The Most Basic Bible Study Skill We Need


One of the questions that I'm blessed to receive more often than others is: "How do you study the Bible?"

Nine times out of ten, the people asking know much more about Scripture than I do. The question that they are really asking is what techniques I use when studying Scripture.

I cannot tell you how many times I have asked others that very same question. When I sit under a teacher's excellent Bible exegesis and learn nuances within the text that I have never seen before, I love to ask about that teacher's study methodology. Yes, the Holy Spirit is the one who brings forth what we need to hear exactly when we need to hear it, but how those truths are taught makes a difference.

I have tried numerous Bible study methods, but the most basic, invaluable tool (following prayer) is simply this: Read the text in its entirety and read it repeatedly.

Let's say you're studying the book of Philippians. There are four chapters and a little over 1,600 words in the entire book. The average person can read approximately 300 words per minute. That means you can easily read through the entire epistle in five to six minutes.

So, why is that important?

Reading the text in its entirety and reading it repeatedly provides a "helicopter" ride over the book to get a sense of its landscape. Then, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we begin to hike through the peaks and valleys in the book, discerning the overarching theme, the main character(s), and the setting.

Once we grasp those basics, then we can pause to examine every word and phrase, the culture, and the book's author, among other things. What I find consistently is that when I have invested time grasping the landscape, digging deeper impacts my faith walk more powerfully.

For instance, when we dig deep into the background of the book of Philippians, we learn that it's also known as the "Book of Joy." Researching even further reveals that the Apostle Paul (who authored Philippians) was in prison when he wrote this epistle. And our natural question is: "How can a person write a book of joy whilst imprisoned?" Paul provides the answer in the book's last chapter:

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13

That's where God uses the life application of Paul's words to hits us squarely between our spiritual eyes: If God allowed Paul to experience joy and contentment in such desperate circumstances, God can and will do the same in mine.

Another helpful tool is to read the text ALOUD. Yes, that may feel strange at first. But remember the culture into which this book was given? People did not have paper and pens handy. The Old Testament scrolls and letters such as Paul's were read ALOUD to the people gathered. When we read the text aloud, we can hear the story that it conveys. 

Though there are many wonderful techniques in studying God's Word, this one basic skill cannot be neglected: Read the book in its entirety and read it repeatedly.

Try it! I'd love to hear how God uses it in your study time.

What are some of your go-to Bible study skills that you can share with us? 

Is Organizing Your Closet Spiritual?

This is not a random internet picture of a tornado's aftermath. It's a picture of my closet on Saturday morning. 

I know, right? (Don't judge.)

Over the past several months while on my book deadline, I fell into a practice of keeping my favorites outfits within reach, ignoring the mess, and quickly shutting the door to prevent hidden monsters from escaping. But it came to a head last Saturday morning.

After morning Bible study time, I pulled out my planner and began praying through my schedule and upcoming travel and teaching commitments. I looked at my writing deadlines, this summer's live Bible study taping, family fun time, church commitments, and community involvement.

May through August will be a blur.

These next four months are filled with incredible ministry opportunities, personal spiritual growth, actively serving the body of Christ, and fun. As I prayed through my schedule, a mental picture of my bedroom closet popped up in my head. What? Out of all the things that the Lord could bring to mind...why my closet?

I laid my planner aside, walked into my bedroom, and opened the closet door. An empty piece of luggage chose that moment to slide to the floor and fall into the mess. PLOP. Then I realized what God wanted me to see:

If I don't get a handle on the ignored chaos, that piece of luggage will be me -- empty and sliding to the floor in a burned out mess by summer's end. 

The closet had been on my cleaning "to do" list for a long time because I continuously thought, "I don't have anything to wear." I spent entirely too much time each morning deciding what to wear, finding all the pieces, and digging out my shoes. ENOUGH.

The day had arrived to redeem the mess. I blocked off the day, set up a card table next to my bed, booted up my favorite music playlist, took a deep breath, and dove straight in.  

The emptying stage alone took three hours. I made four piles: (1) love it; (2) store it; (3) donate it; and (4) toss it. The "store it" pile only consisted of winter coats and scarves that I will love wearing again when chilly temperatures return.

When my closet was finally empty, the donation pile completely covered the card table in four high stacks on each corner.  Isn't the cat photobomb too cute?

Some items still had tags attached! I found an incredible wardrobe organizational tool online called the "Capsule Wardrobe" on The Every Girl blog. It made complete sense, so I followed it. Seriously, it's the best thing since sliced bread!

I dusted the closet shelves, sprayed air freshener in the chest of drawers, and vacuumed the carpet. CLEAN! Little by little, I hung all of my "love it" dressy items and scarves in neat sections, and folded the casual items in the freshly emptied drawers. Plus, I re-discovered some super cute Christmas socks that I had forgotten about.

There was even enough free space for beautiful homemade gifts ... and my blue hair (don't ask).

 And here is the result:

WOO HOOOOO! Yes, it took me ALL day Saturday, plus finish-up time on Sunday afternoon with the help of my youngest sister. But it feels WONDERFUL.

Throughout this closet cleaning journey, I learned a few key spiritual truths.

1) The chaotic, neglected areas in my life spill over into every other area. 

Even though the chaos seemed minor, it impacted my routine every single day. I had created an unnecessary source of stress and anxiety simply because I was too lazy or busy to store each item where it belonged in the first place. The mess affected my time, peace of mind, and created shame (as I hoped no one would ever open that door). Well, now everyone has seen it, so guess what? No more shame. Though perhaps a slight blush.

2) Structuring my time now derails last minute stress and long-term exhaustion later

When I pulled out my planner on Saturday morning to pray through my schedule and commitments, that closet was the last thing on my mind. But God brought it to mind first. How can I be sure it was Him tapping me on the spiritual shoulder? Because I was actively seeking Him in that exact moment about my schedule and time management. It was an immediate answer to my very specific prayer. Listening during prayer is important. 

3)  Taking care of what God provides saves money and opens opportunities to bless.

After unearthing all of those clothes, I have plenty to wear! Reality was simply buried beneath the chaos. My summer wardrobe is set and I won't be shopping for clothes any time soon. And that card table piled high with "discards" filled up FIVE huge bags with clothes that I will donate to TEAM (Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries) later this afternoon to bless those in need.

Yes, I'm still sore from scalp to toenail, but I am breathing the fresh air of FREEDOM! It took me about thirty seconds to put together an outfit for work this morning. And opening my closet door made me smile. BIG. I even have room to twirl! Not that I would. But maybe I did a little.

So, is organizing your closet spiritual? It certainly was for me.
God has prepared me to embrace an amazing, crazy summer with a LOT less stress.
He is always faithful to redeem our mess in order to grow us and bless others.
Has this inspired you?
What ignored mess could you tackle to reduce unnecessary stress?

Were You There?

The darkness is almost palpable as the sanctuary lights extinguish.
Only candles illuminate the enormous wooden cross behind the altar.
The organ pedal grumbles low as a lone tenor pierces the silence: "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?"
Each hymn verse progressing through the events of Good Friday toward Easter Sunday.
"Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?"
Mary was. Mary, the mother of Jesus, stood in silent anguish while the Son hung high in His.
What reserves of faith and strength would a mother need to witness her son endure such incomprehensible pain without risking life and limb to save him? Her unwavering trust in a faithful God shines bright in the darkness.
I wonder if she ever stopped remembering those images when she closed her eyes at night.
She realized Jesus had not been pierced and crushed because of what HE did, but because of what WE did. Christ, the Light of the world, drowning in the blood of our sin.
A slow gurgle of grace.
"Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?"
John was. The disciple whom Jesus loved. He stood at the foot of the cross with Mary and Mary Magdalene as Jesus entrusted His mother's care to him. They were the last words Jesus said to his beloved disciple.
I wonder if he felt relief when Jesus' suffering was finally over.
John knew that Jesus was blameless of the Pharisee's trumped up charges. The very ones who should have recognized Jesus first saw Him not. They perceived the perfect Son as a poisonous sideshow.
Yet Jesus promises that even when we exchange God's plan for worldly gain, He still faithfully offers us the wellspring of life.
A soul gushing of grace.
"Were you there when the stone was rolled away?"
Jesus was. Raised to life from death because that was God's plan all along. Those nails didn't keep Jesus on the cross — His love for us kept Him there.
Jesus suffered to save us from hell's eternal grasp.
He suffered to remove the veil that denied us direct access to Him.
He died so we would have the chance to LIVE.
A tidal wave of grace.

Yes, we were there — the sin of all mankind pounding His bloody nails in deep. And yet, He still whispers: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) 

There's no statute of limitations on His grace — it never runs out, runs dry, or runs away. He extends it to us — an upward calling to fulfill our inward longing. An open invitation to be loved like we've never been loved before.

You can't fall too far. At the end of your rope, you'll find His ladder of hope. If you don't have the strength to climb it, He'll carry you out. Today. Right now. Exactly where you are.

Amazing Good Friday grace.
God's blessings as you walk toward Calvary during this Holy Week.

Have I Forgiven? Four Litmus Tests

One of the questions that I field most often after speaking at any event where I mention forgiveness is: "So, how do I know that God has enabled me to forgive?" 

It's a question that I asked myself after walking through divorce six years ago. Any unexpected life change is difficult, but surviving that season came by God's grace alone. God pulled me through each moment, so I knew He would faithfully enable me to eventually forgive.

But how long would it take?

I had asked God from day one of that stormy season to work forgiveness in me, then through me to my ex-husband. The problem was that I didn't want to forgive. The hurt was catastrophic, so my prayers to forgive were ground through gritted teeth out of strict obedience to God's Word. As far as I was concerned, my ex-husband could take a long walk on a short plank.

But that doesn't line up with God's love, so I prayed for months for Him to work that miracle of forgiveness in my heart. After the divorce was final, I could tell that God had softened my heart. But is softness actually forgiveness? How could I know? I kept asking God to clearly answer whether or not He had strengthened my faith enough to extend forgiveness.

One month later, one of my pastors walked our congregation through Luke 15 and the story of the prodigal son. As he explained the forgiveness process over several weeks, one Sunday he said:

"You know that you have forgiven when you're more sorry about who that person has become than what they've done."

That was it! His words explained why I had began to shed tears while praying for my ex-husband. I no longer held against him what he had done. I was sad for him over the good marriage, church life, and Christ-centered friendships that he no longer embraced.

If you have not yet reached that point to forgive someone who hurt you, don't lose hope. It takes time and relentless prayer. Following that season, I discovered that there are concrete ways to ascertain if we have forgiven our trespassers. I call them the Four Litmus Test questions.

1) The general thoughts test.

What is the first thought that pops into your mind when you think of them? Is it positive or negative? Do you struggle with thinking any positive thoughts about them at all? Are the positives buried way down the list after all of the negatives? If so, continue asking God to work forgiveness in you.

2) The failure test.

When someone hurts us, the last thing we want is for them to succeed in life. Oftentimes, we want them to lose their job, their house, and suffer miserably in any future relationship. But forgiveness means you want them to do better in their life. Do you truly wish them well or do you want them to fail? If not, continue asking God to work forgiveness in you.

3) The revenge test.

Do you still fantasize about ways you would get even with them? I want to be clear that following a necessary court procedure to resolution is not revenge. For instance, there may be legal consequences which need to come for them that you need to see through to protect others from future physical or sexual abuse. What I mean here is does your heart want to hurt them?  If so, continue asking God to work forgiveness in you.

4) The opportunity to help them test.

If they were in trouble and you could help them, would you? I'm not suggesting that you subject yourself to further abuse or harm (or that you are even obliged to help them, or should). But would you want them to prosper or see them come to harm? If harm, continue asking God to work forgiveness in you.

How did you score? I know these may be hard tests. However, they are spiritual markers to help determine whether or not you are allowing God to work forgiveness in your heart.  

The prayer that I recited daily asking God to enable me to forgive was simple but effective: "Lord, let me see him as someone You died for."

Forgiveness is where you want to live. It means freedom for YOU and sets your heart free to embrace joy and love again. With God all things are possible. Continue praying and believing. God is faithful and still has an incredible plan for your life.

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36

God Got Dirty To Wash Us Clean

CONGRATULATIONS to Sara Pike and Heidi Goehmann
for winning the signed copies of "
The Executioner's Redemption"
and a $25 Starbucks gift card!! I'll reach out to you today.


Sometimes, I wish the Bible had started at the beginning.

But it doesn't.

We pick up the story in the middle with God hovering over darkness. The cosmic confrontation between God and Satan had already taken place. Satan and his fallen angels were already cast down to earth.

Then God begins the extraordinary work of separating light from dark. Sky from water. Land from sea. Then He simply spoke and all living creatures -- animals, fish, and birds of the air -- came into being. 

Except for mankind.

We were too precious for God to remain distant. Speaking from afar simply wouldn't do. So we were hand-crafted by a huddle of hearts -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." [Genesis 1:26]

God moved in close. The finest Master Artist scooped up dirt and began shaping and molding. He sculpted every beautiful detail of Adam and then breathed into Adam His pneuma -- His breath of life.

The authority of God made all of creation.

But it was the affection of God that made all of His children. 

God, our Creator and Lover of our souls, formed us with love ... for love. 

When it came to you and I, God chose to get in close. He opted for relationship. Adam and Eve opted for forbidden fruit. And the relationship between the created and the Creator was changed.

When it came time to reconcile us back to Himself, God sent His Son -- to get in close. Not to speak to us from a distance, but to re-enter the relationship. Jesus chose to touch, love, and heal. He chose to get His hands dirty.


Our Savior ultimately chose to be lifted on a cross so that we would never have to descend into Hell.

His suffering paved the way for our Salvation. God's perfect Son became our perfect sacrifice to pay sin's ultimate price.

God didn't mind getting dirty when it came to us.

He knew it was the only way He could make us clean again.

Book Review: The Executioner's Redemption

It has been many years since I have picked up a book and been unable to put it down until turning the last page. This is that book. 

My publisher, Concordia Publishing House, sent me the manuscript to read for possible endorsement, which I eagerly accepted. Why so eager? Tim Carter also happens to be one of my pastors.

Before answering God's call to be a pastor, Tim worked for the Texas penitentiary system for the better part of two decades. He lived inside the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas, better known as the "death house." He began as a rifle-toting gun tower officer, eventually served as an inmate disciplinary hearing judge, then finally became a member of the death squad where he participated in more than 150 executions.

The man that I know today is a kind-hearted, gentle soul who joyfully serves the Lord. I cannot fathom that in his early days as a prison guard, he could, in his own words: "...out-hate, out-cuss, and out-con the hardest of convicts or guards" (p. 7).

Throughout the book, Tim provides jaw-dropping insights into the execution process and those who people that world. From the condemned inmates and his/her family, to the families of the victims, to his fellow guards, Tim escorts us behind the walls of death row into a world that the vast majority of us will never see.

But beyond the physical and very emotional stories from death row, God was working out a bigger story in Tim's life: to turn him from a wolf into a sheep. To turn Tim's eyes from the world and onto his Savior. To transform a hard-hearted executioner into a grace-filled advocate of hope for the condemned and the families. He says:

"As one empowered to wield the 'sword of the state,' I went through a turbulent pilgrimage of experiences that shaped my heart and soul. Therefore the following story is not simply a gratuitous look inside death row; it is the story of the progression of my faith in Christa relationship that triggered a long and serious struggle to know His will concerning my authority and responsibility in wielding that sword" (p. viii).

Tim was warned by his mentor officer early on in his penal career: "You seem to be a nice guy, but that can be a problem. ... You see, in here, nice guys don't finish lastthey just don't finish" (p.7). Over time, God worked powerfully to soften Tim's heart and he came to understand:

"As a Christian called to serve both God and country in the controversial role of inmate executions, my primary responsibility was the same responsibility held by every Christian. Jesus said that we must let our light shine before men so that they see what we do and give glory to God (Matthew 5:16)" (p. 154). 

Although the true stories that Tim shares within these pages left my chin scraping the carpet, that's not what kept me riveted until the last page. Rather, it was seeing how God slowly but surely transformed Tim's heart to be more like His.

The spiritual disciplines that Tim describes caused me to literally grab a spiral notebook and a pen to make a list of areas in my own life where I desperately need to apply similar discipline. I have began applying those disciplines over the past few months and have seen hope-filled progress.

That is VITAL. Because, let me tell you, any book that leaves me scrambling to grab the Word of God to read, learn, and apply valuable spiritual disciplines is a book that I will wholeheartedly recommend to absolutely everyone.

As we all face spiritual battles and dark places, Tim affirms:

"Even in the most unlikely times and places, if the light of Christ is shining through His people, the hopeless find hope, the brokenhearted are restored, and hard, hateful hearts are softened. I have seen the hardest hearts melt like wax in the death house and give glory to God. I have seen the smallest sheep in the darkest corners of the prison reflect the light of Christ brighter than you could imagine" (p. 154).

The bottom line? If you long for God to powerfully transform any area of your life, this book provides significant, invaluable help. It has profoundly impacted my spiritual journey.

I WANT YOU TO WIN A COPY. To celebrate this amazing book's release, I am giving away a signed copy of The Executioner's Redemption plus a $25 Starbucks gift card to TWO lucky winners. To enter the drawing, please do the following:
  1. Leave a comment telling me what might interest you about this book; 
  2. Share this post on social media. Every retweet on Twitter (tagging #Executioner) earns you one entry in the drawing. Every Facebook share will earn you another entry; and
  3. Subscribe to my blog. Yes, you can always unsubscribe, but I sure hope you'll stick around.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday's blog post.

I wish I could give all of you a copy -- this book is that good. The Gospel is that great. I cannot wait to witness the ministry that God will bring through it.

trASH Wednesday

Before Ash Wednesday rings in at midnight tonight, Mardi Gras in New Orleans culminates with a blowout celebration.

French for Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras originally referred to the practice of one last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual 40-day fasting of the Lenten season.

Our culture has turned Mardi Gras into week-long festivals. From parades and balls to masks and elaborate costumes, it's the cue for many to overindulge in all sorts of ways.

At 11:59 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, the streets of New Orleans sit ankle deep in discarded masks, broken beads, trampled doubloons, and used food and drink containers.

Fat Tuesday creates a lot of trash.

As we enter our churches tomorrow to receive ashes and begin the 40-days of Lent, we drag our life's trash in with us. You know, the junk in our lives that we've accumulated and hung onto since last year's Lent.

Unforgiveness. Broken promises. Resentment. Hurt.

Our heart garbage litters the pristine aisles and clutters our mind with the refuse of regrets, waste of missed opportunities, and the rubbish of shattered dreams.

Yet God still lovingly invites us: "Come to me..."

We are aware of our junk, so we approach Him with eyes downcast -- stumbling on the trash that chokes our freedom. And He welcomes us.

He invites us to discard our masks and elaborate disguises that conceal feelings, hide behaviors, and keep Him at arms length. To approach Him with our eyes lifted toward His grace and forgiveness.

God sees us drowning -- so He picks us out of the pile, cleanses us, and sets us on a new path.

"Who can compare with God, our God, so majestically enthroned, surveying His magnificent heavens and earth? He picks up the poor from out of the dirt, rescues the wretched who've been thrown out with the trash, and seats them among the honored guests, a place of honor among the brightest and best." Psalm 113:5-8 (MSG)

God invites us to leave our heart's used food and drink containers at the altar in exchange for His bread of life. His communion of forgiveness.

To heal our hearts. And redeem us from our sin.

As I prepare for this Lenten season, I'm painfully aware of the rotting trash curling around my feet. The rancid yards of it trailing behind me. The putrid bags of it I carry in my heart.

Self-centeredness. Entitlement. Pride.


I'm so thankful for a loving God who still welcomes. Still invites. Endlessly loves. And continues to initiate that relationship with me that means everything.

He does the same for every single person who seeks Him.

He excels at redeeming us from our trash.

*This is a blog archive re-post from 2015*

Embracing Advent: O Come Let Us Adore Him

Sometimes the speed of life races past at the speed of light.

Way. Too. Fast.

In this upcoming season of Advent, I am intentionally pausing.  

To be still.

To reflect on the Light of the World that came to us at Christmas. I will spend 11 glorious days in Germany this December enjoying the beautiful cathedrals, snow-covered Bavarian Alps, and festive Christmas markets.

Starting Monday, November 30th, I am sharing daily Advent devotions that pair Scripture with pictures that I've snapped around the world. You'll find them each day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a dedicated board on Pinterest.

Consider yourself invited to enjoy this daily Advent reminder -- to let the season breathe. To allow Him to breathe new life into us.

Here's a sneak peek:

I warmly invite you to join me to apply the brakes before we break into a thousand glass pieces this Christmas.

So look for these Advent devotions on social media each day through Christmas Day. I'd love to hear how you and your family are embracing this beautiful season of light!

I pray that you and your loved ones enjoy a blessed, holy Christmas!
  With love from my home to yours.

Announcing the Contest Winner—and a Break

Thank you SO much to all who entered the contest to win my new women's devotional journal, "A Sparrow's Worth."

And the winner is...

Branson Merrill!!!

I'll be emailing you to get your mailing address. CONGRATULATIONS!!

Everyone can still order a copy [click here] for yourself and perhaps a few to share with friends, because 100% of the proceeds benefit the incredible, Christ-centered work of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League. Plus, you get to spend time with the Lord in His Word with this devotional journal.

And now...

I am knee deep into my next book manuscript, so I'm heading to the writing cave for the rest of the summer to make strong progress, but I'll be back in the Fall.

In the meantime, I'll see you on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But I want you to know ... I'll miss you until we meet again in January 2016.

   And what's going on in your life.

      And our talks about Jesus.

Until then, love and hugs from the writing cave!

Release Celebration! New Women's Devotional Journal (and a Giveaway!)

This new resource is now available!

Unending joy gushes as I hold out this offering to you with trembling hands, trusting an uncontainable God to do uncontainable ministry through it.

Because it's all about HIM. For HIM. Because of HIM.
In spite of our messes.

So what's it about? Culture bombards women with messages that we only have value if we are outwardly beautiful. But, dear sister, your value transcends far deeper. This 30-day journal refocuses our hearts and minds on what God values in us. Here's a snippet from the introduction:

"Each morning when you and I step in front of the mirror, we have a choice: to view our worth through culture's perception or God's truth. This journal teaches us to view ourselves through God's truth. Each day we will rediscover that in God's eyes our worth is never placed in something as transient as cultural opinion. We have been created in God's image (Gen. 1:27) where our worth is based on how God views us through Christ's blood sacrifice of love." 

And here's the really cool thing: 

100% of the proceeds from A Sparrow's Worth go to the work of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League ("LWML"). The LWML is near and dear to my heart, because they exist to spread the Good News of the Gospel through worldwide mission work and Christ-centered resources. I have been privileged to serve and partner with LWML for almost 20 years and have seen first hand lives changed and souls saved as a direct result of their commitment to sharing Christ's love.

A Sparrow's Worth makes its debut this weekend at the LWML's national convention in Des Moines, Iowa. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and I'll be honored to sign copies.

To celebrate what I am trusting God will do through A Sparrow's Worth, it's time for an exciting giveaway!!
  • Three signed copies of A Sparrow's Worth, one for you and two to share with special women in your life;
  • A beautiful bird mug, to enjoy your favorite beverage as you journal; 
  • $25 Starbucks gift card; and
  • Yummy Chocolate, because it's just not a prize without chocolate. :)

  1. Leave a comment below and tell me why you'd like to receive A Sparrow's Worth.
  2. Subscribe to my blog via feed or email [look to the right]. 
  3. Share this Release Celebration giveaway on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram (be sure to tag @donnapyletx on Twitter/Instagram). Each time you share this giveaway on social media, you earn another entry into the drawing!
The winner will be announced on next Tuesday's blog post, so you have a whole week to share this opportunity! If you'd like to order A Sparrow's Worth for you and/or a friend, click HERE.

I pray that A Sparrow's Worth richly blesses your spiritual walk and draws you closer to Christ, our Value-Giver. THANK YOU for the privilege of serving you along this crazy, joy-filled journey of faith.

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