A Joyous Christmas To You and Your Family

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Dear Saints of Abundant Harvest Fellowship Philippines,

I would like to greet each one of you a Joyous Christmas. There is much joy in this season as excitement gets a hold of us and whirls us into the rush of Christmas; the multitude of gatherings we are invited to attend, The beautiful decorations and seasonal music that enlivens the air, the gifts we are preparing for our loved ones and the gifts we hope to receive, the family we desire to spend time with and the loved ones we hope to see. Driving around this Christmas eve in the hopes of purchasing some bread for our family Noche Buena, I passed by restaurants packed to the brim with families celebrating Christmas in the hopes of not needing to clean up right after to the beggars in the Street that suddenly remembered to become extra polite to you for the spare change you might bestow on them. As I was passing along, a thought came to me- a question that posed in the back of my mind; how many of these people celebrate Christmas for Christ? In an age where everything is commercialized, I would not doubt it that many even those who claim to be believers have in some way forgotten the meaning of Christmas. We keep on focusing on the fellowship, the gatherings, the gifts that we’ve forgotten the Reason for the Season: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Friends, we are called as believers to celebrate not just the fellowship, the gifts and the excitement that this season entails; for these things are but an added affair to the glorious Reason of this Season. Christmas has always been called the season of perpetual hope; this statement is true; not because of the new flood of emotion and reminiscing of better days, old ties repaired, families brought together once again- but because 2000 years ago, a child was born, 2000 years ago; salvation was given. 2000 years ago the greatest gift was bestowed on us and eternal life is freely given to this day.

Isaiah 9:6 states – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Acts 4:11-12 “…This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Today friends as we enjoy the company of our loved ones, as we bless others with our time and resources and as we receive the gifts given to us; let us take a moment to reflect as to the true meaning of Christmas. It is time dear friend to acknowledge the gift of our King which is eternal life to those who stand and believe. It is time to appreciate the gift of life by standing for holiness, living a life of purity and exuding truth in all we do. That by our acknowledgement we verify the validity of the gospel, the validity of the great plan of our King to bring into salvation all who are lost, who are weary, who are wavering, weakened and alone. That by our appreciation moves us to seek a life that is pure, just and true; avoiding any form of evil or sin but basking in righteousness and seeking God alone. We can’t appreciate for we don’t acknowledge our great need for this gift, our great need for our God, our great need for the hope given.

Today friends, let us stand for the renewal of our minds through Christ Jesus as we intentional acknowledge the great gift bestowed on us, and the great need we have for the Savior. Let us stand to appreciate and celebrate this season not just by fellowship and gifts but more so by recalibrating our Christianity and choosing today to live a life of purity, or righteousness, of holiness and of love. Let us remember the great gift of our King, the sacrifice that follows and the promise we hold unto, the hope that never dims for all who stand obedient to His call. Friends, This Christmas- let us Acknowledge the gift, Acknowledge our Savior, Glorify our Lord Jesus Christ!

Romans 15:13“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Merry Christmas Dear Saints and may God bless you always, have a wonderful day!

Sincerely, Pastor Lyle Lopez & Family

The Spirit of the Lord Shall Lift Up A Standard

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God has promised us, “In your time of trouble—when you face a persistent, ever-present evil—I will be your ever-present help”

In the world today, we stand witness to the evil it upholds as it flows like a flood that destroys everything in its path, corrupting what is set apart, righteous and good; Yet those who are grounded in the Lord, grounded in the word remain unshakable; not by our own strength but by the power of our King who protects us from harm as we abide in Him alone.

Psalm 46:1“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

The phrase “ever present” means “always here, always available, with unlimited access.” In short, the abiding presence of the Lord is always in us. And if He’s ever present in us, then He desires a continual conversation with us. He wants us to talk with Him no matter where we are: in our schools, on the job, with family, with friends, in the church, even with non-believers. This is the meaning of prayer without ceasing, a continues communion with our King as we meditate on scripture. Many people even scholars of the word of God state that God has stopped speaking with His people, this is a lie from the furnaces of hell itself. The enemy wants us to think God has allowed Satan to grow in power and influence, but that He hasn’t equipped his own people with greater authority. No, never! His power abides in us through the Holy Spirit. Scripture says, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19). It doesn’t matter what the devil brings against us. God’s power in his people will always be greater than Satan’s assaults. We will withstand and we will endure for we stand more than conquerors through God who loves us. Our King has sent forth His Holy Spirit to guide us in our walk and empower us to face the enemy armed with His power.

Imagine a battle, we’ve been fighting for hours on end as the forces of the enemy rise like a angry flood that threatens to wash out all that is good; now imagine as your strength slowly wanes and the sword in your hand slips as the enemy prepares for his final blow; the Spirit of the Lord shines and unfurls a Mighty Standard that smites the enemy and protects you, heals you and empowers you to continue the good fight. Isaiah 59:19 actually refers to the flag-bearer who rode ahead of Israel’s army. The Lord always led his people into battle behind His own mighty standard. Likewise today, God has a glorious army of heavenly hosts who ride forth under His banner, ready to execute his battle plans on our behalf. This is the heritage of the saints, the heritage of the righteous. We are called to stand for peace and be still as we see before our eyes the power of our King and His justice realized.

Isaiah 54:17“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.”

You may ask then, “So how does God bring us help in our troubles?” or “How will He bring vindication, or block the weapons of the enemy?” His help comes in the gift of His Holy Spirit, who dwells in us and works the Father’s will in our lives. Paul tells us again and again that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. We are the Lord’s dwelling place on earth. Of course, we repeat this truth often, in our worship and testimonies. Yet, many of us still don’t take it seriously. We simply don’t understand the power that resides in this truth. If we did grasp it and trust in it, we would never again be afraid or dismayed. Many times we feel as though we need to arrive in a place of high emotion to feel the power of God; no friends- all we have to do is focus on our King and abide in Him for as we do; He abides in us also. As we dwell in Him, we endure.

Listen to David’s testimony: “I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:7-8). David is declaring, “God is always present before me. And I’m determined to keep him in my thoughts. He faithfully guides me day and night. I don’t ever have to be confused.”

John 14:15-17“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him,because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

Woe To You!

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Matthew 23:13
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Who are the Teachers here?

A – First woe (23:13) – failing to recognise Jesus as the Messiah
B – Second woe (23:15) – superficially zealous yet doing more harm than good
C – Third woe (23:16-22) – misguided use of the Scripture
D – Fourth woe (23:23-24) – fundamental failure to discern the thrust of Scripture
C – Fifth woe (23:25-26) – misguided use of the Scripture
B – Sixth woe (23:27-28) – superficially zealous yet doing more harm than good
A – Seventh woe (23:29-32) – heirs of those who failed to recognise the prophets

Now my question is,are those teachers, preachers of the Law you knew, whom you broke bread with does not acknowdge Jesus Christ? Did not Live for Christ but instead continued living for personal motives and ambition?Do you remember them as those who Hated sin and encouraged believers to ward holiness and sanctification? Or you opted to make the infalliable word of God to be used to ventillate your outrage and justify your sins ,misdeeds and thievery? Woe indeed! how such haughty spirit blinded you to look at the word of God as a mere gun in a shooting spree? Don’t be hasty in your utterrances of Woe. The scripture though posted on your wall are all good if they are not in any nature ill motivated to cause more harm than good. Pursue Peace and good reproach as we read the word of God. The Bible and the Truth contained in it is for all and not for one man alone. Have Christ-Centered day to all.

Pruning: The Key to A Healthy Christian Life

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Friends, there is truth in pruning. Understand that it is the key to reach your best and when we stand defensive; pruning does not happen.

The pursuit of excellence in our Christian life, being the best God called us to be must include the elimination of some things, pruning in short; even though they may be good and legitimate. This is the key, more so if the there are dead branches that are stealing the nutrients to keep the whole tree, or plant well and whole. The principle is are they the best and will they get in the way or hinder the main objectives of a Christian’s life based on biblical principles and values? If so, they need to be eliminated. We see this truth in Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify” (see also 1 Cor. 6:12). Just because they are legitimate does not mean they should be chosen or pursued. Just because you like something or have a connection with someone does not mean that the connection is Godly; it might be that we are called to prune in order to grow.

The biggest issue in regard to pruning is the movement of restitution. How can one prune a relationship when all the time we are called to draw the people who we have a broken relationship with? I would answer this question with another; have you done your part? There are moments in the Christian life when you have done all you can to mentor, draw and bless people; yet sadly the goodness you shined was answered withe deceit, lack of accountability and betrayal. All your good deeds were taken in the wrong way, misconstrued or even warped by the predetermined thoughts of the person you are helping. To this I stand by the answer set forth by Christ:

Matthew 10:14“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

Shake off the dust of your feet. This was done when there was a positive rejection of the gospel. It was a symbolical act, signifying that all responsibility for the stubborn household or city had ended. Again this is done only when you’ve done all you can. When defensiveness and a stubborn heart is the only answer you get. Once you’ve done your part to win them and yet they desire to continue on the path of destruction, allow God to do His work and commit them to the enemy lest you yourself are drawn by their apostasy.

1 John 2:19 states – “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

They never were part of us to begin with, this is the truth of it all- so why bother, there are more people to draw who really desire the King or have no clue as to the value of faith. Why not use your energy to fix yourself and exude God’s light to the people who desire Christ.

You want a healthy Christian Life, prune yourself of the things that steals your best, causes you to sin and leads you to stumble in misconstrued grace. If you want a healthy church; prune away the dead leaves, dead twigs and branches; the people that would only steal your time, effort, focus since they have decided to act dead; when they are called to be alive in Christ. Pruning is key to a healthy Christian Life.

John 15:5-8 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples

Rejoice in the Lord Despite Circumstance

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Habakkuk 3:17-18 17 Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!

As I read this verse a question prodded my heart; a question that every believer should ask themselves. Can we honestly state that despite of circumstance, no matter what we lack, no matter if our dreams come to fruition or that our breakthrough is evident; can we state that we will rejoice in God. The common answer is yes, of course; but if faced with a difficult situation; can you proclaim that the Lord is good and your joy is in His salvation? The common understanding of many professing Christians is God will provide but can you state that our faith is not tied with the blessings we receive, the gifts we hope for. True believers understand that though troubles arise, though supplies lack, though needs are unmet and wants are set aside; our joy is not tied to these things. Our faith is not chained to the gift for our true reward is the Giver. Many have fallen into the viewpoint that the reward of faith is the glittering prospects of this world but understand that nothing on earth can be our reward for faith. Yes it might be that we are blessed in abundance to supply our needs, our wants and become a blesser to others but material and monetary possessions are not the true reward of a Believer. The true reward is the presence of God who dwells in us, strengthening us through difficulty, guiding us to righteousness, never leaving us nor forsaking us. Our true reward is glory when we face our King and all tears from our eyes have been wiped away. That is our true reward. For know this, nothing made in this world nor created by human hands can bring true joy that is lasting in our hearts. No abundance can fill us with peace and contentment if God does not dwell in us. Thus this is how we are tested, especially when what we have hoped for seems bleak, when troubles seem to drain us of our hopes- can we transcend what we feel, change our mindset and recalibrate our Christianity? Can we state today that our Joy, our hope, our peace is in our King and only He can suffice the hunger in our hearts, the need in our Spirits?

Lamentations 3:24 states – I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” Wait on the Lord, desire Him alone, set your eyes on Him for only through His love can we stand content, stable, loved and at peace.

Delighting in God: How Planted Are We in the Faith?

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Colossians 2:7Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.

Upon reading this passage, a line from The song Awesome In this place came to my mind; “I found where I belong, I’m a living stone in this house I will grow.” How beautiful are the words of this song, what an empowering verse to affirm our faith. We love this song, problem is many times we don’t own up to the words that this song imply. How many of us can actually state that we are planted, grounded in the word of God? How many can state that we live for God? Many Christians or those who profess their belief fall short on this principle that when trials come, when difficulties occur; their faith walk is shaken and uprooted from where it should be planted. Notice that what Paul is stating here is that; we should not loose faith nor shake or be uprooted but hold fast, be planted- be deeply rooted in the faith. How do we do that? Well the question here is- how is your bible reading, how do you view Sunday Service? Are you active or passive in your walk with Christ? These are question that would ascertain how planted we are in the faith. Do we look forward to service, to teachings? Do we discipline ourselves, being honest as we search our hearts for anything that does not exude Christ? These are then questions we ought to be asking that we may be built up as we are confirmed in the faith. Being planted means that we stand no longer as ourselves but all we do must reflect Christ for we thrive, grow and stand empowered by His word, guided by His truth, strengthened by His love. It commands us to magnify God with each aspect of our being, honoring Him in all our ways. This is our call, not to fall into certain brands of Christianity that is a skin deep viewpoint that shatters at the moment of tribulation, but a steady well rooted, well founded stance on God by seeking Him each moment and truly having a personal relationship with our King. Note that Paul states; overflow with thanksgiving- our life should be a model to people who are still blinded by this world to understand the hope we have through Christ. That would not happen if we are still planted in the world or rooted half heartedly in God. Our King has told us never to be lukewarm but be on fire for Him. Our life should exude His goodness which is only possible by living out His word, seeking His face and intentionally working our salvation with much fear and trembling as we stand to desire our God by enjoying Him forever; putting Him as the focal point of our existence as we see Him as our one true reward. In Jesus name amen!

Have a blessed day everyone, God bless! – Pastor Lyle Lopez

Delighting in God: Come Back To Our First Love

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Revelations 22:11He who is unrighteous (unjust, wicked), let him be unrighteous still; and he who is filthy (vile, impure), let him be filthy still; and he who is righteous (just, upright, in right standing with God), let him do right still; and he who is holy, let him be holy still.

In the final book of the New Testament, the hour of wrath approaches. Yes we dwell in the age of grace but truth be told; we even those who fancy themselves believers lack the proper appreciation of our current situation. At this moment, God is imploring us to change. To be reconciled to Him by discarding the devices of the enemy and our wanton desire for evil yet many due to our own blindness just continues on; having a mindset that is: business as usual. No, this is an idealism that will cause our own ignorance to be the doom we’ve been striving to avoid. God is calling out yet truth be told; many will not harken. Many would cast off the final plea of our King as a vague mysticism that fits in a fairy tale book and not in the “Real” world, but the hour is coming when we would have hoped that we stood obedient. The day is drawing near when we would regret not intentionally changing instead disregarding wisdom and instruction. Many believers state that after salvation; there is nothing left to change; hiding behind misconstrued takes on the phrase: “God’s grace is sufficient.” truth is, it is God’s grace that is the only variable that keeps us from being consumed by the fire of His holiness, it is by His love that we still have time. Thus do not be contented with who you are, what you are and the deeds you now accomplish but strive to be better, and when You have reached His best; press on and move forward. Don’t be unrighteous and filthy yet blindly go on the course as though we are clean and pure. Do not fall in to the system Of this world and the blind change they state. True change is not measured by mere perseverance but by going back to our first love; Jesus Christ our Lord. Thus we ought to harken to Him, Harken to His truth and intentionally seek to be better, be the best- be the person God called us to be, not by might nor power but by His Spirit. On attainment of righteousness, don’t stand lacks but press on to know the risen Christ. Don’t fall into complacency in the day of grace, not when the presence of God is readily available to all who call Him. For the day will come when His presence is reserved only for those who stood faithful, only to the obedient. The day will come that those who chose wickedness will stumble as though in the dark, not knowing why they have fallen due to their ignorance of the voice of truth that pleads them be reconciled to God. I am implore you today to glorify our King by enjoying Him, His word, His truth and His life changing light forever. In Jesus name Amen!

Have a blessed week everyone! – Pastor Lyle Lopez

Delighting in God: The Key to Joy is to Trust & Obey

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John 10:10“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

As I woke up this morning, I shuffled my feet toward my desk and asked God: “Lord, what is it your are telling me today?” As I prayed, an insight came to me; In life, many of us seek a simple thing; a thing we are made to believe is attainable by possessions, worldly pleasures or prestige yet upon a closer examination; we know that no amount of material obsessions can sate our hunger for happiness. Man since the dawn of the age seeks happiness yet we go at this journey in the way of folly. We work hard to obtain, and as we obtain, we seek more; as our desires turn to obsessions. Truth is, we are trapped by the age old belief of man to seek happiness through wealth or prestige. Sad to say, this trap no matter how sweet it seems to be is a lie from the enemy. This lie is meant to destroy our hope to achieve joy. This lie was designed for the purpose of stealing the contentment and steadiness we might exude if we understood how to attain true happiness, true joy. A verse came to me which struck a chord in my heart. Jesus in John 10:10 states a warning to all who would harken, a call to those whose ear are open- that the enemy has come only to destroy the heritage of the saints. The enemy has come to devour what hope we have by enticing us with things that emulate temporary happiness yet leaves us empty as time progresses. God wants us whole and in His wisdom, He sends His Son; Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to cover the multitude of our sins that we have a hope and a future. Christ came to give us life, life in all abundance, life that gives us hope, gives us true joy. In this as well, He states that Christ desires that we have life to the full. Such a beautiful call, one that we ought to harken to. Joy and a full life is within our grasps; if only we trust and obey our King. An abundant life is given if we seek His face and desire Him alone. Do not let the enemy steal your heritage, but hold fast to the confession of our faith without wavering for He who promised is Faithful. Focus on God, seek to exude an undivided heart that is steady in the Faith and stands to profess and confess Christ in each aspect of our being, In Jesus Name Amen!

Have a blessed day everyone! – Pastor Lyle Lopez

Delighting in God: Don’t Lose Heart

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Galatians 6:9And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

One the biggest problems that man faces in this day and age is not the lack of jobs, of tasks, of time; no – these are things readily available to all who seek to do good work with proper motivation and steadiness. What we lack in this generation is perseverance, we have forgotten the difficult but rewarding effort of those who stand to endure. Don’t get me wrong, there is no problem with enthusiasm; that we have a supply of yet enthusiasm slowly wanes and fades unless fed with inspiration like wood is tossed in a furnace to keep the fire going. Then problem is when the excitement is gone, when enthusiasm has faded; we are asked a question: why go on? Today, even those who profess to be believers have a saddening outlook on life since no one desires to press on and be steady. Each person is moved to jump, hop and move to the next job, task, church, person, relationship while leaving behind the unfinished work that was once started with much enthusiasm. As these words exhorted the early believers, so it stands to exhort us. The outcry is to press on regardless of difficulty, situation or dealings. We are called to endure, to persevere. We are exhorted not to weaken nor to loosen or relax our courage, not now when we have already labored through, not now when we have already witnessed the beginning of breakthrough. When trials begin to take hold, when our worries and despair begin to overpower the voice of our hope, when the situation seems dire; don’t break or crackle. Dropping the task now, or running from this difficulty will only put more distance between you and the goal that God desires us to reach. God allows situations and circumstance that weaken our resolve to ensue that we may understand that when we have done everything, when we have accomplished what has to be done, no matter how hopeless it may all seem; we are called to stand. We don’t flee at the sight of trouble for we are children of the Most High God; we are grounded on His word, strengthened by His truth, encouraged by our brethren who also choose to stand thus the storm may come but we stand unshakable, always persevering, always enduring because of Christ who strengthens us. Thus we are called to press on, do what is right; focus on our King and shine His goodness in all we do, never allowing the enemy to sow doubt in us by the problems that might arise but being strong, unwavering in our confession and profession of Christ and the fulfillment of the call He set in our lives, in Jesus name amen!

Have a blessed day everyone! – Pastor Lyle Lopez

Delighting in God: The Lord Will Accomplish What Concerns Me

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Psalm 138:7-8 “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”

Each one of us have been in situations and circumstance that tested our faith and moved us to seek a Higher power than ourselves. We start off thinking that we have everything under control until everything that could go wrong immediately went wrong. Soon enough we see how we have personally made a mess of things; and in that hour of desperation- men who never pray begin to make bargains with God, people who never sought out the Holy One immediately reminds God of how they tried to do well, how they completed the ten commandments. Yet consider it pure joy if we stand to believe in our Mighty King despite joy or pain, victories or tribulation. Consider it joy if our life is already in-tuned to God, serving Him faithfully that though the fields are dry, though our hopes did not go the way we desired or our best laid plans fell short in the end sense; we are unshaken in the hand of our God. The psalmist here states his blessed assurance, that no trouble or pain inflicted by his enemies could overtake Him because God is by His side. That though the torment could lead to near death, God will revive Him. Blessed are those whose faith upon being tested; holds up and endures even after trials and tribulations. Then a line is verse 8 strikes a chord in me; “The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.” Such hope and assurance. Most of the time we shake, we falter, we loose the drive, the will even to hope yet the trust in God in this verse is to be modeled, it is to be emulated. This verse is not to state that everything we desire goes the way we planned it; but this verse is the perfect example of our prayer to frustrate what has to be frustrated; and bring to fruition that which is the will of our King. This verse is set to assure us that all will go well, all will come to understanding, to fruition if we focus on God, ascertain His perfect will for us and abide in His presence forever. In Jesus Name Amen!

Have a blessed day everyone! – Pastor Lyle Lopez