When My Heart is Overwhelmed

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – reading through the Bible at snail-pace, to understand.
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A summary from the comments of Tim Keller and Jim Hamilton and others.
DAVID IS IN CRISIS AND INSTINCTIVELY CRIES OUT TO HIS GOD FOR HELP.
  • The king isn’t on a mission to inform the omnipresent, omniscient God of all the ins and outs of his pressures.  God already knows every detail perfectly – how comforting!
  • David calls to God to hear and intervene.
 Psalm 61-04
DAVID FEELS LIKE AN EXILIC, A REFUGEE – AS IF HE IS AT THE END OF THE EARTH.
  • His isn’t a minor pang of homesickness nor is it about his geographical location.
  • David is on the run from his attackers, he’s far from the tabernacle, feels distant from God, and at the end of his tether.
Psalm 61-12
KING DAVID’S HEART IS OVERWHELMED.
  • He is acutely aware of his own vulnerability.
  • He is physically and spiritually exhausted and at the end of his rope.

WHAT DOES DAVID DO WHEN HIS HEART IS OVERWHELMED?

Does he just take a deep breath, try to convince himself  all will be fine, because, come on, he is no quitter?

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Psalm 61-08

No…….. David asks God to lead him to the Rock that is higher than himself. Psalm 61-13

  • David craves a rock of zero defect safety and security – and God is that rock we need more than anything!
  • Where do we go when we are overwhelmed by life, grief, illness, guilt,  depression, exhaustion, and we start to lose hope and heart?
GOD IS LOVE AND GOD IS ROCK-SOLID.

He is our perfectly reliable safety, shelter and, if we take refuge under His wings, we find it to be the warmest, most loving and tender hiding place in the universe.

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WITHOUT GOD AS OUR HIGHER ROCK …
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  • We may not sense it, but we are completely vulnerable, unsafe, unforgiven, without His mercy and unfailing love, without Jesus, unacceptable to God and without hope.
  • We have no chance of reconciliation and peace with God without faith that Jesus loved us, died for us, rose for us.
  • When the waters rise and life or death overwhelms us, our quicksand bravado’s, our little rocks and flimsy self-help therapies will prove what they are: totally deceptive and useless.
Every single human being is invited to take refuge in God and to pray, “Lead me to a Rock that is higher than me!” 
DAVID LOOKS AROUND AND KNOWS HE IS FACING MORE THAN HE CAN HANDLE – AND HE TAKES COVER!

Psalm 61-23

 

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God’s Glory and our Security.

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – reading through the Bible at snail-pace, to understand.  Psalm 57- NIV and Psalm 57 – NLT

 

A summary from various writings and sermons by Jim Hamilton and others. 

DAVID IS IN A TERRIBLY TIGHT SPOT – everything is going wrong for him.
  • He is on the run from the brutal king Saul and hides in a cave surrounded by his enemies who prowl like man-eating lions.
  • What is our present disaster and how do we handle our personal crises?

Is the ego going to save the day?

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DAVID PRAYS DIRECTLY TO GOD FOR MERCY AND HIDES UNDER HIS WINGS

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  • He doesn’t start by praying for a strategy to get out of the cave.
  • He starts by finding his prime refuge in God’s steadfast love and grace, alone.
  • There’s David hiding under God’s wings till the storm passes.

God IS the refuge – which is more than just giving refuge.

WHERE IS OUR OWN OWN SECURITY AND WHERE DO WE TEND TO  HIDE?

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  • Self-made refuges are temporary and they will fail.
  • God will not fail.

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Psalm 57-05 Knowing that God Most High has a purpose for us, would transform how we see everything in our lives, what we do with our blessings; how we interpret our pain.

  • God Most High – no one greater. Nothing outranks our outlasts the Greatest of all.
  • He is the One with purposes for us – how do we discover what these purposes are?

HE WILL, HE WILL – He did not spare His own Son.

Psalm 57-06

Without an on-ramp, David leaps from disaster to a song!

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  • He’s confident that God will send help and rescue from heaven.
  • In his trouble, in his cave, he sings about God’s glory and passionately longs for the Most High God to be exalted above the heavens.

FOR SOME IT IS HARD TO GRASP THAT WE EXIST FOR GOD’S GLORY AND NOT OUR OWN GLORY.

  • We naturally think of ourselves.
  • What are my purposes for me, what is my bucketlist?
DAVID IS A MARKED MAN AND UNDER PRESSURE.
  1. His enemies conspire, lurk and scheme to destroy him.
  2. All David wants now is for God’s Name to be exalted and his enemies to fall into their own traps.

HOW DOES DAVID MANAGE TO SING IN THE CAVE?

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  • His mind is set on the mercy, unfailing love and glory of the Most High God – Who is on David’s side,  protects and  cares for him.
  • Are we also confident that God will work out His purposes/plans for us. in this life and the next?  How much better they will be than anything we could ever imagine!

Psalm 57-11

  • The pressure is on, our hearts wobble, do we know the living God, can we dare to trust the Most High?
  • The minute David relies on God,  his heart settles/ stabilises and he finds his equilibrium.
  • We can only rely on God when we know Him.

Psalm 57-12

There is no way David can keep quiet about God’s mercy, purposes, help, unfailing love. faithfulness and glory!

 

Psalm 57-15

Psalm 57-08

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When I am Afraid.

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – reading through the Bible slow enough to understand. Psalm 56 – NIV and Psalm 56 – NLT
A short-ish summary from writings and sermons by various gifted people.
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THE BACK STORY
Before David worked for King Saul, as musician, he was secretly anointed by Samuel to be the future king. David was popular.
Ps 56b-24
King Saul, a megalomaniac, and enraged with jealousy and tried to kill David. He fled to the Philistine country, uhum…. where, in the past, he killed their giant and superstar Goliath.
David gets captured, pretends to be insane, scribbles on gates and drools on his beard in the presence of the Philistine king, who says, “we have enough crazy people here – send him away.”
So David escapes – but where to?
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ALL DAY LONG  – chronic, relentless.  (verses 1,2,5)
  • David, not the bad guy this time, is on the run from his enemies who conspire to kill him.
  • The future king is abandoned, harried, hunted, hounded and trampled.

WHAT DO WE DO WHEN WE ARE AFRAID?

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Where do we look when we are scared and worries keep us awake?

  • Do we minimise our trouble? You know the keep calm poster, the song to look on the sunny side? Do we opt for denial and pretend we’re not scared?
  • Do we keep up that chin and the positive spirit, pour another glass of wine, have a good old work-out for happy endorphins?
  • Are we convinced our trials are bigger than God?
  • Do we think God is indifferent, even merciless?  Or that mindful breaths really help?

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  1. David realised there was no-one else for him to go to.
  2. Except to the merciful God….. Whose word and promises David treasured and praised.

Ps 56-19

  • He casts his burden on His gracious God, knowing He cares tenderly.
  • While the enemy still lurks and twists David’s words, he is confident in God and praises His words
  • David, right smack dab in the middle of his struggles, actively puts his trust in God and His word.

Ps 56-02

Perspective.

Ps 56-03

GOD KEEPS A NOTEBOOK – huh?

Yes, He is the divine bookkeeper extraordinaire of miseries and tears – 8-11
  • He compassionately takes note of our disappointments, betrayals, utter loneliness, deepest loss. Every one of our sorrows are written in His book.
  • Metaphorically, God tenderly puts His little bottle beneath our cheeks and catches that tear, labels it and it says, “I was there, I saw the wounds of your heart, I’m close  to you, the broken-hearted.

Ps 56-20

THIS IS THE OMNIPOTENT AND OMNISCIENT GOD WHO KNOWS EVERYTHING THAT IS POSSIBLE TO KNOW.

  • Even when no-one notices, He knows all the wrong, all the hurt, instantly, even things that haven’t yet happened.
  • He works His purposes out of us for our good and put His glory. He lists our tears and puts them in His bottle.

(This is God using baby-talk so we can understand something about His immensity and deep care.)

SO, WHAT DO WE BRING TO THE TABLE FOR GOD TO BE SO TENDER WITH US?
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  1. Who of us can claim complete allegiance to God and consistent Christ-like love to others?
  2. Who can claim, “yeah, we love God with all our hearts, all our minds, all our souls, with our whole beings around the clock”?
  3. Do we weep for others’ sufferings, do we weep when people defy or ignore God?
How is it possible that God cares about ones who have stubbornly gone their own way, despised or ignored Him –  like us?
  • There is a Beloved Son, Who willingly and amazingly, left the glories of a tearless heaven, entered time and space to save us from our sin and sorrow.
  • There is a Man of Sorrows who wept at a grave. His heart broke over a stubborn city. He was pierced, crushed, forsaken and killed.

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Hallelujah what a Saviour!

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By faith in Jesus, we can sing:

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DAVID FACED A MORTALLY DANGEROUS SITUATION AND HE WAS PETRIFIED.
In his fear, and by faith and confidence in a merciful God, David went to God’s Word (which the king praised) and found promises, including that God is for him!

 

Ps 56-30
Ps 56-43
If we could fully appreciate how much our God is for us, and see this for ourselves in Jesus and in His Word –  we would not fear anything!
.Ps 56-45
Wow – God is merciful and for us: He loved us and gave Himself up for us.
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Ps 56-27
DAVID VOWS TO GIVE HIS MERCIFUL GOD PUBLIC THANKS AND He ENDS WITH A WONDERFUL SENSE OF CONFIDENCE IN HIS LORD.
  • Soul delivered from death!
  • Feet delivered from stumbling – so that we may walk before God in the light of the living.

Ps 56-23

What a magnificent future for God’s children.

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God Himself……

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Clutching or Casting Burdens?

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – reading through the Bible at snail-pace, to understand.  Psalm 55 – NIV and Psalm 55 – NLT

 

A shortish summary from writings and sermon by Tim Keller, Robert McCollum and Martin Smith.  

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DAVID IS DEVASTATED AND COMPLETELY DISTRAUGHT. He has been betrayed by a so-called friend.

“Lord. hear me. This is my trouble, this is my storm. I am overwhelmed by fear and trembling.”

THE TURNING POINT FOR DAVID AND FOR US WITH OUR UNIQUE BURDENS.

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“NOT ME, I DEPEND ON ME. I DON’T DO CASTING OF BURDENS.”

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The strength to stand up, when life is falling apart, is not found inside us.

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GOD CARES ABOUT OUR CARES – HE IS INTERESTED AND LOVES US DEEPLY.

  • He wants to hear what is going on in our lives. Not because He is curious, ignorant or  merely wants to be kept in the loop.
  • Our Father knows exactly what is going on, and He doesn’t want us to go it alone.
  • Let’s talk to Him about our  massive cares, trivial niggles, disappointments, losses, and long-term burdens – He cares, sustains, and helps us not to fall.

WILL WE CAST OUR BURDENS, OR WILL WE HANG ONTO THEM?

  • Will we despair, sink into self-pity, rage against God as if we know better than Him?
  • Will we give up, fall apart …….as if it is possible to run out of God’s mercy and come to the end of His strength and love for us?

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IS IT OUR IMPULSE TO GIVE UP AND RUN AWAY –  as if He will not hold us fast, but abandon us?

  • Where would we escape to?
  • Truth is, distractions, escapism and addictions only magnify our burdens.

DO WE PERHAPS WONDER IF OUR BURDENS ARE RANDOM BAD LUCK?

  • The Lord God Almighty, magnificent in wisdom, unfailing love and counsel….. is sovereign over our circumstances. What a relief!
  • Our disapppointments are God’s appointments. He  knows just how much we can take.

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DO WE TRY TO SNATCH OUR BURDENS BACK?

  • Have we done the casting, but are we still anxious, restless, crushed – hugging our burdens?
  • Why not talk to God about everything – even though He already knows the details.
  • And. this time, leave our burdens with Him.

THERE WAS A MAN IN A GARDEN WHO PRAYED AND SWEATED BLOOD.

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Jesus was not spared carrying the most crushing and deadly burden ever –  to pay the ultimate price to make believers right with God. 

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  1. Let us, the weary and burdened, come to the crucified and risen Jesus Christ, by the Spirt and cast our burdens on the LORD,
  2. Let us embrace His blood-bought promises with all our hearts.
  • He will give us rest and sustain us.
  • He will not let the righteous be shaken.

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True Repentance. Fake Repentance.

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – reading through the Bible at savouring pace. Psalm 51:2-3

A short summary from writings and sermon by Tim Keller, David Felker and others.

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ARE WE STILL AMAZED BY GOD’S GRACE?

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  • Our Lord Jesus Christ has paid the full price for our cleansing.
  • There is no sin so great that the blood of Christ can’t cover it.

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Psalm 51:3

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DAVID CALLS A SPADE A SPADE.

  • He names his many-sided sin: transgressions, iniquity, evil. (Psalm 51: 1,3,4)
  • David knows and owns and admits his sin and bankruptcy

OH, THAT FIRST STEP OF CONFESSION IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST.

  • David, with a contrite heart, admits he is wrong:  no excuses, no sterilising, no hiding or minimising.
  • He so needs God’s mercy, unfailing love and great compassion to forgive him in deep ways.

‘I KNOW MY SIN”

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“I ADMIT THAT IN THAT MOMENT, I COULDN’T CARE ABOUT WHAT PLEASES YOU, GOD, AND WHAT DOESN’T.”

  • “LORD,  You are right, not only have I knowingly broken Your law, but I have broken Your heart.”
  • “I know my double standards, I recognise my cheating heart that I hide, my self-pleasing motives.”
  • “Yes, I take the blame for wanting to live for myself and take the blame for the deliberate choices I made – either in defying You or flatly ignoring You, or replacing You.
CONVICTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, DO WE KNOW OUR SIN?
  • Do we admit that we enjoy being in charge of ourselves and the judge of our own choices and don’t think going our way is critical at all?
  • Do we know our own personal respectable and tolerated sins, our patterns of justifying ourselves?
  • Will we quit excusing and rationalising our sin, stop the fake repentance of  crocodile tears and mere regret for having been found out?

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David’s sin is before him. He saw a woman bathing, he wanted her, he took her for himself, and slept with her, covered up his sin by getting her husband killed.

 

 

004 Women 6Jan2018-10 HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE ARE REALLY REPENTING?

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God’s Mercy – Plus Nothing.

MICRO DEVOTIONALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE – reading through the Bible at savouring pace. Psalm 51:1

A short summary from writings and sermon by Tim Keller and others.

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KING DAVID COMES WITH NO BARGAINING CHIPS.

  • He doesn’t wave before God proud credentials and claims of super productivity.
  • David knows there is zero he can do to reverse his adultery, undo the blatant murder and clean himself.

DAVID DOESN’T COVER UP HIS SIN.

  • He doesn’t try to make adultery and murder look like a blip on the screen.
  • No promises of trying to make up for his transgressions and do better in the future.
  • The king isn’t asking God for forgiveness on credit.

DAVID IS HONEST ABOUT HIS SIN

  • He took Bathsheba for himself, deceived and had her husband killed.
  • He admitted that he preferred his own way, had no regard for God, but insisted on pleasing himself, and made decisions as if God did not exist.

DAVID PUTS ALL HIS HOPE TO HAVE HIS SINS BLOTTED OUT, IN ONE PLACE.

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  1. The tender mercy of God – plus nothing.
  2. His unfailing love, His lovingkindness – plus nothing.
  3. His great compassions – plus nothing.

PLUS NOTHING. God’s mercy is abundant enough, His compassions great enough, that we could make God’s steadfast love in Jesus, the sole and entire basis of our hope  Plus nothing.

David believed God could make him again safe, forgiven, cleaned restored, confident and glad in His  presence. 

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How is it possible for a holy God to be just and the Justifier of those who ignore or defy Him? 

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ALARM: Our  proud self-righteousness can keep us from God’s mercy.
  • Saul rationalised his sin.
  • David decisively turned to God, as an inexcusable, and threw himself 100% on God’s mercy.
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OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION, SECURES ALL THE MERCY WE NEED – HALLELUJAH!

  • Maybe this is us – exhausted by our sin, by our hiding from God?
  • Maybe we will,  like the king and the prodigal, come to our senses, walk away from our sin with a contrite heart and  back to our Father’s embrace and mercy?

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Incomplete JOHN 16:20-28 JR Vassar at the Cross Practicalities of Prayer summary.

Growing a life of prayer.  Jesus talks to his,

Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord is a Christian. Our prayer life measures how real God is to us and much we value Him. If we don’t talk to God and engage with Him.
Pharisees prayed to be seen by God.  Here is true prayer: to go into our closet and seeking your Father in secret. If we are not growing in prayer then we are not growing as a Christian.  If we grow in enjoying God then we will grow in enjoying our prayer lives. Prayer is critical to our experience of God.

Prayer can be difficult.  We can lack desire and focus. Sometimes we don’t end the prayer we have drifted off in distraction. Sometimes we feel God hasn’t heard and isn’t answering.

Some pray and feel it isn’t very effective. This can change, I can grow in my prayer life. We can so grow in enjoying prayer that we lose track of time. We can start seeing how God is doing things through our prayer life.

God gives everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord the right to be His children, His family.  As His child He listens to you, knows and loves you, and He desires you to engage with Him. In prayer we can delight in the glory and beauty and grace of God in all His perfections and everything He has become to us because of Jesus. We get to know that God is not only powerful but that He exercise His power for His glory and the good of His children.  He shares His wisdom with us so we can walk in the fulness of the life He gives us.
God doesn’t merely tolerate us and put up with us – He delights in us. In prayer we enjoy God’s delight in us. If we don’t believe this then we will not pursue or seek Him.

How to pray and cultivate our relationship with God.

ONE Prayer is conversation with the Triune God.  As Christians we believe in one God who eternally exists in three divine, yet distinct persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a mystery God revealed to us by His Spirit in the Scripture. The Father is fully God.  The Son is fully God. The Holy Spirit is fully God.  But the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Spirit and the Spirit is not the Father.  The Father is distinct from the Son. They are each one distinct from the Other.
In prayer we are engaging the divine community the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Here is the pattern in prayer.  We pray to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean to pray through the Son?

Verse 23.  We ask anything in His Name. What does it mean to pray in Jesus’s Name?  That is not the ending off of a prayer, landing the prayer plane. They are not magic words and if we don’t say them the Father is not listening to our prayer.

We have to recognise that without Christ we are locked out of the presence of God. But God in His mercy has given us the Lord Jesus to die for us to rise for us, provides for us forgiveness so that the slate can be wiped clean and also provides for the us the righteousness God requires of us.  When I put my faith and trust in `Jesus Christ all my sin is forgiven.  Now when I approach God I do not come in my righteousness, I am coming in the righteousness of Jesus. I’m not holding up my merits, my performances, how good I am, how moral I am.  I get through the door to God because of Jesus’ death, resurrection and righteousness.

To pray in Jesus’ Name means Jesus is the access point into the very presence of the Father. I can’t get to the Father holding up the filthy rags of my own righteousness to Him.  I com boldly because of the work of Jesus. Jesus opened up the door for me to walk into the presence of God without the fear that the Father is going to condemn and send me away in His righteous holiness.

Through Jesus Christ I get to come to God’s throne of grace through mercy because of Jesus and Jesus alone.

Hebrews 10:19

The holy place -walking right into the presence of the Father. We can be confident that we can walk into the presence of God and not be turned away. By the blood of Jesus who paid for my sin, died in my place,

Jesus opened up a new and living way for us through the curtain. Rest of the verse.
I can draw near with confidence even in my weakness and brokenness, in all my inconsistencies I can still walk into the presence of God – with confidence, with full assurance that the Father is going to welcome me. Good week, bad week, my only hope of coming into his presence without Him turning me away. Because of Jesus I can come to the throne of grace, find mercy, find God loves and does not turn me away. Maybe we should START our prayers in Jesus’ Name.
Jesus you are my only hope of coming into the FAther’s presence and having you. Not my goodness, Jesus alone is my only hope to stand in your presence confident that you love and accept me.  Don’t save it as a little tag at the end.

WE PRAY THROUGH JESUS…..TO THE FATHER.

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CHURCH AT THE CROSS SERMON