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Archive for June, 2010

Because mankind was created in God’s image, we are multifaceted, too. And just like Him, our facets have facets. This can get as complicated or be as simple as you need it to be. Some of us need to break it down more, others don’t. Still others need to see lots of facets in one area and only a few in another. Whatever is best for you will be shown to you by Holy Spirit, if you ask Him.

To give you an idea of how the facets concept works, let’s take an average human. This human has (for starters) a:

  • physical facet
  • mental facet
  • emotional facet
  • spiritual facet
  • relational facet

But each of these can be broken down into more facets. The physical facet, for instance, includes:

  • health of the body, including nutrition and disease
  • use of the body – for running track, mopping floors, or rocking babies
  • maintenance of the body – exercise, brushing teeth, bathing, etc.

For some of us, this sounds too nitpicky, but you’d be amazed at how unbalanced we can be in just this physical facet!

For example – person A takes care of their body by eating right, but doesn’t exercise. Person B is very athletic, but doesn’t think about what they put in their mouth. And neither of them flosses their teeth.

So sometimes we need to take it down into the smaller facets to work on some things we’ve neglected; other facets we can just maintain, because we’ve got them working well.

To use the examples above – person A doesn’t need to work on the nutrition facet but needs to develop the exercise one. And vice versa for person B. And they both need to work on taking care of their teeth.

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I know this sounds simplistic, and it is. But it can also be quite complicated, and sometimes confusing, if a certain idea, habit, sin, or bondage overlaps into more than one facet. To stick to the physical facet example: a person might need to work on their weight, but this can be more than just paying attention to what they eat or how much they exercise. It can also include emotional, mental or even spiritual reasons for the weight problem. This is where we need to listen to Holy Spirit very closely.

Sometimes it will feel like you are dealing with the same thing again! “But we just got that straightened out!!” Yes, you did. But in only one facet. Let’s say you saw the emotional reason why you had a certain eating habit, and were set free from it. However, you then may need to work on the physical habit of the actual consumption of that food.

People who have quit smoking are aware that it is more than just a physical addiction to nicotine. There are emotional facets affected, too, like the feeling of calm some get from smoking. But another facet of the physical addiction can be the actual physical habit – reaching for a cigarette after a meal, or while on the phone. (One hand picks up the phone, the other automatically reaches for a cigarette.) So the mental and emotional habits need to be broken, and the physical addiction to the nicotine, plus the patterns of behavior – the habit.

Some people have all these facets dealt with at one time, while for others, the changes happen in stages. However He works in you, let Him do it. Let Him take all the time you need, so the changes and wholeness will be complete. Don’t beat yourself up over how long something’s taking.

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One of our enemy’s favorite lies is the one that says you didn’t ‘get it’ last time, so you must ‘go around the mountain again’. About the third time around, he’ll slip in this lie: “you haven’t overcome the thing after all these tries, so what makes you think you will this time?” Many of us give up at that point, allowing him to deceive us back into bondage.

But the truth is that you did overcome it – in one facet. Now you are dealing with it in another facet. Some things will affect us in every part of ourselves, some in only one or two facets. Sometimes Father performs an instant healing across the whole person, and sometimes He only deals with one or two facets at a time, until we are finally whole.

Next time you feel defeated because you are dealing with something you thought was already healed/fixed, ask Holy Spirit to show you the truth about the situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if He showed you that it was fixed last time – in one area – and you are now working on it in a different facet.

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There are several reasons why some things take longer to be worked out than others.

The most common one is that this particular sin/bondage is layered. When something goes back into early childhood, you may have decades of it being reinforced. So each layer might need to be peeled away to get at the one underneath, and the one under that, etc, until you get to the root of it. (This is not always the case, though. For some people, some situations, Father God cuts right to the root, and brings instant wholeness.)

That brings us to the second most common reason why healing often takes time. If what you were born to do includes bringing His truth and wholeness to others in that particular area (to use previous examples – smoking or overeating) then He may want you to go through the process slowly so that you will see all the little facets that can be affected. This enables you to help others more effectively. When someone says to you, “I feel this way”, and you can say, “yeah, I know that one”, then they are more open to what you are saying about His truth for that situation. (Ain’t God good?!?!)

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If you have focused for most of your life on just one facet of yourself – the mental or the physical are the most common – then you will probably need to catch up in other facets in order to attain wholeness. Example: The athlete who is injured in a way that ends the athletic career may have to cultivate/develop their mental facet to find a new career, while the ‘egghead’ who spent their whole life wrapped up in a pile of books, or lost in cyberspace, may one day find themselves with physical problems, due to neglect of their body and health.

How much better off we would be if we developed all our facets equally! And how few of us have done that, or even knew we could!

Thankfully, our Father knows us well, and desires to ‘grow us up’ in every facet of every facet. He cares about your physical, emotional, mental, and relational facets just as much as He cares about your spiritual one! If you allow Him to, He will show you which facets need work, and will help you work on them.

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May you begin to become more balanced and whole between and within your facets. And may you allow Holy Spirit to reflect His truth to others through you, so they can experience wholeness, too.

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 2)

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True confession time! I have two addictions –

Chocolate — preferably European, with nuts, if you’re planning on a gift ; – )

And books— fiction, nonfiction, puzzle, coloring; just about everything (except science fiction and horror – yuck!).

If there’s extra money in my pocket, it is likely to be spent on one of these two things. And when it comes to books, I have been known to spend money that wasn’t extra. (Oops.)

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Both these addictions started so early that I can’t remember being without them. The chocolate probably came from Germany, where I was born and celebrated my first two Christmases.

The books came from my Mom, who read a lot, and read to us when we were little, and probably personally filled two libraries with the books she gave away over the years.

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Many people think I waste too much time on both these things, even though I have become efficient at combining them, so as not to lose any reading time.

But I have learned a lot from books! Not only how to spell and how to write, but also other stuff:

From fairy tales I learned: we all live happily ever after; in the end, good triumphs and evil loses; that Cinderella went to the ball three nights, wearing a different gorgeous dress each time (clothes are important!); and that good things can come to you even if people mistreat you or you’re not beautiful or rich (but you must be kind!); good wins, evil loses.

From children’s adventure books, I learned: no matter what your age, if you use your brain, and don’t panic, you can do it; we all need friends to help us from time to time; the world is full of wonderful things and places to explore, people to help, and mysteries to solve; good wins, evil loses.

From westerns, I learned: handle the hard stuff; stand up for what’s right; respect women; fight your own battles; protect the weak; might does not make right; if good people do nothing, evil triumphs, so do something; good wins, evil loses.

From mysteries, I learned: be sure your sin will find you out; evil people are so arrogant that inevitably they go too far and expose themselves (just like Satan getting Jesus onto the cross – BIG mistake, dude!!); everybody has something to hide because we’re all sinners; murder doesn’t pay, neither does any other kind of crime; yet again, good wins, evil loses.

From romances, I learned: yes, I am like most women! We all want to be loved, to feel secure, to be the most important thing/person in someone’s life; that relationships are the most important area of a woman’s life; that a woman can be strong, yet like having a man to lean on now and then (it’s not so good the other way around, though); good triumphs, evil gets its just comeuppance; and, yes, sex (good sex, anyway) takes longer than 10 minutes for a woman.

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In and around all those genres, I read a lot of nonfiction, too, which covers so many topics it can’t really be categorized. A couple stand out, though.

I went through a period where I read a lot of history. From that I learned:

There’s nothing new under the sun; morals and manners change, culture may be different, but humans are still humans – sinful, broken, longing for something they don’t know/can’t find; heart motivations don’t change from century to century, culture to culture, continent to continent – we all want to be loved and accepted unconditionally; there are lots of ways humans try to achieve/receive their heart goals, but most of them are wrong and destructive; women have been mistreated in every age and every culture on the planet; in real life, good doesn’t win that often, and evil wins waaayyy too much.

Another category that stands out is self-help stuff. I read a lot of ‘Christian’ self-help books over the years – trying to fix my marriage, trying to fix myself, trying to understand either or both of those things. What I learned from self-help books is this: you can read all the books you want, but until God Himself gives you a personal revelation – makes it real to you – nothing will work. And when He does, through whatever means, then the change is immediate, impossible to ignore, and the fruit lasts.

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When Father God reveals something to you, it might be through one of those ’Christian’ self-help books, but it’s just as likely to be through something else – a song on the radio, a TV show, something you overhear at the store. He’s revealed truth to me through all those things, but mostly through books. The books that have shown me truth, and have changed my views of God, myself, life and the world, include books from most of the genres and categories I’ve read.

The books in and of themselves aren’t important, rather what Father God showed me through them is: the western that He used to show me His unfailing love and care for me, even when I was avoiding Him; the romances where the man actually cared more about the woman than himself; the fairy tales where love sets the prince or princess free; the historical accounts of normal people like me, who listened to God and impacted those around them, or even the whole world; good Christian fiction that shares truth in a way unparalleled except in the Bible — Madeleine L’Engle, Hannah Hurnard, C.S. Lewis. I can’t even begin to enumerate all the truth I’ve found in Narnia; there’s so much in there that I still reread them now and then, finding new stuff every time.

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I went into all this for two reasons: I wanted to warn you that since I’ve been reading for almost 50 years, you’ll probably be seeing a lot of quotes or ideas from other writers in this blog. We are what we read! And I’ve read a lot!

Second, “the truth is out there!” you’ll find little snippets of it in the most likely and unlikely places. So don’t discount something that speaks truth to you, just because it’s not ‘Christian’. Allow Him to reveal Himself and His truth to you in whatever way He chooses. After all, He knows you, and knows what will make sense, strike a chord, in your heart and mind. (That doesn’t mean you should get a subscription to Playboy/girl, or sign up for all those cable channels or websites of filth! remember – you are what you read/watch. and you may be very sure your sin will find you out! even if the detective doesn’t find the clue, your life will show it in how you treat yourself and others!)

Conversely, don’t accept everything you hear/read that’s ‘Christian’ just because it’s ‘Christian’. The best lie starts with the truth and twists it half a notch. And Satan saves his most damaging lies for the pulpit, not the porn site.

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May you be blessed with truth from Him, through whatever medium He chooses, knowing that ‘He who began a good work in you will finish it’. (

And check out my page of Recommended Reading.)

A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. (C.S. Lewis)

P.S. some of you are snarling rude things under your breath because I read romances. Well, get over it. This is such a huge market because it speaks to the fundamental needs of women. No man ever will be able to meet every heart need of any woman, because some of those needs belong only to God. Instead of condemning women who read this type of fiction, introduce them to their Creator, who can meet every one of their needs, including giving them a good husband.

And yes, I read books that have explicit love scenes. When I first started reading romances, I avoided those, feeling like a voyeur. But then, during my recovery process after the divorce, I did read some of them. This was a life-changing experience for me, as the MIHM (man I had married) had convinced me that I was not a normal woman. But romances told me differently! I got a lot of healing from those books! These days, I skip the explicit parts, having learned that there’s no point in thinking about something that I can’t have, and still feeling that it’s too voyeuristic.

If ‘Christian’ romances ever reach the caliber of writing, plot and characterization of non-Christian writers, I’ll gladly give up the latter, and the explicit sex scenes.

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Abiding

During the last year or so, the focus of my relationship with God has been on being in Him.

All the dealings of God with the soul of the believer are in order to bring him into oneness with Himself, that the prayer of our Lord may be fulfilled: ‘That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.’ . . . ‘I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.’

This soul-union was the glorious purpose in the heart of God for His people before the foundation of the world. It was the mystery hid from ages and generations. It was accomplished in the incarnation of Christ. It has been made known by the Scriptures. And it is realized as an actual experience by many of God’s dear children.”

The Christian’s Secret Of A Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith

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We’ve gone through a lot of stages to get to this point – learning to understand Him as my Father, getting free of lies about Him and myself, etc. – all of which were necessary for me to be able to trust Him.

So now I’m learning what it means . . . what it looks like . . . how it works . . . to abide in the Vine. (John 15:5)

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I could give you a lot of ‘Christianese’ on the subject, but if you’re like me, that just confuses the issue, so I’ll just share what I’ve learned.

  • I’ve learned that ‘childlike faith’ is much simpler, and harder, than it sounds. It is believing in Him and trusting His Word so completely that you don’t even think about it. Little children (up to about age five) don’t even think about being part of the family, they just are. They don’t think about: will Mom give me food when I’m hungry? Will there be a bed when I’m sleepy? Will I get a hug when I need it? They just live! And the trust that all their needs will be provided is so natural, they aren’t even aware of its existence. They never have to make a choice to trust.
  • I’ve learned that it’s so natural that it feels wrong. I mean, with all the brainwashing I received in church, the concept that I don’t have to focus, concentrate, work at being in Him was so foreign to me that it took a long time to understand this part. In fact, I’m still working on it. Just about every day I see another area where I haven’t trusted my Heavenly Father. And I have to reject the guilt that tries to come sneaking in, nagging that I’m not trusting Him because I’m not praying about it or struggling to do it, etc.
  • I’m learning that abiding in Him is not this intense awareness that I work to maintain. Sometimes I am aware of Him, sometimes I’m not. But either way, I am still in Him. And He is in me. In fact, those little nudges to do or not do something, those little feelings that I should or shouldn’t say something, all of that is abiding in Him.
  • I’ve learned that abiding in Him is something that we do all the time, even when we’re not consciously aware of it. Example: I’m just talking to someone – not having prayed beforehand, or even being conscious of His presence at that point – and I say something that changes their view of themselves or God or life, and I don’t even realize what I said until I hear it. That is Him abiding in me, and me so one with Him that He speaks through me.
  • All those things I was taught about the gifts of the Spirit were really just examples of how He works through us, when we are IN HIM and He is in us. We don’t have to work at producing them; they’re just there when we need them, because we’re there – in Him. Same with the fruit of the Spirit. It just grows naturally, not through striving.
  • I’ve learned that, although this is a place we are to just ‘be’, it’s hard to get there. Mostly because I keep working to get there. That old cliché – ‘let go, and let God’ – isn’t really a cliché at all! That’s really what needs to happen. I need to let go of trying; of my need to do it myself; of the feeling that if I don’t focus on it, it won’t work. I need to just accept that because of Christ and his death on the cross, I AM in Him!! Period!
  • I’ve learned that this is another facet of the finished work of Christ. He came to restore us to God, to the relationship with Him that mankind was originally created for. (That finished work is so immense! Wow!)

Every so often I sit down with the concordance and my Bible, looking up the meanings of the words, and writing them in the margins. In verse 8 of Genesis 3, the word translated ‘cool’ (as in ‘God walked in the garden in the cool of the day’) is actually translated everywhere else as wind or spirit. So that made me wonder . . . if God walked in the Garden in the wind or spirit of the day, does that mean He was always there? Did they, until the fall, actually live in His presence all the time, every moment? Hhmmm.

But whether or not Adam and Eve did, that seems to be what we, the new creation, are called to. (see John 14 – 17)

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May this be your prayer and your experience:

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;

Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

From ‘Be Thou My Vision’

An Irish hymn from the 8th century

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Fractals

Fractals are interesting things. According to yourdictionary.com, a fractal is “an extremely irregular line or surface formed of an infinite number of similarly irregular sections”.

One of the simplest illustrations of a fractal I’ve seen is a Y with another Y added at the tip of each of the arms, then another Y at the tip of each of those arms, etc, etc, ad infinitum. The overall effect is still a Y, as you look at it from a distance. It’s only as you get closer that you begin to see the smaller Y’s that make up the large one.

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This, Father showed me, is a picture of the body of Christ:

Each of us is one of those little Y’s, whole and entire in itself.

Each family, each fellowship of believers, is a Y made up of smaller Y’s.

The body in any given geographical location is yet a larger Y made up of the smaller fellowship Y’s.

The entire world church is the ultimate Y – the complete body of Christ, composed of each individual person, fellowship, region, continent.

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Just as inside each of us are all the organs we need to function, so also, inside each fellowship, are all the organs it needs to function as light and salt to the surrounding community.

Inside the body in a geographical region are all the organs it needs to change that region.

Inside the whole body of Christ is everything it needs to change the world.

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We, however, are so busy arguing over, and trying to prove, which organ or hand or foot or whatever we are, that we don’t see that we are to be the whole body, not just one organ. (How would you, or any human, function if you were nothing but a hand or a liver?)

Each local body needs to have all its parts, and have them functioning correctly. But it also needs to see that it is but one part of the whole body.

Instead of each fellowship focusing on one aspect or facet of ‘bodyhood’, it should be all of the body where it is. (This doesn’t mean it should be pushing out other churches, though.)

Here we go fractal again!

Each individual in the body should be encouraged to become whole, fully functioning, and joined with the others in the body, so the fellowship can be whole and fully functioning.

At the same time, the fellowship, while seeking to be the whole body, needs to hook up with others in its region (and ultimately the world) to make up the larger picture of Him that we are supposed to be!

Instead of competing, let’s become whole, become a perfect Y; then join with others to become a larger Y, and yet larger and larger, until the whole body is ‘fitly framed together’ (Eph.2:21, 4:11-16).

Thus the body will grow, and grow healthily. Thus it will change the world.

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May you be blessed with wisdom, understanding, and wholeness, as you begin to take your place as one fractal in the whole body of Christ.

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The time has come, the Spirit says,
To speak of many things . . .
Of facets and of fractals
And living with the King.

(Okay, I personally hate Alice in Wonderland. It’s too scary and too nonsensical for me. In fact, I’ve always wondered what psychotropic drug Carroll was using when he wrote it. But . . .  the time has come!)

Father God has shown me many things over the years, and He has made it clear that I need to start sharing!

So, here goes . . .

Facets

About 18 years ago, give or take, I had just had a revelation of how much I (me!) am totally loved and completely accepted by the Father, which drastically altered my world view, and changed my whole life.  This caused me to revisit a lot of the things I’d always believed about Him, me, life, etc.

One day, I was thinking about trials and tribulations – why do we go through them? Now, being in church all my life, I’d heard a couple different doctrines on this subject. One said that God was so holy, so pure, and we were so vile, that He couldn’t stand to be anywhere near us. So He had to clean us up by putting us through stuff to get rid of the sin/impurity in us.  (Where is ‘we are become the righteousness of Christ’ in that doctrine???)

The other, similar idea, was that God was putting us on the fire, ‘burning off the dross’, to make us like Christ. This one (actually, they both) had a lot of scripture to back it up, making it clear that we were not clean, or acceptable, in our human condition, even after salvation.  As I said – similar, but without the disgust/dislike of the first one! The focus here was on recreating us into His image, rather than cleaning us up.

But, with my new understanding of just how much Father God loves and accepts us, I was now questioning God’s supposed motives in these doctrines. (I have gradually been made to see that motive is everything – isn’t that the point of Jesus’ words about looking at a woman to ‘lust after her in your heart’ and the rest of that section of Matthew 5?  What the heart motive is, is what counts with Him (I Sam. 16:7).  So I think we need to understand His heart motives, too.)  We all, mostly unconsciously, absorb the underlying motives of what we are taught, ascribing them to God/parents/whoever the authority is in the situation, whether they are true or not.  So now I had to look at what I had previously believed were God’s motives underlying these doctrines.

The first one made it clear that God couldn’t really stand us the way we are, couldn’t even look at us, we were so filthy.  So He had to change us.  I was left with the belief that we were disgusting at the best of times, even after the work of the cross!  This really made me not believe that He loved us, me in particular.  In fact, this left me with the belief that the only reason He hadn’t squished the whole creation into a ball of clay and started over, was some kind of dislike of being wrong.  So He was gonna fix it, and show ’em all!

The second one was a little more charitable – nothing indicated that He didn’t love us, but I sure was left with the impression that He didn’t like us! After all, He thought we needed to be made over into Christ’s image, which sure sounded like He disliked humanity. This didn’t change my basic belief that He didn’t love me, but I was able, finally, to believe that He could, just possibly, love humans in a sort of overall ‘I made it, so I gotta love it’ kind of way.

But neither of these ideas fit with what He had just shown me about His total love and acceptance of us (me!) ‘while we were yet sinners’! And even after!

So, I asked Him, ‘why do we go through trials and tribulations?’

* * *

And He showed me a huge diamond, maybe two stories tall, with me standing in front of it, looking at this facet that was about two feet wide. He said, “When you get saved, you see this facet of me – Savior. But I want you to know more of me, so I allow situations in your life which cause you to see other facets of Me – Healer, Provider, Father, and more.” here I moved a little to one side, and found myself facing a different facet, then another and another. “Everything that happens in your life is an opportunity for you to know me more fully. The trials and tribulations are not to clean you up so I can stand you, but to show you new facets of Me.”  Wow! Yet another false doctrine bit the dust! Yes, Father allows us to go through stuff, but not because He can’t stand us! Because He loves us, wants to help us, but even more, wants us to know Him.

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I can hear you disagreeing! Lots of chatter about holiness, etc. and I’m not trying to nullify those scriptures which talk about cleaning us up. But what He showed me that day was His underlying motive, which always, always, always, is His great unconditional love for us, and His desire to have an intimate relationship with us.  He hates sin because it hinders that, and because it hurts us! If you love someone, you hate anything that keeps them away from you, or hurts them in any way.

What He showed me with the facets on the diamond, was that I need to start looking at the trials and tribulations in my life as opportunities to learn to know my Father and God better!  Not as punishment or as something motivated by disgust of me.

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Over the years He has added to my understanding of this vision:  I saw that as we get to know a certain facet of God – Healer, for instance – it does change us, making us more like Christ.  Eventually, I also saw that as we are changed by getting to know this or that facet of God, we then begin to reflect that facet of Him to others.

Those are just side effects, though, of the real point, which is to know Him!  The more and better we know Him, the more facets He cleans and polishes in us, and the better we reflect Him to the world. (And, trust me, you can’t clean or polish them yourself! It must be His work, through revelation of Himself to you.)

The point is knowing Him!  Everything in the Christian life is based on that, and flows from that.  If it’s based on anything else, it’s ‘wood, hay and stubble’.

So the next time you are facing a trial, instead of wondering what is wrong with you, ask our Father what He wants to reveal of Himself to you through this. The answer will be amazing! And freeing!

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Be blessed with understanding, wisdom, and revelation of more true facets of Him!

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.    John 17:3

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