The Faith-Driven Life

How do you know your faith is real?

Faith in Christ can be determined by what we call the Faith Triangle.

The only true faith is the reality of living “in Christ” and “Christ in us” (Romans 8:9-11).
It is the supernatural working of His Spirit.

Faith does not come by our imagination or our efforts.
We cannot conjure up a life of faith.
We cannot just say, “I believe what Jesus said.”

“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

He said, “If you continue in my word, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

As we read and hear His Word, the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of our need for a new life in Christ. His Spirit brings conviction of sin with the power to turn us from our sin in faith and repentance to obedience of faith.

The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God as we cry, “Abba, Father” ~ the cry of a new, separate life in Christ (Romans 8:15-16)

This is the beginning. Let’s look at the simple plan of God’s work in His children.

There are three facets of being “In Christ” and proof of  “new birth”: Faith, repentance, and obedience.

Faith and repentance are God’s dual work in the heart and life of the believer.

“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,
repentance toward God,
and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Acts 20:21

“I came … to call … sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32

Jesus’ “call” upon our lives and our response constitutes the dual work of faith. When we “come” to Him, we turn from our own way. Repentance indicates “turning” in a new direction, forsaking our own will and way for the new life “in Christ.”

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6:37

“And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” John 6:44, 65

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” John 10:3

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation:
2 Corinthians 7:10

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,” Hebrews 6:1

Obedience is always connected to faith. It is the continual proving of our faith.

“For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

Jesus confronted those who called Him Lord.”

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46”

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” 1 Peter 1:2

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul explicitly proclaims the purpose of his letter to the Romans in Romans 1:5 and 16:26 ~ “for obedience to the faith” and “for the obedience of faith.” (See The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans)

He was expressing the result of the “power of the gospel unto salvation” (Romans 1:16)

“By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Romans 1:5

“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” Romans 16:26

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;1 Peter 1:15

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Faith as prescribed by the Lord before His return to the Father in Acts 1:8 is presented in a nutshell in Acts 26:20

“but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” (ESV)

Faithfulness is the state of those who remain faithful through this life until the next. Those who live by “faith in Christ” will overcome and be with Him forever.

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

Dear heavenly Father, you have called us by the Spirit to live a new life of faith in your Son. As you have turned us by His calling, drawn us to Him, and keep us in Him, we pray for the continual power of your Holy Spirit to lead us in obedience of faith. Show us your ways. Teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth and the abundant life that is ours in Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

What is a Sacrifice?

When the Holy Spirit waters the Word planted in fertile soil, fruit comes from and of itself. Such is the case for this article, an inspiration from the same Word, 1 Peter 2:9-10, preached last night from two different ministers, two different pulpits, and two different countries.*

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10

These words brought to memory other references to sacrifices. From the Old Covenant, that spoke of the shadows and types concerned with the physical realm, to the New Covenant and the fulfilling of the promises in a spiritual realm, I could see the evolving of another book (this is usually the overwhelming of the Spirit using the Word).

But I had to rein in my thoughts so as to present a succinct and concise meaning of sacrifice in the Christian life.

So, let’s look at the sacrifice (sacrificial system) in the Old Covenant as we consider the facets of sacrifice. For the Christian, all things originate with our Lord. He initiates and commands. He initiated the Covenant of Grace, promised it through Abraham and his seed, and fulfilled it in Jesus Christ and through His seed.

God Commands a Sacrifice from His People
He specified the object of sacrifice and how it was to be offered.
Sacrifices were commanded for different occasions in the Old Testament ~ the main blood sacrifice was to atone for the sins of His people through the killing of animals.

No other nation was required or privileged to offer these sacrifices. Sacrifices were the response of God’s people to His rule and authority over them.

We see the mercy of the Lord our God when we compare the sacrifices other nations made by offering their own children as sacrifices to their gods.

The people brought their sacrifice to be offered on the altar by the Levitical priests.   They were a shadow or type commanded and offered until the New Covenant was ratified in the sacrifice of His Son.

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,
sat down on the right hand of God;”
Hebrews 10:12

A study of the book of Hebrews provides an overwhelming explanation of this brief review. Every believer needs this study under his belt of truth.

In these references. sacrifice is the main subject. Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 8:3; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 9:23;Hebrews 9:26;Hebrews 10:1;Hebrews 10:3;Hebrews 10:5;Hebrews 10:6;Hebrews 10:8;Hebrews 10:11;Hebrews 11:4;Hebrews 13:15

The Point of Sacrifice for the Christian
Jesus was the last blood sacrifice ~ offering Himself willingly to fulfill the covenant of redemption on behalf of His people. The physical altars of sacrifice were shut down when Jesus hung on a cross, sacrificing Himself for those who would come in faith and repentance to Him as Lord and Savior.

His blood atoned forever and commands a response from us as His chosen generation, His blood-bought people.

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,
an holy priesthood,

to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 2:5

What are these spiritual sacrifices?

 “ to show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15
“But to do good and to communicate forget not:
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Hebrews 13:16

 “And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33

All we have of His mercy, His goodness, and His love, are the results of His sacrifice for us. 

Mercy begets mercy

Sacrifice begets sacrifice

Goodness begets goodness

Love begets love

Gracious and glorious Father in heaven, send your Holy Spirit to quicken your Word spoken to us by your servants. Speak to us through your Word this week. Bring forth the praise that you command by your Spirit and your Word through us. Make us to know your presence and power as you prepare our hearts for your worship and Word next Lord’s Day ~ all for that glorious day when we shall praise you face to face. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

*Chris Strevel,  Buford, Georgia: Exodus 40  From Slavery to Glory
*Ryan McKee, Northern Ireland: 1 Peter 2:9-10 Who We Are in Christ 

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Divine Power to Know, Be, and Do

“Ignorance is bliss” — perhaps this is true for children of the world, but not for the children of God. Our Heavenly Father desires children, and sires us into His kingdom by the divine power of His Spirit. By the same power, He continues to show us, teach us, and lead us in the truth of His Word and will, as He is preparing us for eternity with Him ~ by His grace, for His glory and our joy.

 According as his divine power hath given unto us
all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him
that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:3-4

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20

Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: 
for thou art the God of my salvation; 
on thee do I wait all the day.
Psalm 25:4-5

 

The Mentality and the Centrality of the Christian Faith

This is not a second part to our last post but again, we can interchange “the Christian Faith” with “the Gospel.”

The Christian faith is the effect of “the gospel” on the mental state of a follower of Christ.

Every religion has its power over the human mind. We see this example in those who are willing to destroy themselves while destroying others.

The  Gospel ~ the good news of Jesus Christ ~ has the power to change the mind and enables a person to think differently. A person who is brought under the authority of the Word of God changes their direction from the natural state of destruction to a spiritual state of  an abundant life here and forever ~ a new life we desire for others.

The gospel  ~ read and preached from the Holy Bible ~ changes the whole mindset and fixes it on Jesus Christ.

Every religion has a figurehead, someone who instigated and orchestrated the religion according to his beliefs.

None make the same claims as Jesus Christ and they are too many for us to copy for this post. Reading God’s Word reveals these claims; and should the Spirit of God move in the heart of the reader or the hearer of God’s Word, their hearts and minds will be changed.

The same power of the Spirit that inspired its writing is the same power that works in the reader and hearer.

 “For prophecy never came by the will of man,
but holy men of God spoke 
as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 
2 Peter 1:21

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the Spirit who is from God,
that we might know the things
that have been freely given to us by God.”
1 Corinthians 2:12

It is the Spirit of God that reveals what was written centuries ago.

We have no power of our own to change our minds or our lives. We must have a new heart and a new spirit that accepts the new power of the Spirit of God that turns the mind and the life in a new direction.

When Jesus said, ““Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” he was drawing on the promises from the Old Testament.

 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26.

“I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; 
and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Jeremiah 31:33

Reading from God’s Word moves the meaning of the words from the page to the mind. The mind then works to bring the actions of what is written.

None of this is new. What any person watches, listens to, and reads will shape their minds and their behavior. Their lives witness to what they know and believe.

Such is the mentality of those whose lives are shaped by the reading and hearing of God’s Word.

As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 2:13,

“These things we also speak,
not in words which man’s wisdom teaches
but which the Holy Spirit teaches,
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The Centrality of our Faith
The Christian faith is centered on Christ. The centrality of the gospel is Jesus Christ. Because He was the power of creation and in person revealing the kingdom of God, He is the power to reveal Himself and draw us to Him. Because He is now ruling in power at the right of God, He is the power to give us eternal life; to turn us from our own evil nature to follow Him.

Because He lives forever, He has the power to keep us now and forever with Him. His Spirit is His power here on earth to finish the work of redemption for, in, and through His people.

We cannot be too emphatic when we say that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is powerful to change our whole being. By the way we think, we live. When our minds are filled with the truths of Christ we become new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17)

We are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Roms. 12:1-2) and have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2). We have divine power to bring every thought in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

We must read and pray for the Holy Spirit to move in our hearts to keep us in His Word, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us,”
Ephesians 3:20

Dear Father in heaven, we praise you for the power of your Spirit to draw us to your written Word and through your written Word to reveal Christ your Son. Do your work today in the hearts and lives of your people. By your grace, make us a channel of blessing to others for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Suggested Reading: Free eBook First Things that Last Forever
The Garden of God’s Word ~ The Purpose and Delight of Bible Study
What the Holy Bible Says about the Word of God

 

A Sinner’s Prayer

In 2014, at the age of 75, I wrote this hymn as a witness of how, over many years, the Lord brought me to Himself. I set it to a tune to be sung as a solo but I plan to use a  familiar tune, instead, so that it can be sung in corporate worship. It is a hymn all true Christians should be able to sing.

I share only the text in this post. I will share the musical version when it is available.

A SINNER’S PRAYER

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:19

1. LORD, be merciful to me, a sinner.
What have I to bring to you?
I am poor, and lost, and helpless;
Show and teach me what is true.

Hear me calling, gracious Father,
I am deaf and cannot see.
I am hopeless; I am dying.
No one here can answer me.

2.  Lord, you said that you would save me 
If I trust in you alone.
What is faith; what is believing?
It is your work, not my own.

Hear me crying, dear Lord Jesus;
Hear my pleading; see my tears.
In my sin and in my anguish,
I have struggled through the years.

3. All my trying, all my labor
Are but vanity to you.
I am dust in need of Spirit.
Breathe in me your life anew.

I confess Lord, that I need you.
I repent of all my sin.
By your Spirit, live within me.
Be my strength and be my Friend.

4. Lord, you promised life abundant
When you came and bled and died.
Let me see and hear you clearly —
Jesus Christ, the crucified.

O, I can see you, I can hear you.
You have opened eyes and ears.
You have covered sin and sorrow;
You have banished all my fears.

5. Lord, let this poor, ransomed sinner
Know you, love you, and obey;
With your guidance, daily leading,
Showing me your will and way.

Hear me calling, blessed Redeemer,
In my nights and in my days.
I am helpless, but your grace, Lord,
Will lift these weak lips to praise.

© Fran Rogers 2014

The Anatomy of a Book

As I am in the process of formatting our next book, Beyond a Mere Christianity, I am thinking of an analogy.

If you get down to details, you know there are many parts of a book. If you are an author or a publisher, you have many facets to consider.

To make this a simple analogy, let us look at three main components. The Cover, The Contents, and The Conclusion.

The Cover

The cover is the first thing that is seen. An old adage is that we should not judge a book by its cover; but that is not practical. If you want someone to read your book, you need a cover design that will pique a reader’s interest so as to look inside.

The Contents

The contents are the meat of your book, the reason for giving it a cover and putting it together. Your introduction will give the main points that you will unfold. Chapters break down your thoughts in ways that carry your reader to the end.

The Conclusion

The conclusion sums up what you have written in the contents. The reader should have something to take away; hopefully, he is advantaged from reading your book. If so, he may write a review and recommend your book to others.

How Do People Read You?
We all have a wardrobe, clothes designed to present an image to those we want to know. Sadly, some either unknowingly mislead others by how they dress or are dressing to please others. Those who see them do not really care what they have to say but are looking with selfish desires. Our expressions are also an outward image of what is inside.

What is the intent and contents of your heart? What do you want to say to others?
Can you speak graceful words of kindness? Do you encourage and witness of the Lord Jesus Christ to those who are looking for godliness and hope from you?

What conclusion do you leave with those you meet?  Do you share God’s Word and memorable truths? Will they want to talk to you again? Will they recommend you to others? Will they give you a good review before God and others?

“For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;”
2 Corinthians 1:12-13

Dear Father in heaven, we pray that your name will be hallowed in us. Open our eyes to see ourselves as you and others see us ~ from the way we dress to what we speak ~ the words and message we maintain in our own hearts and minds. Let our final words and actions leave no doubt as to who we are and whose we are. Through us, make your kingdom known, as your will is being done.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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Results of Word Survey

From the survey last week, seven responses netted forty-nine words, including three of my own that were different than your lists.

I asked for words from a Christian view that are important to our relationship with God and others.

Over the weekend I wondered and prayed about the connection of these words to each other and to us.

First the tally from eight lists, including mine:

Jesus appeared on seven lists.
Forgive (forgiven) appeared on seven.
Love appeared on six.
Grace on five.
Truth and Mercy on four.
God and Salvation on three.

Father, Kindness, Peace, Free, Life, Faith, Know (known), Sin (sinner) on two lists.

Each of the following were listed once on different lists.
Lord
Spirit
Sacrifice
Praise
Glory
Scriptures
Prayer
Encourage
Joy
Patience
Humility
Holy
Accepted
Eternity
Heaven
Hell
Family
Presence
Comfort
Sorry
Repentance
Obedience
Help
Death
Guilt
Welcome
Thank you

In a former post, we wrote of how names leave impressions and bring to mind the character of the person. This can be seen in this survey.

Let’s take the one formal name many of us listed.

Jesus is relative to God, Father, Lord, Spirit.
Forgiveness is through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Love and Grace are revealed in Jesus’ Sacrifice
Mercy, Truth, and Glory came through Jesus.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Jesus means Salvation. Salvation comes only through Faith in Jesus.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

A Sinner has remission of Sin through the Sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ.
We Know God and are Known as Jesus is revealed to us and in us.
Life is given through Jesus, both physically and spiritually.
We are Free from Guilt in Jesus.
He is our Peace.
In JesusKindness, we are brought to Repentance to be Sorry for our sins and to live in Obedience.
Jesus in us, by His Spirit yields the fruit of Kindness, Joy, Patience and Humility.
We are Holy and Accepted in Jesus.
In Jesus, we have the promise of Eternity in Heaven and escape from Hell.
We experience JesusPresence through the Scriptures and Prayer.
In Jesus, we are delivered from the law of sin and Death
We say, “Thank you” and in Jesus, we live to His Praise and Glory.
We Encourage, Comfort, and Help others as we receive these in Jesus.
We are Welcome to the Family of God through Jesus

What do we learn from this survey?
In Jesus is hid all the important words we need to know. They are Words of Life. We could never list them all. He is all we need for this life and the next. The more we know Him the more we are amazed and grow in His wisdom and grace.
The words Light, Wisdom, Power came to mind while I was writing this post.

Please share scripture references to the ones that were on your list. We did not have time or room for these in this post.

Meanings of Names Who Contributed to our Survey
In case you do not know the meaning of your name, I am posting these for you who participated in our survey.

Tom, Thank you,
From the nameThomas:
Derived from the Aramaic tē’ōma (a twin). The name is borne in the Bible by an apostle who doubted the resurrection of Christ.
Tom, Praise the Lord for bringing you to faith, not by seeing but by the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. I like to think of Jesus’ image in you, making you a twin.
I pray blessings for your ministry to our Lord as you make known the name of Jesus, His work of Grace, Truth, and Love, through Scripture and Prayer, to help others to be Sorry and to know the Lord who will Forgive, and through His Kindness to you and through you, Encourage others not to doubt.

Jim, Thank you, 
Medieval diminutive of the name James meaning “supplanter”
The name has its root in ya’aquob (supplanting, seizing by the heel).
supplanter takes over or takes the place of someone else, usually on purpose.
Jim, You are living up to your name.
I pray you continue to wield the sword of truth as you address the Sinner and his Guilt, in the name of Jesus, the God of our Salvation, Grace, Faith, Mercy, and Forgiveness.

Bruce, Thank you,
The name Bruce arrived in Scotland with the Normans, from the place name Brix, Manche in Normandy, France, meaning “the willowlands”.
Robert de Bruce, a knight from Normandy, followed William the Conqueror to England.
There is no Hebrew meaning; though it’s not unlike the Hebrew name Baruch, which means “blessed.”
According to someone from Taiwan, the name Bruce is of Unknown origin and means “Happy warrior”.
Whether the meaning is the willowlandsblessed, or Happy Warrior, take heart in who you are following, how you are blessed in Jesus, and the warrior He has called you to be.
Bruce, I pray you Know the Presence of the Father; that you are Forgiven, Welcome and Holy through Jesus, His Love, Mercy, and Grace,  

Heidi, Thank you,
A pet form of Adalheid (noble one) and Hildegard (battle protector), Heidi is also bestowed as an independent given name. It became well known internationally from Johanna Spyri”s famous story “Heidi” (1880).
Heidi, your name fits you well. In Jesus, you are a noble one ~ a daughter of Zion ~ and a battle protector for His name’s sake. I pray that in Jesus. you Know you are Loved, Accepted, Forgiven and delivered from Death, Sin, and Hell, have an abundant Life in Him nd the promise of Heaven.

Amy, Thank you,
Your name was derived from the Middle English Amye, which is from the Old France Aimee (beloved), a name derived from the verb aimer (to love). It is not surprising that you included Love in your list.
Amy, I pray that knowing you are beloved in our Lord Jesus you are able to Love in Truth, Peace, Joy, Patience and Freedom. And because God is in you, you are a help and comfort to your God’s family and others.

Bonnie,Thank you,
Your name is derived from the Lowland Scotch bonnie (beautiful, good-natured and cheerful; this was derived from Middle French bon(good). Tour name fits you as one of Jesus’ followers.
Bonnie, I pray we all will remember to say, “Thank you” and continue to Praise our Lord Jesus Christ for His Glory, Love, Joy, and Peace, and show His Forgiveness and Kindness to others.

Pat, Thank you,
Patricia is derived from Latin meaning “noble”
I could not find more information on the meaning of your name but this one word is enough to describe one who is born of the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pat, I pray that you continue in your ministry as a noble one ~ a daughter of Zion ~ one who knows GodJesus, and the blessings that ours through His Salvation; that you are Free to Love, and Forgive, through Faith in the Truth of His Grace and Mercy.  

Dear God and Father of our Lord Jesus, I praise you for revealing yourself to us by your Spirit. May all the glory be yours for your mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Bring forth in us the fruit of our Lord Jesus Christ~ love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, and humility. We thank you for delivering us from death and hell to the abundant Life, accepted and free by the salvation that is ours in Christ. Thank you for the gift of faith to be sorry for our sin; in repentance to live in obedience and sacrifice for your name’s sake. We praise you that one day you will welcome us to eternity in heaven as holy in Him. Keep us in Scripture, truth, and prayer that we may encourage, help and comfort our family and others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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