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29 Oct 2017

Clinging To Christ
  • Topic: FAITH

Overview

Genesis 32:22-32 Clinging To Christ Pastor Monte Starkes 29 October 2017 Life is full of hardships and challenges, and they are not for nothing, for it is often in hardships and challenges where God will meet us. When we are broken, emptied out and dislocated in life, we then find our all and all in God alone. As you listen in to the sermon, we pray you will wonderfully encounter God in your weaknesses and fears. May you truly discover what it means to find "His strength in your weakness" and what it means to find joy in a life of repentance.

Genesis 32:22-32
Clinging To Christ
Pastor Monte Starkes
29 October 2017


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Before I read this passage again, you could turn your bibles to 32 on apps or whatever. But before I read, I want to set up the context for what's happening here in Genesis 32, so to give you a greater understanding of what is happening. So, in chapter 31 the chapter right before this, God tells Jacob to return home. He's in Paddan-aram and he tells him, “I want you to return home to Canaan where you grew up.” Jacob has been blessed abundantly over the last several years and we're going to talk about that, of how that happened. But God also poured out abundance of blessing with family, material possessions and so on. But it's very interesting because Jacob is returning home and he knows he is going to see his brother Esau. And he's thinking, “Uh-oh, the last time I saw Esau, I stole his birthright and he wanted to kill me. So Jacob is fearful, he's scared. And so he sends some messengers out to find out what is going on ahead of them. The messengers come back and say, “Guess what, Esau is coming towards you, still in Canaan but coming towards you, with 400 hundred men.” Jacob is very scared, he's very, very fearful And then, at the beginning of chapter 32, he kind of prays and pleads with God to help him. Then he sends more messengers out and more gifts with the messengers, hopefully to soften Esau's heart. And then Jacob is right here at the edge of Canaan, about to enter. And it's the river or stream of Jabbok. The name Jabbok. And we're going to talk about that more in a moment. So that's our context.

And before I'm going to read Genesis 32 again, if you will allow me to do that, I want to remind you of something. I want to remind you of what grace is. Grace is God pouring out upon you and giving you what you do not deserve. And He does this for us time and time and again. So if you would, if you don't mind, I'm going to read Genesis 32 again here. And just follow along in your hearts silently as I read.

22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.

23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had.

24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.

25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.

26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”

28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.

30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”

31 Then sun rose upon him as he passed Peniel, limping because of his hip.

32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob's hip on the sinew of the thigh.

If you would please pray with me. O Heavenly Father, would You bless the preaching and teaching and hearing, reading of Your infallible, inerrant, inspired and authoritative Word? Remove me from this place, that Jesus may be exalted. We pray in His name, Amen.

The first point I would like to make is this: God's grace is powerful to pursue the sinner. God's grace is powerful to pursue you, to come after you. Because He loves you and He wants to change you to make you more like His son Jesus. See, God pursued Jacob in chapter 28 when He came to him in a dream and says “Return home. I've blessed you, multiplied your descendants, it's time to go home.” In Chapter 31, God pursues Jacob again and says “Laban's and, (his, his father-in-law),Laban and, and Laban's sons are very angry at you. Because you've deceived them, you've manipulated them. You need to go home. I'm calling you to go home.” And in chapter 32 at the beginning, he's on his way and God sends angels to Jacob again for a third time pursuing him to comfort him. To remind him of His goodness and His love. See, God is keeping his covenant promises with Jacob. That he, Jacob, is His son and he's dearly loved. So Jacob is being pursued by his Heavenly Father on a consistent basis and Jacob here, remember, that he, he's scared he's fearful that Esau will kill him. And so he sends these messengers with gifts. “Oh I hope that will soften Esau's heart.” And then verse 23 Jacob sends his entire family across the ford of the Jabbok and Jacob is all alone. And what does God, what does God do here? What does God do? What's God's plan? So in verse 24 a man comes to him. Who is this man that comes to him? What's very interesting in Hosea chapter 3, it tells us. And remember, the best way to interpret scripture is to interpret scripture with scripture. It points to the same thing. And we read in Hosea 12:3, “In the womb (that’s Jacob), he took his brother by the heel (Esau, we read about that in the story), and in his manhood he strove or he wrestled with God.” So we see God just come after Jacob in a very unique way. And we don't know exactly who this is other than that it's God. It says over and over again, that Jacob wrestled with God. It's Christ, its God in a physical form, physically wrestling with Jacob. Jacob was scared. He was alone. He knows his brother Esau's going to kill him. And out of God's redeeming love, and despite Jacob's incredible sin that we're going to talk about here in a moment, God pursued him. God pursued him because of His covenant promise and His faithful amazing love.

See, God pursues His daughters and His sons, over and over again. I wish we have time to go and look at scripture, God went after Abraham. God went after Moses and Elijah and apostle Paul and how God pursues you. Tell us in John chapter 6 that we're running away from God and God actually drags us into a relationship with Him. See God does the same with us as children. In our fears, in our uncertainly, in our worries, in our anxiety, God comes after us and pursues us. Doesn't leave us alone. See, I believe at times in my struggles of life, I have 4 children and I'll talk about that in a moment. I have 4 children and at times when I look at my job or my children, I,I, I hear the liar, believe the lie that, that God's not there because I can't see that God working in the hearts of my kids at that moment; are working in my heart, are working in the men I'm discipling, or in the people I'm ministering to. And I believe the lie that God's not pursuing, God's not there. And it's not true. God passionately is pursuing me. If you're a child or daughter right now of the King, He wants to change you, He's coming after you, He promises to do that. He never stops pursuing you. He promised and gives you the great promise that He will never leave you or forsake you. So what do you do when you feel that He's not there? Don't believe the lie. Your Papa, the Great King is coming after you. We're His, He pursues us, we're His children, He's our Father.

Point number two: after that He pursues us as sinners, God's grace is powerful to penetrate the heart. We're going to spend a little bit more time on this one. That God's grace not only pursues you but God comes in and He penetrates your heart. And longs to change it. Throughout Jacob's life he has worldly success and most of this came from his deceiving life. See, he deceived his whole family, he deceived his father Isaac, he deceived his brother Esau, he deceived his father-in-law Laban. I mean, he, he spends his whole life manipulating and deceiving people for his own selfish gain. He was a master at deceiving people. A master at manipulating them so he can have selfish gain, his own glory and he did this in his own strength, he did this in his own strength. In verses 9 to 12, right before this passage, we see his heart start to break. I don't think it truly broke because of what I'm about to say, but he starts to pray and says “God, you know Esau's probably going to kill me so could you help me?” See Jacob lived most of his life trusting in himself and his own strength, manipulating, deceiving people. And so he begins to plead in verses 9 to 12 we see this. And it's very interesting, most theologians believe that his heart really doesn't break and he's kind of remorseful but he knows God's there. A.W. Pink, a great theologian. By the way I'm not a great theologian but if I were, A.W. Pink might be a pretty cool name to choose. I don't know about that but A.W. Pink, look him up, a great theologian says there's 4 reasons why he believes that even though Jacob is praying, his heart is not really depending on the Lord.

So in verses 13-15, this is the first reason, Jacob sends numerous gift to hopefully softens Esau's heart. So Jacob's hope and trust was in what he could do. “Oh here's what I do, I put my hope and trust in, so maybe it would soften his heart with gifts.” A second reason, in verse 18 it says, that he calls himself Esau's servant and he calls Esau lord. That's crazy but it's like “Oh you know I mean, I really should serve Esau.” He's not trusting in the power of God, he's trusting in himself. Third in verse 20, it says “I will pacify him, I will appease him.” You know, some places across the world we give babies these pacifiers that we stick in their mouths. See what Jacob is doing, he took these, he wants to take these large pacifiers and stick these in Esau's mouth to appease him, to pacify him, to soften him. The fourth reason in verse 20 said, Jacob says, “Perhaps, maybe Esau will receive me.” See, he's not trusting that God is sending him home, God's gone before him, God will take care of him. He's trusting in himself, he's trusting in his own strength.

I don't think Jacob was just using means, just using plans that are very good. But he's trusting in himself and not in the power of God. You know, I do this a lot. You know what I'll do is, is, I'll pray and I'll say, “God I need to, help me.” And right after that, I'll turn and I'll forget the power and the strength of our Lord. And I'll just trust in myself. And hope in myself. And I'll forget quickly of the promises and the power of God. And I'll try to manipulate my children, I'll try to manipulate my co-workers, I'll try to manipulate my neighbours, I'll try even to manipulate my own heart to bring about the change that I want and I won't trust God's plans, I won't trust God's goodness and strength. Plans are good, you should plan. Put your hope in God and trust His way, His goodness, His plans for your life. See, what happens is I get fixed upon my navel, I get fixed upon my own self, and I look at my little story what's happening in my life today, whatever problems that I have and I forget that God's called me to a larger story, to His story and I'm part of that story and I could see the redeeming work of He's doing in my life and the lives of others. But no, I just fixed upon me and I get self-centred and self-reliant, upon me and me alone.

But God is good. His grace is coming after me, His grace wants to change me. So in verse 24 God wrestles with Jacob and God's strategy was incredible. See, God allowed Jacob in verse 25 to start overpowering him. God allowed Jacob to, so Jacob is now saying now, “Look at how great a wrestler I am, I'm winning, I'm winning.“ God could have destroyed him like that. But God was trying to get Jacob to see “here you are putting your own self-reliant strength in yourself and you're not trusting in me.” Then God unveils his ultimate plan. We see that God attacked Jacob at the greatest point of a wrestler. Right in those hips, you have to push off around those hips and those legs. And here comes God and He touches the hips of Jacob and He dislocates it at that great strength. We read in that passage, it says that hip, the, the tendon there is called the sinew. Sinew, as you all know, means vigorous strength. So, God is taking away his own strength, Jacob's own human strength, his own self-reliance. He's crippling him of his natural powers. See, God is penetrating him because He wants to change his heart. He doesn't want him to go through life resting upon his own goodness and his own abilities and his own power. See, Jacob would always put his hope in his own self, his own self-confidence. See, God wants to do that and does do that to us. He comes into your life, He doesn't want you to remain the same, He wants you to become like His son Jesus, so He comes in and dislocates your life, comes in and changes your life. In many multiple ways, some ways we don't even understand and see, so you would take your eyes off yourself and lift them to the King and put your hope and trust in Him.

See, we see the same thing in the New Testament, in the apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 we see the same thing. We don't understand the thorn, if it's a physical thing or a spiritual/mental thing but listen to what the apostle Paul say in 2 Corinthians 12.

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your great strength.”

Oh, oh, oops, my bad. That's exactly what we think most of the time. That Christ's powers come on me when I get it together, when I get organised, when I'm strong, when I have like this supernatural faith, when all those things come around me, then Christ will give me the power. That's not what it says. It says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power's made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I don't go around a lot around the world, have a blessing to travel and I don't hear a lot of believers or even sermons boasting about their weakness. I hear people boasting about, “Look what I have. I have this great degree, I have 2 degrees, I even have 3 degrees. Look at this great education I have. Man, I should be able to do a lot.” See, I'm boasting in what I have accomplished, what I've done. I'm boasting in my abilities and my gifts forgetting that there're actually given from God. It's interesting what John Calvin a great theologian said about this.

“For we know that the strength of God is made perfect in our weakness in order that our exaltation may be joined with humility. For if our own strength remained entire and there were no injury or dislocation produced, immediately the flesh would become hardly and we would forget that we had done anything by the help of God.”

See, John Calvin is saying we need to be humbled, we need to be dislocated so that we don't live in our pride, in our self-reliance. See, there's power in brokenness. There's power in brokenness. It is not in self-confidence but in the power of the gospel - Jesus living in us. See when we're truly broken, we'll rely on Christ, we rely on His strength, His joy, His power in us. Every single step. The rest of Jacob's life, he would be reminded of the great need of God and His power. That he would reminded that it's not about his self-reliance and self-confidence, it's about utter dependence for every step and every breath from our great King.

What was Jacob's response here? How did Jacob actually respond? Jacob began by wrestling to defend himself. And he was actually starting to win. He was not asking for a blessing. He was actually defending himself. And then, wow! He lost all strength. And then he sat there, we see in verse 26, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” See, Jacob understood at that point that it was God, and he wanted the blessing and he was holding on and clinging to Christ saying, “Bless me. All I have is You.” He's fully dependent upon the Lord at that moment. See, Jacob knew it was God. He knew it was God. This is why Jacob asked Him to bless him. Jacob realised he was weak and he needed, he clung to God. What do you do when you're weak? You're anxious, you're in pain, you're struggling. Do you trust in your own abilities, your own self-reliance, your own strength? Or you boast in your weakness? Boast in your need for Christ and cling to Him and say, “Bless me, I need you today.”

We will not cling to Christ until we see our need for Him. We will not cling to Christ until we see our sin and our great need of Jesus. We have to see our great need and then we will never ever let go. When we're truly helpless, we cling to God. Look at the next verse in Hosea 12. This is what Jacob did: “He strove with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought his favour.” Jacob knew that he could not do life anymore without God. He had no human strength to beat Esau, to see Esau face to face. Now what he had was divine grace and that was the greatest thing he had ever had. I know many times when I'm weak and I'm struggling; I, I try again to manipulate ways to use my own strength, my own self-reliance. We don't like to boast, we don't like to boast in, in needing God. We don't want to need Him. I can get it done. It's all about me. No, it's not. We need to cling to Christ and trust in Him. God has great pleasure to see his pasture broken with contrite hearts.

Look at Charles Spurgeon, great pastor and theologian said. “You're strong when you're weak. You're perfect when you know you're imperfect. You're nearest to heaven when you think you're farthest off. The less you esteem yourself, the higher is God's esteem of you.” God comes in and pursues us by His grace. He comes in, He doesn't leave us alone. He comes in and penetrates our hearts. And breaks us and brings us to great repentance. Which brings us to our last point.

And our third point is this: God's grace is powerful to proclaim us as His own. God's grace is powerful to proclaim us as His own. In verse 27, God asked Jacob, “What's your name?” God knew what Jacob's name was. He knew exactly what's his name was, so what was God doing here? Why is God saying, “Jacob, tell me your name.” See, in ancient times and actually in many cultures today, your name expresses your true identity. Express who you truly were. It revealed many things about who you truly were. See, God loves Jacob so much that God is asking his name because God desires for Jacob to turn, that means to repent, of his sin - his deceiving, his manipulating. See, God didn't want him to remain the same. Jacob means, supplanter, deceiver, or he cheats. Now, to make a side comment right now, if you're in this room and your name is Jacob, God loves you. But what Jacob, he, he, he, he, God was going after his heart, he wanted to cheat. He wanted him not to be deceiving and manipulating any more. He wanted him to change so God gave him a new name. And He says, “Your name will no longer be called Jacob, but it will be called Israel.” Israel - one who strives with God.

You know, I was thinking about this passage and studying it, I said, “You know, what if God came to me apart from my identity in Christ, what if He came to me and he says, “what's your name?” Apart from Christ I would have to say: I'm greed, I'm self-righteous, I'm lust, I'm selfishness. That's what I'll have to say. See, God comes in and He wants to change us. He wants us to make us new so he gave Jacob this new name of Israel, he strives with God. He strives with God, he has a new identity. This is exactly what the gospel is. The gospel of Jesus Christ when God calls us into his family as a daughter or son, He gives us a new family, He gives us a new home, He gives us a new father, He gives us a new identity that our righteousness is not in our goodness and our failures. Our righteousness is in Jesus' righteousness. And it's been poured upon us; we've been washed whiter than snow, we're been clothed with the righteousness of Christ. We have a new identity - this is the gospel. Look at Ephesians chapter 1 with me. (v.5) “He predestined us for adoption to himself, as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of His will.” Galatians chapter 3, Galatians chapter 4, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons and daughters of God through faith, (v.7) “So you are no longer a slave but a son ,a daughter, and if a son ,a daughter, then an heir through God.” Christ has given you a new identity, He's giving you his perfection, His perfect life. God has imputed credit to you all of Jesus' life. God knows that we have that sinful nature, that battle we read about in Romans 7, the Holy Spirit battling with the sinful nature as believers. But when God looks upon us as daughters, sons, He sees Jesus. He sees the perfect righteousness of Christ that we've been clothed with and made new. See, God desires for all of us to repent, to call out our names and call us into repentance, so we can repent of our sin and run to Jesus Christ and cling to Him.

See, repenting is something I hated, growing up in the church. I hated it for a long time, you know why I hated repenting? Because I had done something wrong and I have to tell God or somebody about it. I didn't like repentance. But I didn't understand repentance. See, true repentance, we must understand. Most of us when we confess our sins acknowledge what we've done, we don't turn and stop, we actually keep turning and we just soak in our sin and beat ourselves up. But true repentance always brings joy. True repentance always brings joy. Do you know why? Because when we repent and confess of our sins, and we truly repent, we turn to Jesus and we see the beauty of the cross and the beauty of the forgiveness and the beauty of washing and making new that you have been accepted and forgiven that you've been clothed in righteousness. The beauty of being seen by the Father as the perfect daughter and child. We have a new identity. Repentance, true repentance always lead to joy.

When my kids were younger when they were six, four, two and a few weeks' old. My wife took them to the store to get a few things. And of course you know, she was there and it's, you know she came home and it's always shopping with four small kids that age. I'm just kidding, ladies. It's extremely difficult. Kids are hanging off her, the two-year-old’s kicking her, she's trying to hold the baby and she's walking around the store. So they were in line at this store and my four-year-old daughter, my four-year-old daughter grabs some chapstick in line right there, some chapstick for her lips and says, “Can I get this, mummy?” And my wife says, “No, put that back.” So they checked out and went home and they're playing soccer in the front yard a few hours later, about 30 minutes before I was going to come home from work. And my wife tells me that the daughter runs to the automobile and comes out with the chapstick. And I'm like great, I'm raising a bunch of thieves. So, I wanted to talk to my daughter when I got home. So I got home, she's all nervous, she knows she's done wrong. “I'm sorry, daddy, I'm so sorry, I know I shouldn't have taken the chapstick. Please forgive me, please forgive me.” And I said, “Oh, I forgive you.” She knew that there would discipline. So I was sitting there talking to her and, and I said, “I wanted to talk to you a little bit more about thank you, you're so forgiven, I forgive you. Do you think you need to repent to anyone else?” She says, “I don't know, I don't know.” She's four years old. And I said, “We probably need to go back and repent to the manager and the people at the store for stealing from them.” I said, “Once you go upstairs and grab some of your money and we're going to go to the store.” She got the chapstick, she's grabbed some like a dollar bill, some change, and I put her in the car seat. See, we're driving and I'm saying, “God loves a broken and contrite and repentant heart.” So we walk into the store, there's a lady checking people at the register there. I said, “Can I talk to the manager please? My daughter has something to say to her.” “Yeah, no problem. Come to register four, manager. Come to register four, register four.” So, the manager walks up, it's this lady and my daughter’s sitting there and she's shaking and crying and the manager goes, “May I help you?” I said, my daughter has something to say to you. “I'm so sorry for stealing the chapstick, I want to pay for it, please forgive me, please forgive me.” And the manager is like, “Oh, no problem.” No problem? I'm teaching her something here. So, she goes, “Hey, why don't we go pay for it?” And you see her countenance start to change. She puts her money on the conveyor belt and the chapstick and it's popping up and down- the change. The manager gets the money, pays for it and says, “It's now yours, you've paid for it.” And she turns to me, and she runs to me, she jumps up in my arms, “Daddy, I did it, I did it.” See, God loves a repentant heart and it brings great joy. I love you, you're forgiven.

What happened to Jacob? What happened? He was on right there at the edge of the ford of the Jabbok. Do you know what Jabbok means? It means to be emptied. God wanted Jacob to be emptied of his self-reliance, his self-confidence, his own strength, so he could cross over into Canaan as a truly dependent man upon God. See, God wants all of us, and He wants me to live our lives daily crossing the ford of the Jabbok. Being emptied, day in and day out, clinging to Christ trusting wholly in Him. What happened? They met and Esau kissed Jacob. But it's nothing compared to what Jesus has done for us. If you're here and you've never trusted in Christ before, I pray that you would have seen today and heard today the power of what Christ has done for you. And that you would see He's your only hope for forgiveness. He's your only hope to have eternal life with God forever. God's grace is powerful to pursue the sinner. He's coming after us because He loves us. God's grace is powerful to penetrate the heart, He wants our hearts to be changed to live a life of repentance. And God's grace is powerful to proclaim us as His own. That we would live a life completely dependent upon him. Clinging to him.

Nine years later, my daughter was in junior high school, about 13 years old. She was on a cross-country team and she was, had, you know, friends on her team. And we went to a Christian high school at that time, and she did. And our parents had a commitment that we would call each other as covenantal parents to say if our kids were hurting each other or doing rude things, we would call as parents to really go after our kids' hearts. So one night, before a cross-country race the next day, this mum calls and I answered the phone. I said, “May I help you?” She says, “I'm so-and-so, and our daughters are in the cross-country team together and your daughter said very rude, degrading words to my daughter today at practice.” “Ma'am, I'm so sorry. I know she's a sinner and she doesn't need to do that. She needs to be broken of it, and repented of it.” I said, “Let me go talk to her.” So I hung up the phone and went to talk to my daughter and she says, “Dad, I didn't do any of that.” So, I picked up the phone called the mum back and said, “My daughter said she didn't say anything. So what did you daughter say she said?” And she said some pretty hard things. Wow. So I hung up the phone and went back to my daughter and asked, “Did you say this?” “No, I didn't.” I called the mum back and said, “Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow, you know, at the cross-country meet.” I hung up the phone. About an hour later, after she went to bed, she walked downstairs crying. She said, “Dad, I did say those things, and I want to ask for your forgiveness. And I want to repent of my evil tongue, please forgive me.” She knew she would still be disciplined but I hugged her and said, “ You're going be forgiven because this is what Christ came for. He died literally for this specific sin.” I said, “What do you need to do?” “Tomorrow I'm going to straight to that girl and repent.” I said, “Great! That's awesome!” I said, “What else you might need to do?” “She goes, “I know the parents were involved. I probably need to repent to them too.” Wow!

The next day I saw her right before the meet and I said, “Did you get to repent to that girl?” She said, “Yeah, it was great. She forgave me.” And I said “I'm so proud of you.” The parents walked up and my daughter, 13 years old, looked them in the eye and says, “Would you please forgive me of my sin of an evil tongue.” And they said, “Oh we forgive you.” And they hugged her. She ran a great race, came home and ate dinner and she was doing homework and I said, “Do you have fifteen or twenty minutes? I want to talk to you about something.” She said, “Sure.” So I grabbed her, put her out in the car, drove to the closest restaurant I could find, walked in the restaurant and told the waitress, “We want the biggest dessert, chocolate ice cream, whatever you've got, right in front of us as soon as you can.” She went behind and gave us. My daughter is looking at me, “What are we doing?” And I just wept and said, “God loves a broken repentant heart and we're celebrating because repentance is all about joy.”

God loves you and He's coming after you. Repent, turn to Him and rest and cling to Christ knowing every breath and every step is dependent upon Him. Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the finished work of Jesus that our hope, our trust, our strength our joy is found in Him alone. Oh Father, help us to cling to You and never let go. Help us to live lives of repentance, knowing when we turn to Jesus, there is always forgiveness. And it always results in joy. Of Father, we desperately need you. Thank you, thank you for all you've done, We love you. We thank you for loving us first. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

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