Tag Archives: God

Wild, pruned or crippled

I was walking through a spring-time city to work this morning, noticing gardens that clearly have been pruned over many years and bearing the beauty of it all. I also walked past some mostly untouched nature and I remembered some gardens I have seen elsewhere in the world.

However this post is not on gardening, but on human beings.

I have seen beauty in wild nature, in ‘untouched’ nature… just as I have in humans that have a somewhat pure hearted wildness to them. They seem to reflect the beauty of a rough diamond, yet sometimes it becomes abundantly clear that some shaping and friction that will duly follow as a consequence of this wildness will have the power to bring forth in them the stunning beauty hidden within, or destroy them utterly.

Jesus speaks of the wine stock, how it must be pruned regularly to bear worthwhile and good fruit. He likens us to that wine stock; He also makes use of the example of clay to illustrate this point, undergoing a process of moulding and shaping, mostly through people God puts into our lives, to bring out Christ-likeness more.

As every good gardener, He knows, how much to cut away, to make providence for a unique taste and quality of its fruit. As every excellent artist He knows, just how much to chip away of the material, to conform it to the wanted image, yet maintain its uniqueness.

I have found that good leaders possess this quality of a good gardener too. They discover the passionate heart and prune it in a way, that it remains uniquely beautiful, yet most effective and useful to the kingdom of God.

However sometimes having the ability is just not enough to be a good gardener as well.

I have also seen leaders, that prune not to conform to Christ, but to mould people as stepping stones to own glory, to push them into moulds of ‘perfect little Christians’ and crippled they souls while shackling their spirits instead.

With skill comes a power, that when abused causes destruction and has an utter crippling effect to the whole person.

How can you and I avoid crippling, yet allow appropriate pruning in our walks with Christ?

  1. I would say as a Christian (a person that follows Christ that HEARS and OBEYS His voice) you first of all should ask for His guidance when choosing a church.
  2. Once you have chosen a church, and are assured that is where God wants you, submit to your leadership and their pruning. Trusting that GOD is in control throughout, knowing what He is doing.
  3. Hold still while being pruned appropriately, if we withdraw from the artist or gardener unfinished or in a moulding/chipping/pruning process, we are bound to get hurt!
  4. Remain teachable. Yes, stay in conversation with God to make sure you are where you should be, that pruning is happening and that your heart remains teachable.

God is not confused, He is not surprised by who you are, He is not even surprised by your own agenda in matters. Trust Him. Submit to Him. His agenda is to prune you… to Christ-likeness… on a daily basis.

This will at times cause spiritual ‘growing pains’. Allow them, embrace them and take them for what they are. Rejoice over correction; celebrate when sin gets exposed, knowing God does so to set you free of it; and continue to seek His face daily in the most intimate possible to you!

May God bless you!

What if … ?

“What if…” – a standalone phrase that we say all too often. I want to challenge you to not brush it off this time…but to let it sink in and to allow it to revolutionize your life.

Let me state before I start, that this post is directed specifically for Christians.

So let us be honest with ourselves… let us pray in advance:

“Dear Lord, I love you and I want to remain teachable in response to your Spirit. I pray that the parts of this post that are applicable to my own life will stand out to me, and those that simply to not apply, will not condemn, but simply fall away. I trust and I believe in your unconditional love and I invite only you, Holy Spirit, God to work within me today. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.”

Now, read through the post, even if you didn’t pray…perhaps you feel like it later, if not, then not. Allow me to ask some bold “what if – questions”.  You might want to read them as though they are questions you pose toward yourself.

What if…

… I believed every word the Bible contains?

… I believed that God truly loves me unconditional and always has my best in mind?

… I believed that God is judge and that there is a hell?

…  I believed the punishment for sin is eternity in hell?

Would I live differently? Would I then act differently? Would I stop to fancy sin? Would I fear God?

What if…

… I believed that there was a heaven?

… I believed God doesn’t want to see ANY person end up in hell?

… I truly believed that Jesus has died for every sin and is willing to forgive ALL my sins?

… I believed I am being forgiven in the same measure that I forgive others?

… I believed the Bible is a love letter from God to me?

… I believed that the great commission was given to me?

Would I read my Bible more? Would I love more? Would I forgive more? Would I share the Gospel more?

What if …

… I believed God truly knows the depths of my heart?

… I believed God is the same: yesterday, today and tomorrow?

… I believed submission to leadership is from God?

… I believed that there lies immeasurable power in prayer?

Would I allow God to purify me? Would I trust in His provisions more? Would I believe in miracles? Would I submit more instead of gossip and moan? Would I PRAY more?

As a Christian we answer to all these “what if’s” that we do. However does that reflect in our behaviour?

EVERY person on earth ALWAYS acts on what they TRULY believe.

(If you believe it will rain any second, you will not go outside the house unprepared – right?)

FAITH is only true and honest faith, if we act on it.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?

God bless you!

Halloween

Halloween is a much known festival in most of the world today. But where did it originally come from?

On the night of October 31st, people dress up as ghosts, mummies, witches or demons.

This tradition comes from an ancient Celtic pagan’s festival known as Samhein. People thought that the ghosts of the dead come back to visit the living and haunt them on this day. They believed the ghosts could kill them, make them sick or bring bad fortune to their families. To calm Samhein, the god of death, witches and fortune-tellers went from house to house and demanded an offering, sometimes even a human sacrifice for Samhein.

They carried animal masks and lanterns with candles made from the human fat of prior sacrifices. The beet represented the ghosts that cursed the living. If people didn’t give a sacrifice, they cursed the house and marked it with the blood of an animal.

From this belief originated the slogan `trick or treat´. This means, that either you give something to please the person, or they play a trick on you.

When this tradition came to America the beet was replaced by the pumpkin.

October 31st also is the New Years Day of the witch calendar and one of the most important witch Sabbaths. During this night, still today, human sacrifices are made in the US and Australia.

Halloween is more than a spooky fun festival. It is still today a demonic ritual.

As Christians we are challenged to BE the change… this October I challenge you…to at least inform 10 people about the truth of Halloween and to NOT celebrate this demonic ritual!

May God bless you abundantly!

The Authority of the Bible

The following scriptures and notes are not intended to give an all inclusive or exclusive view on the matter. However it is an attempt to lead you in studying the Word of God i.e. the Bible; and allow GOD to speak to youexplain to you and draw you closer.

My challenge to you is this:

Read 1 to 3 scriptures of these daily and meditate on what they mean, what implications they have for your life and how you could allow them to change your life in a practical way.

(Please take note that though most verses are the same, some verses might shift one or two in numbering as they are taken from a German Bible.)

The Basics:

Matthew 4:4; Isaiah 55:10+11; John 1:1+14; 1 Tim. 2:4;

The Bible is the basis for our faith. Knowing what it contains and what that content means will deepen our understanding…strengthen our convictions… lead us to make decisions, take positions and act upon what we believe.

1. The Word of God is infallible

2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21;

Belief in the Bible and its infallibility gives us a guideline to life.

2. The Word of God is/contains the thoughts of God

Isaiah 55:7-11

The Word of God and God are one. As God never changes, His word does neither. i.e. the authority and timeliness remain.

3. The Word of God has strength and gives strength

Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:12;

4. The Word of God provides spiritual life

2 Peter 1:3-4; Psalm 119:89+160; Matthew 24:35; John 8:31-32+37;

The Word of God provides us with core values in a time of chaos regarding definite values and morale. From beginning to end it is truth.

5. The Word of God effects:

A. Faith (Romans 10:17)

B. New Birth (i.e. conversion to God) (1 Peter 1:23 describes this experience)

C. Physical Healing (Psalm 107:20; Proverbs 4:20-22)

D. Victory over sin and guilt (Psalm 119:11;) (to answer the question of what Christians may or may not do study: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; we find two principles: 1. To do all things to honour God. 2. To do everything in the name of Christ and say thanks to God through Him) (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

E. Victory over Satan (Ephesians 6:17; 1 John 2:14; 1 Corinthians 2:11-12; Revelation 22:18+19)

6. How does God speak to us?

– Personally (Genesis 3:8-9)

– Through prophets (Isaiah 1:2)

– Jesus (Luke 5:1)

7. What do we do with the Word of God?

– Listen/Hear/Absorb (Acts 17:11)

– Understand (Matthew 13:23)

– Love (Psalm 119:47)

– Look forward to it in joy (Psalm 119:16)

– Treasure (Psalm 119:11)

– Trust (Psalm 119:42+74+81)

– Follow (Psalm 119:9)

Revelation 22:18-19

 

Where did I come from?

 

Comparison Christianity and Islam Part 3

The idea behind this post is to educate. Further comparisons will follow in similar fashion.

(Information will partially be taken from: thereligionofpeace.com . That is not to say that I agree with all of their content, but I judge the content in this case as unbiased and a good representation of it.)

Differences Between 
Early Muslims and Early Christians

Muhammad’s Companions…

Jesus’ Disciples…

Lived as warriors.

Lived like harmless hippies.

Slew and persecuted religious minorities.

Were slain and persecuted
as a religious minority.

Emphasis on Jihad (the way of Muhammad)

“He who fights that Allah’s word should
be superior fights in Allah’s cause”
(Bukhari 53:355)

Emphasis on Evangelism (the way of Jesus)

“Go ye into all the world and preach
the gospel to every creature”

(Matthew 15:16)

Attacked and conquered the populations in
parts of 28 modern countries in just the first
three decades following Muhammad’s death.

Did not resort to violence of any sort,
despite tremendous persecution.

Declared holy war on the people of five
major world religions in just the first
100 years following Muhammad’s death.

Went centuries without declaring ‘holy war’.

Plundered and lived off the wealth of others.

Gave away their possessions to those in need.
(Acts 2:44-45)

Captured and enslaved non-Muslim people.

Considered themselves to be slaves of others.

Waged war to keep members from leaving
the religion.  Put apostates to death.

No record of aggression toward apostates.

Muhammad’s own family members quickly
fell into armed warfare against each other.

Jesus’ disciples never resorted to violence
against one another (or anyone else).

First 240 Years:
11 of the first 32 caliphs were
murdered by fellow Muslims.

First 240 Years: 
14 of the first 25 popes were martyred by
pagans (none by fellow Christians).

Caliphs were polygamous and maintained  harems of hundreds of captured sex slaves.

Popes were expected to be celibate.

Islamic mosques sustained by taxes forced from subjugated non-Muslims (the jizya).

Christian churches sustained
by voluntary tithes from Christians.

Outreach to the wood crafters of Swakopmund

It all started when I had too much time at hand and decided to find out what people really needed. I walked down toward the Mole (that is the beach near the city centre of Swakopmund) and just before arriving there, I stopped at the wood crafters market. The men that work there make wooden souvenirs for tourists to buy and try to make a living of that. Most of them come from Kavango (an area in the north of Namibia), Zambia or Zimbabwe and Congo.

Of course when I arrived I was treated like any customer…asked to come and look at their pieces of art and acknowledge their work. So I did… but not without letting them know that I wasn’t here to buy anything but to talk to them about Jesus.

We talked and shared… about our lives with Jesus. And they voiced their need for Bibles… their need for someone to teach them how to reach out to their (mostly atheist) European customers. I promised to be back.

Next time I went… I brought some Bibles I could get. They wanted me to write a dedication into each one of them. I exchanged cell numbers with Alex (a local there) to keep track of who needs a Bible still and who is to get the next one.

So I went again… and again… sometimes with Bibles (sadly not every time, as I do not have some available every time I go) sometimes just to sit and chat.

One day… Walter (an artist there) invited me…to come on Sunday afternoon and teach them. Spontaneously I said yes. That Sunday after Church I invited JP and Dorette & Leon to come along. All of them were all fired up to the task and we went at 15h to reach out at the wood crafters market.

Inviting people individually we gathered them… and preached on the “Prodigal Son”  – of the 30-40 men and women that came to hear, 8 or more got saved that day!

The Sunday after we went again… teaching on “Why God allows suffering” as that was a topic that came up. We also started bringing our guitars and introduced the song of “Jabulani Africa”. John entered discipleship with Dorette and Leon that day… wanting to be discipled as he is on the verge of being married.

 

The next Sunday we went… we talked about following Jesus. Jesus being LORD and living a sanctified life!  We also talked about baptism. Dominique as well as John decided they wanted to be baptised. We could not agree more. Both do not have a church yet and have a strong faith. So we agreed to go the next Sunday at 12h to baptise them in the sea.

Today is the Sunday of Pentecost and the Sunday of John and Dominique’s baptism. Two men have decided to publicly proclaim their belonging to Christ! Dying to their old self and rising from the seawater clothed in Christ being a new person!

 gathering at the beach   off we go into the water   we baptize in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

   instantaneously glorifying God after rising from the water.

We will continue to go… we intend to start discipling a group there and to help them to learn how to disciple others themselves (for we do not want this reaching out and fellowshipping to be nonexistent once we do not come). We intend to provide more Bibles… and to teach them how to reach out to their customers as they desire to.

Please pray that we will get more Bibles and to gain wisdom to teach to open hearts and open ears and eyes. That more lives will eternally be changed!

Making a living as a wood crafter is anything but an easy task. Many use witchcraft to gain customers and often therefore the Christians amongst them have a hard time to get round financially. Many have problems with alcoholism and need deliverance that only God can give.

Please intercede for these precious men (and women) of God!

May God bless you! And remember… one person CAN make a difference – by BEing the change!

Comparison Christianity and Islam Part 1

The idea behind this post is to educate. Further comparisons will follow in similar fashion.

(Information will partially be taken from: thereligionofpeace.com . That is not to say that I agree with all of their content, but I judge the content in this case as unbiased and a good representation of it.)

Differences Between 
Islamic Teaching and Christianity

The Qur’an

The Bible

External sources (the Hadith and Sira) necessary for translating the Qur’an

Historical context contained
within the text of the Bible

Must know Arabic in order to “fully understand” the Qur’an (according to Muslim apologists)

Universal.  Can be translated into other languages without excessive commentary.

Chronological progression of the
Quran is from peace to violence.

Chronological progression of the
Bible is from violence to peace.

The words ‘torture’ and ‘punishment’ appear six
times more often than in the New Testament.

The word ‘love’ appears five times more often
in the New Testament than in the Qur’an,

Contains not a single original moral value.

The ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and others.

Suffering is an excuse for violent revenge
and establishment of Islam by force

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]…and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” 
(Qur’an 2:191)

Suffering builds character

“We also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering
produces perseverance; perseverance,
character; and character, hope”

(Romans 5:4)

Emphasis on this World

“And Allah has made you heirs to their land
and their dwellings and their property”

(Qur’an 33:27)

Emphasis on the Next

“Mine is not a kingdom of this world”
(John 18:36, see also Luke 14:33)

Kill, convert or subjugate Christians and Jews.
(Qur’an 9:29)

Share one’s faith with gentleness and respect.
(1 Peter 3:15)

Martyrs as Killers

“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain”
(Qur’an 9:111)

Martyrs as Martyrs

“As it is written, For thy sake we are
killed all the day long; we are
counted as sheep for the slaughter”
(Romans 8:36)

Killing Apostates

“They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them”
(Qur’an 4:89, also Bukhari 52:260, 83:37…)

Letting God Judge Apostates

“For we know Him that has said,
‘Vengeance belongs unto me, I will
recompense,’ says the Lord.  And again,
‘The Lord shall judge his people'”
(Hebrews 10:25-30)

Punishment

“Let not compassion move you
from carrying out God’s law…”
(Qur’an 24:2)

Mercy

“Love is patient.  Love is kind…
It keeps no record of wrongs”
(1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

Charity and Non-Believers

Mercy toward fellow Muslims – ruthlessness toward unbelievers.  Muslims are warned not to befriend those outside the faith.  They must even ensure that their charity tithe (zakat) does not go toward the needy of other religions.
(Qur’an 48:29, 3:28, Sharia)

Charity and Non-Believers

Christians are specifically told that even
those who hate them are entitled to
kindness and charity.  They should be loved
and cared for as surely as any fellow believer.
(Mark 10:25-37)

The Qur’an does not command husbands
to love their wives, but it does give men
permission to beat disobedient women.
(Qur’an 4:34, Sahih Muslim 2127)

“Husbands, love your wives and
do not be harsh with them.”
(No permission to beat women)
(Colossians 3:19)

Explicitly allows Muslim men to rape their female slaves, even those already married.
(Qur’an 4:24, 70:29-30, 23:5-6…)

Tells masters and slaves to serve
each other as if serving God.
(Ephesians 6:7-9)

Muhammad is the messenger
of Allah. And those who are with him
are ruthless to the unbelievers”
(Qur’an 48:29)

“Do good to them that hate you”
(Luke 6:27)

Allah wills those that stray and are lost
(Qur’an 16:93)

God wants all people saved
(1 Timothy 2:4)

Warns Against Questioning Faith.
(Qur’an 5:101-102)

Welcomes Intellectual Challenge.
(1 Peter 3:15)

Violence as Virtue

“Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye
dislike it.  But it is possible that ye
dislike a thing which is good for you, and
that ye love a thing which is bad for you.
But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”
(Qur’an 2:216)

Violence as Sin

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but
leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:
‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy
is hungry,  feed him… ‘”
(Romans 12:19-20)

Hell for unbelief.
Good deeds count for naught
(Qur’an 18:102-107)

Hell for bad deeds and the
failure to do what is right
(Romans 2:6-8, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:41-45)

Judging

“Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites!  Be harsh with them…”
(Qur’an 9:73)

Judge Not

“For when you pass judgment on another person, you condemn yourself…”
(Romans 2:1)

Taking wealth from others

“Allah promiseth you much
booty that ye will capture…”
(Qur’an 48:20)

Working for and giving wealth to others

“The thief must no longer steal but must
work hard and do what is good with his
own hands, so that he might have
something to give to the needy.”

(Ephesians 4:28)

Calls down Allah’s curse on Christians
and those of other religions.
(Qur’an 9:30)

Calls down God’s blessing on
those who curse Christians.
(Matthew 5:44)

Arrogance & Privilege

“Ye are the best of peoples,
evolved for mankind”

(Qur’an 3:110)

Humility & Servitude

“If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.”
(Mark 9:35)

“O you who believe! do not take My
enemy and your enemy for friends:
Would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth?
(Qur’an 60:1)

“Love your enemies…”
(Luke 6:27)

10 Steps, a Recipe or Christianity?

We are human. We love a recipe… for every aspect of life; to cook, to lose weight, to get fit, to escape burn-out, to define ourselves, to success,…

Then we look at the Old Testament Pharisees and we condemn them of giving the Israelites a recipe on how to live life that is pleasing to God. We call it dead religion.

Then comes Jesus. Radical, NON religious as it gets, revolutionist, DIFFERENT from every recipe or 10 step plan mankind knows up to then… and changes it all! He is disgusted by ‘dead religion’, by all the rules set out to please our need for a recipe to fix and do it all and get it all right.

Today, here we stand… and again most of us are stuck with a recipe on how to be a Christian and a 10 step plan on living sanctified lives. We often are no different from these Pharisees… our rules just SEEM different. They sound something like this:

–          go to church on a regular basis

–          don’t smoke, drink, etc

–          don’t watch movies like…

–          do good works for God

–          pray a prayer of salvation and let the pastor affirm you are saved now

–          cleanse your house of anything that might deny God

–          …

And I imagine Jesus standing by and shouting out to get heard through the haze of tradition and religion, weeping because what we follow is a 10 step plan or some modern recipe that is NO different from the Pharisees tradition… but we miss the point. We are to follow HIM.

All we are to do…is get to know Jesus/God more. Know Him more today than yesterday, tomorrow more than today.

How do we do that, if not by our newly created religion? Easy…and difficult at the same time:

Instead of following instructions by people who claim to be Christians (and authors at times, of Christian books)… read the Bible, pray…read it again, pray… and again! Every time you fail to understand what it means, get down on your knees and pray. Don’t give up… continue to pray. Your knees are sore?… then get on your feet and pray… talk to GOD… scream out for Jesus… ask for wisdom (for God promises to give it to us if we ask for it). If you feel you cannot go on, on your own…get a brother or sister in Christ… now both of you… get down on your knees… pray!

Draw near to God! Draw closer to Jesus! Let the Holy Spirit confirm your salvation to you… let Him confirm God’s will to you by allowing you to understand the Bible! Let GOD speak to you!

And many of the things that you would have done out of purely following recipes before, now will follow out of conviction and a relationship to God!

You will not KNOW GOD more by following the religious recipe of Christians! You will miss the point if that is all you do. Even if you do it with an upright heart and devoted soul.

Unless JESUS and a relationship to HIM is the centre of your being… the rest is dead works…and will lead to death… not to the life you so dearly desire.

Change your life today! DRAW NEAR TO GOD!

Independence

Today, on Namibia’s 22nd Independence Day… I decided to post something of value concerning independence and dependence – looking at a Christian life.

Looking at society it is desirable to life in a Democracy or Republic… to be independent of others financially and emotionally… to be free of any law considered to spoil your fun… – the list could be endlessly continued. HOWEVER, is it desirable to be independent? Is dependency always a negative thing? How about Christians – should they be dependent or independent?

Webster’s Dictionary describes “independent” in several ways. For our information, let’s look at some of these as they are defined.

(A.) The first describes “independent” in this manner; “not subject to another’s authority.” This has the implication of being lawless, or not influenced by lawful control.

(B.) The second word used is “autonomous.” The meaning of this is; “to be involved with one’s self or to be distant from others.”

(C.) The third meaning is “free from authority.” The implication is to be exempt or without external authority.

(D.) The fourth definition is “not to recognize any jurisdiction.” A person or persons making themselves exempt from authority, although it may exist for some.

(E.) The fifth definition to look at is “not depending on another for value.” This thought projects the idea that one’s own value is better than that of others, or another does not have value equal to oneself, or one has no need of other people.

Looking at a state or country it is desirable to live in one – yes. However as a Christian, we must never forget we are part of an eternal and spiritual KINGDOM. Being independent of other people when looking at debt is a wise choice – however being independent of your partner when climbing is dangerous! Being independent of a friend emotionally is a good thing, as it doesn’t imply you do not have compassion or empathy, but simply that you are not depending your mood, state of mind or how you feel on another person; rather put that on God. Looking at any law given by God, our CREATOR (meaning He ‘built’ you and knows the design and all needs of it and how it functions at its best), it is not there to spoil your fun, but to protect you from damage.

Independency sadly has become an acceptable way of life for many Christians today, with most thinking it to be quite normal. But let us look at it closer:

The first occurrence of independency from God was with Satan, before the world was created. Adam and Eve, in the garden Eden, were tempted in this exact area 9independence from God and ruling their own life) as well (and failed the test, mind me say). Jesus, when walking this earth, was tempted with an offer of independence (from God) by Satan himself.

The Galatians in Asia Minor on the other hand experienced a problem of self-dependence in the early Church. They were attempting to find favour with God by their own abilities and works. Dependent faith is not optional or interchangeable with works, if the Christian desires to enter and live in a place of freedom in the kingdom of God. The Spirit of God cannot set the Christian free to follow Jesus, if he chooses to live the same independent life he followed before he came to Christ.

Dependent faith brings us to a submissive place in Christ, which submits to the truths taught in Scripture. Submission is not giving mental assent to the truth, but living a life in the physical practice of following Jesus.

It would be quite impossible to be autonomous, and yet to be following Christ in dependence at the same time. Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

So the Bible makes it quite clear: we are to be dependent on God and on GOD alone. It is only in complete dependence that we can walk in the full capacity of the Spirit and fulfill the calling God has for our lives.

However may I add, I am very blessed to life in an independent Namibia – where I may freely live my faith and express my opinion!

Be very blessed dear reader…and I pray you may be more dependent on God every day!