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Thriving With Stress

Phil Mills Sr.
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Phil Mills Sr.

Dermatologist in Northern Georgia

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  • July 13, 2019
    2:15 PM
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And I'm happy this morning and see if I get this. To have the opportunity to share with you Christians for his sources that help us thrive with the inevitable and unavoidable stresses of our lives Christians have resources that no one else has. To enhance our learning I would like to begin with a little test on your impression about stress I don't want this test to cause any of you stress however so I'm not going to grade any of your papers in fact they won't even be papers but please answer mentally with a True or False True or False stress is an important factor in nearly 45 percent of diseases true or fault unfortunately in our present society most stress is unavoidable to a fault stress lowers blood glucose and diabetes true or fault it is the fact that most of the effects of stress are outside of our control All right let's look at the answers 1st is fault the latest study suggests that stress is a contributing factor not in 45 percent but actually 80 to 90 percent of diseases again for number 2 the answer is fault unfortunately in our present society some though not most stress is unavoidable 3rd this too is false stress elevate blood glucose and those of you who are diabetic know this by experience and lastly false again. While it is true that some of the effects of stress are outside of our control most is under our control sometimes the media seems to give the false narrative that everything causes cancer everything give stress. Sometimes we almost want to throw up our hands that we're just helpless victims caught in a lifeboat and bobbing along the sea of life but I hope you see by the end of this lecture that there is much we can do that is powerful and effective that God has provided his children to relieve the stresses of our every day life. But what do we mean when we use the word stresses. Laura said this morning there are some complicated. Definitions clinically that term stress is referring to a partial or full activation of the body's alarm system for fight or flight with the release of powerful chemical stress hormones the 3 major stress home of hormones or cortisol g.h. and or epinephrine but there are another a number of others involved as well and I'm sure you want me to go through all the biochemistry. Stress is related to feelings and negative emotions such as anger discontent jealousy envy hatred fright worry guilt shame and of course the opposite of stress is peace and this is associated with positive emotions and perhaps you seen any scientific studies linking love to end of print in neuro and it can hormones powerful hormones that are released and their associated health benefit stress which causes this fight or flight response has profound physiological effects on us it increases our cholesterol levels blood pressure blood glucose levels and heart rate it redirects blood flow from the stomach to the skeletal muscles it induces irregular breathing and though this response is designed to protect us when even a minor stress response is prolonged it can contribute to serious disease. Stress affects depend upon 4 different factors 1st frequency how often the stress is present 2nd duration how long the stress last 3rd intensity how strong a biological reaction the stress induces And lastly the sensitivity of the individual what is needed to trigger a stress reaction the 1st 2 Stress affects depend on the stress itself the stress or the agent of stress the last 2 Stress affects depend on how we respond to the stress the 1st 2 Stress affects have to do with external environmental factors and the last 2 Stress affects have to do with our internal our individual physiologic and well of psychological reactions to the stress or aim is not to remove all the stress from our life unfortunately in Chattanooga we're surrounded by crime greatly increased the rampant use of drugs and as a precaution when we built our house and just moved into it my wife and I installed a security system on the house with a parameter surveillance. System running 247 this Tuesday night at 2 minutes before midnight Sherry awakened me our surveillance system had served there was a motion at our front porch when the chirping continued and I continued sleeping Sherry woke me up and whispered there's someone on our front porch as I told you we have every inch of our home parameter secured by 10 surveillance cameras so putting on my glasses I looked at the video images coming from our alarm surveillance system sure enough there was movement on the front porch. Here's the actual footage a spider was actively spinning its web directly over the camera and its motion detector and this triggered the alarm signal do you think the solution is turning the security system off or do you think the solution is adjusting the sensitivity of the motion detector and of course I did the obvious and turn the security system sensitivity down a notch this is Dr life our aim is not to indiscriminately eliminate stress alarms from my lives but to properly just sensitivity to triggers and events for example alcohol can lower our body's stress response but it is an indiscriminate lowering our aim is always to have an appropriate stress response and alcohol increases the risk of injury or death because we don't respond adequately to stress in in some areas of our life we may need a decreased anxiety level in decreased stress response but in a few areas of our lives we may need to be a rouse to danger in these areas we may actually need an increased stress response just as a security system may be needed in our crime still to society our bodies stress alarm system is needed for our danger filled society a stress response can motivate us to get help a proper stress response now may mean the cred decrease stress later I'm sure everyone here is familiar with the myth that a frog will boil to death at the water's heated gradually this Nyssa originated in an article published in a psychology Journal an $897.00 though the myth has been shown to be fault like many other myths it continues to be popular and taught as truth though this myth is not true for a frog it does make a point that is all true true for true for humans. In Noah's day only noël and his family were saved by the ark the rest of the world received no stress and they saw no Hell the sum of our stress is necessary and helpful much of our stress isn't necessarily necessary and harmful perhaps some are here this morning to have allergies those who are allergy it have a body that's over reacting to harmless substances triggers like pulling a fire alarm when there's no fire the body is not necessarily reacting strongly to these harmless substances and this illustrates how we can overreact to harmless triggers in life and having Zajac where anxiety is not needed So our aim is to have a fully functional alarm system that gives us a proper warning of danger when we need to fight or take flight but not sounding an alarm from in significant triggers we can control stress by controlling the environment and we can control stress by controlling our response to stress we learn better stress management skills how can environmental stresses be controlled the 1st way is called primary prevention where possible of voice distress to begin with obviously this is the best kind of stress control and wherever possible we should try to prevent stress in the home work school and Recreation primary prevention requires responsibility order and discipline with organisation in schedule appropriate caution in care interpersonal relationship skills all these things the Bible gives us much unnecessary stress can be eliminated by proper planning time and money management and interpersonal disciplines with prompt and clear communication neatness humility and in the home a lot of forgiveness but prevention is outside the scope of our time together this morning. And even if we're so organized careful and disciplined that we somehow manage to prevent all preventable stress we would still taste some environmental stresses that we cannot control what controllable factors determine our responses to stress by understanding and learning these control factors we can greatly minimize the negative stress effects in our life let's examine stress intensity 1st and the seminal and often quoted study on this topic was done by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard raw Rahi in 1957 they found that the death of a spouse was the most intensely stressing event individuals face the 2nd most stressful event is divorce while spouse death or divorce was usually a high stress event it was not always true Why what made the difference I remember going to a colleague of mine and seeing his wife who were husband had died the colleague had died some months before and the so I went we were visiting in the area I went with my mom was a good friend of hers and my wife and I sat down and I thought maybe I'd bring her some comfort and I asked her. How she was doing and handling it since she was since her husband had. Passed away and she said that was the best event of my life I was a shock. He was a very miserable person to live with and his death was a stress reliever for her to understand. These various factors of what improves our Strasser changes our stress levels the 1st key to stress management is our general health and energy level the mind affects the body in the body affects the mind they work together we can't handle this much stress when we're tired or sick. During my internship and residency when required to be up all night and then still work the next day you know what I discovered I was much more irritable on those days low triggers and I realized that I had a tiger inside of me that was kept at bay when I was well rested the little things bothered me that typical when even given them a 2nd thought how to children behave when they're tired how to children behave without breakfast I remember the I was a breakfast studies that showed that children's behavior is affected by their lifestyle choices to protect our general health and increase our energy level we need to have a knowledge of the laws of health and of course it's not enough to simply know the laws of health we must follow the laws of health we know. My dad gave me some great advice when I went off to medical school he said this is still you're going to learn some things that should have impact your choices of life you're going to learn some things that maybe you like to do but you find out they're hard on your body make it your decision now that information is going to be your friend and you're going to welcome it and you'll be thankful and even if you like to do this thing that turns out to be. Harmful like the eat this or. Do this you will bring your life by the power of God into harmony with the laws that God made your life with and he says you're also going to discover perhaps that there are things that you don't like to do that you ought to do some food maybe you don't like to eat that you ought to be eating use that information to your advantage don't just use it as something to teach the patients use it is something to adopt for your own self let truth be your guide. We try as a congregation to provide information to our congregation to the community on health this is in itself health for stress relief dinner with a doctor diabetes and done which we've just started. Our graduation and our concluding program other health programs that the professionals of this church put on to provide wonderful information on the loss of health proper diet rest exercise water fresh a or sunshine regularity in schedule routine temperance nonsmoking non-alcohol these contribute to a sense of well being and an antidote to anxiety and depression. The 2nd key to stress management could be called conscience there are other names that could be used but I think this is the most generally understood term that inner voice of what is right and what is wrong that we're born with that inner compass doesn't always work it needs education and some prefer ignorance of the laws of health so that they can violate the laws of health without the stress of guilt they're willing ignorant My dad was a minister and leader in a community with stop smoking plans in the state of Connecticut and later in Pennsylvania. He worked with. Thousands of people helping them off cigarettes but I remember because he did have. Kids involved with. With the education. With the stop smoking programs and I remember one lady that came into the stop smoking program and she had a frown on her face. That was longer than a mile smile. And she sort of plopped yourself down and said in an angry fashion I wish I lived back before they knew all the problems with cigarettes so I could just smoke in peace. This stress program their stress program or stress program was simply ignorant but I informed Fortunately ignorance doesn't protect us from the consequences of our health habit it's merely a stress free deuced way to kill ourselves ignorance is not bliss because sometimes what we don't know is killing us God wants us to know for our good Hosea 46 says My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge the 2nd law of consciousness the stress we experience when we do what we believe to be wrong guilt is one of the greatest stress source that we can experience this can give us a mental stress in some situation a drawl very brings a stress that can kill a person with a tenuous heart function so amazing some misinterpret the body stress response to to conscience that is violation of one of God's laws doing what they know is wrong they they interpret this body stress response as excitement Interestingly the physiological changes that occur when we believe we are lying are often measurable by lighting tech to tests which is a measure of certain components of our bodies stress signals stress response which is present when we lie this is the law of sin and guilt guilt this what we feel when we do something that we know to be wrong guilt brings the stresses of anxiety fear of exposure fear of shame and it brings the stress of distrust of others it contributes to depression. James 417 to him who knows to do good and does not do it to him it is sin the 3rd law of conscience is the law of happiness this results from knowing and doing what we know to be right this results in happiness Christ says if you know these things happy are you if you do them and God wants us happily So let's quickly review the 3 laws of conscience willing ignorance produces a silent conscience which results in self destructive behavior without guilt there's no guilt no it's not stressed from our conscience because it's uninformed and silent knowledge without obedience produces an activated conscience resulting in guilt and 3rd knowledge and obedience produces a contented conscience resulting in happiness that what we do to remove guilt stress the most common way to remove the stress of guilt is to silence the conscience the conscience can be silenced by suppressing it this is most commonly done by ignoring it which damage is making it less and sensitive or seeking out people who will tell us that what we do that's bad is Ok we can ignore it by procrastination as we will fail to follow it today waiting for a more convenient time to start a health program for years I was going to start exercising I would do it in the morning I was going to do it tomorrow morning because tonight I'm a little too tired when I would wake up in the morning I'd be tired and so I was going to do it in the evening and so I was almost on an exercise program. And that went on for years until finally my oldest daughter Rachel. Started an exercise program and a shame to me into starting one which I thoroughly enjoyed. We can look as I said for authorities that will deny there's any harm in the activity we choose to do the Bible calls this process the stuff like no ring the stern voice of duty and conscience as searing the conscience Another way is to stay in a constant state of activity avoiding reflective thought some people they just can't stand not to have television or music blaring because in the silence their conscience can speak to them a 4th way. My 3rd way is to balance our guilt with blame of others and circumstances not my fault it's others the devil made me do it. If I didn't have this wife I'd be different I can't say that in my life because she's a saint so I don't have that as a possible explanation for May. 4th Way to suppress the conscience is to irritatingly comply like that lady who went to the stop smoking program and she was going to stop but she was doing it without happiness and I think of President Lyndon Johnson who quit smoking after he had a serious heart attack his doctor said if you don't stop smoking you're going to die of a heart attack so he stopped but he never stopped the love of smoking and so the ice kept a cigarette in his pocket and for 12 years it has rolled around his lips now ever lead it he was not an ex smoker he that wasn't passed for him he was simply going through. And misery of wanting and not being able to do something his heart never changed and not surprisingly 12 years later when he was on his ranch one day the urge became overmastering and he just started smoking again and within a few months he was dead heartattack now the pain of guilt may be minimized or even eliminated because some of these ways are quite effective but none of the results are changed rather than silencing the voice of God speaking through our conscience we can have our guilt removed by gaining a clear conscience this is done by allowing God to give us the gift of repentance and confessing our sin true repentance means to be sorry for the sin itself not sorry we were caught committing it or sorry for the consequences of this and but sorry for the sin itself and the final speed of stress management is our perspective our perspective it can be a very very powerful way to decrease our stress our perspective on life our worldview is formed by 4 things our education is what we've learned from others now last Saturday night we had an incredibly good speaker and Gail. And she works there in Thailand those of you who are here and know. She's there among people who monk the Kuranda who are. Permian. Immigrants fleeing from persecution in the government and their devil worshippers she is working with them and even now this is from back. Almost a 100 years when missionaries 1st came to the area they were taught the Qur'an were taught that the white missionaries were there with the eat their children and taking a picture of a camera would capture the soul. But what does what happens over time education can change that although as we heard from Gail there was still one person to ask a question if the white people were still eating core. The core and children. But now the car and have their own cameras. Our experience is the next thing that changes our perspective what we've learned from life I never forget I was sitting on an airplane and this is back before they figured out how to fill up every airplane and every available c. and it turned out that I was about the only person on this plane and so the stewardess had make us come up to the very front seat and and she sat down with begin to talk and I ask about her history in this she told me that. She had been a nurse and had loved nursing until something had happened to her mother her mother had been diagnosed with a uterine cancer and at 1st. They told the doctor to everything to save the life of our mother and he did did every possible thing and she had great medical treatment but she continued to get worse and she continued to get worse and she continued to get worse and over several years her her. Her weight began to go down and she became very nauseated and finally when she passed away the stewardess told me she said. It was actually a stress reliever because we knew that her discomfort her pain was gone what it happened over the time that made for a maid the thought of her mother dying to the thought of her mother living on top of the mother dying stress to the thought of the mother living being a stressed what it changed the experience Thirdly our goals are what we plan to do for life what we want from life. For years I did sports medicine and I also did occupational work comp injuries and it was very interesting those patients that were on the football team and were injured with basketball team and were injured it was very hard for me to keep them from playing a game they didn't want me to write a restriction and on the other hand sometimes not all eyes are many motivated workers but sometimes there were workers that didn't want me to write a script that they were released to go back to work what was the different their goals their plans on life and then lastly our expectations. Give us our perspective our perspective and there's a great difference in stress between what we experience in our expectations and are disappointed or not expecting something and were pleasantly surprised. So let's quickly review the 3 keys to stress management are general health and energy level we notice this has to do with our bodies our physical nature and then our consciences this has to do with our spirit our spiritual nature and then our perspective which has to do with our minds our mental faculties and outlook and we must attack our stress with all the resources that are coming and body mind and spirit perspective is a very powerful tool to change almost overwhelming difficulties if your face was burned and you were left with severe scars so that others couldn't recognize you would you still be you in this picture the scars were from an abusive husband who became angry and purposefully burned his wife if you are in an auto accident paralyzed from the neck down would you still to you if you had a stroke and lost the ability to talk would you still be you what makes you you anyway there is a biblical word that describes the person you really are that word is spirit and it's very important to understand this word and many people are confused by the term in both the old in the New Testament the word spirit is translated from words meaning breath or when it has a variety of meanings and is used in a variety of ways in context like the wind it is difficult to put your finger on the spirit it's no the none the less real as sometimes used it is anonymous with the English word character. Perhaps the clearest use of the term is found in 1st him 1st Peter 34 to get the context however we'll begin with Verse 3 whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plating of the hair wearing of gold or putting on an apparel but let it be the hidden man of the heart in that which is not corruptible even the ornament of a meek and quiet what's that word spirit which in the sight of God is of Great Price My dad used to say pretty is pretty does hear the word translated Spirit is the hidden man of the heart which is what we would call character and that is how some modern translations such as The New American Bible translate this passage as character that's correct in this text and others the word spirit means our character the word character comes from a Greek word meaning for a stamping tool. Years ago in medical school and I was asked to teach a class on character and when I was asked to do that I didn't even know what the term character meant myself and so now it's trying to figure out what is this were character what does it mean and so I took a piece of paper then just exactly what you see on the screen I made 2 lines horizontal in a vertical and I labeled the top line character traits the bottom line a label not character traits in so I'm going to give you my actual list and the 1st item I put down was hair color when you put blonde hair is that a character trait of mine or a not character trait if I had it not character where would you put love as that character not character character where would you put honesty character and character character. Where would you put generosity character not character character where would you put intelligence character and character not character. Where would you put money character and character character where would you put pitty character and character character where would you put knowledge character and character character where would you put looks character not character that character where would you put sympathy character not character so yes where would you put. All these it's not hard for people or for wasn't hard for me to say well that's a character trait that isn't. Of course every character quality has an opposite quality what's the opposite of love hate. What's the opposite of honesty dishonesty what's the opposite of generosity. Various words. Greed stinginess miserliness selfishness there'd be various words that we could be used What's the opposite of pity contempt Maybe various words you might think of what's the opposite of sympathy and feeling unsympathetic so for various words character qualities traits are qualities of life of a level to all which everyone possesses or could possess to a greater or less degree how many character traits are there when I 1st. Studied this medical school I found 64 and when I gave my lecture I thought this was the number of character trait the next time I gave a lecture the list had grown to a 100 and a friend of mine a family physician in Wichita Kansas Kevin Bryant went through page by prayer the unabridged Webster Dictionary and he found 309 I don't know if you missed any or not but I think that's a pretty complete list now when we look at character what's the difference between character and personality personality is our unique expression of our character qualities. So for example Paul and Moses were both me but they expressed that differently different personalities what's our reputation that's the character qualities others think with possess. The hidden man of the Heart My character is who I really am and that's who you really are your character are you still you after a haircut after a hair style and when your hair turns gray like mine now when it becomes. Platinum Blonde. Or even if I become bald am I still me as I get older some authorities report that. Our maximum i.q. is at the age of 16 so if you're older than 16 here you're on the down Celt slope I'm siding form you are you a different person when your bank account and savings change you know I I was in a hospital setting more King in physical medicine and rehab as a medical as a director of a rehab hospital when the crash of 89 occurred. And people who had always been so pleasant. The day before so and they seemed unpleasant the next day after the crash did you become a different person when you earn a Ph d.. Are you really different after a facelift while these non-character environmental and inherited factors are not character they do influence our character parents can give us and heritage gifts and deficits of genetics they can surround us with advantages or disadvantages in life but only we can determine our character character is the structure we are building with every thought and every feeling we deep then the thought or the feeling when we put it into action a word or a look and when we repeat these they become habits and habit the come fixed in our character the character is our hub betrayal thoughts and feelings that's who you are that's who you really really are and that's who I am my have vigil thoughts and feelings Sunit sudden unexpected changes in our environment do not make our character but they can reveal it notice that everything in the not character list is changeable and temporary the character we have it death is the character I think we have when Jesus comes is eternal the world focus is on that which is temporary and that which absolutely will change over time externals the looks the fortune the fame but Heaven focuses on that which is eternal the character qualities that will make a difference that determines whether we where or whether we will spend eternity in heaven and when we understand the importance. Of the hidden man of the heart the spirit the character we will be focusing more heaven focuses our investment in time attention and thought will be on that which will assist us in eternal character development. When I pack for a trip now I try to get everything into 2 bags because I don't want to get lost by putting it on the luggage and I can carry 2 bags with me were allowed to take 2 bags on the most airlines in. We take only God gives us 2 bags to take to heaven here's what we can take the 1st is our character the character we develop here on this earth determines the responsibilities that God can entrust to us and have it. I think of a beauty queen but what if this person was in doubt by God with. Very very attractive looks but she became very proud in a way in selfish. At most she might be beautiful for a few years but what about somebody who maybe have been more ordinary but they developed a character that was beautiful inside and God can then in trust that person and. In Heaven may be there Miss Universe for eternity which would you rather have good looks for a few years and lose eternity or eternity with. Good character. I think of intelligence we've been going downhill since we've been 16 as we mentioned. Here was one of the wisest people who ever lived was King Solomon but he did not develop a character that was commensurate with the wisdom the had in so I don't know who's going to be Mr i.q. King for eternity but it won't be Solomon. The Book of Proverbs says charm is to see full beauty is thing but a woman who fears the Lord she shall be praised now the only other thing we take with us to Heaven is our friends who go with us so everything else is just going to perish so our goal should be an eternal investments we want to develop a character like Christ and we want to be sharing him with others so others will join us in the trip to heaven. And so we can waste our time on that which will bring no long term benefit or we can use our time profitably to improve our character and assisting in helping others to help it to go to hell that if we use our money and it sorry desire to make it invest in temporary things will never have sufficient. I want to be a long term investor not a short term investor a long term investor is not 3040 years a long term investor is eternity anything else just short term investment and a wise investment are using our goal to using our money to build our character and to win others to Jesus this is eternal and it will never be taken away there's no recession or depression in this kind of investment because you see character is our true capital that's our true wealth. In our pursuit of knowledge our efforts to gain an education if our goal is merely to become a master and that which is temporary will be satisfied simply to learn facts I remember when I began to understand the importance of character it made a immense change impression on my educational focus I stop studying simply for a grade my study time became a time of character development it became my goal to develop character qualities of perseverance concentration gaining up knowledge to be more helpful to others focusing on Christ and His eternal character qualities brings us peace and happiness. Focusing on the world brings anxiety and depression to understand the meaning of life the purpose of life we understand that our time in this world is simply a school God arranges the class work and he brings us the experiences of life as a valuable tool to improve my character and give me opportunities to develop friendships that will last forever we know that all things that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose I was walking to church one Sabbath morning in Wichita Kansas and we lived. 5 miles from the church and so I could go down several roads that were mostly not in use but there was one the one road that was a little busy and as that walking down this road standing to the side I saw a little beetle that was starting to cross the road. And what I could see in that Beatles couldn't was that there was a big truck that was going to be bearing down and going to liable to crush that Beatles life and you know I had pity on that deal and so I stuck my foot out and kicked it back into the ditch you know I don't know what that Beatle thought he may have thought I was the meanest ogre he didn't understand he didn't see the big picture he didn't know that I was saving his life he was having stress when he should have had relief and you know those things that happened if we just understood that God is working all these things for our good so he know what I need and he protects me when sometimes it may think feel like I'm unprotected. Was I born to be a physician No because where I want to spend eternity there's no sick people and so all of the unemployed in heaven and right now I'm unemployed because I'm retired I wasn't born to be a physician why did God place me as a physician he placed me because he wanted to prepare me through the circumstances of that particular experience he wanted to prepare me for an eternity doing what I was really built to be made to be to do what will fill meat with joy for ever and ever and ever and it won't be a taking care of sick people I don't know what it is but God knows and so he puts me in the school to prepare me for eternity in Wichita we had a beautiful Bartlett pear tree that would that would bloom when we left that tree but we weren't the only ones that loved it our. There was a cardinal that loved the Bartlett pear and he would sit there but there was one thing that he didn't like we had a large picture window and as he sat in the Bartlett pear tree looking into the window he saw that there was a cardinal there in the start attacking that Cardinal fly into the window and an attack and he fall down to the ground to go back up to the Bartlett the true you'd see that card all again an attack and I thought it quit it went on week after week after week and it did it the next year if only that Cardinal could have been or stood that the enemy Cardinal it thought it was attacking was really itself and so much of our life to folk we are attacking what. Is really ourselves and got us to free us from all that to understand life is to understand that all the events of life are ruled over ruled by God for our eternal good and we can trust him at all times we can thank him at all times he will care for our needs we can ask him to give us each day our daily bread casting all your care upon him read that with me for he cares for you are you thankful for the resources of a Christian the knowledge of eternity the knowledge of a loving God that orders all things for my good and His glory let's bow our heads Father in heaven thank you so much for. Your stress relief program truth forgiveness when we've. When we fail to follow it that takes care of our of guilt. Perspective it gives us the joy of working with Christ now that's going to be extended through eternity the joy of developing friendships that won't end with the end of this life I pray that you will bless us this week help us to take advantage of all the. Rich resorts says that you provide for us in our journey here in the wilderness of this world. Preparing us for an eternity in the newer We pray this Jesus. This media was brought to you by audiophiles a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio version or you would like to listen to more sermon leave it w w w dot audio Verse dot org.

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