Mar 23, 2015

Think Spot 23 March 2015

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Think Spot - 23rd March 2015

G’day and welcome to Partake! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

Last Monday we looked at serving God where ever you are with a clear conscience. How did you get on with doing it?

This week we look at a follow on from that to meekness. What is meekness? Isn’t meekness, merely weakness? That’s what we are told often enough by people outside the church! Yet meekness is not weakness! Meekness is giving up our personal rights to God alone!

A meek person is one who claims no personal rights of their own, and who is willing to yield all possessions and personal rights to God. A meek person sees these things as being loaned by God for His work and glory. Being meek in all situations takes a strong character, for example Moses (Numbers 12:1-3).

Giving up your rights and all you own to God alone, is talked about often in the Bible. Some of the results of giving up your rights to God can be found in: - Psalm 22:26; Psalm 25:9; Psalm 37:8-11; Psalm 149:4 Isaiah 29:19; Matthew 11:28-30. (1.15)

As followers of Jesus you and I need to give up our own rights and possessions to Him because:

  • You and I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)#

  • We are instructed to be meek by Jesus (Luke 9:23)
  • It follows the example. of the New Testament church (Acts 5:32)

When we insist on our own personal rights and those rights are violated, the main consequences are anger and anxiety. They occur when we try to control or change something God never intended us to change or control. When we react and resist, we deny God His right to do what; He wants to do. When we get angry and when we worry, these are signs that there are rights God wants us to yield to Him.

How do you yield rights and possessions over to God?

Firstly, identify them! Check where in your life anger and or anxiety exist. Then ask the Holy Spirit to work on your heart, prayerfully considering each area, yielding all to Jesus. When you do that, God becomes responsible for those areas.

Secondly, expect God to test His rights. Having handed them to God, He may allow situations to occur which will deny you these rights, to see if that right was really given to Him. It may be necessary to once again yield that right to Jesus. As you respond to each test, meekness develops.

Go into this week, knowing that God is at work in you! You are to be His servants and you are not your own! You were bought at a price by God! Through the meekness of Jesus Christ’ work on the cross.

Father I pray that as we give our personal rights to you, that you give us strength to overcome with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives within us as your children. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ! Amen!



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Mar 16, 2015

Think Spot 16 March 2015

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Think Spot - 16th March 2015

G’day and welcome to Partake! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

C. Bronte once said “Life appears to me to be too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrong.

Many people nurse a guilty conscience owing to holding onto animosity or wrongs done to them or having done wrong things to others. As a consequence, their life is filled with turmoil and bitterness. You may well be like that – I don’t know!

What I do know is that your conscience is the faculty which is sensitive to right and wrong, and judges your actions and attitudes. Everybody has a conscience and all are sensitive to spiritual truths, whether they are immediately aware of it or not.

According to the Bible, a clear conscience is essential for inner peace and joy, confidence in prayer, good health, effective service, .right relation-ships, effective witnessing, making right decisions, and victory in spiritual battle. A clear conscience is the inner joy and peace of spirit which results from having all personal wrongs made right with those whom a person had offended - either God or someone else.

However- many Christians carry around guilty consciences due mainly to unconfessed sins, affecting relationships with God, other people and themselves. If left unchecked, a conscience which is guilty, slowly grows 'dead', cold and silent. That is until such time that the guilt has been assuaged and put right.

If at the moment you are burdened by a guilty conscience, ask the Holy Spirit to show you clearly what is affecting your conscience. Then decide, at any cost, to clear it up in the power of the same Spirit. He will help you! Pray to the Father and ask forgiveness, (1 John 1:9), and fully accept His love and forgiveness. If there is anyone else involved, then you will also need to ask for their forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24). Ask the Father to help you go, and the Spirit will help you, because one of the hardest things in the world to say is: “I was wrong! Please forgive me."

Your conscience can be cleansed because of what Jesus did on the cross! Hebrews 9:14 says “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Go into this week, ready to serve the living God, being confident that the Holy Spirit living within you, empowers you, is transforming you and desires that your conscience be clear. He will help you overcome if you ask!

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Mar 9, 2015

Think Spot 9 March 2015

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Think Spot - 9 March 2015

Counting the cost of following Jesus today...


Luke 9:23-26 Jesus speaking “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

What is our response to this to be? This is not a popular message in churches today, particularly in the West, as we don't like to scare people away! But the message from Jesus is clear - there is a cost to following Him. As followers of Jesus Christ we are commanded to count the cost of following Him. That is how we carry our own cross for the sake of Jesus Christ. Jesus wants to be number one in the life of all those who choose to follow him! Jesus wants supremacy over everything in our lives, including family, friends, and possessions!

What have you given up in and as a result of your decision to follow Jesus? Making sacrifices to follow Jesus is all part of the WOW factor of Jesus. Jesus demands that He is number one and supreme over everything else in your life - yourself, family, others and material goods including money and possessions.

How is this done? This is done by consistently ensuring that your works and words match your lifestyle and that no hypocrisy can be found, or indeed will be found. It means standing up for God in the face of adversity. It means loving others even though they hate you. Just a couple of examples. In the UK, we aren’t systematically persecuted. We are marginalized, ridiculed and ignored but some of our Christian family around the world daily face death simply because they chose to follow Jesus. They are carrying their cross for Jesus!

What about us today? For example if we as Christians were known by our self-sacrificial love of all others, then Jesus whom we claim to love, follow, worship, and adore would be seen. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote "When Jesus Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. ... Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Jesus Christ, nor is it hero worship, but intimacy with Christ." (The Cost of Discipleship). Bonhoeffer knew that as a Christian, a person has to take up their own cross in following Jesus and count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Finally, let’s look at 1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for others.” Jesus told us to take up our own cross if we are to follow Him as His Disciple. How is that possible? If we try to do that in our own strength and wisdom, we will fail. If we do that using the power and strength of the Holy Spirit within you, then you will succeed at following Jesus’ command. Are you as a Disciple of Jesus Christ willing to take up your cross? What a difference that would make to the community where you live!



Have a WOW week!

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Mar 2, 2015

Think Spot 2 March 2015

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Think Spot - 2 March 2015

Gifted to glorify God


As Christians, we all are gifted! Are you aware of that! Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 says this about gifts! “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

How are you doing at developing those gifts and talents that you have? Are you aware of them? If you are, are you using them to glorify God? More importantly, is the church you are attached to allowing you to use them?

A good church will allow you to grow and develop your gifts and talents as a Christian. The secret to a growing church is to use everybody as they can, not just favourites... Alas some churches do use favouritism of select groups but the growing ones do not!

Go! Go into this week, develop your spiritual gifts and talents to glorify God! If you don’t know how, ask somebody else! If you are a church leader, please do ensure that you are not exercising favouritism to select groups but using everybody that God has placed under your care for development and discipleship! Amen!

Have a WOW week!

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Feb 23, 2015

Think Spot 23 February 2015

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Think Spot - 23rd February 2015

Someone watches over me

In 600 BC a tyrant ruled that land we know as Iraq. His name was Nebuchadnezzar. He built a huge golden idol of himself and commanded all the people to bow down to it. Three young men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused and were thrown into a fiery furnace. You can read about that in Daniel 3 of the bible!

What we do know from this story is that the three young men survived. The tyrant Nebuchadnezzar didn’t survive as he was sent mad and lived like a donkey and his successor was killed; the writing was on the wall!

We all face trying times but the Good News is that there is always someone who watches out for us no matter what the situation. God is sovereign. That is: He is in control although we may not always see or understand that at the time. For those who put their trust in Him He promises to be with them and protect them. The apostle John puts it this way: “you, dear children have & will overcome because the one who is with you is greater than the one who is in the world” 1 John4:4.

If times are hard for you, or for somebody you love, remember God does care and loves us so much that He died for each of us. That’s what Easter is all about. Go into this week knowing that God loves you. God cares for you. God wants you to be His child.

The REALLY GOOD NEWS is tyrants and their idols come tumbling down but God’s LOVE endures for ever. Have a WOW week!

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Feb 16, 2015

Think Spot 16 February 2015

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Think Spot - 16th February 2015

G'day! Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of a new week - a new week given to you by God! WOW!

Obedient Life

As a Christian you are to be a little Jesus! In your local communities, wherever you happen to live, work, study or be! You are to live a life of obedience, of and to, Jesus Christ! For you are being transformed by the Holy Spirit who lives inside you! You are to be totally and willingly obedient to Him! Obedience, not out of some kind of slavish duty or ritual, but obedience borne from willing loving God and loving others.

Imagine

People will know you are a follower of Jesus, if you are obedient to Him, practically showing love to all! Imagine the community where you are transformed for Jesus Christ! Imagine your community filled with people seeking to know about our Jesus, because you and other Christians were sacrificing their time and possessions! Imagine the communities you are involved with wanting to give Jesus the glory and honour in every aspect of life!

Transformation

Transformed communities of people devoted to Jesus and experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in bringing people back to God the Father! Loving God and loving each other as He commanded would help do this in your local community!

Be Obedient! Be bold! Be strong! Be courageous!

But you need to be obedient to Jesus Christ in both small and large things.

Jesus said in John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."

You will face pressure to disobey Him, even sometimes from those within your church. But if He has commanded you to do something for Him, you are to obey Him. It is far better to obey God and disappoint people than to obey people and disobey God.

Go into this week, lovingly willing to be obedient to God! Trust in Him and ask Him for the strength to be lovingly obedient to Him. He will help as you ask! It can sometimes be very difficult to be obedient to God, particularly as some people, even other Christians, will try to get you to disobey. Be strong in the Lord! Be bold! Be courageous! Need help? Then ask somebody to pray with you! Then be prepared for opportunities to be lovingly obedient to Jesus – in small and big things!

Prayer

A Prayer to help you this week.

Father, help us to live obediently to you. May the Holy Spirit encourage us as we seek to live worthily of Jesus Christ, in obedience to Him. Father, it is in His name we pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Dec 8, 2014

Think Spot 8 December 2014

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Think Spot 8th December 2014

Christmas Expectations


As we come closer to Christmas, most of the presents sent off to relatives and friends, (we had to make sure we hadn't forgotten anyone) arrangements have been made as to where we shall be spending Christmas day and who would be cooking the turkey. We have been Hurrying through crowds of people all looking tired , extremely happy and looking forward to be having a few days holiday with family and friends. There is also the anticipation of making new friends or meeting friends we have not seen for years yes, Christmas is a very special time of year isn’t it?


Well of course it is but how very special for us who have a vibrant living faith in Christ our Saviour and Lord and over this past year we have much to thank God for as we look back and count our many blessings.

May be we had illness or money problems, family squabbles, or the church wasn't so friendly but now we are happy to attend and it might well be that things are waking up at your church and there is a greater sense of anticipation at this time of year as we hope those who do not regularly worship at any church may come along because why? Because It is Christmas.

Here in Great Britain we were made to think of Christmas way back in September when Christmas gifts were being placed on display and we began to think of who to give what. So here we are then with just about eight days before the event and we are reminiscing over former Christmas’s and for some of us sad recollections, maybe your loved one died or left the family home. You may not be looking forward to this Christmas as you think you will be alone.

If however are a Christian their is every chance you will be already thought of by someone at your church and they will invite to over to their home for Christmas day t share the roast with them.

Our local Golf Club Committee foresaw this happening and quite a long while before Christmas sent round invitations for single lonely persons to come to their club dining hall on Christmas Day and have a free dinner. Now if a secular Golf Club will do this what is your church doing about it? I would love to know.

My Christmas present from you this year would be very special to me if you wrote and let me know if your church is having a Christmas dinner on the church premises and you are inviting lonely people to it?

When the shepherds saw and heard the angel Gabriel and the whole host of angels singing glory to God on high there was a very special reason. The full glory of God had arrived in the form of a baby. (Isaiah 40:5;) No ordinary baby but one who had come into this world for a specific purpose to save sinners (you and me) God in flesh to the manger came.

He had been promised ages back but now had come. “Glory to God on high and peace towards men.” they sang. This peace is a very special peace. For the only worthwhile peace and a peace that transcends all is the peace of God ruling and reigning in our hearts.

That my friends can only be actuated when we confess our sins, and believe in our hearts that Jesus is not only the Saviour but the one who came to be your Saviour and mine. Its a personal matter and only you can make sure of your salvation by reaching out to Him in faith in prayer. He has never turned any away yet who came honestly and sincerely seeking Him. He waits with open arms to receive you.

(Luke 15) “The glory of the Lord has been revealed!”



Joys prayer

Gracious God and loving heavenly Father, May we not be caught up only in the excitement of giving and receiving gifts around the Christmas tree and eating perhaps a lot more than we should. Help us to concentrate on the real meaning of Christmas in receiving Jesus Christ the Saviour into our world and ultimately into our hearts. We remember He was not given much of a reception at the hotel and had to be born in a humble cattle shed or even worse. There was said to be no room for Him.

It is important Lord that we do make room for Him in our hearts not on the circumference but in the central place the throne room of our hearts where we ask Him to rule over us and accomplish His purposes both in and through us out to a needy world.. We praise and worship You our wonderful Saviour and Redeemer! Amen


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Dec 1, 2014

Think Spot 1 December 2014

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Think Spot - 1 December 2014

G'day and welcome to Partakers! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

I wonder what your last week was like! I know for me it was full of trial and yet with a deep-seated trust that God was in control, despite the events and discouragements I was undergoing! So, whether it was a week for you to forget or a week for you to remember, we now enter a new week! Last week we thought about trusting God in all circumstances! One of the natural outcomes of trusting God is joy - often an unspeakable joy that bubbles within you! A joy resulting from overcoming all that life throws at you, and overcoming those hurdles! It involves taking a daily commitment to follow Jesus Christ and not just a one off. It takes commitment, not comfort, to throw off hindrances and barriers. True joy results from being willing to allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, transforming you into the image of Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God the Father.

All of these things being done daily in your life lead to what I am convinced is the key to the reality of a successful Christian life - that key being joy. As you grow closer to Jesus, living in peace, trust and obedience, then your spiritual life will be your natural life and your natural life be your spiritual life! Your joy will abound and shine a light giving people a reason to ask "Where do you get all your joyous hope from?". You will then be able to· share Jesus as your source of joy. A joy that is anticipatory, expectant and true! Joy comes from putting Jesus first, others next and then yourself! Go practise it this week! ~~

You can show this joy by singing, laughing, smiling, shouting praises to God, lifting hands in worship', and crying, but that is only the external part of joy. True joy also incorporates an internal joy. Real joy is when you can believe in: the mountain top when you are in your deepest valley. Abundant joy is being surrounded by darkness and still believing in 'the light'. Anticipatory joy is when amidst total confusion you still believe God has a plan of love for you. It was this type of joy that Jesus had, when in the garden praying, the night before he was betrayed, when full of mixed emotions and anguish he said "Not my will, but yours, Father!"

As sons and daughters of God, we have many reasons to be full of joy. Yet how often we forget! Here are some reasons for joy!

  • Psalm 51:8 & 12 - Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me-now let me rejoice. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
  • Jeremiah 15:16 - When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven's Armies.
  • Luke 15:8-10 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbours and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents."
  • 1 Peter 1:8-9 - You love Jesus Christ even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Do you desire to be' overflowing with joy today and this week? Go into this week with a joy that is anticipating and expectant! Do you need to hand over to Jesus a particular area of your life' where Jesus does not fully reign and have control? I pray that the Father will reveal more of Himself to you, as you daily seek His face, overcoming all hindrances to living a successful and joyful-Christian life. May the Holy Spirit who lives within you, if you are a Christian, continue to transform you into the image of the Son Jesus Christ, and all to the praise and glory of God the Father. Amen.

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Nov 24, 2014

Think Spot 24 November 2014

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Think Spot - 24th November 2014

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G'day and welcome to Partake! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

We have the start of a new week! Its Monday! How and in what circumstances are you trusting God? How did Jesus Christ trust in the Father? Jesus knew that the Father was going to bring Him back to life after his death on the cross. Jesus trusted the Father in this area of His life, just as he did in all aspects of his life. How are you doing? Do you have concerns and areas of your life where you need an assurance that God the Father will help you?

Here are some simple steps which may help you maintain a trust in God.

  1. Pray, casting all anxiety on God. He cares for you because you are His personal concern (The great apostle Peter, one of Jesus' closest friends wrote this in 1 Peter 5v7 "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.")

  2. Accept and thank God that His peace has filled that area (Another great apostle, Paul, wrote this in Philippians 4v7 says "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.")
  3. Learn to be content whatever your circumstances are, resting in God (Paul goes on in Philippians 4v11-12 "Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.")
  4. Allow the Spirit to control your mind for life and peace (and again from the pen of the apostle Paul, this time in Romans 8v6 "So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.")

  5. Trust God to fulfil your every need (Matthew records these words of Jesus in Matthew 6v32-33 "but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." )
  6. Obey and follow God's commands to love God and love others (Jesus is recorded in Matthew 22v37-40 "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.")
  7. Finally, be prepared to be obedient to the Father, in supplying the needs of others you meet and therefore showing you love God and other people! One way to show you are trusting and loving God is to be the answer to the prayers of somebody else and showing that love to them! Ask God to show you, how you can help somebody else in need this week and showing your love.

Go in peace this Monday, into this week, knowing God is worthy of your trust! God will take care of you, but not always in the way you expect!  Expect Him to allow circumstances and situations to arise where you are to trust Him fully! He will help you if you ask! After all, He knows you better than anybody! And don't be afraid to help somebody else because by doing that, you show you are loving and trusting in God!

Father, I pray that You would help us to trust in You and that You would supply our needs, calm our concerns and help us to love You and others more fully. I ask this through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have peace with you. Amen

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Nov 17, 2014

Think Spot 17 November 2014

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Think Spot 17 November 2014

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G'day and welcome to Partakers! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

Matthew 5:9 records Jesus speaking these words "God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God."

All over the world, people share a common desire for peace! But what is peace? The peace the world wants varies from the peace the Christian knows. The world sees peace as the absence of conflict and people being generally ‘nice' to one another. Peace in the Christian context goes further, saying peace is perfect harmony with God, other people, circumstances and self. Therefore perfect peace will not come until Jesus Christ comes again, and takes Christians to be with Him.

That doesn't give us as Christians a mandate to sit around not doing what we can for peace, because we are commanded to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), our God is a God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and the Kingdom of God is about peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Peace is to be our business! In a world full of conflicts, such as conflicts between nations, conflicts between neighbours, conflicts even within families and conflicts within and between churches, Christians are to be peacemakers!

With that in mind, here are some thoughts on what the Bible has to say on peace, to help you this week be a peacemaker:

1. Peace with God

  • Justified by faith (Romans 5:1-2)
  • Christ is our peace between God and man and between men (Ephesians 2:13-18)

2. Peace with others

  • Live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:17-20)
  • Do everything possible which leads to peace and mutual encouragement (Romans 14:13-19)
  • Be a peacemaker - a sign of real wisdom producing a harvest of righteousness (Matthew 5:9, James 3:17-18)

3. Peace within/circumstances

  • Peace is a gift of God (John 14:27, 2 Thessalonians3:16)
  • Worldly peace requires manipulation of circumstances, God's peace comes regardless of circumstances
  • We have peace in troubled times - an untroubled, unfearful heart and mind (John 16:33)

Go in peace this Monday, into this week, knowing that the God of peace lives inside you if you are one of His children! Yesterday churches around the world celebrated the feast of Pentecost - the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus. If you desire peace with God, with others and in all circumstances, ask this Holy Spirit who lives inside you to help you! If you would not consider yourself as one of His children, ask Him to help you become one!

Father, I pray that this week we will do all we can to be peacemakers and make a difference in world in conflict. I ask this through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have peace with you. Amen

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