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SM180304/The Plot Thickens

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 7, 2018 4:05 pm

SM180304/The Plot Thickens

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 7, 2018 4:05 pm

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Harvest messages are brought to you by harvest partners to receive free email daily devotions or to become a harvest partner, please visit us online@harvest.org we know a lot is been said, and rightly so, about Billy Graham in this life and this legacy. Many leaders have been paying tribute to Billy at the funeral service. The president was there the first lady, the vice president is why other dignitaries. Well-known people and I've read columns written by Christian leaders. You know, applauding Billy celebrating Billy and that's all great but you know the greatest attribute. You can pay the Billy Graham is just to what Billy did and what Billy did what it was all said and done. Yes, he was a chaplain. The presidents and and yes he was an influential leader, but really what it was all said and done what Billy did was he share the gospel and he invited people to Christ.

That's what he did that so we all need to be doing that for were committed to crusade evangelism through harvest America on June 10 in the so-called harvest and other things that we do were always looking for those new opportunities to bring the gospel to people who have not heard it before.

You know I was with Billy once, and I asked him if he had any regrets in life and he said yes inviting you to come with no event should have II really pestered him a lot. It was always questions questions when I was around about them. So I said Billy you have any regrets. He says yes I have a regret.

He said I was at the prayer breakfast in Washington DC on national progress. This is what is called. This is when Pres. Kennedy was in office. Any Billy spoken afterwards.

The president said Billy I would like you to ride with me back to the White House have something I want to talk to you about Billy was very sick. He had the flu. He said Mr. Pres., I would love to, but I'm afraid I would give you what I have.

Maybe we could get together at another time and have that discussion. President agreed and shortly after Pres. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas.

Billy says I always regret that I didn't take that ride with the president and talk to him. You know, there are strategic opportunities that come in life. The drop in your lap. It's up to you what you do with them were looking at an extraordinary life of a woman named Hadas better known as Esther, who put it all on the line push came to shop God put Billy on this earth for a purpose. I think he fulfilled it beautifully and always gone on to his reward in heaven was in God's put you on this earth for a purpose to use put all of us where we are for such a time as this.

You can find and dedicate your life to find that purpose and dedicate your life to the glory of God.

Or you can ignore it and chase after the empty promises of this world, it's really your choice, but the book of Esther is about how God placed the right woman in the right place at the right time, and she saved the Jewish people. A.B. Simpson, no relation to Homer said God is preparing his heroes. When the opportunity comes he can fit them into their place places in a moment, and the world will wonder where they came from" is not a great statement. Did it ever occur to you that you could be one of God's heroes, God is equipping and preparing you for something that I had for such a time as this were always trying to get out of the situation were in other circumstances, written or maybe a relationship where we were in and maybe there's a place for that. But then there is also the recognition that God is in control of our lives. Now let's pick up are we last left off King Xerxes. The ruler of the mighty Persia put on a six month feast man that is one long party and the drinks from the house and the food to the king was flaunting all of his wealth and his power. It is bullying and I think there may have been an ulterior motive for Xerxes because according to history. We know on the heels of this PC mounted a large-scale invasion of Greece. Maybe he was buttering the people up getting them ready for this big battle that was a candid sort of saying to them, he'd check out all of art.

All of our power. Many are on the right team, so I hope you're going to back me on this because in attendance at this grade fees for all of the leaders of Persia because it was a far-flung Empire so the king waited to bring out his crown jewel, the pièce de résistance, the beautiful queen varsity so I gave the order. Tell varsity to come out and make sure she wears her crown. Varsity gets a word she says I'm not doing now.

Some commentators as I pointed I believe maybe the implication is the king said tell varsity to come up wearing only her crown mother was.

Not her clothes started displaying even falter before the others, but even though that's not the case. Clearly he was treating her more like an object look at my awesome wife Linda. My heart wife my trophy wife. Don't you envy me look at how powerful I am varsity wasn't going along with the program and the king was really embarrassed by this and does so is 8K minutes and then you cannot let this stand. You cannot let your wife get away with this because if you do will never hear the end of it at home.

Our lives anything Monica to do what you want queen varsity didn't do with the king wanted. You gotta get rid of her and throw her out and remove her crown.

Now why did the king go along with this, the answer is found in Esther 110 on the 70 of the fees when King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine list, paraphrase, he was drunk as a skunk, and when you're drunk you say and do stupid thing right and not for the Bible warns us against drunkenness tells us in Ephesians. Don't be drunk with wine, but be filled with the spirits of the Bible also tells us in Proverbs 20 verse one wine as a marker and strong drink is a brawler and whoever is led astray by them is not wise. You know, having been raised in an alcoholic home and seeing what alcoholism does. I can't think of one good thing I've ever seen this come out of drinking but I can see a lot of bad things and so I have a revolutionary thought for you all to consider, get drunk about that. Don't get drunk now here's another rebel. I'm glad you agree, son. Don't know about that wrong right there is another revolutionary thought. If you don't drink you won't get drunk. There it is so King Xerxes was drunk and apparently he was one of those mean drunks.

Some people when they come under the influence of alcohol get very angry and violent and that was the king, so he dismisses varsity now. After this he goes out and leads his army in the battle against Greece and he was humiliated and he returns to the kingdom, and always lonely. He misses queen varsity now he had a harem okay get a lot of women that snap his finger snap his fingers and a woman would be there, but apparently the king wasn't satisfied with just sexual pleasure. He wanted love. He wanted a companion. He wanted some of that actually cared about an the king wanted a clean and so he decided that he was going to find that queen somewhere in his kingdom. Now I know is we hear the story. It's not a very spiritual story give a pagan king with a harem for women who fires his queen and now he wants a new queen receiving. How could God work in a situation like this with effective God was working. One thing to consider is queen varsity had been in power when he came and hatched his wicked plot to exterminate the Jews. It is very unlikely she would've protested. So God had to get the right woman in the right place at the right time and that woman was a beautiful young Esther. So the king says I need a queen which is shows that God is in control, God's in control of Kings and Queens and Prime Minister's and presidents. The Bible says that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, and he guided wherever he wanted to go so the message goes out to the massive, massive kingdom of Persia, that the king wanted to queen.

If this was happening today. No question.

It would be a reality show right and so the word went out at all these girls applied of the just the ancient historian Josephus believe there was 400 contestants and these girls had to be virgins that I go through an extensive makeover and a team of stylists there that would do their hair, makeup and help them to become as appealing as possible to the king and then the winner would be chosen to be the queen the natural we pick our story up Esther chapter 2 dropped on the verse five and let's read together. Note the fortress of Sue so there was a certain Jew named Nordic KIA son of Jared, he was from the tribe of Benjamin was a descendent of Kish and she might she may I his family had been exiled from Jerusalem by to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, along with King Jehoiada, king of Judah, and many others. This man had a beautiful and lovely young cousin named Hadassah who was also called Esther when her father or mother died more decay.

I adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter. There so standing out from all of these gorgeous Persian women is a beautiful Jewish girl named Hadassah. She was an orphan adopted by more decay.

I saw he became a father figure to her.

Most likely your aspirations in life would've been to marry a nice Jewish boy a raise a family. Serve the Lord and live in relative obscurity, but God had another plan for Esther for such a time as this. Reminding us that there are no coincidences.

Coincidences in our life.

Only Providence no coincidences but Providence what is Providence mean. Remember, it means to see ahead of time. God sees what's coming, he sees it in detail. So he knew exactly what was in the future and he was getting ready getting Esther ready no. She was a gorgeous girl.

We know that because Esther 27 says now the young lady was beautiful of form and makes their two Hebrew words that are used or when is Haute and the other is to Quito. It translates to a hot chick.

I made notes Sr. Niemi that are permitted are completely she was she was a hot chick okay to put in vernacular gorgeous Proctor like wow but the thing about us. It's not just that when she was beautiful on the outside. She was also beautiful on the inside you know there's so much emphasis put on girls today to be attractive and a lot of this is driven by social media.

I read that plastic surgeries are at an all-time high right now because people actually want to look in real life.

Like the book in Sophie's right, you know, when you take a shot of yourself are pictures taken you of these filters that you can get from these absent.

You can make yourself taller, thinner, you can change yourself and weld in the sum of that actually doesn't exist you go to a cosmetic surgeon think make me look like this and all that emphasis and you know all I have to lose weight not have to appear a certain way and in the Automall. The women's magazines out there only support that I subscribed to quite a few of them is my favorite woman's world, might I don't subscribe italic.

Here's the latest issue, here's an article in growing thicker hair and read that later lose 8 pounds a week eating slimming cereal I get like that natural pain reliever sleep better erase the signs of aging. Here's glamour spring fashion and beauty. What's next next level makeup skills sets without shame. You see in these magazines. They promote immorality.

So I was really shocked when they came across the latest cover of Vogue magazine and it says Queen Esther on doing what's right look of these things only got put it up on the screen. Here it is on the screen, check this out. I cares which in this issue. The value of virtue how the daily study of Scripture can help you grow spiritually in your journey 20 scriptures on how to have a better marriage and be faithful to your spouse Vogue magazine. How would you believe this is real. It's not real people. We made it all up. I have a graphics department mock this up say when the be cool if this was out there, but it's not out there that you never would see that on the cover of a women's magazine or any magazine 20 scriptures and how to be a better have a better marriage to be faithful to your spouse you kidding me. They encourage adultery. They encourage premarital sex even encourage abortion. Oh my goodness what a contrast but here was this secular environment all about outward appearance and you know Esther was so gorgeous. She fit in and even surpassed many of the beauties, but she had that inner beauty and the king took note of it in the Bible does not them a girl being attractive.

I think some people think now I just need to be playing for God's glory really sometimes aggression is, as should Christian girls were makeup and my responses.

If the house needs painting may need little privacy.

Maybe the roller.

I don't know what kind you go girl be the best version of you than you can be. The Bible doesn't condemn a girl with dressing attractively.

Esther was attracted the woman of Proverbs 31 is commended for her attractiveness of Proverbs 31 talks about the beautiful clothing.

The woman is wearing. That is all fine. Here's what the Bible is critical of only focusing on the outside and neglecting the inside that's the focus it's good to got the outside attractive as it can be what you want to be godly on the inside first Timothy 4/8 is physical training is of some value, but godliness is value for all things, holding promise for the present life and the life to come, and then over in first Peter three from the new living translation. It says don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful close.

So there's a point don't make that your primary focus, but on the other hand, don't neglect it altogether okay just find out because Jesus said don't be like the nonbelievers probably think about is what they can eat whether going to drink once again aware, but you should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added on the you put God first in all things and that inner qualities and if you're a girl inner beauty as well as who you are on the outside so all of the beautiful women of Persia are paraded before King Xerxes and he chooses Esther to get Esther to verse 16. Esther was taken the King Xerxes at the Royal Palace and early winter on the seventh year of his reign and the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with their buddies at the royal crown on her head and cleared her queen instead of varsity. God was at work.

Now this is a fairytale. It would end right here. Poor little girl becomes the Queen and they lived happily ever after, but this is not a fairytale. This is a Bible story and Bible stories are true, their history and so here's what happened after that the plot thickens as Esther was made Queen.

Her cousin Mordecai was made a counselor to the Queen and Mordecai made Esther promised him that she would not reveal her national identity. In other words, she was not to say to the king or anybody else that she was a Jewish girl thought that was good or bad, will deal with in a couple of moments but the that's the way it was and she went by that and one day Mordecai uncovered a plot by two of the king's guards to kill him.

He revealed it to the king.

The guards were arrested.

They were executed and he was never rewarded for that right knowledge for that sin that happens in life sometimes is not, you know we do something for someone and we don't get the credit. Maybe it's your idea and someone else stole it. They got all the glory for it are at your workplace.

You choose the path of honesty and integrity and you don't advance while the person who chose dishonesty and scheming to advance in your St. this isn't fair, it's not right. Well Holland no buckaroo.

It's not over till it's over, as were going to see in the book of Esther, how things played out in the big picture because, among other things, the book of Esther is about reaping what you sow, both good and bad.

So not only was more like EI not recognize the wicked man was elevated. Instead, enter the villain of the story. Haman let's go to Esther chapter 3 verse one sometime later, King Xerxes promoted Haman, son of Hadassah, the agate guides over all the other nobles that would include Mordecai making him the most powerful official in the Empire all the king's officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, because the King had commanded, but more decay. I refuse to bow down or show him respect. Nonhuman probably fondant flattered his way to this position and die and the command is given by the King to bow down before this is a very insecure man. This is a very ambitious man because of your good leader. People will fall you naturally yell at people all the time or for some to do what you want you're not a good leader.

So Haman, you better bow down before me and show me some respect to everyone's probably belly belly their sandal more decay. I on the balance in human season is what word you bet I will gobble for you. They say why was this well it's interesting because there was sort of a blood feud between Haman's clan and people and more like EI's clan that goes back a long ways it's found in verse one, King Xerxes promoted Haman, son of,… The egg gag. I know we read. That doesn't mean a lot to us, but back in first Samuel is a story of King Saul. He was told by the prophet Samuel to kill the Amalekites. They were the lifelong enemies of the Jews, in fact, the Amalekites and attacked Israel after they left Egypt, so that's how far back this feud when so Saul partially obeyed the prophet he killed most of the Amalekites, but he allowed egg gag there King to survive in the egg gag guides or the descendents of a gap so Haman was in a gay guy and more decay.

I was a Jew and so more like EI is so shipped off that Haman will bubble form he decides not only is he going to die, but all of his people are going to die.

This is payback time is short of a precursor to Hitler's final solution. Anti-Semitism. Let's destroy the whole Jewish race and wipe them off the face of the year so Haman goes to the king with his wicked plot and amazingly, the king goes along with that such okay, go ahead and wipe them out because Haman promise thinking a bunch of money in return will get into that next time, but incredible turn of events and a lot more to discover in this book you will get to that later.

But let's bring this message to close with three take away points where we learn from what we've seen so far. Number one when God tells you to do something do it. God told Saul to destroy the Amalekites, including their king, a gag he didn't do it now.

Haman is a descendent of that man more like EI is dealing with that. Years later, you know, sometimes the Lord will speak to our heart will tell is to break off a relationship with someone that's pulling this down spiritually.

You know someone like that somehow whenever you're around and they just pull you down, or worse yet, you're the person pulling someone else down. I just saw wife not your husband. I like to know what's going on right there but see I have eyes I can see I don't know if you know that I see everything I see it all. Yes, maybe it's giving up something that's taking over your life something you regarded as an innocent pleasure.

That's not becoming something of an addiction. It could be a substance alcohol drug, but it can be other things that you just become obsessed with in that thing or that person is becoming more importantly, you and God.

Maybe it's the Lord speaking your heart and telling you to take a bold step of faith and do something you never done way out of your comfort zone so the little Bible study at work which is you in a couple of friends and see what the Lord will do. Go engage that person that seemed so hostile with the gospel. Whatever would be the Lord tells you to do it do it coming back to King Saul, the prophet Samuel said to him in first Samuel 15. What is more pleasing to the Lord your burnt offerings and sacrifices are or your obedience to God he said, behold, to obey is better than sacrifice. It's also will offer these offerings it'll be okay. No, God told you to do something and he didn't do it and so that'll save all go to church to a midweek service as we can give you know little more in the offering. All received communion. Whatever it is you think some little things some ritualistic thing is going to take the place of what God really wants from you which is your obedience. Point number two God gives gifts and talents to each of us that we need to use God gives gifts and talents to each of us that we need to use for Esther.

It was extraordinary beauty.

Not everybody is extraordinarily beautiful or incredibly handsome. I'm… Deal with reality summer. Given these abilities. Some are not.

I've had the struggle with this my whole life we laughing she had to buy method is essential maybe one of the downsides of being beautiful as a child or a young lady and older lady, a young man so for this people always comment on your attractiveness.

She's so beautiful you're so handsome and you only hear that 10 some of these people sometimes can end up being rather shallow because they always kinda got to the front of the line and had some advantages early on and that God wants us to develop the inner person to. I've never shared this before, but I because it sounds kind of prideful but I was offered a very nice modeling contract. I was actually it was a hand modeling country. Did you know there hand models so I was contacted we could we use your hand on the cover of a magazine. I quickly agreed until I found out the name of the magazine old and decrepit.

That was very depressing.

I made that up. Okay, so Esther had inner character to match her outward beauty and she had great courage, as we'll see soon, but maybe you have another gift given to you by God is not necessarily beauty but it's brain or musical talent for artistic talent. Then again you might be good at crunching numbers. One is a great visionary, but never very good with the nuts and bolts. Another is a detail person. We can have all visionaries running around and we can have all nuts and bolts people rent everybody plays a part. Everybody has a role to play in every one of US talents and gifts that are given to you by God, that you must discover, cultivate and use for his glory were told in first Timothy 414.

Don't neglect the gift that is been given to you as another translation puts it, keep it dusted off and then use that user get a recently we asked many of you that start serving here and harvest them 1800 of you responded so well done. Okay, so that's good, but only 800 showed up and did it so there's like a thousand out that we need to reengage okay you guys that said I'll do it, do it. We still want to the server and I promise you will be a great blessing to you as well. You might civil great.

How do you discover what your gift is or your gifts are, as I pointed out before, sometimes it's literally through a process of elimination. Walt Disney probably heard him quite a visionary, himself, used to tell a story about a little boy, that's a story when a circus came to town and there you have a parade so the bandmaster needed some of the play trombone so the little boy signed up. March the block before the horrible rocket coming from his horn caused two old ladies to fade and a horse to run away.

So the bandmaster went to the boy and said why didn't you tell me you couldn't play the trombone the little guy said.

How did I know I never tried before.

You know, sometimes finding out which are good at requires you finding out which are not good at so you volunteer volunteer for that job. Nobody else wants and still do that. Okay, maybe that's on my gift. But another area develops trust me when I tell you I never aspired to be a public speaker. Like most people I was afraid of speaking in front of crowds and die member class.

I had were had to get up and give an impromptu speech and I almost had a heart attack.

I got an F in that class. By the way I like to work behind-the-scenes. I was born to design and graphics and things like that.

But when I became a Christian, God put a call on my life to speak publicly, I thought it. I didn't want to do it but it was something I was sure the Lord called me to do. Maybe it was because I finally had something to say you know if God calls you to do that or something else we want to take these gifts and use them for his glory. But it might be something unexpected God will call you to do. Point number three in the last point, there is a time to speak up in a time do be quiet or shot of verse 10 Esther to Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background for more decay. I told her not to know is this right or wrong, it can be argued both ways. Some would say she should've identified herself as a Jew, and by not doing so, she was effectively compromising her faith. There's some merit to that argument, but there are some flaws in it as well because sometimes, you should speak up and sometimes you should be quiet.

You know the words of the great theologian Kenny Rogers need to know some of you don't even know who he is is a country singer from a long time ago. They had a song. The gambler thing was called in the laundry got and no one to hold them know when to fold them know when to walk away you God know when to hold. Also I'm noticing.

And that's Carswell, but you see, you have to know when to speak up in the would be quiet. It seems sometimes. Some people almost speak up too much yet, you might be surprised to hear me say that is pastored in the vents was that you speak up too much effort. I've seen some Christians like it's overkill. Everybody they talk to they feel they have to give a complete gospel presentation do it, just constant throne, you know, and that is not the best way to do evangelism. Sometimes one of the best things to do to engage a nonbeliever just listen to them for a while and get to know them a little bit better but then when the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak up, but some people always talking talking to. The problem is they don't back it up with our lifestyle.

That was one of the great secrets of Billy Graham as he was a great preacher but he also was a great Christian and he backed it up with personal integrity. He loved his wife. He loved his children.

He was humble man and so that even gave him greater effectiveness in his ministry because he never contradicted it in his lifestyle. So you want to live a godly life. I'm telling you it's a huge plus for the church. When Christian just go out there and their faithful to their spouse and to keep their marriages together and observe single person. The don't have sex before marriage and the work with integrity and they work hard. That's a great testimony to that. Be that with them when the moment comes speak up and we have to give credit to Esther.

She delivered when it was needed. She put her life on the line and spoke up for her people and as a result, save the nation.

Yes she save the Jewish people and they needed to be saved because Haman hatched a plot where they would all be exterminated when it came and wanted to kill all the Jewish people. I think this is bigger than Haman. This is about the devil. The devil wanted to kill the wife because the devil knew that through the Jewish people, the Messiah would come out of the know that goes way back to the Garden of Eden. After our first parents ate of the forbidden fruit and God said to Satan, there is coming one will crush your head, but you will bruise his heel.

So the devil knew that Jesus was coming Messiah was coming and he would come as a Jew, so he tried to stop Christ from coming inspired the king of Egypt the Pharaoh to kill all those Jewish baby boys.

He inspired Haman to come up with this plot to eradicate the Jewish race and then later on he entered the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Christ into helping orchestrate the crucifixion, but you know what result, according God's plan because Messiah had come to this earth. Yes, to love us. Yes, to teach us, but ultimately, why did Jesus come. He came to this earth to die for our said because we've all said that Satan fails and Christ succeeded, he voluntarily laid his life down for us at the cross of Calvary and took the wrath of God on himself as he hung there in our place and then he rose again from the dead and is alive and now he stands at the door of each heart in the Knox nieces if you hear his voice and open the door he will come in.

Jesus asked us to do something for him and I think we should always do what he asks. He said would you do this in remembrance of me.

What he was with his disciples in the upper room for what would be the last Passover they would celebrate and he took up the Bradley broken he said this is my body which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of me.

Then he took the cup, representing his blood and he said, drink this for this too represents me and he asked us to remember him to what we call communion, or the Lord's supper. The breaking of bread. The drinking of the cop and so were going to do that right now working to receive communion together as a family and I underscore the word family is out with the churches or a family have ever going over our friends Allison during the middle of a family discussion. Goats I'll come back later. This is for the family only is he will. How do you get in this family you have to be born into this family only been raised in a Christian home, no, not at all you need to be born again. As Jesus said, a spiritual rebirth and anyone can join the family of God. The Bible says, for as many as received him, he gave them the power to become children of God, so you receive Christ into your life. So what we hold these elements in our hand, they represent the body of our Lord. They represent the blood of our Lord. The apostle Paul warns us in the book of first Corinthians did not take of these elements and in an unworthy manner which means please paraphrase don't receive communion. If you don't believe in Jesus because if you do your effectively eating and drinking damnation for yourself what is that mean means don't think a ritual will help you with God, back gold solve the king orders over these animal sacrifices and is like. Please God doesn't want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him. So you want to receive the elements of communion without believing in the one that the elements represent.

You want Christ living inside of you is a will. He doesn't so I better not receive communion his mother about whether to accept Christ right now doesn't that take a long time to become a Christian actually know it happened just like that is just a prayer away. So before we distribute the elements of communion. I would like to extend an invitation for you to believe in Jesus Christ and then you can join us for this time as we worship the Lord to let's all bow our heads and pray father I pray not for any person here that does not yet know you, Lord Jesus, I pray that your Holy Spirit will convict and convince them of their need for you and help them to come to you and believe in you. Now we would pray Elinor heads up about in her eyes are closed or praying together. How many of you would say today Greg, I need Jesus. I want to know him. I want my sins forgiven. I want to go to heaven when I die. Pray for me. If that's your desire if you would like Christ to come into your life. If you would like your sins forgiven if you would like to be a child of God. I want you to raise your hand up wherever you're sitting, the pray for you if you want Christ to come in your life. Let me pray for you today. Raise your hand up. Pray for you today raise it apartment. I can see it seems I want Jesus Christ.

I want him to come in the my life. I want to go to heaven when I die.

Pray for me. God bless you raise a pyrite concealer proof you know God bless you, bless you what else raise your hand publish that some of your watching the screen right now and obviously, I can't see your head what the Lord sees.

Maybe you'd raise your hand up right now.

Let me pray for you.

You want Christ to come in your life you take this step. All right for all of you that a razor can.

I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me again as I pray you pray this prayer out loud for me and this is where you're asking Jesus Christ to come to your life. Just pray this, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm the center I turn from my sin. Now I ask you to be my Savior and Lord. I choose to follow you from this moment forward in Jesus name I pray that God bless each one of you there. Pray that prayer


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