Thursday, May 24, 2012

Zephaniah 3:9-11

"For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.
In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in they pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain."
Zephaniah 3:9-11


I love the idea in the first verse of a pure language, that it seems everyone will have.  I imagine that a pure language will be easier to learn than most of the ones that we have around today... hopefully without sacrificing layers of meaning and the ability to express complex thought. :)  A language that everyone can speak fluently... wouldn't that be amazing?  If we could all express ourselves with equal ease?  Not that it would make us borg drones... we'll still have different things to express... but I think it would be cool if everyone could put their thoughts into words more easily.  It's what I imagine when I think of a "pure" language.
I don't know what "beyond the rivers of Ethiopia" means, but it does sound interesting.  Maybe some of the lost tribes living out there?
The final verse in this selection is interesting.  We won't be ashamed for our doings... why?  Because no one will rejoice in our pride, and we will no longer be haughty.  Sounds like we'll be humble enough to watch ourselves at that point, and not do anything that will make us ashamed of ourselves.  Part of humility I think is accepting what God has in store instead of worrying about what will happen.  Whatever happens, now or at the second coming, if we put God first and stay in tune with the spirit, things will work out.  Definitely not the way we want them to all the time... but the way that God wants them to, and a way that will provide for all of us to be happy eternally.  Today, let's work on finding the happiness in whatever God grants us, rather than questioning his judgement and stressing ourselves out with regard to what comes next.  Not easy, by any means, but I think that it will bring us way closer to peace.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doctrine and Covenants 49:20

"But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin."
Doctrine and Covenants 49:20


Wow.  The verse before this talks about how the stuff on the earth is here so that we can use it (wisely), and have abundance... and then this verse about how God doesn't want us to possess things unequally.  Seems like we are very far from that ideal.  And God also values free agency, so we can't just force everyone to give up what they have and redistribute it more fairly. :)  So, how do we get there while allowing people to make their own choices?  That's a lot harder than most of the world's answers.  This is a change that we have to make within ourselves, not a change that any government can make for us.  And it is something that the Lord already asks us to do.  He tells us to give to those who ask.  He tells us to take care of the poor and the needy, he asks us to give generously, to love the people around us, to pay tithes.
We look at this scripture and the state of the world, and think... wow, that is too huge.  Too impossible.  There is nothing that we can do to solve that.  But there is.  We can take a step... there is something that we can do individually without expecting the entire world to do the same.  Today, let's look for that thing that we can do to make a difference.  Let's make the world a little better.  Not by robbing people, or demanding more.... but by giving what we can to others, whether that is money, or time, or education, or work, or stuff that we don't need.  And let's not give to show people that we are cool either... let's do it quietly, anonymously where possible, and humbly, not making anyone feel bad that they are in need or have to ask for help.  In Zion there were no poor among them.  Let's see how we can help that to happen for the people around us.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Alma 17:17

"Therefore they separated themselves one from another, and went forth among them, every man alone, according to the word and power of God which was given unto him."
Alma 17:17


This is an interesting chapter, where the sons of Mosiah go on a missionary journey to preach to the Lamanites, and they divide up to see what they can accomplish.  A previous verse also says that they trusted in the Lord that they would meet again at the close of their journey.  I think that we all have times like this in our lives, where even if we know that we are going to be reunited with someone later, that we have to go it alone.  Sometimes we are facing things alone even with friends and family all around, because we each experience things differently.  There are times in life where we have to learn individual lessons, and sometimes that period in our lives is long, and sometimes it is short, but whatever it is that we have to face alone, we have the word and power of God to help us handle it.  Nothing can separate us from him except our own choices.  Today, whatever we have to face alone, let's remember that God is there to help us even when we feel desolate.  And let's trust that God will not only get us through our trials, but help us find peace and love wherever we are... and after our journey, reunite us with our loved ones.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mosiah 16:13

"And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ can ye be saved?"
Mosiah 16:13


This is Abinadi talking.  Brief recap for people who don't know the story: Abinadi was preaching in a very wicked city that had a wicked king, and the people bound him and took him to the king.  The king brought him in front of all his wicked priests, so they could question him and find a reason to put him to death... but before they did that, he preached the gospel to them, and one of the wicked priests (Alma) was converted to the gospel and made a huge difference in the church thereafter.
Anyway, repentance... I think we have a tendency to reject the implication from anyone, even prophets, that we need to repent and change our lives.  We're either blind to it, in that justification mode where we think that we're doing fine and we don't need to change, or (sometimes worse) we know that we've got some problems that we need to take care of... but not yet.  We'll get around to it eventually, but first we're going to roll around in the sin a little more because we like the way it squishes between our toes.  And in either of those scenarios, we're losing opportunities, and we're also making it harder to do something different in the future, and change... because the more we justify, the easier it is to justify.  And the more we put things off, the easier it is to put things off.  ... The more we knowingly sin, the harder it is to get to a place where we're sincerely sorry for what we've done, and dedicated to changing.
The truth is, we all need to repent... most of our lives we are in constant need of it.  Sins are like spiritual rocks in the path, and in order to move forward... in order to learn more, and become more, we have to get past them.  Today, no matter how big or small the rocks in front of us are, let's start the process of clearing them away.  Let's repent so that we can move forward with our lives, and become more than we are now.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hebrews 13:15-16 -- On Pleasing Sacrifices

"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.
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
Hebrews 13:15-16


I kind of like the fact that Paul calls these sacrifices here.  The sacrifice of praise to God makes me think of pride, and how in order to praise God, we need to let go of the idea that we ourselves are supreme.  Seems funny to say that, but I think we're all there sometimes... thinking that we know what is best for ourselves, that we can make something work that is totally unworkable, that God will understand or accommodate us. :)  The truth is, God is supreme, and to learn to be like him, and to have what he has, we have to learn to let go of that pride, and accept instruction from God, who is the only one who knows how to accomplish that.  We have be humble, and learn to understand and accommodate him.  Which is sometimes a sacrifice... of our own desire to be the coolest. :)

And the second verse is awesome too... kind of parallel to the great commandments to love God and love other people, we need to praise God, and to do good and communicate with other people.  I know that probably sounds like a silly sacrifice too, but we definitely have problems with this as well.  We get so wrapped up in ourselves and what we want that we often forget about other people... that we need to serve them and help them, and communicate with them.  We forget sometimes that other people can't read our minds, and know our intentions and emotions.  We have to translate what is in our head into a message of some sort so that they can participate in our thought processes and build relationships with us.  A Zion community can't exist without talking to each other... and does love really count if you only feel it and don't communicate it in some way?  Today, let's make the sacrifices necessary, and tell God and other people how much we appreciate them.  Let's praise, communicate, and do some good. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Doctrine & Covenants 42:48-52

"And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.
He who hath faith to see shall see.
He who hath faith to hear shall hear.
The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap.
And they who have not faith to do these things, but believe in me, have power to become my sons; and inasmuch as they break not my laws thou shalt bear their infirmities."
Doctrine & Covenants 42:48-52


We sometimes forget about, or stop believing in miracles I think.  We remember Christ walking on the water, or healing the man born blind, and we think that is totally cool, but we don't even imagine those things happening to us.  It's like Miracle on 34th street, but with God instead of Santa.  We're cynical.  We kind of believe in the power of prayer because it has helped us find something we lost... but we don't see the truth behind all of it.  And the truth is, we can be healed.  We can overcome whatever it is that we're struggling with, no matter how unlikely it seems.  But we have to learn to know and trust God, and let go of our cynicism, and really believe in God's power to completely overhaul our lives, and that he will do it for us.  Fortunately for all of us who aren't there yet, God also helps us bear our infirmities, even if we don't have the faith yet to be freed from them.
I know it is hard to believe, and easy to say, well, God might do that for Christ or a prophet, but why would he do it for me?  It is easy to dismiss all of it as a fable.  But God isn't going to disappear if we don't believe in him.  He'll still be there, waiting for us to take him up on his offer to heal us, to help us, and to make us whole.  It's not an intellectual triumph to dismiss God from our lives, or imagine that his power is limited to helping us find our keys.  It's a tragedy.  He is the one, often the only one, who can help us make the giant, lasting changes in our lives that we so often need.  He is the one who can save us from the impossible burden, who can heal us internally and externally.  The one who can help us find happiness in the midst of the chaos of life.  Whatever you need, God can do it.  Let's talk to him today about it, and work something out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

1 John 3:1-2

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:1-2


I was talking to a friend yesterday about things that we wished we could do.  Fly, eat without gaining weight, be a little taller, change our hair color at will, and so on.  It was a silly conversation, but I think there was also a little hope in there that someday we'll enjoy perfect bodies and walk on water and more of those things that God has.
As this verse says, we don't know everything about God, and we don't have all the details about what we will become in the far future.  But we do know that we will be like him.  We're the sons of God because God is literally the father of our spirits, and also because Christ figuratively has begotten us through his suffering for our sins.  All of us will have some blessings after this life just because we are the children of God, and physically we will all be like him in certain respects.  We'll have perfect, immortal bodies.  We'll be free of so many things that physically limit us here.  And some of us, if we work at it, will learn to be like God internally as well as externally.  Some things will depend on this internal likeness.  We know that Peter tried to walk on the water, and did for a few steps.  He obviously had the physical ability already.  But he wasn't able to sustain his walk because he faltered internally, and he couldn't sustain his faith for more than a few steps.  If we want to be able to do cool things like Peter did, we have to learn at least as much faith.  And if we want to do cool things like Christ did... well, we need to spend our lives learning to be like him, internally.  And God has shown us the way to get there... he's given us commandments... which teach us the way to become more like he is.  Today, let's remember that the Gospel isn't about limitations, but about learning to be so much more than we are... to be able to do new things, and have new opportunities and *more* freedom, not less.  And as we remember that today, let's renew our efforts to do as God asks.  To walk his path, and learn what he has to teach us.  We have the chance to be instructed by God today about how to become more like him.  Let's pray, and read, and listen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Proverbs 18:14

"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?"
Proverbs 18:14


We get caught up in physical comfort or physical infirmities pretty easily.  If we're in pain or uncomfortable physically, we take care of it as fast as we can.  We usually try to avoid unnecessary situations that pose serious physical danger, and in the ones where it is necessary, we do our best to prepare.  Proper equipment, bulletproof vest, clean suit, etc.  We do so much to avoid physical harm.  This verse in interesting because it compares physical wounds with spiritual wounds, saying that spiritual ones are worse.  Our spirits can sustain us through physical ailments, but not the other way around.  Spiritual pain and spiritual harm is the more dangerous risk, but we often take it lightly and walk into spiritually dangerous situations without thinking twice, and without a shred of spiritual protection.  Today, let's take our spiritual health as seriously as our physical health.  Let's do what we can to avoid spiritually harmful situations.  And, when we can't, let's do what we can to prepare.  Let's read our scriptures, let's pray... let's have the spirit with us as our spiritual bulletproof vest, allowing us to walk through a dangerous situation unharmed.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Doctrine and Covenants 38:24-27

"And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practise virtue and holiness before me.
And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself.
For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?
Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine."
Doctrine and Covenants 38:24-27


When God repeats himself, it seems to me like it is something that we should pay extra attention to. :)  In these verses he repeats that we should esteem our brothers as ourselves, and I am sure that he means sisters as well.  And since God is our father, I'm also certain that he doesn't just mean siblings in our earthly families... but all of our brothers and sisters, everywhere.  That's a tough one.  People of other faiths, other political parties, people in other countries... people who we disagree with, people who have hurt other people, or who may have treated us badly in the past.  They are all our siblings, and people that God exhorts us to esteem as ourselves.  They aren't lesser people, and we can't dismiss them as worthless or hopeless or heartless.  And also, economically, we can't dismiss the poor... or the rich.  God's parable here is pretty specific about that aspect.  It isn't just to give someone robes and another rags.
God isn't going to force us to think of or treat our brothers and sisters as equals, but he does ask it, here.  He wants us to be united, as one... and if we aren't one, we aren't his.  Today, no matter how we feel personally, or whether we've worked out how we feel about economic disparity or nationalism or religious supremacy, let's belong to God and try it His way.  Let's treat each other as equals, and work at being one with the rest of humanity.

Friday, May 11, 2012

John 15:10-12

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
John 15:10-12


God gives us commandments and asks us to live a certain way.  Sometimes I think we see this as overly demanding or restrictive.  We want to live however the crap we want, and still have God's love, and still have all the blessings, and we think that God is really mean to withhold anything from us for not following some stupid rules.  I wonder if we consider whether this is the way the universe works though.  No matter how much we get mad at gravity, it is going to keep pulling us down, not letting us drift off into space.  I think it is the same with God's laws.  They aren't arbitrary things that God made up to keep us as controlled unhappy slaves.  It's the way things work.
If we obey the laws that allow us to have God's spirit with us, then it will be... and we'll get to feel God's love and have his guidance all the time. He tells us the commandments because he knows that in following them, we'll learn true joy.  And one of the laws is that we should love... love not in the selfish, possessive way that we sometimes interpret love... but love as Christ loves us.  As he loved people when he was on the earth.  Forgiving, blessing, healing... teaching, helping, even feeding.  Taking care of people, and blessing their lives.  Today, let's tap into the way the world works by listening to God... doing as he asks.  Loving others, so that we can be filled with love and joy.  Seems like a really, really positive law for everyone. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Doctrine and Covenants 7:8

"Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which ye have desired."
Doctrine and Covenants 7:8


This section talks about John the beloved and Peter, and the things that they asked the Lord for before he departed his earth life.  John desired power over death so that he could continue to bring souls to Christ.  Peter wanted to go back to Christ as quickly as possible.  Both were good desires.  I love the idea of so many things being good desires, and that there are so many choices that we can make that are good, and that God is pleased with.  I don't think it is just these two, of course... but just the idea that even though there is a straight and narrow path to heaven and salvation... we still can all walk it in a different way.  We don't all have to have the same career, or the same family, or the same hobbies or desires.  God's instruction and love for us is so individual.  We absolutely have to follow the commandments, and apply general rules to ourselves as we strive to live closer to God, but none of that means that we have to become borg-like parts of some slave-mind.  Obedience brings true freedom... freedom from guilt and the burden of sin.  Freedom to joy in all of our righteous desires, even if they are totally different from the next person.  Freedom to become better than we are, and to achieve personal goals, to celebrate with others that we want to join in eternal friendship.  Freedom to develop our talents and to be happy in what we as individuals desire.  God's perfection isn't a world full of cookie-cutter clones, but a world of glorious diversity and freedom to grow and learn without restrictions like economic or educational deficits, or racial or cultural hatred.  Today, let's remember that there are many righteous desires, and that everyone doesn't need to be the same to be good. :)  And let's go out and become people who would rejoice at living in that Zion society.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Luke 6:32-38

"For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye?  for sinners also love those that love them.
And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also so even the same.
And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil.
Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured unto you again."
Luke 6:32-38


These are some important verses.  I think that we forget sometimes that God asks us to do the hard stuff.  We go along throughout our days, loving the people who love us, and being awesome to the people we think are awesome, and we kind of block out those "other" people.  But, here, the other people are the point.  In these verses, God asks us to love the people who don't love us.  To do good to those who are not good to us.  To lend/give even when we know whatever we offer is never coming back.  That's a tall order... but how amazingly worth it.  The second part of this group of verses also contains commandments, but they are hooked up inseparably with promises.  If we are good to other people... if we don't judge them, if we don't condemn them, if we forgive them, if we are generous to them... then God promises to be good to us.  He won't judge us or condemn us.  He will forgive us.  He will give us so much that we won't be able to hold it all.  ... God says specifically here that the same measure that we mete to others will be measured to us again.  In looking at how we treat the "others" in our lives, is that what we want for ourselves?  Are we willing to accept that same treatment from God?  Today, let's treat others in exactly the way that we want God to treat us.  ... Because that is the deal we're offered.  Let's make sure we turn it into an awesome thing rather than a tragedy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Matthew 20:13-16

"But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
Matthew 20:13-16


This is interesting.  We complain a lot about "fairness" in life... this person works less and gets paid more... this person breaks commandments but gets blessed more... whatever it is.  And, it's true that life isn't fair.  I think it is also true that we don't want fairness.  We want to look at someone else and see ourselves as better... to have some external proof of how cool we are.  It's also true I think that if we really got fairness, we wouldn't like it.  In the end, Christ was the only one who could really make it through this life without sin, and the only one who could win the prize "fairly."  ... What we really need is a boatload of mercy... of someone making up for our faults and our mistakes.
These verses are from the parable of the laborers in the field, and it is at the end where the people who worked all day get paid the same as the people who worked an hour.  And maybe if we look at it from the perspective of the people who were first hired, it seems unfair.  But I submit to you that none of us are in that group.  I surmise that we're all desperately in need of salvation for only working part of the day... and with this story, as with life, if we look at it in a humble way, and assume that we're the ones in need, it is a story of great mercy and love.  Today, let's be grateful for the incredible mercy that God offers us by granting us salvation through Christ's atonement.  And let's try to be kind to the people around us who are also in need of mercy, from us as well as from God.  In Zion, does it really matter whether we have worked a little more than one another?  Let's be grateful to have the opportunity to be together.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Doctrine and Covenants 5:34

"Yea, for this cause I have said: Stop, and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee."
Doctrine and Covenants 5:34



This is a verse given to Joseph Smith about translating.  He asked God what he should do, and this was part of the answer.  To me, this is fascinating because so often in our lives we ask God which direction we should go or which choice we should make, and we leave out options like this.  Sometimes the answer is to stop.  Sometimes we should wait and do nothing.  Those are hard answers for us to hear sometimes, because we are so focused on doing, accomplishing, and deciding that we forget to stop, listen, and consider.  We're in such a hurry that we'd rather fast-forward part of our lives, or just skip them entirely.  We want to get to work without living through the commute.  We're in such a hurry to get to the weekend that we'd usually love it if we could just skip a couple of the days of the week.  We want to grow up so fast that we'd often rather just skip childhood.  Except, life isn't just a highlights reel.  Some of our most important lessons are in between things that we consider important or worthwhile.  Random conversations at the airport or the store, people we run into accidentally walking across campus, people we run into on the way somewhere.  God puts things into our paths that matter so much, if we will take the time to stop and notice.  Today, no matter what we're rushing towards and how much we are looking forward to that... let's stop, and stand still for a little while.  When we pray today, let's try to listen more for those options that we may not be considering, and as we go through our day, let's watch for the in between moments, and watch for things along the way. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2 Peter 1:6

"And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;"
2 Peter 1:6


This verse is a snippet out of a longer list of positive qualities that we should cultivate in ourselves.  I chose just this part of it today because I wanted to talk about temperance.  As I was reading, I was wondering about it, so I looked it up: “moderation in action, thought, or feeling; restraint.”  And reading further about it, it includes self-restraint, or self regulation.  And although I am not dismissing the other virtues on the list at all... that seemed like a big enough thing to tackle in one day. :)
How many problems in our lives could we solve just with some additional self-control?  We'd probably exercise more, eat less, do more laundry/dishes/cleaning, get out of debt, pray more, yell less, maintain happier relationships, be free from addictions... and I am sure we can all add to the list.  So, if our lives would be so much better... why aren't we doing all of that?  Answer: it's hard. :)  But, as we can see from both God's advice to cultivate it, and our own lists of things that would get much better in our lives, it would be totally worth it.  The question is, how do we tackle it?
I definitely don't have all the answers here.  My life, too, would be vastly improved through some additional self-regulation.  But perhaps starting with little things will help.  The study that I read this morning compared self-control to a muscle... that it seems to get tired after a lot of use.  I think that we've all seen this in our own lives... it can be easy to do a little bit, but harder to do a lot.  Maybe, like a muscle, that capacity can grow with time.  Whatever we want to start doing, or avoid doing, maybe we can build up the amount of time.  If we want to read our scriptures, we can start small... one verse, or one minute... and get consistent with that.  Then we can raise it to two verses or two minutes.  If we want to learn to fast, we can start small.  On fast Sunday, skip one meal, or don't eat anything until noon... whatever we can do.  And then, next fast sunday, go a little longer.  Whether we are adding a good habit, or learning to give up something, taking small steps that we know we can accomplish is a good start.  Today, let's pick one thing that we want to get better at, and start taking the very small steps that will lead us to more control in that area.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Doctrine and Covenants 1:16

"They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall."
Doctrine and Covenants 1:16


This is so us, isn't it?  I think it is really easy to bend our idea of what God is into something that is a little more worldly, a little more permissive, or a little more fluid than what God actually is.  It makes it much easier to justify our decisions and actions and lifestyles.  We're in the world, so of course we start thinking of God as part of what we experience... wishy washy perhaps, or undecided on some things.  We can talk ourselves into being unclear about God's purpose to help us grow and learn and become more than we are, and therefore achieve greater happiness and joy... and twist that into, well, God wants me to do whatever makes me happy in the moment.  We pick and choose the attributes of God that we like... perhaps his all-encompassing love, and conveniently forget the attributes that we don't like... perhaps that he can't look at sin with the least degree of allowance.
No matter what we've talked ourselves into, though, God is and always will be the entire package.  He's perfect in all ways, not just one.  And he knows much better than we do how to learn lasting happiness, how to achieve the happiness and peace and ... all that he has.  Today, let's let go of some of our justifications, and learn more about God through talking to him, through studying his word, and through obeying his commandments.  Let's learn through doing how much more amazing our lives can be when we listen to and follow him.

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