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Mountains Melt at the Presence of God (Part 7)

In January 1995, I dated a wonderful woman, thinking we would marry. Many prophetic words had been given to me about marriage to a godly woman. Every word seemed to point to her as my bride…or at least, I thought so.

I spoke aloud to the Lord one night while driving my truck home from the lady’s apartment.

“Jesus, You need to get us married as quickly as possible,” I said.

My truck cab instantly filled up with laughter, as if heaven dropped an amplifier and speaker into my truck, turning it up full blast. The laughter was the “hold your belly and roll on the floor” type. And it continued and continued.

I pulled my truck over to the side of the highway because the contagious laughter caused tears to run down my cheeks. I turned on the truck’s hazard blinkers and sat there, laughing along with heaven.

It finally ceased and I resumed driving home. I then wondered, is the Lord laughing because He knows something, which I don’t know yet. Or is He just happy for me?

I ignored the former and opted for the latter.

One obstacle after another frustrated our relationship over the following fourteen months. I figured more fasting and prayer would eventually break the logjam of spiritual warfare thwarting our relationship.

(An excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who (a Memoir) by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

It’s easy to forget that the Lord has a fabulous sense of humor. In fact, who created humor and laughter? Certainly not Satan, but instead it was God.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. (Proverbs 17:22 NLT)

(Continued in Part 8…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Prayers for America (6/15/2017)

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“A house divided against itself cannot stand…” (Abraham Lincoln)

Abraham Lincoln quoted Jesus’ words in his acceptance speech for his unsuccessful campaign as the Republican candidate for  U. S. Senator from Illinois in 1858.

But if we look at the full context of Jesus’ discourse in Matthew, we will notice that He was replying to this statement by the Pharisees:

 “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 12:24

Jesus then answered by giving a foundational teaching on how to win spiritual warfare battles. He said that a kingdom, city, or house can’t be divided if it wants to defeat Satan and his demonic plans.

My prayer today:

Lord, help American believers to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace now and in the days ahead so that we can defeat the plans of Satan for America. (Based on Ephesians 4:3)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

 

 

 

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If God Loves Us, Why Do We Still Suffer? (Part 1)

Jesus and His disciples were ministering on the east side of the Jordan, in the same area where John the Baptist baptized thousands of Jews. Miracles were happening and Jews were being converted when Jesus received the message from Mary and Martha, stating their brother Lazarus was extremely ill.

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived in Bethany, which was a day’s journey from the Lord and His group. So, what does Jesus say?

But when Jesus heard it He said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)

Most of the time when we study John 11, we reflect on how Jesus heard the voice of His Father and did not move unless the Father showed Him to do so, even in dire cases like this. This time, let’s not do that, but let’s instead think about what the messenger thought about Jesus’ words.

Now, I would suppose the messenger was a trusted friend, relative, or servant of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Maybe Jesus had even met the messenger when He visited Bethany earlier in His ministry. Maybe Jesus even had a close friendship with the messenger and that’s why he was chosen to carry the message. Scripture doesn’t reveal anything about the messenger, but I believe human nature has changed little over the centuries since this happened.

It’s my guess the messenger was stunned and dumbfounded when He heard Jesus’ reply. You see, there’s no doubt in my mind the messenger believed Jesus would drop everything and follow him to Bethany because otherwise why would Martha and Mary have sent him? After all, didn’t Jesus do exactly that when Jairus, the ruler of a synagogue, implored him to come and heal his daughter. And also, Jesus was instantly ready to follow the centurion to his house for a sick servant.

These healing stories were known and repeated over and over throughout Judea, but in this particular case, Jesus did not move. He stayed on the other side of the Jordan.

Can you imagine how sad and confused the messenger felt on the twenty-five mile return trip to Bethany? Their last hope to heal Lazarus was gone. Jesus would not come!

Then for the next day or so, the messenger watched Lazarus get sicker and sicker until he finally died. Wouldn’t you think the messenger thought Jesus had failed them?

Okay, this is only the beginning as we consider why believers suffer and how the Lord may use it for His glory.

(Continued in Part 2)

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Inside Israel

SHUK

The Shuk in Jerusalem

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is —

“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. On that day, declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.’ “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem. “And the LORD will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah. On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them. Zechariah 12:2-8)

I greet  you with a longing heart to lift up praise and worship worthy of the Lord. May our love for one another, our encouragement of one another, our admonitions and edifications and exhortations to one another be a blessing to Him. May The Lord be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed and encouraged for His glory.

Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) began this evening (now yesterday evening) as the sun was going down. Not just any anniversary of the day that Jerusalem was liberated, but the 50th year since she came again into the inheritance God Almighty intended for the children of Jacob. It takes reading from Gen 1:1 – Rev.22:21 to begin to get a ray of understanding, enough to humble us − knowing that we will NEVER see the whole picture in this life. But, oh, we KNOW that it will be breathtaking!

YOM YERUSHALEYIM  looks like this in Hebrew יום ירושלים

Fifty years ago today on the Hebrew calendar, Jerusalem was liberated from Jordan and like the rest of those whom the Lord had sent into exile, She came home.

It has been QUITE a week here (this may be the understatement of the year).  I listened to all of the meetings with US President Donald Trump as it becomes daily even more impossible to trust the media. So I listened carefully, giving far more time to the coverage than I would have chosen, but I’m glad that I did.  Yes, I have opinions and observations and wonderings, but they are all dwarfed in the face of YOM YERUSHALAYIM. This 50th anniversary of GOD’S HAND  landing here and re-writing history in a matter of a shocking 6 days.

Today is the 24th of May, 2017 and I walked most of the way to work this morning, despite my current lack of physical strength. I wanted on THIS day to walk these streets, pray these streets, sing these streets, and open my eyes to whatever He would show me.

Although I left my apartment at 6:15, the train, which ran all night last night – usually it stops between 1 am -5 am – so the celebrations could take place all through the night. The train was full of religious people, making their way to the Western Wall.  Oh yes I DID so want to go this morning to thank Him, but of course I thanked Him as I walked and sang amidst the birds, the flowers, and flowering trees, wondering what it all means. I prayed for mercy and the fear of God, God ALMIGHTY

You KNOW of course, that Allah is NOT the same GOD, right? I have told you before that written around the inside of the Dome of The Rock, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, are the words (in Arabic) “Allah is one AND HE HAS NO SON”.  He said it himself.  If we say that Allah is the same God that we worship, then we are denying Jesus, period.

And so I sang: (no this is not me singing Psalm 147:12, 13, but a better rendition.)

I HAVE A FAVORITE QUESTION that I ask everyone at this time of year who is old enough to remember:  “WHERE WERE YOU ON THIS DAY IN 1967?”

The answers usually bring tears to my eyes and a sense of awe as each one speaks of “the miracle that GOD has done.” Their eyes ALWAYS mist over.

Shlomo Levi  is not our patient, but Dr. Meshulam’s patient.  I’ve seen him over the years but usually Dr. Meshulam’s secretary is working and I don’t serve him. However I was alone on Friday when he came in.  His jet black hair belies the fact that he is 81, which I saw when I opened his chart.  “Adon Levi, where were you at this time back in ’67?” I asked.

He looked shocked for a moment and then as if transported to another place, that mist fell.  “I was at the Kotel (the Western Wall),” he said.

I thought that he meant he had followed the throngs in after it was taken, the thousands of survivors that poured weeping through the Old City gates, to touch the remaining wall of the temple, denied to them for 2,000 years.

‘Yes?’ I asked, urging him to continue.

“You have heard of Motta Gur?” he asked.

“OF COURSE,” I answered, remembering the iconic Corporal who led the advance.  I was carrying around his proclamation in my purse to give out to people as a reminder: ‘The Old City is in our hands!’  He wept over the radio as he made the earthshaking announcement. Later promising before God in prayer – also written on my copy of the proclamation, that we would watch over Jerusalem faithfully,  keeping her for God.  OF COURSE, we ALL know Motta Gur.

Shlomo began to quietly speak, “I carried his radio equipment.  I had to stick to him like glue, but I was there when he made the proclamation.”  Tears began rolling down BOTH of our faces and I jumped up and gave this small religious man, not much taller than I am, a big hug and thanked him.

His eyes shined with the wonder of His memory, he pulled out his teudot zehut  (Identity card) and said, “I was given this special stamp in my ID.”

I looked at a seal of Jerusalem and the notation of honor to those who took part in the battle for the liberation of Jerusalem.  “It was a miracle you know,” he said.  “There was NO way that we could have done it.  The fighting was fierce…we were weakened with no food or water for so long…out-numbered…it was a miracle!”

Yes, it WAS a miracle, and those words are repeated again and again with each story.

I was surprised when I asked Avi where he was on that day.

In 1967 I was a wild hippie, out of college, and didn’t THINK of Avi being a kid, so it took me back when he said, “Well, I was only seven so I couldn’t fight but my Mother kept us children in the shelter. But I lived in Sanhedria and the Jordanian barbed wire – and so the fighting – was on our street – fierce fighting.  I kept trying to peak out.  My Mother had a job keeping us down and quiet.  It was SO exciting when the guns became silent and the people began running out, yelling, ‘The Old City is Free!’ They were dancing and crying in the streets and thanking God.  I didn’t understand really but we were all so happy.”

The city really did a marvelous job of security closures while U.S. President Trump was here.  The street closings, as difficult as they always are, seemed much more orderly this time, and although not easy, I WAS able to get a taxi home as opposed to when U.S. President Obama was here. Then I had to walk the lengthy distance home.

My taxi driver was seventeen in 1967, JUST under the eighteen year age where he could join the army. BUT he was welcome to join the “mitnadev” or “volunteer army,” running errands, filling sandbags, bringing messages, food, and water

“I lived in Mamilla.  Do you know where Mamilla is?’ he asked.

Mamilla, like Sanhedria, was RIGHT on the border with Jordan, right against the Old City walls.  My dear friend Tamima has delighted me with her stories of growing up there and then being there for the liberation.

“Yes I do.  My friend Tamima grew up there.”

He looked at me. “Tamima Ben Tzvi?  Yes, I know Tamima.  We were all together like one family back then.”

We smiled.

“It was all so intense…so much shooting…wounded…helping at the hospitals…but then it was over.  My two friends and I walked ALL around the walls of the Old City.” He shook his head in wonder before continuing. “And then we walked to Hebron where we went to Machpelah (the cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are buried…the burying plot purchased by Abraham as recorded in Gen 23:1-20) to pray and give thanks for this great miracle. (This taxi driver was not religious).

Others told me of defending their kibbutz or smaller community outside of the city with furious fighting and miracle after miracle. GOD WAS ACKNOWLEDGED AS THE AUTHOR OF THIS ASTOUNDING GIFT.

I handed out my copies of the proclamations made at the wall by Motta Gur and Rabbi Goren, the Rabbi who is seen in all of the historic photos blowing the shofar on that day of days back in 1967. (You can check the photos here.)

I must close now. My husband has come home for supper.  May His joy overflow to you and HIS concern, His heart, His plan and His purposes.  I once again quoted from Zechariah 12 at the top of this letter.  Thank you for praying with us as the world closes in on us, but our God will not be mocked.  He has been glorified, He is being glorified (though not enough) and He WILL be glorified.

God bless you.

Lovingly,

your sister J in Jerusalemnn

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Spring Break

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I will be taking a few weeks off to complete a large project. So, enjoy Passover and your Resurrection Sunday celebrations this weekend.

God bless you.

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Inside Israel

SHUK

The Shuk in Jerusalem

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is —

“The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Aviv (spring); for in the month of Aviv you came out from Egypt.  “All that open the womb are Mine,…. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. “And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.  “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.  “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end.  “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.”  EXODUS 34:18-24

Beloved brothers and sisters, cleansed by The Blood of The Lamb, called into His kingdom for such a time as this, may you be blessed and encouraged and may THE LORD ALONE be glorified and blessed.

Shalom, from a city at the center of history and geography, which is…well…cleaning!

Yesterday while crossing a large street in the center of town, I had to jump out of the way of one of those one man riding street sweepers who was stopping for no one and seemed determined to clean the patch of street that I was on.  I jumped aside and he went intently on about his work, brushes whooshing away.  I chuckled.

“So this day shall be to you a memorial, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.  You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.  On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses.  For whoever eats leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel…On the 14th day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread , until the 21st day of the month at evening.  For seven days no leaven shall be found in your house…whether he is a stranger or native of the land…”  Exodus 12:14…20

I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more I realize that all people are certainly NOT alike, not in taste or opinion or habit. Yet if I love someone, I REALLY WANT to please him.  I have noticed when I make a meal that pleases my husband, I save that recipe or if I wear something that he comments on I make note of that.

When I was a young believer, I made note of the things that God said He loved or abhorred and I still do that.  In no way did I think that my SALVATION was purchased or that I was any higher up on His list. If I did it, or any worse if I did not, but I WANTED to do things that pleased This One Whom my heart loved. So I took note of what He wrote.  I still feel that way and I don’t really understand the argument against doing what The Word says by His Spirit.

On the train coming home from the shuk, I looked over the parcels piled on the floor and laps of my fellow travelers. Every space was covered.  An older woman along side of me had a drying rack.  This is a simple, clever device for drying wet clothing in limited space, inside our outside.  It folds to slim flat and can be anywhere from 3 feet to about 6 feet long when folded.  I have noticed that the ones available at Pesach are plastic rather than the usual aluminum with clotheslines.  Why?  I still don’t know.

When I do find out I will likely shake my head.  Anyway, it wouldn’t occur to me that my clothesline might not be kosher for Passover, but I guess it should because another woman called over to my neighbor from across the train. “How much did you pay for that one?”

Immediately I heard: “65 shekels.  Some people are fanatics but I am not one of those.  65 shekels is enough.”

The woman across the train nodded in agreement.  “That’s a good price.  I found them 2 for 135 shekels.”

I thought, “Huh!  I would never have thought to replace my DRYING RACK.  Does it have leaven?”

But as I see the array of plastic sink and pipe liners, and stacks of new…everything, I try again to adjust my focus on Exodus chapter 12…

Our daughter came by today to help with a few things. As we discussed what was kosher for Pesach, she told me that her husband’s family gets rid of EVERYTHING and will eat no food unless it is marked “kosher for Pesach 2017” by a rabbi whom they approve of.  They even throw out all of their spices. Yes, salt, pepper, sugar, coffee, tea and all of the expensive exotic ones as well. They are Algerian Jews by background and culture.

It surely helps you to have a very clean house and also to keep free of loving things!  When you replace everything you own once a year, your items are limited by necessity.  They empty the apartment of everything and then take a large hose and hose down the entire apartment. They are SURE that there is NO LEAVEN.

Each time my focus gets off base and I start to feel anxiety to keep up with my cultural and generational expectations, I return to Exodus chapter 12.  Verse 3 says “…On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb…”

That is this coming Thursday or TOMORROW here.  I cannot take a lamb, but I HAVE taken THE Lamb, and as instructed in verse 6 “Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month.  Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” 

Yes, this I DID do.  I was responsible.  I nailed Him to the cross. I was guilty of killing The One Who died for me, to set me free, and yes, I am FREE.  Free from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, but more importantly, free to serve Him in love.

The time is moving quickly and I seek to keep my balance…HE is first and yet there ARE necessities.  Shopping is much more hectic with the crowds, and choices must be made as this is a major holiday and many places will be closed, not only for the holy days themselves, but some for the entire week.  I chuckle to myself…none of us will starve, that is for sure!

 

My thoughts drift to Esther and I lift her up in prayer.  A couple of weeks ago as I waited to see a doctor in an area that I’m not very familiar with, I arrived early and went into a small toyshop.  It was a tiny hole in the wall but piled HIGH with the most wonderful and creative toys. A truly amazing shop.

“If’shar la’aksor?” (can I help you?), an older woman asked.

I told her that I only had a moment and wasn’t from this area but I was a Grandma and couldn’t resist.  She nodded and said, “I can help you find anything.  I know everything that is here and where it is and can find the perfect gift for each child.  I can do that because my husband and I bought every one for more than 50 years.  We were together every moment of every day and chose each toy together, but he is gone now.”

She burst out crying and fell into my arms to the dismay of (apparently) a relative and husband who were helping her unload new stock.  I assured them that it was ok and they should leave us alone.

“When did he leave?”  I asked.

“It has been 4 months now,” she wept.

“Oh, this is so new and hard, I’m so sorry!” I said, hugging her tighter.  “Was it a surprise?”

“Oh, he had the cancer, a bad one, but he did not want any treatment. He wanted to be happy.  And he was for 3 years, we almost forgot that he had it, but the last two months he suffered.  He told me that he had lived more than 85 years and that had been such a gift and that it was enough, but here I am and I miss him so much!’

I asked her if they had children and grandchildren and although I have forgotten the number it was a HUGE tribe.

“What a blessing.  They must be a comfort.”  I wanted so hard to comfort her, but I had the feeling that just listening and hugging was what she needed right now.  No one could take his place and I understood they had been married more than 60 years.  “I will pray for you and ask others to as well Esther.”

And that is what I’m doing now.  This Pesach will be so hard for her and for others all around left behind by loved ones.  Perhaps you will remember her too?

Pesach.

What IS it really?

The older I become the more mystical it gets in my eyes.  Each time that I begin in Genesis (Beresheet in Hebrew) and walk on into Exodus (Shmote in Hebrew), it is as if I am reading it for the first time. The immense wonder of it all only gets larger as I see things that I never have seen before, the way it ALL fits together. The MASTER PLAN laid out both plainly and in code, a weaving begun of a most beautiful symphony.

And here WE, of ALL people are in Jerusalem, joining the throng, heeding the call of “come UP to Jerusalem, the city where I have put MY Name and I will meet you there.”   

Psalms 120-134 (some include 119) are the Songs of Ascent because they were sung as the tribes gathered on the way, going up to Jerusalem for the feasts of Passover, Shavout (Pentecost or Weeks), and Sukkot (Tabernacles): the three feasts when all males were commanded to come up to Jerusalem.  Yeshua (Jesus) was part of this and sang these songs when He was a child and came up to Jerusalem with His family for Passover as described in Luke 2:41-51.

And still, many visitors come up during Passover/Resurrection season – up to Jerusalem and to the feasts of The Lord. It is a time to visit with beloved friends – both old and new.  It all mixes together and I wish you could all be here and see it and partake.  BUT NOW WE SEE YESHUA, JESUS, THE RISEN BREAD OF LIFE, THE FULFILLMENT OF ALL OF THESE AMAZING PATTERNS AND PROMISES…HE IS THE LIVING MANA…HE IS ENOUGH… HE IS THE LAMB…HIS IS THE BLOOD ON THE DOORPOSTS OF OUR HEARTS…HE IS THE WAY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS…HE IS THE FIRSTBORN…HE IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE….

AND IT IS JUST ALL SO BEAUTIFUL THAT I MIGHT BURST…

But first, I do have to finish cleaning. So, I will just go and sing while I clean.

May the blessings of His Presence be ours.  May we glorify The Lord and finish the work that He has given each one of us.

Lovingly,

your sister J

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Mountains Melt at the Presence of God (Part 3)

Am I a mystic?

A couple of years after my first time of being gone in my prayer life, I mentioned my prayer experiences to another believer. Big mistake!

The supposed spiritual man was kind enough to listen to me before he gave his opinion. “Well, brother, this just doesn’t sound right to me. It sounds new-age or like mysticism. You’d better be careful. You wouldn’t want to get off the well-worn path, would you?” he said.

How could I answer him? I had no clue except to say that my experiences drew me closer to the Lord.

Fortunately, not too long after my discussion with this man, I listened to a teaching by Benny Hinn in which he talked about being in the presence of the Lord. His description of his prayer experiences matched mine almost to a tee. Rather than using the words of “being gone” like I did, he referred to it as “resting in the presence of the Lord where time no longer mattered because the Eternal One was there.” Much better use of scriptural sounding words!

King David talked often about the presence of the Lord in the Psalms:

You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:11)

Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:2)

But David also used metaphors to describe the presence of the Lord:

You have said, “Seek My face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek. Hide not Your face from me. Turn not Your servant away in anger, O You who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! (Psalm 27:8-9)

The Hebrew word paniym is translated into the English word face in these verses, but the same word is translated into the English word presence in numerous other verses.

In other Psalms David used the terms secret place, shadow, and hiding place to describe the presence of the Lord.

Today, many believers use the term “intimacy” to describe their relationship with the Lord. Yet, sadly, many critics hate the term because it is not in the Bible. I would guess that believers who use the term “intimacy” are just trying to relate their experiences in the best way they know how as I did when I used “being gone” as a young Christian.

(Continued in Part 4…the full series to date can be read here.)

 

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