Wrestling with God ∙

Wrestling with God ∙

Wrestling with God

Jacob . . . When he became a man, he wrestled with God. – Hosea 12:3

Genesis 32:24-31

 24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break.

 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket.

 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

 27 “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.”

 28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on, you will be called Israel because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

 30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”

 31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.

Hercules is one of the best-known heroes in Greek and Roman mythology. He was best known for his super-human strength and heroic adventures. One of his 12 exploits was his mission to steal the apples of the Hesperides, the “Nymphs of the West.” On his way to accomplishing this task, he had to fight with Antaeus. Antaeus would challenge all passers-by to wrestling matches. He was undefeated. He had a secret; he remained invincible as long as he remained in contact with the ground. He consistently killed his opponents because he drew his strength from the earth.

Hercules took up the challenge and began to wrestle with Antaeus despite his reputation. Hercules soon realized that Antaeus could not be defeated by throwing or pinning him to the ground. He came up with a new strategy. Hercules held him above the ground, and using his super-human strength; he crushed him to death with a powerful bear hug.

Wrestling with a powerful opponent is not the wisest choice. But attempting to wrestle with an undefeated one seems foolhardy at best.

Jacob was on his way to a very close encounter with his brother Esau. Jacob had greatly wronged Esau and feared he would kill him in revenge. He had sent gifts and all the people that had accompanied him on ahead in an attempt to soften Esau’s heart. “It was the darkest night of Jacob’s life as he sat alone reflecting on the past and on what the sunlight might bring, alternately shivering in the mountain cold and trembling at the approach of Esau” (Hughes).

Jacob was alone in the darkness. Suddenly, someone with great strength grabbed him. He finds himself fighting with “the man.” Jacob may have thought Esau had sent an assassin to take him out. He was in the fight of his life. Jacob had no choice except to wrestle his challenger.

Jacob could see nothing and his opponent said nothing. Jacob was also powerful, and the two of them wrestled in the dark, for hours, through the night. The contest was a draw. As dawn began to break, his opponent spoke and asked Jacob to end the match, release him, and let him depart.

At some point, Jacob realized that his opponent was superior to him and, therefore, would be able to bless him. Perhaps he thought, could he be an angel? Jacob demanded to be blessed. At this point, the stranger spoke again and asked Jacob his name. Jacob replied and told him that his name was Jacob.

Genesis 32:28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

Jacob now puts it all together. His opponent was more than an angel. His opponent was God Himself. In Genesis 18:1-15, the Lord appeared to Abraham in human form, accompanied by two angels. At first, Abraham thought they were three men.

Genesis 32:30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”

Jacob had wrestled with God in bodily form (Hosea 12:3-4).

The Father allows His children to wrestle with Him. Sometimes He initiates it.

We do not face condemnation if we choose to wrestle with Him. But there are unanticipated consequences and outcomes. Jacob’s life was forever changed. He had a new name, Israel, which means “God fights” or “he fights with God.”

Jacob got what he asked for. He received a blessing. But there was collateral damage. Jacob was injured, and for the rest of his life, he would walk with a limp. Obviously, the Father held back from using His unlimited strength. He could have crushed him at any moment. Perhaps Jacob was used to getting his own way and had never lost a wrestling match before, much like Antaeus, who fought Hercules.


It is one thing to be curious; it is quite another to be arrogantly argumentative.

Father it is part of human DNA to ask “Why?” Encourage us to be respectfully curious but not arrogantly condemnatory.


There are many ways to wrestle with the Father. The book of Habakkuk, an Old Testament prophet, is a verbal wrestling match between him and the Father. Habakkuk was not pleased with how things were going and complained and challenged the Father to do something about it. The southern kingdom of Judah was relishing living in sin. There was no justice in the land but rather violence.

Habakkuk 1:2-4

 2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save.

 3 Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.

 4 The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.

Sound familiar? The Father had a solution that would end their evil activities. But the cure was worse than the disease. The Babylonians were coming to conquer, destroy, and take the people captive.

Habakkuk cannot believe his ears. If Habakkuk was concerned and argumentative before, now he is livid. His complaints became white-hot. While the people of Israel are bad and iniquitous, they are not as bad as the Babylonians, who were brutal conquerors. On top of that, they were the chosen people, special, unique, and the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). Surely, the Father is too good to allow such a thing to happen. Habakkuk becomes sullen and retreats into arrogant self-pity.

The Father confronts him and provides the ultimate answer for all incredulous, complaining, arrogant whiners.

Habakkuk 2:4 The righteous shall live by his faith.

The Father is totally unfazed by our challenges, complaints, criticisms, and disputations.

It is perfectly okay to ask “why.” The answer we receive, if He chooses to answer at all, may be far more aggravating and disturbing than what we were concerned about, to begin with.

Ultimately His answer is always the same, “Trust Me.” Trust in My character and My plan. Live by faith, lose the attitude, and let go. 

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© Dr. H 2022

Greed unlimited ∙

Greed unlimited

Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.- Luke 12:15

Luke 12:16-23

 16 And He told them a parable, saying, The land of a rich man was very productive.”

 17 “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’”

 18 Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.”

 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”

 20 But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you, and now who will own what you have prepared?”

 21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.

 22 And He said to His disciples, “For this reason, I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.”

 23 “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.”

The Great Unconformity refers to a gap in the geologic record of rock worldwide. The Grand Canyon exposures this gap in the rock layers or strata. An unconformity is a surface in the rock record, in the stratigraphic column, representing a time from which no rocks are preserved.

According to evolutionary time reckoning, this unconformity represents a long period of 250 to 1200 million years. The Grand Canyon divides rocks with familiar fossils from those with no fossils or only fossil bacteria. Why does this gap exist? How did it occur? There are many theories, but they are all nothing but educated guesswork. Without human observers or a written record, it is hard to explain why something is present. It is far harder to explain why something is absent. For creationists, the global flood of Noah provides a plausible explanation.

The life and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ are revolutionary. His teachings and principles exposed a tremendous gap between what people should aspire to and seek to be and what they actually are.

People should be rich toward God. But instead, they seek to be rich in the things this world provides. Consequently, they remain destitute, poverty-stricken indigents in their relationship with the Father.

The Lord Jesus Christ, the nonconformist, exposed the Great Unconformity of Greed Unlimited.

Luke 12:16-23 does not prohibit wealth. Instead, it reveals the Great Unconformity lurking within us all.

It is ironically tragic that in pursuing to provide satisfactorily for our own earthly needs, we become fools in the things that matter for eternity. The Lord Jesus Christ warns of the dangerous eternal ramifications of wealth. Wealth can create a seductive tendency toward complacency, self-sufficiency, and covetousness. Though the rich fool anticipates years of ease – a time to eat, drink, and be merry – instead, an eternal destiny apart from the Father is about to begin that night.


Poverty and the poor will always be with us. But so will the rich. The real tragedy is to be rich in the things of this world yet poor, destitute in the things of the Father.

Father encourage me to honor You with my life to make my number one priority to be rich in You.


The wealthy farmer had success, satisfaction, and security. He indeed had personal peace and affluency. What more could he want?

Alas, he was a rich fool. The rich farmer had the “I’s” of a fool. In Luke 12:17-19, the word “my” is repeated four times, while the term “I” occurs 6 times in English and 8 times in Greek. For him, it was all about “me.” The rich man’s ability to see beyond the now, the things that had eternal value, was catastrophically impaired. He never saw beyond himself nor beyond this present world.

Mark Twain defined civilization as “a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.”

The Greek word translated as greed is pleonexia. It comes from pleíonmore, and echo – to have. It is translated as greed, avarice, and covetousness. It can be simply defined as the desire to have more.

Luke 12:15 Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.

This rich farmer had an incorrect understanding of life and death. The Lord Jesus Christ and an entirely different perspective. He did not see the farmer enjoying life; He saw him facing death!

Matthew 13:22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.

Riches cannot keep us alive when our time comes to die. Nor can they buy back the opportunities we missed while we were thinking of ourselves and ignoring the Father and others. Greed Unlimited and the pursuit of wealth choke the Word of God out of our lives and render it mute (Matthew 13:22). We lose our hunger for it and do not pursue it.

His greatest tragedy is not what he left behind but what lay in front of him, eternity without the Father. The man lived his life without knowing the Father, died without God, and will be in eternity without Him.

What does it mean to be rich toward God?

It begins with salvation and our entrance into a relationship with the Father. The closer and more intimate we grow in our relationship with Him, the richer we become in the things of eternal value.

Solomon personifies wisdom and commends developing a deep relationship with it.

Proverbs 8:17-19

 17 I love those who love me, and those who diligently seek me will find me.

 18 Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.

 19 My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, And my yield better than choicest silver.

The Lord Jesus Christ challenges us to recognize our propensity toward personal peace and affluency (Francis Schaeffer). We need to do a serious self-examination of our values and priorities. Are we driven by greed, consumerism, unethical living, materialistic values, and the need to accumulate?

True satisfaction in life flows out of fulfilling the purpose for which we were created and enjoying an intimate relationship with the Father. As a substitute for the Father, acquiring material excess only makes the heart feel more hollow (Stanley).

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© Dr. H 2022

Does God suffer setbacks? ∙

Does God suffer setbacks?

He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature . . .. – 2 Peter 1:4

Isaiah 40:28-31

 28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.

 31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

What does it take to achieve and accomplish objectives?

Just remember how far you have come whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome (Unknown).

Undoubtedly, each of us knows what it is like to perform some physical activity until we reach the point of exhaustion. Some of us just quit, while others get a new burst of energy and continue.

The best among us, even those with the strength of youth, will eventually wear down. What does it take to see it through to the end?

Our Father has unlimited resources that can allow His children to go beyond human strength. He has promised to do just that. He has made available endless reserves of new strength.

The Father has promised that whatever we need to accomplish His purpose and to become more like Him is already ours. Children of the King have supernatural resources. It is as though He has deposited His power, knowledge, and authority into our personal bank accounts. We simply make withdrawals as needed.

From Chariots of Fire

“I want to compare faith to running in a race. It’s hard and requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation . . . [There is] no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way.”

“And where does the power come from to see the race to its end? From within.”

“Jesus said, ‘If, with all your hearts you truly seek Me, you shall ever surely find Me’ – if you commit yourself to the love of Christ” (Eric Liddell).


The human body wears down and wears out, but not so the human spirit. When we become weary and suffer fatigue and discouragement, we must remember the Father’s promises and pray them into our personal experience.

Father time and time again, You have done in and through me what I could have never done myself. Thank you for Your promises. Encourage me to internalize them and depend upon them.


The Father never suffers setbacks! He is never taken off guard, and He never makes a mistake. The Father has made abundant provisions for the children of the King. Each child has inherited the Father’s precious and great promises. Simply stated, the Father has already given us all that we will ever need in this life.

2 Peter 1:4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

“The gifts are described as precious and very great. Precious translates a Greek word that refers to high honorable status when used of people and to having considerable worth or value when used of things. In the present case, precious can therefore be rendered as ‘valuable,’ or even ‘invaluable’ or ‘priceless’ (that is, it is impossible to estimate its worth)” (UBS).

God has not only given us all that we need for life and godliness, but He has also given us His Word to enable us to develop this life and godliness. These promises are great because they come from a great God and lead to a great life. They are precious because their value is beyond calculation. If we lost the Word of God, there would be no way to replace it (Wiersbe).

As we act upon and experience the reality of these promised resources, we interact with our Father as a person. He shares His nature and His communicable attributes with us. We become increasingly like Him.

Psalms 19:10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.

Psalms 119:11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

What in life is precious and valuable? What is truly special to you?

The Word of God is precious. We must love the Father’s words and hide them in our hearts.

Everything we need to become more like Christ, God has already given us. We do not need some new experience or fresh revelation to help us draw close to God; we have to appropriate what He’s already given (Stanley).

We are not what happened to us. We are what we choose to become (Carl Jung). 

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© Dr. H 2022

Let your roots grow deep

Let your roots grow deep

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:7

Ephesians 3:16-19

 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources, he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

An ongoing quest of modern-day agriculture is to intensify crop production and sustainability. The challenge is two-pronged. On the one hand, there is the desire and need to increase food and biomass production. On the other hand, there is the need to respond to more significant weather variability effectively. Current agricultural research has demonstrated the importance of deep-rooting of crops.

Deep rooting can be defined as dealing with the soil from 3 to 15 feet in depth.

A simple solution is to use subsoils more efficiently. This can be efficiently done via deep rooting.

Deep roots are essential for healthy, vibrant, powerful spiritual life and development. Children of the King must be firmly rooted by faith in the Father’s love. “This is the true and abiding source of spiritual strength and of all other manifestations of the divine life”  (Hughes). Through the strengthening of the inner person by God’s Spirit and Christ’s indwelling in their hearts, children of the King are to be established in love (O’Brien).

Ephesians 3:17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

It may seem a bit odd that Paul would pray that the Lord Jesus Christ might make His home the hearts of children of the King. Why is this so? Because the Scriptures clearly teach that the Lord Jesus Christ already lives in each child of the King.

Romans 8:9 But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

The focus of this request is not on the initial indwelling of Christ but on His continual presence. The verb used in this prayer signifies a permanent indwelling rather than some temporary abode. Further, while Christ already dwells in every child of the King, Paul focuses on and prays for His indwelling with power (ESV Notes).


The secret of strength is the abiding presence of the Lord Jesus Christ within our lives. He will gladly come into our lives. He awaits our invitation to bring us His strength (Barclay).

Father encourage me to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to comfortably abide within my heart in the fertile soil of Your love. At the same time, strengthen me to stay in Your love.


The verb used by Paul in Ephesians 3:17 is a strong one. The Greek term translated as dwell in your heart is katoikeo. Katoikeo signifies a permanent indwelling, settling down rather than some temporary abiding.

Katoikeo metaphorically connotes the idea of the Lord Jesus Christ, via the personal choice of each child of the King, being permitted to settle down and to take up complete residence by the Holy Spirit in our hearts. The Lord Jesus Christ is pictured as making Himself at home and becoming comfortable within our hearts. Our hearts are intended to become His dwelling place.

Something marvelous happens when we allow Him to make Himself comfortable in our hearts. We become rooted and established/grounded in the rich soil of the Father’s love.

“Paul mixes his metaphors. Rooted is agricultural, and established (literally, founded) is architectural. But their significance is perfectly parallel. Like trees, our lives are to send down roots deep and wide into the soil of love. Like buildings, the edifices of our lives here on earth are to have deep, solid foundations of love. If we are properly rooted and properly constructed on a foundation of love, nothing will be able to shake us” (Hughes).

The Greek term translated as rooted is rhizome. Rhizome has the sense of being firmly rooted, established, constant, or strengthened by roots. The English word rhizome is derived from this Greek word. It connotes figuratively spiritual stability, being firmly established or strengthened.

The Greek word translated as established or grounded is themelioo. Themelioo offers a firm basis for belief, choices, and practice.

Being rooted and established in the Father’s love provides the necessary base for the superstructure of belief, confidence, and growth of all children of the King.

But there is more! The comfortable presence of the Lord Jesus Christ strengthens our inner being. His nearness and overflowing love provide the basis for a life of faith, the Spirit-filled life.

What is a life of faith? Faith is believing what God has promised, he will do. Faith is not a power or something we drum up inside ourselves. Faith is trusting that God will honor His promises. That’s all there is to it. Children of the King go about our lives, making decisions, handling crises, raising our families, and so on, trusting and believing that the Father will do what He said He would do (Stanley).

Not only is the Father there to guide us continually will make us into a well-watered beautiful garden of His design. We become a pleasant, warm source of loveliness, grace, and encouragement to others. We become like a well-watered garden that all can admire and enjoy and partake of.

Isaiah 58:11  The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

This remarkable figure can only be truly appreciated against the background of the dry and desolate territory of the Near East.

Children of the King are enabled to live lives that exemplify and show off the Lord Jesus Christ. It is incumbent upon us to choose to allow the Lord Jesus Christ access to the deepest recesses of our hearts, soul, and mind. Our task is to let him abide in us as we abide in him (John 15).

How can we actualize these beautiful promises in our lives? We chose to open our hearts to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to take up full and complete residence. We seek to develop a “lifestyle of love” through faith via prayer and practice (Hughes).


© Dr. H 2022

Have you ever asked? ∙

Have you ever asked?

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God – Hebrews 1:3

Hebrews 1:1-3

 1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,

 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power. 

In an article entitled “Knowing Persons,” David Matheson of Carleton University offered an answer to the question, What’s the difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone? He distinguished two types of knowing: impersonal knowledge and personal knowledge (Matheson, D. (2010). Knowing Persons. Dialogue Journal).

What is the difference? Impersonal knowledge is knowing about someone, while personal knowledge is experientially knowing someone. To know someone experientially requires what has been dubbed a “communication event” (Matheson).

As we have “communication events” with people, we get to know them. We become aware of the unique aspects of their personalities. We become aware of their temperament, nature, disposition, and likes and dislikes. We can often anticipate how they are going to respond. We find out what kind of a person they are.

Have you ever asked yourself what kind of a person the Father is?

The question may be somewhat surprising. Because usually, when children of the King think of the Father, we think of God’s attributes rather than God’s personality. The attributes of God involve His divine characteristics. He is eternal, holy, good, just, righteous, all-powerful, all-knowing, and infinite.

But what is the Father’s personality like?

When we consider an individual’s personality, we ask: are they friendly, warm, kind, or gentle; are they intelligent, funny, serious, wise; are they brave, protective, nurturing, and the like?

How can we know what the Father’s personality is really like? What kind of a person is He?

The Lord Jesus Christ came to reveal the personality of the Father. He and the Father share the same personal characteristics. They are two separate persons who share the same essence.

When we hear Jesus, we hear God. When we observe Jesus, we observe God. If we want to know what God is like, how he might act, or where he might go, we only have to watch Jesus.

Hebrews 1:3 He is . . . the exact representation of His nature,

The Greek term translated as exact representation is character. It was used as a mark or impression placed on an object, especially on coins, and came to signify a “representation” or “reproduction.”

In Greek, character means two things – first, a seal, and, second, the impression that the seal leaves on the wax. The impression has the exact form of the seal. So, when the writer to the Hebrews said that Jesus was the character of the being of God, he meant that He was the exact image of God. When you look at the impression, you see exactly what the seal which made it is like, so when you look at Jesus, you see exactly what God is like (Barclay).

Using very inadequate human terms, the Father has stamped or imprinted His being on His Son. The Son of God bears “the very stamp of . . .  [God’s] nature” (RSV).

The Greek term translated nature is hypostasis. It refers to the nature, quality, substance, and essence of something. In this passage, hypostasis refers to the very essence or being of God the Father.  

The Son is the exact representation, the embodiment of God the Father as He really is. His being is made manifest in Christ. To see the Son is to see what the Father is like (O’Brien).

When we get to know the Son experientially, we get to know the Father.


The personality of the Father is revealed in the Scriptures. It is observed and known in His Son’s life, emotions, and actions.

Father please help me come to know You as a person, to enter a communication event. Allow me to be close to You and fall evermore profoundly in love with You.


Sometimes we miss obvious things that are right in front of us because we are not paying attention. It seems as though it is part of human DNA. So it was with the apostle Philip.

John 14:6-9

 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

 7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

 8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’”

The story is about a man who visited his doctor to have his hearing checked. The doctor removed the man’s hearing aid, and the patient’s hearing immediately improved! He had been wearing the device in the wrong ear for over 20 years!

There is a difference between listening and really hearing; Jesus often cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” This statement suggests that it takes more than physical ears to hear the voice of God. It also requires a receptive heart. When you hear his voice today, don’t harden your hearts (Hebrews 3:7-8) (Wiersbe).

Philip’s request shows that he has not yet understood the point of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Philip had not grasped that the Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, came to reveal the Father.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself, God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

For children of the King, our close, intimate fellowship with the Father, through His Son, is our “communication event.” That is how we get to know Him as a person. The more we know Him, the more we love Him.

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© Dr. H 2022

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