“Be Anxious for Nothing!”

How many times have “anxious” thoughts robbed us of the enjoyment of today?  How many worried days have we spent trying to control the uncontrollable?  How many times do we expend all our energies and might to solve all the world issues only feel like a wrung-out washrag at the end of the day?

Worried thoughts have a way to compel us to look to ourselves for the answers that we can’t find.  Believing that in and of ourselves we are the all end authority to all of life’s issues, at least this is what the human intellect would have us to believe.  Rather, God exhorts us over and over to rely on Him.  To come to Him in prayer and relinquish all of our cares, worries, and frustrations on Him because He cares for us.

The Lord knows what a heavy load humanity can carry.  He has felt it in His own being.  As a matter of fact, He carried it all to the cross so that we wouldn’t have to carry these burdens alone.  Yet, when push comes to shove and trials and tribulations knock on our personal doors we feel a need to answer the call and find a remedy for our problems on our own.  As a result, we struggle to find the answer to the question of why we can’t find peace in the midst of it all.

In actuality, the reason peace seems so evasive to many of us is because of our personal insistence on trying to do it on our own.  We pick up the problems that we are going through with every intention of carrying them to the altar and leaving them with Jesus.  Walking away from the altar of prayer, we pick those same problems back up feeling a need to control the outcome on our own.  As if God can’t handle our specific needs. Our humanness gets in the way of His divineness.  The limits we see on humanity are then applied to God and it gets in the way of His wonder-working power in our lives.

The way to obtain peace during these anxious moments is to give whatever is bothering us; whatever is burdening us over to the Lord and trust Him to give us His best in the situation.  After all, when it came to the matter of saving us He already gave us His best, didn’t He?  How much more difficult would it be then for Him to work out our everyday worries for us?  I believe you would agree that the two can’t compare.  So, if He was willing to do that for you and me, should we not then trust Him to do right by our anxious thoughts?

Would you rather place all of your problems in your own hands or in the hands of God?  Maybe it’s time to try something new.  Give God a shot at wrangling in the worrisome so that you can experience true peace.  Let’s get rid of the anxious for something better.

Be blessed 🙂

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Is Reasoning Getting in the Way of Faith?

 

The age of reason.  Whether it is defined in the historical sense as the age of enlightenment the 18th century brought forth or an actual numerical age when an individual determines between right and wrong, reasoning brings with it the idea of intellect and thoughts coming together to form conclusions on certain matters.

Reasoning is not all bad.  It gives us a premise for investigating facts about the things we are thinking about and it helps us to make conscientious decisions regarding the best course of action to take; to study and be informed with the knowledge to go forth into whatever endeavor one is contemplating.

While reasoning is certainly a useful tool (and one is expected to use it every day in their life), there are some things we just think about too much.  There are some things we just analyze too much.  And, there are some things we just want to know too much about, too much (yup, I went there).

Never once in the Bible did God instruct one in their calling to go, to research what He is offering and make an informed decision of whether you agree or not, to see if everything is up to par according to our terms, and then give Him your decision.

Nope.

Our intellect, our reasoning capabilities cannot even touch the scaffolding of God’s high and holy intellect.  He said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

When God calls someone to some extraordinary feat, all He usually says is, “Go, or do.”  He doesn’t give the ins and outs of details.  He doesn’t even give the ending away of how it will all turn out.  He just gives the command and it is up to the heart of the hearer to respond positively like Isaiah did, and say, “Here am I; send me,” (Isaiah 6:8).  With total abandon, he offered himself to God for His holy service.

Today, it is not so common for one to be as generous in their faith and obedient in their walk with Him; to let go and follow through without a certain amount of reasoning involved.  We want clarity on all the if’s, when’s, what’s, how’s, where’s, why’s, and who’s that are involved.

But, this quote really struck me as powerful.  It says, “The more you go with the flow of life and surrender the outcome to God, and the less you seek constant clarity, the more you will find that fabulous things start to show up in your life,” (Mandy Hale).  And, in a moment of personal confession, I realized when it came to certain things, that’s exactly what I was doing: seeking more clarity.  I wanted questions answered or I reasoned within myself with my personal “know-how” of why it wasn’t feasible for me to do such and such.  That outlook got in the way of just stepping out in faith and going or doing.

When Jesus called Peter to come on the water with Him, Peter didn’t question.  He just went (Matthew 14:28-29).  When God called Abraham to leave his homeland without even knowing where he was going, “Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him,” (Genesis 12:1-4).  There are oodles of examples in the Bible of people who just go or do with faith as their only method of reasoning (see Hebrews 11 for some examples).

Faith is most perfectly defined in God’s written Word where it says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1).  But, clarity and reasoning beckon for the “substance” to be uncovered and the “evidence” to be exposed.  And, that’s not what a true faith walk is all about.

Whatever side we are leaning on determines if we are letting our reasoning, and our desire to know, get in the way of our faith.

I don’t know about you, but I want to see the wonderful happen.  I know that God has so much more in store for His people.  But, we must not be our own greatest hindrance.  When human reasoning comes before Him, it must bow down, and we must walk forth in faith.  We will never see the fabulous until we stop reasoning ourselves out of faith.

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.” (Hebrews 11:33-35)

Imagine what your faith can do if you unleash it today!

 

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“Plant Kindness”

“Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesian 4:32)

Is kindness a lost art?  The world, with its troubles and woes, has hardened so many.  Where is the tenderhearted?  Where are those who will show compassion to their brother and sister?  Where are those who forward their rights to let another pass freely?

Kindness is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) not grown on many trees these days.  A fruit forgotten in the “go get’m” mentality of many.

But kindness, if properly nourished, can transform lives and branch out beyond the individual.  Its seeds can blow in the wind and land on others, causing this precious fruit to plant, root, and grow farther than before, taking over the land of darkness to show His marvelous light.

Be kind.  Let tenderness grow where hardness tries to invade.  Give space for love to flourish.

Remember, you have been forgiven, dear friend.  The ultimate gift of kindness has been extended to your very soul.  Sow worthy fruit of that great gift.  Sow fruit that will last into eternity.  Sow fruit that will gain a heart to know Him through you.  Sow fruit that lets another know they are loved, they matter, and they, too, are important.

The flourishing of kindness makes a greater impact than the ugly fruit of hatefulness.

The sprouting of kindness pokes its head out of dismal soil, and says, “Friend, I see you as a person and I care about you.”

When kindness grows to be the biggest tree in all the forest, it overshadows and outshines everything else and shows others this is how we stand, live, and love.

What you plant today will grow tomorrow.  Why not plant something beautiful?  Plant kindness.

 

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God Gets Personal!

 

Omnipresent and personal, those words are kind of an oxymoron, don’t you think?  Yet, that’s what God is known as.  He is never kept within the walls of the status quo erected by the human mindset anyways.

Yes, omnipresent (everywhere at the same time) and personal (individually based)  are contradictory in the finite statement of the human mind, but not in the loving nature of God.  When we think of omnipresent we think of God’s work as being far-reaching.  He can extend His love, power, and authority through an infinite number of channels to touch an infinite number of lives all at the same time.  Yet, the heart and life of each individual soul are precious to Him.  You and I are a special creation to Him.  Fashioned uniquely.  Designed particularly to be you.  And, loved personally.

This is a role only God can fill.  He can govern the universe while at the same time lean in close to hear from you; paying special attention to just you.

So, if you feel lost in the vastness of all that is going on in your world today, be encouraged.  The same God that is running everything also has His eyes focused on you personally.  The same God that is everywhere all at once is reaching specifically to your heart.  And, there He gets personal with you.

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“Dear God, You are wonderful!”

Have you ever had those moments in life when you couldn’t really articulate the heart, but just the simplest of phrases seem to come to the forefront of your mind.

One of those moments just hit me, and all I could think was, “Dear God, You are wonderful!”

You see, many thoughts come through our heads, and it’s literally when we start thinking of all that He has done for us, for this new day that He brought us through to see, and all the beautiful stuff in between, all my mind and my heart could say was, “Dear God, You are wonderful!”

Moments like that hit every Christian during their days and journeys on this earth.  Moments of reflection that cause us to spout in adoration the appreciation we feel for Him. The psalms are written because the hearts of individuals have been touched in a way that only God can touch them and their soul couldn’t help but tell of the goodness they found in Him, and inspire others through their words, songs, prayers, and recountings of His moving in their lives.

My soul takes joy when I read that the Lord will hear when I call (Psalm 4:3) and that He has set the godly apart for Himself.  When I read simple words that tell me He is my shield (Psalm 3:3), I feel so loved and protected under the safety of His refuge (see also Psalm 17:8).  When Your Word tells me, “Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies…” (Psalm 23:5), a tear of joyfulness comes in the midst of the concerns of my heart.  My times are truly in Your hands (Psalm 31:15) and over and over again in Your Word, Your goodness, love, and mercy show me just how valued I am in Your sight.

I really could go through His Word in the psalms and throughout this Holy Book and find reason after reason to say, “Dear God, You are wonderful!”

Nonetheless, today I will not allow my praise to be restricted.  Even if I have nothing magnanimous or grandiose to say according to others, I know that God loves to hear from His children, and I want to tell my beautiful Heavenly Father, “Dear God, You are wonderful!”

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“Glorify God!”

“Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness,”
Psalm 29:1-2

Alpha and Omega! The First and the Last! He that was, and is, and is to come! Majesty! Omnipotent! Omniscient! Heavenly Father! King of all kings, and LORD of all lords! El Shaddai! He that is worthy of all honor and all praise! He, our Father who art in heaven, is worthy of all honor and all praise. His name is to be glorified. His name is to be magnified.

Ah, we know God by these titles and many, many more. Or, at least, we should. God is worthy to hear His children speak reverently about Him on a continual basis. Daily the praises of who He is in our life should pour from our lips, recognizing Him for His glorious nature. But, may I venture to say, that to truly glorify God is to go beyond the words of our lips. It is something that should be manifested in our daily lives. After all, actions do speak louder than words and for the world to see what a mighty God we serve – they will witness it through the way we glorify Him with our lives.

Matthew 5:16 exhorts us to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The world needs a visual display of how this thing works. They need someone to show them how to shine; how to live this life the way God designed for mankind to live it. This world lacks good representation. “We are ambassadors for Christ,” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Before He left this world to return to heaven, Jesus said, “I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,” (John 17:4). We, who are now saved, as ambassadors, are to carry on the work of glorifying our heavenly Father. As Jesus Himself pointed out, it goes beyond lip service; rather it is a life that has obediently followed Him and “worked.”

Again, actions really do speak louder than words! What Jesus did and what we have to do in our daily lives are exactly the same. Jesus said, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” And, He teaches His disciples that in order for the world to glorify God, they need to “see your good works” and then they will “glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16).

So, you see, praising God with your lips is one thing. But, glorifying God with your life is something totally different. Glorifying God is the manifestation of the praise that is living on the inside of you, working on the outside for all men to see. Is your life today fulfilling the command of David in Psalm 29? Are we giving unto the Lord what is His due? It was Jesus’ main goal in life. Is it ours?

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“Dear Bruised Reed…”

 

Dear Bruised Reed, God’s got you.  Some days may be harder than others, but He’s here for you.  You may stand in need of restoration; that’s okay.  He is able to provide that too.  If peace has moved away from you, He is able to call it back into your life.  If love has sidestepped you, He Himself is love, and has satisfied all the requirements of love, and is able to make it reign in your life again.  He can turn all the hurt and disappointment you are feeling into joy.  Everything may not always work out the way we want it to, but it will work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Dear Bruised Reed, I’m not promising you there won’t be days of tears and that everything will always be alright for Jesus Himself said in the world you will have trouble (John 16:33).  But, what I can promise you is that when you are God’s child, you can still have hope in the midst of whatever it is you are facing.  You are not forgotten.  He sees everything.  And, you are so incredibly loved through it all.  Restoration is always in His hand for the heart that will turn to Him for healing today.

Dear Bruised Reed, whatever it is, take it to the Lord and let Him in on what’s going on (1 Peter 5:7).  Pour out your heart before our Savior who cares.  He loves you and wants to see you walk in the victory He has secured for your life through our Lord Jesus Christ.  As quick as it is to worry and complain, with the same quickness we can unload the burdens of the heart and be free.

Dear Bruised Reed, trust in His judgment today.  He has never failed a case, and He won’t start now.  Nothing escapes His notice and it is His truth, His will, and His way that will always win out in the end.  Never lose hope in what God can do in your life.  His mercies and compassions fail not (Lamentations 3:22).  We are here today because of God.  We are loved by God.  We are covered by God.  And, God is the one that will see us through when we rest our lives in His grace.

Dear Bruised Reed, Jesus Christ is waiting to be your ultimate source of true peace today (John 16:33).  Turn to Him.  Trust in Him.

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” Isaiah 42:3

But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.  He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.  And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” Matthew 12:15-21

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“Do It with Passion!”

 

There is one thing that really gets me going and that is seeing someone work their gift or talent with passion.  Oh, I have seen people operate in the blessings of the Lord with dryness and being very dispassionate about what they were doing, and can I tell you, there is no comparison.

Talent, skill and position can only carry you so far in life because if what you are working in is not a drawing force eventually people will stop paying attention to you; eventually people will become just as dispassionate about what you are trying to put forth.  John Maxwell said,

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”

I agree wholeheartedly.  People want to follow one that gets their soul stirred up.  People want to walk the same course as one who is set ablaze for a cause; who is consumed with a yearning to get things done and to excel to be all that God has called them to be.

That word consumes gives the idea of allowing oneself to be spent for the cause.  John 2:17 spoke of Jesus in this sense when it says, “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house has eaten me up.”  Other versions actually use the word “consume,” (see also Psalm 69:9).  This was said after He overthrew the tables in the temple.  His passion for God’s house stirred inside of Him and would not allow Him to pass by and watch what was going on without saying or doing something about it.  Jesus spent Himself for the cause of God.

In Psalm 119:139 also talks of being taken over with passion.  “My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.”  The cause of God was so alive in him that the psalmist couldn’t help but to be cut to the heart when others would come against His word.

Where the Spirit of God operates there can be no dull or dry commitment.  It’s all the way or nothing at all.  There has to be fervency, (Rom. 12:11).  One has to be on fire with and for what God has placed on the inside of them.

“It is the Spirit who gives life,” (John 6:63, NASB).  There is no deadness when the Spirit of God is in full operation and if you are passionate about what God has given you, you should be Spirit-led, Spirit-full, and Spirit-alive!  You should be on fire with passion!

Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”  Put your all into it!  Let what God has placed on the inside of you bubble up and boil over to the outside that men “may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Mt. 5:16).  The things you do may or may not gain attention but the things you do with passion draws people closer to Him.  God gets the glory when people see what He is doing through you and they want to be a part of it.

Live life passionately.  Live life like the Spirit of God is alive in you; live life on fire for Him.  If you are going to sing, let your voice ring out with a burning love till it reaches the souls of others drawing them in.  If you play the drums then beat them like the heart of God beats in you.  If you are going to write, write that your words are felt more than they are read.  If you are going to preach, preach as if the cloud from the glory of the Lord has already filled the temple beckoning men to take notice of His presence.  The same is true for any gift or talent God has placed in you.  Whatever you do, whatever your gift, whatever your skill do it with passion!

I don’t know if God is calling you to overthrow some tables but I do know that He is calling you to operate like He’s alive in you.  He’s calling you to use your might and be passionate about what He has given you!

Be blessed.

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“Qualified!”

“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” – Colossians 1:12, NKJV

Too many wrestle with thoughts of a less-than attitude.  Even those who have had their lives and souls transformed by the power of the blood of the Lamb, they often succumb to the attitude of inferiority.  When those rogue thoughts mine their way into your thinking pattern it changes how you relate to yourself, this world, and others.  Those wayward thoughts begin to literally unravel the work of grace accomplished on the cross.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out if you place one piece of moldy bread in a container with good, whole bread; the moldy will start affecting its surroundings.  Meaning every piece it comes in contact with and shares the atmosphere with gets fed from those spores of decay, eating away and disintegrating everything in its path.

Outside of sin, there is nothing more damaging to one’s salvation than believing anything out of Christ Jesus got you there.  And, there is nothing more poisonous to the soul than allowing others to speak anything contrary to that great truth against you.

When you have been qualified it means you are now authorized to be a part of something or to have something.  Think in terms of a home loan.  When you are approved (qualified) it means you are now privy to obtain a said house for such and such price.  The bank or lending company looks at you as being fit to take on the responsibility of the mortgage for that property.

We, as saints of God, have been enabled to take on a greater reward than any earthly house could provide.  We have an inheritance in store for us because the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us; because the work of His Spirit in us has transformed us; because we have been redeemed by the salvation He has provided for us.

In other words, not to sound repetitious, but we are qualified in Him.  We are approved to walk the path of the rest of the saints.  Christ has given us access to be a child of the light, for He is the Light.  Christ is over us.  Christ is in us.  And, following Christ, He daily is leading us to our eternal inheritance.

So, shut the mouth of those who speak against you saying you are not enough.  You serve the God that is more than enough, and through Christ, He has already approved you.

No matter what people say, you’re qualified.

No matter what the circumstances look like, you are fit to do this.

No matter how hard it seems, you are spiritually equipped to make it.

The mortgage lenders may have to debate back and forth whether or not they will give you their stamp of approval.  But, God only has to look at the work of Christ in your life to dip His spiritual stamp in that heavenly ink pad and declare you are QUALIFIED!

Listen, it has never been about what goes on on the outside.  It’s all about what He has done on the inside.  There, in the crevices of your heart and soul, you are who He says you are: QUALIFIED!

Therefore, remember dear friends, wherever it is that God is leading you and whatever He has called you to do – you are QUALIFIED!

He has already provided the greater reward of the heavenly inheritance that awaits all His saints.  Believe that while we are still here on this earth, He too has empowered us to do some special and amazing stuff for Him as well.

Other encouraging verses:

Ephesians 1:6 – “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

2 Corinthians 3:5 – “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

1 Corinthians 15:10 – “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain . . .”

Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 2:13 – “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Psalms 138:8 – “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me . . .”

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“Wait on God!”

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint,” Isaiah 40:31

I must admit that patience is not a top priority on our list of must-do priorities.  Oh, you have a list and so do I, whether it’s actually written down somewhere or mentally stored in your consciousness where you are checking it off as you go through the day.  These lists are designed for us to do as much as humanly possible in one day.  They are supposed to bring order to the chaotic American schedule.  Well . . . how’s it going for you today?  That’s what I thought.  Either that list has become so astronomically large you can’t even begin to scratch the surface.  Or, your day has become so tight to adhere to the regulations of your list that there is no room to breathe or experience any joy, zapping the strength right out of you.

Now, there are some who have mastered the list and still manage to have a life.  But, they are few and far between.  For us average folk the list has become a foe.  If we don’t get everything done on it, it tends to point out our deficiencies making us feel that we will never get on top of it all.  Or, if we do complete it, we are to the point of exhaustion: physically, mentally and spiritually.

Most of us do need to tone up in the area of good organizational methods, but the drive that leads us to put so much on our plate at one time has become unrealistic.  This culture mainly thrives here in America where our nation has become success-obsessed.  This cause can be mainly contributed to our impatience.  Not waiting for things to naturally come and fall into place through a good, hard, regular work ethic.  Instead, we try to push and force success in an unnatural, over-obsessed way.

Not only does this ring true in secular society but also for us who are in Christ.  In our haste to see things happen, to see things move we try to force the hand of God.  And, when He is not moving according to our supposed schedule, the list comes out and the push to get things going unnaturally propels us to take matters into our own hands.  Though patience is a fruit of the Spirit it is a fruit that most of us have yet to develop.  I understand how hard it is to wait for anything.  But, sometimes it’s as if God is saying to us, “I’ve got this.”  For us, there is a humble submission of our will so that the promise can be completed.

Through chapter forty of the book of Isaiah God is stating His case before us.  He is listing all the reasons one can trust Him with whatever you are going through.  He is the preparer and fulfiller of our soul’s salvation (VSS. 3-5).  It is His Word that is sure and will “stand for ever,” (VSS. 6-8).  He is your God and rules in power and with Him, He is bringing a reward (VSS. 9-10).  He is our provider and has promised to care for us (vs. 11).  He has shown forth His creative power (vs. 12).  He is omniscient, possessing unlimited knowledge (VSS. 13-14).  Everything else is insufficient to handle the task (VSS. 15-17).  The works of men are useless (VSS. 19-20) in comparison to the awesome majesty of God (VSS. 21-23).  “To whom then will you like me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One,” (vs. 25).  “He is strong in power” (vs. 26) and “fainteth not, neither is weary,” (vs. 28).  He is screaming out, “I am your Help!” (vs. 29).  So the admonishment to “wait” is because He’s got this!  He can handle it!  There is no greater power – no greater resource outside of him!  So, wait!

Waiting is not always easy.  Not by a long shot.  But, the fruit it produces can really turn out to be a beautiful thing, a beautiful promise fulfilled, and a beautiful end to the story.  The lists prioritizing our lives will go on but we don’t have to force our way to success.  Life is burdensome enough without adding all the extra stresses to it.  “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God,” (Isaiah 40:1).  Today, I will wait on God.  I don’t have to force anything.  In all the prosperity messages coming across the pulpit sometimes we have to remind people, and ourselves, to just wait.  It’s not worth it any other way.

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