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I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from January 2016

10. The Imitation of Christ

9. God is never late, but he sure is slow

8. ‘Threat Level’ solidly ‘green’

7. Does DNA disprove evolution?

6. The Christmas story in chronological order

5. Children who marry their parents: the psychology of courtship

4. Cure for common cold: sex

3. What was Paul thinking when he wrote 1 Timothy 2:12?

2. Were U.S. founding fathers Christian?

And, the number one post in January 2016 . . .

1. “It Is Well with My Soul”: the rest of the stories

(See list at right for the latest posts.)

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Welcome to a roundup of this week’s comments and cartoons. Each Saturday, I’ll bring you the best (?) from HopeAndHumor.org as well as my daily posts on Facebook. Meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend!


Brand new hope and humor:

How to walk on water (Monday, January 25, 2016)
One of the things I loved best about my uncle’s lakeside property was strolling out on the dock, off the end of the diving board and continuing to walk across the water. [Read post]

jimshortsfriends
(Monday, January 25, 2016)

jimshortsholdup
(Tuesday, January 26)

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From my Tupperware Party: Putting a lid on government campaign for president. (Tuesday, January 26)
pascalswager2
(Thursday, January 28)

IOCScrewtape
I’ll consider this one-star review of The Imitation of Christ a compliment! (Screwtape is the demon mentor writing to Wormwood, an apprentice demon in Lewis’ classic book on spiritual warfare, The Screwtape Letters. I pray that when I awake, the devil mutters, “Oh crap! Jim is up!” I do want to write things that, through Christ, threaten Satan’s kingdom!)
(Saturday, January 30)


Gently used hope and humor:

jimshortsopenmyeyes
(Wednesday, January 27)

jimshortsromans828
(Thursday, January 28)

WWJD? Who Would Jesus Elect? (Friday, January 29)
Don’t support someone simply because he or she spouts spiritual sound bytes! [Continue reading]

jimshortstherapist2
(Friday, January 29)


Thanks for stopping by!

I’ll have a brand new post bright and early Monday morning, plus you can follow me throughout the week on Facebook.

All content copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

If you enjoyed a column, cartoon or this whole post, please share on your social networks. Thanks

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How to walk on water

January 25th, 2016 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

walkingonwater

One of the things I loved best about my uncle’s lakeside property was strolling out on the dock, off the end of the diving board and continuing to walk across the water. I would walk out toward the middle of Graham Lake, then turn and look back at the shore hundreds of feet from the shore. It was almost as much fun as diving deep into the water and paddling around the surface. Now I was standing firmly atop the surface.

I probably should mention that it was in Michigan—in the middle of January.

It’s often in the coldest, hardest time of life that Jesus appears walking on the water and invites us to join him. If you’re going through a brutal winter spiritually, I pray that you’ll sense Jesus beside as you walk on the water with him!

      “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
           or seen the storehouses of hail?”

      “Who is the mother of the ice?
           Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
      For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
           and the surface of the water freezes” (Job 38:22, 29-30).

He is the Lord of all creation—and he is walking right beside you today!

P.S. If you’re digging out from the east coast blizzard, you’re in my thoughts and prayers!

Copyright © 2016 James N. Watkins

Photo from MorgueFile

If you found this post helpful and/or hopeful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

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Lent, the period of 40 days (minus Sundays) leading up to Easter, is designed to draw Christ-followers closer to the him. Here are two resources to do just that:

• A new web series, “Forty Days of Imitating Christ,” begins right here in less than three weeks. (Stay tuned.)

• My brand new book, The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language,is designed to help Christians become more Christ-like. Here are readers’ reaction from Amazon reviews:

      “The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language leads to a broader perspective on the life of Christ, a wider grasp of His life of grace, and the life changing challenges to my basic Christian beliefs.”
           Jon

      “This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
           Jo Anne

      “I really enjoyed this book as it grew me deeper in relationship with the Lord.”
           Julie

      “A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
           Mary

      “Each devotion seems to be something that nudges me to take a look at my relationship with Christ , and what I need to do to move closer to him.”
           Linda

      “This book is helping me grow closer to Jesus. Each devotional reminds me of the ways Jesus loves and acts and how it is important to be more like Him.”
           Carrie

      “It is helping me to discover a deeper understanding of the nature of faith and to put those truths into practice.”
           Deb

      “I find it draws me from the noisy demands of life—even the ‘Christian’ noise—and calls me to slow down, to walk humbly with God.”
           Lori

      “You will find yourself called to a level of spirituality and disassociation from this world rarely seen today.”
           Joan

Lent begins Wednesday, February 10, so order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
• Christianbook hardcover eBook

Also available in book stores everywhere.

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Welcome to a roundup of this week’s comments and cartoons. Each Saturday, I’ll bring you the best (?) from HopeAndHumor.org.

In breaking—and slightly bent—news . . .

Shoo the news blues (Monday, January 18, 2016)
I hear over and over, “The news is just so depressing, so I don’t watch TV or subscribe to newspapers.” I view the news as my prayer list. [Read post]

Commandments for cultural change (Monday, January 18, 2016)
In April 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. spelled out a radical strategy to change the culture of his time in his book, Why We Can’t Wait. Each participant in the Birmingham protests was required to abide by Dr. King’s “Ten Commandments.” [Read post]

jimshortsprezabortionB

Sanctity of life: from womb to tomb (Friday, January 22, 2016)
On January 13, 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation designating January 22 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The date corresponded to January 22, 1973, when the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion-on-demand in all 50 states. I wish he wouldn’t have limited the day to simply the unborn in the United States. Every human being everywhere has a right to life from womb to tomb. [Read post]


An artistic argument against abortion by one of my favorite singers, Matthew West.

The big snow . . . (Thursday, January 21, 2016)

jimshortssnow

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In the 2016 race for the White House

From my Tupperware Party: Putting a lid on government campaign for president.

jimshortsprezsmartjimshortsprezabortion

jimshortspreztrump3


Eclectic encouragement and entertainmnt . . .

WatkinsChristmas2015Silly
This is what happens when my eight-year-old granddaughter gets a hold of our family Christmas picture and my computer.

jimshortsinnerchild

jimshortsplana

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll have a brand new post bright and early Monday morning, plus you can follow me throughout the week on Facebook.

All content copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

If you enjoyed a column, cartoon or this whole post, please share on your social networks. Thanks

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wombtotomb3

On January 13, 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation designating January 22 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The date corresponded to January 22, 1973, when the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion-on-demand in all 50 states. I wish he wouldn’t have limited the day to simply the unborn in the United States. Every human being everywhere has a right to life from womb to tomb.

Here are some of my pro-life columns from over the years, including this special announcement from Planned Bank Robbery:

I’m pro-life for the unborn

My “Planned Bank Robbery” video points out the inconsistencies in the “I’m not for abortion, but everyone has a right to choose” argument.

Here’s a column that reveals the serious biological issues of abortion. (It’s not your body.) Is it a ‘life’ or a ‘choice’?


I’m pro-life for the terminally ill

Here’s a transcript my talk at Indiana Wesleyan University that addresses the various schools of thought on euthanasia. Currently five states allow for physician assisted suicide: California, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. There are no federal laws addressing euthanasia. I’m a firm believer in, when in doubt, choose life.

I’m also very pro-life in offering hope to those struggling with suicidal thoughts.


I’m pro-life for people of faith

World Watch List, 4,344 Christians were killed simply for their faith in 2014. In 2015, that number rose to 7,106! (In 2000, Dan Hodel, president of the Christian Coalition. reported, “More Christians have been killed for their faith in the 20th Century than the first nineteen centuries combined.”

However, the number of Muslims killed for their faith is more than three times higher. A United Nations report from September 2014 found that “at least 24,015” Iraqi civilians—the vast majority of whom were Muslim—had been killed or injured by ISIS in the first eight months of 2014. (Just Wednesday, the Taliban attacked a university in Muslim Pakistan killing at least 19 people and wounding dozens. Last year terrorists murdered 134 students at a nearby school.)


I’m pro-life for prisoners

Capital punishment: serious questions asks the question, “Is the death penalty biblical?”

In Matthew 25, Jesus seems to be pro-life when it comes to prisoners:

      “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. . . . I was in prison, and you visited me.’

      “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you . . . in prison and visit you?’

      “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”


I’m pro-life for my enemies

If you’re still with me, let me go one step further. I’m pro-life when it comes to my enemies. Jesus teaches:

      “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much” (Matthew 5:43-46).


So, some things to consider on this National Sanctity of Human Life Day. Let’s be “pro-life” toward all people of all ages everywhere— all year round.

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

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Related resources
Is There Really Life After Death?

If you’re pro-pro-life, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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Shoo the news blues

Hi, I’m Jim. I’m a news junkie.

“Hi, Jim.”

Yep, I’m a ten to twelve hits-a-day, mainstream and online addict. In the morning it’s CBS radio news at 6 am. Then the local ABC station and “Good Morning, America.” At noon, it’s the independent affiliate. Six o’clock is FOX News and then “NBC Nightly News” at 6:30 pm. In between these regularly scheduled programs, I’m online for “The Drudge Report” and CNN.

Yikes, I probably need an intervention!

A lot of my friends have kicked the news habit cold turkey. I hear over and over, “The news is just so depressing, so I don’t watch TV or subscribe to newspapers.” For someone who carried a press pass for 15 years as a reporter and columnist, I have what my high school journalism teacher called “a nose for news.” Yep, I snort news like a thousand-dollar-a-day cocaine addict! But more importantly, I have a heart for the world; the news has become my prayer list.

Here are some important ways that you can shoo the news blues.

Eugene Peterson paraphrases 1 Timothy 2:1-7:

      The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free.

Don’t hate

It is so easy to hate people we deem our moral and political enemies: Islamic terrorists, members of your opposing party, human traffickers, etc. But there is only one enemy, and his name is Satan. All the rest are POWs “held captive by sin.” As a Christian soldiers, our mission is “to set them all free”—not demand their destruction.

Christ commands us in Matthew 5:43 to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” As you read or watch the news, remind yourself these individuals and groups are “held captive by sin,” and are to be loved and prayed for.

Don’t fear

While Israel was being crushed by foreign invaders, God’s prophet wrote:

      “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Things weren’t much better in first century Palestine when Israel was occupied by the Roman Empire. But Jesus teaches, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Fear’s root is often a lack of trust in God’s control of this, seemingly, out of control world. Jesus teaches in Matthew 10:28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” 

Don’t despair 

Job seemed to receive nothing but bad news—really bad news! His family, his health and his wealth had been taken from him, yet he confidently proclaimed to his God, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Isaiah had the same message: “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (14:27).

There is a godly purpose in all the ungodly news stories we you see every day on the news. It is all part of God plan. Prophetic books of the Bible such as Daniel, Isaiah and Revelation, reveal that God and his devoted followers will triumph in the end!

Do pray

Remember Paul’s admonition: “[All] I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments. . . .”

To pray effectively, we have to be informed. That’s why I love the The Presidential Prayer Team’s mission to educate Christians to about the needs in the world and to encourage us to pray.

And then claim the psalmist promise as you watch or read the news: your prayer list! “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).

Jim has managed to write 20 books and over 2,000 articles in between watching and reading the news.

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Originally published by The Presidential Prayer Team, December 2015.


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Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commandments for cultural change

In April 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. spelled out a radical strategy to change culture in his book, Why We Can’t Wait. Each participant in the Birmingham protests was required to abide by Dr. King’s “Ten Commandments.”

      1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

      2. Remember always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation—not victory.

      3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

      4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

      5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.

      6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

      7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

      8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

      9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

      10. Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

Today we celebrate the hope for cultural change that Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in word and deed. Click for my book chapter expanding on “Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.”


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Brand-new 500-year-old book now in stores/online

Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ has been a best-seller for over 500 years! Now it’s completely updated in today’s language and organized into 90 devotional readings.

About the book
Read an excerpt
• Buy at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Books
About Thomas à Kempis
My exclusive interview with Thomas à Kempis
• Daily quotations: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
What others are saying
The story behind this book

You can help promote my book by writing a review at Amazon. Be honest. (Amazon hates gushy, mushy reviews! Thanks!)

If you found this post helpful and/or hopeful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

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I am still in awe that one year ago today, I had not even thought of updating one of the world’s most popular books, The Imitation of Christ! This book has been miraculous from the very inception!

• In spring of 2015, I woke up one morning thinking, Someone needs to put Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ into modern language and organize it into devotions. (Whenever you think Someone ought to do something, it’s often God saying, “Yep! And that someone is you.” On a lark, I pitched the idea to my agent. My agent emailed back the same day writing, “It’s brilliant.” In ten years, my agent had never called any of my pitches brilliant. Miraculous!

• Within 13 days of sending the proposal to publishers, my agent had an offer from Worthy Inspired. (Publishers often take three to six months to decide on a proposal.) Miraculous!

• They offered a generous contract for both hard cover and leather! (I’ve never had a book even in artificial Naugahyde.) Miraculous!

• They decided to rush the book and have it on the shelves in hardback in time for Lent 2016, and then re-release it in leather for Advent 2016. (Again, publishers can take up to two years to get a book into print. It was just nine months ago that we signed the contract! And I’ve never heard of a book getting two marketing promotions.) Miraculous!

• In the past, I’ve been given up to a year to complete a book. I had it written, vetted by my good friend and Catholic scholar, Michael Fraley, and to the publisher within two months—six weeks early! I’ve never felt such a sense of worship while writing a book. And I learned so much about imitating Christ writing it. I trust that readers will also experience worship and learn from it. Miraculous!

• When I nervously approached the publisher that I didn’t think the cover really appealed to the cross-over market, they went back to the drawing board and created the beautiful cover above. (Publishers rarely give authors input into the cover. And never go through 15 revisions! Miraculous!) And when I wasn’t comfortable with the sub-title, they took it back to marketing committee and provided the new subtitle. (Publishers rarely give authors input into titles and subtitles.) Worthy Inspired is a wonderfully weird publisher. Nothing about the process has been typical! I love everyone on the team! Miraculous!

• Buoyed by the amazing events in the production of this book, I decided to go way out on a limb and ask for endorsements from some of the biggest names in the Catholic and Protestant church. Okay, I didn’t have enough faith to ask the Pope and Billy Graham, but I did ask Timothy Doloan, the archbishop of New York, and Jo Anne Lyon, a White House adviser for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and general superintendent of the Wesleyan Church. They both graciously said yes. (See below.) Miraculous!

• In each step in the process—researching, organizing, editing and writing—I have sensed “his mighty power at work . . . to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21). Miraculous!

• For the past few years, I have been sensing Jesus saying to me, “I must increase; you must decrease.” So, I’m totally happy that CHRIST is in 48 point print and my name is in 12 point print. Miraculous!

• And so, I am expecting Jesus to accomplish something infinitely more than I can think or imagine. Thanks for walking this amazing journey with me. I do pray that Jesus will increase and I will decrease as this miraculous book releases tomorrow. (I was surprised at the number of books sent to book stores, just ready to be sold.) Jesus gets all the praise for how he uses it to increase the number of followers who truly imitate him! I so want to be able to say, Miraculous!

Please join me Tuesday (January 12) from 6-10 pm for the official launch party with trivia contests, autographed book give-aways and more. (And I guarantee it will be more fun than watching what’s pre-empting your favorite TV show Tuesday evening.)

What others are saying

The Imitation of Christ is one of the great spiritual works of the Church. More than five hundred years later, it remains not just a classic, but a road map to the life the Lord wants each of us to live.”
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York

“This book makes me angry. Not only because I didn’t think of it, but also because I could never have done the thorough, sensitive, beautiful job James N. Watkins has done in updating Thomas à Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, into a modern classic of ninety riveting readings. I need this book. And so does everyone I know.”
Bob Hostetler, best-selling author of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

“Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ is a timeless classic. Watkins has succeeded in providing a clear and accurate rendering of this great volume for a new generation of Catholic and Protestants alike, while avoiding modern idioms that would date the text. I’m looking forward to reading this many times.”
Rev. Randolph Sly: Priest, Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

“Each morning I eagerly go to this modern version of The Imitation of Christ knowing it will convict and teach my spirit, giving me spiritual focus throughout the day. It is the best devotional I’ve found in many years.”
Lissa Halls Johnson, author and speaker

Browse and buy

About the book
About Thomas à Kempis
Read an excerpt
My exclusive interview with Thomas à Kempis
• Daily quotations: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
The story behind this book

Order online
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
• Christianbook hardcover eBook

And it’s available at book stores everywhere. (I love being able to say that!) Miraculous!

You can help spread the word through your social networks. Post a review on book sites. Mention it on your blog or website. Have me speak at your church. Drop copies of this post from a blimp. Be creative! I so appreciate your prayers and support!
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Here are some of my favorite songs of hope and humor along with links to corresponding posts. Enjoy and be encouraged.


How to move a mountain


Finely-aged believers
Squeezing Good Out of Bad
Holy hardships
In this world you will have trouble


Pressed but not crushed
The rest of the Bible story
Finding still waters in the storm


Turn your “shaft” into a mine
Soaring with eagles . . . walking with emus
From bad to worse . . . to astonishing
When dreams die


(Written by Scott Wesley Brown)
Are you listening to Goliath or God?
Genuine Jesus or counterfeit Christ?

Fifty praises between bed and bathroom

And of course, no mention of musical humor would be complete without Weird Al Yankovic!


Laughing matters
The power of humor in writing
Hope and humor for writers


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Imitation of Christ releases in 8 days!

We’re just one week and one day until the release of The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language and I wanted to thank you for all of your support! I have felt so honored, humbled and thankful for your help!

I would so appreciate any tweets, Facebook posts, emails, or any other form of communication you might be inclined to use to help me spread the word!

The fact that Thomas à Kempis wrote this powerful book 500 years ago—and it continues to change lives today—verifies just how God has used it. I am so excited to introduce this updated version to a new generation!

Here’s how you can help:

Share that The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language will be available on January 12th on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram. (See last week’s post for some suggestions.)

Send an email to your family and friends (Or simply forward my weekly email if you’re on my list. If you’re not on my list, you can sign up on the right navigation panel.)

Share, like, or retweet posts I make on my social media outlets:

Buy the book the week of January 12th and then post a review. (Be honest. Book sites get suspicious if all reviews are five-star and filled with hyperbole.)

• Promote the book with hot-air balloons, sky-writing, ads during the Super Bowl and whatever! (Actually, it may be more effective to buy your pastor a copy of the book and mention it would make a great discipleship tool for your church—that’s much more effective and less expensive than a Super Bowl ad!)

• Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for your part in what could be a major tool to make Christians more, well, more Christ-like.
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