Archive for September, 2017

As the Lord begins to speak to Moses on Mount Sinai, he enters into a very long discourse on exactly how to build a place of worship.  He goes into great detail over a period of forty days and forty nights just instructing Moses on how to instruct His people to erect, furnish, and attend His place of worship.  It begins in Exodus 25 and does not conclude until Moses comes back down the mountain in Exodus chapter 31.  Let’s consider these instructions for God’s holy dwelling place carefully.

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. ~Exodus 25:1-9

The very first thing God tells Moses about his sacred place is that it is to be a place of giving.  Each and every person attending God’s place of worship was to offer a gift.  Each and every person was to contribute.  No one was to come empty handed.  No one was to be excluded from making an offering.  No one was to be kept from giving whatever they had to give.  God gave specific instructions on what to bring.  The idea here is that the people of God were to bring the very best things they had and offer those to the Lord.

Note…to the Lord.  Verse two tells us that the contributions made were “for me” and God was speaking.  The gifts we bring to the house of God are for HIM; to glorify HIM; to honor HIM; to please HIM.

This was the very first instruction God gave in regards to the place of worship where he would be pleased to come and dwell.  This tells us that giving and offering our very best gifts in a place of worship is greatly important to God.

We should never enter or attend a place of worship empty handed.  We are to bring our very best gifts and offer them back to God.  We ought never to forbid others from giving their best gifts to the Lord.  God commands His people first and foremost in a place where he is to come and dwell to contribute.

If we fail to contribute to God’s house due to apathy, complacency, laziness, or greed, we ought to be very ashamed.  If we fail to allow others to contribute due to pride, control, envy, or jealousy, we ought to be very ashamed.  God would not have made this instruction first, foremost, and primary if it was not of great importance.

Let’s do things God’s way, Church.  “Whatsoever is done in God’s service must be done by His direction and not otherwise.” ~Matthew Henry


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In Exodus 24:1-10, God has just given the most important guidelines for human behavior ever given to man.  After Moses receives the ten commandments and the promises of God, he immediately begins working to share them.  Good leader Moses told the people what God expected of them.  Good leader Moses wrote it all down.  Good leader Moses got up early and worshipped.  Good leader Moses read the words aloud to the people.  Then, he covered them with the blood of the sacrifices.

Notice that Moses did not cut the people up into pieces, burn them on the altar and sacrifice them in order to please God.  No.  He covered them with the blood of another as they came to the place of worship.  Likewise, when we go to a place of worship, we should not be beaten, killed, and left to bleed on the altar for our sin by the leaders.  A sacrifice was already made for us for that very reason.  The blood of Jesus Christ should be applied to us by the servants leading worship.

After God reveals himself to the leaders, he calls Moses back up the mountain.  Then, he tells him to do something very difficult: wait.

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.”  ~Exodus 24:12

Wait, Moses.  Go where I tell you and wait there.  The reason for the waiting given to Moses was, “that I may give you the tablets of stone…”  Moses was to wait so God could physically give him the tablets with the commands written on them.

Moses obeyed.  He took his young friend Joshua and he went where God sent him.  He put two others in charge over the people while he was gone.  He is told to wait, and he in turn tells those under him to wait as well.

Note, good leaders do not leave those they have been given responsibility and charge over without delegating that responsibility and leadership to someone else first.  He who is not faithful with what he has been given will not be given more.  What he does have will be taken away.  (Matthew 25:29)

Moses goes up and a cloud covers the mountain.  God’s presence descended and for six days Moses waited upon God.  It was not until day seven that Moses heard God call out to him.

Note, even when we obey God’s commands and instructions perfectly and without delay, he often still calls us to wait upon him for further instructions.

When God does appear, the text says, Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.” When God appeared after all Moses’s waiting and righteous obedience, it was not just him that saw God.  All the people below saw God appear.  Moses wasn’t making this stuff up and they knew it.  There could be no mistake.  God was doing something of unmitigated importance.  They all saw and they all knew.  Makes you wonder how they could ever choose to make and worship and idol while this was still going on.  But, as we all know they did just that with the golden calf.

Anyway, Moses is no stranger to the fire of God.  When he was called to deliver God’s people out of Egypt, it was a burning bush that God chose to reveal himself and speak through.  Make no mistake, Our God is a consuming fire and he will not be sold out as a dry and lifeless ember as some would seek to have him be.  Little wonder the Bible says, “Quench not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

God kept Moses forty days and forty nights as he elaborated upon all the laws and also gave Moses the physical tablets of stone with the law written down on them by His very own finger.

Note, when God is giving instruction to leaders that he has placed over his people, he often does so for a great amount of time that they may be duly prepared for the difficult business he is about to employ them in.

Just to recap, here is what Exodus 24:12-18 gives us practically to apply in our lives today:

1. Moses did not cut the people up into pieces, burn them on the altar and sacrifice them in order to please God.  No.  He covered them with the blood of another as they came to the place of worship.  Likewise, when we go to a place of worship, we should not be beaten, killed, and left to bleed on the altar for our sin by the leaders.  A sacrifice was already made for us for that very reason.  The blood of Jesus Christ should be applied to us by the servants leading worship.

2. Good leaders do not leave those they have been given responsibility and charge over without delegating that responsibility and leadership to someone else first.  He who is not faithful with what he has been given will not be given more.  What he does have will be taken away.  (Matthew 25:29)

3. Even when we obey God’s commands and instructions perfectly and without delay, he often still calls us to wait upon him for further instructions.

4. Make no mistake, Our God is a consuming fire and he will not be sold out as a dry and lifeless ember as some would seek to have him be.

5. When God is giving instruction to leaders that he has placed over his people, he often does so for a great amount of time that they may be duly prepared for the difficult business he is about to employ them in.

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Once upon a time there lived a man who wanted to change the world for the better.  He wanted to make clear statements about social injustice, the place of politics and government, and help all those who would care to listen and follow his lead on the road that leads to positive change and personal growth.

One by one, the man spoke to others.  He prayed for them.  He got to know them.  He helped them and healed them by simply doing what his father sent him out to do.  Sometimes, he had to correct them because all of them made poor choices and bad decisions at one point or another.

After some time, many began to follow him.  Others began to hate him.  Some were not sure and watched from the sidelines as he continued to amaze and overcome the entire world as they knew it.  Eventually, he was murdered out of jealousy by those he offered nothing more than love and friendship.

I am not one much for arguing politics, football, presidents, or protests.  I believe presenting and arguing for the truth of the gospel and applying it practically is where all battles are truly won.  Bringing clarity from the scriptures is the only way to rightly diagnose and treat the condition of sick, angry, erring human hearts.

The state our nation is in is shameful and not one of us can point the finger at another for our wretched condition.  It is time to stop complaining and blaming and start doing the simple things that lead to change.  If every single person that had an opinion about what football players were doing about the National Anthem yesterday was working to better their own community somehow, help their neighbors, and be a light in the world we wouldn’t be having this conversation.  You know why?  Because we would all be too busy doing good to care what a bunch of overpaid hypocrites did or didn’t do with their influence, their money, and their game playing.  Change starts with you.  It is does not start with the president, your boss, your kids, your church, your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, or a football team.  None of their decisions are your decisions.  Your decisions decide what kind of influence you will bring to the table of this world.  Focus on that.

As far as the actions of others, namely football players on September 24, 2017, say the truth.  Give your two cents and then work to be the kind of person you want others to be.  Truth be told, for most people watching this whole charade, the reason they are kneeling is largely unclear.  They claim to be standing up for social justice but all the world sees is grown men sitting down, hiding out in locker rooms, and refusing to participate in what most of the country still believes is a gesture of great importance, respect, and honor.  The last time I checked, standing up for what you believe did not involve staying hidden from view when you do so.  Not only that, but can a large group of multimillionaires not find anything more helpful and altruistic to do for those they claim to be kneeling down in support of than igniting outrage in people who just showed up to watch football?

I do not care which side of the debate you are on, cowardice is cowardice.  If you need to stand, stand.  If you need to kneel, kneel.  But there is no respect for a person or a group of people who claim to want to make a statement about unity, hide while making it, and, in so-doing knowingly divide their audience.

We live in a culture where abstaining from difficult conversation, debate, critical thinking, and honest reasoning together is obsolete and has even become taboo.  Avoidance, silent treatments, and the lack of accountability are the things that will ultimately destroy what is left of the solid foundation of this country.  Recognize that.  Change it in your own life and relationships.  Talk about hard things without shutting differing opinions out.  Debate important issues without becoming enemies.  Pray for those who fail to see what is true.  Serve everyone.  Live to love even when you are hated.  Read the gospel and then read it again.  Preach and teach the gospel.  Make disciples.  Jesus Christ showed us exactly what to do in the midst of this kind of hostility.  He was willing to shed his own blood so that others could be free.  Kind of sounds like the guys who fought for the symbol in question.  Stop bending your knee in protest and start laying down your life in love.  Go.

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There’s been so much talk about the end coming – today’s the day right? – that I got to thinking about what the Bible does say about it.

Most of us know what it does not say.  It does not say when Jesus will return or when the end of all things will come.  The Bible actually makes it very clear that no one knows when – not even Jesus.  So no matter how good your prediction sounds, Bible believers know someone is most definitely a false teacher very quickly when one picks a date and tells everyone the end will happen.

The Bible does give us some information concerning signs of the end times.  I am certainly no scholar, but I do want to look at just one verse concerning this issue.  It is Matthew 24:12.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

I woke up with this particular verse repeating in my mind.  As I began to meditate on it and consider what it means, I made some practical connections for us today.

If we start with the idea that God created us to love and that people innately want to love and be loved and then read this verse, the first lesson we find is that unreciprocated love has a dangerous potential to grow cold.

In other words, as the Bible tells us, the greatest gift God gave to His people is love, and, as Jesus said, loving God and one another sums up the whole of God’s law.  Therefore, when people fail to love one another rightly that is the point at which his law is broken. So, lawlessness = lovelessness.

Obviously, lawlessness can manifest in many different ways – lying, stealing, killing, avoiding, hating, bullying, adultery, revenge, jealousy just to name a few –  but the root of all lawlessness finds its origin in lovelessness.  Jesus taught this just two chapters before he began his discourse on the end of all things.

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ~Matthew 22:36-40

Paul, the greatest evangelist who ever lived, taught it to the erring, works-trusting, self-sufficient, false gospel believing church of Galatia.

14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Galatians 5:14

The root of all lawlessness is lovelessness.  If men do not love God and others, they will care nothing for obeying God or man’s laws because those laws are founded upon and rooted in love for God and one another.

That brings us back to our verse – Matthew 24:12.  Because men do not love enough to obey the laws of God and man, the result of their transgression will be a diminishing of love in those they injure.  If one person is trying to love God and love his neighbors and he is continuously hated, treated poorly, cheated, robbed, slandered, etc., for doing just that, the Bible says his love is bound to begin to decrease and grow cold.  In our day and age we called it being jaded.

Therefore, the love of many will grow cold due to the lack of reciprocated love.

I have been studying the law God gave his people in Exodus in detail for many months now.  It is extensive and strict.  But Jesus comes along and says, “Love.”  All of the law can be summed up in one action: love.

If you love God, you will obey him.  Whether God says work hard at your 9-5 and provide for your family each day or he says sell everything and move to Iraq to preach the gospel, love will obey.  Whether he says pray in front of the church or pray with the stranger in front of you in line, love obeys.  No matter what the command, love obeys.  If you love your neighbor, you will treat him fairly.  Whether your neighbor is kind, hateful, old, young, black, white, successful or disabled, you will love and serve him the same.

Jesus told the most religious men of his day – the ones in charge of the synagogues and teaching the people about God – he told them this:

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. ~John 8:42

If God were your father, you would love me.  It really is that simple, folks.  Stop worrying about the end times.  STOP!  Start worrying about love.  And I do not mean love that ignores sin and fails to rebuke and admonish others.  I mean real love.  Love that is willing to be hated for the sake of justice and truth.  Love that obeys God no matter how difficult and personally dangerous it is.  Love that does not have to make excuses for why it cannot forgive and be reconciled.  Love that covers a multitude of sin.  Love that lives.  Love as the Bible defines it.

Then we will be a people whose love grows rather than a people whose love grows cold in the darkest last days of this world – whenever they may be. AMEN.

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After God promises his people the promise land and gives them the instructions on how to get there, Moses, their leader, is called back up to the mountain by God.

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.” ~Exodus 24:1-11

Moses and his leaders were called up to worship the Lord.  They were instructed not to get too close to the mountain, where God’s presence was.  Their staying back speaks of the great reverence and holy fear all men are to have for God.  Moses alone was to come close to the Lord.

Moses hears from the Lord.  Moses obeys the Lord.  When we hear from the Lord, especially in an instruction, the very next action should always be to obey the Lord.

In verse 3, Moses comes back down to the people and tells them everything God had said.  Moses was up front about the requirements God gave to him and to them.  He gave the people the requirements of God before asking whether they were willing to commit to and obey them.  This is a practice many wanna be preachers seem to forget today.

Not only is Moses clear about God’s expectations before asking the people to commit, he himself is prepared before he ever speaks to the people at all.  A good leader must always hear from God, obey him, spend time in worship, and spend time alone with God before they would go to others to share God’s word with them.

In verses 3 and 8 we see the people of God agreeing wholeheartedly and unanimously to the terms of God’s agreement.  If they would but obey his rules and laws, he would bless their food, water, take away sickness, barrenness, give them long life, and annihilate all of their enemies.  Sounds like a great deal for God’s people right?!  Who wouldn’t agree to that?

After they were fully informed and wholeheartedly agreed, Moses wrote down all of the laws and rules.  This way, no changes could made, less error could occur, and everyone would be clear about what they had agreed to abide by and what the requirements actually were.

Good leaders make sure there is clarity even after speaking truth.  Writing down an agreement between parties is always a good practice when the terms are greatly important.  Much less room for error and dispute can be had once things are in writing.  Little wonder why God gave us a written Word to follow.

After Moses writes everything down, the text says he gets up early in the morning and builds an altar.  He sends men to make sacrifice on the altar and he puts half the blood on the altar and saves half in a basin.

Getting up early and giving the Lord the firstfruits of our day is a practice good leaders ought to get used to.  If God is not first for us each and every day, it is likely He will not be first any day.

After the sacrifices are made, Moses picked up the Book of the Covenant where he had just written down all of God’s expectations and he read it to the people.  He told them what God expected, he wrote it down, and then he read it to them word for word once again.  Again, they agreed (verse 7).  Finally, Moses threw the blood he had saved on all of them.  This was to remind them of their need for a sacrifice, and that they were to be living sacrifices for God as they had promised to be.  The blood covering them ratified the covenant God had made with them.

Clarity, clarity, clarity.  Good leaders always, always, always make certain that terms are clear when expectations are given and before the deal is sealed.  The blood points us to our need for Christ to be sacrificed for us, our duty to be living sacrifices, and that He himself, through his death on the cross and our being covered by His own blood ratifies the covenant God has made with us.

Lastly, after the Covenant is confirmed between God and his people, in verses 9-11, God shows up.  God reveals his presence to the leaders.  Let the same be true for us.


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In Exodus 23:20-33, God gives Moses and His people instructions and promises about how to obtain the land to which he was taking them.  They had already been in the wilderness for some time.  Here, they are promised a home and great blessings.  They are given a guide and a few contingencies at the front of their conquest.  Let’s consider this.

In verse 20, God promises to send a guide to go before His people.  The guide is described as an angel and his job was to bring them to the place God had prepared for them to go and to live.  Some believe this angel was the preincarnate Christ.  Regardless, they were commanded three things pertaining to this angel guide.  They were told to pay careful attention, obey his voice, and to not rebel against him.  Their failure to do these three essential things in their attitude and behavior toward this guide would result in his failure to forgive them for it.  The reason given was that God’s name was “in him.”

The promises for obedience were guidance (23:20), possession of a good land in which to live (23:23-24), blessed food, water, healing of sickness, fruitful wombs, long life (23:25-26), and victory over many kinds of different, powerful, strong enemies (23:22, 27-28).  The victory was to be a slower, more gradual take over rather than an all at once overcoming of their many enemies.  The text says, “little by little,” as they were growing in number and moving into the new land, God would drive their enemies out.

Finally, in verses 32-33, they are given one final warning against idolatry.

Here, we find not only the instructions for the success of the people searching for the promise land, but also the skeleton outline for the life of every successful Christian.

When we are called out of the wilderness and into the promised place God is preparing for us, we are given a guide.  His name is Jesus Christ and we are called to pay careful attention to Him (and Him alone), obey His voice (His sheep know His voice), and to not rebel against him.  If we fail to pay attention to Him, disobey Him, and rebel against Him those actions are indicative of refusing Christ as Our Lord.  If we refuse Christ, we forfeit the forgiveness and grace he offers and will not be pardoned for our sin. Because he is the Way as well as our guide, to refuse Him is to forfeit all of the blessings that following offers.

If, on the other hand, we do pay attention, obey, and not rebel, we are promised victory, protection, the bread and water of life, healing, fruitfulness in regeneration, and life everlasting.  Our victory, like theirs, is little by little.  All throughout this life through many toils and snares, we are moving toward the promised land of eternal life; the place He has prepared for us.  We are growing and our enemies are being eradicated little by little by God Himself on our behalf as we become sanctified thus gaining victory over sin in our own lives.   No other gods are permitted during any part of this journey.

How gracious a God we serve to give such tender care and guidance to us as we walk home through this worldly wilderness!  We are his children and he will fight for us if we but pay attention, obey him, and stop rebelling against him with our sin.  What a beautiful picture of Our Father’s mercy we have in Exodus 23.


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In Exodus 23:10-19 we find the instructions for rest and return pertaining to crops and giving back to God out of our abundance.  These laws were given to the Jews in wilderness as they waited for the promised land.  They had great significance and we are able to draw more than a few parallels today in our own experience regarding how we ought to rest and what we ought to give back to the Lord.

In verses 10-11 we find the principle of a Sabbatical year for growing.  For six years the people of God were to sow their fields, but in the seventh year they were to let the ground lay fallow.  They were not to plant, reap, or keep anything that the ground produced on its own for themselves.  They were to store up in the sixth year for two years and allow the poor and the animals eat from the field in the seventh year.

Here we have the fundamental teaching God gave from the very beginning of working six days and resting the seventh.  Verse 12 reminds us of God’s order created in Genesis 1.  The main idea that we ought to take away is that rest and refreshment is not only necessary, but commanded for all living things.  The reason for the rest is not just rest in and of itself, but the underlying idea is trust in God.  Taking one day every week and one year every seven away from our work to simply rest and trust in the provision of God is a constant reminder that our strength, our portion, our needs are never met by our actions alone.  God is the giver of all things including food, shelter, clothing, and even the ability to work to obtain those things in this life.

“Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips.” ~Exodus 23:13

In verse 13 we have a command to “Pay attention.”  It is not every passage that we have the Lord stopping in the middle of his instructions and law-giving to refocus his hearers and make sure they are listening.  Therefore, what is being said here must be of utmost importance.

The imperative here is not just to pay attention, but to pay attention to God’s words.  Oh, if every believer today would heed this instruction!  Pay attention to God’s Word!  Hear him!  Listen!  And the idea to which he was pointing was not only to pay attention to His words, but to ignore and avoid all other gods.  The people of God were not even permitted to speak of the ways and wants of foreign gods.  So important was his instruction on idolatry, he has stopped in the middle of his giving of the law on resting and returning a portion out of their work and abundance to him to say so.  Consider that.  I will say it again so it sinks in for us all.

 So important was his instruction on idolatry, he has stopped in the middle of his giving of the law on resting and returning a portion out of their work and abundance to him to say so.

Why does God do this?  It is because other gods – idols – be they material, relational, or otherwise, are exactly what are going to cause these guys, you, and I to disobey God in these instructions on rest and return.  Instead of resting as God commands here (and elsewhere) and being content with his provision, idols will cause us to work nonstop, keep all we produce for ourselves, never rest, never let our workers or animals rest, never let our fields rest, not give to the poor, and not give back or to the God who gave us all these things to us in the first place.  It is the driving ambition to serve other gods and make idols out of what our hands have made that prevent the rest and peace that God commands here.  Little wonder why he tells His people to pay attention to this.

In verses 14-17, God commands a return three times a year.  The men were to come before him and bring a portion back to Him.  Three times were set aside in the calendar year for feasts.  One was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, one of the Feast of Harvest/Feast of Weeks, and the last was the Feast of Ingathering/Feast of Tabernacles.  The significance of these festivals is worthy of noting.

With the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the people of God were to remember their deliverance out of Egypt.  It was celebrated in the month of Abib – when they came out of slavery by God’s mighty hand and the unleavened bread pointed to the provision of bread which rained down from heaven for them.

No one was to come to this feast empty-handed.  This feast began the day after Pentecost, or Shavuot. Christians know Pentecost where the Spirit was given but in the Old Testament the Jews knew this holiday as the Feast of Weeks – a time of harvest and firstfruits. There is an unmistakable correlation between these Old Testament practices and the New Testament spiritual realities.  If Jesus death and resurrection and the Holy Spirit’s subsequent work at Pentecost was the first fruits, we would expect what follows to be something that would point back to the deliverance that made those things possible.  That something is the preaching of the gospel.  The preaching of the gospel is what followed the first fruits of Pentecost.  The preaching of the gospel points us always and ever back to the cross – our deliverance out of slavery and bondage to sin.  And, just as no one could come to the Feast of Unleavened Bread empty-handed, no one can come to the true bread from heaven – Jesus Christ – without giving their very life to Him.

Secondly, God instituted the Feast of Weeks.  This was the feast at harvest time.  This was when they brought the first fruits of what they had sown to the House of God.  Just as they were to bring the first and the best of what they obtained from the earth and of their labor, we are to do the same.  God never allowed his people to keep all they had for themselves.  We are to rest, give back to Him and to others, and, in so doing we ought to remember who the Giver is and be thankful.

Lastly, the people were to gather at what was called the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Booths, or, here the Feast of Ingathering.  This gathering was at the year’s end and they were commanded to live in temporary structures during this week’s time.  It was to remind them that though they produced much and were at the end of the abundance for the year, everything given to them here on earth is temporary.  The idea was that they were not to keep back the last portion all for themselves out of fear or worry about the months ahead with no return, and that what was given could not be held forever.  God himself is the sustainer of all things including us and our very lives.  This was also a time of the reading of the law.  It is when we are most blessed that we are most likely to forget God and his requirements.

Lastly, the people of God were instructed once again on the kind of bread and the kind of sacrifice they were to offer.  This reminds us that we cannot worship God any way we want.  There was a specific kind of bread and a specific way to offer their sacrifice.  It is Jesus Christ alone whom we must bring to the altar with us and we must offer ourselves in the way in which he commands.

The very last instruction here is found in verse 19.  The people were told not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.  This was a superstition from a pagan religion of the day that said if one did this and sprinkled the milk over the fields, they would produce a better harvest the following year.  God’s people were to have nothing to do with superstition, false religion, idol worship, or pagan practices.  The principle is still true for us today.

Pay attention to these things.  Rest, remember God, and return the best of what he has given you.  Amen.

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