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LIVING THE LIGHT

Welcome to  LIVING THE LIGHT where you can read newsy articles about our church events,  original poems, and  devotionals  that will inspire and encourage you in your walk with Our Lord, Jesus.  Visit here as often as you’d like…..I am here every day waiting with a smile and a kind word just for you. 

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Today’s verse: 2 Samuel 22:29 (NIV)

"You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light."

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LIVING THE LIGHT


Happy New Day of this New Year!

Today is a brand-new day of a brand-new year; but, am I the same me from last year? Yes, my mirror shows that the same face, hair and body-type tagged along for the new year. With time and hard work these are things I can change during this year. A brighter smile, a new hair style and healthier food choices are ways that I can alter my outer appearance. What about traits and characteristics that make me who I am? You know, my attitudes and opinions. Yea, they followed me into the new year, too. But, with some minor, eh, maybe major, alterations, (and some altar visits) I believe the Lord can use them for His purpose in my life. 

What did you bring into this new year?

Is it a new beginning of you or a continuation of your self-destruction? Stop the self-destruction and invest in your reconstruction. You are worth any and all work it may take; and, you have the rest of your life to do it. Choose to make positive choices that will bring you closer to your personal goals. Get healthy. Break unhealthy habits and relationships. Pay down debt. Organize your home. Reconcile with family or friend. Forgive all. These are actions that can help you make the necessary changes in your life. With steady determination and a firm commitment to yourself, you can change your lifestyle.

You CAN put it all behind you.

Attitudes, opinions, and hurts are not so easily changed. They develop over a lifetime of challenges and life experiences. They often shape who we are, who we become and how we interact with others. Dwelling on past mistakes and wrongs take their toll on the mind, body and spirit. They will blind us to the future and strip us of faith. The Lord stands ready with His promise of a new year and a new you with His new plans for you.

Isa. 43:18-19: 18 "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

This passage of Scripture encourages us to forget what cannot be changed and to focus on the new things the Lord will do in our lives. Your soul can soar to new heights without the weight of a battered past. There is no need to bear the guilt of bad decisions and judgments that have robbed us of joy and peace. We can be free of toxic relationships that clip our wings and keep us grounded. Trust the Lord to do a new thing within you and watch as He does a new thing for you.

Where are my hurts, resentments, faults, failures, discouragements and broken dreams? I left them behind in last year. It’s not too late for you to do the same.

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LIVING THE LIGHT

Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV)

 

No one has ever described me as quiet, gentle, or kind. The truth is I have been known to be loud, boisterous and coarse. I could blame it on my nature or my younger years of only knowing harshness; but, I choose to say that the Lord is still working out the kinks in my Fruit Tree. The fruit of gentleness is on my Fruit Tree---just slower growing than some of the other fruit. To be honest, I tried to lump the fruit of gentleness with the kindness and goodness fruit.  However, as we have discovered, they are very different one from the other.


When I think of how to describe gentleness, I think of Jesus. The Prophet Isaiah says this about Him: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” (Isa. 40:11) No artist could paint such a portrait as these words do in my mind. Jesus is gentleness personified.


Jesus encouraged us to come and find rest from a harsh, cruel and cold world: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29) I long for that rest in the arms of my Savior. Do you? Trust in Jesus and take Him at His Word.


Jesus tells us this: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)  I thought I could become gentler if I hid my coarseness. Not only did I fail miserably, I hindered the work of the Holy Spirit in my Spiritual journey. The Fruit of the Spirit only grows as we allow Him to do the work in us. As our Fruit develops and matures we will become more and more like Jesus. He is still working on me and has a long way to go. Thankfully, day-by-day, as I walk with Him He shows me His gentleness---and it changes me. 


The dictionary defines gentleness as being mild-mannered. This is not to be confused with someone who shrinks back from the world. On the contrary, gentleness is courage under fire and clothed in love.  Again, Jesus is the perfect example of gentleness: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; …” 1 Peter 2:23-24a 


We, as well, will face persecutions in this life. We will be reviled and slandered and insulted by the world and even our own family. Jesus was quite open and very clear about this in His Word: “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. “ (John 16:2) This same Jesus also said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The very wise King Solomon shared this wisdom: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) So, when you face persecution---no matter how small or great---respond and react with gentleness: courage under fire clothed in love.  And remember, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)


What will be asked of you as the fruit of gentleness grows in your life? “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Col. 3:12-14)

 “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1Timothy 6:11)



 (ALL Scriptures contained in this post are from the NIV

translation of the BIBLE)


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LIVING THE LIGHT

  Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-24

 

Good is the opposite of being evil; whereas, goodness is a characteristic of being good.


God, only, is good. (Jesus to Nicodemus) “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. Mark 10:18

I believe that settles it.


How then, you might ask, is it possible to be a good person?

 (Paul said this about Barnabas) “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” Acts 11:24

We can be counted as a ‘good’ person by our faith and through the Holy Spirit that works within us.

 

A good person loves God with a wholehearted devotion. “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Duet. 6:5) and

Loves others “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34) and is always willing to

 walk in obedience. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46)


What is the greatest way to show that we love others? Luke 6:35 tells us: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”  

 

There is no better way to show our love for others than by committing and devoting ourselves to reach the lost--just as Jesus did. “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

 

This should be our primary purpose as commanded by the Lord. “And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)


 We can give of our time and money to help relieve the suffering of others. “And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” (Luke 3:10-11)

 

We can show love to others by accepting the imperfect believers while encouraging them to continue in the Lord.  “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” (Eph. 4:12)

and desire that they use their Spiritual gifts---even if they outshine our own ministry. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” (Heb. 10:24)

 

 

            (ALL Scripture contained in this post are from the NIV translation of the BIBLE)

 

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Living the Light

                         Fruit of the Spirit:  FAITHFULNESS


 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”


God’s very nature is faithful:  “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Duet. 32:4

His faithfulness is consistent and steadfast. He is the firm foundation on which I stand. 


He is faithful even if we are not:

 “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” 2 Tim 2:13

He honors His Word and does not stray from it. He cannot lie. You can trust Him. He will not fail you.

 

God is faithful to His own:

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)

You can be confident that the Lord will never abandon you or forsake you.


We are to be faithful to Him: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

                                                                                             1 Cor. 4:2


We are to honor our commitment to Him: Trust Him and obey His Word. Your faithfulness through life commitments, such as, your marriage, tithes, church fellowship, and business affairs are other ways you show your faithfulness to Him.

 

Even when we are disappointed, disillusioned, or discouraged: “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:19

Your faithfulness will be rewarded in due time. These words are what my heart longs to hear my Redeemer say:

“… ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matt. 25:23

 

We must testify of His faithfulness before others: “I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.”  Psa.  40:10


Sing His praises! Exalt Him to His rightful place for He is the Supreme One! Give Him glory for He is worthy! Make known His faithfulness to you to all who will listen. Shout of His goodness, mercy and love toward all mankind.


I love this old hymn:                                                                                                

"Great is Thy faithfulness,”

O God my Father,                                                          

There is no shadow

of turning with Thee;                                                      

Thou changest not,

Thy compassions, they fail not                                                

As Thou hast been

Thou forever wilt be.                                                           

"Great is Thy faithfulness!"

"Great is Thy faithfulness!"                                      

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

"Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” 1


And these partial lyrics from “Do it Again” by Elevation Worship

“I've seen You move, come move the mountains

And I believe, I'll see You do it again

You made a way, where there was no way 

And I believe, I'll see You do it again” 2         


O! How my heart is encouraged and my soul blessed to know that my Heavenly Father NEVER changes. I can stand on His Word, ancient and true, as promises for me now and my future. Each morning brings new mercies and all my needs are supplied by Him: my Source. How He loves me! Great is our God and exalted is He. He is steadfast and consistent---even when I am not. There have been many, many times that I have been in situations that seemed hopeless. I can recall how helpless I felt. Then, I am reminded of how the Lord brought salvation, strength, relief and healing. My faith in Him is renewed and I can say with confidence: Great is His faithfulness for He never fails!

 

If you want to know that kind of faithfulness in your life, it is as easy as ABC and you can know 1-2-3.  

 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

                                                                         1 john 1:9                                                                                                                               Admit you need a Savior. Believe that Jesus is the Only True Savior. Confess your sins to Him. He will change your heart, mind and life. Fill your heart with 1) the Word of God, 2) follow Jesus’ teaching and 3) find comfort in the Holy Spirit.

 

(ALL Scripture contained in this post are from the NIV translation of the BIBLE)

 

1Songwriters: dp / RICE CHRISTOPHER M

2Do It Again lyrics ©

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If my Father Knew

I am sharing this original poem, “If My Father Knew”, with you today. This is the story behind it.

 My father died in a car crash when I was an infant; so my grandparents raised me and cared for me very much. My grandfather died when I was 12 years old. So I grew up without a father. Afterwards, for several years, my life was filled with much turmoil.

I am a survivor of familial sexual abuse and physical domestic violence. After many years of anger and bitterness, the Lord taught me how to forgive others…and myself. It is only through His love and His strength that I smile with a heart that is free to give love and to accept love. He has also shown me that although I did not have the protection of an earthly father, I did have a Father who was always there with me…even when I did not know who He was. 

This poem was therapeutic for me and I hope that others will find the same comfort in that I have found.


If My Father Knew

If my father knew what you did to me

He would thump your head and nose,

Break your arms and stomp your toes.

That is what my father would do

If he knew what you did to me;

But, I have no father, you see.


If my father knew how much you hurt me,

He’d lock you in a tiny room

With just himself and a broom.

That is what my father would do

If he knew what you did to me;

But, I have no father, you see.


And if my father knew

of your cruelty to me,

You would NOT do THAT again.

No Siree!

But, I have no father, you see.


So, at the end of a very long day,

 I kneel by my bed and I pray;

Because, I DO have a Father

YOU cannot see.

And He KNOWS all that you’ve done to me.


Then, as He quietly comforts me,

I hear Him say:

“Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”1

But, if you ask Him to,

He will forgive you. 2

Yes, I have already forgiven you.3



1Romans 12:19b: “… for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” (KJV)

2John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

3Matt. 6:14-15: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

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LIVING THE LIGHT

Fruit of the Spirit: Love

Galatians 5:22-24

Agape love is the highest form of love: an unselfish concern for others. It is selfless, sacrificial and unconditional. This agape love is kind when face-to-face with harshness and cruelty, gives to others what one might want to keep for their own, and puts others’ needs above one’s own.  This kind of love becomes evident in a believer’s heart when it is yielded to the Holy Spirit. This kind of love is a strong choice, not a fleeting feeling.

Have a genuine love for others:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  John 13:34 (NIV)


Everyone is aware that they are different from everyone else. If not, believe me, someone will point it out to them by way of rejection, mockery or hateful comment. When you can accept and celebrate the differences of all people, then you can say that you genuinely love others. When your concern for their well-being, health and prosperity prompts you to help them you are showing that you genuinely love them.  Pray that you will have a heart that sees others as Christ sees them---as someone who craves acceptance and needs compassion. Just like you once did.

 

Even your enemies:

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. …and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”  Luke 6:35 (NIV)


Remember when YOU were an enemy of God? (Colossians 1:21 NIV) Take a moment and recall how He loved you when you were ungrateful and wicked. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV). Love your enemies. Enough said?


 Love yourself:

“After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—“ Ephesians 5:29 (NIV)

Loving yourself includes caring for your body by eating, resting, cleaning and clothing it, and maintaining your health. These activities show respect and gratitude for the marvelous creature that you are. Know who you are and whose you are…“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. ” Genesis 1:27 (NIV) and “you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:20 (NIV)  


Love God:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Matt.22:37 (NIV)


Love, faith, trust and obedience are ways we show our love to Him. We show our love of God by loving others. We are to keep our minds on Him, hide His Word in our hearts and commit our ways to His ways.  


Love the things of God:

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,” 1 John 5:3 (NIV)


His laws lead us to Him and away from sin, helps us to know Him more and to find greater joy in Him, helps us to live more peaceable lives, and shows us how much He cares for us. Seek to do good to others. Serve and obey Him with joy and gladness. Worship the Lord and praise Him for He is worthy. Pray for the lost. Give offerings of time and money. Tithe.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NIV)


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The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


Personal peace comes from the Lord.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8 (NIV)

True personal peace can only be obtained by completely---every day, every way and in everything---trusting in the Lord. This is accomplished by reading and meditating on God’s Word and maintaining a close and very personal relationship with Him. We can trust that He, in His infinite wisdom and great love, will protect and provide for us.  We can sleep in the boat while the storms of life rage all around us.

We can live in peace in this troubled world.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

This world is filled with trouble on our every side.  Peace cannot be found, no matter where we look. It is easy to allow fear to mislead us in thinking that all is hopeless and we are helpless. We are to be encouraged: for the Lord provides our peace. He has conquered all of our foes. One day, soon and very soon (Hallelujah!), the Lord will expunge all evil from this world and He will reign in righteousness! Share that victory song with this troubled world.

We should live in peace with others.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 (NIV)

As difficult as it may sometimes be, we are to do everything we can to live in peace with believers and non-believers. Sometimes, conflict is unavoidable. We should not ever let ourselves be the reason for a non-peaceful relationship. How can we live this way? We must be willing to admit our wrongs, to apologize, to make things right and to forgive. As Disciples of Christ, we are known by the love we show to others. 

We can have peace with God.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1 (NIV)

Our faith in Jesus brings us peace with a Holy God. This peace is not anything we could have wrought through our own actions. The reconciliation between sinful man and a Righteous God comes only through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Do you have peace with God? Be reconciled to Him now. Please, take a moment to confess and repent of anything that hinders that peace.

 “No God…No Peace. Know God…Know peace.” www.DoNotGiveUp.net

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Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)


“The fruit of the Spirit is the result of the Holy Spirit's presence and working in the lives of maturing believers…”   Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology                                                               

                                       

What does it mean to be kind? 


I consider myself a nice, kind and polite person. I smile and speak to people. I hold open the door for the elderly, ladies and the very young. I try to say the right things at the right time (I need more practice in that area.)  


Kindness means to be gentle and considerate, to have a genuine concern for others, helpful to those in need with no expectation of any advantage or reward to the helper. 


When I smile or speak to another person, I usually expect the same in return. Holding a door open for anyone could get me a ‘Thank you’; when I do manage to say the right thing at the right time, I tend to be pretty proud of myself; so, now that I know what it means to be kind-- I am not as kind as I think I am.


What, then, can I do to be kind?

I can do for others what they seem unable to do for themselves. Not just hold open the door—but carry their load to their door.

I can pay for a stranger’s meal--even if I  have  less food for myself.

I can offer my place in line to the person behind me---no matter how long I have been waiting. Yes, even if their cart has more items than mine.

I can recognize another’s feelings and empathize with and encourage him or her. I can offer a smile to the cashier that has been verbally abused all day, or a generous tip for the waitress, whose feet hurt and has worked double shifts, or a simple “No, thank you.” to the telemarketer that called me at my dinner time.

I can pray for others--- when their tears won’t let them speak.


Here are a few examples of what the Bible has to say about kindness:

Our Creator is kind toward us.

” For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.” Psalms 117:2 (NIV)


He shows His kindness to us…let us show kindness to others.

“...Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” Joel 2:13 (NIV)

               

There are no excuses to not be kind:

“ Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV)



Kindness Quote:

 “Have you ever noticed how much of Christ’s life was spent in doing kind things?” 

                                                                                                                    

 Henry Drummond

Verse for this day:

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

                                                                                   Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

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Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Happiness is a fleeting emotion; joy is quiet confidence in the midst of chaos. People, finances, and earthly treasures can cause your heart to flutter and your face to smile. These things are what we say make us happy. Then the winds of life changes direction and you watch as those very things drift away.  Joy is knowing you were standing on the pier and not in the boat.

Our joy is found in the Lord.

 “… Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

The joy of the Lord is a constant peace and safety in our lives and a reason to rejoice.  It is in His strength and His strength alone, that we can praise and worship Him regardless of our current situation or circumstance. This joy found in Him will not change based on anything we do or go through. Feelings of happiness are often dependent upon people, places or things that surround us. Our relationships with others, family, financial gain, paid down debt, and a better situation or circumstance in our lives can make us happy; but, happiness does not fill our hearts with joy. Joy will comfort and sustain you through all of life’s chaos. Joy, not happiness, will put the smile in your heart. It is joy that will give you the strength and courage to say, “It is well with my soul.” 

The Lord is our comfort and our joy.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 (NIV)

The stresses and pressures of this life can drown out any happiness we may feel. Too often, we compare what makes us happy to what the world says should make us happy. “Comparison is the thief of joy” (tuckedletterpress.com) Joy can be found in knowing that the Lord is faithful and His love is forever.

Be Filled with His joy.

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” Psalm 126:3 (NIV)

 I have heard it said, “Happiness cannot be bought.” I agree; however, joy was bought with the precious blood of Jesus---our Redeemer. Let us continually focus our minds and fill our hearts with remembrances of His Mercy, Grace, Compassion, Forgiveness and Salvation. These are the great things He has done for us that fill us with great joy.


 “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”          Rick Warren 8.3.17

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First Blog

I am looking forward to this blog being  a viable tool to our members and all that visit our blog. Occasionally I will post a blog, but this blog will maintained by church members posting with the gifts that God has given them. Check back daily an feed your soul with the Word of God.

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