Prophecy Article Today:J. R. Church, went home to glory on March 22, 2011.

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J.R. Church: A Life Remembered

By Gary Stearman on April 17, 2011

 

Our founder and friend, J. R. Church, went home to glory on March 22, 2011. Gary and Bob remember the man who touched so many lives. His famous panoramic presentation screens have been rolled up; the slides are tucked away in storage; and sadly, the voice of the narrator has fallen silent. But his ideas and the memories he left us remain alive. Watch it here.

 

 


 

 


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Last Call: "MondaythruFriday" - Greg Laurie.


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"MondaythruFriday" Devotional Series

 

MondaythruFriday 

Greg Laurie

 



MondaythruFriday 

Greg Laurie

Monday

 

Lying to God

Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. 
—Matthew 26:49

The worst kind of sin is the kind committed by someone who doesn't think he really is a sinner. It was Cicero who said, "Of all villainy, there is none more base than that of the hypocrite, who at the moment he is most false, takes care to appear most virtuous."

Think for a moment about a garden-variety sinner. Then think of someone who attends church every week. Is it possible that a person in the church pew could be in worse shape than a garden-variety sinner? It is possible. Here's how: If the person who is an unbeliever recognizes that fact, there is hope that one day he or she will come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, turn from a sinful lifestyle, and believe in Jesus. But the person who attends church every week with no intention of responding to what he or she is hearing is actually a hypocrite.

It is better to just be what you are. It is better to say, "I am not into this. I don't believe in this. I don't care about this . . . " than to pretend to be spiritual when you are not. God hates hypocrisy.

This doesn't mean that you won't be inconsistent at times. It doesn't mean that you won't fall short at times. We all have had moments of hypocrisy. But a hypocrite is someone who wears a mask, someone who pretends to be someone they really are not.

The hypocrite extraordinaire, if you will, was Judas Iscariot. When he betrayed Jesus, he did so with a kiss. He could have just pointed and said, "There is Jesus. My job is done." But he kissed Him. At the moment when he appeared to be the most virtuous, he was the most sinful. And that is lying to God. 

 

MondaythruFriday 

 

Greg Laurie

 

Tuesday

What's Bad about Bitterness

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 
—Ephesians 4:31-32

Augustine reportedly had a sign on his wall that read, "He who speaks evil of an absent man or woman is not welcome at this table." That would have ended a lot of conversations, wouldn't it?

The Bible tells us to "get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior" (Ephesians 4:31). Slander speaks of saying evil things about others behind their backs.

Bitterness, which is an embittered and resentful spirit that refuses to be reconciled, makes the Holy Spirit sad and sorrowful. Yet some people like to be mad. They live for conflict. They live for arguments. They live for fighting. They seem to actually like it.

Then there are the people who avoid conflicts, and I will admit that I am one of them. I don't like conflict. I dread it in fact. But some people are just looking for something to fight about, and they seem to go from conflict to conflict. You probably know people like this. They are always mad at someone. They always have their nemesis, the one person who is the source of all their misery, and they are always talking about him or her. And they often are very critical, constantly nitpicking and trying to uncover things in other people's lives.

Yet I have made an interesting discovery: the person who has been covering up sin in his or her life typically is always trying to uncover sin in the lives of others. It never surprises me when I find that the most critical people are guilty of something far worse themselves.

So don't live that way. It grieves the Holy Spirit. If you let bitterness go unchecked, it could lead you to take the next step—and to something even worse. 

 

MondaythruFriday 

 

Greg Laurie

 

Wednesday

 

God's ID Tag

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. 
—Ephesians 1:13

In the apostle Paul's day, when goods would be shipped from one place to another, they would be stamped with a wax seal and imprinted with a signet ring that bore a unique mark of ownership. The same was true of an important document. It would be sealed in wax and then imprinted with a seal, and no one dared open it other than the intended recipient. So when Ephesians 1:13 says that a believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit, it means that God has put His imprint on that person's life.

In more contemporary terms, think of it as God's ID tag. You put an ID tag on your luggage so you can identify it as yours. After watching black suitcase after black suitcase come down the conveyor belt at the airport's baggage claim, I went out and bought some fluorescent smiley faces for my bag. I might look like a moron, but now I can quickly identify which suitcase is mine.

God has put an ID tag on believers as well. So when the devil comes to wreak havoc in their lives, he sees an ID tag that says they are the property of the Lord Jesus Christ. And he backs off. Not only do Christians have an ID tag that says they belong to God, but a deposit has been made in their lives. Ephesians 1:14 says the Holy Spirit "is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." The Holy Spirit is a deposit, proof that God is working in the believer's life.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then the Holy Spirit has been placed in your life. And He will make himself known to you, working in you and through you.

 

 

MondaythruFriday 

 

Greg Laurie

 

Thursday

 

Known by Their Fruit

"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you." 
—John 15:16

How do people know that you are a Christian? They can't see your heart. They can't see your faith—but they can see the results of it. Jesus said, "By their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:20). The only way someone can determine whether you are a follower of Jesus is not merely by your profession of Him, but by the evidence they see in your life. And that evidence should be spiritual fruit.

Fruit doesn't grow overnight. And sometimes the best judge of the growth in your life might be someone else. You can be very introspective and say, "Have I become more like Jesus in the last 24 hours?" But that would be like trying to watch your kids grow. The growth is subtle, yet someone who hasn't seen your children for several months will notice it. In the same way, you don't necessarily see spiritual growth in your own life. But someone else might say, "You have really changed. I see you are becoming more like Jesus."

Spiritual fruit is important, because Jesus said, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain" (John 15:16). He is saying, "I want there to be fruit in your life."

But what is this fruit? Galatians 5:22-23 gives us the answer: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." We bear fruit by walking in communion with Jesus, by staying close to Him. And spiritual fruit is a result of that relationship.

What we really need today is to bear spiritual fruit in our lives so that others can say, "Now there is a follower of Jesus Christ."

 

 


 

 

MondaythruFriday 

 

Greg Laurie

 

Friday

 

 

Our Advocate

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 
—Romans 8:26

There are times when you are so overwhelmed, so discouraged, or so afraid that you don't know what or how to pray. It is then the Holy Spirit will help you. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray.

Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as a Helper: "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever" (John 14:16). The word "Helper" that Jesus used comes from the Greek word parakletos, which means, "called alongside to help." It could also be translated as "aide" or "assistant." Some versions translate parakletos as "advocate," which is applied to Jesus in 1 John 2:1: "And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

The Holy Spirit has come to help you, to aid you, to assist you in your prayer. The Holy Spirit has come to be an advocate and plead your cause before the Father, to intercede for you. Why? Because we don't always know how to put words to our prayers.

The good news is that sometimes just a sigh or a groan will do. Prayer is not so much about the petitions you bring before God, although it can include that. Sometimes the most profound prayers are a sigh or a groan when you are overwhelmed and don't know what to say. The Bible tells us, "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26).

God knows what we are really thinking. He knows what we really need. So we can cry out to Him, knowing the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf. 

 

Last Call: "MondaythruFriday" - Mike MacIntosh.


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"MondaythruFriday" Devotional Series

 

MondaythruFriday 

Mike MacIntosh

 



MondaythruFriday 

Mike MacIntosh

Monday

 

 

And when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

So Jesus said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Matthew 14:26-31

Who is Jesus to you? The disciples knew Jesus well. They had been with him when He raised a little girl from the dead, when He gave sight to the blind, and when He healed the sick. They'd left behind their entire lives to follow Jesus, and spent every day with Him. But that night, as they sat on a boat in the middle of the sea and saw Jesus walking towards them on the water, something was different.

The winds blowing, the disciples started to panic. Peter called out to Jesus, saying, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So Jesus said, "Come." And for a brief moment, while Peter's eyes were fixed on Jesus, he walked on the water. As soon as he looked around, though, realizing that he could very well drown, he began to sink. So Jesus immediately stretched out His hand to save him -- just as He had stretched out His hand to raise the little girl from the dead, and just as He had stretched out His hand to give healing to the sick. The disciples had seen Jesus save many people from many things. This time, though, they said, "Truly You are the Son of God" (Matthew 14:33).

Why now? Why did the disciples only now "truly" understand that Jesus was, indeed, the Son of God? Why would they have given up their very lives to follow Him if they hadn't "truly" believed all along?

You see, the disciples knew of Jesus' power, but they'd never shared in it. They'd seen and even experienced His miracles, but had never taken a step of faith to be part of one. That night, Peter took a step of faith -- he failed miserably, but at least he took a step. Jesus was showing His disciples that they are not just bystanders -- that He would empower them, even to walk on water, if they would simply have faith.

Who is Jesus to you? Maybe you know today, like the disciples did, that He is powerful -- that He can perform miracles in your life, and bring healing. But do you realize that He wants to empower you with His strength? Do you realize that He is truly the Son of God, and is not only able to do the impossible, but to empower you to do the impossible, by faith?

Jesus says in Mark 9:23 that "all things are possible to him who believes." Today, you are not a bystander. Jesus wants to empower you with His power so that He can do amazing things in and through your life. Sometimes, like Peter, we fail. But you must be willing to take that first step of faith.

 

 

MondaythruFriday 

Mike MacIntosh

Tuesday

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
Matthew 16:24

I like the cartoon strip where Charlie Brown is doing woodwork in a shop when Lucy comes by and asks, "How's the birdhouse coming, Charlie Brown?" "Well," he sighs, "I'm a lousy carpenter, I can't nail straight, I can't saw straight, and I always split the wood. I'm nervous, I lack confidence, I'm stupid, I have poor taste, and absolutely no sense of design. So, all things considered… it's coming along okay."

You know, we're all a little like Charlie Brown. We fiddle with life, but at the end of the day, we see our frailties; we have insecurities. And marketers today know it. Entire industries thrive on exploiting our insecurities. Self-help authors promise to help you become the "champion within you." Skin products are promised to make you look and feel "younger," and exercise products will make you more "attractive." Everyone seems to be after that priceless gem of "self-esteem." But Jesus says that "if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself." It's not self-esteem that the Lord requires -- it's self-denial.

The apostle Paul was quick to admit that when it came to self-denial, he was the worst. "If anyone thinks he may have confidence in the flesh," he wrote, "I more so" (Philippians 3:4). That's coming from a man who was stoned, imprisoned and persecuted for his unyielding faith in Christ. No doubt, self-denial does not come naturally. As humans, we tend to value "self" more than anything -- otherwise, self-denial would be easy! But how can we follow Christ if our eyes are fixed on ourselves? How can we be obedient to His will if we put value in our own?

You see, our insecurities and our frailties are not caused by a lack of self-esteem. We esteem ourselves naturally. And the longer you look at yourself, the more insecure you will become. The higher the pedestal you build for yourself, the less stable your footing will become, and the further you will fall. No, our frailties are caused by our lack of self-denial to the One by whom all things were created, and in whom is all power, wisdom, and strength! (Revelation 5:12) Jesus is able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think," according to His "power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20) -- but we must give Him full control. We must deny ourselves.

Today, don't fall for the myth that says you need more "self-esteem." Esteem the Lord in your life, and He will "supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). 


 

MondaythruFriday 

Mike MacIntosh

Wednesday

 

Therefore the Egyptians set taskmasters over the Hebrews to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. Exodus 1:11-12

Why does God allow us to suffer?

 

Doesn't He have the power to prevent suffering in our lives? As a pastor, I've heard questions like these many times from wonderful people who are enduring incredible hardships. No doubt, these questions must have been common amongst the Hebrews as the Egyptians afflicted them, setting taskmasters over them to build supply cities for Pharaoh. But the greater the affliction, the stronger the Hebrews grew. The more the Egyptians tormented the Hebrews, the more the Hebrews multiplied. You see, God didn't cause their suffering, but He used it to strengthen them. Instead of granting them a time of peace as slaves, He prepared them for a lifetime of freedom.

Today, God is preparing us, as believers, for an eternity of freedom in Him. God allows us to endure tough times because they force us to rely on Him. They force us to finally let go of our self-reliance, our pride, and our stubbornness, and let Him do a work in our lives. No, adversity is not fun, and if you are experiencing tough times right now, my heart goes out to you. "In the world you will have tribulation," Jesus said, "but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b).

Our hope as followers of Jesus Christ lies in that simple fact: He has overcome this world. Yes, we will struggle here on earth, but this is not our home, just as Egypt was not the Hebrews' home. We have the promise of eternal life with Christ, through His death and resurrection. He purposefully chose to endure some of the worst adversity anyone can imagine, not for His sake, but for ours -- and He overcame it. But He didn't die so that we might live prosperous, unhindered lives here on earth. There's nothing necessarily wrong with living a prosperous life, but Jesus died to give you something much greater: eternal life.

Does God have the power to prevent suffering in our lives? Yes -- He has the power to save us from an eternity of suffering. We must see the big picture as He sees it. In Him, we have hope that one day, we will live with Him where there is "no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying," and "there shall be no more pain" (Revelation 21:4). This world today, however, is broken because of sin. God didn't cause the sin -- we did -- but God, in His unknowable love, overcame that sin so that we might have hope.

When those moments of adversity seem unbearable, know that God is at work. Let Him strengthen you. Let Him be your hope. A better day is coming.


MondaythruFriday 

Mike MacIntosh

Thursday

 

But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" So He said, "I will certainly be with you."
Exodus 3:11-12a

Have you ever faced a task so daunting, so overwhelming, that it paralyzed you with fear?  Moses must have felt that way here.  This was a man living in exile -- he had murdered an Egyptian and fled the land of Egypt; he didn't have the greatest reputation, to say the least.  But this day, while tending his father-in-law's sheep in the desert, minding his own business, the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush and gave him an historic, monumental task: "Bring the children of Israel out of Egypt."

"What? Me?" he must have thought.  Surely there were more spiritual people, more qualified people, and more respected people who could do the task.  "Who am I?" he asks in Exodus 3:11, but the Lord would not be swayed.  "Who shall I tell them sent me?" (3:13).  "What if they don't believe me? What if they don't listen to me?" (4:1).  Still, the Lord is not changing His mind.  "But I am not eloquent!" (4:10).  Moses pulls out every excuse he can think of, but they're not working.  Finally, in desperation, Moses ditches the excuses and simply pleads for God to "please send someone else!" (4:13).  But the Lord simply says to Moses, "I will certainly be with you."

You see, God's decision to use a slow-of-tongue, insecure, out-of-touch fugitive to deliver an entire nation might have been a surprise to Moses, but it shouldn't be a surprise to us.  1 Corinthians 1:27 says that "God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty."  He uses insignificant people to do truly significant things.  The Lord used a down-and-out man like Moses, rather than a great orator or spiritual leader, because at the end of the day, there would be no doubt who deserved the glory: God alone.

When God gives us a challenge that's over-the-top and outside our comfort zone, we shouldn't be surprised. We can make excuses the way Moses did, or we can choose to rely on the awesome power of God to be with us.  Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not, for I am with you.... I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."  God loves you more than you will ever comprehend, and when He gives you a challenge, He will not abandon you -- He will "certainly be with you."

Let me encourage you today to be obedient to the calling of God.  Where He says go, be faithful to go.  It may be a big step of faith, or a small one.  But don't make excuses.  Don't be overwhelmed or paralyzed by fear.  Don't worry if you're "qualified," or "spiritual enough."  God will do amazing things in and through your life -- if you will let Him!

   


 

 


 

 

MondaythruFriday 

Mike MacIntosh

Friday

 

 

Then Peter came to Jesus and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."
Matthew 18:21-22

Peter was the kind of guy who wore his heart on his sleeve. When Jesus walked on water, Peter was the only disciple gutsy enough to step out of the boat and join Him. When Jesus predicted His own death, Peter actually took Him aside and rebuked Him, saying, "This shall not happen to You!" (Matthew 16:22).

And when Jesus was about to die, Peter boldly stood up and proclaimed, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" (Matthew 26:35). No doubt, he liked to make a big impression -- but as was the case in each of these instances, he often fell flat on his face.

You can imagine, then, what must have been going through Peter's mind when he asked Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who had sinned against him. "Up to seven times?" he proposed, half to Jesus and half to the disciples, whom he surely knew would be impressed by such a selfless recommendation on his part.

After all, it's not easy to forgive someone even once, much less seven times. Peter likely expected to hear Jesus say, "That's right, Peter. Very good." But not only was Jesus unimpressed; He shattered the disciples' very idea of forgiveness: "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."

You see, Jesus was showing His disciples that forgiveness is not something you do, it's something by which you live. It's not a one-time good deed, or a seven-time good deed -- it is a lifelong pursuit. It is a constant commitment to "take up your cross" and follow Jesus; to deny yourself.

Jesus said, "Forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37b). Forgiveness is not easy, especially when you have been deeply hurt by someone. But you and I will never forgive anyone as much as Christ has forgiven us. We will never know the extent of His mercy to "forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9), much less His grace in making us "heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him" (James 2:5). If Christ can forgive us, we can forgive others.

Today, if someone in your life has caused you pain, let me encourage you to forgive them. Show them the mercy God has shown you. And if you have wronged someone, take the chance to ask forgiveness. May we become people who live to forgive, and who live forgiven.



 

The Daily Classic: "Knowledge Of The Holy" -by A.W. Tozer [Preface]

"Traditional Christianity Saved by Grace"

 Hell got bigger. Grace got Greater, and the world is heading for Hell in a Handbasket. You really don't want to go there. Unless you seriously don't do something about it, You are Going to Hell. Hell was not made for you and you weren't made for Hell, but it isn't oblivion you are facing when you die, but Hell. You are going in the wrong direction and admit it or not, Hell is waiting for you. Jesus Said, Call on Me and You Shall Be Saved. We call it Salvation because it is. It is not going where you deserve to be, and that is Hell. Jesus said, Call on me. Read these so you can be assured God wants you in heaven."Call on the Name of the Lord, and You Shall Be Saved". Reject them, pure and simple, You Go to hell. It's your call, it just might be your Last Call. --Michael James Stone


 The Daily Classic

" pearls of faith in the fields of Christendom" 

Knowledge Of The Holy    
by A.W. Tozer

 

(Preface)

 

PREFACE


True religion confronts earth with heaven and brings eternity to bear upon time. The messenger of Christ, though he speaks from God, must also, as the Quakers used to say, ”speak to the condition” of his hearers; otherwise he will speak a language known only to himself. His message must be not only timeless but timely. He must speak to his own generation.

The message of this book does not grow out of these times but it is appropriate to them. It is called forth by a condition which has existed in the Church for some years and is steadily growing worse. I refer to the loss of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind. The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshipping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.

The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.

With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, ”Be still, and know that I am God,” mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshipper in this middle period of the twentieth century.

This loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.

The only way to recoup our spiritual losses is to go back to the cause of them and make such corrections as the truth warrants. The decline of the knowledge of the holy has brought on our troubles. A rediscovery of the majesty of God will go a long way toward curing them. It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is.

As my humble contribution to a better understanding of the Majesty in the heavens I offer this reverent study of the attributes of God. Were Christians today reading such works as those of Augustine or Anselm a book like this would have no reason for being. But such illuminated masters are known to modern Christians only by name. Publishers dutifully reprint their books and in due time these appear on the shelves of our studies. But the whole trouble lies right there: they remain on the shelves. The current religious mood makes the reading of them virtually impossible even for educated Christians.

Apparently not many Christians will wade through hundreds of pages of heavy religious matter requiring sustained concentration. Such books remind too many persons of the secular classics they were forced to read while they were in school and they turn away from them with a feeling of discouragement.

For that reason an effort such as this may be not without some beneficial effect. Since this book is neither esoteric nor technical, and since it is written in the language of worship with no pretension to elegant literary style, perhaps some persons may be drawn to read it. While I believe that nothing will be found here contrary to sound Christian theology, I yet write not for professional theologians but for plain persons whose hearts stir them up to seek after God Himself.

It is my hope that this small book may contribute somewhat to the promotion of personal heart religion among us; and should a few persons by reading it be encouraged to begin the practice of reverent meditation on the being of God, that will more than repay the labor required to produce it.

A. W. Tozer

 

 

 

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