CHOOSING THE BEST

Luke 8:34-37

When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

The townsfolk had a shock when farm-hands, who had been looking after a large herd of pigs, came running with the news.  All the pigs had drowned in the lake (Luke 8:32-33) .  Their owners came to the water’s edge to see for themselves, and to confront Jesus who had apparently destroyed their businesses.  The pigs were both capital assets and revenue, as the meat and hides were traded outside of Israel (Jews would not be associated with these animals in any way).

Apart from a silent hillside and porcine carcasses floating in the water, the farmers and their worried investors also saw Jesus sitting next to the formerly demonised man.  This man had been banished from society because of his violent behaviour and naked terrorism of the locals (Luke 8:29); now he was quiet and willing to listen to the Man who had rescued him from Satan’s grip.  

You might have thought that this miracle would have thrilled the people who used to be terrified of the man’s unpredictable behaviour.  But, no!  They were more concerned about their loss of money through a trade in which godly Jews would never participate (1 Timothy 6:9-10).  They were more afraid of Jesus’ power to expel evil than they had been of the terrible effects of evil in this man.  They thought that the evil was contained by isolating the man away from their town.  They were content to try to manage their relationship with demons but did not want to be delivered from them.

It is the same today.  Human beings want to be in control, and they get frightened if anybody else (especially God) demonstrates a superior power.  Power in business, in trading and money markets give the illusion that we are king, or queen.  Academic pride, manufacturing efficiency and construction triumphs all encourage the same fantasy.  But when they are stripped away, we have a choice; do we want Jesus to be in command?  If so, He will want to deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13).  And that is very good news… if that is what we want too!

Almighty God. Thank You for the astonishing authority which Jesus demonstrated against the powers of Satan. Thank You that evil must release its grip in Jesus’ presence. Please forgive me for wanting to be in control when that is Your job; and for listening to the devil’s lies, allowing him hidden space to operate in my life as I pursue my own ambitions. May I learn that a soul committed to Jesus is of far greater value than all the success, wealth and fame I can imagine; and help me to set my course today, with the intention of allowing Jesus to be King. In His Name. Amen. 

SEEING THE POWER OF EVIL

Luke 8:32-33

A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

It is rare to see the raw power of evil.  Jesus was about to free Legion from the many demons that had controlled and manipulated his life.  Clearly, Jesus was now in charge.  Instead of the poor tormented man being at the mercy of evil, it was the agents of Satan who implored Jesus not to torment them before their appointed time (Matthew 8:29).  They were desperate to inhabit something and stay in control.  Having commanded them to leave the man, Jesus allowed them to terrorise the pigs.  The result was dramatic.  Very visibly, as the man’s wild nature quietened (Luke 8:25) , the pigs tried in vain to shake off the demons as they ran down the hill.  All the pigs drowned.  The destructive power of evil had done its worst.

But why did Jesus allow this carnage?  Firstly, it was a warning to Satan that his wicked rule would be challenged until it was destroyed, because God’s King had come (Luke 11:20) .  Secondly, it was divine compassion for a tormented man.  Thirdly, it would be evidence of the power of Jesus to the local townsfolk, jolting them out of their indifference to the Saviour.  But it also showed the disciples the extent of the devil’s wicked power which could only be handled by Jesus.  As the trainee leaders of the Early Church, they would need to know that, in Jesus’ Name, they could deal with Satan head on, and win.

Some have asked about the ethics of Jesus ‘destroying the pigs’. Well, actually, it was not Jesus who brought destruction on the large herd, but Satan.  The drowned carcasses of the swine were a potent reminder of Satan’s nature, to destroy and kill (John 8:44; John 10:10).  The demons had been operating in that naked man for so long and he had been held under sentence of death by the devil (Hebrews 2:14-15).  Jesus changed all that and considered the spiritual freedom of one man to be more significant than the loss of hundreds of pigs (Luke 12:7).

The values of Jesus are refreshingly wonderful in a greedy and corrupt world.  He put the salvation of one person above the wealth of a town; and He exposed the way in which Satan operates by showing that wickedness has great power.  In other words, the devil must be dealt with, and Jesus is the only One who can do it!  This was going to be the message of the cross and Pentecost, sparking the church into action around the world for the next two thousand years and more.  The disciples needed to see this message in action so that they might preach with confidence and have no fear of evil. We need that same assurance today.  Surrounded by evil, we must not be intimidated from our purpose as servants of the gospel; and so this account was included to encourage us that however strong the opposition, Jesus is able to rescue souls who have been held captive by Satan (Hebrews 7:25).

Dear Lord God. Thank You for this account showing the destructive power of evil, but also of the superior authority of Jesus to release the tormented man. Forgive me for being frightened by big displays of wickedness, when I have Jesus with me. Please help me to develop the confidence to reach out to those in need in the Name of Jesus, knowing that only He has the authority to demolish wickedness and restore the captive soul to the dignity of being a child of God. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

POWER STRUGGLE

Luke 8:29-31

For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Legion,’ he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

Some people think that God and the devil are equal and opposite forces, like opposing teams in a football match, where human beings are the ball.  Not so!  God has the supreme right to rule, and Satan can only operate by permission (Job 1:6-12).  People are not the passive victims of a heavenly struggle, for they can and do choose who will be their master.  Legion had made his choice, and yet was taken prisoner by his own demonic ‘house-guests’ and was manipulated by them into unpredictable violence.

The name of a person is unique.  There may be many people with the same name, but each is individual.  Jesus asked the man’s name.  In Mark’s account, sourced from the eye-witness Peter, what came out of the man’s mouth was, ‘My name is Legion … for we are many’ (Mark 5:9).  The demons could not resist Jesus’ demand that they tell the truth.  However much the man was confused, the demons were clear.  They had come and they intended to stay.  

When Jesus confronted the demonised man, Satan’s agents knew that they could not win.  They knew that Jesus was about to terminate their illegal ‘residency permit’.  They knew their final destiny (2 Peter 2:4) and feared it might be imminent.  The only question was where would they be sent?  The fact that they repeatedly begged Jesus not to deport them to the place of the dead showed that they were struggling for the power to continue to demonise the living; but they knew that they were ultimately subject to the authority of Jesus.

The good news is that those who want to be released from Satan’s bondage can have complete confidence that Jesus has the power to deal with the problem.  There is no power that Jesus cannot break.  So why do not more people come to Him?  Perhaps they have never heard, or if they have, they still believe the lie that they are the helpless victims of an eternal struggle, and there is no certainty as to who will win!  Of course, Jesus will win (Revelation 20:7-15) . What they need is to be told the truth; and who better to do that than you!  But many would say that other Christians could say it better, explain it more clearly and answer questions with greater confidence.  Maybe: but are they near your troubled friend, are they in your workplace, do they have refreshment breaks at the same time, do they travel on the same train? No!  But you are there, on hand to minister in the Name of Jesus (1 Peter 3:15-16).  Wherever you find troubled souls, tell them that Jesus has the power to set them free.

Holy Lord of power and might. Thank You that demons cannot resist the authority of Jesus. Please forgive me if I have tolerated evil guests in my heart, and never trusted Jesus to dislodge them. May I submit myself to Him. Help me to have Christ’s heart of compassion and to announce His presence wherever I go so that those who are living in torment might find release in Him. Especially, help me in my place of work to be alert to those who seek release and relief, so that I can introduce them to my Saviour. In His Name. Amen.

DEMONIC CONFRONTATION

They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!’  Luke 8:26-28

A stormy boat trip had just taught the disciples that Jesus had divine authority over the forces of nature (Luke 8:22-25) .  Arriving at the rugged and unpopulated shore which had become a burial ground, the Twelve were with Jesus for His next appointment, and their next lesson in understanding Jesus’ identity as He took authority over demons.  When they landed, the naked demonised man met them.  He was unable to live near people, they could not control him and did not want him; demonically robbed of his dignity, community and sanity, he lived in isolation and slept among the graves of the dead.  It was his long-term restless lifestyle to which he had become accustomed.

The arrival of Jesus challenged the authority of the evil spirits which had controlled the man (Luke 8:30) .  They knew who Jesus was even though the disciples did not.  The Son of the Most High God had invaded their space and they knew that He had the power to cast them out into a prolonged and painful destruction.  The manipulated man screamed out in his tortured state, the demons using his voice because they recognised who Jesus was and were in terror of what He might do to them.  The evil spirits knew they were at Jesus’ mercy but also wanted to bargain with Him to remain in control of the man.  The intrinsic confusion, which exists within everything that is evil, was pouring out of the man’s mouth (Matthew 15:11-19).

Jesus was quite clear.  The evil spirit must leave the man.  For too long it had given him destructive power; for too long had the man been isolated from truth to be consumed by Satan’s lies.  Evil has no integrity.  Those who allow evil to rule in their hearts end up believing their own lies and think that they can bargain with God.  Generally speaking, the demonised do not refuse to believe in God, but they deny His right to rule over them (Luke 19:14).  That is both the reason for, and the effect of, demonic infestation.  That is why they pleaded with Jesus not to dislodge them.

As this narrative unfolds, we shall see that Jesus Christ is totally in command and that Satan cannot defy Him.  Like the disciples, it is important for us to know that their Master was not just a teacher and healer.  God’s plan was always for Jesus to enter the place where Satan has presumed to rule, and to release captives from His grip, rescuing them from anguish today, the hopelessness of death and terrors of hell tomorrow (Hebrews 2:14-15) .  That is why the gospel is such good news: Jesus came to save sinners who are incapable of releasing themselves from Satan’s grip.  The Lord Jesus Christ still has that power today.  Your testimony of being released may give hope to others who are struggling and point them to the salvation which is only possible through

Christ. Almighty God. Thank You that Jesus deliberately confronted the agents of Satan and won. Please forgive me when I accept the devil’s lies and allow myself to be confused, half-agreeing that Jesus has the right to rule, and half-believing that evil will be an easier way. Please alert me to these compromised areas of my life and give me the grace to call on Your help. Please cleanse me from all wickedness and enable me to live in the power of the Spirit, to Your praise and glory – and so that others at work and at home may see that they too can be set free from the grip of sin. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

RAGING LACK OF FAITH

The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him. Luke 8:24-25

Personal danger exposes our true belief-systems.  Even though at least four of the disciples were experienced fishermen, used to the ferocious squalls on Lake Galilee, all of the disciples were scared that they might die.  A fierce wind swept over the lake, heaping up the water which threatened to swamp and sink the boat (Luke 8:22-23).  In their panic, they woke up the Son of God as though He did not know what was happening.  Of course, He knew what the weather would be like for their lake crossing – it was to be an early test of their faith in Him: a test which they failed.  

Although the disciples had been called by Jesus and appointed as His apostles (Luke 6:13), they did not really know who He was.  They enjoyed the privilege of accompanying a great teacher (Luke 4:16-21) and miracle worker (Luke 5:12-16) but could not grasp how Jesus could forgive sins (Luke 5:20-26) .  All the time, Jesus was revealing more of Himself; not only His power to do what was naturally impossible, but His divine authority to do so.

Jesus knew that the disciples were ruled by natural fear (Luke 5:8-10).  They had not yet learned to trust Him, because they did not know who He was.  This dramatic event was necessary for them to start to realise His identity and their own lack of true relationship with Him.  As the water started to pour in, they assumed that they would drown; in Mark’s account they accused Jesus of not caring about their predicament (Mark 4:38) .  By contrast, Jesus simply stood up in the half-submerged boat and told the wind and waves to calm down, just like commanding a dog to sit still.  Immediately, the inanimate water and wind obeyed, and the boat was still!  A moment before, the disciples were screaming with fear, now they were asking the question that really mattered, ‘Who is Jesus that He can speak into the storm to disrupt the laws of physics and instantly produce peace?’

The answer to that question is critical if anybody is to develop true faith.  If Jesus is the Son of God, the CEO of creation, the Saviour of the World, the Judge of all people and the Hope of the Nations – then He can do anything (Colossians 1:15-20) .  To trust Him in every circumstance is the greatest wisdom, especially when the natural course of events has become hopeless.  The worst of these is the sin within us which will destroy us unless we trust Jesus to take it away.  That is why the Gospel accounts were written (John 20:30-31), so that people may know the identity of Jesus and enter eternal life with Him.  Those who do believe in Him are saved from God’s wrath which is far more serious than a storm at sea (Romans 5:9).  So, when the problems come, they can rest assured that Christ is in command and they do not need to suffer the inner raging of unbelief.

God of power and might. I am in awe of Your amazing ability to do whatever You choose and to encourage people like me to trust in Your grace. Forgive me when fear takes a hold of me because I have forgotten the character and authority of Jesus Christ. Please help me to accept that You look after me as Your own child and that I can rest in the knowledge that You are at work in my life every day, helping me to trust in Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

THE LIGHT SEARCHES INSIDE AND OUT

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.’
Luke 8:16-18

Why light a lamp or switch on a torch?  The answer should be obvious: to see … to know where we are and to know which way to go on.  But some people do not want to see.  They prefer to live in the darkness, so that their actions cannot be seen (John 3:19-20).  Spiritually, their choice reveals their character, and their non-relationship to Jesus who is the Light of the world (John 8:12) .  Truth illuminates our hearts and minds like light (Psalm 119:105).  If we hide it from others, they cannot know what is good, and if we hide away from it ourselves or fail to put it into action, it reveals our own spiritual corruption.

The disciples were in training to become apostles – the leaders of the Early Church.  Jesus told the parable of the sower so that they would be intrigued and want to find out its meaning (Luke 8:9-10) .  When Jesus told them, He ‘turned the light on’ so that they could understand their commission to distribute God’s Word, and also be prepared for different people responding according to what was in their hearts.  Their reaction to the gospel would display their true inner desires because it both illuminates God’s plan and searches people’s hearts at the same time. So, God’s truth is both a light and a mirror (James 1:23-25).

Many small children will shut their eyes to prevent them seeing something that frightens them.  But their self-blindness does not eliminate the fearsome reality.  One day, everything will be exposed to God’s searching light (Hebrews 4:13).  Changing the analogy, Jesus warns against deafness towards what He is saying.  When God speaks, only those who hear and obey will be rewarded (Luke 11:28-29).

Therefore, what we do with the truth we receive is more significant than we may have thought.  If we ignore it, why should God reveal more?  If we hide from it, our action says more about us than about the searchlight quality of God’s Word.  If we share it, we are living a life of purpose; but if we hide it from others, we have forgotten what our purpose in life is.  On the other hand, if we receive it with joy and allow it to workbuy in our lives to produce Christ-likeness, then we will be greatly productive in the ‘family business’ of God’s Kingdom (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).

Dear Lord God and loving Heavenly Father. Thank You for your wonderful ability to communicate with human beings through Your Word. Please help me to honour You properly by taking notice of what You are saying in the Bible, and then taking the right action with Your help. Forgive me for the times when I have presumed on Your grace, ignoring Your desire to speak to me, and then making up a lifestyle to suit my desires instead of Your purposes. May Your Word shape me today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

UNPREDICTABLE LIFESTYLE

One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 
Luke 8:22-23

Live with Jesus, and anything might happen!  The disciples had heard amazing teaching and witnessed astonishing miracles from Jesus.  But, until now, they had not been in any personal peril.  As trainee apostles they needed to learn the lesson that they would be safe in the greatest peril if they trusted Jesus.  So, their Master intentionally led them into a crisis of personal survival to train them how to face danger.

Jesus knew all that would happen, and He slept as they sailed across the lake.  He was not at all worried because He always has the power to deal with whatever will happen (John 13:3) .  His slumber did not indicate weakness, indifference, inattention or apathy.  He slept because He needed the disciples to feel alone in the predicament and when they sought His help, He would teach them an unforgettable lesson about faith.  

Then the wind increased, threatening to overpower the sail – which would have been reefed.  The waves also increased; the boat was in real danger of sinking.  The disciples, some of whom were experienced fishermen, could see no way out of the problem.  And Jesus was still asleep.  It was a real test of their faith, for certainly the presence of the Son of God has not prevented nor resolved the problem.  In years to come they would encounter many different sorts of life-threatening circumstances.  Then, they would remember the helplessness and the unnecessary terror they felt before Jesus intervened, so that they would learn to put their faith in Jesus.

The Christian life is not easy.  God never said it would be and Jesus often warned of hardship and persecution (John 16:33).  Some people wrongly think that conversion will remove every difficulty; but as with the disciples, Jesus will not always stop the problems coming.  However, He will always be there. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation (testing) has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted (tested) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” How often we forget this and become fearful!  We fail to see that each difficulty is a training exercise teaching us to trust Him more next time!  Do not forget, if we belong to Jesus, He is committed to growing us in relationship with Him.  He will allow circumstances to overwhelm our resources so that we can learn to trust in Him.  As we do so, He brings everything together for our blessing and His glory (Romans 8:28).

Almighty God. Thank You for Your love and care, and the confidence I have as I trust in Jesus. Although I would like all the problems to go away, thank You for trusting me with a series of training exercises which are designed to build up my faith. Please forgive me when I complain about difficulties, instead of looking to You and trusting that You will know how to deal with them; because I know that Your power is so great and You are always willing to work with me. May my colleagues at work see what real faith is like, as I face the challenges which You allow to come into my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

FAMILY LOYALTY

Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’ He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.’ 
Luke 8:19-21

In most cultures, family relationships are extremely important.  The people who know us best should be those who show the greatest love and loyalty, which is why dysfunctional family life is so painful when the family stops thinking and working together like a team.  In today’s account, Jesus was surrounded by His disciples and a crowd who had come to listen to His teaching.  So many people were there.  When His mother, Mary, and half-brothers (Matthew 13:55-56) came, they could not get through to see Him.  They passed a message through the throng of people. This was a special moment, and everybody wanted to know how the Master would treat His family in public.  Would He obey the fifth of the ten commandments, and give the greatest honour to His mother?

His response to the message would have been shocking to many, and still is to some.  It is helpful to go back to the episode when Jesus was 12 years old (Luke 2:41-50) .  Mary and Joseph had taken Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover festival but were unaware that they had left Him behind as they travelled back to Nazareth with a large group of family and friends.  They eventually found Him in the temple asking penetrating questions of the religious academics.  When they unfairly rebuked Him for ‘getting lost’, Jesus said, ““Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.” (Luke 2:49-50).

It seems that almost 20 years later they still did not understand who had authority in His spiritual family.  Although He obeyed the authority delegated to Mary and Joseph when He was growing up (Luke 2:51), they were only part of His Father’s family, and not the head of it.  The head of His family was Father God; and as the Son of God, Jesus’ highest responsibility was to His Heavenly Father.  It was His messages which took priority, and the way people responded to them identified who were the true members of His family (Luke 11:27-28).

Many people think that closeness to God is measured by time spent in prayer, Bible reading and corporate worship.  But Jesus said that we are ‘close family’ if we have an appetite for God to speak to us, and a desire to do what He says.  Religious rites mean nothing unless there is a willingness to obey God’s Word.  Perhaps we assume that everything is fine between us and God because we agree with what He says.  But He wants more than passive acceptance: He is looking for an every-day eagerness to do it.  The people who do so are His close family (Luke 10:38-42).

Sovereign God. Thank You that You have not just established a set of rules for us to follow, but You tell us what is on Your heart and invite us to work together with You to achieve Your purposes. I am sorry for being satisfied with religious habits, when I fail to satisfy You by ignoring Your command to show my love through practical obedience. Help me to take Your Word to work with me today, and to my home and community. May they see that I believe what You say because I do it – thus demonstrating that I really am part of Your family. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

GOOD RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Luke 8:15
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

The agricultural parables of Jesus had economic implications – perhaps that is partly why they gained such an attentive audience.  Good seed was expensive; sowing it, was literally throwing it away to be at the mercy of the soil and weather.  So, it was especially important that most of the seed went into fertile ground.  The financial return would only come after a good crop had been harvested, having survived attacks by rain, drought, cold and heat, as well as from pests and animals.

Like all of Jesus’ parables, this ‘parable of the sower’ was spoken to crowds who did not understand, because Jesus was really intriguing His trainee apostles so that they would later ask questions, and therefore better remember what Jesus was saying, and why (Luke 8:9-10) .  This parable was especially vital for their future work in guiding the Early Church in evangelism (Acts 1:8).  Their gospel preaching would gather different responses from apathy to hostility.  But this verse we are studying now gives a straightforward message: when the gospel is preached, some will receive it, love it and persevere in relationship with Jesus.  If we sow the gospel seed, we will reap a harvest with Him (Psalm 126:5).

Having already stated the reasons for failed crops (Luke 8:11-14) , Jesus then described the soil which would produce an abundant harvest.  He likened the fertile field to people of ‘noble and good heart’.  It is refreshing to be reminded that the intended purpose of every human heart is to receive (hear, honour, and obey) God’s Word.  Without His Word we can never understand how to please God.

But it is not always easy. Jesus speaks of the need to ‘persevere’.   Paul wrote to Timothy: “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2) .

  Gospel work is hard but those who keep on sowing will reap.  Likewise, those who receive the Word must persevere, withstanding distractions and difficulties, and refusing to be shaken.  Receiving the Word must become a regular habit.  We never know when we will need God’s courage or wisdom; neither do we know how many problems we will avoid by being regularly obedient to His Word.  Then the believer will be equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  So whatever pressures you face, keep receiving and sowing God’s Word: it is the one part of life which must never be downgraded in the priority list.  If we do that, God will certainly receive a good return on all He has invested in us and we will share in His Glory.

Dear Lord God. Thank You for designing my heart so that I may relate to You and receive the only truth which will shape my life so that I am profitable to You. I am sorry for the many times when I have assumed that I ‘know it all’ and do not need a regular supply of ‘daily bread’; forgive me for the confusion I create for myself and others, and for the sinfulness I inevitably fall into. Please help me to persevere in Your Word so that I am ready to withstand the trials of life and come through stronger and more able to glorify You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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