MOVIE – A STAR IS BORN

I have been round long enough to have seen the original and the remakes, all of which I must say, have been worthy of my viewing.

1. Janet Gaynor and Fredric March_ 1937

2. Judy Garland and James Mason_ 1954

3. Kristoffersen and Streisand_ 1976

4. Bradley Cooper and lady Gaga_ 2018

The core theme — a love story, a drama, and a tragedy all wrapped into one, all of which have universal applications that transcend time and culture and which have unending appeal.

For me mostly, it highlights the fact that the choices we make in life, whether one is a blues-rocker, pop star, or plain Jack or Ally down the road, have rippling consequences. Sure many of us have scars from our childhoods, I know people who have had them but with help have turned their lives around for the better.

In the latest version, Jack has father issues, he chose to let that pain be numbed by drugs and alcohol. He proved that he had the power in him to rehabilitate and turn his life around. But then he couldn’t handle the fact that Ally chose a path that was not aligned with his. He couldn’t understand that she could allow herself to be manipulated by fame and fortune.

Ally’s choices also had rippling consequences on her life and the people around her. She was an unknown and through Jack, was accepted as she was, with her nose the way it was, believing in her talent and loving her as she was. Ally went against her instincts and disregarded her own advice about not been moulded by others in changing her nose, hair and body shape. Ally chose fame and sold her soul even though Jack told her that unless she sings from the depths of her soul she wouldn’t last in this business. When you look at the hits that really counted, they were sung with Jack and by herself because they were from real lived experience, from the soul.

Ally could have chosen to stay true to herself, to work with Jack to keep singing deep from the pains of her soul but instead went with her manager’s narcissistic and controlling advice.

I really don’t believe that Jack was jealous of Ally. He felt guilty after Ally’s manager’s curse words spoken over him played on his mind causing him to make dire choices that rippled across many people’s lives. I believe that Jack couldn’t imagine Ally away from him, she really understood him and he understood her, they were good for each other and circle was formed between them. But, because of the fame, he couldn’t imagine his life without her. Of course, he could have made the choice to work harder on his career, at writing more great songs, it wasn’t the audience that left him but Jack who left them.

Personally, the best music came out of them through their souls when they were true to themselves and the songs that came after Ally’s transformation were very average because they were controlled by other people’s choices.

Ally could have made the choice to stay true to herself and still be famous keeping in line with Jack, having someone who really loved her and believed in her, instead she broke that circle that was formed between them and chose greed and fame.

Both Jack and Ally could have pursued each other’s own careers individually at the expense of not been together with a long distance relationships that would have stretched their relationship.

The message I have taken out of this movie is that we can’t have it both ways: fame and fortune , true love and family, career and children, money, one will always get in the way because things in life can become idols. God intended for us to be with each other for love and support, to be together, to have a family. We cannot make idols of things in life because they will affect our relationships which are what sustain us, which help us define who we really are, not money, fortune or fame.

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God said in the first commandment :-I AM THE LORD THY GOD! THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BUT ME! This means that one cannot worship two Gods, in this case fame and fortune.
(Numbers 18:20). “For you shall not worship any other god, for YAHveh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). He is jealous.

Let me know what you think, I leave you with this great soulful song from the latest version of “A Star Is Born”.https://youtu.be/bo_efYhYU2A  courtesy of YOUTUBE

PRAYER: Dear Lord, show me how I can tear down idols in my life and worship You and all the things You love, through Jesus Christ Your Son. AMEN

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RELIGION & MY LIFE SERIES- I LIVE BY THE K.I.S.S. PRINCIPLE

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We all know what the acronym K.I.S.S. means (Keep It Simple Stupid)  to me it makes a lot of sense. This principle transcends generations and I believe I have learned it from my parents.

Now one might think it would be an easy thing to do, but it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I believe it gets easier as you start to internalise it and live it, because after a while it becomes natural, automatic. Here’s how I try to live my life and I don’t believe I have F.O.M.O. ( Fear Of Missing Out) either.

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Praise & Worship……….I make God and His Son Jesus the centre of my life. I base my life on what Jesus would say, do and think.  I try to look at people the way Jesus would see them. The Lord has made the sabbath, a day of rest…that doesn’t mean I can’t work, if my job requires it. It means to make time for the Lord, communicating and thanking Him for everything in my life. To have quality, family time together. Spend time with my spouse and children, give them my undivided attention, make them feel loved and special.

Family….as a parent I have a responsibility to teach and correct my children. I don’t have to be their best friend but someone who cares enough to tell them of their shortcomings. I have a responsibility to ‘call it out’ when they are wrong without fear of repercussions. I have found that my children respect me anyway because they know that I acted out of love and respect for them. That I only wanted what was best for them and now as adults, they have come to appreciate that more and more. I have also tried to stay as friends with extended family members. Nothing is so bad that it can’t be forgiven, that amends can’t be made.

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Technology…….I minimise the use of  computers and phones when I am with family and friends because I believe if they have made the effort to be with me I owe them my attention and respect and actually talk and communicate with them. My husband and I resisted giving our children technology ie. computers, laptops phones, electronic games etc. till they were well into their teens  and with supervised, limited time. I don’t wait for the latest version of I Phone, I Pad etc.. in technology, I stay with simplicity.

Cars….. I am driving my third Toyota 4 wheel drive Suzuki Grand Vitara which has no fancy gizmos, they are simple, smooth, reliable and never breakdown. The more sophisticated and hi tech the cars, the more likely to breakdown, cause delays and cost more to fix. A reliable, sturdy car for me is best.

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Lifestyle……….I try to live by “Kingdom Principles.” I try to live my life for God. Sure I stumble and make mistakes but I pick myself up and keep going, knowing that God is there for me.  Sure friends can affirm me but God validates me not friends. Friends come and go and if they don’t lift me up and celebrate who I am, then I am wasting my time and theirs.

Mealtimes……….are sacred times for my family. From the start, mealtimes have become family time. A time to catch up and listen to each other after a day’s work. So every night we have had dinner together to share. The saying goes that….. “If a family eats together they stay together,” well that couldn’t be truer.

Finances……as a “Kingdom Builder” my money is not my own. It was earned with God’s help. The jobs I have had have been given to me by God. How??? God has aligned people to make it happen for me. So I give to the less fortunate and try to share what I have. i love the principle in there is more pleasure in giving than receiving.  Paying it forward is a great life lesson I have learned and it always comes back to me so I always have more that what I started with.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP…...is the way to live my life. Giving up is not in my vocabulary. I have never given up and I have learned to be creative and find solutions to my problems….. Ask, Seek, Knock Matthew 7:7-8 says  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

PRAYER

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RELIGION & MY LIFE SERIES-THE WORLD DOESN’T OWE ME ANYTHING

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I write because I don’t believe the world owes me anything. Rather, it becomes a question on how I can contribute to the world’s happiness and success.

  1. My happiness depends on me
  2. My wealth depends on me
  3. Respect depends on me
  4. Trust depends on me
  5. Employment depends on me
  6. My health depends on me
  7. My fitness depends on me

Then I think of JFK’s quote

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If health is on my side I can work and seek work until someone gives me a break. I have prayed in the past and people have come my way and given me a job not because I was the most qualified, but I was told later on by my employer that they felt I would be the most trusted. I didn’t prove them wrong.                    Alternatively, I have created my own work. I put a flyer up at my local shopping centre noticeboard for work. Currently I tutor students one on one.

Respect is to be earned, I treat others like I want to be treated. If I show respect then I demand it back . If others don’t respect me then they are wasting my time and theirs.

Trust is also to be earned, I don’t trust anyone until they have earned my trust. Evil is out there, the enemy preys on the weak and tries to steal your joy like a thief in the night.

Image result for bible, the thief comes only to steal like a thief in the night I try to live by “Kingdom principles.” I believe that the kingdom of God can be amongst us, it’s all about what you project and how you can build God’s Kingdom around you.

One way I do this is by living the truth, the truth according to JESUS CHRIST.

I care very much as to what happens to people and my family esp. my children. I care for my elderly mother. I support my children and advise them when they are wrong, without being afraid of the rebuttals.   I donate to the poor. I volunteer at my local church by teaching students who want to learn about God from non -christian schools. I really enjoy it and I try to make it enjoyable for them as well.

I avoid temptation by not getting myself involved with people or places that might lead to temptation. I love simplicity. I enjoy boundaries and I like living within parameters. I believe in prevention rather than the cure. I also believe that people are flawed including myself. I trust in the Trinity :- FATHER, SON & HOLY SPIRIT AND THAT THEY WILL LEAD ME TO THE TRUTH and they have.

One might think that my life is BORING! No it’s not, my life is great and I owe it all to God. Prayer and surrendering to God, communicating with HIM about my life and  asking for help is exactly what God wants. I give praise to Him and try to live my life accordingly. I keep track as to how God is working in my life by the validation I get from HIM and the way He answers my prayers. I try to have a heaven perspective. Planning not just for this temporary life but for my forever life.

In return, God has blessed my life abundantly. I have always had work, I have always had money in my wallet, I have the respect of my family and friends. I have worked hard and enjoyed living in my own home. I have been on some fantastic holidays. I have had the pleasure of having our children wanting to join us as well, and we have had some great family holidays. Recently my mother turned 80 years of age and three generations all went away celebrating her special day together.

LIFE IS GOOD WHEN YOU GIVE IT ALL TO GOD

Prayer

Dear Father God,

You know us better than anyone else, even ourselves, guide our paths and align them with Yours so that we may grow and learn to become the best versions of ourselves. Send your Holy Spirit to infill us afresh with the gifts of love, patience, kindness and right judgement so as to fulfill your will for us and to make us worthy of heaven. AMEN

 

 

RELIGION AND MY LIFE SERIES:-FRIENDS

I am listening to gregorian chants as I write this, I find them really soothing and in line with my brain waves which makes it conducive to passive thinking.  As you read this you may like to do so as well ( click below)

We all need friends, but I have found that the older I get, the smaller my circle of friends is becoming.

Seven years ago, my husband and I went on a holiday to Europe with three other couples whom we had been friends with for decades and thought we knew well. Before we left for our holidays, we met on numerous occasions over coffee to discuss rules and boundaries so as not to tread on each other’s toes, as we were going to be in close proximity to one another for around six weeks.

What a challenge it was for us going away with them on this trip !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Very early in the trip, it became very clear to us that they were not going to follow the briefing we went through before we left. Our friends showed their true colours. We were happy to let things go and continue on our journey by just being polite and not responding with rebuttals. We calmly and reservedly kept going throughout the trip and tried to maintain a professional and cordial relationship.

The jealousy started coming out in words and action, the backstabbing went on and they avoided us as much as they could because in their eyes, we were not team players.  Our silence and us ignoring them didn’t suit them,  it gave them more ammunition to disgrace us.

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Throughout the six weeks the eyes were rolling, we had to endure smirking, gossip, whispers, secrets, and avoidance tactics. We prayed morning, noon and night throughout all this and God gave us the strength to keep going and not roll up into balls and retaliate or retreat indoors.  We went on excursions with the tour group and joined up with other couples or others would ask us to join in with them.

Truly I tell you, God was with us and kept us focused throughout the whole trip.  We finished the tour and returned home having a feeling and sense of fulfillment and achievement. My husband and I had a wonderful time and visited so many great places throughout Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, the power of prayer brought us real joy and comfort to our hearts everyday.

Upon our return, even though we felt joy from having completed the trip, the bullying didn’t stop, these so called friends poisoned our other friend’s hearts, those who couldn’t come. We were not about to start a tit for tat communication, we decided to allow God do His work.  We felt empty with feelings of loss , but we never gave up!!

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God did not desert us, He had a plan for us, He showed us to let it all go, to forgive and move on. As our faith in God was getting stronger, God was building us up and raising us to another level. God was pruning us to prepare us for bigger and better things.

Feeling quite battered, six months later my husband and I took some prayer healing courses. We got prayer healing for ourselves and by invitation, went on to serve and facilitate healing through prayer for others. Life is great now. I can’t imagine our lives any other way. God has transformed us. I don’t believe this would have followed, if it hadn’t been for that experience and loss.

Nothing phases us because we know that God is working through our lives moment by moment. We do our bit and God does the rest.

We have continued to pray and ask God to lead us. My husband and I have our own ministry, together we run a Men’s Spirituality Group at the local church, I teach children who want to come from local state schools about our faith and  help them receive the sacraments. I also have my own Spirituality blog. I am a carer for my 81 year old mother who lives at the family home by herself and I enjoy doing things for her and doing things together as well.

The children I teach before me, have a great thirst for God and Jesus Christ, they ask me lots of questions, they are attending church services more, they feel stronger in their relationships in mainstream schools and love coming to classes out of their own free will. They are praying more and then go home and tell their parents what they have learnt and then the parents tell me what they have learnt through their children. WOW!!! I SAY!!!!!!And all because we went on that trip seven years ago.

God was pruning us and what seemed a challenging experience to us then, God was planting seeds in us, turning things around so that we could grow and be His instruments. I have never felt happier, more content and fulfilled than I do now.  Everyday I get affirmations from God that I am on the right track. What seems enormous He makes easy. What seems impossible He makes possible. When I give money away, I have more money in my wallet. I don’t take any credit for this because God makes it all happen, we’re just His instruments.

Yesterday, our daughter returned from having attended the COACHELLA 2018 festival in Palm Springs. I can’t deny that we weren’t a little apprehensive. She came back overjoyed that everything went better than she had ever expected. She asked us if we prayed for her, because she felt a spiritual protection over her the whole time. Of course the answer was a resounding YES!!! (  We prayed before, during and after the festival). So make no mistake, God is at work every minute of our lives even though things may seem quiet and that nothing is happening, God is aligning things up and testing you to see how far you are prepared to go.

Our eldest daughter is getting married next year and what others have said about wedding preparations been hard,  I am enjoying immensely and like clockwork, everything is lining up as we want, with ease. NO WORRIES!!

We now have different friends, ones we have met at church. So I say to you, if your friends don’t appreciate or celebrate who you are, if they are the naysayers and blockers in your life, let them go,  forgive them and give them to God.            PRAISE THE LORD!

I’d love to hear about your friends, please write to me. 

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RELIGION AND MY LIFE SERIES_PURGATORY

 HOW DOES RELIGION AFFECT MY LIFE?
SR. FAUSTINA                b. 1905- d. 1935
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This is the first of a series that I will put together to show people how my catholic faith affects my life.
Why does anybody do what they do? Because they are programmed for God, because without God we’ll forever have a restless heart.  Our spirit guides us into doing what we do.
I recently came into full understanding of what PURGATORY is all about.
I knew about it from a child, but really never stopped to think or research more on this topic until I was given an auditory tape that explained it fully.
Why should I believe in it at all one might ask? Well!!!! I don’t want to waste this life on a 50/50 % chance. I cannot come back and change my life but I can change my future. I can’t change my eternity. I believe that this life is so very short and when I think back I just realise how quickly this life is passing.
So then, PURGATORY IS a place of cleansing or purifying.
” The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: verbatim   All who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven (1030).
Let me break that down a little. The word purgatory is the label given to us using hundreds of years of intelligence. The word bible does not appear in the bible either.  However, the description of what is written down (see above) is just that-Purgatory. Not all christian bibles will have 2 Maccabees 12: 41-45  as it has been omitted. My protestant  friends tell me that salvation is automatic if you choose God, but I don’t think it’s that simple.
Did God not allow Jesus to be crucified for our sins? Does God forbid all
sin that may come to us or that we partake in? No, He doesn’t,  God allows evil in the world.
When Jesus died on the cross, He forgave the repentant thief because he repented out aloud to Jesus. He asked for forgiveness and Jesus told him that he would be with Him in paradise. He had already suffered a terrible death on the cross like Jesus and  that would have counted towards his atonement, but do we know for sure that the other thief went to heaven too? Who knows??????
Heaven is perfect. God is perfect. Jesus is perfect. If we have traces of sin we are rendered imperfect so when we die we cannot enter Heaven straight away. It doesn’t mean we are not saved, it means that we have to atone for what is left
Anything imperfect cannot enter heaven. It’s pretty straight forward.
Matthew 16:19 says……. ”and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

2 Maccabees 12:41-45 (RSVCE)

41 So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42 and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.[a]

GOD IS LOVE, JESUS IS THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB OF GOD WHO DIED, SO THAT WE CAN BE PURIFIED OF SIN IF WE REPENT AND FORGIVE.
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Jesus does not go to purgatory but Mary does. Mary the great intercessor of us  all. Mary who has been elevated to the Queen of Heaven, the mother of God’s Son and the Mother of us all, visits purgatory often as a reprieve to those waiting to enter heaven.
We as humans are not expected to know everything about God or His plans. We grow into the truth and sometimes the people of His choosing get messages from God from Jesus or Mary. Isn’t that how the prophets knew about Jesus and who He was? Isn’t that how that oral tradition was passed on and eventually written down? Isn’t that how John  wrote the book of Revelations?
Well, in this case Jesus chose to reveal the afterlife- hell, purgatory and heaven to Sr. Faustina, why her you might ask??????? God chooses those who will honour Him and bring glory to His name and Sr. Faustina (now a Roman Catholic saint) was just that person. -Her Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul,  is a book she wrote  based on the contents of her diary from 1934 until her death, in 1938 in which she describes vividly her visions( click below for more info).
Why would Jesus reveal these to her? Because God wants us all with Him in heaven and He will stop at nothing to help us get there.
SR FAUSTINA’S VISION OF PURGATORY WRITTEN IN HER DIARY AS SHE SAW IT
(click below)
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So how has this changed my life??? Well,  I go to confession to repent of my sins. I don’t hold grudges, I quickly ask for forgiveness from those I have wronged.
I try to pass the message on to others. I have taught students at school about this and my own children at length, so there is no mistaking purgatory for what it is and that it is a real place.
 I ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO REGIFT ME, SO THAT I CAN BE BETTER AND BE THE BEST VERSION OF MYSELF. I ASK GOD TO ALIGN MY WILL WITH HIS WILL.
Recently it was my father’s anniversary of his passing and not only do I pray for him but my family and I had a mass celebrated in his name. November is the month of “ALL SOULS, “again we have masses celebrating our beloved.
One cannot get out of purgatory by themselves, hence we need to live your lives for God now and hope for a better eternity for ourselves. We need prayers from the living.  Prayers are never wasted, if you pray and your beloved are already in heaven, God will use your prayers for someone else who need them.
The rosary(given to us by Mary) prayed by oneself or with others, helps souls get to heaven.
(see link for virtual rosary below)
PRAYER FOR THE DEAD
ETERNAL REST GRANT UNTO HIS/HER (NAME OF PERSON PRAYING FOR) SOUL O LORD AND MAY PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON HIM/HER.
MAY (HE/SHE) REST IN PEACE. AMEN

50 days of Easter-How one weekend changed the world forever

E A S T E R _Our hope and our path to joy

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THERE IS NO DEATH WHEN WE PUT OUR TRUST IN HIM

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Because Easter is the most important feast in the Christian calendar, even more important than Christmas, the Easter season continues on for 50 days, through the Ascension of Our Lord to Pentecost Sunday, seven full weeks after Easter Sunday! 50 days to contemplate the joy that Jesus brought,  the hope for a better life with Him. The hope that we are not on our own to muddle through this mess we’ve got ourselves in.

When we surrender to the grace of God, He will help us. This doesn’t mean that pain will end, that problems won’t come, that death won’t touch us. But THAT EVERYTHING ON THIS EARTH WILL PASS. Everything that GOD HAS PROMISED WILL COME TO US. EVERYTHING with God’s stamp on it will be easier to endure, easier to cope with, easier to resolve.

Isn’t that why God gave us His Son Jesus, to lead us all to the Heavenly Father???? That’s where God wants us, that’s where we belong with our Father in heaven.

So, I say, shake off the blues, sorrow, hopelessness and believe in the one who is greater than this world and everyone or everything in it.

I can’t understand why many don’t aspire to this? It’s not that the alternative is better, it might leave you with some instant gratification but then comes the aftermath- the self pity, regret, hurt and destruction that the sin first enticed you with.

As St. John Chrysostom reminds us .. “Christ has destroyed death, and now is the feast of faith.”

At this time of the year I like to listen to Handel’s Messiah_ “If God be for us”

please click below and enjoy_ Courtesy of YOUTUBE

 JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU

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HOLY GOD

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world. (Repeat 3 times- traditional catholic prayer)

CLOSING PRAYER
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. (traditional catholic prayer)

I’d love to hear your comments, reflections, observances.

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Free to choose???? Every action has a reaction!

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No, I’m not prophesying the end of the world, but be aware that every action you take is accounted for.  All good works aligned with biblical teaching are planting seeds that will blossom in the life to come. Not half truths though, in God’s realm there is no grey area, you’re either for Him or against Him.

You make a mistake, take a wrong turn, make bad choices?????  No problem!!!!! Nothing you could ever do would make God turn away from you. Like a father who wants the best for his child, God’s love is unconditional.

Pick yourself up and keep trying. God knows what’s in your heart.
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Do not lose focus on eternal salvation. To God through Jesus, is the only way. God has raised His Son Jesus above all other names.

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