Hold on to HOPE!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.

Charles Spurgeon.

Hope is more than making a wish! Hebrews 11:1 says that in order to have faith we must have certainty and a hope of something. If we do not have hope, then we cannot have faith!

Hope is to desire and expect something to happen. Hope gives us stability as believers. God has given us promises and we wait in expectation, but what happens when we have waited on God, and nothing seems to ‘manifest’? The bible says that when hope is deferred (postponed, delayed) it makes the heart sick, but having hope brings joy (Prov. 13:12, 10:28).

The enemy of our souls works to make and keep people hopeless, but greater is HE (Jesus) who is inside of us than he (Satan) who is in the world (1John 4:4). His greatest success is to discourage us to the point of despair. And despair is the opposite of hope: its the loss of absence of it. It grows from recurring disappointments and discouragements in life. When we lose hope, we lose love, passion, faith and desire for things, including life itself. As the enemy of our souls, Satan aims to kill, steal and destroy our love, hope and faith (John 10:10, 1 Cor. 13:13).

The antidote of despair and depression is to hope, Psalm 42:11 says, Why are you cast down, O my soul? Don’t be discouraged. Expect God to act!

Let’s pray:

Thank you Lord Jesus, for renewing our hope. Thank you for making your word true in our lives, for giving us joy and peace as we place our expectations back to you, I pray that hope overflows in us by the power of your holy spirit. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Devotional 7/28

And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

Stillness is more than lack of noise, it is knowing whose you are, in the midst of the noise.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Today I want to remind us all that God is doing a new thing this year, and we do not have time to focus on all that is going on around us. The scripture says that the rain falls on the just and the unjust- that means believers and unbelievers. So, everyone has their handful of negative experiences and circumstances whether it was, it is, or an expectation.

  • Some relive their accounts of the past
  • Those who have overcome the past, tend to be consumed with thoughts of the future
  • And others are restless because they are preoccupied with the present 

When we are out of balance we are stuck, and have no peace. The enemy of our souls knows how to strategize against us as he did to Jesus and the disciples. Satan knows when God is on the move, so he fights hard to destroy or derail God’s plan. Although the enemy does not know God’s plans, He knows when God is on the move.

After preaching to the multitudes Jesus told the disciples, “let’s go to the other side”. He did not mention what He intended to do in that place, but a storm arose on the way there. Jesus was sleeping in the boat, and because it seemed to the disciples that He was not paying attention: they feared for their lives. We are like the disciples at times, when God is quiet: we fear for our lives based on something which happened in the past, a present circumstance or an anticipated event.

We cannot control what happens to us in life but we have control over who we become. You may be perceiving life from a victimized place, where you’ve been easily overcome in the past, or maybe like me, you are worn out from the nonstop battles you’ve had to fight… but I urge you (and myself) to defend your stance against the enemy. When it feels like the boat of our lives is being hit by winds of emotion, waves of anxiety, and overwhelming fear or tides of slander and speculation: we must be able to speak to the storm like Jesus did. We can be like Jesus, and take authority of the situation or we can be like the disciples who ran to Jesus for salvation. God is in the boat of life with us, and if He is quiet right now, it is because everything is going to be okay. (Side note: Yes, I know the disciples feared for their lives, which is usually shunned upon, but let’s give them some credit- THEY WENT TO JESUS FOR HELP.)

Life is going to happen, and we cannot control the winds or the waves- but we do have control over how we respond. See you on the other side!

I recommend this amazing book which helped me in different ways by Lysa Terkeutst
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely
!

Let’s pray:

Father God, I don’t know where I would be if it was not for you. You have created us all, and have given each of us a measure of faith. Thank you for that faith, and thank you for our will. We are not where we want to be, but thank you Jesus that we are not where we used to be! You know the end from the beginning Lord, and you know which things of the pasts are making it hard for us to get to the other side, you know what is before which may have us preoccupied, and you know our anxious thoughts- I ask you to help us look past this time in our life, and look ahead. Help those who are suffering, who have been disappointed, betrayed, offended and even rejected and give them a will to forgive and a will to live. I pray for those who have lost a desire to live, to socialize, to eat and even to seek you God. May you heal and purify their hearts. Direct and teach us on how to get rid of old patterns, and give us the victory in those areas we have battled for years. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

 

 

Devotional 4/9

So King Darius gave the order. They brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May the God you serve save you!” Daniel 6:16

God allows you to face hard situations, because He knows you are able to prosper and overcome.

The story of Daniel and the Lion’s den, consists of Daniel’s trust in God. The king passed a law that forbade anyone to pray, and anyone that did, would be thrown into a den of lions. Daniel continued to pray to God, even if He would be eaten by lions. I’m sure Daniel was pretty scared, he may have thought ‘well Lord, this is going to be painful, these lions are going to chew me up- but whatever… if this is what I have to go through- let’s go’. God allowed him to be thrown into the lion’s den, but He didn’t allow the lions to have their way. Daniel saw God’s protection and power, and his faith in God increased, his enemies were baffled and he received revelation about Babylonia which we know of, and even that which is to come (antichrist). Don’t be discouraged by the tests you are facing because God knows how much you can take! The Lord will allow you to go through certain things in life knowing that you can and will overcome, and you will come forth as gold. Your faith will be put to the test, but do you know the strength of your faith? God knows the end from the beginning, and will show you the true strength of your faith. In our walk with God, He will require each of us to temporarily let go of things until another season, or inevitably once and for all. 
God requests things/people from us when we’re being held back from being who and what God has called us to be, and when it prevents Him from taking us to divine destiny. God requires that we let go of any distractions which take our time and focus from HIM, habitual sins and idlenessnegative  attitudes (self pity, hopelessness, rebellion, giving up mentality), comforts that take His place as Comforter (working out, shopping, drinking, sexing, relationships, etc.). The Lord has something to place in your hands but if your hands are holding on to something else, then they are already full. How will you receive then? For example, if I sit at home claiming to be bored, browsing through social media or TV, for hours and hours: how can God give me the strategy or idea to obtain the breakthrough I have been praying for!? My hands are full, holding on to social media, my phone, TV or whatever – while God wants my time and attention to give me this money making strategy! Sometimes we confuse our needs from desires, and doubt that God can actually give us any good thing.
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When releasing things which are dear to us, we suffer loss. And even when God brings comfort, blessings, deliverance or promises of restoration or replacement: we still go through it suffering! In order for the will of God to manifest in our lives, God teaches us obedience through suffering: even Jesus learned obedience through suffering!! For instance, one of the most challenging things for people is to give up is a relationship, or sexual pleasure in general. They believe that God would miraculously remove sexual desire from their body, or their feelings from their hearts, BUT this is so far from the truth. God gives us grace to discipline ourselves, the choice is truly up to us. It’s similar with food, we must learn discipline before attempting to lose weight or gain muscle: we must give up the junk, eat healthy and choose on a daily basis how to go about life. If there is no room for God in that relationship, then it needs to go. If that person or thing is not leading you towards God’s will, then it is not of God: if you are behaving contrary to the bible, you and that person shouldn’t be together. After you let go, then God can and will give you what is really yours to carry out His purpose on this earth: finances, a business, deliverance, ministry, a spouse, a career, spiritual gifts, talents, new friendships, or business relationship. We must have faith to let go, and God leaves that choice up to us. 
God wants to fulfill His promises and purposes in our lives but because our purposes are different, He has a different agenda for each of us. You can be hindering yourself, and not know it. Imagine missing the opportunity to expand your territory, fail to receive the breakthrough or the promise you’ve been eagerly waiting for! We must go through these periods of interruption and loss, so that we may reflect (take thought) and refocus on God. Your faith will grow as GOD shows you what you are made of, but YOU must take the first step by faith. 

Let’s pray:

Lord God, Holy father thank you for the opportunity to write this post with my sister in Christ. I pray that it ministers to all who read it, as it has ministered to both of our lives. May we trust you Lord. May we let go of what we want and think we need right now, so that YOU can give us what we need to fulfill your God given purpose. May we receive all the promises, breakthroughs and deliverances which you have declared over our lives. May we be like Abraham, who released Lot, and even Paul who separated from mark, yet met him again in a different season. May we be like Esther, going full force with you whether we live or die; and like the Hebrew boys which went into the fiery furnace not caring whether they would be live or die. May each person receive the revelation and conviction that they should not fear death, because we will not suffer death. I pray each person who has hardened their hearts against you, and has overly fed the flesh receive conviction and correction that they are as the grass and will wither- but He that does you will, will live forever. Jehovah, You have plans of good for us and we believe that. In Jesus name, Amen.  

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By Leilenys Santos & Frances Vasquez

Edited by Frances Vasquez

Devotional 4/1

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭

Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead, so that we could rise too.

Thank you Lord God, that we know you. That you make yourself know in the entire world. It is a privilege to know you and to behold your glory. It is a underserved gift that we may encounter and bask in your holy presence.

Jesus, Your word tells of your life- of the future that would come and you would go through. I thank you, that just as you are the Lord of lords, you are about all gods known and created by man. I am grateful that you have called us, and set us apart for your own purpose. Although your purpose for us, may be that of suffering as the life of Christ… we know that He resurrected from the deepest of depths, death.

I come before you to present my family, loved ones and myself, as well as those reading today. May your grace meet us in the depths of our dead parts. May you extend your mercy to us, where we do not receive what we deserve. Sometimes we act contrary to your word, and it’s truly a soul issue, a matter of our hearts where we do not believe your good plans for us.

I pray for a resurrection in our hearts to perceive your truth and cause allegiance to it. I ask that your restore the joy of our salvation, and create a new heart in us to know you. Your word says in Ezekiel, that you would give us a heart to know you, to honor you by our obedience. May we not weary of doing good, of loving the unloveable, directing the rebellious, empowering the weak, encouraging the doubters, or consoling the broken-hearted.

I pray for paradigm shifts in each of our minds, to a recognition of our need for you and a conviction that you have the perfect, good and pleasing plan for us. Although Jesus denied Himself most of the human pleasures of this life, and suffered rejection, accusation, gossip, and violent attack here on earth- today He is reigning in glory with you the father in heaven.

May heaven be real to us, just as what our carnal minds can perceive here on earth. I pray for liberation for all who are in mental, physical or emotional cycles. Which cause us to sabotage your destiny for us, and who steal our peace. God, you said you would uproot every seed which was not planted by you. May we rest in your promises, acknowledging that this is a lifetime journey- not an overnight transformation. May your glory and presence direct, counsel and comfort us during the trying times when we want to give up the fight.

I give you praise and honor, believing that you are not a man nor sin of man to lie. Your word is infallible and it is true. I present this to you in the name which is above every name, the matchless and incomparable name of Jesus. Amen.

Devotional 2/16

When the Lord saw the woman, he felt very sorry for her and said, “Don’t cry.” Luke 7:13

Be watchful- the grace of God appears suddenly. It comes without warning, to an open heart.
Rumi

God’s will can be a challenging concept; things like someone dying, someone enduring sickness, becoming handicapped, or losing a home or employment… Although these are negative things that happens, and can make God look like the bad guy- He only allows it for His own personal reasons.  I can’t help to think of Christ, who was despised, beaten and crucified for the redemption of many; but in his humanity wrestled with His own will even for just a second. He asked God the Father, Lord pass this bitter moment from me- and in the same prayer, then came to Himself and thought ‘wait, never mind that God, please do your perfect will in my life.” Someone who has not completely surrendered their will to God, will find themselves depressed, angry and faithless in the face of God’s plans unfolding. We choose to die to ourselves, in order words we trade our plans and expectations for God’s plans and expectations. But surrender is an ongoing daily process: many of us believe to be surrendered, until we face God’s will with bitterness, restlessness, desperation or rebellion. Image result for John 15:15

I remember Naomi, who lost her three sons and her husband- according to God’s plan. He had orchestrated that Jesus Christ would come through the lineage of Boaz and Ruth. I remember Joseph, who was betrayed by his brothers and sold as a slave to Egypt. This was also according to God’s plan for the people of Israel, otherwise they would starve to death and be lost as a people; God allowed his suffering for an appointed timeIt’s important to remember that God is only after our best interests, even if we have to wait for a future time. When we surrender all, we see God’s mercy, favor and grace operating in the very areas which we surrender. The lord comforts us with His peace, His dreams and direction. We are no longer slaves, we are friends of God because He tells us what the Father says (revelation and strategy).  

God had compassion on this widow woman, as well as many others in the bible. Scripture says that this boy was her only son, and the interesting thing about this story, is that the Lord told her ‘don’t cry‘. if I’m going through a situation like this, and somebody tells me don’t cry… I would be a little bothered. But I believe Jesus said this, because God cares about our emotional life and He is willing to have compassion on us. God’s compassion changes our situations, which is why God asks us to live by faith and not by what we see. God has mercy on whomever He pleases, and ALL THINGS work for good for those who love God and who’ve been called according to His purpose. He is the God of suddenly, and can change our lives in an instant.  The sweet thing about this story is that this woman did not ask God for a miracle! But Jesus helped her. Again, this reminds me about Joseph, Ruth and Naomi who did not ask anything from God, at least not according to scripture- but God treated them with favor. Have you been thinking about things, that may not be recorded anywhere for any to know- yet God does… do you have a situation where God can have compassion on you? God is the God of suddenly!

I was going about my business, when suddenly God…

Let’s pray:

Jehovah, powerful and mighty God. I thank you for this word, and for the compassion you have on us such frail and weak vessels. May we be called to the resurrection of life, not to rebellion, bitterness, damnation, or shame. I pray for greater surrender in different areas of our lives, where we are able to give you what you require to excel in our purpose and calling. Just as the people witnessed do such a mighty work in the life of this family, may we be able to bring resurrection into people’s lives. May those around us see your goodness, not your judgment. I pray for words in our mouths that may glorify you, and hearts that may yield to your love so that we may be able to love others. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Devotional 2/11

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25

So when did you invite Jesus into your heart and made Him your Lord and Savior?

The profession of salvation is usually with a witness or a group of witnesses. Of course we all know that is not mandatory, since God saves us when we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is the Lord and our personal Savior. We are saved by Grace. Many fall away from the faith from issues that arise within the church building. This is unfortunate, but God says that we need prove by the way we live that we have repented of our sins and turned to God. He also says we need to congregate, and fellowship with other believers. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, but we cannot claim to be the church just to avoid congregating. God says in His word, that we should congregate and not do the opposite or make it a custom as most do: to stay home, or church hop. Related image

God instituted the church, or ‘assembling of believers’, for us to grow together as a spiritual family. It’s a wise choice to be with other believers, because where 2 or 3 gather in His name, He is there! And if two agree on a thing God does it! God is after good character, and our good works because of our faith. In church, we motivate one another with acts of love and we become involve in discipleship, to become the person God created them to be, to be restored and to follow after purpose.

It is especially important to be united in the church because the day of Jesus’ return is coming nearer and nearer each day. We must spend this life focusing on the right thing with the right people. And I know it’s not easy, because life in itself is such a challenge. God’s spirit is awesome and amazing, and all the help we need for a successful life. I rather do life with God, because I know hard times are for everyone on earth, including Christians. Remember, God wants us to honor him before others, everyone who acknowledges Jesus before others, He will also acknowledge them before God, the Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32)

Let’s pray:

Lord God, I thank you for the years I’ve invested in you and you in me. I thank you for the way you have used others to sharpen me, and mold my character. I pray for those reading, may they find a bible based church where they too may grow, cultivate their character and develop their purpose. May you reveal this necessity to them, as well as the validity of your word. In Jesus name, Amen. 

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Devotional 1/20

You have shown Your people hard things: You have made us to drink the wine of astonishment. Psalm 60:3

This is the true wine of astonishment: We are not over when we think we are.
Alice Walker

Lord Jesus, I read this Psalm today and I was able to identify with it. Thank you for your word, and your divine presence; I could not imagine my life without you God. Even with all the struggles, the frustrations and the processes, I thank you for your faithfulness and dedication to me. I present myself, my loved ones and those reading today to you: may you restore us, to a greater state than we were before.

God, I know we have made you angry. You have every right to reject us and destroy our defense. You have every right to break us; but please rebuild and make us strong again. Our lives feel like an earthquake hit, and our strong parts do not feel so strong anymore. Some parts of our strong walls are broken, while others are still standing. Please put us back together. 

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You have given your people many troubles, severe hard times. We are so out of it, we are falling down like drunks in desperation and some even in apathy. But you have provided us with a banner to show us, your faithful ones, where to go to escape the enemy’s attack. This banner I know is Jesus. I know that at the name of Jesus every thing must bow. Whatever affliction we face, you gave us Jesus as the name we find deliverance in. The name we find strength in, the name where we find freedom. You said in Isaiah that the enemy comes in like a flood, but that YOU would raise a banner against Him! Even when we are tired, hopeless or afraid you will fight for us. I know you are the Almighty and sovereign God, and the enemies we face cannot cross You. But God sometimes it feels like we are being taken over by the flood of the enemy. Raise up your standard Jesus, block Satan’s attacks and destroy his assignments God.

Use your great power and give us victory! Answer our prayer and save the people you love. Give us peace Lord, and rejoice in your victory. 

And God, it seems that you have left us! Like maybe you have added punishment to our process, or have forgotten your promises to us. Maybe you’ve been angry with us for our rebellions, but have compassion on us God, do not hide your face from us. You are not man that you should lie, so I know you remember us. Please help us to not lose hope in your faithfulness and mercy.

Give us grace to accept and even desire your perfect will. Help us defeat these enemies! Those who attack our minds, our bodies, our loved ones and our hearts: those who are trying to seduce us away from you, those who are perverting our thoughts, and those who are thwarting your purposes. No one on earth can rescue us. Only YOU God can make us strong again. Only YOU Lord God can defeat our enemies. So I come before you to ask you for the restoration of our faith and our joy.

In the matchless and all powerful name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

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Devotional 1/8

Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. Psalm 35:1

The doctrine of the carnal christian has destroyed more lives and sent more people to hell than you can imagine. Paul Washer

A carnal Christian is a Christian who is led by their senses. This is a fleshly Christian, directed by what they see, hear, touch, smell and taste. This type of Christian can and will be led away from God, because the flesh and the Spirit are constantly at war against each other. The bible says we are to walk in the Spirit. The Spirit knows God’s precepts, and knows the future God has ordained. The only way to overcome sin, is to put to death the evil desires of the flesh. The bible says to put away filthiness and conscupicense. These are the viles of our human nature. We are naturally inclined to please ourselves by whatever means possible, which puts us at great risk. The flesh tends to gossip, complain, murmur, argue, envy, and other compulsions. 

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UIt’s been said that once a wrong is committed, and forgiven it can very easily lose its sensitivity. For example, if a partner cheats the first time and gets away with simply saying sorry, they will moat likely engage in the act again. Similar to domestic violence, rape, molestation and stealing. Once we lose the conviction that something is wrong, it becomes a habit.

Conviction is a deep sense of knowing of something right or wrong. A judgement of the conscience. And we all have different convictions. Some people have a deep sense of knowing that it is wrong to lie and for others it is wrong to be late to work. These convictions can be lost, if the principles of our conscience are trespassed. The truth is that we devalue our own conscience, and eventually sin can become a regular act.

We should work on becoming aware of our areas of struggle and present them to God. He, then, will strengthen us in those areas. I have learned that if these areas remain unsurrended to God, they will continue. Satan has power in that area and will work His influence into our lives. And then this is when sins make a stronghold in our lives. This is similar to a garden: a garden needs seeds and an overseer. Without an overseer to tend to the garden, it may grow weeds and become an entangled mess! Do we want to live messy lives? Let’s pay attention to God’s word, so that God could fight against those spiritual enemies we all have. 

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus, as we stand in our own way show us a better way. Personal holiness, comes from renewing our minds and if I could be honest with you God, I’m having a hard time holding on to that principle. I actually do not even care as much as I did before.  

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Devotional 1/2

Promotion does not come from the east or the west or from the desert; none can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, He exalts another. Psalm 75:6-7

Not everyone who says hallelujah, praises cute, moves in the gifts of the spirit or identifies himself as minister intends to give glory to God.

God knows the intentions of our hearts, whether we are broken or if we are whole. Some people may seem like they are the sweetest, nicest or even holiest of people; but in secret they do not have the love of God, humility, and quite constant, do not even care to follow the will of God. Many people have their own agendas, and expectations; yet God has His own agenda. Agendas are different from expectations.

Agenda:

  • A plan or goal that guides someone’s behavior
  •  a list or outline of things to be considered or done

It is very tricky to enter relationships with people, to join businesses and to even answer a phone call; we just cannot know at first glance, what the other person’s agenda is. Maybe you enter a relationship, so that you can travel the world- but the other person is thinking sex. Maybe your entered the business, to pay off your debt while your partner, entered to make themselves rich at all costs. Maybe you answered the phone for a conversation, while the other person is depending on you for their sense of love and wholeness. Image result for process to wholeness God agenda

Even, it is good to know that God deposited something in us, but it is more important to be promoted and recognized by God! Not of our own decision and accord. If it were up to me, I would skip all this growing in and waiting on, God nonsense and I would be “The international Apostle Frances of the Nations” and I would open a church myself! Grab some handsome and intelligent guy, get married and have me some kids. I say it as a joke, but I know that for the most part I have submitted by agenda to God’s agenda. I have observed that some, desire their identity, calling and/or potential in Christ to be praised, or applauded. They need validation. Let’s be careful with that. Even in relationships, we look for people to love us to make us feel important, valuable and/or even happy. This is not healthy, it is not of God and it is not okay. As I said God knows our hearts, and maybe He’s waiting for some things to change in it, to promote us. 

We are all broken. We are broken in our sin, we are heart broken and many people are mentally broken. We are not that broken, where we deny that we cannot repair ourselves but that God can make us whole. Man cannot see the condition of our hearts, but GOD does see:

  • arrogance
  • victim and self pity mentality: the ‘look what they did to me  gossip
  • competition
  • haughtiness
  • desires to excel
  • covet the call of God in another
  • comparison
  • envy
  • pride
  • lack of submission

I want to encourage you, to pursue wholeness. You are going to experience a lot of work occurring in your soul. Things you held in your heart from ages, will begin to come to surface like confronting fears, forgiving yourself and/or others, and awakening experiences and even dreams from your childhood. There is a world within your heart, and it should be a peaceful and whole heart, not a battlefield with trespassers. This requires levels of healing, that can only be received by working with God to achieve a reaching a place of purity.

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus, I pray everyone I know is made whole. Just like the lady from the bible was healed, and also made whole by her faith. I pray for those who are going through clouded judgement, those enduring sickness, disease or heartbreak, those who have been disappointed, betrayed or misunderstood, and those who’s life hasn’t turned out the way they hoped it would. For starters, I pray they would confront their issues and trust that you care for their maturation and growth to wholeness. I pray for your sons and daughters to receive mending, rehabilitation, deliverance and reconstruction in their entire being. In Jesus name, Amen! 

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