Jonah’s Prayer – March 31, 2018

Jonah said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”
Jonah 2:2-9

Jonah’s Prayer


Daily Devotion – March 31, 2018

Devotion based on Jonah 2:2-9

See series: Devotions

It seems impossible for someone to survive for hours and even days inside a great fish. But it’s true, for that is what the Bible says happened to Jonah. Our Bible reading for today is a summary of Jonah’s prayer from inside the fish. With a miracle of God Jonah survived, and by a command of God the fish vomited him onto dry land.

It seems impossible for someone to lie dead in the grave for hours and even days, and then come out alive again forever. But it’s true, for that is what the Bible says happened to Jesus. Jesus even predicted that he would be in the heart of the earth just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish (Matthew 12:40). When Jesus suffered hell for us on the cross, banished from the sight of God the Father, he could have easily prayed this prayer of Jonah.

With a miracle of God, Jesus rose from the dead. And as Christians face their own deaths, they can pray this prayer of Jonah. We call for help and Jesus listens to our cry. He brings our life back from the pit. Because Jesus lives, we will live. We do not cling to worthless idols. Instead, we bask in the grace of God, his undeserved love for us in Christ Jesus.

Even when Christians do not think they are near death, they sing songs of thanksgiving and make their lives a living sacrifice for the Lord God who saves them.

Prayer:
With a song of thanksgiving, I will sacrifice to you, O LORD, because salvation comes from you. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Rescued from Evil – March 30, 2018

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Timothy 4:18

Rescued from Evil


Daily Devotion – March 30, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:18

See series: Devotions

The apostle Paul was in prison again. This time it would be his last. Arrested, tried, and convicted before the tribunal of Nero, he had been condemned to death. Paul didn’t despair; however, because his confidence rested in the grace and power of God to rescue him.

Jesus predicted that believers would be harassed and helpless in this sinful world. They would be persecuted by those who misuse power and assaulted by lies and deceptions. The devil will use people and ideas for his purposes. He will ally himself with all kinds of evil and employ it to turn people away from Jesus to forfeit the gift of heaven!

But the devil with his evil work has been defeated by Jesus. Speaking about his death on the cross, the Savior declared: “Now the prince of this world will be driven out” (John 12:31). Jesus crushed the devil’s power when he paid for the guilt of the sins of world by his innocent death. Though the devil still strives to accomplish his evil purposes, trusting in Jesus we are assured that our Lord will rescue us from every one of those evil attacks.

And finally, Jesus will bring us to his heavenly kingdom where no evil can ever harm us again! We will be permanently and perfectly rescued from the devil and his evil work.

Like Paul, we are certain that our Lord will faithfully fulfill his word, to rescue us from every evil attack, and bring us safely into his heavenly kingdom. Confident in his grace and power, we proclaim praises to our eternal King: “To him be glory forever and ever!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, fill my heart with the certainty of deliverance from every work of evil, and fill my heart with words of praise and glory to you, my Savior and King. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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No Fear – March 29, 2018

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14-15

No Fear


Daily Devotion – March 29, 2018

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:14-15

See series: Devotions

They say that people fear public speaking more than they fear death. I think they asked people who weren’t facing death.

We fear death because we fear God. We fear we will have to answer for cheating, misusing God’s name, being selfish, neglecting others in their need, wanting revenge on those who hurt us—and the list goes on. God demands absolute perfection from us and we’re afraid of what he’ll do when we must face him.

The devil has used this fear to enslave us. He tempts us to sin, and when we do, he taunts us with what it will be like to stand before the holy God as unholy people. He reminds us God sends sinners to hell.

Jesus did not want us to fear our God or where we spend eternity. The Son of God became a human being—sharing our humanity. As a fully human person, Jesus lived in perfect obedience to God. When Jesus died on the cross, he wasn’t dying for his own sins; he had none. He was dying for all our sins. When his blood covered our sins, his blood also covered our reason to fear death.

Unless the end of the world comes first, all of us will die. Either way, we will face God. Yet when we face God, we have nothing to fear. God will not condemn us because Jesus shared our humanity to take away our sin. With no sin, the devil has no power over us. We are going to heaven because the Son of God became the Son of man to save us. Trusting in Jesus, fear of death is replaced with assurance of life with God forever.

Tonight, Christians around this world gather together to taste Jesus’ gift to us. They will eat bread and drink wine. Jesus promises that in this simple meal, he gives us forgiveness for all our sins. He gives us proof that he died to free us from our slavery to sin and death. If you are one of these Christians going to the Lord’s Supper tonight, think of the deep mystery you became a part of. You are receiving the body and blood of your God who gave his life for you. Here is the proof you never need to fear death.

Prayer:
Son of God, thank you for sharing our humanity so we would never have to fear death, our God, or our future. Amen.

The devotions in March on Thursday and Friday focus on the office of Jesus Christ: Prophet, Priest, and King.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Rejoice and Shout, Your King Comes to You – March 28, 2018

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah 9:9,10

Rejoice and Shout, Your King Comes to You


Daily Devotion – March 28, 2018

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9,10

See series: Devotions

This past year, some friends gave my family tickets to a local college football game. Our friends encouraged us to arrive early, because the moments before the game were electrifying. We were not disappointed! As the home team made its entrance onto the field, the college band played the school’s fight song as loud as they could. The scoreboard flashed, “Stand up and make some noise!” There was smoke. There were fireworks. Then the announcer yelled, “Here comes your championship football team…” and 70,000 people screamed with joy as the team ran onto the field. This was a memorable entrance!

The prophet Zechariah prepares hearts for Jesus’ memorable entrance on Palm Sunday. He exclaims, “Rejoice greatly! Shout!” This message builds up joy and excitement for the coming king. But the manner in which Jesus comes on Palm Sunday might seem like a major let-down. He comes, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey.

Imagine the reaction in a full stadium if one football player came out on a lowly donkey. The crowd might become restless. So also, we might wonder, “Where is Jesus’ pomp and circumstance? What kind of king rides on a lowly donkey? What kind of king seeks to proclaim and extend peace without a single weapon of war, and in such a lowly manner?”

Jesus does! His humble ride is fitting of his humble mission to bring us peace. Jesus humbly rode into Jerusalem on that Sunday, knowing that he would face death on that Friday. Jesus humbly rode on for the proud and pompous. Jesus humbly rode on for the disobedient and defiant. Jesus humbly rode on to face the punishment our sins deserved, so that he could win and proclaim the peace of God’s forgiveness.

So, rejoice greatly and shout! Your King came for you. And your King still comes to you through his Word to proclaim his peace and fill your heart with his joy.

Prayer:
King Jesus, let the peace which you won for me rule my heart and mind. Let it overflow in joy in my life as well. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Who Is This? – March 27, 2018

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness! And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11

Who Is This?


Daily Devotion – March 27, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 2:5-11

See series: Devotions

Who is this who on Palm Sunday rides into Jerusalem on a donkey? He is our King, the almighty and glorious God of heaven and earth. Yet he made himself nothing, becoming fully human in the womb of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit, and placed in a manger for his first bed. He made himself nothing. He became the servant of sinners, in perfect love. He became the helper of the helpless, while suffering the problems and troubles of our unworthy world of sin and death. As the servant of mortals, he became obedient to our death, even the lowliest death of shame, execution, and condemnation on a cross!

Who is this? This is our Savior, victorious over sin, death and hell. He is our forgiveness. He is our righteousness. Therefore, God triumphantly raised him from the dead. Jesus gloriously ascended into heaven, where he sits in the exalted position of all power and glory at the right hand of God the Father. He wisely and perfectly governs all things for the benefit of all his believers, to bring them safely to the heaven he won for us. Day by day he rules in our hearts with his word of grace and forgiveness.

No matter how crude our circumstances, how terrible our troubles, or how pitiful our problems, he is our servant. He is our Savior. He is our King of kings and Lord of lords.

May our knees ever bow and our tongues ever confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for so greatly humbling yourself to rescue me from sin, death, and hell. Through your word, rule in my heart as my glorious King, that from my lips I may always praise you as my Savior and confess you as my Lord. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Humble and Bold – March 26, 2018

When [the disciples] brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Mark 11:7-10

Humble and Bold


Daily Devotion – March 26, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 11:7-10

See series: Devotions

Jesus is the only person who ever lived to be perfect in humbleness and boldness.

On the one hand, Jesus is one who hangs out with the very worst sinners. He isn’t afraid to spend his time with the very lowest in society. He grows up and lives as a regular person; little money, no home, the same problems and struggles that most people have. Even as he comes into Jerusalem, he does so on an unbroken donkey.

On the other hand, he never shies away from the praise and acclamation that is due him. He boldly stands up to the self-righteous. He is addressed as “teacher,” “Lord,” and “prophet.” He says that there is no way to heaven outside of him. Even as he comes into Jerusalem, he does so amid the crowd’s shouts of praise.

Jesus no longer rides into cities. But he does come into your heart, and still does it with humbleness and boldness.

He comes into your heart with humbleness as he gives you faith through his Word. Whether read or spoken by a pastor, parent, or friend, Jesus uses humble people and means to make a home for himself in your heart. He pours his blessings out at baptism with just simple water. He promises that he is truly present in the Lord’s Supper. Jesus continues to come to you, but he does so in very humble ways.

He comes into your heart with boldness as he proclaims himself to be the only way of salvation. He gives you more than anyone else can as he promises to you a perfect life to come, and that he will control all things now as he leads you there. He tells you that he has defeated sin, death, and the devil and that he is King of all.

Jesus is still like no one else. He comes not into cities, but into your heart with perfect humbleness and boldness.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for sending Jesus in perfect humbleness and boldness. Make us to always trust the work he has done. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Crusader or Christ? – March 25, 2018

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee!”
Matthew 21:10-11

Crusader or Christ?


Daily Devotion – March 25, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 21:10-11

See series: Devotions

Who is Jesus? This was the question asked by the crowds. Some knew Jesus as the prophet from Galilee. Still others didn’t know who Jesus was. While there were many possible answers to the question, there was one distinct hope. People wanted Jesus to be a crusader.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, people welcomed him as a king. They waved palm branches. They heralded him as an heir of David’s royal line. And they hoped he would lead a crusade to throw off the power of the Roman Empire.

Not much has changed since Jesus entered Jerusalem. People still ask the same question, “Who is Jesus?” Many also have their hopes and expectations. Some want Jesus to be a prophet offering wisdom for life. Others want him to be a role model of upstanding moral quality. Still others want him to be a crusader. They desperately want him to right wrongs, to bring order to chaos, and to offer peace instead of war.

So who is Jesus? It is a question for which I need a clear answer. If I believe Jesus is simply a political crusader, I will be disappointed and eventually reject him. On the other hand, if I believe he is the promised Christ from God, I will not be disappointed and will gladly follow him.

Jesus came to this earth to be the Savior, God promised to send. As that Savior, he was clearly set apart to accomplish his Father’s will. That work included living a sin-free life to release all people from the crushing demands of the Law. It also included offering the complete payment to secure freedom from the tyranny of sin, the dread of death and the domination of the devil. Jesus did everything God the Father commanded and signaled the completion of that work when he cried out from the cross, “It is finished!”

Jesus’ obedient life and his all-sufficient death provide me with the answer I need to the question, “Who is Jesus?” He is the promised Christ. As I put my confidence in him, I rejoice in knowing my sins are forgiven. I delight in following him and his loving will. I also long for the day when I will join him in the place he has prepared for me in heaven.

Prayer:
O dearest heavenly Father, I thank you for the promised Savior you have provided. Give me faith to confess that Jesus is your Son, my Savior, and the promised Christ. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Loving Discipline – March 24, 2018

“I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.” “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Hosea 5:15–6:3

Loving Discipline


Daily Devotion – March 24, 2018

Devotion based on Hosea 5:15–6:3

See series: Devotions

Watch a parent carefully discipline his child, and a strange thing often happens. At first the child hates the discipline. As you might expect, the child wants to get away from the admonishing parent. One would think that the child would want to continue to stay at a distance, but usually just the opposite happens. The child returns to his parent to be comforted.

Deep down, each of us understands a need for discipline. We might even crave it on some level. This is because love and discipline go hand in hand. Parents who care enough to discipline their children are parents who love their children.

In our lesson the Lord used the prophet Hosea to instruct the people about God’s discipline and love. To say that the Children of Israel had misbehaved would be an understatement. They sinned. They turned from the true God to gods of their own invention. They were on a path that was headed straight to hell. But God loved them too much to let them continue on their way to destruction. So he disciplined them.

God’s discipline was harsh. Hosea used words like “torn to pieces” and “injured” to describe the pain God inflicted on them. The pain was severe, but so was the offense that the people had committed.

God’s discipline was effective. Not only did the people realize the error of their ways, but they also knew where they needed to turn for help. They turned back to their God who loved them enough to discipline them in the first place. And when they did, God not only let them survive, but thrive. God’s love for his people was as predictable as a sunrise and as nourishing as a seasonal rain.

The Lord is also your heavenly Father and he loves you very much. Perhaps at this time you are carrying a heavy load. Perhaps you have even questioned, “Is God doing this to me?” I can’t speak specifically to whatever problem you are going through at the moment, but I can tell you that God loves you as his dear child.

Hosea’s message to us is also quite clear. In difficult times don’t run from God, run to him. He is a God who cared enough to send his Son Jesus to take away your sins and call you to be his child. He is a God who cares enough to discipline you for your good, for your eternal good. He is a God whose love is as certain as a sunrise and as refreshing as a spring rain.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the times you have disciplined me. Remind me that I can always turn to you for love and forgiveness. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Victory over the Sting of Death! – March 23, 2018

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Victory over the Sting of Death!


Daily Devotion – March 23, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

See series: Devotions

When humanity goes up against its final enemy, its greatest opponent, will we enjoy a rousing victory over death? Will any human beat the odds and live forever? Or do we see before us only a stinging defeat?

Death’s sting is eternal separation from God’s peace and presence! The power and poison in the stinger is the law. God’s law is like a mirror that shows us how far we are from being god-like, and how fully we fail to live as he commands. The law stings when it tells us to be holy, to be perfect as God is. On our own, we fall far short of God’s holy requirement! And therefore, we deserve to die, die eternally.

But the apostle Paul “trash talks” death. How can he do that? The answer is EASTER! In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, the resurrection chapter, Paul proclaims Jesus’ victory over death by our Lord’s glorious resurrection and the impact his resurrection has on us.

God the Father removed the stinger from death. He sent his Son, the Lamb of God, to take away the sin of the world. By Jesus’ death for us, God rescued us from eternal death. Trusting in Jesus, the grave is not a hopeless end. Just as Jesus rose from the dead and now lives gloriously in heaven, so he will raise us from the grave to live forever in glory with him. Through Jesus, death does not defeat us; it has no victory over us.

Jesus is our king who won the victory over death. We can echo Paul’s victory cry, “Where, O death, is your sting? Where, O death, is your victory?” By faith in Jesus, his resurrection is our victory over eternal death and the grave. We will rejoice to see our Lord return at the last day. And as our glorious and perfect king, he will take us to live in his heavenly kingdom.

Prayer:
Gracious Father in heaven, I thank you for allowing me to share in the victory of my Lord Jesus Christ, your dear Son. Empower me by your Spirit to live in the victorious celebration of life everlasting from now to eternity. Amen.

The devotions in March on Thursday and Friday focus on the office of Jesus Christ: Prophet, Priest, and King.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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One Who Speaks in Our Defense – March 22, 2018

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
1 John 2:1

One Who Speaks in Our Defense


Daily Devotion – March 22, 2018

Devotion based on 1 John 2:1

See series: Devotions

God who created all things made you, me, and all people to be like himself. He created mankind in his own image, and intended for us to be perfectly loving in all our relationships. But we have not shown the same generous attitude as our Maker. We have lived in selfishness, scorning the needs of others. One day soon, each of us will have to give an accounting to the holy God who rightfully demands perfection. How greatly we rejoice to learn that God’s own Son was sent to take our punishment upon himself! Jesus Christ lived that life of love in our place. And he offers to us full and free forgiveness through faith in his name.

But even after we have been washed clean in Holy Baptism, our hearts are still not pure. Even though we know better, we return to those self-destructive attitudes and practices that got us in trouble with God in the first place. What happens then? Do we forfeit forgiveness? Do we lose the salvation that was gained for us by Jesus on the cross? No, our Savior Jesus Christ continues his work for us. After his death he rose again to life and returned to his rightful place in heaven. There he continues his work as our great High Priest—the one who sacrificed his life for us and now speaks to the Father in our defense. But when we sin, Jesus does not point to our good works as if they could somehow cancel out the wrong that we have done. Instead, he reminds the Father of his perfect life of love.

The good works of Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, credited to our account, is all the evidence that we need to be acquitted before the Father.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I cling to you as my only hope of standing firm on the day of judgment. Until then, keep me from sin so that I do not bring shame on your holy name. Amen.

The devotions in March on Thursday and Friday focus on the office of Jesus Christ: Prophet, Priest, and King.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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