google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2018 November

Archive for November 2018

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Partakers Friday Prayers

30 November 2018

 

Come and join in praying for the world and yourself, offering praises to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit!

 

Order of Service

 Opening prayer

Confession

Psalm 65

Prayers for Churches and Christians worldwide

Prayers for others

Silent time (Prayer for your own concerns)

Prayers for the world

Prayer of Benedict of Nursia

 

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God Roars 1

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God Roars!

God Roars - How?

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I once heard a lion roaring! He was in London zoo and I was in Regents Park in the quiet of the early morning. I wasn't able to make him roar. That happened in his own time, usually when he was alone early in the morning, when things were quiet and still. Then, his roar would bellow over the trees and buildings, cutting right through any traffic noise. Has God ever roared? As Christian Disciples, we believe that God has indeed roared. We believe that God has spoken to this world because He loves this world. 1 John 4:16 tells us that God is love. Part of love is a desire to both know, and to be known. That is why the prophets spoke and the Bible were written. This is why God became man in Jesus Christ, because God wanted to know and be known in the fullest, human way possible. God roars or speaks to the world by three methods.:

  • Revelation: where God has caused the truth to be revealed.
  • Inspiration: Where God causes the truth to be recorded.
  • Illumination: because God causes the truth to be understood.

These three words, revelation, inspiration and illumination are what Christian Disciples believe about the Bible. It is God's revealed word about His Son Jesus Christ, inspired by His Holy Spirit and only illuminated within us, as we seek Him earnestly.

God Roars by Revelation.

Revelation is how God has communicated truths to people, who otherwise would not know them. The story of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 is a good example of this. As humanity was not created until the sixth day, it must have been God who revealed the knowledge about what occurred on the first five days to the author of Genesis, or it would not be possible to know what occurred. We know God did speak to those who wrote the Bible; but how did He speak? Was it in Hebrew? Greek? Some form of angelic language? We know that He spoke to them in their own language, as he did to young Samuel in the temple. Samuel at first thought that the voice was that of Eli the priest.

At other times God spoke through angels, as when the angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would give birth to Jesus. Another method of communication used by God was through dreams and visions. An example of this is in the birth story of Jesus Christ, whereby the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to King Herod. God has also communicated by way of a burning bush and from within of a cloud. God has even spoken through a donkey, as the prophet Balaam can testify! In the Old Testament, often God spoke through the "Angel of the Lord", which some believe to have been Jesus before He came to earth as a human. The Bible, as God's written word, is revelation because through its pages, the Bible reveals the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

God Roars by Inspiration.

The actual word inspiration is only found once in the New Testament, where Paul explicitly states, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" or more literally "God-breathed." Divine inspiration naturally proceeds from divine revelation. Whilst through revelation God speaks to man's ear, it is by inspiration that God works the pen, thus ensuring that the message is written correctly. This process of inspiration has several theories attached to it. One theory called the content theory, suggests that the author garnered the main idea from God, but God allowed the writer to choose his own words.

Another is the natural theory, whereby the Biblical writers were inspired in the same sense that William Shakespeare was inspired. God did not suppress the writers' personalities. For example, the differences between the writing style of John and the writing style of Paul are easily recognizable. However, Jesus said that God chose the very letters of the words. This view states that God inspires all the words of the Bible. God was able to use humans, even with their limitations to say all that He needed to say. God wanted to communicate to ordinary people, so He used ordinary people to write and produce the Bible.

In response to temptation by satan, Jesus said that man is to live by each of these God inspired words. Writers in the bible, such as Peter that knew their writings were being God guided. Peter said this was true of the Old Testament authors, his own writings and also true of Paul's. However inspiration does not guarantee the inspiration of any translation of the Bible, but only of the original manuscripts written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.

God Roars by Illumination

God has spoken and He has communicated His Written Word to us. Firstly by revelation when God spoke to the writers. Secondly, through inspiration as the writers were divinely guided by God, in the process of writing His message. However, in order to understand God's revealed and inspired message, illumination is required. This is where God causes the Bible to be understood by both the human heart and the mind. Why do we need of illumination? Without illumination the reader of the Bible, is blinded by both his nature and by Satan. Just as a light bulb needs power in order to give light, so does the Bible need somebody to provide the power!

The person, who does this illuminating, is God the Holy Spirit. He was promised by Jesus to illuminate the Bible to the hearts and minds of all people willing to listen, both Christian and non-Christian. Take for example the Holy Spirit's use of God's Word to illuminate sinners at Pentecost, where after hearing Simon Peter preach, three thousand people became Christian Disciples. However, as a Christian Disciple, you also need this illumination to help you understand God's Word. The Holy Spirit will show these tremendous truths to you as you read the Bible regularly, and ask for His help in understanding it. He will not contradict what the Bible says! By the Holy Spirit illuminating the Bible, people's lives are transformed and changed. By way of the Holy Spirit illuminating the Bible as God's inspired written word, God's Living Word Jesus Christ is revealed.

So, why not pray for His help when ever you read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate it to you?

For more to think about, please read in the Bible, 2 Timothy 3:14-16; Deuteronomy 29:29; Isaiah 59:21; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

1. What are the 3 methods in the Bible that God has used to speak to the world, and how would you define them?

2. Write down some examples from the Bible of "revelation".

3. What are the roles played by God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in regards to the Bible?

4. Can you tell the difference between two writers, such as the writer of 3 John and the writer of 2 Peter?

 

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WOW Word 14

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

 WOW Word - Christ

Our WOW Word today is Christ! We are approaching the Christmas season. I wonder if you know what the word Christ means and where it comes from? The word Christ is the New Testament word for the Old Testament word, Messiah. So we look to the Old Testament first, in order to understand what the New Testament word Christ means! It was appended to His name in the New Testament, as a way of expressing who He was! Play the video to discover what Alphiy the WOWChurch Cat has to say and/or download the file to take away! Bless ya! 

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POD - Psalm 127

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Psalm 127

 

 A Song of Ascents. By Solomon

1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.

Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat

- for he grants sleep to those he loves.

3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,

children a reward from him.

4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.

5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

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Think Spot 26th November 2018

As part of our living as followers of Jesus, here is something which has the capability of affecting every person on the planet.

Jesus, our Master, said in Matthew 12:36-37 "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Jesus took words and thoughts extremely seriously. Jesus’ words encouraged others gently towards paths of right living. He spoke words of love, kindness, rebuke, forgiveness, encouragement and blessing upon and to others. Jesus is to be our guide and Master in the use of thoughts and words.

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus equates calling somebody a fool with the physical act of murder. Murder has its beginning in anger developing into uncontrollable rage. Improper attitudes, words and thoughts can lead you and I to sin if we don’t stop their destructive use quickly. May the words we communicate and think about, be like those of Jesus – “full of grace”. How is your WOW factor of Jesus now?

When Jesus Christ called you to follow Him, He called you to follow Him wholeheartedly and be committed to only Him. Jesus calls you and I, to love God and be totally committed to Him.

Here is a brief prayer to help us into the new week.

Father, help us this week to be totally committed to you in all aspects of our lives. May those we live with, work with and interact with, know we are your child by the words we speak. We ask this, through the mighty name of your Son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 9
Jesus' Mission - at home

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
Luke 4:14-15


Jesus’ public ministry on earth has begun. These verses at the end of Luke 4 tell us that his mission is to preach God’s Kingdom. A reluctant John the Baptist had baptized Him and the crowds who witnessed this event. They had heard God the Father speaking to Jesus. He underwent temptations by the arch-seducer, satan, and emerged victorious from that ordeal. Now Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, has returned home to Galilee (Luke 4:14). What did he do there and how did those who knew Him react as he grew through childhood?


Jesus at home (Luke 4:14-30)

Jesus is back in home territory and because of the power of his teaching, he is becoming known as a great teacher (Luke 4:15). Jesus spent some time in Galilee, became known and aroused the interest, curiosity and excitement of people.

Worshipping (Luke 4:14-18): It was Jesus’ habit to attend public worship wherever he was. But what did a typical synagogue service look like in the time of Jesus? Here is the outline of a typical synagogue service at the time of Jesus in the early first century AD:

  • Opened with a prayer for God’s blessing
  • Traditional Hebrew confession of faith (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21)
  • Prayer and readings from the Law and the Prophets
  • Brief sermon given by one of the men or a visiting rabbi (Acts 13:14-16)
  •  Benediction or prayer


Because of Jesus’ growing renown as a teacher, it is no surprise that he should be asked to read the Scripture and give a short teaching session regarding it. Here in Nazareth, Jesus declared that the day for demonstrating God’s salvation had arrived and the day the prophets looked forward to, was going to be fulfilled in Jesus Himself (Luke 4:20). Jesus was the Servant who Isaiah had talked about long ago (Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus’ ministry was divinely directed. It was a ministry of hope for all people and a ministry to free the spiritually oppressed (Luke 4:18).

Acceptable Year of the Lord (Luke 4:19): When Jesus said in Luke 4:19 “to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour”, Jesus was referring to the “Year of Jubilee” (Leviticus 25). This was when at every fiftieth year, there was the balancing of the economic system. Slaves were released, set free and returned to their families. Property that was sold, now returned to the original owners. All debts were cancelled and the land lay bare to rest and rejoice in the Lord. Upon hearing this announcement, the reaction by the local people was at first one of astonishment (Luke 4:22) and telling each other he was the son of Joseph. But we remember and know, that Jesus was not the son of Joseph. Rather, Jesus was the Son of God, as announced by angels before he was born. Jesus Christ is the new Adam and the founder of a new humanity. All this, Jesus goes on to explain.

Rejected (Luke 4:20-30): The local people of Nazareth, saw Jesus as the son of Joseph. Admiration turned to anger, because Jesus began to remind them of God’s goodness to the Gentiles. He did this by reminding them about some of the Jewish heroes of the past. People such as the great prophet Elijah who bypassed all the Jewish widows to go and help a Gentile widow in Sidon (1 Kings 17:8-16). Jesus also reminded them that another Jewish hero, Elisha, had healed a Gentile leper from Syria (2 Kings 5:1-15).


Whilst those people in Nazareth could only see Jesus in their local setting, he told them his mission was for all Israel. And if Israel rejected this message of Good News, then the Gentiles would be blessed by it (Luke 4:25-27). Upon hearing this, the astonished admiration turned to furious anger (Luke 4:28-30). Salvation is no longer restricted to Israel but for every child of Adam – every human. Jesus’ mission was not only to be Israel’s saviour but the world’s saviour. When Jesus quoted the proverb “no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24), he revealed his knowledge of Old Testament history. He knew that God’s messengers often were rejected, and even as God’s Son, he was rejected as well. Next week we look at Jesus away from home.

We investigate that in the next podcast of this series.

 

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 16 - Hebrews 6:4-8

The perils of falling away.

 
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

This is a tricky passage. It seems not to agree with what is said elsewhere in scripture. But here it is in front of us and we must heed what it says. To highlight the problem here is one famous type of theology, followed by Reformed churches, which indicates the alternative very forcefully. T.U.L.I.P. is the mnemonic used by some of the more extreme advocates of a Calvinistic theology. These stand for:

  • T - Total depravity. This does not mean everyone is just as bad as they could possibly be but that everyone is naturally so sinful the initiative for their salvation must come from God, even when they think it is their own choice to follow him
  • U - Unconditional election. God chooses us; we do not choose him.
  • L - Limited atonement. Jesus did not die for all men and women, being only made effective for those who he chooses. Rather he only died for those who God knew he would call.
  • I - Irresistible grace. If God decides to call us we are called. There is nothing we can do about it; we cannot refuse his offer.
  • P - Perseverance of the saints. Once chosen, called and saved we cannot turn away from that. We are believers for ever.

There is much to commend in this view of faith. All these points can, and are, easily supported by scripture quotations.

Reading through all these things is a useful reminder that becoming a follower of Jesus is not like joining the Boy Scouts or the local golf club. There we, or our parents, pay the joining fee and we are in. It is all our doing. But when we become followers of Jesus we are not the sole partakers in what happens. God has a part to play. In fact he has the major part to play. In particular we receive from him the gift of the Holy Spirit. Once we have received that gift can we back out of the arrangement? No, of course not says TULIP. But the verses in front of us in Hebrews say something different.

There is no easy way to reconcile the two. The easy, but rather unsatisfactory, way out is to say the one who is falling away was never really a Christian believer in the first place, but was just imitating the activities of those who are. But that doesn’t really fit. Our writer talks about a person being enlightened, tasting the heavenly gift (presumably meaning experiencing the power and joy of heavenly love), sharing in the Holy Spirit, becoming excited by reading the Bible and looking forward to the eventual life in the kingdom. These two things simply do not fit.

How you resolve this tension will depend almost entirely on your background and the sort of church you are in. I will say just this:the TULIP type approach gives us great confidence in the Lord and encouragement on our way; what our writer says is a strong warning against the perils of turning away from faith once embarked on the great journey it offers. Both points of view are found in scripture and we must heed both.

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

A prayer of John Wycliffe

A prayer for faith and courage
2 Corinthians 12:10 - That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

O loving Christ draw me, weak as I am, to your side,
for if you do not draw me, I can never follow you.
Give me a brave spirit,
so that it may always stand ready and strong.
And when my flesh is weak,
let your grace go before me,
come beside me,
and follow after me,
for without you, I can do nothing—least of all suffer pain or death.
Grant me a fearless heart,
a true faith, firm hope, and a perfect love,
so that for your sake I may lay down my life with patience and joy.
Amen

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Jesus and You 6

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Jesus and me!

G' day welcome to Partakers and the last planned in this little series, Jesus and you, where we looked at some people in the Gospel record, who met Jesus and how he changed their life and perceptions. Today its Jesus and me! Almost everybody has an opinion of the man Jesus Christ! Countless millions worship him today and down through history! People sometimes ask me "Who is my Jesus?"

"Who is my Jesus?"

My Jesus Christ, is the man who splits history BC & AD! The man who we claim is the messiah and saviour as spoken about by the prophets of old and written about by those who met Him... My Jesus Christ, the man who healed the sick, fought for justice, did many great deeds, filled with compassion, driven on by joy and in constant conversation with God the Father.

My Jesus Christ, is the man who claimed to be God and was God! Jesus who emptied Himself, made Himself nothing, so as to take on human form. Jesus Christ, fully human and yet fully God. My Jesus Christ, is the most amazing man who ever lived, born of a woman, in a humble stable. Jesus Christ, the man born to die that he may come back alive and give all people a chance to live forever.

My Jesus Christ, is the man who died on a grubby Roman cross, pierced, battered, bruised and scarred. Jesus Christ, the God-man who died physically. Jesus Christ, buried within and sealed into a cold empty tomb. My Jesus Christ, is the man who conquered death, came back alive as witnessed by uncountable others. Jesus Christ who defeated the sting of sin, so that humanity may choose to live forever!

My Jesus Christ, whose very death and resurrection we celebrate at Easter, who ascended to the right hand of God the Father. This Jesus Christ, who with the Father, sent the Holy Spirit to transform into His own image, all who choose to follow Him. My Jesus Christ, who covers His followers in His own robe of righteousness so that they would be acceptable to God the Father. Jesus Christ, coming again soon in glory to judge humanity and claim those who follow Him. Jesus Christ who calls to you and I "Come and follow!" That is my Jesus Christ! But, you may be asking yourself, why are you a Christian and identify yourself as such?

Why am I a Christian?

"We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:9-12 - 

I am a Christian not because of anything I have done! No, nothing I could do or have done would have made me a Christian. Rather, it is because He first chased me, and because He first loved me. Jesus himself said "I came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19v10). God was chasing me and following my every path. Why am I a Christian? It is because of the events at Christmas and Easter that I am a Christian!

The dual events, in harmony, when God entered this world as a human baby and took all the necessary steps so that all people could have the choice to be His people or not. In my more smug moments I used to congratulate myself for being a Christian. How proud I was that I, Dave, was a Christian and that God was a jolly lucky God that I had decided to follow Him.

It was during one of my less self-deluded moments, that I examined myself and I found God pricking my conscience and correcting me, and I read the New Testament "For the Son of Man came, not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark10v45).

Jesus calls you!

If you would not call yourself a Christian today, and this Jesus appeals to you, this Jesus who speaks with authority, and you want to become a Christian there are three simple steps to follow. Firstly, admit that you have done wrong against God and His ways. Secondly, believe and trust in Jesus.  Call on Him, receive, trust, obey and worship Him, recognizing Him for who He is and what He has done. Lastly, confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.  

Once sin has been confessed, and Jesus is believed in and trusted as Saviour, then you are a Christian. Now you are ready as Peter writes in the Bible, "to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). Christian discipleship is a lifetime commitment!  Welcome to the family of God. It isnt just becoming a convert but rather a life long follower wanting to be more like Jesus Christ in what we call being a disciple. God has chosen you; Jesus has paid for you and has put His mark within you through His Spirit (Ephesians 1:1-13). Finally, I ask again, who do you say this Jesus is? But further, what are you going to do with this Jesus and let Him do to you? Thank you.

Again, I ask, who do you say Jesus is? But further, what are you going to do with this Jesus and let Him do to you?

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WOW Word 58 - Temptation

 

“No temptation has come your way that is too hard for flesh and blood to bear. But God can be trusted not to allow you to suffer any temptation beyond your powers of endurance. He will see to it that every temptation has a way out, so that it will never be impossible for you to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

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Today, Alphy the WOWChurch cat shares with us about temptation - what it is, what it is not, who, why, where? Come see and hear Alphy the WOWChurch Cat explain more!!

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Psalm 56

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Psalm 56

A poem by David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.


1 Be merciful to me, God,
for man wants to swallow me up.
All day long, he attacks and oppresses me.
2 My enemies want to swallow me up all day long,
for they are many who fight proudly against me.
3 When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
4 In God, I praise his word.
In God, I put my trust.
I will not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?

5 All day long they twist my words.
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They conspire and lurk,
watching my steps,
they are eager to take my life.
7 Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, God.

8 You number my wanderings.
You put my tears into your bottle.
Aren’t they in your book?

9 Then my enemies shall turn back in the day that I call.
I know this, that God is for me.
10 In God, I will praise his word.
In Yahweh, I will praise his word.

11 I have put my trust in God.
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
12 Your vows are on me, God.
I will give thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
and prevented my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of the living.

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Think Spot 19 November 2018

 

 25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:25-30)

Jesus is strong enough and capable enough, to carry any burden that is laid upon Him. Jesus Christ gives a solid and sure foundation for all aspects of life, which will not fall or be destroyed. Indeed Jesus Christ will never fall or decay such is His imperishability as the everlasting God. Jesus Christ is solid, dependable and strong; nobody and nothing can stand against Him. Jesus’ strength means I can go to Him for protection and strength when I am weak and knowing He will supply my needs. Just as He has done for the last 35 years of following Him and will continue to do so throughout my life here on earth.

Unlike people offering self-help approaches and quick fixes for life, Jesus offers us Himself. He is able to help because of who He is – the giver and author of life. He is entirely and utterly dependable. Just as your body needs water to survive, so do the souls of people need Jesus in a personal encounter with Him. That is how dissatisfaction with life is beaten – Jesus reaching out to grasp you by the hand. Let him take your life and He will change your life. That is His promise – as He satisfies the urges in your soul it is as if a spring of water bursts into you – life giving, sparkling streams of water… WOW!

Go into this week with that promise of Jesus.

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