FIRE WARNINGS!

September 11, 2015 at 8:02 pm (More than Mediocre) (, , , , , , , , , )

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As most of you know, parenting can be crazy-scary at times. We often coast from undesirable incident to undesirable incident just trying to survive. Any “fight” that we had planned to bring to the parenting battle has long fizzled away…replaced with fear, doubt, and often hopelessness.   We all want our kids to turn out good…or at least okay, right? But sometimes it’s just SO. VERY. HARD to fight for them. So we drop our guard and relax a little bit. No big deal, right? Last Sunday night, BJ and I learned the lesson of a lifetime when it comes to warring for our kids….

After church let out, we spent the rest of the day celebrating family birthdays. Despite it being a school night, we let the kids stay up late to enjoy a card game with their Granna and Aunt and Uncle that were visiting from out of town. The game ended around ten o’clock and we began the nighttime routine of getting kids and teeth clean, prepared for school, and prayed over. BJ and I were exceptionally tired and soooooo ready to climb into bed when our 16 year-old son, Josiah, came to us wanting to talk. He had been prayed over by all of our church members earlier that morning and we immediately knew that the prayers and declarations over him had caused some things to begin to break off of him. After a few hours of sharing and counsel, confession and repentance, prayer and “spiritual house cleaning,” BJ stated that he felt that we needed to burn a particular reminder of Josiah’s past. Well, this is nothing out of the ordinary for our family. Any time we sense that something is not of the Lord or that something might be opening doors in our lives spiritually that do not need to be opened, we throw it out in the yard and burn it. So, sometime around 1:30 am, BJ rolled his bar-b-q grill over to the driveway, doused the object with diesel, lit it up, and Josiah spoke strongly to the enemy of God ( Satan). Josiah cried out to the Lord in repentance and prayed for God’s forgiveness. We were absolutely exhausted physically and spiritually, but it was so very worth it to see God delivering our precious son from sin. The fire began to die down after some time and BJ reached for the diesel again. I immediately “nagged” that there was no need to do any more. We had already destroyed the reminder of past sin and we needed to go to bed. (BJ gets up very early for work and I was very concerned about how late it was.) BJ responded, “It’s just DIESEL Julie. It’s fine.” (I had already been worried and uncomfortable about him using a fire accelerant-AS I ALWAYS AM- and he had already assured me many times that it was “JUST DIESEL.”) My face was turned away from the grill but I instantly knew that something had gone very wrong. I could hear a roar and I could feel that the flames and heat were much different than the first time he put the diesel on the fire. I turned my head to see that not only was the grill on fire, but also the stream of fuel pouring out of the can, and also the can in BJ’s hand. Confused, BJ cried out, “That shouldn’t have happened!” and he threw the burning can a short distance away. He then got a water hose and began to run it over the fiery areas on the ground closest to me and Josiah and then headed over to put out the flames on the actual can. The flames obliged, and we all started to breathe again! I immediately went in to “mom mode” and started lecturing Josiah (and BJ, too!) on fire safety. I think it was then that Josiah looked down and realized that there were TWO gas cans. Our normal gas can with gasoline in it had been sitting in its usual spot near the garage door. We were not even aware it was nearby due to it being pitch dark outside. BJ had brought the gas can with diesel in it from his storage building when he started the fire. Apparently, he unknowingly sat it down near the other one. In the darkness he grabbed the wrong can the second time. It finally made sense to him why the fire responded the way it did when he poured the fuel the second time and he told Josiah it was like a literal bomb that should have gone off on all of us. At that point, I still don’t think any of us were aware of how deadly that flaming gas can could have been.  We thanked the Lord, came in and prayed over the girls, and went to bed.

It wasn’t until I googled gas can explosions the next day that I began to realize the miracle God did for us Sunday night. I’m including the following link to a youtube video that shows what I’m talking about. As you watch it, remember that BJ poured gasoline on OPEN flames, threw the can, went and turned on a water hose, put out a few grass fires, and then stood and put out the fire on the flaming gas can.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS8gueTBags

We have prayed protection over ourselves, our family, friends, and countless others my entire life. And I KNOW that God answers those prayers. However, I have NEVER experienced the reality of God’s palpable hand of protection over us like I did Sunday night. It was as if He literally lowered His hand from the heavens and shielded the three of us. As I see the tragic damage to the man in the video’s body and the immense amount of pain he had to go through when his gas can exploded with NO FLAMES present, I stand in utter amazement that NOT A HAIR was singed on my BJ’s body. (He was convinced that at least his eyebrows were missing but they were all there! )

But it doesn’t end there! I went out to look at the gas can in the daylight the next day. The tip of the pouring spot that had been in flames the night before was stuffed full of earth as if dirt jammed up in it when it hit the ground in flames. The barrier of the earth between the open flames on and surrounding the can and the actual gasoline IN the can is what kept the can from exploding like a bomb next to us and two of our vehicles. The can itself appears to be untouched. No melting. No soot. No nothing. But if you look closely at the clod of dirt in the tip of the spout you will see that the flames did not even engulf the straw -like grass attached to the dirt. Yet, the very tips of the grass have the slightest bit of singe on them. Try and explain that! I SAW the fire THERE with my own eyes! The can was ablaze long before it made contact with earth to plug the spout and even then it lay on the ground in flames before BJ put the fire out. But even the grass in the blaze was singed only at its ends?!?! I cannot even find words to express how acutely aware God is of our circumstances and how intimately He is involved in our lives and how incredible undeniably perfect His timing is in all things! Even when we don’t have a clue what we’re up against, He is working behind the scenes for those that love Him and obey His commands and choose righteousness.

Satan tries to lure each and every one of us down to the fiery pits of hell by making sin enticing. His goal is to steal, kill, and destroy anyone and everyone he can. But we exposed his wicked plan for Josiah Sunday and God called Josiah out of that darkness and into the light. And it infuriated the enemy. There’s no doubt in my mind that he was throwing a big fiery fit on my driveway when he heard God’s wayward child call out to Him in the darkness, turn away from his sin, and choose to be reconciled to God. Satan sent a message to us loud and clear that night. Perhaps he intended to literally destroy our bodies in the flames since he’s not getting our souls. Maybe he simply planned to terrorize us in hopes that we’d give up in fear that the battle against him is too hard and too scary. Either way, the God of the Universe cared enough to show up and speak an even clearer, louder message:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. Isaiah 43:2

So what can we learn from all of this? Everything that plays out here on earth in the physical realm is a direct manifestation of what is happening in the unseen spiritual realm. Just as real as the physical destruction awaiting our family Sunday night is spiritual destruction waiting for each and every one of us at every decision before us. Though you may not realize it, a battle is being fought for YOUR soul right now. The Bible makes it very clear which side wins in the end. Which side will you align yourself with? Which side will you help your children align with?

A warning to those of you who have already chosen the winning side and are walking in a relationship with God through acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Savior: the loser can’t take you to hell but he can certainly make life on earth hell for you.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:12

Friends, parents, it is CRUCIAL that we realize that this battle is REAL! The enemy is out to destroy us and he’s out to take our kiddos down, too. Now, more than ever, we MUST press in and spend time in the word of God to strengthen ourselves against the enemy. He is targeting our families! We must spend time in prayer warring for our spouses and our children who are forced to live in a confusing world that calls right wrong and wrong right. We must teach our children the ways of God so that the only fire they’ll ever pass through is God’s refining fire.

A warning to those of you who haven’t chosen a side yet: By being “undecided,” you automatically default to the losing side. Time is so, so short. Don’t put your eternity off. The Bible makes it clear that like a thief in the night a time will come when all of eternity is “set.” The righteous will forever remain righteous and the unrighteous forever unrighteous. No one will be able to switch sides.

If you want to be on the winning side but don’t know how, it’s really not that complicated. It all boils down to this.

Each and every one of us FALL SHORT of God’s holy standard.  Our shortcomings, or sins, separate us from God.  Romans 3:10-12, and 23

As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” … For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

The price (or consequence) of our sin is death.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins and bridge our separation from God.

Romans 5:8

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

We receive salvation and everlasting life through our faith in Jesus.  A literal heart change and a turning away from our sins is the ONLY way to escape what we truly deserve (eternal damnation separated from God)

Romans 10:9-10, 13

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved …  “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Turning from sin and receiving Jesus’ forgiveness brings us into a relationship of peace with God.  When we do this, we not only gain everlasting life with God after our physical death here on earth, but we also gain all of the “right now” earthly benefits He promises to those who are in covenant with Him.  The key is not religion but a RELATIONSHIP with the Creator.  It’s taking one day at a time, SPENDING TIME with the One who is holy, and becoming more pure, ourselves, in that process. 

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Romans 8:1

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:38-39

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Admit that you are a sinner.
  • Understand that as a sinner, you deserve death.
  • Believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from your sin and from death.
  • Repent by turning from your old life as a slave to sin to a new life submitted to God.
  • Receive, through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s free gift of salvation.
  • Spend time reading the Bible and building a relationship with God.  Find a Bible believing church to get involved with so you can grow as a Christian.

To close, I’d like to share a portion of a letter I wrote to our church family, The Remnant Church. I’m including it to share what “the church” is truly meant to be. It’s not  “THE social place to be” or an obligation we must fulfil. It’s not a place of judgement to look down on others. It’s a group of believers that gather together not only to praise and worship God, learn His ways, and hear a relevant, timely message from Him, but also a place to lift and build each other up. It’s supposed to be a safe place. A place where everyone works together and uses the spiritual gifts God has given them to help those who are struggling. If you don’t have a church home that you can say this about, please know that you are always welcome at Remnant!

Remnant family,

BJ and I would like to express our extreme heartfelt gratitude for the prayers lifted up and agreement you gave for Josiah Sunday morning. We often take our Remnant “family” for granted but Sunday showed us just how invaluable being plugged in to the whole body of Christ truly is. Jim and Gay, thank you for loving our family unconditionally and always making yourself available for wise counsel. Shane, thank you so much for your sensitivity to the holy spirit’s leading. The prayer time that you initiated on Josiah’s behalf was no doubt God’s divine intervention in his life. It was truly life-changing. Mom, thank you for your humility and your deep desire to see Josiah set free. Donna, thank you for being a safe place for Josiah and for earning his trust. Cari, thank you for capturing a special moment in life for me as you know there is nothing I treasure more than being able to look back in time and remember. Remnant, the prayers you prayed that morning probably seemed pretty “normal” (or normal according to Remnant standards!) but know that God moved MIGHTILY at your request. You truly ARE his beloved and HAVE HIS EAR.

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Remnant Church praying over Josiah Sunday morning

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repenting and calling out to the Lord for forgiveness

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so happy to finally give it up to God

(This photo was actually taken before the mixup with the gas cans.

After the fact, we see that the camera’s flash actually captured the two cans side by side.)

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flames not yet put out

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earth lodged in the pouring spout

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only singed on the ends????

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The t-shirt that Josiah happened to be wearing that night proved to be very fitting!

 

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Josiah Justice: Healing/Dark Beings

August 31, 2011 at 10:45 pm (Josiah Justice, Uncategorized) (, , )

If you want to start back at the beginning of the story, click here.

Healing in Her Pockets

It was 4:30 a.m. and I was sound asleep – ‘was’ being the key word.  One minute I was nice and cozy under my covers and the next I was jolted awake by a hard turn to the right.  I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and looked around.  I was zooming across my front yard into my grandparents’ yard next door.  The only thing was, I wasn’t dreaming!  

“Uh, Kodesh?”  I called out through the early morning darkness.  “Any reason I couldn’t have walked?  I mean, they literally live right next to me.  No need to waste elevator gas or whatever it is that powers this thing.  And can’t it wait until a more reasonable time anyway?  A kid’s gotta sleep, ya know?”

“There is a set time for every thing.  His time has finally come.”

“His time?”

“Yes.  Be quiet and watch.  I’ll explain later.” 

 The elevator came to a halt in my grandparents’ dimly lit kitchen.  My grandfather sat alone at the kitchen table.  His old gray leather Bible was open in front of him just like I had seen it so many times before.  I watched as he silently read and prayed, unaware of my presence.  Then, almost as if someone suddenly turned up the volume, I could hear his unspoken thoughts out loud.  Lifting his hands into the air, he cried out to God for the gift of healing.  A few seconds later, Joy came wandering into the kitchen. 

“Huh?  What is she doing here?” 

Before Kodesh could answer, I remembered that Joy had asked to spend the night with Granna and Grampy.  “Can he see her?”  I asked.

“No, not this time.”

Joy was wearing a white silk dress that I had never seen before.  It was long and lovely and it swished as she moved.  She began to dance gracefully around the kitchen table.  To my natural eyes, she looked rather ridiculous.  To my spiritual eyes, she looked kinda beautiful.  As she danced, an amazing aroma filled the air.  It was sweet like candy.  The sweet perfume, somehow now in the form of a fine shimmery mist, was actually rising up out of the pockets on the front of her dress.  It encircled Grampy and swirled around his sitting body.  After a few seconds, it came to a rest on his outstretched palms and disappeared. 

Joy quietly left the kitchen and headed back to bed.  Amazed, I lingered and watched as my grandfather curiously examined his hands.  Had he felt the mist?  I couldn’t stand the suspense!  “What was all of that about?”  I blurted out.

“Joy just imparted her gift of healing to your grandfather.”

  “She has healing in her pockets!  Cool!” 

For Kodesh’s sake, I tried to re-focus my thoughts.   After all, he had brought me here to learn something.  “Did you say she ‘imparted’ it to him?  Like gave it away to him?”

“Sort of.  It’s more like sharing it with him.  She still gets to keep it.” 

“But why?”

“Your grandfather has prayed to receive a power gift of healing every day for the past ten years.”

“Oh I get it.  Yahweh finally decided to answer his prayers.  Ten years sure seems like an awfully long time to make someone wait for an answer to prayer though.”

“Josiah, Yahweh answered his prayer a long time ago – the very first time he asked.  The answer wasn’t ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ it was ‘wait’ on my perfect timing.” 

“He’s almost sixty years old.  Why does he need the gift of healing all of a sudden?”  I wondered out loud. 

“Well, Yahweh will soon move your grandfather and his young son, Robert, into an incredible healing ministry.  People will come from everywhere to be touched by his hands.  Together, as a team, they will change hundreds of lives and lead them into Yahweh’s kingdom.” 

Wow!  I was sure that Grampy had no idea what God was up to.  And Granna – well she was just not going to believe the awesome plan in the works for her little Robert. 

Robert came to live with them fresh out of the hospital.  He was born and immediately taken from his birth mother by the state child protective services.  Because of the very poor life choices his mother had made, he was put in the care of foster parents.  Granna never saw him as just a foster son but as her true little boy.  Not long after his first birthday, Grampy and Granna adopted Robert as their own son.  A day didn’t go by that Granna didn’t pray that the Lord would bless him with a spiritual gift and use him in a mighty way.  It seemed that Robert would not have to wait near as long as Grampy to find his destiny…

Dark Beings

The next morning when I woke up, I was tired.  Really tired.  Really tired and grumpy.  So, naturally, when Grace came into my room without permission and totally ruined my new comic book, I jumped all over her.  I yanked her hair out and she pounded me from head to toe with her fists.  Boy was she strong!  It hurt!  The fight continued to escalate and by the time mom got us separated, we were both angry, hurt, and in tears.  Mom sentenced us both to our rooms for the rest of the day.  Practically bored to death, I sat down on my bed and felt sorry for myself.  “I just can’t stand her.”  I muttered through clenched teeth.  “Why does she have to be so stinkin’ mean?  She’s tougher than any girl I know.  Shoot, she’s tougher than any boy I know!”

“Okay.  That’s it!”  Kodesh was using his no nonsense tone again.  “Let’s go.” 

I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go anywhere.  “Where are we going?”  I nervously asked. 

“You want to know why she’s so tough… I’ll show you why she’s so tough.  Let’s take a little trip back in time.”

I blinked once and found that I could see myself and my mom and sisters grocery shopping.  My youngest sister, Glory, was happily riding in our cart, playing with a toy cash register.  “Hey, I recognize that toy.  Mom bought it for her yesterday.”

“Correct.”  Kodesh confirmed.  “Was it a normal shopping trip for you?” 

“Of course.  Miserable to the very last second.  I…hate…to…shop!”

“Did you see anything out of the ordinary?” 

“Um….”  I thought for a second.  “I saw a guy with a mohawk and a metal spike coming out of his chin.”

“Why don’t you have a look at what Grace saw?”  Kodesh said in his ‘up to something’ tone.  Instantly, I was lifted from the ground.  Air surged into my face as Kodesh thrust me full force into the virtual Grace.  We collided and became one.  Now, everything I saw was through her eyes.  All of the people looked the same, but they weren’t alone.  The single guy with the mohawk that I had seen the day before now walked arm in arm with two other creatures.  The one on the left ducked its head down low.  Its shoulders were raised and tense and it was clear that the creature lacked confidence.  Made of smoke, the words “Self Pity” formed a ring around its head.  The being on the right side of Mohawk guy was the exact opposite.  An angry scowl sat upon its face.  It was dark and ugly.  It walked with great force – almost dragging Mohawk guy and critter number one behind.  Just as they passed by our grocery cart the creature turned toward me and snarled the word, “Rebellion!”

It caught me so off guard that I let out a scream.   “Who are they?  WHAT are…?”  I tried to ask Kodesh what the disgusting things were but now they were everywhere I turned.  Many were calling out at me interrupting my attempts at getting an explanation.  Some held signs, some had words on their bodies, some spoke.  Some made horrible gestures. 

An older man walked by.   A critter was sitting on the man’s shoulders with its legs crossed over his chest.  The creature glared to the right and then to the left.  He grasped both hands tightly around the man’s throat as if he was trying to choke the life out of him.  “Unforgiveness” was his title.  My mind was going wild.  I had seen that exact guy the day before…minus the evil being, that is.  He had seemed nice enough.  Did he know that the horrid creature was trying to kill him?  How could he not?  Everyone was acting so normal.  Why couldn’t they see what was going on here?  Thoughts poured into my head and I began to panic. 

Everywhere I looked I saw the beings.  “Pride,” “Hatred,” “Anger,” “Fear.”  A young married couple walked side by side ahead of us.  His creature was “Lust.”  Hers was “Jealousy.”  A small boy ran from his mother.  She chased him through the aisles threatening to spank him when she caught him.  Even he was not alone.  He weaved merrily through shopping carts and shoppers with a whole group of the critters chasing after him.  “Selfishness,” “Deceit,” and “Hate” were just a few that I had time to see before they darted out of sight. 

Even though I had no idea what they were, I knew that they were bad…REALLY bad!  They were all so nasty and unsettled.  Some would reach out at other shoppers and try to grab onto them.  Some sneered, some called out, some cackled, some moaned.  It was too much for me.

  “ENOUGH!”  I screamed.  “I can’t handle it anymore!” 

And with that Kodesh removed me from Grace’s body and took me safely back to my room at home. 

I sat quietly on my bed, still shivering at the thought of the dark beings.  I didn’t dare ask what they were this time.  I didn’t want to know.  Kodesh spoke and confirmed my worst fear.  “They are dark spirits, Josiah…demons.”  His voice was calm and collected as if it were no big deal.

“Well, it isn’t a big deal.”  Kodesh quickly responded to my unspoken thought.  “At least not for those who have turned their lives over to Yeshua.  Through Him, you have complete power over them all.”

“Even so, I can’t stand to see them!  I don’t feel so good.  I think I’m gonna puke.”  I complained.

“Not such a fun spiritual gift, huh?”  Kodesh went on.  “Pretty hard to stay upbeat after seeing that, wouldn’t you say?”

I knew where Kodesh was headed.  He had already proven his point to me.  Grace wasn’t tough because she wanted to be.  She was tough because she had to be.  Yahweh specifically created her that way so she could handle the job He chose her for.  “I guess I should be more considerate of others.”  I muttered, embarrassed of my intolerance.  “After all, you never know what they are dealing with on the inside.  Well…you do Kodesh, but I don’t.  And I don’t think I want to either!  Are they actually there all the time?  Uh…I mean for Grace to see.”

“The spirits are there all the time.  They will inhabit anyone who will allow it.  If you give even an inch, they’ll take a mile.  Most humans have no idea that they are carrying these dark spirits around with them.  But no, Grace does not have to see them all of the time.  That part of her gifting is only activated as necessary.  It’s one of the most difficult gifts for humans to operate in.  The person holding the gift must be strong and unwavering…or in your words ‘tough.’  There is no room for weakness.  They must trust Yahweh fully and they can’t give up because of the pressure.  The ability to see spirits is not desirable, but it comes in really handy when someone is in need of deliverance.”

“I’m sure glad I don’t have to worry about those things.”  I sighed with relief.

“Well sure you do!  They aren’t your friends are they?”

“No.”

“Then they are your enemies!  You need to do battle and get rid of them for good!”

“Me?  Why me?  I don’t know how to do that.  And even if I did know…I still probably couldn’t actually do it!”  I protested.

“Why?”  Kodesh countered.  “And don’t use the ‘I’m just a kid’ excuse.”

“Well…I’m…I’m just…just regular.  I don’t have any kind of special powers.  I don’t see things or heal others and I certainly can’t overcome any evil.  I really don’t have anything to offer…” 

“I know.”  Kodesh cut me off matter-of-factly.  “You don’t.”

His words hit me like a ton of bricks.   He continued, “And that’s what makes you so perfect for the job.”

“Huh?”  Now he really wasn’t making sense. 

Kodesh began his explanation.  “Those who actually think they have something to offer Yahweh God are usually a complete waste of time.  They are arrogant and proud – un-teachable.  But those who know they stand empty-handed before a holy and all-powerful God can be used to do mighty things!  The fact that you can’t do anything spectacular is exactly what qualifies you to do Yahweh’s work.”

“But what is my work for Yahweh anyway?”  My words came out almost as a whine. 

Kodesh’s presence surrounded me like thick warm honey.  “Josiah, Yahweh has chosen you to help bring about His justice here on earth.”

My mouth dropped open.  (That was happening a lot lately!)  In the past, every time I had tried to get justice for something, I got into trouble!   “Like be a judge for God or something?” 

“Not exactly.  Bringing about the justice of Yahweh is simply returning what the enemy has stolen from His people.  You see, every aspect of Yahweh is good.  But His enemy is entirely evil and is always on the prowl stealing from Yahweh’s children.  The Master has chosen you to return those good things that belong to His children.  As you learn to lead your team, you must remember that no mission can be completed without the power of Yahweh God flowing through you.  Different giftings will be required for each assignment and you must coordinate them to work together in unison.  Now go get some rest!  Tomorrow is lesson one for Josiah Justice and the Spirit-led Gang!”

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