forgiveness, and walking humbly and mercifully with him, each and every day. Remember that, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2) Yet, as you “Take delight in the Lord, [and] he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me when I seek to accomplish my goals pursuing my own selfish ways. Today, I lay before you my desires of _____________. I ask that you take control of their outcome. Give me the patience as I await their fulfillment and the peace in knowing that whatever the outcome, it is one according to your will for my life. Help me to always set my heart on seeking you, your love and your forgiveness through which it pleased you to redeem me, a sinner. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon: Words of the Foolish and the Wise

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

This week I gathered the proverbs of Solomon surrounding the words of the foolish and the wise. To join us is James. Let’s top up our coffees and see what they have to say.

Devotion 30

Words of the foolish and the wise

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18)

A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them. (14:3)

The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (15:2)

Proverbs 10:13, 18, 21, 31; 14: 7; 15:7; 16:23; 17:7, 28; 18:6, 7; 19:1; 23:9; 25:23; 29:20  

cover mouthHow many times have you stuck your foot in your mouth? How many times have you spoken without thinking and said a foolish thing? If you are like me, you have said such things many a time. Oh how that puts us among the foolish in the above verses. However, by the grace of God, we can seek to be among the wise and strive to discipline ourselves and our tongues. As James tells us, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10) Yes we can tame the tongue one moment at a time.

In the above verses, if nothing else, I cling to the words in Proverbs 17:28, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues,” and I strive to keep silent when I want to speak out. This sounds easy but it is challenging and one that is a constant source of humility when I see how weak I am in restraining my tongue. If it is the same for you, may we, together, pray that our Heavenly Father, guide our hearts and minds so that in him our hearts seek wisdom and our tongues bring healing, mouths are prudent, and lips promote  instruction as he so promises in Proverbs 12:18 and 16:23. May it be so!

Prayer: Dear Lord, oh how my tongue can be an untamed evil, as Jame states. Give me the strength and discipline to keep silent when you would have me be silent. Help me to seek you always, so that my words proclaim your wisdom and instruction, love and healing. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon – The Wise and Foolish Child

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

The remaining Proverbs of Solomon, Proverbs 10-29, are simple wise sayings of how to seek wisdom, to recognize the wise versus how to recognize the fool and avoid being one, and the consequences of both. For the remainder of the chapters, I have gathered all like-verses to avoid duplicity.

Today, we will look at the affects on parents of the wise and the foolish child . Let’s top up our coffees and get started…

Devotion 29

The Wise and Foolish Child

A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother. (10:1)

May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful! (23:25)

Proverbs 15:20, 17:25, 20:20, 23:22

family3No parent desires their children to bring grief and bitterness into their lives; parents’ ultimate hope and anticipation is only joy and rejoicing towards their children. Most parents raise their children to avoid foolish, harmful ways, and to learn healthy, positive habits. They desire to pass on resources that will help their precious babes become the best they can be, to know how to walk this earthly life on their own, and to know how to care for themselves- body, mind and spirit. Christian parents desire to teach their children to know who they are and whose they are, to know they are loved and forgiven, and that even in death,  nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39b)

Children who heed their parents’ instructions do well to equip themselves for life’s journey, but those who don’t listen- and even worse, hate or despise such instruction- by their own actions, bring upon themselves pain, destruction and death, and upon their parents, grief and bitterness.

It is no different with God and his children. How he so desires to impart his words of love and wisdom upon them and to listen to his teachings and commands, to love and respect him. Why would he have so many people throughout history, like Solomon, write his story and his teachings down for all to know? He desires them to learn from and to know him. The Creator Father desires his creation children to know the one who created them and desires them to be able to be all that he desired them to be and do, to know his love now and his love that reunites them with him for eternity, despite their sin that would lead only to rebellion, destruction and eternal death. Therefore, this week, may you- his child- be encouraged to continue to seek and cherish God’s words and instructions, and rejoice in His work of redemption through our Saviour, Jesus. Together, may we not be fools, but wise people who make our father joyful and the heavens rejoice.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may I be a wise child of yours. Help me to turn from my foolish ways and to seek you and be obedient to your ways. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

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