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Let the Words of My Mouth- Part 2

David Shin


David Shin

Dr. David Shin is the President of Ouachita Hills College.



  • March 14, 2015
    11:30 AM
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Our FATHER in heaven, we thank YOU for this worship service thus far, for the hymns - our offering of praise, and for this opportunity that we have to gather apart from the cares and the challenges of this life, to come together as YOUR people to worship YOU in spirit and in truth. We pray that YOU would speak to our hearts today as we continue in our series. And it's our heartfelt desire in prayer this morning that the words of our mouth and meditation of our heart would be acceptable in YOUR sight O LORD, our Strength and our Redeemer. And so hide me behind the cross today. May JESUS be uplifted and CHRIST be seen. For we ask these things in JESUS’ name. Amen.


Today we're continuing our 3-part series of messages that we've been titled: Let the words of my mouth. It's taken from Psalms 19 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in the sight O LORD, my Strength, and my Redeemer.” And we're going to begin by looking at James 5:9. This is from the New International Version. It says, “Do not complain, brethren, against one another.” Amen. I like these sources and synonyms, so I looked up some synonyms for complain. And here are some equivalents: to grumble, to criticize, to bemoan, to gripe, or to find fault.


Here, James is giving us some practical advice. And notice who he’s talking to. He's not talking, in this instance, about the relationship between us and the world, although this would apply, this is talking about the relationship between us and other church members. You see that on the screen. It says, “Do not complain brethren…” In other words, this is talking about people that love the LORD; talking about church members, the person sitting next to you there in the pew perhaps.


“Do not complain, brethren, against one another.” This is the challenge with family and we are a family. Isn’t that right? Isn't it interesting when you talk about your biological family, the challenge that we have sometimes is that there are certain things that get irritating after a while? … The challenge is that many times among church family members, we start to see character flaws and traits, character wrinkles and warts, and it's amazing when I see the transition after someone has just been baptized. And I believe that the LORD, many times, puts blinders on the eyes of the individual coming in. Praise GOD for that. All right. They put blinders on and all they see are the wonderful things about GOD’s people and GOD’s church. You know they see everything through rose-colored glasses. They go down into the water and come out the other side. And it just takes a little bit before they start to see that every church member doesn't have a halo around their head anymore. These people are human. There are challenges and, heaven forbid, hypocrites in the church. And we know that the Bible says that the wheat and the tears will grow together. And as we associate with one another, there is a challenge that we face as Christians that after a while, just to say it plainly, sometimes our dear beloved brothers and sisters in CHRIST start to get on our nerves. Isn’t that right? They start to get under our skin. There are certain irritations that come from the idiosyncrasies and the foibles and the faults of each other.


In here James is giving us practical advice about how we should relate to our brothers and sisters and that this will be a challenge for us as Christians. After we accept JESUS, after we have been baptized, James tells us that this is going to be a challenge. You're going to start seeing things within the church that are going to rub you a little bit wrong. Someone's going to say something that isn't just not going to sit right. I remember someone said something to me, not in this church, church long time ago. And it's interesting because they say something and it's not out right but it just kind of sits right in there and you're more bothered that you're bothered. Right? It just sits right in there. And there are nuances and innuendos in what they say that is a challenge.


One preacher said one time parishioner came up to him and said, “Pastor, I see that you've got a new car.” I just look at him and just shake their head and he said, “He felt like turning to that parishioner and saying to him, you know what sorry my donkey broke.” You know. And it is just this interesting dynamic in dialogue that goes on when we are facing interpersonal relations. And the challenge for the Christian many times is not becoming a Christian but staying a Christian in our interactions with one another. And here James is exhorting us; don't complain, don't grumble brother and against one another when we face these challenges in our relationships with one another.


Mark Finley at camp meeting gave this illustration of the Ark and we have a romanticized picture of the flood. In reality this is a floating zoo. It was messy. It smelled. The dynamic on this boat was not a wonderful pristine picture of what was taking place during the flood. And you're stuck with your family members and if your daughter or son, and son, you're stuck with your parents, if you're the wives of Ham, Shem and Japheth, if you're stuck with your in-laws on this boat being tossed about the sea. And even if you have an argument, you don't have anywhere to go. But Mark Finley says the safest place on planet earth during the flood was guess where? Right in that boat.


And I want to tell you, friends, this church is going to be a messy experience. There's going to be challenges. There's going to be moments that you want to jump ship. But GOD is telling us stay on the boat. Amen. GOD is going to see us through. This is not the church triumphant yet, it is the church Militant. And as long as we are all in a work in progress and believe, you and me, your pastor is a work in progress, there are going to be challenges in our interpersonal relationships.


But you say, “Pastor, what if I have a serious concern about a brother and sister in the church and they are on their way to destruction and I want to intervene. I feel like I need to say something.” And if all of us would just follow Matthew 18, how many of our challenges and divisions in the church would cease. We don't have time to look at it today but Matthew 18 essentially tells us, if you have a challenge with your brother and sister, go to them. Amen.


You know what happens many times in the ministry? The individual goes to the pastor and they say, “Pastor, I have a concern about this person. I have a concern about this character flaw. And Pastor, can you go talk to them?” I haven't seen this character flaw. I haven't seen this issue. And I asked the individual, you know, “Have you talk with them?” “Oh no, I couldn't do that.” So we put it on the pastor or worse we go to another individual and talk about the fault of that person behind their back. The Bible tells us if you have an issue with that person and you feel like it's a salvational issue, it's an issue of concern, to go to that person in love and address that situation.


Now, how do you know if you love somebody? The Bible says, “No greater love hath man than this that he lay down his life for his friend.” I'd like to apply it this way - you need to pray until the LORD brings you to the place where you're willing to die for that person. And until you do, you don't have the right to call the attention to this area of their life because many times we confront someone not because we love them but because what they are doing is bothering us. We don't care about their soul; we care about our own sanity.


Matthew chapter 18 is something that the Bible tells us that we are to do in our interpersonal relations with one another. And how wonderful GOD's church would be if every person would follow this practice. Amen. You have an issue, go to that brother -Matthew 18. The application is when frustrated by the faults of fellow church members, if you're not willing to talk to them directly, and I would add willing to die for that person, refrain from talking about it period. That's when Matthew 18 is telling us. Don't go to someone else and many times Sabbath dinner not only the food is consumed but the character of the individual that is not present like vultures feeding upon the assassinated characters of other church members. Sabbath afternoon dinners, there's a consumption of the faults and the failings of other individuals.


Ministry of healing 492 – “Earnest workers have no time for dwelling upon the faults of others. We cannot afford to live on the husks of other's faults or failings. Evil speaking is a two-fold curse falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. The very act of looking for evil in others develops evil in those who look by dwelling upon the faults of others. We are changed into the same image.”


I'm preaching myself here this morning. And as I prepare for today's message, I have reflected on my life and noted the numerous times in which the topic of conversation has not been edifying, but rather upon the faults and the failings of other individuals. And I have been in very conservative circles, conservative theologically and politically, people that have held a very high standard a principle, and I will confess this morning that I have participated in this circle in conversations that have not been edifying. And I have found that many times that when you make that the topic of your conversation that the joy of JESUS CHRIST is absent from that conversation. And we can do it in such a spiritual way, isn't that right? “Oh, brother, I have a concern. I have a spiritual concern about this person.” And they are not present and you go down through the litany of things.


When I was in college, I brought this one individual in my house. He was a friend of mine. We were talking for a couple hours and I was the person doing the primary talking and I went on and on and on about the challenges I had with the institution and with a particular individual and he just sat there and listened. And then when I was about to drop him off at his place of residence, he looked at me and he said, “David, what's the good news?” I was rebuked. And I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Tell me something positive, so that I can get out of this car and go on my way knowing that I've ended at least with a positive note.” And I just sat there and stumbled in my words and I said, “Ah, the LORD is good.” He just smiled and said, “Thank you” and got out of the car. And I sat there rebuked.


 Steps to CHRIST goes on 119, “If you talk out your feelings, every doubt you express not only reacts upon yourself, but is a seed that will germinate and bear fruit in the life of others, and it may be impossible to counteract the influence of your words.” And we know this. Not only does it impact us, but it's a seed, metaphorically speaking that will germinate perhaps in the heart of the individual and bear fruit that is not going to be edifying and making them more like JESUS. With these thoughts in mind, I want to invite you to turn with me in your Bibles to the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. It describes a group of people that are going to be translated without seeing death - Revelation 7:1 through 4 (1412, if you're using the Bible there in the pew).


Revelation 7:1 – 4. This is describing the last generation of righteous individuals that are going to be translated without seeing death. The Bible calls them the 144,000. Revelation chapter 7 verse 1 through 4 – “After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:”


At some point, I hope to do a series on the 144,000, but this is not a literal group of people that are Jews in nature. It goes on later on to describe that there is 12,000 from 12 tribes of Israel. There are some evangelical interpretations of the 144,000 believing that these individuals are biological Jews. Well, that is impossible because there are no individuals from the tribe Reuben today that are 100 percent Reubenites. Remember the 10 tribes and the 2 tribes to the south. The 10 tribes in the north were taken away into captivity by the Assyrians and they lost their distinctiveness. They assimilated, intermarried and they later became Samaritans during the time of CHRIST. There were actually only 3 tribes that could trace their lineage originally, biologically, and ethnically and these are the tribe of Judah, the tribe of Benjamin, and the tribe of Levi. All the other tribes had lost their distinctiveness. So this is not talking about biological Jews, ethnic Jews. This is a symbol talking about a group of people that are going to have certain characteristics in the end of time. Notice that they have the seal of GOD written where? On their foreheads. Another place, it says, “They have the name of GOD written on their forehead.” These individuals are going to have that character of GOD reproduced in their lives. They're going to be translated without seeing death.


And here on the screen, I have a list of the tribes that are there in Revelation chapter 7. This order of the tribes is found nowhere else in Scripture. It begins with Judah and ends with Benjamin. And it's interesting that the 144000 who are described as keeping the commandments of GOD and having the testimony of JESUS being translated without seeing death come from these tribes. These individuals were not stellar people morally. Just have to study the Book of Genesis to recognize that. Judah slept with a prostitute. Reuben slept with his step-mother. Simeon and Levi were cold-blooded murderers. Ten of these individuals sold Joseph as a slave. They had issues. They had faults. They had character deficiencies. And the 144,000 is really a message of hope. Amen. Meaning that GOD can take people with serious issues, serious, serious cultivated and inherited tendencies to sin, character flaws like these men, and GOD can take that raw material and reproduce in them, if they cooperate with all the SPIRIT into the image of GOD. That's where the 144,000 come from. It's a testament to what GOD can do with sinners like you and me.


When you look at this list, it's fascinating to note that there are 2 tribes that are missing. There is a glaring omission. One of the tribes is the tribe of Ephraim. I don't have it there on the screen, but I'll read you about Ephraim. The reason why Ephraim is missing is because Hosea 4:17 says, “Ephraim is joined to idols, leave him alone.” Ephraim had a challenge of idolatry and if any one of us holds onto sin, GOD respects that decision. Ephraim is joined to her idols, leave him alone.


The next tribe that is missing is the tribe of Dan. These are the words of Jacob on his deathbed, making his final pronouncement about the future of these individual, the future of the posterity of these men that would come to make the 12 tribes of the people of Israel. And here's what Jacob said about Dan: Genesis 49:17 - “Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse's heels so that its rider tumbles backward.” Now, Dan had a spiritual gift that if you had used the proper way it would not have been his challenge. The Bible says in the 1st part of this verse that Dan had the spiritual gift of discernment, of judgment. He was a discerner of people's character. He was able to note the faults as well as the strengths of the character of the people very quickly. I believe that he was probably a very analytical individual. He was able to assess people in a way that surpassed his other brothers, that's why he says that he was a judge among his people. And in the Bible, some of the judges came from the tribe of Dan. But you'll notice what is the description of Dan. It says, “Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse’s heels.” This is a metaphor to describe Dan. He does not do a frontal attack on the horses, but he does an attack from behind; bites the horse’s heels. And many scholars and theologians have said that the challenge of the tribe of Dan or people associated with the tribe of Dan are known as what we would call back biters, backstabbers - people that talk about other people when they are not present. And GOD says that this characteristic is so heinous, so atrocious, so incompatible with heaven that if this characteristic is not dealt with, it is missing from those that are translated. The murderer that repents is there. The adulterer that repents is there. The individuals that sold their own flesh and blood as a slave, they are there. But the individual that talks about another individual behind their back is omitted from the list of those that are going to be a part of the kingdom of heaven. That is how seriously GOD takes slander; that is how seriously GOD takes backbiting.


Psalms 15 begins with a question, “LORD, who shall abide in THY tabernacle?” Who is going to be there in the Holy of Holies? “Who shall dwell on THY holy hill?” Who is going to be in the very presence of GOD and the question is responded to with an answer: “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh uprightly and speaketh truth in his heart; He that backbiteth not with his tongue.” Here it is, the Bible tells us very clearly individuals that are backbiters, that are backstabbers, individuals that talk about the faults of others behind their back, will not be in the presence of GOD. They're not going to be present. The definition of back biting: to attack the character or reputation of a person that is not present - to attack the character or reputation of a person that is not present. It means to bad mouth, to denigrate, to slander, to backstab or to gossip about another individual that does not have the opportunity to defend himself because he is not there. She is not present.


Turn with me to Romans 1:29. (Romans) Paul writes talking about ungodly acts. And there's a list that we could agree with as being some of the most heinous sins that could be ever committed (1294, if you're using the Bible there in the pew). Romans 1:28 – “And even as they did not like to retain GOD in their knowledge, GOD gave them over to a debased mind to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexually immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers…” Notice the list. These are terrible things - sexual immorality, murder, deceit, and notice in verse 30, what does it say? What does it say? “… backbiters, haters of GOD, violent …” and it goes on.


Notice that Paul includes in his list of heinous sins backbiting. I believe that we have succumbed to the notion that when we talk about someone behind their back, when they're not present, when we are participating in character assassination, that it is not on the same level of murder or adultery; but Paul here is establishing that in GOD's eyes it's all a part of the same list. GOD equates them in the same spirit and same nature that we commit other heinous acts.


Psalms 101:5 – “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him will I destroy…” “Wow!” When I read this verse, I was like “Ouch!” “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor him will I destroy.” It’s no accident that in describing the 144,000 - Revelation 14:5 and in their mouth was found no guile for they are without fault before the throne of GOD.


The Bible admonishes us that when we're frustrated by the faults of fellow church members, if you're not willing to talk with them or die for them, refrain from talking about it at all. We need help. Amen. Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen…”


And I want to end with some practical advice for the Christian in our day to day life. We need to pray. We need to ask GOD to give us a pure heart and a pure mouth that we will not slander those that are not present. And a friend of mine regularly participated in this practice that when she would walk up on a conversation that was not uplifting and the topic of the conversation was the faults and the deficiencies of others, she would say, “Let's pray.” “Let's pray. I can see that we're very concerned about this individual. Let's pray for them.” And she says it's astonishing what happens that after the prayer everyone just kind of slinks away and there's suddenly nothing more to say. Pray for them. We all need prayers Amen.


Another thing that we should regularly practice - Psalms 1911 – “Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against YOU.” Many times the issue is not the other person, it's our own heart. We need to fill our hearts with the Word of GOD and I want to give you a practical text that you can quote and it's easy to memorize you can memorize it right now Romans 12:21 – “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” That should be in your arsenal. That's a quote that I quote regularly. Someone cuts me off in the road – “Do not be overcome by evil, amen, overcome evil with good.” That should be in your arsenal. It's easy text to memorize.


And to remember how GOD has been patient with you. “LORD, have mercy.” Remember the pit from which you were dug. I've kept a journal, it's in Word format. It survived all the upgrades of word down through the years, starting in 1996. And I kept it on a semi-regular basis. When I'm going through an existential crisis, I journal. OK. Every now and then, I go back and I read my old entries. Go back to 1998 and scroll down and it's amazing. I just look back and I say, “Oh, David what a mess.” And I write, “Oh, everything's falling apart. Heaven, help me, you know” and I just look at it I'm just like “Oh, praise GOD for His mercy” because if I were the LORD I would have given up on me. And GOD gives us a chance after chance after chance and yet a brother and sister in church fall one time and you're ready to call out the firing squad and “LORD, have mercy.” We need to remember how GOD has been patient with us.


If we keep uppermost in our minds the unkind and unjust acts of others, we shall find it impossible to love them as CHRIST has loved us; but if our thoughts dwell upon the wondrous love and pity of CHRIST for us the same spirit will flow out to others. We should love and respect one another, notwithstanding the faults in perfections that we cannot help seeing. This not saying that we should close our eyes and not see their faults; humility and self distrust should be cultivated and a patient tenderness with the faults of others. Remember they’re a child of GOD, that's a person, believe it or not. If they were the only person on earth, JESUS would have come and died for them. We know that. Remember, they're priceless soul that JESUS died for. And remember that you only see part of the picture. You're only seeing half the story, that when you see that challenge, when you see that fault, recognize that if you had the same genetics, the same background, the same inherited and cultivated tendencies, you probably would be worse than they are.


I remember in school, there’s this gentleman that was just a wreck. He was having all kinds of academic and social issues and we just couldn't understand. He would come to school just upset at the things that he would say and we just thought this gentleman needs help. We just couldn't understand. And finally a teacher approached him and said, “Look, what's the matter with you?” And he said, “My mom almost committed suicide.” Suddenly that little bit of information changed it from intolerance to compassion. We only see half the story. You only see part of the picture. Remember that you cannot read hearts. You do not know the motives which prompted the actions that you that to you look wrong. There are many who have not received a right education, their characters are warped, they are hard and gnarled and seemed to be crooked in every way but the grace of CHRIST can transform them. Sometimes, we look at people and say, “They’re just hopeless;” but the grace of JESUS, the grace of CHRIST can transform every single person. Never say that that person is unreachable. Remember to see them as JESUS see them.


Ask the LORD JESUS to give you his heavenly vision. This is from Mark Finley. He [JESUS] saw people not as what they were but as they could become. JESUS saw Peter not as a rough and outspoken fisherman but as a mighty preacher. JESUS saw the best in people.


Defend those who are not present. Sometimes we think that we can make a link or a bond with someone by participating in their dialogue about the faults of others, you know. You have a connection. You're talking about this person and you feel a bond; but that does not build trust - that lowers trust and integrity because in a moment, there's something in the back of your mind that says, “You know what? When the tables are turned, guess what? You're going to be the topic of that conversation.” But if you defend those who are not present, it may be a little bit uncomfortable, but it actually builds integrity because they know that when they are the topic of yet another conversation that you will likely do the same.


One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those that are not present in doing so we build trust of those who are present. When you defend those who are absent you retain the trust of those present. Focus on their good qualities. Everyone has good qualities.


I remember one time, someone was giving me a lot of grief, and I said, “Oh, LORD, help me to focus on their good qualities” and I had to really think, I'm being honest. I thought, “Oh, man, they are persistent, aren't they?” And I think, you know, if I had that same persistence and I didn’t in this one area, the amount of good that could be accomplished, you know.


Just think on those positive areas. And this is from Ministry of Healing, 492 – “Cultivate the habit of speaking well of others. Dwell upon the good qualities with whom you associate and see as little as possible of their errors and failings. When tempted to complain of what someone has said or done, praise something in that person's life and character. Cultivate thankfulness. Praise GOD for HIS wonderful love in giving CHRIST to die for us. It never pays to think of our grievances. GOD calls upon us to think of HIS mercy and HIS matchless love that we may be inspired with praise.” Amen. Amen.


When you walk through rose garden, you have to make a decision. You can either choose to look at the flowers or focus on the thorns. And in every church, there are flowers and there are thorns. We gotta make a decision as to what we focus upon.


Steps TO CHRIST 117, “I was gathering the flowers and enjoying their fragrance when this sister who had been walking by my side called my attention to some unsightly briars that were impeding her way. There she was mourning and grieving. She was not walking in the pathway following the guide but was walking among the briars and thorns, “Oh” she mourned, “Is it not a pity that this beautiful garden is spoiled with thorns,” then the guide said, “Let the thorns alone for they will only wound you. Gather the roses, the lilies, and the pinks.” Amen. It's a decision that each one of us must make by the grace of GOD. Let's focus on the roses, the lilies, the reds and the pinks. You'll be a lot happier. It will be a lot harder for someone to steal your joy. And this is the prayer of my heart for us this morning as we close.


Ephesians 4:30 and 31 – “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of GOD whereby you are sealed until the day every day. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another even as GOD for CHRIST's sake hath forgiven you.” Is that your desire here today? I know, it's mine.


Let stand together as we close. Let’s bow our heads together. Every head bowed and eyes closed. I will make a simple appeal. I do it every Sabbath. If you feel the HOLY SPIRIT speaking to your heart and you want to say, “LORD JESUS, I want invite YOU into my heart. I hear YOU knocking on its door, please come in.” And you want to say “LORD, come in.” I wanna invite you to raise your hand today. GOD bless you there in the back. GOD bless you. “Come into my heart, LORD JESUS. Come in today; come in to stay.”


My last appeal: you've heard the HOLY SPIRIT speaking to your heart today, perhaps even this week the topic of your conversation has not been edifying. Perhaps the topic of the conversation has been the faults of others. And today, you want to say, “LORD, first of all forgive me; secondly, give me the strength to speak only words that will edify and uplift. Help me to defend those that are not present. Help me. To look at the good in others and to not make the topic of my conversation something that would make the angels weep.” That’s your desire here today: you would say, “LORD, give me the strength with my tongue.” I want to invite you to come forward today for special prayer. LORD, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in THY sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer. And you want to say, “LORD, help me to control my tongue. Help me that when the conversation drifts to the faults of other people to drift it back to YOU. Help me to fill my heart and mind with the word of GOD. Help me to speak words that are uplifting and words that are of JESUS CHRIST.” There is hope friends, JESUS can restore. Same JESUS that took Peter and made him into an apostle can take us and make us into the likeness of HIS image.


Let’s bow our heads together as we pray. Oh, FATHER in Heaven, forgive us, forgive me, for falling short in this area of our lives. LORD, we recognize today that you regard slander and backbiting as a serious thing, so serious that it is kept from the list of those that are translated. FATHER, YOU've said that only those that backbiteth not with their tongues will be able to stand in the presence of GOD. And today, we come to YOU as sinners in need of a SAVIOR. We thank YOU today for the promise that if we confess our sins that YOU are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And we thank YOU that that promise of forgiveness is still as sure today as it was written over 2,000 years ago. Forgive us FATHER; cleanse our lips as you cleansed Isaiah’s. Help us to speak words that are only edifying and uplifting. Help us to talk of JESUS and HIS love. Help us to praise the characteristics in others and not assassinate. Help us LORD to defend those that are absent. Help us FATHER so that when you come in the clouds of glory that we can stand before YOU knowing that our lips and our tongue have been purified by the grace of JESUS CHRIST. We thank YOU for this promise and for this gift – “Now unto HIM that is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before the presence of HIS glory with exceeding joy. We pray and ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.



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