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Finding Christ in the Quaker Church

Presence in the midst

Finding Jesus in the Quaker Church has been an ongoing process for me because I have found Him in a variety of ways. I grew up in the Evangelical Friends Churches from EFC Southwest and EFC Eastern Region in the Hispanic churches. One of the ways that I found Jesus was as a child when in church I was told that Jesus was our Friend and that he would never let us down. Until that point I had only seen God as a faraway remote unreachable untouchable being up in heaven. It was then that I started to understand the Quaker message of Jesus coming to earth to live with us and above that to die for us and save us, and the amazing part is that He still continues to be here and wants a relationship with each and every single individual. The Quaker Church helped me understand Jesus message found in

John 15:9-17
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

It was an amazing discovery as a child to know this that Jesus chose us. It would be so amazing if all children would be able to listen to this message because as humans at an early age we discover the need of a friend for that reason many children make up an imaginary friend. My friend as a child was not imaginary it was real in my life and I could feel Him when I most needed Him I could talk to him. When my mother died I felt Jesus there with us I always felt his comfort through my father, grandparents and in the Friends’ Church that opened their arms for us helping us morally financially and in more ways that would be too long to mention, I knew that he had not abandoned us. Jesus was there with us through all the loving people we encountered during those difficult times.
Through Friends’ history I have found Jesus in the Friends Church. Years ago I had the opportunity to go England there I took a tour of the Lancaster Castle where early Friends had been imprisoned and tortured for their believes there I was able to see the tools they used to torture them. At that point Jesus words came to my mind: as I have loved you. Greater love than this no man has, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Friend’s relationship with Jesus was being tested and for this friendship they were able to give up their lives not because they were righteous or good but because they loved the One that had laid down His life for them before. They were only doing what Jesus had done for them and following His commandments. These Friends demonstrated the deep level of intimacy they had reached with Jesus that they felt that it was necessary to die in His Name before denying Him just like early Christians did. At that point I asked myself do Jesus and I have that type of relationship that I would laid down my life for His Name just like he died for me on the cross?
Friend’s testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community and equality have reminded me of Jesus words: that you should go and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain. Friends have given fruit we can see this throughout Quakerism’s history. Jesus came to this earth in a very simple way from the very beginning of his human life, he did not come like an earthly king with a gold crown and majestic clothing he came to this earth in a very humble form even though he was God. For this reason the Jews did not accept him because they could not accept that their king would lead such a simple life and the opposite of what is considered to be majestic in our human terms Friends have only learned simplicity from our Great Master. Friends have learned peace through Jesus; if Jesus reigns in our hearts we will experience inward peace because Jesus is the Prince of Peace. If we have inner peace then the desire to wage war will cease and that can only be acquired with Jesus in our hearts. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, and to turn the other cheek this are the type of passages that Friends take literally and obeying this commands is the only way to acquire peace. Jesus wants us to live in peace with our neighbors even when those neighbors are our enemies. Friends have always valued community by loving each other and also the world. Wesley advised that Methodist should take care of one another just like the Quakers do and he observed that he never saw a raggedy Quaker. Quakers have also cared for the communities that they lived in not only their own Quaker community. One example of this was in Ireland Quakers began the soup kitchens when they were going through the great famine. Quakers fed people, just like Jesus fed the 5,000. Another example was of William Penn establishing a community based in equality and peace in Pennsylvania and Delaware. William Penn signed peace treaties with the Indians treating them equally and fairly, Penn also welcomed other people regardless of their race and religion to live in his colonies without being persecuted. Jesus gave many examples of how to care for our community Jesus said to a rich man to go and sell everything he had and to give to the poor; Jesus also told us if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Friends take Jesus commandment to love one another seriously for this reason community is very important. Jesus thought us that all humans are equal in his eyes. Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman in the well in a time that women were not considered of any value and to top things off she was a gentile. Jesus also healed the son of a Roman centurion even though this man served the empire that was oppressing his people. Jesus also ate with prostitutes and tax collectors, and Jesus also promised eternal life to a criminal that society despised. Although Jesus disciples wanted the children to leave Jesus alone Jesus said to allow them to come to Him. Jesus had no limits he loved each and every single one of us equally. From these great examples Friends have developed the testimony of Equality we have seen Friends were one of the early groups to allow women to preach in their meetings and to send them as missionaries. Friends also established Friends academies and allowed not only Quakers to get an education in their schools. Friends also pioneered causes such as the women’s suffrage movement with Lucretia Mott and the abolition of slavery that were led by John Woolman and Levy Cofin. But the Friend’s testimonies are not original to Quakerism we have only found Jesus example and followed it. I have definitely found Jesus through Friends’ testimonies since Jesus is the great example of our testimonies.
Another way that I found Jesus in the Quaker Church was ironically not in the Friends’ Church but brought me back to the Friends’ Church. This was when I was 14 years old my father was a professor at an Assembly of God Hispanic Seminary and in this town there was no Friends’ Meeting around so we attended the Assembly of God church. This church was loving and we felt the Holy Spirit there, we were very happy there. One day the pastor of the church asked us if my sister and I wanted to be involved we said yes we want to so he asked us well the only requirement is to be baptized and he asked if we had been water baptized and I said no we have not been water baptized. This conversation made me ask myself why do Friends don’t practice the rite of water baptism, all other churches do it and a small number of denominations even say that is for salvation. Have we been part of a false cult all along? At this time the only place that I could go to answer this questions was in the bible with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In short I found passages that said that the baptism of Jesus (Acts 2:38) was done by Jesus with the Holy Spirit not by a human being with water. Jesus is the baptizer (Mathew 3:11) and the only that can clean our sins is the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). Please don’t get me wrong I understand why my brethren in Christ from other churches water baptize and I belief that is very meaningful rite. But I also understand that the early Quakers decided not to practice it because many have come to depend on a physical ritual thus replacing the real baptism of Jesus that John tells us is to be done with the Holy Spirit. This all goes back to a personal relationship with Jesus that He himself wants to baptize us with the Holy Spirit without the intervention of another human being. Jesus has prepared everything in a way that our relationship is something just between Him and us. Jesus told us that all we need to do is to ask the Father in His Name and the Holy Spirit shall be given to us. I find this to be so amazing that Friends have discovered that baptism is an affair only between Jesus and the individual. So yes I found that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, and only because we have been baptize we can give fruit but the only one that can grant us this baptism is Jesus himself.
The way that I tried to live out my Quaker values in the world with family and community is by being obedient to the Holy Spirit and trying to do what he leads me to do even when it is not easy to do. I believe that one of the great opportunities I’ve had has been helping young single mothers that have been domestically and mentally abused to get out of that situation, we have opened the doors of our home. I don’t offer counseling because I am no professional in that area the only thing I tried to do is to just be a friend to them and reassure them that we will be there. Recently I have been trying to be conscious of taking care of creation by being a more conscious consumer and becoming a vegetarian. I believe that one of our duties as Christians is to take care of the home that God has created for us and also to take care of our neighbor. I have been to my own country in Guatemala and I see that even a small contribution would help a family, for that reason I tried to shop fairly traded products from third world countries. The most important is trying to share Jesus in every opportunity I get I would like people to know I am a Quaker because of my testimony and my deeds to match my verbal testimony.
To non-Quakers I would encourage to seek Jesus, to live with and like Jesus. This is the only way to be a Quaker I have known of groups that are not at all affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends but I considered them Quakers because the only thing that they are doing is being obedient to the Holy Spirit that is the inward light that can lead us all. And that Quakerism is great community of intentional prayer and seeking of the Holy Spirit and is so great to be part of a community that intentionally seeks to have a relationship with Jesus. Quakerism is not a religion is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
What I would like more mature Quakers to know about my commitment to the Friends’ Church is that my primary commitment is with Jesus and thus this has lead me to a commitment with Friends’ Church, because I feel that it’s the best expression of Christianity that I could try to live with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I perceive Quakerism as primitive Christianity Revived!


Salvation by deeds or grace?

This subject is perharps one of the most argued in the church through out the ages and has also been a very divisive issue; since the bible seems to support both arguments. But we have to keep in mind that the bible does not contradict itself, we have to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and to show us what it means. I would like to explore with you what the bible tells us in a prayerful spirit.

New International Version (©1984)
And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6

Here the Apostle Paul was writting to a group of Jews that still wanted to earn their salvation by practicing the ceremonies, rituals of the Mosaic Law. In other words they still wanted to practice tevilah (water baptisms), circumcision, different feasts days, obstaining from pagan food among other observations of the law. Here we have Paul telling us that these observances are not necesary for salvation anymore since the Jews still wanted to practice them. Now Paul was not going to make any laws against practicing them since he himself practice a few rituals under the new covenant he circumcised a boy (Acts 16:1-3) and he also practice a ritual of purification (Acts 21:26). But then he explains why he did this in 1 Corinthians 9:20

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

So we see that practicing the law itself was not at all a sin, the problem was that they relied on their Mosaic works to be saved. And that was the mistake that Paul was trying to prevent. But then we see in James 2 something that seems to be contradicting Paul.

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is uselessd?

Here we have to take into account what the deeds are and we see in James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Then we see that earlier in chapter 2 that James was also writting against showing favoritism towards the rich. It is very clear that the deeds that James is refering to are to be compasionate towards the needy, not the rituals of the law. Here we have Paul saying that deesds are not necesary and James saying that they are. The deeds are not at all necesary for salvation neither it is a sin to practice them with the full conviction that because we practice them they will not save us. But the deeds of loving each other and turning the other cheek and helping the less fortunate are a sign that Jesus left for the world to know that we are Christians the we are His followers.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

We Christians should not do the deeds for salvation we do them because it is a consequence of our spiritual birth in Christ, this way people know that we are no longer dead in our sins, we do them because we live in the new kingdom, because we live in the light.

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 1 John 3:14

The apostles all agreed that our salvation was not because of any Mosaic ceremonial ritual we could ever practice.

No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” Romans 15:11

Thanks to our salvation is that we do good deeds so that we do not deny our Lord with our deeds.

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good Titus 1:16

Jesus clearly explained it in Matthew 7

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

There is no ceremony that we can practice, feeding the poor or even dying as a living sacrifice will not qualify as an act for salvation. But instead our goods deeds are only a consequence a testimony of our already acquired Salvation thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. So it is only natural that if we are Christians we will give Christian fruit (deeds).

That of God in Everyone!

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:14-21

Jesus begins his ministry by telling us what his purpose is. His purpose is to bring freedom to everyone. Jesus did not limit his love to the best people in society. Jesus did not care about ethnicity, age, gender, social status, or anything else. He loved us all the same he made no exceptions. Jesus came to rescue something that is very valuable to him which is humanity. Jesus came to rescue a part of him. Quakers have the phrase “that of God in everyone” Which I have always tied to the creation of the Earth.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them Genesis 1:26-27

So yes even the prostitudes have that of God, the Samaritan woman too, the tax collector, the Roman centurion, the Jewish teacher of the law, the leppers, and even Saul the church persecuter. We will be looking a few examples of the ministry of Jesus.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 8:3-11

This woman was caught in adultery she deserved to die by law in Exodus 20:14 we find that the law said “You shall not commit adultery” but Jesus saw that this woman was valuable to him and Jesus in his great love decided to give a chance. Regardless of the crime that this woman had commited Jesus saw that in her was that of God. Another criminal that Jesus loved was the thief on the cross, eventhough the world had condemned him Jesus did not.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:39-43

Again another person that broke the law. One of the ten commandments is “You shall not steal.” Regardless of his crime and although the world had condemned him Jesus did not. Jesus loved this man that was created by him in his image, there was that of God in him aswell. The last example we will be looking at is about a man that in our human eyes was worst than any of the two examples that we examined. He delighted in the killing of the early Christians. This man was Saul of Tarsus, the early Christians were afraid of him. Saul of Tarsus hated Christians. He made it his goal to capture, then bring Christians to public trial and execution. Saul was present when the first Christian martyr (named Stephen) was killed by an angry mob.

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul approved of their killing him.On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

Acts 7:57-8:1

Later on we see that Saul himself testify of him persecuting the church.

I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

Acts 22:4-5

But no human being is so bad, so criminal that Jesus can not rescue her or him.

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

Acts 9:1-9

Jesus appeared to Saul later Paul. If Paul who was a terorizer pharisee persecutor of the early church and The Light Jesus literally overcame him. Then Osama bin Laden the man that many of us were afraid of, the man that harmed our nation, the man responsible for many deaths around the world. He also qualified for the inmense love of Jesus. For that reason we can not celebrate his assasination although he was responsible for many more deaths just like Saul was. Yet he was another person that had that of God in him and we killed him. No darkness is more powerful than The Light.

Jesus said:

“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” John 9:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5

As Christians our duty is to go out into the world and let them know that they are precious in Jesus’ eyes. It does not matter how unworthy and criminal their actions have been. There is one that has come to recuperate the precious treasure that had been lost and that one is Jesus. This is the foundation of Quakerism, George Fox said:

Now the Lord God opened to me by his invisible power that every man was enlightened by the divine light of Christ and I saw it shine through all and that they that believed in it came out of condemnation to the light of life and became the children of it … that the manifestation of the Spirit of God was given to every man to profit withal.

George Fox

Quakers did not discover anything new, they were just going back to foundation of Christianity that had been forgotten. John Woolman also spoke of this:

Our gracious Creator cares and provides for all his creatures. His tender mercies are over all his works, and so far as his love influences our minds, so far we become interested in his workmanship and feel a desire to take hold of every opportunity to lessen the distresses of the afflicted and increase the happiness of the creation.

John Woolman

Jesus is ready to answer that of God in everyone.

Are we God? Does America trust God?

Like everyone else I am procesing the news that Osama bin Laden is dead. There are different opinions out there some are celebrating, some are doubtful that he is dead wanting to see the death certificate, others feel relieved and others don’t have an opinion. One thing everyone knows is that Osama deserved to be punished. He executed evil plans and was responsible for the death of thousands of people around the world. There was no question or doubt that he was evil, it was clear that he was evil. According to the bible we are ALL evil not just Osama is evil we are all evil.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. John 3:19

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:5

The only one that is not evil and is good is God:

The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him Nahum 1:7

They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. Psalm 145:7

Unfortunatly many of us believe that we are God and want to do God’s part but none of us are free from evil.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

By seeking revenge and killing we are demonstrating that we either don’t trust that God is righteous or that we think He needs help in the revenge. The bible often told us that revenge and justice belongs to God and not us.

In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.This is the name by which he will be called:The Lord Our Righteousness. Jeremiah 23:5

The LORD is righteous; He has cut in two the cords of the wicked. Psalm 129:4

Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments. Psalm 119:137

“O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.” Ezra 9:15

“However, You are just in all that has come upon us; For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly. Nehemiah 9:33

Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice. Daniel 9:14

As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish 1 Samuel 26:10

Therefore, this is what the LORD says: “See, I will defend your cause and avenge you; I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. Jeremiah 51:36

May he judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice. Psalm 72:2

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’ Deuteronomy 32:35

O LORD, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth! Psalm 94:1

For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” Hebrews 10:30

‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you. Proverbs 20:22

Do not say, “I’ll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did.” Proverbs 24:29

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. Romans 12:17

Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 2 Timothy 4:14

We need to learn to trust God if he has promised justice he is the one that will punish our enemies it is not our duty.

(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

Not trusting God to be God can have consequences.

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. Proverbs 24:17-18

Because I trust that God is a righteous God and revenge is His and not mine, I trusted that God himself would strike Osama and do justice. Unfortunatly America does not trust God.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. Isaiah 2:11

The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day Isaiah 2:17

Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”
Isaiah 37:20

Today America demonstrated that we do not trust God. I will close with the words of Micah Bales: Vengeance of our own denies the power of God’s justice.

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