<![CDATA[Queen in Gold - Blog]]>Thu, 30 Jan 2020 22:00:08 +0200Weebly<![CDATA[The process of becoming]]>Thu, 09 Jan 2020 13:57:16 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/the-process-of-becoming​Like many others I started this year challenging myself to be more healthy, organised, productive and balanced. This year I want to put an effort into my appearance, relationships and spiritual growth. I want to make a priority of writing on this blog. I want to have an influence in the Kingdom and walk in my calling. Basically - I want to be a "better person". Is it just me?
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In order to achieve this I’ve come up with a number of measurable goals: they include getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, daily exercise, less series, daily schedules, lots and lots of reminders on my phone and much more.   
​I’d actually like to challenge the notion that New Year’s resolutions can’t change us.  There’s something fresh about a new year that makes us want to do better. It’s a little bit like grace – it’s a second chance. I believe that in the light of being a good representative of God (Genesis 1:26; 2 Corinthians 5:20) and a good steward of the time He’s given us (Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 5:15-16); making a few New Year’s resolutions to help you become a "better you” is not all that bad. 
​The real issue with these resolutions, is expecting change to happen between 31 December and 1 January.

Let’s not limit God in saying He can’t change people over night, but in my walk with Him I’ve noticed He’s usually a fan of PROCESS. 

​What is process?
​During this week I wrote the word “process” in my journal. It actually had nothing to do with keeping resolutions. I wrote it there because I wanted to take some time to process through a bunch of things happening around me. 
"Ultimately, it changes us." 
​Then it occurred to me that “process” can be something we do as well as something we go through. Sometimes it requires looking inwardly; sometimes it requires taking action or sometimes we just need to walk it out. Ultimately, it changes us

​Process in the Bible
Abraham

God had some big plans for Abraham and his descendants, but it required a long process. On a number of occasions God promised him a massive offspring; but before his son was born there were many years of waiting, trusting and hoping; despite the facts. Abraham even tried to take things into his own hands (as we do). Eventually, Isaac was born. Then a few years down the line God asked him to sacrifice his promised son. We see the same Abraham who earlier tried to make his own plans, now submitting to God’s plan and process. (Genesis 12-22)

(If you’re somehow not familiar with this story – Abraham never actually sacrificed his son – God sacrificed His).

Joseph

​Here we have Abraham’s great-grandson. He grew up dreaming about being royalty, but ended up being sold into slavery by his own brothers. Things were starting to look better when he was promoted to be the head of his master’s household, but then his moral conduct got him thrown into jail. In jail he interpreted a few dreams, but a whole two years passed before it did him any good. Then in only one day he received the opportunity to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream and became second in command to the whole of Egypt. As only He could, God used the process to prepare Joseph for what was to come.  (Genesis 37, 39-40)

​Jesus

Process is even evident in the life of our Saviour. Even just the coming of the Messiah didn’t happen right after the Fall. There were certain things God wanted to put into place first. Then Jesus was born – as an immature baby. And He grew. By the time He was twelve teachers in the temple were amazed at His understanding, but this didn’t mean He was ready for ministry yet (Luke 2:41-52). Only when He was about 30 years old His time came (Luke 3:23). But first He needed to be baptized (Luke 3:21-22). Then He needed to fast for 40 days and face temptation (Luke 4:1-13). At the end of His ministry He was crucified and He died (Luke 23:26-49); and it took three days before He was resurrected (Luke 24:1-8). Oh and that’s not where it ends. He went back up to heaven, sent us His Spirit and promised to come again (Acts 1:1-11). That was actually a while ago, friends.
​It’s a process. 

Process takes time

Ecclesiastes 3:1 teaches:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

​​If you plant a seed today, you can’t expect it to be a tree tomorrow. It takes time to reach maturity, grow and learn new things.  

Who’s the manager?

I happen to believe this is the real key to whether change is lasting or not.

Who’s the one managing the process? Is it you? Or are you allowing God to have His way?

A little bit later in Ecclesiastes 3 we find this verse:
“I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.”
​– Ecclesiastes 3:14


​Today I pray with the same confidence as Paul that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

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<![CDATA[Wild & Adventurous     (Part 2)]]>Fri, 16 Aug 2019 10:31:12 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/wild-adventurous-part-2
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Following God into the unknown – I happen to think this is pretty much the definition of adventure. If you read Wild & Adventurous (Part 1) then you’ll know about how God challenged me to be adventurous and go on a mission to rural Botswana. I’d like to share a story from the mission about following His voice. Brace yourself as this might take a while.

But first; let me give you some background information.

The no GPS game

Here’s a random fact about myself – I usually don’t use a GPS. I look up the destination beforehand; write down a few relevant street names and hit the road. Needless to say this approach has often led to some disorientation. 
​So that’s when I started playing this little game; where I practiced hearing and following the voice of Holy Spirit. I would get to an intersection and literally pray about whether I should turn or continue straight. God has been so faithful in leading me where I should go.
"I would get to an intersection and literally pray about whether I should turn or continue straight."

The longer road

On one particular occasion as few years ago, I had some time to spare before a band rehearsal at church. Although I didn’t know the back road so well, I decided to explore. I trusted God to direct me. By the time I knew where I was; I was no longer in the city or in an area I would consider safe to drive through. All of a sudden I wasn’t only trusting for Divine navigation, but Divine protection as well. Eventually I found my way to the church, but ended up taking the longer, more dangerous route. This was confusing. 
​I sensed God asking if I trusted His way was better – even if logistically it didn’t seem that way.

​Deeper into the bush

A few years later I found myself in a similar situation in Botswana.

One afternoon we got dressed into our working clothes and headed into the community to fix a roof. On arrival, however, it was decided that only the men will be doing the physical labour, while the ladies will be heading into the community to engage.

The village houses weren’t clustered together, but spread out within the bush-veld. In a group of about eight girls we approached the first house. There was no one home. 
​At the second house we met a woman and her two little children. She was, however, not too interested in conversing with us without her husband present. On our way to a third house we met an elderly couple who wanted to sell things to us. They quickly left on hearing that we didn’t have any money with us. 
"The split-up didn’t seem so significant at the time, but this was when things started to get interesting."
We decided to split up and walk in opposite directions. Four of the girls continued towards the third house, while our group promptly made our way deeper into the bush.  The split-up didn’t seem so significant at the time, but this was when things started to get interesting.

​We prayed for direction and came across another house with no one home. Something seemed suspicious. Where were the people who lived in this village? 
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The road less travelled

At a fork in the road we prayed and agreed we felt led to take a small footpath not a lot of people seemed to have walked on. I made an arrow in the sand so we would eventually be able to find our way back. One of the other girls took note of the position of the sun in order to determine the direction we were going in.

It was starting to feel more and more like an adventure. 

​A word from God
​As we were walking one of the girls encouraged us to pray for the people we were going to meet. I experienced the Father’s love for these people. He was taking us deep into the bush only so they could have an encounter with Him. One of the other girls shared that she experienced the people we were going to meet were expectant to hear from God. 
"He was taking us deep into the bush only so they could have an encounter with Him." 

No more houses

After some time we came to an open space. It had been a while since we saw any houses and we wondered whether we had passed the village and were now only walking deeper and deeper into the bush. We gathered to pray once more.
Mid-prayer four cows passed by. Considering that these cows were the first living beings we encountered after splitting up; it seemed like something to take note of.
“There are four cows and there are four of us,” one of the girls remarked. “I think we should follow the cows.” It seemed crazy, but we all agreed. The cows passed through the open space and headed deeper into the bush. So did we. 
"...these cows were the first living beings we encountered after splitting up; it seemed like something to take note of."

Should we consider turning around?

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As the little bush path was becoming quite dense we quickly lost the cows, but continued never-the-less. I remember asking God to close the road before us if we were supposed to turn around. 
It wasn’t long until we came across a pile of elephant dung. Although we visited an elephant drinking hole just a few days before, the thought of coming across elephants in the bush somehow didn’t occur to me before this point. 
​None of us were experts when it came to tracking wild life, but after using a stick to test the dung we concluded that the elephants passed through there only a few hours before. 
"...the thought of coming across elephants in the bush somehow didn’t occur to me before this point." 

Asking for a sign

Coming across evidence of elephants on our little expedition, suddenly made me aware of the dangers around us.  This time we prayed for a sign telling us to turn around – we asked for another pile of elephant dung. We continued walking and not even a minute later God answered our prayer. Even though we didn’t encounter anyone we could share the gospel with; it was now time to turn around.

​And then...

While walking back I started sharing the story I earlier told about following God’s voice instead of a GPS. The next moment we heard an elephant trumpeting somewhere behind us. 
​We started running. One of the girls got her scarf stuck in a shrub and struggled to get it loose. Someone else went to help her. This was definitely not my most selfless moment on the mission. Instead, I aimed for a big tree and started planning a way to climb it. Thankfully, no elephant shaped figure appeared from between the bushes.
"This was definitely not my most selfless moment on the mission."
​I was first to find my way back into the open space we earlier passed through. Somewhere behind me I heard someone exclaim about a huge, fresh elephant footprint. 

Finding our way back
Instead of heading back the same way we came, we decided on a different footpath. We hoped it would cross a wider road that might be a quicker way back. It was somewhat harder to discern God’s voice this time. Realizing the sun would set in the direction we were heading; we ended up following the sun. 
"It was somewhat harder to discern God’s voice this time."​

The wide and the narrow road

Just as we anticipated our footpath led directly onto a wider road. Unfortunately, this wider road was covered in very clear elephant footprints. As it was a windy day, we assumed they were left there quite recently.

Our only option was to continue following the sun, sticking to the footpath. ​We prayed without ceasing and finally heard music playing in the village.
The rest of the team were already looking for us. 

Made no sense

​We don’t always understand the adventures God takes us on. It didn’t make sense for Abraham to head into the mountains to sacrifice his promised son (Genesis 22) or for the Israelites to march around Jericho (Joshua 6). It also didn’t make sense for Peter to get out of the boat (Matthew 14:22-33). As a matter of fact; did it even make sense for the disciples to head on over to the other side without Jesus (Matthew 14:22)?  Yet, their actions revealed obedience and trust in God.
"...their actions revealed obedience and trust in God."
'​On our little bush-veld adventure, God revealed how much He loved the people we were going to meet and how He was taking us all the way into the bush only so they could encounter Him. Little did we know that we were those people. We were the ones with an expectation to hear from Him.
​The beauty of this story is that for every one of us the story carried a different message. God took us on this little trip to teach us how to walk with Him. What is He teaching you?
"He gives us the choice of whether or not we’ll be adventurous enough to follow Him."
He gives us all one life with a unique purpose. He also gives us the choice of whether or not we’ll be adventurous enough to follow Him. Are you living a life of mediocre Christianity or are you intentionally risking your life to see what God has planned for you?

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<![CDATA[Wild & Adventurous     (Part 1)]]>Tue, 13 Aug 2019 16:54:26 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/wild-adventurous-part-1​A while ago someone asked me if I’m “adventurous”. On hearing the word I immediately pictured myself jumping off a cliff or out of an airplane. Adrenaline chasing has never been one of my hobbies, so I assumed I couldn’t really be described as an “adventurer.”
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​But does adventure only have to do with jumping off cliffs or is there more to it? Somehow the thought of not being adventurous made me seem so boring. Was I boring??

What does “adventurous” mean anyway?   

The Oxford dictionary defines it as a willingness to take risks, or try new ideas, methods and experiences.

My personal conclusion is that “adventurous” includes everything out of the ordinary. Adventurous is being spontaneous and willing to break routine. It’s having a hunger to explore the world around you. More than anything adventurous is about following Christ.
​The more I thought about it – the more I wanted my life to look like that. I actually realized that was exactly how I saw myself – this crazy Christian girl who’s willing to follow Jesus just about anywhere. The problem was that although this sense of adventure was written all over my heart; somehow I wasn’t necessarily always living it.
"More than anything adventurous is about following Christ."

Desiring adventure

In their book, Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge, explore God’s intention for the feminine heart. They mention what they believe to be the three core desires of womanhood:

Being romanced

Having a beauty to unveil

And playing an irreplaceable role in a great adventure

​There it was – the very desire of my heart – not to have a boring, unnoticed, ordinary life; but a life of meaning and influence.  

So why not?

It’s actually pretty simple - FEAR.
​We choose to live boring, ordinary lives because it seems safe. Stepping out into the world and taking risks is somewhat dangerous. It requires strength, boldness and whole new level of faith. 
"​We choose to live boring, ordinary lives because it seems safe."

The fear of being alone

I’ll be honest with you. This was what God revealed to be the main reason I seem to avoid adventure.

The truth of the matter is; if I am too afraid to follow God into the unknown, it’s because I don’t really trust Him with my needs and desires. 

The Botswana mission

​During this time of discovering my God-given desire for adventure; I signed up to go on a mission to Botswana. This seemed like a pretty decent challenge to apply my new-found revelation. 

"...if I am too afraid to follow God into the unknown, it’s because I don’t really trust Him with my needs and desires." 
It was easier said than done.

A few weeks before the mission we had a planning meeting, where we spoke through some of the logistics. These logistics included camping in rural Botswana with no electricity, running toilets or proper showers. All of a sudden I realized just how big the adventure was I signed up for. The biggest challenge, however, was that I knew absolutely no one on the team.

I got home and cried a little bit that night. I even remember praying that I didn’t really want to go on the mission anymore. 

My friend the missionary

And then I remembered Amelia.
​If you’ve read Stop dodging the difficult then you might remember the 20 year old missionary in Papua New Guinea.

I’d like to highlight a few things about Amelia. She’s not married and she’s the only single grown up in their mission team.  
"I was reminded of Amelia’s bravery in deciding to go and live in a little village in Papua New Guinea."
​On that day when it felt like I absolutely could not go to Botswana for ten days “on my own,” I was reminded of Amelia’s bravery in deciding to go and live in a little village in Papua New Guinea. 

What does it take to follow Jesus?

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-2

​​Following Jesus IS an adventure. It’s almost never the easy, safe and comfortable way. One thing you can be sure of is that it is going to require faith and bravery. Think about Peter getting out of the boat (Matthew 14:22-33). Imagine being able to walk on water, but even more; imagine the boldness it took to give that first step.

We’re not alone

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20

This was what Jesus said right after instructing His followers to go and make disciples. It’s almost like He knew we needed a little bit of reassurance.

I ended up going on the mission to Botswana and not having any regrets. One of my personal testimonies is the unexpected spiritual family I experienced within our team. I wasn’t alone. Not only because Jesus was holding my hand; but also because of His children; loving, caring and looking out for me. I formed friendships and built relationships I didn’t expect.

God truly is faithful, friends. 

For more information or inspiring stories from Amelia; go and visit her blog @ finisterreambassador.org

​Also look out for Wild & Adventurous (Part 2) with more adventures from my time in Botswana. 

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<![CDATA[Heaven’s time and your singleness]]>Fri, 24 May 2019 14:33:29 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/heavens-time-and-your-singleness​Trusting God’s timing and purpose with your life can be pretty tough. I remember being in high school and worrying that God’s plan for my life was to be single forever. I’m mentioning this because I happen to know many Christian women who’ve also worried about this at some point in their life.
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A friend of mine made a valid statement saying that whenever we fear or worry about the future we always seem to forget God’s grace will be there for us in that situation. God always seems to prepare us for the seasons we need to go through (1 Corinthians 10:13). Seven or eight years ago I convinced myself He wouldn’t let me arrive at this age of almost 25 without being married. But seven or eight years ago I didn’t know the fulfillment I’d find in Him today.

This doesn’t mean I don’t want to be married anymore. I still do very much and I often remind God of my desire for a companion. But I’ve learnt so much about my Father’s heart in this season of waiting. I believe singleness teaches us to wait – for more than just a husband.   

Finally!!

A while ago I made a little discovery from Genesis 2:23. This verse contains man’s first words ever to be recorded. It describes Adam’s response when he first saw Eve. And do you know what he said?

“At last!”

I’m not kidding – 

“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh...” (ESV)
“Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!” (MSG)

The Hebrew word  pa‛am pa‛ămâh (At last) is mostly used when referring to time. Although Adam’s words are often also translated to “This is now”, it is noteworthy that he makes mention of time at all.

I happen to think this is probably what every groom thinks the moment his bride comes down the aisle. This is it; the moment he’s been waiting for!
​In Adam’s case we know it was all in God’s perfect timing. He was the One who said it was not good for Adam to be alone (Genesis 2:18). He created and revealed to Adam his desire for a companion (2:20). He let Adam fall asleep (2:21). He created Eve; and then (listen up ladies) He took her to him (2:22). 
​All Adam had to do was respond. And He responded firstly exclaiming the wonder of God’s divine timing. 

​So what does this have to do with you and your singleness?

​If anything; singleness teaches us to wait. No one is born married – although God designed us to be joined in marriage, He actually didn’t create us married. He created you separate from your future husband. He wanted us to wait and grow on our own. He wanted us to spend time with Him alone and treasure Him as our First Love.  
"​If anything; singleness teaches us to wait."
Just like Adam and Eve had to wait for that divine meeting – just like some us are waiting to meet our earthly husband – we’re all waiting for the return of our heavenly Groom. 

It’s okay to have a longing for a companion for this life, but let us not forget there is a life beyond this one. Let us not forget our true longing for the return of our King.

Waiting on His return

While teaching His disciples what to expect during the end times, Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins waiting on the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13). Culturally, weddings included a procession after dark where everyone would carry a lamp. In the parable, five of the girls weren’t prepared and didn’t have enough oil for their lamps. They ended up missing the entire wedding.

We have all been invited to partake in a heavenly wedding. And we’re not just invited as guests to this wedding - we are invited to be the bride.
Attending ​this wedding, however, requires us to wait in wisdom.  We need to use our time wisely in order to prepare ourselves for the Groom. 
"...we are invited to be the bride."

Still single?

Take a moment and imagine what it would look like if waiting on your earthly husband could reflect waiting on your heavenly One. I’m deeply passionate about marriage being a reflection of our relationship with Christ (Ephesians 5:22-32), but why can’t this reflection already start in singleness?

Singleness is a beautiful opportunity to trust God and walk along side Him (I’ve definitely written that line before).
​​
Truly, we are not just waiting to walk down an earthly aisle; we are waiting for our Saviour to return.
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope.” – Psalm 130:5


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<![CDATA[When at His feet]]>Wed, 27 Mar 2019 08:01:43 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/when-at-his-feet​“What am I about to do?” she asked herself looking down at the alabaster jar in her shaking hands. The possibility of rejection was very real. She had a reputation for being a sinner and was definitely not welcome in the house of Pharisee. 

​She took a deep breath and walked into a room full of men, carrying her most precious possession – her future, her security. Trying to ignore the cruel stares directed her way; she searched the room for Jesus. He was all she was there for. It was all because of Him. 

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She couldn’t help herself; tears were already streaming down her face. This wasn’t really part of the plan; she was hoping to be a bit more composed. But standing face to face with Him somehow exposed the burden of the sin she was carrying. It’s like everything about her broke open in the same way she broke the jar of expensive perfume. She fell at His feet and in spite of her past and the harsh comments by some of the men in the room; she felt like she belonged. He wanted her there.
(See Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 7:36-50; John 12:1-8).

Something about this story always leaves me a little bit speechless. Would I have had the boldness to do what she did? Or am I merely one of the bystanders who’d consider her act of worship a waste?

What can we learn from this woman?

True worship is vulnerable

Everything about Mary’s act toward Jesus was one of vulnerability. She rudely interrupted a dinner party she hadn’t been invited to; threw expensive perfume over the guest of honor and washed His feet with her tears. She also then dried His feet with her hair. Culturally women kept their hair covered in public, because of the beauty thereof. Taking off her hair covering in a room full of men would’ve been considered a shameful act
​There was nothing about this woman hiding behind a mask of pretense. Her sins were exposed and so were all her intentions. She considered Jesus so worthy she was willing to wash the dirt off His feet; spill what was likely her most prized possession over Him and then dry His feet with her hair.
"​There was nothing about this woman hiding behind a mask of pretense."
​The disciples, on the other hand, immediately found fault in the woman’s act and tried to impress Jesus by saying the money of the perfume should’ve rather been given to the poor. Jesus isn’t that impressed with our attempts to do the right thing. He longs for pure and honest worship.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” – John 4:23

​​Living a life of worshiping God is going to ask you to sometimes step out in vulnerability – especially towards Him. Shame is this ugly thing that was never intended to be part of creation. Adam and Eve walked around naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25). Then sin came and they hid themselves, trying to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:7-10). But God asks us to open our hearts to Him and be real. He doesn’t want our attempts to impress Him. He wants us just as we are. For when we come to Him as we are, we’re giving Him the opportunity to truly heal us.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord.
​‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18

True worship is giving everything

Apart from being completely vulnerable, the woman came to Jesus with the very best she had. The alabaster jar of perfume was worth about a year’s wages. We don’t know why the woman had this jar, but we can assume she didn’t just have a few standing around in her house. This jar was likely a financial investment or family inheritance. It was something extremely valuable. However she attained it and whatever its intended use might have been; the woman decided to pour out the entire jar over Jesus. 

​If you think about your own life; what do you consider valuable? Would you be willing to “waste” this for the purpose of honoring Jesus? From a worldly perspective, the woman’s act made no sense. According to the by standing Pharisees and disciples there was no justification for what she did. Perhaps if she sold the jar and gave the money to the poor it would make a little sense; but just pouring it out over Jesus didn’t.  
"She chose to see Jesus for who He is and chose to honor Him for that."
But in that moment the woman chose not to look at value from a worldly perspective. She chose to see Jesus for who He is and chose to honor Him for that. She chose to give her very best.

When we start looking at our lives there are often so many areas we’re willing to settle for “good enough” instead of “very best.” 

True worship is bringing your heart
​Jesus valued the woman’s act – not because of what she’d done, but because of her intentions. He wants us to give our best, but more than that He wants us to want to give our best. He wants us to see Him for who He is and be willing to lay ourselves down in the same way He has. Worship is a response to our relationship with God. You can’t fake it – it has to be authentic. 
"He wants us to give our best, but more than that He wants us to want to give our best." 
​What I love about this story is that Mary didn’t only bring her best. She’s not this worldly idea of the perfect woman dressed in a beautiful gown coming to pour expensive perfume over Jesus. No, it’s a story about a sinful woman, who’s crying and appears to be a little bit of an emotional mess. She comes to bring Jesus her very best, but at the same time she also brings the very worst of herself.

Worship is not about being perfect, it’s about coming as you are.

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’
And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’
Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
​– Revelation 22:17


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