HOW WOMEN SHOULD NOT SUBMIT IN MARRIAGE


What exactly are we talking about when we talk about submission in marriage? Should the issue of submission be wrestled about? Do men have to out-rightly demand this submission? In what sense should women submit to their husbands? If you are an ardent reader of George’s Diary, you will have seen various teachings we had done as regards to women and we keep updating them every day to ensure accuracy. If women were asked to submit to their husbands, does it mean they are not equal with their husbands? Does it suggest they are to live by their husband’s rule without question? I will answer a few of these questions by actually telling us what submission isn’t or what God never defined as submission in marriage.

Marriage is like a plane where there are two pilots. Both contribute to a successful flight! For order, there is usually a captain and then the co-pilot. Sometimes the captain will need a rest and the senior officer (co-pilot) plays the role of the captain. In a family of two siblings, one would have come first and he is branded the “senior” but it doesn’t suggest he is superior or even more important. Being the senior is in age and ranking but in the real sense of it, they are equal as children, sons or daughters and they both have equal access to their parents and the resources made available to them as members of the family. However, certain tasks and responsibilities will be given to them with respect to their strength. Sometimes, the junior may even be stronger than the senior and it doesn’t make anyone more important or superior to one and another.

A captain and a co-pilot require the same skill and qualifications. There are no flight tasks exempted from the co-pilot as he or she needs an equal qualification to play the commanding role when the captain takes a break. In some cases too, the co-pilot plays a complementary role in difficult tasks where his or her own contributions and intelligence is also valued! It doesn’t rob the captain of his leadership position.

I believe that married couples are one and each contributes to raising a healthy family according to their areas of strength. Being a wife doesn’t make her inferior neither does being a husband makes him superior to the wife. In a simple line, to live in submission as a wife simply means responding to God’s call into the office of a helpmeet, recognizing and honouring the husband’s God-given position as the leader of the family with whom you stir the affairs of the family. It is in the identification of his role as the leader that you are even able to offer him necessary help and to also stand in his capacity when he is weak. In response to the issue of submission, husbands are also called to “highly respect” and hold their wives in high esteem! (1 Peter 3:7) To highly respect means to have a great sense and feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

So, a husband, in turn, should be in awe of the amazing qualities his wife possess in solving problems! Leadership is meant to bring out the great potentials of others and this is what a husband should do, he gives room for the “helping” potentials of his wife to manifest! You don’t get that by imposing authority, you get that by allowing them to manifest freely and it is in their willingness to manifest their gifts as a wife freely that they also submit. The logic is, submission becomes very easy when you love and greatly respect your wife and the “answers” they carry. Another way men express leadership in marriage is by loving their wives the same way Christ loves the Church and gave Himself for the Church (Ephesians 5:25). This is a sacrifice, a man must sacrifice everything including his ego as an expression of leadership in the home!

Now, let’s look at certain things we must never define as submission.

1. SUBMISSION IS NOT UNCONDITIONAL AGREEMENT

We often hear people say things like “you have to agree with him without question because he is your husband. You can only suggest but he decides.” Oh well, that sounds so cool but that is a whole bunch of lies. In 1 Peter 3, if there were wives whose husbands were not Christians; in this sense, they heavily disagree, then it is possible to disagree with things that aren’t healthy to your purpose, your convictions in life and your ultimate loyalty to Christ. If the husband decides to have a threesome sexual experience, you wouldn’t suggest “no” to him, you would scream “no!” and in the same way, you can be bold with your convictions. After all, we have established the fact that leadership in marriage means giving room for the good opinions of another. There are places in a marriage where a woman is left with no option than to disagree respectfully and there is also no room for a man to impose his opinion disrespectfully.

2. SUBMISSION IS NOT “WITHOUT YOUR MIND”

Marriage doesn’t make a woman a robot, it doesn’t even make a woman a sex machine in the sense that she can’t say “please can we do this later, I really overworked myself today.” Submission doesn’t mean that the woman’s opinion is inferior and it doesn’t mean the mind of the woman has been sold out to the man. A good leader in marriage will always want to know and respect the opinions and strength of the other person. Many people would misinterpret 1 Corinthians 7:4 by suggesting a wife will always be available for sex but the same chapter clearly says the body of the husband also belongs to the wife and in the next verse it talks about mutual consent. A respectful husband serving as a leader should always be able to respect the body of his wife and understand when she is weak. On the other hand, being a submissive wife doesn’t mean putting your mind away and accepting things that are anti-Christ and destructive to you. You can speak your mind in the marriage too, don’t let anyone deceive you into thinking that God wants you to say “oh! yes” to everything. Remember your ultimate submission is to God and your submission to your husband should be guided by your submission to God.

The Bible view on authority should not be likened to that of the world, loyalty and submission in the family isn’t like what we see in political parties where people agree to ideologies they aren’t convinced about just because they are members of that party. You can disagree with your husband when he wants to overspend, it is both of you that pilots the ship and your own opinion also matter. In leadership, we must admit a better opinion when we see it. A good leader in marriage should be able to accept a better view and leave his own views aside. Leadership is all about doing something together and not about rolling out a personal plan.

You don’t say “we must do this!”, sometimes you say it this way “should we do this? Is it a good idea?” This is what husbands should do as they stand in the place of captains.

3. SUBMISSION IS NOT BEING LESS IMPACTFUL

Never ever be discouraged by trying to also have a great impact or strong influence over your husband’s decisions and character. Many people think that you must allow him to live the way he wants but that is not true. You were called to help him as a wife and therefore you should be the biggest influence in his life. It is not a lack of submission when you want your husband to act in certain ways. My mother got my father born again, my mother influenced him into quitting alcohol and smoking! She also had a superior influence on us and ensured we didn’t follow that path. Does that make her less submissive? No, because she was submitted not just to the man but to the purpose of the marriage and the office she occupies as a helpmeet and a mother. Today, we don’t even remember we had a Dad who would smoke and drink alcohol.

4. SUBMISSION IS NOT DOING THE WORK ALONE

People also usually think that submission in marriage means doing all the domestic chores, doing the dishes, taking care of the Children and the laundry while still keeping up with your daily job in the office. This is very wrong! You can have a submissive wife without having her enter the kitchen once! Trying to take up all the work doesn’t make you a submissive wife anyway. It is not even wrong to suggest to your husband that he should take up some domestic responsibilities and as a husband you are not being a coward by not trying to blackmail your wife into making her feel she isn’t a good woman if she isn’t able to do all the work. There should be a division of labour in the home especially when she isn’t a housewife and no man is supposed to force a woman to sit in the house all day. In our family, Dad can’t cook and therefore he doesn’t enter the kitchen for anything. The first times he tried, it was an eye sour! Mum does the cooking when we are not available to cook! On the other hand, Dad loves to do the laundry for himself and mum while we wash ours ourselves. When we are not available to clean the house and fill the water cans, Dad would do them himself. Now you see that? They both respect their places of strength without imposing extra duties on the other person.

5. SUBMISSION IS NOT “HUSBAND” ABOVE EVERYTHING

A wife has a life to live, she is a staff, a student, a member of an organization, a leader in the social world, a doctor, a mother, a friend and so on! Therefore she should balance her life to meet up with all the demands. Submission doesn’t mean going to see your husband when it is time to be at work, it is not going out with your husband when you need to stay with the kids, it doesn’t mean staying with your husband when you have an emergency in the hospital as a medical doctor. Husbands should understand this! Above all, our ultimate submission is to Christ and therefore when it comes to choosing between the husband and Jesus, it is Jesus without negotiation but with deep respect from both sides. While we love and respect our spouse, our ultimate reverence is to God.

The list would go on but now we can understand that our definition of submission should not be defined with the idea of cult-like followership, a hopeless dependence and careless disregard of our own personal convictions, goals and God’s calling in an attempt to stick to order. Both submission and leadership in marriage can only be best understood in the light of the scriptures. In other words, submission truly doesn’t mean living for the man and in his own terms, it means living for God and shaping your marriage to truly reflect God’s will and purpose for that marriage. In turn, the man expresses true leadership by identifying the duty of the woman and allowing her to carry it out effectively.

To be submissive in marriage is to be loyal to the purpose of that marriage and to affirm the role of the man as a leader making the woman also understand her own role as a helpmeet. You can’t help solve an issue you haven’t identified with.

God bless you.

~ George O.N

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GOD EXPOSED | Bible & Quran


Even before we came to this earth and identified with our earthly parents, we already had a father. Many people never realized this on time, we were told about God, we were told about His sovereignty, we were told that God created the entire world and is the Lord of all. Whether you found it in the Quran or in the Torah, one thing was common; God is the King of Kings, the Lord over all and for some people, His name is too holy to be mentioned by mere mortals who couldn’t attain God’s standard of Holiness.

However, there is something remarkable that we always disregard whether you are seeing it from the Quran perspective or from the Torah. In Quran 38:71-72, we see a report that says this “I am going to create a human (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud.  So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him.” and we also see an even more profound perspective in Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” God created man with an amazing intention, He wasn’t going to start bossing man around and He had always wanted the man to be honoured. If God made man in His image, He wanted much more than worshippers.

God didn’t say “let us create man to worship me” He already had worshippers who were created to worship Him but if the man should worship God, God wanted willingness to worship and therefore, in the beginning, there was no command from God to man, to worship Him. Making man in His image alone was a glory to be reckoned with that the fallen angel (satan) became aggrieved!

“If God made man in His image, He wanted much more than worshippers.”

After Satan had deceived man to seek an extra knowledge which actually doesn’t exist, the man left the ways of God and sojourned into the path of Satan; leaving Satan in control (Luke 4:6) and venturing into a futile search for God and what pleases Him. This was how religion was birthed, the man continued to try to please God by their own efforts but the more they try the more they failed because God needed no effort of man to make him perfect just as in the beginning. God already made man and bestowed on him all authority, honour and goodness but Satan made the man believe that there was more hidden from them. The only thing the perfect man never knew was rebellion against God in the search for more knowledge above what God has given.

As men kept searching for God and seeking for ways to get back to fellowship with God, religion kept thriving and the dimensions of religion kept expanding. Laws upon laws kept coming and even when God reveals himself to selected people, they couldn’t really explain what they see in the way that it explains the person of God and therefore they were very limited in their explanation of God because they were spiritually blind men.

Concerning this, the Bible reports in the new testament “…the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.” Various people all over the world sought for diverse means to reach God but God can’t be reached with human effort as it undermines the person of God! In seeking for certain covering and spiritual fulfilment, men began to make their own gods and this was one of Satan’s goals. While everyone wanted to deal with Satan and negative energy, the devil was inspiring them to stick to him in hidden ways.

“God needed no effort of man to make him perfect”

God decided to narrow down on just one people through whom He will spread the knowledge of Himself to the entire world. It wasn’t a strategy that would make sense in an instant, He was preparing a way to make Himself known by Himself. No Angel, or Prophets would explain God in a better light and so God was committed to making Himself known all by Himself. Because of spiritual blindness, the God who desired fellowship was seen as a God who was power-drunk. That was the distorted view of God that religion has. Both the Torah and the Quran presented God as a Master in a sense it presents us as His slaves to some degree. Describing the helplessness of man, Bildad said to Job in Job 25:6 “how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot– a human being, who is only a worm!” but seeing from the point of revelation, David cried out to God saying in Psalms 8:4-6 “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God (Adonai) and crowned them with glory and honour. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— ”

While we wallowed in ignorance, spiritual loneliness and quest to have that vacuum filled up which only God would fill, God kept revealing Himself to the people He had chosen but they only saw it in types and shadows because they were spiritually blind as the corruption of this world still covered their sight like veils. Concerning this, the Bible says in Colossians 2:17 “These are a shadow of the things that were to come…” When God told the Israelites in Exodus 29:45 “Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God.” He was making reference to a spiritual Israel which the nation of Israel only represented as a type and shadows of what was to come.

Through the Prophets of old, God announced His plans for the Salvation of man and healing from the spiritual blindness that has ravaged the earth. Micah wrote in 5:2 of his prophecy “The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.” Isaiah also saw in a revelation as he wrote in Isaiah 7:14, 9:6 “But the LORD will still give you proofs. A virgin is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel… A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.””

“God kept revealing Himself to the people He had chosen but they only saw it in types and shadows because they were spiritually blind”

Many years later, in a very lowly manger in  Bethlehem just like Micah prophesied, a child was born and as Isaiah had written, He was born of a virgin. Some wise men of the East who understood the timing saw the star of God appear in the sky as it was written in Numbers 24:17 and they went to behold this child and bow in worship, acknowledging that indeed God, God is among men at this time. When Herod learnt of this and sought to kill the Child who was named Jesus, Hosea 11:1 was fulfilled as Jesus was taken to Egypt from where He came back to Israel. This also clarified why Jacob had to go to Egypt.

Even the Quran couldn’t hide certain truths about Jesus no matter how it is tried. The Quran said concerning Jesus in Surah 3:45 “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.” In Quran 3:39,45,4:171, it couldn’t be scraped off the Quran that Jesus is the word of God. In Quran 40:56, it is also agreed that God creates with His word! Quran agrees too that Jesus is the Spirit from God Quran 21:19. Although efforts have been made to deny the divinity of Jesus, it can’t be completely hidden as no other prophet in the Quran was given such attribute.

Concerning this Child, the Bible in John 1:1 records that He is the word of God, the same word with which the entire world was created. Although called the “son of God”, He was God in the flesh showing us the clear picture of who He is and who we should be. We were made to be like God in the flesh and Jesus being God in flesh was the clear example of who we were made to be. Jesus grew up possessing the very qualities of God, clarifying all the rumours that had been broadcasted about God. He was out to correct all the information given to us about God. The teachers of the law never understood Him but it was also His intention that they don’t understand Him because it will set the stage for the salvation of mankind.

“Even the Quran couldn’t hide certain truths about Jesus no matter how it is tried.”

In all the confusions arising from the teachings of all the Prophets, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 (CEV) “Don’t suppose I came to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning.” We never knew the meanings of what these Prophets had written because they were codes and not reality, we had documented their teachings and made laws out of them not knowing it was only but a pointer to Jesus. Although Jesus knew that some things would be heavy for the people to grasp in their state of blindness, He said: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) Wait a minute! This is the Master He was talking about, the God of all flesh, the one who uses the earth as His footstool and He didn’t call Him master but “father!” He didn’t just call Him Father, He also said they are one.

Jesus went around doing good, healing the sick, supporting people with compassion in His heart and treating women so right that in Him, they saw the picture of the perfect man. Jesus was both the vivid picture of the perfect man and God all at the same time. In Jesus, humanity and divinity were pictured together. He went about forgiving sins and setting the captives free!

As that was never enough, Jesus took upon Himself the old judgment upon man which says in Genesis 2:17 “If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die”. The judgment had kept resonating as all men were labelled sinners because of the disobedience of one man from whom all men proceeded from. The devil thought he had won, he thought he had separated man from God and made men see God as a wicked boss but Jesus took up the sins of men upon Himself so that the judgment would be met on Him. This was the biggest and shameful defeat of the devil. No wonder He was called in John 1:29 “…the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Using the blindness of the world who never recognized Him, He walked up to the cross in pains. The pain was too much on His humanity that He cried out in Matthew 26:39 “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” In the face of this pain, he still opted for what He came to do which was to liberate man who couldn’t liberate Himself.

“Jesus took up the sins of men upon Himself so that the judgment would be met on Him. This was the biggest and shameful defeat of the devil.”

He got crucified, He died, He was buried and on the third day, after preaching Himself to the spirits of the dead and solving the problem of sin from the foundations of this world, He resurrected in glory as a new man! But wait a minute! This time, He didn’t just tell us about His father in heaven. Although He had made us know in “the Lord’s prayer” that God is our father, He made it so much more obvious after His resurrection when He said to Mary Magdalene in John 20:17 “Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” By the reason of His sacrifice, we had become just like Him. We had become His brothers in the flesh and His children in the Spirit. We can now know God beyond “Master” and we can now call Him “Daddy!”

Jesus became us that we might become Him. And the Bible had reported in John 1:12 saying “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” He didn’t want us to just be His subjects, He didn’t just want us to bow and worship Him just like the Angels, He wanted our friendship, He wanted a union and He wanted us to recognize Him as our father. In John 3:16, we also saw that if we accept Him, He gifts us His own life!

The New Testament gospel presents us with an answer, a liberating answer of who God is and who we are in Him. The Quran called Him master, the Torah and the Prophets did same, some even made idols and referred the idols as Him but He came as Jesus, presenting to us a very clear picture of who He is! God is not just our God, He is also our friend and He is our father. Therefore, we are no longer afraid to mention His name and His name is Jesus.

“Jesus became us that we might become Him.”

Jesus brought an end to religion and brought alive the first intent of making the man. All God ever wanted was relationship and here we have it in Christ! The Bible says concerning them that have believed, Romans 8:16 “For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” What wasn’t clear has become clear.

Nowhere else have we been presented with this truth, not in the Quran, not in any religion and even with the shadows of truth in the Torah and writings of the Prophets, there was limited information. It is only in the New Testament, in the manifestation of Jesus that humanity is clearly defined and the works of darkness greatly humiliated! The Bible says concerning us in Romans 8:14-17 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him, we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.””

What an exciting truth! We aren’t trying to find God anymore, God has found us and we are united with Him in Christ. You too can experience this truth for yourself. It takes you just one thing; to believe it! God is no longer a myth, He is exposed and what a blessing it is to be called “His children.”

“Jesus brought an end to religion and brought alive the first intent of making the man.”

God bless you.God has a family and it is a great privilege that we are members of God’s family. Religion cannot offer this, this is only possible in Christ. Imagine Jesus saying to us individually “I am your brother and we are seated together on the right hand of my father and your father.” Just as the Bible reports in Ephesians 2:6 “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Hallelujah!

God bless you.

~ George O.N

UNMASKING DEPRESSION | By George available in kindle & paper back

RELIGION DOESN’T SAVE | Alive! Daily Devotional


Religion Saves Not
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law, we become conscious of our sin.”
~ Romans 3:20

Religions tell you that the only way to get God pleased with you and accept you is by following certain kinds of rules which in truth isn’t possible for you to perfectly follow. Religion tells you that eating a certain kind of food is sin, wearing certain cloth is sin and so many other things! Religion teaches morals quite alright but they don’t teach it so that you grow, you are threatened for even growing because you should have grown! In religion, we aren’t walking towards perfection because you ought to have been perfect. Anyway, God doesn’t want you to be free from religion. Get this:

1. Following religious principles isn’t the basis of being righteous in God’s sight.
2. Religious principles only create in us the awareness of things we can’t do by asking us to do them.
3. Religions want to make you believe your effort is enough but God wants you to trust Him.

Although it is good to be moral in all endeavours, the motivation for our morality should not be to gain God’s favour. Judging by God’s standard, the motive of being acting well just to get God’s favour in itself is unjust and selfish. Religious laws are not divine; their focus isn’t on God’s greatness. Your motive of doing well should rather be that of love.

POINT TO NOTE
Your faith in God is what God sees as righteousness. When you trust God for salvation knowing that you can’t meet up based on merit, it is an act of humility before God but when you believe a set of rules will make you appear perfect before God, it is arrogance. Obeying religious laws may make you appear pious before men but in God’s eyes, your faith in Him is what counts.

AFFIRMATION
“I am righteous not based on my own making because God declared me righteous! I will act righteously not because I want to be righteous but because I am righteous.”

PRAYER
Lord, if you were to mark our iniquities, I wouldn’t stand. Thank you for making me righteous by your word!

Alive! Daily Devotional is a new project on George’s Diary. Stay inspired and enhanced every day with reflections, points to note, affirmations and prayers strongly rooted in God’s word. It’s simple, straight to the point and inspiring! There are peace and comfort readily available in God’s word for you!

~ George O.N

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BEING RESPONSIBLE UNDER GOD (2)


RESPONSIBLE2
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…continued from Being Responsible Under God (1)
:
You don’t need to give the devil audience and hold him to a conversation. When you notice it is the devil, the Bible says “resist him and he will flee!” (James 4:7) and the only way to resist him is to submit ourselves to God by sticking to the word even when it doesn’t sound logical. The devil made it appear illogical to Eve and she must have asked herself “what was I thinking? How could I have ignored this wonderful tree?” And she reached out to eat of what she had always not found appealing. Certain things become very appealing when we start listening to the devil. It seems harmless to think it doesn’t matter who you choose to get married to whether it same sex or not, it seems harmless to think it is not wrong to have sexual relation with the same sex as long your neighbour isn’t getting hurt! The devil brings in a certain perspective that you even think is “love” and tolerance. You think “well, a practising homosexual can lead the Christian assembly. He is an adult after all” but we do not know we are technically saying “well, it doesn’t matter what God thinks!” We are gradually questioning God’s word.

You may ask how it puts God’s word to questioning and it is very clear. God made every animal male and female; He also made human male and female and blessed us to multiply! God designed the man and the woman to complement each other and continue in the project of recreation. The woman was designed to be a suitable helpmeet to the man and this clearly shows us what God wants! But the devil can try showing us another way that seems harmless and we think it is love asking the government to legalize gay marriage just because certain people think when lots of people do abnormal things it becomes the new normal.

God loves homosexuals as much as He loves straights! God cannot stop loving homosexuals because of their sexual preferences because while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. But that is not how God designed man to function and if you want to follow God’s word it also means repenting from living your own way!

God wants us to be responsible under Him; He doesn’t want us to live carelessly! Although He will not force it on us, He wants us to willingly live for His own glory! You cannot have it both ways; you are either living for God or you are living for the devil. Worldliness is a form of Satanism, it is not obvious but it is the devil’s underground project of putting his system into what is perceived as the human way of life. The Bible calls the devil “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and this simply talks about him being the author of the worldly system by taking advantage of the fallen nature of man to establish a system that is out-rightly opposing God!

photography of person walking on road

That you have been saved out of darkness into His marvellous light doesn’t mean God has reserved you to exist to yourself! What God does is that He saves you out of darkness, empower you with light and launch you out again into the world! You now have God’s light inbuilt in you and therefore you go out again and start defeating darkness with the light you are carrying! As you take each step, darkness continues to diminish! This is how the Church marches on and the gates of darkness cannot prevail against it (Matthew 16:18)! This is how the light shines in darkness and darkness cannot comprehend it or win over it (John 1:5)! God saves you from the influence and shackles of darkness and He sends you as a warrior of the kingdom to fight on the offensive! We aren’t trying to protect the kingdom, we aren’t trying to shield the kingdom, and the kingdom has no fortress and walls! We are armies on the move, we don’t have boundaries and therefore with each step, we take over territories and add it to the kingdom! We don’t build walls, we break them down!

In a world full of hate, we fight this fight with love! Jesus said in John 13:35, that when we live the life of love, the world will see this love and know that we belong to Him! The world is hungry for love and we show this love not just by saying it or by telling people how terrible they are but by acting it! Our love for one another is proof to the world that we belong to Christ! It is this love that motivates us to do good works, not to get approval but because we have been approved!

God did not save us so that we can just live the way we want! We must align ourselves to live on the path of the word of God! The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10 that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works! We do these good works by living the life of love! And we have been called into the service of reconciling men to Christ. We reconcile men by reaching out to them in love and offering them the way of salvation which is Jesus! You don’t live carelessly as though you do not have a Master who dictates for you what to do!

Jesus never promised us that there isn’t any yoke in Him! He said He will save us from our heavy burden and give us His yoke which isn’t burdensome (Matthew 11:28). The way of love is the real way God wants humans to live and this is achieved in Jesus. We do not dictate our own lives; we live to the glory of our saviour! This means that as those who are saved, God wants us to live honest lives and above the wants of the flesh, above sexual immorality, above greed and selfishness, about envy and hatred! God wants us to display the fruits of our regenerated Spirit!

sliced of citrus lemons

This is what shows how different we are from others! Let it not be that we pray just because we want God to save us from troubles, let it be that we pray because we love to have fellowship with God and because we want to plead the case of our neighbours to God! Let it not be that we lift our hands in worship because of the sensation of the acoustics but because inside of our hearts we stand amazed in awe of God’s glory!

The flesh will always desire for itself but when we live by the Spirit, we display a greater image of God in the way that when the flesh is full of desires for sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, jealousy, uncontrolled anger, hatred, selfishness, gender-inequality, ethnic bigotry, racism, lack of control and so on we are full of the expressions of the Spirit. These are the abuse of the emotions God designed in humans but as believers in Christ we have received a regenerated spirit and we can learn of Christ and live according to the dictates of the Spirit. This means that even when any of the above thoughts come to you in the flesh, you rather choose to love, stay joyful, live in peace, bear another person’s offence, act kind and good, stay faithful, gentle and self-controlled! (Galatians 5)

Even as believers, you still have your flesh and at times you may have desires that aren’t in alignment with God’s word. Being a believer doesn’t stop your sexual urges, it doesn’t stop you from getting hungry or wanting money, it doesn’t stop what you feel! But it empowers you with God’s word to live a more honourable life! This is how we can stay responsible and accountable to God. It doesn’t get you more saved; it helps you live a more fulfilled life that is pleasing to God. Morality saves no one and even unbelievers in Christ can live moral lives in some areas. We stay moral because we know that love conquers all things and we have been empowered to live in such a way no other person could.

To be ungodly doesn’t mean to be immoral and to be godly doesn’t mean to be like God in a sense. God is all powerful on His own; we are not all powerful on our own! God is wise and we are not wise on our own! We must depend on God’s strength and wisdom! To be godly is to stand where God stands and not about being morally right and to be ungodly is to stand opposed to God and His values! There is morality in God’s value system but morality is not all there is to His value system. You don’t drink? There are unbelievers in Christ who don’t too! You don’t fornicate? There are unbelievers in Christ Jesus who don’t! You don’t cheat? There are unbelievers in Christ Jesus who don’t look sideways! Jesus makes all the difference and it is life in Jesus that is the real “Godliness”. Now, let us live responsible lives under God.

God bless you!
~ George O.N

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BEING RESPONSIBLE UNDER GOD (1)


RESPONSIBLE

It would be self-deceit to think that God just created us and what us to live as we want! God created us in His image in the sense that He gave us some kind of freedom to choose how to live our lives. God’s authority over us cannot be likened to our authority over the things we have made for ourselves. We are so self-centred and even limited in our creative abilities that we can only create things we can control and force to work the way we want it. For instance, the television will not start showing Nickelodeon at its own will, it is someone that picks up the remote to change to the channel or maybe someone in the transmitting control room switches to the feed provider of Nickelodeon.

Unlike the things we have made, God gave us the free gift of choice! While He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him, He doesn’t force it on us! He wants us to accept His offer of friendship and love, He wants us to reach out to Him and He wants us to draw close to Him as much as He has come close to us. God never ever wanted us to live our lives the way we want but He wants us to make that choice ourselves to live an accountable life to Him.

Somehow, there isn’t such thing like Atheism, it is either you accept the Lordship of the Almighty God or you leave at the mercies of Satan’s deceit and lies. You don’t have to accept Satan to make him your Lord, rejecting God is enough to make Satan your lord. The devil doesn’t always come in the clothing of the devil because that would quickly be noticed. He comes in the form of what you see as light! For some people, not believing in the existence of Spirit is what they see as light and the devil comes in that direction to hold them bound in what they believe to be true. He gives them more reason to believe there is no God and there is no devil! So this way, he would still get them to do his will without them knowing.

photo of woman

And for people who believe in God, the devil also comes in that direction of what they believe. Satan didn’t come to Eve trying to convince her that God isn’t God, if he had come up with that, it would have been very easy for Eve to say “get behind me you snake!” Because Eve knew no evil, he came in the form of what she knew and had authority over; the snake! And he also came with an initial impression that he agrees God can decide what they do!

The problem is this; Eve gave the snake undeserved attention. God never asked the man to have a dialogue with the animals or have a heart to heart communications with them. The standing instruction was “subdue them!” There was nothing God didn’t give man authority over except the man himself. Eve was supposed to play a superior role than stoop so low to having conversations with the snake! Oh, yea, the devil came in a harmless form with harmless questions, Eve had thought! But wait a minute! A single rebuke would have got the snake going but instead, Eve gave him an audience.

The man was created to function in the God capacity and have dominion over everything except himself! The man was designed to operate better when he operates under God’s instructions and that is God’s way of training man to manifest as he should. God made man part of the God-family, a privilege even the Angels don’t enjoy and therefore Eve would have played God to the snake rather than stage him in a conversation. By allowing the snake which came as though it was harmless, she was forced to start questioning the wisdom of God because the snake came from a harmless position and launched an attack on her mindset.

Previously, Eve had never seen anything to love about the forbidden tree, it never appealed to her because she was seeing from God’s perspective. But the devil came from the position of ease and by the reason of giving the devil audience, he carefully moved her thought pattern to stop thinking like God and start questioning God. Suddenly, she started seeing what she had never seen about the tree and its fruit! It now became very appealing to her and this way she had found sense in what the snake was saying.

man standing infront of forest

How foolish was it to make public what was discussed in the boardroom of God’s incorporation! God made the man a stakeholder of His kingdom, the snake was less than a commoner, it wasn’t worth any attention as such! But because Eve gave it the attention it never deserved, the devil caught her with it. And by allowing the devil to influence her thoughts, she had developed a lack of trust in God’s integrity! Although she never denied God’s superiority, she loosed confidence in God and she got her husband to do the same! Now, this is what the devil does, he doesn’t come out-rightly as darkness, he doesn’t come telling you “there is no God” out-rightly! He, first of all, come from a point you find it harmless and keep moving gradually if you keep entertaining him.

Look at how he came to Eve saying “did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1) It appeared harmless but technically he was getting Eve to question what God had said. Eve had known all the while that they were only prohibited to the tree in the middle of the garden but the devil came asking “did God say you shouldn’t eat from any tree in the garden?” This was to strike a conversation! I believe their discussion was extensive even before it got to that point of questioning what God had said!

By considering the option the devil gave, man automatically rebelled against God. It is either you are living in God’s will or you are living out that of Satan! The devil initiated the patterns of this world by getting man to submit to him through disobedience to God and obedience to him. The moment you start thinking the world’s way, you are thinking in the way of the devil and that is what he wants to get you into! The moment you disobey God, you are automatically obeying the devil.

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

There is no reason entertaining the devil but unfortunately many start entertaining him without even knowing because he is very cunning and comes from a position that seems very harmless. One way to know it is the devil even when it sounds great and harmless is when he gets you to start questioning God and His word. The devil launches his attack on the mind but you can shield him off by giving over your mind to the word of God. In Romans 12:2 the Bible tells us how not to stay in conformity with the world because conformity with the world means conformity with the devil even when the devil tries to hide his picture from it! We can only do that be getting our mind renewed constantly! You don’t renew it today and not renew it tomorrow! You keep renewing your mind every day so that you don’t give the devil a chance!

You renew your mind by beholding the word of God every day! Anytime certain questions pop up in your mind and it seems to be challenging what you know about God, you’ve got to get back to the word of God to know what God is saying! Don’t give room for those dangerous thoughts to thrive! The Bible says when we keep beholding the word of God, we are being transformed into the very image that the word shows us (2 Corinthians 3:18)! The word of God is like the mirror of the believer in Christ Jesus! When the devil tells you “do you really think you are saved?” You go back to the word of God and declare to yourself “I have been delivered out of darkness into His marvellous light!” (1 Peter 2:9) and when the devil comes to make you question God’s love maybe because of what you are facing, you go back to the word and declare to yourself “nothing has the capacity of separating me from the love of God!” (Romans 8:39).

…to be continued on Being Responsible Under God 2

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JESUS PLUS | What more?


JESUS PLUS

You don’t really have to trust entirely in yourself and ability to be a legalist, you don’t have to shout back at Jesus and say “well, bro… It is not finished yet, you lied on that cross.” To be a legalist, you don’t have to trust entirely in the law anyway, you may still love Jesus and be a legalist. In fact, legalists love Jesus so much that they even want to help Him out! Oh yes, they fancy Jesus so much and might even make decorations around their homes with stickers bearing the inscription of the five letters of “JESUS.”

What exactly makes one a legalist? Trusting in Jesus 99.9% and then thinking “well, we’ve got to do the remaining 0.01%” makes you a legalist. Many people trust God so much and express this trust in the place of prayer but they don’t trust God alone! Yea, they trust Him very much but not Him alone. They believe that it has to be Jesus plus something else that looks like worship anyway! In the days of the Apostles, the debate was usually about “Jesus plus circumcision” or “Jesus plus kosher” but in the contemporary society today, circumcision has become even archaic to some people and so it is no longer a debate. Even if you want to debate it, there are also health benefits to circumcision and you’d be quickly told that they didn’t do it because of religious reasons.

So, as much as we may not be seeing such a debate of “Jesus plus circumcision” today because it is not a big deal again, we’ve got some other things we are faced with and because it looks so much like “Christian stuff” we have logically defined it to be an instrument of aid to our salvation. It is obvious we don’t talk about “Jesus plus circumcision” but we talk about Jesus plus avoiding certain dress? Don’t we talk about Jesus plus avoiding makeup? And we say things like “until your dressing change, you have not been changed.” Or “until your hairstyle change, you are still a sinner!”

close up of leaf

Well, some of us have known better that we don’t also teach “Jesus plus avoiding certain dressings.” But then we talk about “Jesus plus tithing and sowing of seed!” and we want brethren to think their salvation is hinged on those! We make them believe “if you have not given your all, the heavens are still closed upon you!” or “if you have not sow that seed of faith, poverty is knocking on your door.” How about “when you don’t pay tithe, your name isn’t registered in heaven.” Yes, we do that conveniently, after all, the gospel needs money!

How about Jesus plus evangelism? Oh, I know I got most of you here! You hear stuff like “if you don’t win souls your salvation is questionable!” How about Jesus plus praying to Angels and dead saints? Like asking Mary to intercede on our behalf and asking Saint Peter to plead our case? Do we still have a case? Even if we do, is it the Saints that intercede for us? You hear things like “you can’t go to Jesus without coming to His mother first!” Does that mean Jesus lied when beckoned on everyone who is burdened to come on to him?

It is very rampant everywhere! We teach Jesus plus our denomination and we also act it in the way we relate to people of other denominations. You will hear things like “our Church is the ark of salvation and if you aren’t a Catholic, you aren’t saved!” You hear other things like “every other denomination has failed and that is why God raised us!” Sometimes we make people feel as though it is only our Pastor who has the word or at least who teach it better and we say things like “if I enter a city and my denomination is not there, I will travel miles just to attend service.” Jesus is not denominational.

We also teach Jesus plus baptism! We say things like “if you aren’t baptized, you cannot be saved!” Is it the saved that get baptized or the unsaved? Are we saved by baptism or by grace? And we argue about being baptized by immersion, sprinkling and so on as though our salvation is hinged on these things! Oh well, you only got wet if you believe water baptism gets you saved! The real baptism isn’t the type John did but the type Jesus is doing even now! It is spiritual which every believer has experienced. How about Jesus plus fasting and prayers and many more?

close up of fruits hanging on tree

Now you see, I am not saying you shouldn’t give, win souls, dress fine, fast, pray and so on but on the subject of salvation, you aren’t saved by doing those things and your salvation isn’t maintained with those things either! It is absolutely Jesus plus nothing, not Jesus plus baptism or Jesus plus evangelism! Add anything to Jesus on the subject of salvation and you find legalism! You are saved once and for all, you don’t maintain salvation neither do you do anything to get saved!

You think legalists dismiss Christ and what He came to do? Oh no, they don’t! In fact, some of them have the word “grace” on their lips every time! Let me tell you how legalists feel, they have a strong pity for Christ and they feel like He is carrying too much load and will need help. They believe they have a part to play in their salvation.


Many times it appears harmless! “Isn’t it just paying tithes and sowing seeds? Isn’t it just winning souls? Isn’t it just about being loyal to Pastor? How they communicate it shouldn’t matter as long as the act isn’t bad! Humans need some kind of threat and push anyways!” Legalists are well calculated and organized, they look morally sound, they even promote charity works and they dress decently. After looking at them, you might conclude there isn’t anything wrong legalism. Paul thinks otherwise, Paul believes they are like dogs and they make demands of cutting the body! (Philippians 3:2) After all, Jesus said if any part of our body will make us sin we should cut it off and throw it into the fire. That is how they think it!

woman wearing grey long sleeved top photography

If there is any better way to explain Paul’s approach to the legalists we might conclude he was intolerant. How about the Galatians that he called “foolish” because they are trying to make it “Jesus plus something.” Would Paul go that far to call certain believers dogs? You could think about this for a while! He didn’t call fornicators or thieves “dogs” Why is Paul not taking it lightly with legalist? It is because they make a mess of what Jesus has done. It is a mockery to God when we want to work it for ourselves. Legalists are simply saying “oh Jesus, we know you did a great job! But we will help you finish it!”

Paul’s voice keeps resonating today, asking anyone who wants to earn or maintain salvation by works “How is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by it forever?” (Galatians 4:9). There is no joy in trying to help God save you! On your own, you can never ever do it right! Why not let Jesus alone? The works of God are perfectly displayed when we don’t try helping out! Jesus never asked for your hand in getting you saved! He only said “whosoever believes… shall be saved!” Now we don’t act good to be saved to keep being saved, we act good because we are saved and we ought to show it. It is Jesus plus nothing!

~George O.N

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TWISTING GOD’S EMOTIONS | Part One


TWISTING GOD'S EMOTIONS 1
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It is always very easy to think we can move God, change Him or get Him to do something with our tears! Truth is, as much as God isn’t wicked and without emotions, His emotions don’t swing between perfections and imperfections! God has emotions and the mind of His own, He made us be like Him in this regard but the fall of man meant a defect on our own emotions. There are so many places in the Bible that strongly show us the displays of God’s emotions. If anyone would say God doesn’t have emotions would also mean saying that God doesn’t exist. In the Bible, we see God’s display of joy, jealousy, love, hate, grief, compassion, laughter and anger but for the sake of not keeping a long list, we wouldn’t be quoting those places here. However, God doesn’t change, His emotions don’t swing and He displays His emotions in a perfect way and for perfect reasons, unlike humans whose emotional displays may be unreasonable at times and very reasonable at other times. While God would be angry with sin, He is very loving to the sinner! While God hates the sin, He loves the sinner. God’s emotions are geared towards a certain purpose!
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It is important we understand this and also understand that God doesn’t stop being loving at one time and start hating! In other words, God knows what is best for us and isn’t waiting for us to convince Him about it. While our emotions can cloud our judgement, God’s emotions are consistently responsive to God’s already established judgement. God’s emotions are as holy as He is and there is no atom of negativity in the manner with which He displays them. While the Old Testament may not communicate these things so well, the New Testament is the correct display of who God is in the person of Jesus. Many times we try to see God from a perspective with which we see our earthly fathers, we think God will only have to be convinced with our tears or moved by our songs! We see God just the same way we see our earthly fathers whom we have to beg and cry over certain situations before they are convinced to delve in and assist us. God isn’t like that.

close up of girl covering face

GOD’S EMOTION AND HUMAN EMOTION IN CONTRAST
Jesus showed a very big contrast between humans and God in Matthew 7:11 which says “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” There is no comparison between God and us who have tendencies of being responsive to the demands of our flesh. If in spite of our imperfections we would be kind enough to give good gifts to our children, how much more God who displays kindness in a perfect and holy way? This is a big contrast! We need to understand this about God and approach Him in the manner of who He is! We shouldn’t pray to convince God about something, we should pray with the knowledge that God is good and He wants the best for us! We pray in order to give God the go-ahead permission to do in us what He wants to do and not to convince Him of how much He isn’t doing what He is supposed to do. We shouldn’t praise God in the manner that it seems God is far away and can only be attracted if we praise more and more till it moves Him. Isaiah wrote in 62:7 “I will make known the LORD’s loving devotion and His praiseworthy acts, because of all the LORD has done for us–even the many good things He has done for the house of Israel according to His compassion and the abundance of His loving devotion.” We ought to praise God and make known His loving acts because of what He has done including those we have only seen with our eyes of faith but not yet manifested in reality. We shouldn’t praise God to try getting Him to do something, we should praise Him because He has done great things!
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The Bible says in Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” God never gave Jesus because you asked and He will also freely give you all things! When you ask God for something, ask with the mindset that God knows what you need and you aren’t trying to convince Him with tears! It is great to come before God with our tears, our worries, our depressions and our shame! Not because they would touch God and convince Him to do something but because we trust He will do something and we are submitting to Him known it is Him alone that can save us from all troubles! When we understand these things about God we will worship God from the place of total dependence and total trust in Him. We don’t come to God just for our needs, God is not a backup plan, He is already in the process if we allow Him to. We should rather make the truth of God’s word our focus rather than focus on personal needs. Until we create space for the word of God in us we are allowing the truth of that word take pre-eminence in our subconscious.

applause audience band celebration

MUSIC WILL NOT MOVE GOD
Many times we try to think we can manipulate God with certain practices like singing, crying and fasting just because we could influence people with same. While hunger-strike may be a valid protest on national issues, it has nothing to do with God. While we may sing people into doing something, we can’t sing God into doing something. Don’t get me wrong, God loves our music and is pleased by them and when those songs are for His glory, He accepts our thanksgiving of praise! While we know music is great, it doesn’t bring down God’s presence! We praise Him because His presence is with and in us! We already have God’s presence in us as the Bible says in Colossians 2:9 “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” Somewhere else in Romans 8:10-11 the Bible says “And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” The same Christ who is the fullness of God lives in us and therefore we have the exact fullness of God’s presence! In this sense, music doesn’t move God, it is our emotions that music moves, it stirs our emotions to look up to God and acknowledge His greatness. Music is powerful but it doesn’t make God act faster because God is ever faithful and doesn’t depend on our music to do what He has to do. When we sing of God’s faithfulness, we are reminding ourselves that God is faithful and it is in the acknowledgement of this that our faith is built to lay hold on what God has released to us. When we sing of God’s mercies, we are reminding ourselves of God’s unwavering mercies and it makes us enter the throne of Grace with boldness to obtain these mercies of God knowing that God has released mercy to us! We aren’t singing to get God to show us mercy! We are singing because God is merciful!
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Music stirs the emotions and it can intensify us to bare ourselves before God! We aren’t singing to attract God, He is already on our side but we can take advantage of the power of music and stir our emotions into acknowledging and magnifying God in our thoughts! Music can be said to be divinely-inspired when the lyrics are inspired by God! As much as music can stir our souls to worship, it can also stir our souls to think immorality depending on the content of that music and that is to show how powerful music is! So those times we feel broken, we can experience the healing that is already available through music that communicates the availability of that healing! In 2 Chronicles 5:13 the Bible says “Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: ‘He is good; his love endures forever.” They were singing of God’s goodness and love which endures forever, they were not trying to get God’s love, they were not trying to lure God into being merciful, they are acknowledging God’s goodness and love and they were praising God for it! Before praising God with music, He is already good and after praising Him, He remains good! Nothing changes about God. It is our emotions and mind that is stirred towards the truth of God’s goodness and it causes us to lay hold to that truth because it has been replayed to our consciousness that God is good. Concerning what to do with music in Christian gathering, we can see a concept from Paul’s letter in Ephesians 5:19-20 “Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” First, songs are meant to minister to us and so when we sing in Church meetings, those songs are ministering to us as it stirs our souls to acknowledge God and His greatness. Secondly, we make music from our heart to the Lord in thanksgiving. Contemporary English Version puts it in a better perspective as it says “When you meet together, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the Lord with all your heart.” So, we aren’t making music to get God to bless us, we sing because God has blessed us and even in our songs we acknowledge it. You will never see a place in the New Testament where believers sang songs just to get down God’s presence. The Bible says in Psalm 22:3 that God inhabits in the praises of His people and this isn’t talking about music! Music and praises are two different words and this is simply talking about how the acknowledgement of God’s greatness enthrones God in the affairs of men! When we acknowledge God’s greatness, we are simply saying “I believe that God is mighty above all my situations.” This automatically makes you give God the room to implement what He already did for you.
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We see a story of Paul and Silas in the Bible where they were thrown into Prison and instead of mourning their situations, the Bible says they prayed and sang praises to God that even others heard them! (Act 16:25-34) It is worthy to note that Paul and Silas were not praying for deliverance, they were rather praising God and reminding themselves of God’s faithfulness. After they had eventually prayed and poured themselves out to God, the next thing to do was to praise God for what they had experienced and what they were yet to experience. It wasn’t their song that moved God, they rather sang because they knew their deliverance from that prison was sure and they knew even if they weren’t delivered God is still worthy of praise! Music can be very unpleasing to God when we are just singing to get God to do something and not in sincere gratitude, thanksgiving and trust in God. The Bible says in Amos 5:23 “Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” Personally, the time of music worship for me is always a time of expressing my sincere gratitude to God’s love and faithfulness, a time of thanksgiving and also a time of stirring up within me the truth of God’s word!

photo of a boy listening in headphones

In the next part of this article, we will continue to see if God’s emotions can be twisted to get Him to do something. We fast, we cry, we pray and do all manner of things and people keep asking “why do we do them in Church?” Is our tears the reason why God act fast just like men would act fast when we beg? Do we worship God for who He is or to stir His emotions to get something from Him? Is there any way we can twist God’s emotions and bring His presence down? Why do great things happen when we fast, pray and sing? Is it about God or about us? We will be making this amazing discoveries together in the next part.
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Blessings.
#GracefulGeorge

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