Archive for March, 2012

“How in the world could I have lived such a helpful life as I have lived had I not been blind?” 

In her life­time, Fanny Crosby was one of the best known Christian women in the United States. Today, most American hymnals contain some of the over 9000 hymns that she wrote. There probably isn’t anyone who goes to church who hasn’t sung one of her hymns.

Frances Jane “Fanny” Crosby was born in1820 and died in 1915. Though blind ever since a quack doctor ruined her eyesight while treating an eye infection when she was a baby, she never let her blindness make her feel sorry for herself. She turned her blindness into a blessing for millions of others around the whole world who enjoy her many hymns to this day.

While a young child she wrote a poem to put well-meaning, but uncomfortable people at their ease so that they would not feel sorry for her:

Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be!
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don’t!
So weep or sigh because I’m blind,
I cannot – nor I won’t.

She told others who felt sorry for her that she was thankful to be blind. For example, a preacher once remarked, “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you.” She replied quickly, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind?” “Why?” asked the surprised preacher. “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!”

Fanny’s father died when she was a small child. Her mother hired herself out as a maid and Fanny’s Grandmother took care of her. They had a strong Puritan heritage, and Fanny’s grandmother read and explained the Bible to her. A neighbor of the family, Mrs. Hawley also helped Fanny. She helped Fanny memorize the Bible. Sometimes Fanny memorized as many as five chapters a week!! She knew the Pentateuch, the Gospels, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon and many of the Psalms by heart. Of course this would aid her when she wrote her hymns. She knew the Scriptures so well that she could write a poem in only an hour or two. She often wrote six or seven hymns a day. She was usually paid a dollar or two for each poem; the composers kept the royalties on the songs.

Fanny could write very complex poetry, but her desire was to bring the message of the Gospel to people who would not listen to preaching. So, she would write the lyrics to the songs and pray over each one that God would bring many people to Himself through them.

Fanny received an education at the New York Institute for the Blind. She entered when she was fifteen and stayed on, eventually to teach there for twenty-three years. Of course, she wrote poems for every occasion at the school.

In 1858, Fanny married Alexander van Alystyne, a professor at the Institute. He was a musician and a fine organist. Fanny played the harp and the piano herself and had a lovely soprano voice. Even when she was an elderly, frail lady she would play the piano and sing. She had the ability to play everything from classical to hymns to ragtime. She had great fun playing hymns in a jazzed up style.

Since Fanny was so well known she kept her maiden name when she married. Her husband encouraged her to do this. They had a baby girl, but sadly the child died within a few months.

Among her most well-known hymns are: ” Blessed Assurance,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” “To God Be the Glory, ” “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” ” Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” “Rescue the Perishing,” “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross,” “I Am Thine, O Lord,” and many more.

When she was older she did not write as prolifically as before. She did spend a lot of time speaking around the country. And she was involved in missionary work until the day of her death in 1915. Though she only earned a dollar or two for her works, she often gave much of it to the poor. She showed her genuine concern for the souls of others with her personal evangelization as well as through her hymns.

Most of those 9000 hymns have been forgotten today, but many are sung all around the world. I am sure that she enjoys hearing, and seeing, the Heavenly choir sing her songs around the throne of the Lord.

We can learn so much from the life of this selfless lady. In a day when the least little hardship has people clamoring for attention, or for government largesse, it would be well for more people to learn from her example. She did not let a tragic accident make her bitter, but turned it into something for God’s glory. She never felt sorry for herself, but gave to others less fortunate than she was.

There is another interesting application for us. One of the things that can set churchgoers to squabbling and separating from each other is church music. Some say that we should only have organs or piano’s in church. Some say that there should be no instruments at all. Some say that whatever instruments make people joyful and feel like praising the Lord should be allowed. Some of these groups don’t speak to each other.

I wonder how many who sing Fanny Crosby’s hymns because they are found in an approved hymnal know that the music for some of them comes from common tunes that were sung in the streets? Would these “high-brow” people want those songs removed from their hymnals? We really do need to stop taking up so much time fighting over things that do not matter.

Instead, there are so many injustices going on in the world today, that we should be spending our time working together as the people of God to right the many wrongs that are everywhere.
Let us keep our attention focused on the Savior as Fanny did.

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.



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If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

Felicitas was fully aware of the costs of serving the Lord. Her husband had already died, probably as a martyr, when we come into our story.

The year is A. D. 164. Emperor Antonius Pius was persecuting Christians in Rome. Felicitas was living her Christian life quietly but faithfully. A wealthy widow, she provided food for the hungry and shelter for the homeless. The Kingdom of God was advancing in this dark land. She had won many of her neighbors to Christ and that angered the pagan religious leaders. The new converts renounced their worship of the false gods in Rome. The heathen priests who feared losing power and influence plotted against her. They had her arrested as a traitor.

The Emperor turned her case over to Publius, the chief magistrate in Rome. Publius knew that Felicitas was a highly respected woman, and he wanted to spare her life. He called Felicitas and her seven sons to his house for a private meeting and tried to convince them to forsake their Christianity. He demanded that they make sacrifices to the heathen gods or suffer the consequences. Publius thought that if he threatened Felicitas’ sons, she would relent. But her reply shows the courage of her faith and complete trust in Jesus Christ. “If,” replied Felicitas, calmly,” my children are faithful to Christ, they will attain eternal life with me; if from fear of death they should sacrifice to idols, they can expect nothing but death eternal.”

Publius was furious and decided to press her by ordering the deaths of her seven sons, one by one. First, her eldest son Januarius was beaten to death with cords and ropes that had balls of lead attached while Felicitas was forced to watch. He did not give in but forgave his murderers and professed his faith in Christ. Each of his brothers followed in succession. They knew that it was their calling to maintain their faith in God’s mercy and grace even if it cost them their lives. Each of them knew that their mother would refuse to make the heathen sacrifice no matter the cost. Second, they beat Felix and Philippus with rods. Angry that Felicitas still refused to make sacrifice, they threw Silvanus head first over a precipice and he died on impact with the ground. Then they beheaded Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis all at the same time, as if they had grown tired of slaughter and simply wanted to be done with the task. Finally, when Felicitas still refused to make sacrifice, they threw her into prison hoping that she would think about her death and change her mind. When she was brought again to face Publius she stood firm in the faith that had cost the lives of her seven sons. She was grateful that her teaching of her sons had been effectual and none of them denied Christ. She knew she would see them again in Heaven. Finally, Felicitas, who never recanted her faith, was executed four months later. After Felicitas was martyred, a great many more people were won to Christ when they saw her courage and faith.

Felicitas and her seven sons knew the costs involved in remaining faithful to Christ. They all had a belief in eternity. They knew that the earthly life is short in comparison with everlasting life in Heaven. I fear that people in our society have become so “now oriented” that they lack the ability to see and understand how giving in, even to small demands by the powers that be, ruin their testimony and destroy the advancement of the Kingdom of God. I don’t think most people are thinking about the eternal consequences of their actions.

We have an opportunity that Felicitas did not have. There were no laws to protect her right to worship as she chose. We supposedly have those now. We will lose them if we do nothing about it. We may end up having to face serious consequences if our stance for Christ is deemed illegal. Already, Pro-life advocates have been termed as subversives or terrorists in some government publications. Obama has shown that he is not above labeling anyone who disagrees with him as a traitor. This has been done before; just witness the rise of Hitler in the 1930’s.

Praise God, there is still time and there are groups who are not just sitting around while the fires are getting hotter and hotter. People are finally angry enough to do something.

All Christians should value life because our God is the One in charge of life. We all value our freedom. Let us all stand together or fall together. We do not have to end up imprisoned or executed like the faithful martyr, Felicitas, at least not yet. The sacrifices we could make right now are small in comparison.

Remember the words of Gregory the Great, who preached a sermon at the site of her tomb some centuries after Felicitas died. He pointed to her willingness to die for her faith and compared it to the little “persecutions” we think we are suffering. “Let us be covered with shame and confusion at the thought of how far short we fall of the virtue of this martyr–how we suffer our passions to triumph over faith in our hearts. How often does a single word spoken against us disturb our minds–how often are we discouraged or provoked by the least blast of contradiction; while neither torments nor death were able to shake her courageous soul. We weep without ceasing when God requires of us the children He hath lent us. Her grief was lest her children should not be content to die for Christ; and she rejoiced when for His sake they gave up their lives.”

Felicitas had a vision of eternity. She sacrificed temporal comfort for an eternity of joy and triumph with her sons and the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us recapture that vision before it is too late.

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Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you…the Lord, your Redeemer…”I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by myself, and spreading out the earth all alone” (Isaiah 44:2, 24).

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, (Jeremiah 1:5).

These verses are critical to understanding why there is such a difference between those who think that abortion is not wrong and those who believe that abortion is the taking of a human life.

I am not talking here about the women who are high up in organizations like Planned Parenthood. These women know that the being in the womb is a baby. They have decided that they have a right to end the child’s life anyway. They don’t care what God has to say about life.

I am here speaking about all of the women who believe the lies they are told by Planned Parenthood. These are women who don’t understand how intimately God is involved with His creation. Or, they believe that the being in the womb is not a baby until it is 22 or 24 or horror of horrors, 28 weeks old. They are told that the little life that is in them is just a blob of tissue.

Abortionists have been able to get away with these lies until recently. Now, thanks to ultrasound, the truth is there for all to see. The being in the womb is a baby. The only choice now is whether to kill it or not.

The Scriptures clearly tell us that God created everything, including all human life. Not only that, but He knows ahead of time all about us. Every life belongs to Him; no one has the right to destroy a baby.

Killing an unborn baby is not a decision about “reproductive health”. It is a moral decision. Make no mistake about it. God told us in His Word hundreds of years ago that He created all children. If some refused to believe Him, then let them believe their own eyes when they see the child on the screen during an ultrasound.

One person whose life has been changed by this procedure is Abby Johnson. We can praise God that Abby and many other former Planned Parenthood workers have seen the light. I will briefly tell her story, but I recommend her book, “Unplanned”, published in 2010 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. You can also go to her website, www.abbyjohnson.org, for more information on what she is doing now that she has left Planned Parenthood.

Abby had been a director at a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas for eight years. One day she was asked to assist in an abortion. She was to help with the ultrasound. Her courageous retelling of what happened will touch you deeply. She realized that what she was seeing on the screen was a baby with hands, feet, arms, and legs. She watched as the baby struggled for its life as the doctor performed the abortion.

Abby realized that one of the lies she had been told was that the babies do not feel pain. I won’t give any more details in the interests of propriety, but suffice it to say, Abby was shocked. It was hard for her to get the scene out of her mind. She realized that,

           What was in this woman’s womb just a moment ago was alive. It wasn’t just tissue, just cells. That was a human baby – fighting for life! A battle that was lost in the blink of an eye. What I have told people for years, what I’ve believed and taught and defended, is a lie. (pg. 7).

Abby knew she could no longer work at Planned Parenthood. She soon turned to people she had met on the “other side of the fence”. These were peaceful Pro-life folks there that she had met and often spoken to on her way into work. They were praying for her during the “Forty Days For Life” campaign. Imagine their joy when they realized how God had answered their prayers.

Besides changing sides to join the Coalition for Life, Abby went through a spiritual transformation, giving her life to God. I can’t do justice to her wonderful story in these few words; I hope you’ll get the book and read it. You’ll be encouraged about the power of God.

Abby is a woman of courage. I admire her for telling her own story so honestly. Some women would try to hide the skeletons in their closets, but Abby bravely confesses to all that she has done that she is now sorry for including her own abortion. I think that women who have made the same mistake can relate to Abby. They can know that there is forgiveness and healing in Jesus Christ.

I also appreciate the insight from someone on the other side of the fence. She has seen how well meaning, but overly zealous volunteers can turn away the women they are trying to reach. The peaceful, prayerful methods of the people who turn out for the “Forty Days For Life” vigils are having an impact.  This gentle way of praying and offering help to women who are scared or feeling helpless is more Christ-like. They impressed Abby enough that she knew who to turn to when she decided to make the break with her old job.

The people at Coalition for Life did help Abby. But her life was not easy after that. Planned Parenthood tried to sue her among other things. God sent her the help she needed and she battled on. She lost some good friends, but she made some new ones. Abby is now putting all of her energy towards Pro-life causes. She travels and speaks at many events. On her Blog you can join in with “Operation Conversion” and pray for abortionists.

The latest news is that Abby has made it public that she is turning the tables on Planned Parenthood and has filed a lawsuit against them for filing fraudulent Medicaid claims. She reports that Planned Parenthood submitted repeated false, fraudulent, and ineligible claims for Medicaid reimbursements through the Texas Women’s Health program.

Abby is the third former Planned Parenthood employee to sue the abortion giant for widespread and systematic fraud. She says that they filed over 87,075 false, fraudulent or ineligible claims totally more than $5.7 million. The taxpayers need to know that this is how their money is being spent.

Abby said that when she asked about this fraudulent money, her supervisor said, “Well, we are going to hope we don’t get caught.” Other “whistleblowers” are coming forward and giving information about the way the managers at Planned Parenthood have been faking billing claims that have resulted in $100 million in financial impropriety.

Let us all pray for Abby’s safety.  Let us pray that the truth about Planned Parenthood will come out for everyone to see. They are not about health care. They are about making money. Thankfully many state governments are defunding Planned Parenthood as they learn about the fraud. I pray that all public funding will end. Abby said in her interview with O’Reilly on Fox news that if the government funding stopped, Planned Parenthood would go away because there are very few private people that will fund them. I believe her, so we need to be active in working to get their funding completely cut off. This lawsuit should help. Please pray that it will be successful.

Pray for Abby and her family as this is a time of stress. And thank God for raising up bold witnesses for the truth.

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In my last posting I said that I am encouraged with the way our younger generation is trying to change things for the better. I am so thrilled to say that later in the week two wonderful examples of this showed up in my mailbox.

The first story relates to the fact that the Girl Scouts are entangled with Planned Parenthood. (Please see a previous posting, November 2011, entitled, “Shame on You, Girl Scouts”.) Since then many discerning and disgusted families have taken their daughters out of the Girl Scouts. It used to be a fine organization, helping girls turn into strong, confident women, but now unfortunately, the group is pushing an agenda on girls that really demeans them. I pray that the Scouts would return to their roots and cultivate good morals again.

Here is a story of a young lady who quit her troop, but missed the wonderful cookies. I really like her spunk. I, too miss those wonderful cookies which I have not bought for many years now.

Grace Swanke, 10, could no longer stay in her troop because of its entanglement with Planned Parenthood. She decided to just bake the cookies herself!

At first Grace was going to call her product “Grace’s Cookies” but then she decided to donate the profits to a pro-life project. She wanted to help fund an ultrasound machine for the local pro-life clinic. She like the idea of helping others see the importance of donating money to pro-life causes and so she changed the name of her project to “Cookies for Life”. When women see the life in their wombs in the ultrasound machine, “women choose life,” said Grace.

Grace started her project with a number of baking sessions and raised almost $600 to benefit an ultrasound machine project in her community. This year Grace plans to aid the Stanton Healthcare Center, a medical pro-life women’s center in Boise. They will use the money to help them move to their new location, right next door to Planned Parenthood. Grace’s goal was $700, but she has more than doubled that to $1600.

Word of Grace’s “Cookies for Life” has spread. Her family, friends, and the local community are all behind her. They are all excited about working for a cause they believe in. So far her work has been just on the local level, but how many more “Grace’s” are out there? She is an inspiration and I hope and pray that as women read her story they will be inspired to start home projects to benefit the cause of pro-life as well.

Don’t have time to bake hundreds of cookies every week? Well, here’s another great project for you that will only take a few minutes of your time.

Angela Kim, 15, and five other friends are members of the Teenage Life Club. They have come up with the ambitious project of sending one million letters to the White House and the Supreme Court calling for an end to abortion during the month of March. These six young people live in five different states have taken advantage of their geographical spread to get the word out. I believe that they have a chance for success for their campaign and am praying that the flood of letters will actually exceed their goal.

Already, many churches have joined and more are joining as the word gets out. Also, Bound4Life, the North Carolina Pro-Life Democrats, Texas Right to Life, Pennsylvanians for Human Life, National Pro-Life Radio, a FaceBook page, an e-mail chain, and several blogs, (now 1 more!) are spreading the word like wildfire.

This morning, I went to their Website (TheTeenageLifeClub.blogspot.com) and read the information on the campaign. They have some suggestions for you if you don’t know what to write. Don’t worry about just repeating their main points in your own words. It will actually send a strong message to the White House and the Supreme Court when they realize how many people care about the unborn and that we are in touch with each other and that we mean to keep on speaking up on behalf of the unborn until we get justice for them.

This project, start to finish, took me about 15 minutes. Don’t forget to take the survey that they conveniently linked to on the information page. It will only take you 25 seconds at most. It is very important.

I have encouraged women to be active in some way to help the unborn on this blog-site before. I know that we are all busy. What could be more important than saving lives, especially the lives of helpless little ones who cannot speak for themselves? This project will only cost you 15 minutes of your time and 90 cents. Please encourage all of your friends, family, and church members to join in. We have three weeks to go, but don’t wait. Click off of me, and click onto TheTeenageLifeClub.blogspot.com while you are thinking about it. It will give you a good feeling.

Angela and the other young women are already seeing some fruits coming from their effort, including an increase in the interest in Pro-Life causes in general.

“I know a lot of adults, teens, and young children who want to take part and help out in the pro-life movement but do not know where to start. A part of this campaign is to open the opportunity for people to start,” Angela relates. “Many Christians around me are becoming actively pro-life because of this campaign, and God has really blessed us.”

The girls are not certain if the goal will be reached or not, but are leaving the results to God. Personally, I congratulate them on their idea and their willingness to do something to protect the unborn. I am grateful that they made a way for busy women to become involved.

These young people are an encouragement to us. Let’s help them out and pray for God to raise up some more!

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“He has told you, O man (and woman), what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

I am a member of the generation that threw bricks through government building windows. In the sixties young people were really searching for truth. Unfortunately, during that time there was much confusion in the minds of everyone. The “death of God” movement was prominent. Most people hated the war going on in Vietnam. It became apparent that the generation ahead of us (our parents) were seemingly only interested in obtaining two cars and two television sets as a mark of success. I know that my parents only wanted for me to have a “better” life than they did, but they interpreted “better” as having more material things. They grew up during the depression and had to sacrifice so many things. But they had something then that they forgot; working together as families toward a cause that they all believed in.

During the sixties, there were protests of all sorts going on and the older generation got the idea that the younger generation was spoiled and ruined. The “generation gap” became increasingly wider. For many years I wasn’t sure if the breach could ever be healed, but in the last few years I’ve seen signs that at least on the part of the younger generation, there is wisdom and healing. My prayer is that my generation will turn to less materialistic things and see the satisfying values that our younger generation desperately longs for as the values that are true and the ones that are really the God-honoring values that are lasting.

Women of my generation – take a look at what’s happening. It’s exciting and there is hope for the future. Here are three of many examples why I think we should close the generation gap and work with our amazing young women.

1.  An incredible number of young women are taking a stand for life. In a report from October, 2011 here is the exciting news from last year:
STATEN ISLAND, New York, October 17, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Tens of thousands of students are set to join the massive Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity tomorrow. According to organizers, students at 1,200 colleges, high schools, middle schools and home schools have pledged to remain silent throughout the day, in solidarity with thousands of unborn children permanently silenced by abortion every single day.

First of all, I urge you to go to (LifeSiteNews.com) to read up on the everyday stories for life all around the world. There are many stories there of the courageous acts of women to protect life. But note: “The battle is the Lord’s” (I Sam. 17:47). Our God, Yahweh, created life and He loves His creation. Humans do not get to decide for life and death. Only God, the author and giver of life gets to decide. I am glad that many of our young women are returning to a serious consideration of Who is in charge of life.

2.  A commentator in an interview with Dr. Ron Paul noted that the young are among his most ardent supporters. Dr. Paul said that everywhere he goes the young people are telling him that they realize that both the Republican and Democratic parties have let them down. It’s time for change – not the phony kind promised but never delivered on by the present administration – but a real change back to traditional values. Our young people today know that material things, phony promises, and emphases that are basically selfish will not guarantee true happiness. They know that hard work, family values, sound economics, and faith are the means of truly, deep, satisfying happiness. It is my hope and prayer that this generation will say “no” to the false two-party system and vote for someone who really loves our country and knows how to restore its greatness. Even if Dr. Paul does not get elected, the educational value of his campaign has been enormous. I think that our young people know that they have “been had” by the supposed two parties. They are not fooled – they know that there is only one party that plays two parts on television in order to fool the people. I thank God that courageous young people are actively involved in taking a stand for what’s right.

3.  History is on our side. There is such a great cloud of witnesses of women and men in the past who have stood on the side of righteousness (Hebrews 12:1). When times of crises have come around, people have risen to the occasion, including young people with vision. There are many women who went before us who sacrificed their all, even their lives, who would stand with us. Many of them were willing to make great sacrifices for Christ no matter how old they were.

Consider the story of Anna Nitschmann (1715 – 1760). She was a young Moravian Christian. Her faith was so strong that it was recognized by others in her community. When she was only fourteen years old, she was elected as a chief eldress of her congregation. Eventually she went on to marry the widowed Count Zinzendorf, leader of the Moravian movement when she was forty years old. But between the time of her call to help others in her community and her marriage she encouraged  a group of “single sisters” who would grow over the following decades and be the beginning of a stream of courageous missionaries. Many thousands of people would find Christ.

Though only a young woman, people recognized her spiritual maturity. She is a shining example to us that young people can sense what is right. We older people should not accept that “right” is with us just because we are older. Our generation was materialistic and wrong. I thank God for His love to His people and continuing generosity to us. He has blessed our young people today and we should be thankful for it.

The “generation gap” is just another sinful name for defiance against God. We look for excuses not to obey God. The devil loves it. Let’s circumvent Satan’s machinations and join with out sisters of all generations to “ do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your (our) God.” (Micah 6:8).

Praise the Lord for the young women of today. Ladies, follow your calling. If you are married with children your calling is to be a helpmeet to your husband and to raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

If your children are grown you have the privilege of a second calling. What would God have you do? Will you fight for the lives of the unborn? Will you take meals to the poor in your community? We are so privileged with good health in our day. Do not spend your time watching TV because of those who would say that a woman’s place is only in the home.

Ladies, if you are single, especially if you are in college, you have the unique time now to help other women to see the way to their future happiness. Help them see that momentary pleasures have too many consequences and they need to think about the future. What do they really see themselves as 5, 10 or 20 years from now?

Our founding fathers wanted us to be able to maintain our freedoms, not give them away. Let us be bold and fight for the rights of all humankind: ourselves, the helpless babies, the downtrodden, the victims of oppression, and the disadvantaged.

There are so many organizations that you can volunteer for that I can’t list them in this short Blog. Some would require only a few minutes of time each week. Some would ask only for donations. Many could use as much of your help as you can give. Please respond to this posting and I will send you as many ideas as you need.

Let us all work for the Kingdom of Christ. What is more important? Jesus showed us the way. He loved, healed, showed compassion, and eventually took our penalty for our own selfishness. He is our example. I see our young women as more ready to follow Christ’s example than the generation ahead of me. This is amazing and hopeful. God has promised that those who would return to Him would be blessed (Joel 2:12ff).

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