Peter Horrobin

International Director of Ellel Ministries

November 15, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on Buy Now – Pay Later!

Buy Now – Pay Later!

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”

Romans 6:23, NIV

Christmas is coming. The shops are full of inducements to buy what we want, when we want it, without consideration of the financial consequences of unwise purchasing decisions. The encouragement to ‘Buy NOW – Pay Later’ screams at us from advertisements for all the products which are deemed essential in our consumer driven society. It’s a tactic that commercial interests use – because it works!

But it’s a tactic that Satan has been using since the beginning – for the same reason. It works! Mankind is still paying for the Fall! The words ‘forbidden fruit’ are used to describe the things that carry a hidden price tag. Even though his sin was later forgiven, David spent the rest of his life paying for the consequences of his relationship with Bathsheba. And when you read the stories of the Kings of Israel and Judah you read story after story, telling of the personal and national consequences there were of buying in to Satan’s temptations.

Temptations are always dressed up to be attractive – otherwise we wouldn’t stretch out the hand of our life to take hold of such ‘forbidden fruit’. But there is always a price to pay. And sometimes the cost is very high. Often we have to spend a lot of time on Healing Retreats, helping people to unpack the consequences of wrong choices they have made.

Our Scripture for today not only reminds us that the hidden price of sin is death. But it then goes on to remind us that God’s great gift to sinners is eternal life. Repentance and forgiveness are the doorways to living in the blessing of the eternal life that Jesus won for us on the cross.

So, why would you want to risk having to pay later for Satan’s forbidden fruit? In his first letter, Peter tells his readers, “You have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do . . . but they will have to give an account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (from 1 Peter 4:3-5). May I encourage you to use these weeks of preparation for Christmas as a season of heart-searching and turning away from the things for which Satan will exact his price by urging you to Buy Now – Pay Later?!

October 31, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love!

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love!

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:35,37-39, NIV

Life can be tough – very tough. And when we are going through difficult times it is tempting to imagine that God must have left us, or doesn’t love us or, even, that He doesn’t exist! When Paul listed out the various difficulties people can experience, such as trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or the sword, he wasn’t just making up a list of imaginary possibilities, he was casting his mind back to circumstance in his own life, and those of other apostles, when they had literally experienced all of these things, as they suffered for the sake of the Gospel. Had God left them? Not at all. They had simply come face to face with the reality that the god of this world hates the truth about Jesus and will do everything he possibly can to oppose those who follow Him.

The fact also is that we are living in a fallen world – a world that has chosen sin as its preferred option. And bad things can happen, even to Christians. Believers are not exempt from suffering. Ask Job! He experienced a catalogue of personal disasters, but he refused to turn His back on God and in time God gave him back in abundance, far more than he had ever lost during his times of suffering. And that is the reality – whether we enjoy the rewards of God’s blessing in this life or the next, what we can be absolutely sure of is that they are real and certain.

This is what Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12)

What a comfort it is to know that whatever difficulty we may be going through, there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. I once endured an extreme situation in my business years. I had made a grave mistake and ignored the clear direction of the Lord. The end result was a crisis of my own making which could have ended in my bankruptcy – even my life was threatened! I was deeply repentant and cried out to God for His mercy and deliverance. In Psalm 139:8 the Psalmist says that even if he descended to the depths of hell God would be there to hear his cry. And so I found it to be true.

I cried out to God. And He did deliver me. I discovered first hand the truth of our Scripture for today – that nothing can separate us from the love of God. In the depths of my need He heard my repentance and my cry for help. While I don’t look back on that incident with any sense of pride, I do look back on it with huge thanksgiving. For I know beyond any shadow of doubt that our Scripture for today is true!

Prayer: Thank You for the comfort of knowing that whatever the circumstances of life we have to go through that we can never be separated from Your love. Help me, Lord, to keep on looking to You, even when it seems as though dark clouds are over me and I cannot see the way ahead. I know that Your love will never leave me and I choose to trust You in every circumstance of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

October 15, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on The Ultimate Comfort

The Ultimate Comfort

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘ I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”

Revelation 21:3-4, NIV

There is great comfort in knowing that the Lord will be with each one of us when our time comes to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. But there is even greater comfort in knowing what awaits us on the other side of the valley – when we pass out of time (the old order of things) into the eternal joy and presence of God who is making everything new. I like to call this the ultimate comfort – there can be no greater – no more death, or mourning, or crying or pain.

Isaiah expressed something of the wonder of eternity when he said, “eye hath not seen what he hath prepared for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4). And Jesus told us of the preparations he would be making for those who loved Him (John 14:1-2). Amazingly, these words were addressed to people who were living in a world severely tainted and compromised by the consequences of their sin.

How can this be? For Scripture tells us that there will be nothing in Heaven that can mar the beauty of Heaven or spoil the joys of the Heaven He is preparing for the redeemed. Revelation 3:27 tell us that “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful . . . ” So, how could any of us qualify for entering into Heaven’s glory, knowing that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)? On our own, none of us could ever pass this purity test!

But the end of Revelation 21:27 gives us the key to understanding this extraordinary mystery, when it says “. . . those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” will enter in. The Lamb of God is Jesus. He became the ultimate sacrifice when He died in your place and in mine. And the sin of all those who have believed and received Him as their Saviour and Lord is covered by the righteousness of the holy Son of God. And the names of all those whose sin is covered are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

So, the redeemed of the Lord will enter in – not just for a comfortable experience – but into the eternal comfort and security of His presence, for evermore. This is the glorious Gospel message – no wonder Jesus told John to say “write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus for the extraordinary assurance that those whose sin is forgiven and have been redeemed, can be comforted by what You are preparing for those who love You. Help me, Lord, never to be worried again about what lies beyond the grave. Thank You for the ultimate comfort that comes from knowing You and believing in the truth of Your word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

October 2, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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With God in the Valley

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 23:4, NIV

Perhaps the time when we are in the greatest need of comfort is when we know our days on Earth are drawing to a close. It is often a time when we have to be dependent on others for even the basics of life and we can no longer fend for ourselves. It is in this place that our trust is utterly on the Lord, for only He knows the way ahead. It is only hand-in-hand with Him, that we can have the absolute surety of knowing that we have nothing to fear.

David faced the possibility of death on numerous occasions, but he knew with an unshakeable certainty that when his moment eventually came, the living God would be in charge of his eternal destiny. He did not fear the evil spiritual realms, presided over by the enemy of souls, for knowing that God was with him meant that the enemy couldn’t even come close. When God is with us, we have nothing and no-one to fear.

The rod and the staff David speaks of represent both the authority of God, above all alien powers, and the crook of the Shepherd as He lovingly cares for His sheep. What a comfort it is to know that the one who is holding your hand is the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep personally. He gave His life for you (John 10:14-16).

The time of waiting for God’s home call was described by David as the ‘valley of the shadow of death’. But this is only a dark place for those who do not know their Saviour! For the believer, the one who is holding your hand as you go through the valley is also the Light of the World! And His light will surround you, lighting the path and bringing a deep inner comfort which truly brings peace which is beyond all human understanding.

To know the Lord is to have life – eternal life, eternal peace and the joy of being with your Lord and Saviour for ever. As the hymn writer expressed it, “Hallelujah, What a Saviour!”

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You truly are the Comforter and that believers have nothing to fear in death. Help me Lord to stay close to You all my days, knowing that You will remain close to me, even when my time comes. Thank You that Your rod and staff are my comfort. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

September 15, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Truth Experienced!

“Those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. I even I, am he who comforts you.”

Isaiah 51:11-12, NIV

So often I hear words of amazement from those whom the Lord has rescued, when they come back to Him – they are utterly amazed at His forgiving and healing love. Love which causes joy to rise from the formerly broken heart and singing to be expressed by lips that were previously locked together by hurt, rejection, pain and suffering.

When people discover the reality and depths of God’s rescue mission for His children, they come to know an inner comfort which God wraps around their spirit like a warm blanket of love. They experience the comfort of security and safety and have a deep sense of ‘having come home’ to the place they have always been longing for in their hearts, but didn’t know where to find it.

This is the message of salvation and healing which we read about throughout the Scriptures and which God longs for His children to experience today – and every day of their lives. This is the message which Jesus demonstrated in His teaching and ministry. This is the message which Jesus gave to the disciples to spread around the world. And this is the message which God longs for people to discover and experience for themselves today.

Our Scripture describes what God’s people, who had been separated from Him because of disobedience and rebellion, experienced when they returned to Him – singing, everlasting joy and gladness. When that happens, “sorrow and sighing will flee away”. And God gives us His unequivocal promise that it is He who brings comfort.

For well over thirty years now we have seen this experience lived out on Healing Retreats, Courses and Schools, all over the world. God is utterly faithful to His Word. Whenever the hurt, pain, suffering or sin that has held people in bondage, are brought to Him, His promise is that He will forgive, heal and restore. When we come back to God and ask Him to restore His order in our broken lives, we know that He will honour His own Word. And we see it on people’s faces. We hear it expressed in their songs of joy and words of thanksgiving.

This is reality – it is not just a superficial experience applied from the outside. It is like a spring of life that wells up from within. It is the joy of the Lord.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your arms are always open for Your children to return to You. Thank You that there is nothing about us which You don’t already know, so I have nothing to fear. So, today, I choose to return to You and ask that You will begin a new work of healing and restoration in my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

August 31, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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An Ever-Present Help

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear . . . “

Psalm 46:1-2, NIV

From our earliest days we have instinctively known that a place of safety and security is also a place of comfort and rest. If we feel safe we relax. A baby nestled in its mother’s arms is the perfect picture of safety, security, comfort and rest. The baby doesn’t need to worry about anything – because Mum takes care of everything. In the earliest days of my own childhood, I knew that Mum was there for me. But as I got older Dad’s role became ever clearer and I realised that the security I got from Mum came from the security she received from Dad. He was the refuge and strength she needed so that my brother and I would feel safe.

Then, I learned by example that, together, Mum and Dad trusted in a Father I could not see, but who I knew was there because they talked to Him! My Dad would address Him in his prayers as, ‘Heavenly Father’. I was learning profound lessons in the simplest of ways – that not only was I loved by my human parents, but that there was a God in Heaven who also loved me, was interested in me, cared for me and provided for me. And because Mum and Dad trusted Him, then I knew I could as well. I knew the comfort of feeling spiritually safe. I grew up conscious that God was an ever-present help and that I could talk to him as well – in any circumstance, at any time and in any place.

As we grow up beyond childhood, we are not so dependent on our parents and we learn how to manage our own lives. But, however competent we may be at doing that, we never cease to be children of the living God. We are always in need of Him as our ‘Heavenly Father’ and, as our Scripture for today reminds us, He is ever-present. Whatever the circumstances of life we need not fear, for the ‘God of all comfort’ (2 Corinthians 1:3) is always there and has promised to be our refuge and strength.

If you want to communicate with someone who is a long way away, you may write them a letter, send them an email, or call them on the phone. But if they are present with you in the room it would seem bizarre if you started to write them a letter! Why would you want to do that when you could just talk to them as a friend? And that is the heart of real prayer – an intimate conversation with a friend who is with you in the room – or wherever you might happen to be – an ever-present help.

What an incredible comfort it is to know God like that. I realise how immensely privileged I was to have learned this profound lesson as a child. My heart cries out for those who are struggling to cope with life, but have never been taught how to talk with their ‘Heavenly Dad’ and to trust Him, when they need to know His comforting presence and guidance. We can all, however, have the assurance of leaning and knowing the truth of this from what we read in God’s Word, from Scriptures such as ours for today. Irrespective of how old we are or what our childhood experiences have been, we can start today to talk with Him as we walk with Him through all of life’s experiences. He is there for YOU!

Prayer: Thank You Lord for the comfort of reading in Your Word that You are an ever-present help. Help me, Lord, never to forget this profound lesson as I put my hand into Yours, as my ‘Heavenly Dad’ and trust You afresh to be there for me in times of trouble. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

August 15, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Loved with an Everlasting Love

“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt.”

Jeremiah 31:3-4, NIV

In His dealings with Israel, the character and heart of God are constantly being revealed. Throughout the Old Testament we read of how there were consequences for the people when they turned their back on God and went their own way. Jeremiah was one of the prophets who had the unenviable task of challenging God’s people about their rebellion and calling them to repentance. But God’s ultimate intent was always to draw His people back to Himself for healing and restoration.

John tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:16) and as such love is always, therefore, at the core of everything God is and everything God does, for that is His nature. And these words from Jeremiah which form our Scripture for today absolutely underline what John said about God’s nature, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” It seems terribly obvious to conclude that if God is everlasting and His very nature is love, that the love of God must also be eternal and everlasting.

Yet, this simple and very profound fact is one that many fail to understand and find hard to believe. Their experience of life has been such that, for them, love has been anything but kind. What passed for love was so often rejection and cruelty. They have experienced the pain of human expressions of love which at times have been anything but loving. People have said that they loved you, but in reality they have just wanted to use you. And sometimes you have felt like a piece of unwanted furniture cluttering the lives of other people. The end result can be that you start to believe that God must be like this as well and you cannot, therefore, trust Him.

It may also be that you have been on your own rebellious journey, running away from God and that God has allowed circumstances to prevail in such a way that, like the prodigal son in the story Jesus told, you have eventually come to your senses and returned to the Lord – you may now be asking. Can God still love me?

For all of us, these words from Jeremiah 31 come down the centuries of time and burst into our spiritual senses. They are some of the most comforting and encouraging words in the whole of Scripture, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” – this truly is the heart of God and it’s His heart for you, right now. Whatever has been your experience of life up to this moment. Stop, and dwell on this amazing truth – “God is love – and He loves me – and His love is everlasting.” Just drink in this truth and let it soak right through every cell of your brain and every emotion in your heart. Ask the God of all comfort to draw close to you so that you can experience first-hand the touch of love that comes from the hand of the Lord.

In the second part of Scripture for today, God says that He will build you up again – so that whatever the pain and problems there have been in the past, His desire is to restore you and rebuild your life. What an extraordinary blessing!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for this amazing truth – that there is no limit to Your love and that even if I have walked away from You in the past, Your love for me is unchanged by any of the circumstances of my life. I come running to You, Lord, rejoicing in the extraordinary truth that I am loved and that I can trust You both now, and for every minute of the rest of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

July 31, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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The Comfort of God’s Peace

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippian 4:6-7, NIV

Anxiety and comfort are incompatible feelings. The more anxious a person becomes, the less comfortable they actually feel. And as the level of anxiety increases, a deep sense of wanting to escape, from whatever the circumstances are that are causing the stress, begins to prevail. Ultimately that is why some people begin to have suicidal feelings. They have run out of ideas of how to fix the situation themselves and they want to escape.

Stress and anxiety are feelings that we can all have from time to time, so if God truly is a Father to His children – you and me – then, as a caring Father, He will have prepared a means for each one of us to respond to the situation in a way which brings hope and peace, instead of despair and distress.

In Isaiah 61:3 we read that the Sovereign Lord (the coming Messiah, Jesus) wants to replace the spirit of despair with a garment of praise. Having seen many times how thanksgiving and praise have been the fruit of healing I know, first-hand, that what both Isaiah is talking about and what Paul is saying in our Scripture for today, are absolutely true.

I met a lady last week who said, “twenty-seven years ago I came on a Healing Retreat at Ellel Grange. God so healed me that I have never looked back. My life was changed for ever.” The despair that caused her to come on the retreat was gone and her face radiated praise to her wonderful Lord who had been utterly faithful to His word.

Paul urges us to bring everything to the Lord – to share with Him the realities of life and to ask Him for help. Sometimes that help may include dealing with issues that have previously been swept under the carpet of life; owning up to life-changing mistakes that have been made; or forgiving people for terrible things that have happened. All this can be challenging, but when we face up to the circumstances hand-in-hand with the Lord He will help us and, instead of running from them, we discover that God is right there with us, helping us.

When there seems no human way out of a problem, it’s time to bring your requests to God and hand everything over to the Lord, asking Him to show you the way out or the way through. Then, Paul tells us, you will discover the peace of God which is truly beyond ALL understanding, and it will keep you safe as you wait on Him to show you the next step forward in your life.

Human anxiety is then replaced by God’s comfort, holding us safe while we trust Him to bring us through to a place of peace.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You understand all the circumstances of my life. Forgive me, Lord, for times when I’ve not trusted You and help me, I pray, to listen carefully to Your voice, guiding and directing my steps. Guard my heart and show me Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

June 30, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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The Plans of God

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

Guidance is all about the future. So, it’s hugely encouraging to read this Scripture, powerfully affirming that God has plans for His people – plans to give them a hope and a future. He wants to hear and answer our prayers and show us where to put our feet down and guide us on our journey through life.

The words of our Scripture were originally spoken to God’s people when they were in exile in Babylon. They had been in rebellion against God, lost their protection and had been taken prisoner. They had ceased to listen to God’s voice, had gone their own way and were now suffering the consequences of their mistakes. They were a long way off track.

It was into this situation that God sent His prophet Jeremiah to speak encouragement and to tell them that, in spite of the mess they were now in, God still had plans for them. He still loved them, His eye was still on them and He wanted to lead them back home and into their eventual destiny as God’s chosen people.

But how could He do that? How could God guide and direct His people when they were in such a devastating situation? The key lies in the last sentence of our Scripture, where God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

All journeys have a beginning and this is how we begin when we are looking to God for guidance and direction in our lives – a determination to seek the Lord with all our heart. When we do that, God promises to listen to our prayers and to start showing us His plans – plans that will give us hope and lead us into the future that He has prepared for us.

If that is something that God could do for His people when they were still prisoners in physical captivity, no-one could ever say that their situation was too difficult for Him or beyond His capacity to help. We are all included in the plans and purposes of God if we want to be.

Many people don’t feel free to follow God’s guidance and direction because they are still prisoners to their past. Some have been so hurt by things that have happened to them that they feel God has overlooked them and they are unworthy of His love. Others are not able to seek God with all their heart because they are guarding ungodly things in their heart that they want to hang on to, or secrets they are ashamed of.

From God’s point of view, none of these things, or many other possible obstacles, can ever turn His heart away from the people He created and loved. Every single one of us can come to God without fear and with an open heart to receive His direction. His plans are to prosper our lives and not to harm us!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your love for me is unconditional. I want to seek You with all my heart. Help me to face the reality of anything hidden that needs to come into the light and to forgive those who have hurt me so that I can start to trust again. Lord, I come to You with everything I am and pray that You will show me Your plans for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

June 15, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on See If . . .

See If . . .

“Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any offensive way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23,24, NIV

In yesterday’s Seed of the Kingdom, we saw how David, the psalmist, recognised that there is nowhere we can go to escape the presence of God. As a result, we can know also that there is absolutely nothing that God doesn’t know about our lives from the moment of conception till the present day. Even though our first thought might be – ‘Oh no!’, in reality it is wonderfully good news that God knows the very worst there can possibly be about us and His arms of love are still wide open for each one of us.

David, of course, had first-hand experience of God knowing what he had done. Even though David had desperately tried to cover up his sin, in 2 Samuel 11 we read how God told Nathan the prophet to go and confront David about his adultery with Bathsheba and then arranging for the death of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. It must have been a devastating moment for David to realise that nothing of what he had done was hidden from God.

But as you read more in Scripture about David’s life, you soon realise that the sins of David’s past do not define his future. God still loved him and we read in Psalm 51 about David’s journey of healing and restoration. But God also knew that unless the past had been exposed and healed, David would always be on the defensive, trying to hide something sinful he was ashamed. Bringing it into the light so David could look at himself in the ‘mirror of life’ was absolutely essential for David’s future calling and destiny.

Indeed, David realised how vital this process is in his daily walk, looking for the guidance of God in the affairs of life, that he came to God with the prayer which is our Scripture for today. Search me Lord, know my heart, test me and see if there is anything in me that offends You. The King James version of the Bible is even more blunt, “see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

This is the prayer of humility which releases the healing and the power of God into our lives. The relief which flows through the spirit of man when everything is laid open on the table before God is like the waters of a river that have been blocked by a dam suddenly breaking out, washing away all the debris and leaving everything clean again.

Truly knowing that you are still loved in such circumstances is one of the most healing experiences anyone can ever know. Not only does it release the past, but it clears the channels so that we can once again hear God for ourselves with a clean heart, trusting that he will indeed continue to lead you in the way everlasting. This is the joy that comes from healing through forgiveness!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that there is nothing about me that you don’t already know and that you still love me. I ask You, Lord, to truly show me myself as I look into Your mirror so that I can put right all that You show me is wrong. Thank You for Your continued leading and direction in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.