Lessons from the Book of Job 

Prince William, Catherin, and Harry founded a mental health charity after figures showed the number of female suicides rose sharply in 2015.

The number of women who killed themselves rose sharply last year as the number of suicides for England and Wales reached a 20-year high. According to figures released from the Ministry of Justice, there were 3,899 rulings of suicide in coroners’ courts in 2015. This was more than for any 12 months since 1995 when the data series began.

While the number of men who killed themselves fell to 2,997, 23 fewer than in 2014, the statistics for women increased by 70 to 902. The fewest suicides were in 2007 when 3,007 such verdicts were recorded, and the number has risen consistently since then.

What is it that causes a person to take their own life? The easy answer is to say its’ mental illness, shrug our shoulders and move on. But who assesses what mental illness is? By what measuring rod does one assess if a person is mentally ill or not?

I have ministered to perfectly healthy people who outwardly seem successful, and happy but have experienced an acute amount of stress that caused them to despair for their very life. However, these people were not mentally ill. 

I really believe that some people will not admit they feel suicidal for fear of being labeled mentally ill. However, wanting to die in the face of acute stress, illness or circumstances is not so unusual. 

For example, in the book of Job, we read how he wanted to die and cursed the day he was born. The Bible did not label Job as mentally ill, but we see a very human reaction through Jobs’ despair when there seems to be no hope. 

Lessons from Job 

Job can be a difficult book to understand, however, it can help us in our everyday life. I am studying Job in my personal daily quiet time and found it a wonderful insight into the human condition. None of us need to feel ashamed by having such thoughts, even if an attempt to die has been made. Like Job, we are human, and we are weak at times and may feel there’s is no way out of our circumstances expect to die. 

That’s why, just like Job, we need to be in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gives us hope and strength to live each day. Read John chapter 3 & 1 Corinthians as the whole 13th chapter.  

You have Meaning & Purpose.

We were born for a purpose, and that purpose is to love. To be loved by God and love God back and love other human beings. Each of us is unique and very important and much loved by God. We may want to end our life, but God wants us to live life to the full.

 If you haven’t already, give your life to Christ and wait on Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and you will have the passion to live out God’s purpose for your life. You will find true meaning and happiness and courage to face the most difficult of circumstances. 

Every day you will be living in God’s strength and not your own. 

Also, if you know someone who is struggling with life, pass this article to them, and pray for them. Be light in someone’s darkness today.

The real problem arises when we don’t know what to do with our troubles. We wonder how on earth do we get through this! And how do we survive this phase of mourning and not allow it to immobilize us in some way? How can we make sense of what is happening?

 This is where the 23rd Psalm helps us. As you read on, I pray that the Holy Spirit of God will minister to you and heal you in this time of grief. Psalm 23 is found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). 


It is important to understand who God is. If really difficult to receive healing from someone you know little about. So, let’s take a brief look at the character of God.

So, who is God? There is no name for God as we understand the term to be. God is not a John or an Eric or even a Fred, for example. But what we believe are names for God are actually descriptions of God’s nature, characters, and actions.

For instance, Jehovah-Raah, which means The Lord, my Shepherd. Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known. This denotes a God who always discloses who He is. A shepherd is the one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture (Ezekiel 34:11-15). An extended translation is “friend” or “companion.” This indicates the intimacy God desires between Himself and His people and can be understood as “The Lord, my Friend.” 


I refer to God as Father a lot however it does not indicate that God is a man. To be able to accept help from God. we need to trust who God is and will do what he promised us. Therefore, understanding God will benefit our faith greatly. So here we will briefly discuss who God is. God is Spirit- not a man.

People get hung up on God’s gender, but God has no gender. Why is this so important? I have found that some find it challenging to receive from God because God is a man. Past or current toxic relationships with men cause their relationship with God to become problematic. Therefore, understanding that God has no gender is especially important. 

Well, He’s a father, right? He’s a he – The concept of a genderless God can be confusing.

So let’s take a brief look and see. 

In Christianity, the Hebrew scriptures are referred to as the Old Testament. Here, God is a He. The ‘he’ simply is an allegory for His authority and creativeness. The Hebrew word he is usually not written out, but more understood from the verbal form. Then he is used as a reference to God not to be confused with the Latin HE, which refers to one’s gender.

 All the names of God in the Scripture are simply a description of his actives in creation. By this, we then understand who God is. Therefore, the is He is referring to the Infinite Being (Ain Sof), who is the creator of the universe and is above all divine names. So, God is not a he or she (Numbers 23.19-20). God is a spirit.

Jesus taught us to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4.24). A spirit is a genderless being who is eternal, beyond time and space. God is the Alpha (the beginning) and the Omega (the end) of all things. Beyond time and space (Revelation 21:6). It is the eternal creator who lives in you by his Holy Spirit so you can succeed, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you” Philippians 4.13.

 We could grapple with meanings of words all day, but the vital point to grasp is that God is Yahweh, which means, I Am who I Am. It is not God’s name but describes the Eternal Divine. God in Christ is above all names, in other words, God just IS. God is past, present, and future. God is a timeless, genderless Spirit being whose essence is love.

God The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist as One beyond the universe or human imagination and yet present with us in our worst fears and the most profound grief. God shows himself in Christ, on earth. I know it’s mind-blowing, but that same Christ lives in you, who we call, the Holy Spirit. Colossians 1:27-To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 

To place that into today’s understanding – Christ is the matrix of all that is. Christ IN YOU the hope of glory. ( the promise of beauty). How wonderful!

God is also depicted widely in Scripture as having female attributes. This is a beautiful metaphor depicting his nurturing character. We see this clearly in many scriptures, and just for an example here Deut. 32:18 “You forget the rock who begot you, unmindful of the God who gave birth to you“. Here we understand that God is not a rock, but the allegory is used to describe the steadfastness of God’s nature. Likewise, ‘he’ is also used in this way. Job knew the steadfastness of God and place his trust in this infinite being.

In my book ‘NOTHING GOOD ABOUT GRIEF: from grief to recovery’ I go into this in more detail.

 When we know who God is, we come to understand God in Jesus Christ, securing us in our journey through our darkest valley. 

You have meaning & purpose because God loves you and has a wonderful plan for a happy life.

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Forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living.

Forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living.

I love Psalm 23 has been such strength since I came to faith in Christ well over 30 years ago.

The Psalm is commonly believed to be just about death; however, it’s a lot more than just a cute funeral poem. Although the context is often misunderstood, I use the Psalm as a template for coping with everyday problems.

Psalm 23 is a metaphoric story of our journey through life and a guide to comfort and strengthen us in our dark valleys. This wonderful Psalm assures us that God is our friend who is shepherding us through our pain. In the middle of suffering, God promises to be always there.

David wrote this Psalm, which appears to be his own personal experience of God as his Shepherd. He declares that God provides, and he paints a beautiful picture of the excellent care that God gives amid suffering. 

When David was a shepherd, his job was to look after the pregnant ewes (Ps 78:70,71). He knew first-hand of the care and tender warmth of a good shepherd towards his flock. One day David risked his life to rescue a lamb, illustrating God’s respect for every individual. 

Jesus Christ, our Saviour, seems to refer to this when He says, ‘I am the shepherd of the sheep the good shepherd’ John 10:11. We know the familiar story of when Jesus left the ninety-nine sheep to search for that lost one. A good shepherd guides his sheep into the fold and then cares, protects, and provides for them because they are his. The sheep knows Shepherd’s voice, and they follow him.

 When looking into Psalm 23 to use at a funeral that I was leading, I noticed that the process of going through the valley is like journeying through grief. Since then, I often refer to it at funeral serves and worship meetings, and at times, people say they feel really helped. 

 I really like and appreciate this Psalm because it allows us to understand how much God loves us. Father God is omnipresent, which means God is present everywhere at once. This is possible through the work of the Holy Trinity.

I have never been rich; however, I have lacked nothing from the time I committed my life to Christ, even during the dark valley of grief. In the middle of grieving, God has enabled me to lie down in green pastures, not striving or worrying, but lying down, chilling out in the greenness of God’s love. 

Often, I feel his guidance, albeit a still small voice, impression, or wise advice. Even though I have often strayed from the designated path, as we all do from time to time, I have been gently guided back. Sometimes I have been returned kicking and screaming, realising much later that the momentary discipline from God saved me. Through it all, God is there. You may feel in despair right now, but don’t worry; you will come through this because your Shepherd is walking with you through all the grief and pain.

Each of us has a choice, to either deal with bereavement and the grief it brings, or crawl under a rock somewhere and hide from it, and even worse, we could pretend it is not there. 

I read psychology and counselling at the University of Derby, UK, on a master’s level. It was an excellent course because I became better equipped to help those I ministered to and counselled. The spin-off was that it helped me in my personal life immensely. It was one of the ways God restored and healed me from past emotional trauma. 

Through the course, I experienced many cathartic moments- green pastures. I must admit that I have no unique gifts on walking through grief, but I have God in Christ. I give thanks from the depths of my being because Creator God has held my hand all the way and guided me through that dark valley, showing me how to live in it, emerging victorious. As I sojourned with God through the darkness, I had peace in my heart because I knew that God was with me. And you know what? God is with you as well and can bring you through the darkest of valleys.

I discovered that God heals is not the way I would expect; his ways are higher than ours. God did not just magically wave the sorrow away as if it did not exist. He did not rescue me from it but taught me how to get through it, and to journey through the valley. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him (Psalm 18.30). But, Gods ways are certainly a lot different from ours.

Father God taught me how to say goodbye to many relationships and people in all circumstances. Eventually, I learned how to grieve appropriately, how to move on. I do not boast that I have cracked it because each situation is unique.

 Each experience of grief is different from your previous experience. I am sure there will be new challenges ahead and victories to be won. So, let’s forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living, a new normal.

What method do you use to manage your grief? Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

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How to Transform your Life: God’s free gift to you

If you’re not taught to endure suffering, failures, losses when young, one may never learn it. Those who don’t learn it check out of life, using addictions or anti-social behaviours to cope. To cope well when we experience suffering, we need to accept that suffering is a normal part of life. Yet, our culture does not embrace that. We rail against it. We develop a worldview that is primarily for our ease and comfort.

Philippians 3:10 King James Version (KJV) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

Following the ways of Jesus Christ is an absolute assault on the worldview that culture imposes upon us. Because it is a different mind. The failure of liberalism is trying to critique the mind conforming it to what’s popular. But this is what is called the conniving mind. It is a mind that wants its own way and will do anything to achieve it. The Bible calls it the mind of the flesh. The apostle Paul calls it the old man. It is the egocentric mind that interprets everything in the sense of personal advantage. It is a mind that rejects suffering as a tool for self-growth. The mind of the flesh says, what’s in it for me? How would this situation be to my advantage? What can I get out of it?

If you read everything from that small worldview and read everything methodically, I don’t think you will see life in any new way. You may move along with the political spectrum from left to right and back again, but your life won’t change. But Jesus teaches us a different way of seeing, a different perspective, a different advantage point, and a different starting point. 

Einstein said that the problem cannot be solved by the same mind/ or consciousness that caused the problem in the first place. This is because the mind reads everything in terms of personal advantage, cause and effect.


The word contemplation became popular through the works of Thomas Merton, which is reasonably recent. In the fifth 50s and 60s. A lot of people use the word meditation which is more or less the same thing. The word that most Christians are familiar with is the word prayer. 

We need to be aware that the understanding of prayer has a different connotation here in the West than in the East, where it originated. In the West, prayer became something functional, something that produced an effect. It became – what’s in it for me

This is due to the idea that the ego is the centre of their universe. For example-

· It’s all about me. 

·       If I get offended, I’ll sue somebody

·       If someone hurts me, I’ll take revenge

·       If I don’t get what I want, only to react in some way.

·       If I can’t resolve the conflict ill just cut the people off. 

·       If someone has something that I want, then I go out and get myself in debt to better it.

Western culture has taught us that – it’s All about me, the egocentric self is all about me. Sadly, this attitude has hugely overlapped Christianity. Individualism rules and reigns in the West. That’s why a lot of people could not cope with lockdown and bulk at the rules. They wanted to do things their way, to benefit them. They did not think of the others who they could pass the virus onto.

This kind of behaviour is not what Jesus intended for us, and it’s certainly not what he taught. As soon as you make prayer an exercise to get something, it puts you in charge. However, Jesus does say ask, and it will be given. We must be aware that this kind of prayer is from a humble and obedient submissive attitude towards Jesus Christ in the first place. 

most people approach prayer with egocentric consciousness, which says- I will try to get what I want to get from God. however this is the world’s way; worldly values are the seat of our culture. In this way, instead of being a transformed mind or consciousness, we remain egocentric and try to manipulate God and everyone else, and we think we did okay. 

That’s why Christianity is in dire straits today because it’s not transforming people as the Bible clearly states that it should and does. It’s just giving people a form of religiosity to be in charge and control. It still the ego/natural/fleshly/false self.

Jesus always talked about was the transformed self (John 3). The apostle Paul uses that beautiful phrase, it’s no longer their lives; Christ lives in me. So it’s a different way of being. It’s a different sense of self. As long as you’re operating from the egocentric will, you’ll never be free. You will never be transformed.  


The ego-self can be pious, religious, be theologically sound, may even be a church leader in some way, but never totally free. So religion has always performed two very important but two very different Stages. 

The first stage is to create meaning for the self. The first stage offers mixed narratives, truths, and rituals to provide meaning. And that’s okay. You’ve got to be aware of the self to move beyond the self. But most religions stop at that first stage by simply giving you a positive self-image. 

Christians rarely move beyond this first stage, and it’s perhaps because they don’t think there’s anything else beyond it. This satisfied with the fact they believe they are a religious, moral person with good standing in a community. However, most people do not go beyond that. The problem is that this kind of religion does not raise or transform a person’s consciousness. It does not deliver true freedom of overcoming the egocentric self. This type of religion does not transform or fully satisfy the true self. Instead, it fortifies self-comfort, and even deceives this true self into thinking, you are okay – I’m okay.

Underneath it all, there is this innate satisfaction and unrest, a yearning for something more and not knowing what it is. Christianity is the best thing in the world and the worst in the world. Why? The religious often think they are right in all things and start from that vantage point. And when one thinks that one is always right, they become egocentric, narrow-minded and intolerant of others.

 It’s challenging to get to know egocentric people because the ego is so sure that they are right and you are wrong. They will protect their point of view at any cost, even the cost of hurting others leading to spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is prevalent, which is why I wrote a Master of Art thesis on that subject as it’s so common in the churches- but that’s another subject.

If the egocentric self is warm and fed and thinks it is correct, it is then convinced that it is saved. But what does being saved mean?

 Most people think that being saved is a ticket to heaven, and fire insurance from hellfire. For them, it is something that is not here now but will come one day. It’s always in the future. It’s by the sweet by and by. The egocentric self says If I am religious enough, good enough, say the sinner’s prayer, and I do the right thing then be saved, I’ll get to heaven

This point of view comes from a punishment and reward system. If I play the game right, I will be rewarded. It is about the works that I can do, and God will be pleased, so I’ll get into heaven. That point of view has absolutely nothing to do with transformation, absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ. This, unfortunately, is a lot of Christians point of view, but Jesus had something completely different in his mind when he spoke to Nicodemus, as written in John chapter 3. Please turn to it and read the whole chapter.


It’s by the grace of God we come into fellowship with God. So then, in God’s strength and ability working in us, we learn to be patent and pray, renewing our strength. When our strength is renewed- transformed- we then mount up with Eagles’ wings, we will run and not be weary, walk and not be faint. 

Accepting God free gift of salvation, confessing our sins, and repenting (turning away from sin) is the basis of our prayers. God is in the business of transforming you because He loves you. It starts with the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus. Mindful prayer is a life’s style that will help you transform the self into A Different Way of Being.

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Paula Rose Parish

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Christ the king.


 John 18:33-37

We are in the second week of Advent and Christmas is looming large. At Christmas we celebrate the Birth of the Messiah Jesus Christ but we must not forget that he was born to die. Jesus died for the sins of the world- your sins and mine. Jesus was born a King and died a King and rose from the dead so we can be raised also. Our Gospel lesson has Jesus appearing before Pilate, the Roman governor, after having been accused by his enemies of trying to set himself up as king.  In the dialog that follows, Jesus admits to being a King, but says that his kingdom is not of this world.


We can really understand verses 33-37 only if we look at them in the context of chapters 18-19 which include the following:

  • JESUS BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST (18:12-14, 19-24)
  • PETER DENIES JESUS (18:15-18, 25-27)
  • JESUS BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:66-71)
  • JESUS BEFORE PILATE (18:28-32)

The emphasis on Christ the King continues in chapter 19.  Pilate has tried to get the crowd to let him release Jesus (18:38b-40) and has had Jesus flogged in the hope that the flogging will satisfy the crowd (19:1-7).  The crowd, however, frustrates Pilate at every turn, demanding Jesus’ crucifixion (19:6, 15) and disputing Pilate’s loyalty to the emperor (19:12). 

Pilate strikes back verbally, saying to the crowd, “Behold, your King!” (19:14) and asking, “Shall I crucify your king?” (19:15). Then the crowd, which demanded Jesus’ death because “he made himself the Son of God” (19:7),

The crowd responds in the most astonishing fashion.  “We have no King but Caesar,” they say (19:15).  In other words, they criticized Jesus for putting himself in God’s place but themselves now put the emperor in God’s place.  Pilate, by necessity loyal to the emperor, finally gives up and turns Jesus over to be crucified (19:16). But Pilate has the last word.  He has an inscription posted on the cross in three languages that says “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (19:19-20).  The chief priests protest, asking Pilate to change the inscription to read, “He said, I am King of the Jews.”  Pilate responds, “What I have written, I have written” (vv. 21-22).  Earlier, Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (18:38). Now, with irony, Pilate posts the truth for all to see. 

Queen Elizabeth became queen in 1952.  Sometimes it seems as if she will go on forever.  Poor Prince Charles can’t have the top job until his mother dies––an unpleasant sort of dilemma. Although I’m sure her job has many stresses, she has lived a life of luxury and privilege. In 1989 I had the opportunity to visit Graceland, the home of Elvis––the King of Rock ‘n Roll.  Elvis had two private jets, and they were parked near Graceland for the sake of the tourists.  Each was decorated Elvis style––forever locked in 1970.  He too, although he seemed unhappy, Elvis lived a life of luxury and privilege. But the Kings and Queens of history enjoyed even greater power.  A King typically had the power of life and death over people within his realm.  Kings lived in grand palaces and commanded imposing armies. 

That doesn’t sound much like Jesus, does it!  As he told one would-be follower: 

 “The foxes have holes,

and the birds of the sky have nests,

but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)

 Jesus didn’t live in a palace.  He didn’t live luxury or privilege.  His “army” consisted of ordinary people who brought the family to see HIM.  It would be pretty hard to imagine those mums and dads and kids as any kind of threat to Rome.

But Pilate couldn’t take a chance.  People had reported Jesus as an enemy of Rome––as a man who would be king––as a potential challenger to the emperor.  Pilate had no choice but to get to the bottom of such a charge.  If he ignored it and trouble broke out, it would be Pilate’s head on the chopping block.

So Pilate took time to interview Jesus. Pilate has a bad reputation for his handling of Jesus’ trial, but we need to acknowledge that he handled this questioning well.  He took Jesus aside, so the crowd couldn’t interfere, and he asked three questions:

First, he asked, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (v. 33).  Seeing at this ordinary-looking man, he asked, “Are YOU the King of the Jews?  You gotta be kidding me!” Then Pilate noted that important people had said Jesus was a trouble maker.  Pilate asked, “What have you done?” (v. 35).

That was exactly the right question. 

 And then Pilate asked, “Are you a KING then Jesus had said that his kingdom was not from this world, so apparently he saw himself as a KING.  So Pilate asked, “Are you a KING then?”

We know the rest of the story, of course.  In frustration, Pilate eventually washed his hands of the matter and allowed Jesus to be condemned.  He didn’t make it happen, but he allowed it to happen.

But Pilate wasn’t a fool.  He knew that he was being used, and he didn’t like it.  He had his soldiers nail a plaque to the cross that said, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (19:19).  Jesus’ enemies said, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but ‘he said, I am King of the Jews'” (19:21).  But Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written” (19:22).

WAS Jesus a king?  That was the question that Pilate needed to answer.

 IS Jesus a King?  That is the question that we need to answer. 

WHAT would it mean if Jesus were king?  How would it affect our lives?

The New Testament certainly sees Jesus as king.  It calls him “King of Kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16). 

The apostle Paul talks about Jesus as coming down from heaven to be born as a baby and to die on a cross.  Then Paul says:

Therefore God also highly exalted (Jesus),

and gave to him the name which is above every name;

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth,

and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11)

 That certainly sounds King-like, doesn’t it!

The question for us today is whether Jesus is king in your life.  You don’t have to hold up your hand and give the answer in front of everyone, but I would like for you to think about the question––Is Jesus King in your life? pause

Then let me ask another question––If Jesus were King in your life, what difference would that make, for you?  Your family?  For your friends?  For your employer?  Think about that for a moment.  What difference would it make if Jesus were king in your life?….

Then let me make this observation.  ONE way to tell whether Jesus is King in your life is to ask whether you are trying to do what he wants you to do.  None of us is doing that perfectly.  None of us is perfectly obedient to Christ.  The question isn’t whether we are obeying Jesus perfectly.  It is whether we are trying––whether we are giving Jesus our best.

Some years ago, it was popular for people to wear bracelets that said WWJD?––What Would Jesus Do?  The idea behind the bracelets was to remind us, when faced with a decision––any decision––to ask “What would Jesus do?”––and to let the answer help us to make the right decision––to help us do what Jesus would have us do. What Would Jesus Do?  How would GOD have you spend your life?  GOD has something for you to do––SOMETHING for each of us to do.

What would Jesus do?  How would he have you spend your retirement years?  The late Andrew Grove, one of the founders of Intel Corporation, the company that makes most of the chips for computers, used his retirement years to try to reform health care in America––especially health care for the poor.  That really bowled me over!  Andy Grove was one of the richest men in the world.  He had plenty of accomplishments to his credit!  He could have sat back and relaxed.  He could have spent his later years playing golf.   Instead, he tried to solve the problem of uninsured people, some of whom were jamming emergency rooms and the rest of whom were getting no medical care.  I think it’s wonderful that this rich man spent his retirement years giving instead of taking. 

 What would Jesus do?  Today, after we leave this church building and scatter throughout the community, each of us will be faced with decisions that will give us a chance to ask, “What would Jesus do?” Asking that question is the first step toward making Jesus King in our lives. If you are wondering how to get your life into focus, and stay on the right track,  ask that question––”What would Jesus do?”––and let the answer set the direction for your life.

 Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, who is blessed with son was revealed to destroy the works of the devil and make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life.

Grant that we having this hope, may live pure lives, even as he is pure,

And when Jesus Christ shall appear in power and great glory

we will be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom, where he is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit ONE God now and forever


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