July - Increased Time With God And Family

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Except for our Sunday celebrations and a few home groups, July brings a “slow down” of activity at The Covenant Center. This month is a time for family and friends to gather, vacations and special destinations to explore and is simply a great time to labor into His rest. I think the reason God used the word “labor” in this phrase is because sometimes it takes some labor and planning to rest in intimacy with HIm.

John 17:3 says: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” One of our most important goals is to know (yada - Hebrew) Him. What a great opportunity to change some of our busy daily habits by increasing our intimacy with Him in prayer, studying the Torah and practicing His presence. However, it does not mean we may not have to “labor” at getting rid of some of the distractions of life in order to accomplish this.

I suggest actually scheduling in some time with Him during the day and/or evening. It can be a time of prayer, including a journal or pad of paper to take notes. In addition to prayer, begin reading Genesis, Proverbs, Psalms, the Gospels, Romans, or any book that you enjoy. The most important part is to include and increase communication with the Lord during this study. It is amazing the revelation the Lord desires to impart with creative ideas to help solve many of life’s challenges.

I encourage you to use this month of July to labor into His rest by increasing your prayer and Torah study with Him, allowing these good habits to continue for the rest of the year. Enjoy this time of family, friends and especially Jesus!

In His Covenant Love,

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I Am The Great Maestro

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While in prayer on Sunday Morning at The Covenant Center, May 26, 2019, I heard the Spirit of the Lord say:

I am the Great Maestro! I am the Great Maestro! I am the Conductor of the Universe and all things bow to My name. Do you think that I am caught by surprise by events and situations and even trials that you must walk through? Do you think that I am not aware when evil and darkness must come to My throne to ask permission to do anything in this world, in this universe? No! I am not surprised and yet I hear My children, My people often saying, “Why, why, why, why, God?”  as they also said many years before. I heard their cries with Noah, I heard their cries with Abraham, I heard their cries with Moses. Why?  But My plans are far  greater than your understanding can imagine. I am doing a great work in the earth. I’m doing a great work in the universe. Open your eyes, listen with your ears. Allow My Spirit to flow through you which will allow you to see the magnificence of My actions. Yes, there are people that are martyred in my name. Has it not been said so in Scripture? And yes, even today that we celebrate those who were martyred in the name of freedom, is that not what My Son stood for? Freedom! But the freedom that comes by My Spirit is much different than the world.

So I say to you My beloved, do not look at the world and do not weigh your importance or your actions by what the world says is important. Sit with Me, continue to run with Me, speak with Me, study with Me, walk with Me, and let Me continue to reveal My secrets and the keys to My Kingdom. For even though it looks dark around you, I am with you. Does it not say that I am with you always? I am with you and I am moving on your behalf. And I am bringing healing and life to you, and wholeness. So, shall it be in this world as it also is in My Kingdom! So, do not fret, do not worry, do not be disconcerted by events around you for you will see in the coming days and you will look back and go “Oh, oh, oh!  Oh Father, Oh my Lord, You had it all under control all the time.” So receive today, My love. Receive an indwelling. Allow Me to become a habitation within you where I will be with you always, and you will sense My manifest presence. I will bring you peace and life through whatever you walk through. Let Me guide you in your jobs. Let Me guide you in those that you meet - the divine appointments. Let Me guide you through your day.

So again I ask and remind you, know that I am with you. Know that I am the Conductor of the universe and I know where you are and I know who you are and I know you by name and I know the events that take place in your life. And you will see and you will sense My hand and My love wrapped around you, guiding you, guarding you, and encouraging you till the day you come home to see Me face to face.

I am the Conductor of the universe. I am the Great Maestro. Rejoice in Me that nothing is too great for Me and nothing has taken Me by surprise. 

We thank you Father that you know who we are and you know each one of us by name. We thank you that you are doing a great work in the earth and your desire is to prosper each one of your children, and have them be in health, even as our souls prosper. Thank You Lord! Thank You Lord!

In His Love,

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Believe In Me

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While in prayer on Sunday Morning at The Covenant Center, May 19, 2019, I heard the Spirit of the Lord say:

Whose report do you believe? I ask you, Whose report do you believe? Do you believe Me? Do you believe My word? Do you know that, yes, sorrow comes but there is still joy in the morning? I’m setting you up, I’m setting you up for miracles in your life. I’m setting you up for promotion. Yes, the season has been hard. Training is hard, challenges are hard, gathering wisdom and understanding often comes through pain, but I am setting you up for promotion. Who do you think that that I am? I ask you beloved, who do you think that I am? Do you think that I have not created you before the world began? Do you think that I have not given you favor? Do you think that I am not the One who promotes you? Do you think I am not the One who prospers you? Do you think I am not the One who heals you? Do you think I am not the One who orders your steps? The darkness and the enemy would come to torment you. There are many that are being tormented in this day. I haven’t done it! You say “ I’ve missed it, He’s not with me anymore, why is He not speaking to me? I guess I’ve missed it. I guess He doesn’t love me. I guess it was never real. I guess He’s not real.”  But I say to you, I am real and I created you for My divine purpose, and it shall be so because what I start I finish. And I ask you today, who do you believe? What do you believe? And as I spoke to My disciples I said to them, Believe in Me. Trust Me, for I am with you always. Believe in Me and know that I am with you and I have good things planned for you and I plan to prosper you, I plan to give you favor. But know that some things take time because I am not throwing you together for you to lose or to fail. I am building you to be victorious.

So, even though at times it may seem like suffering, and even though at times it may seem I am quiet, know that I am with you always! I am with you always, And in time I will unfold the plan in your life and you will see Me prosper you because you believe in Me.and you are Mine. Do you sense the wind? The wind is blowing! The breath of My Spirit is blowing!  You’ve entered a new season. Feel the wind blowing upon you and your family. Feel the wind blowing upon the embers of the passion that has softened or died because of the hardships you’ve gone through. I’m blowing on those embers (blowing into the mic). Be revived! I’m sending My angelic host - be revived, be revived, be revived. Be revived with the vision I gave you. Be revived with the gifts that I’ve given you. Be revived with the hope that I’ve placed within you and imparted to you. Be revived in My love. For this is a new day!  I know, I know, you’ve heard new day, new day, new day. But it is a new day for you! Even though your schedule may not look like the schedule of others, I ask you, don’t compare! Don’t compare! This is not a competition. I’m dealing with you individually. I’m dealing with your life, I’m dealing with your family, I’m answering your prayers. Look to Me. Trust Me. Believe in Me. For I have not left you, and you will see things begin to spring forth and you will say, “Thank You, Lord, it is well with You.  It is well with my soul.” 

So rejoice and give Me praise because I am the God that is more than enough. I am the King of the Universe and you will see Me move on your behalf. 

Thank you Lord for your love and provision. That you guide us and walk with us. Thank you that you have plans not to harm us but to give us hope. Thank you that you walk with us and guide us even in uncharted waters and even in darkness. Lord, we believe and ask you to help us with any unbelief. We choose to trust you and place our hope in you. Help us to sense the wind of your Spirit and see with Spirit eyes your plans and purposes. Thank you that all provision comes from you - that you are our supply. Thank you Lord that you are always with us. We rejoice in your loving kindness and goodness. We thank You, Lord!

Be blessed in His love and grace!

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Urgent Need For Benny Humphries-Deeper In Love Ministries Peru

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There is no greater love than laying down one’s life for his brother. Benny Humphries is the quintessential picture of just that. Once an educator in Polk County Florida, with ministry training from Carpenter’s Home Church to Morningstar Ministries, he sensed twenty years ago the call of God to sell everything and go to the nations. He found himself in Peru where he met his beautiful wife Alexandria, a native of Peru. They not only started their family, but they birthed a spiritual family in Tarapoto, Peru, in the low jungle near the Amazon River.

Over the years Benny and his wife and family have developed a K-3 school, three congregations, outreach programs including food for the poor, and various conferences to train and equip Pastors. They have traveled the Amazon River taking their training and message to various Pastors and developing communities, also giving support and guidance. Benny also sits on several Boards lending support and counseling. He has written numerous books to help educate and train others. Benny and his family have truly lived by faith, being instructed to build a non-denominational community named Deeper In Love Ministries Peru. While other missionaries align with mainline groups often giving greater financial support, it has been God bringing provision for all He has requested of Benny. This apostolic ministry is touching the world and people of Peru in His name.

The Humphries have six children, five biological and one adopted, ranging from ages five to twenty-three. Their family has lived through three earthquakes, bringing damage to their home. However the recent earthquake in Peru at 8.0 hit hard, demolishing many homes around them and making their home now unlivable by Civil Defense Code. The home, over 60 years old, is made of compacted clay and the foundation has now shifted and is broken. They have patched up their home for a decade after each earthquake. The need for a secure home structure is urgent for the Humphries. The home must be rebuilt with concrete blocks to be livable and align with civil codes. For this reason we are trying to help raise the $80,000.00 needed to rebuild.

Deeper in Love MInistries Mission Statement is: To advance the Kingdom of God by completing the great commission including building schools, churches, writing relevant books and bringing people into the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

You can find up to date information and photos on their Facebook page: Deeper In Love Ministries Peru.

For donations please visit their GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/rebuild-home-for-missionaries-benny-amp-alexandra.

If you choose to send a check please make it out to “The Covenant Center” and mark it for “Benny.” Our address is: The Covenant Center, 26 Lake Wire, PO Box 524, Lakeland, Florida 33802-0524.

Thank you for your prayers as well as your support for this family and ministry and for your giving to this urgent need.

In His Covenant Love,

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Seven Truths For A Strong Foundation

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Broken world living contains much mixture - the beautiful with the ugly, the easy with the difficult, the joys with the sorrows, the wonderful with the terrible, the thrilling and exciting with the mundane and downright boring. Walking with God through all of the above refines and purifies our demanding hearts; for in our humanity, we all desire the perfect, the fair, the just, the easy. One day on the other side, we will have it, but not here. Jesus in all his perfection suffered horrible injustice! And so will we (John 16:33).

Just like in the seasons of nature, a tree is battered in some moments and restored with the warmth of the sunshine in others; stretched to capacity as it is bent low in a violent windstorm, but restored to beauty in the gentle rains from above. Our lives are like that - the future unknown, the next moments uncertain, but God is our Rock, the only solid place under our feet when all else is quaking. We know that in our heads, but through our circumstances we are forced to learn that in our hearts. He is the only sure foundation for our time (Isaiah 33:6) - for the insecurities we live with that are lurking in the distance. HE is our only security. Surrendering our lives into his hands is the only way of peace, for He alone holds all things together when they seem to be falling apart all around us (Colossians 1:17 & Psalm 31:14-15 NIV).

In this my 80th year of life with over 50 plus years of walking with Jesus, I have come to some realities to stand firm upon as I have walked through the battering of this fallen world in my day to day circumstances.

1) Emotional healing from the past frees me to live from God’s grace and peace, instead of fear, anxiety and
the need to control.

2) I can’t do life on my own. I don’t even know what it is suppose to look like. My own “pictures of life” are skewed. I am weak, but He is strong in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and 13:4 NIV).

3) Life really is too big for me so I must be desperately, emotionally dependent upon God at all times or fear will take over.

4) Unless I become childlike, not childish, I can’t even see the Kingdom of God, no less live in it. (Children are weak and dependent, trusting on the one who is bigger than them).

5) I will grieve and mourn a lot because this broken world is not what I was created for and not the way I want it to be (Matthew 5:3,4 NIV).

6) Daily surrender and gratitude are absolutely necessary if I’m to live in peace and remain in peace in the midst of it all. (I must look daily with thankfulness for the gifts that come in the midst of the losses).

7) I get the privilege of co-laboring with God in my own uniqueness and for His own purposes, so my life takes on rich meaning even in the midst of the brokenness of daily living.

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Sometimes He Asks You To Get In The Boat

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Jesus was with His disciples after a time of teaching, when He turns and says to them in Mark 4:35: “Hey guys, let’s get in the boat and cross to the other side.” Now one must assume Jesus knew that a storm was brewing, but he asked his friends to get in the boat with him anyway. Verse 37 states: Soon a violent windstorm came up, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was being swamped. But Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him and said, ‘Teacher, don’t You care that we are perishing?’ Then in verse 39 Jesus spoke to the storm and wind - “Silence! Be still! And the wind died down and it was perfectly calm.

Storms of life are never enjoyable. Here in Florida I watch the weather to actually try to avoid them, but eventually they do appear. The disciples were a good picture of what we emotionally deal with when a storm arises. They were fearful and the unknown was disconcerting, so Jesus spoke to their doubt, while exposing their thoughts and concerns. But there was more happening than they may have realized. What did they experience while in the storm? They experienced a miracle and God’s supernatural power they had never seen before, exclaiming: “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” They grew in wisdom and understanding and further witness of the Kingdom through their experience in the boat. We want to know God and understand His ways, but to experience Him, He may ask or invite you to get in the boat. The disciples were out of control, but Jesus was right there with them, watching over, guiding, revealing more of Himself to His followers. I’m sure the disciples grew in their faith and trust knowing Jesus was with them, keeping them safe. And the good news is He is still the same today for you and me! Maybe you are in the boat with a storm brewing, or are about to be invited into the boat. There is nothing more peaceful and soothing than gliding along the smooth glass like sea of Galilee on a beautiful day, but if a storm begins to erupt, look for Jesus. He is right there with you preparing to teach you who He is and how much He cares for you. He will comfort, protect, guide you and watch over you. Know that He rides upon your storm and when you agree with Him and look for what He is teaching or revealing, you will sail through and watch Him calm the waters as you grow in wisdom and understanding.

In 1993, Arthur Burt, a wise prophet, gave a word of encouragement to Richard and I. It took me some years to understand, because I had yet to encounter a really troubling storm. But this word, encouraged and comforted me as Jesus guided me into the boat over the years. Arthur said: “ Be in turmoil, battles that are peculiar to youth, but God is in the storm. He rides upon it (the storm). If He rides agree with Him and you will not sink. The storms of youth, I haven’t looked at you. The storms of youth, they leave their mark on life. But out of the storm blind unbelief is sure to error and scan His works in vain, God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.”

Be encouraged and know that blind unbelief will certainly assist you in sinking, but trusting God and His faithfulness, knowing He rides on your life’s storms will bring peace and hope. You will not sink or fail as you trust Him, and He will bring understanding to you and make His plans clear.

In His love,

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Preparation For Pentecost/Shavuot

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Fifty days after Passover, the Apostle Paul planned his travels so he could be in Jerusalem during Shavuot. It was to celebrate God’s faithfulness with the early wheat harvest, which increased the hopefulness for a fall harvest (Sukkot). Later, the Rabbis while searching for historical facts discovered that around the same time during Shavuot, Moses came to Mount Sinai and was given the Law.

The Jews celebrated Shavuot when they received the Torah from God in Exodus 20. The presence and the revelation of God appeared on top of the mountain in the form of fire. Torah or the Word of God was then given to them on tablets of stone. This year in 2019 Shavuot is celebrated on June 8th - 10th.

Pentecost is a Feast of the Lord recognized by believers on Sunday, June 9th, which is mentioned in Acts 2:1. In Acts 2, the presence of God fell upon the believers with tongues of fire as they began to speak in the native language of those who were listening. In the book of Jeremiah 31, he prophesied that the Spirit of God would come upon the believers and the Torah would be written on their hearts, rather than on tablets of stone.

We look forward to celebrating this Feast with Joy and thanksgiving! He has given us His written Word and continues to write His word upon our hearts. This is a time to saturate ourselves with His Word (Law) and Spirit (prayer) as we expect a fresh outpouring of His Spirit.

In His Covenant Love,

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Preparing For Passover

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Leviticus 23 includes Passover and Unleavened Bread, as well as Firstfruits as part of the Lord’s Feasts which we are encouraged to celebrate. The Hebrew word for Passover is “Pesach” meaning “to spring, jump or pass over something.” This refers to God’s deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt which brought freedom. Passover not only typifies redemption, but prophetically it was God’s plan for world redemption by Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb. What a great reason to celebrate!

“And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy,” Ezra 6:22. I have not personally found many Believers who celebrate the Lord’s Feasts, or become excited getting rid of the leaven or yeast in their lives. They believe it may be painful or too hard to give up enjoyable/addicting habits. It may be even worse for some to lay down their mental strongholds so they can receive inner healing.

But Passover cannot start until all leaven is removed. Cleansing the home was part of the preparation. However, cleansing of the home is just the beginning. Believers know that cleansing of the home includes the cleansing of our heart.

In 1st Corinthians 5:7 Paul states: Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, just as you really are unleavened. For Christ the Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are already new. His death and resurrection has removed the leaven in our life. However, in a practical way, there is still leaven that we must cleanse inside and out from the influence of the world. It is a time of purifying our heart and a time to make a decision to separate our self from anything unclean.

In preparation for this Passover, beginning April 19th through April 27th, let’s cleanse our “house,” get rid of the leaven, and celebrate as we experience His presence, joy and blessings!

In His Covenant Love,

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Don't Miss Your Visitation

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Almost everyone has expectations of God. You hope, you pray, you trust and sometimes great things happen. But it also seems at times, like He is not listening or responding to your need. You may feel your answer hasn’t come or He just doesn’t care. Maybe you are praying for relief from a challenge or health issue -maybe you are asking Him to help you with finances or work. Whatever your need, He will come and help you, but He may come to you in a way you don’t expect.

Luke chapter one tells the story of Mary. She experienced a visitation, but to her surprise is was to conceive a child. I’m sure Mary had many needs in her life, but when the angel of the Lord came to her, he spoke of heaven’s desire for her not her own needs. How did she respond? We are given a divine model, an example if you will, of how God desires for us to respond in Mary. She is a picture of surrender and humility as she speaks in Luke 1:38: “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”

When God visits He comes to you with purpose and favor. How did the angel greet Mary? In Luke 1:28 the angel declared: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” The word favored #5487 in the concordance is defined as “highly favored, given honor.” She was also encouraged that she was not alone - God was with her!

God will always equip you and supply all that He requires. He is pleased when you surrender to Him in humility and obedience to His request. When you choose to surrender to His plan and purpose, He will infuse you with His grace and favor, and He will bless you, your life and family and the work He assigns to you.

God gave favor to Mary for the following:
1) God wanted to bring something great into Mary’s life and into the world.
2) God’s way of doing this was unexpected and unusual. It did not fit into the culture.
3) There was a price Mary was willing to pay in accepting God’s plan for her life, family, relationships,
cultural acceptance, finances, even her good name in the city.
4) Mary had a choice whether to receive or reject what the angel brought to her - What God desired for
her life.
5) Mary chose to trust God.

Like Mary, there is a price that may include suffering and sacrifice, but the blessing of surrender to His desire will overtake the challenge and sacrifice that may accompany your visitation. A difficult lesson to learn as a believer is that happiness really has nothing to do with blessedness. Happiness relates more to being lucky, and the Lord never promised pure happiness, good luck or even favorable circumstances. The disciples are perfect examples of the challenges in the life of a believer and overcomer. God desires to bless, and His blessedness results in His indwelling, resulting in peace and contentment no matter what the circumstances may be.

James 5:11 translated in the Zodiates Bible states this verse should be translated: “Behold, we recognize those who endured as blessed;” that is to say, receiving His indwelling, and in God finding full satisfaction in spite of their suffering. Apostle Paul often spoke of the maturing process in learning to be content whether you have gain or are in lack (Philippians 4). If you look for material gain or acknowledgement from man to feel successful, you may miss your visitation and the future God desires for you.

Father, may we find favor with You, and in our surrender and choice to obey, may You bless each one with Your presence and grace, knowing that You Lord dwell within; causing us to be fully satisfied in You, knowing You are with us whatever our circumstances or life journey. Help us see with Spirit eyes what your plans are so we do not miss Your visitations.

In His Love,

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Marriage - Our Living Example of Covenant

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One of the main aspects of understanding covenant is giving. Many marriage books today include ways of negotiating with your spouse so each can get what they want, rather than the idea of loving and giving to each other. One fear is: “If I give to them unconditionally, they will take advantage of me and I will become a doormat that they run over.” There is no way that I can address all the Christian cultural ideas that have been accepted throughout the years. Dr. Skip Moen wrote a book I highly recommend titled “Guardian Angel,” which addresses some of the cultural strongholds and what the original purpose for the helpmate (ezer in Hebrew). A few of his thoughts are also paraphrased below.

Even in Genesis man is suppose to rule, but this rule is to be compassionate, never exploiting the relationship. It includes stewardship, care, nurturing and protection. It is similar to a shepherd. Ruling is not suppose to be domination by force or the law. In Genesis 2:24 man is told to detach from precious protectors and providers and to cling (dagaq in Hebrew) to their spouse. It means a close affection and loyalty. An example is how Israel clings to God. Obviously this assumes first that the husband has an intimate relationship with the Lord and easily transfers that same closeness to his “Ezer.”

Sometimes a fear of giving the wife too much power can cause Christian husbands to begin to quote scriptures to make sure they don’t lose their authority. “I’m the head of the household and I will make all final decisions!” In covenant relationships there is a mutual submission that takes place; a giving to one another. It becomes defacto authority which develops from a decision to place myself under the direction of another, because I recognize the right of the other to be my lord, and it is in my best self interest to submit to that authority.

Dejure authority is based on the law. For instance, a policeman has the authority to give us a ticket if we are speeding and the authority comes from the municipal law. However, if the husband has any authority at all, it is based on defacto, and the wife recognizes or grants him authority, and it is in her best interest to submit. Jesus’ entire ministry is based on defacto authority. He doesn’t command us to repent or we go to prison. He invites us to recognize His right to rule, to submit to Him because it is our duty and in our best interest to submit to His authority in the covenant relationship. We volunteer to grant Him authority over our life.

When you love your spouse, you are free to love. No one is forcing you to love them. It’s voluntary. But it does not mean we have no obligations. Imagine no expectations, no commitment and no mutual covenant. Would you call that love? What if your children ignored your requests or directions? It’s the same with God. If we love Him we keep His Torah; not because we have to, but because of love and we desire to please Him. God is delighted when we love Him by obeying and submit to Him.

Ephesians 5:24-25 is a good example of covenant giving. “But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Since God uses the marriage covenant as an earthly example of His covenant with His people, let’s remember that it is our obligation to give our love to our spouse as we give that same love to the Father. It is our joy and privilege to be able to lay our life down and please our Father, and do the same with our spouse in the marriage covenant!

In His Covenant Love,

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