Everything Belongs

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“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Mercy Reigns” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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Matthew 5:43-45

Jesus said to his followers, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”

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These statements by Jesus confound the dualistic mind.

Our minds want to divide the playing field into “either-or” options where one side is good and the other bad, where the good get rewarded and the bad get punished.

Of course, there’s room for that type of structure in society to prevent chaos.

But Jesus says that God is not that way.

God pours out love on all people and everything regardless of worthiness and merit, making the sun rise on the bad and the good, and causing the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

Jesus tells us that love isn’t based on merit. It isn’t quid pro quo.

Love is unconditional.

We are here for a reason or this existence is meaningless.

I choose to believe our existence in this earthly realm does have meaning.

I choose to believe what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

And that human experience is not supposed to be easy.

It’s supposed to be challenging.

How else can we learn the depths of love?

As Jesus went on to say following today’s scripture verses, “For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46)

Yes, we are called to love our enemies!

This will require that we go out of our way to try to relate with such people; that we try to understand them.

We do have to protect ourselves from being abused or injured, but we are called to do so non-violently.

This is a tall order.

But it’s why you and I are here.

To be bearers of light.

To be channels of love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and compassion all the while standing for justice.

May we be open to receiving the grace to make it happen.

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Listen to the song of the day “Mercy Reigns” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Trust the Process

Photo by Bill Tonnis

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” – Brene Brown

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Make Your Way” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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Psalm 16:11

You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.

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As I enter into a new transition in life, I am reminded of the many blessings I have experienced.

I am leaving my current position and walking into the unknown.

I take with me the joy of the many encounters I had with the Divine.

It came through my years as a Youth Minister, as the one overseeing Social Justice and Outreach, in Jail Ministry, and as a visitor to shut-ins, the sick and the dying.

With each new turn on the winding path of life, I found the joy of the Sacred One, the shining of the Divine Presence in everything.

Three of my four albums of music were spawned from these places of Divine encounter.

Over this same 15 years, two books were channeled through me.

I recently returned from a spiritual immersion trip to Assisi, Italy.

It was there that I encountered a beautiful statue outside an old tiny church which had been the sanctuary of a leper colony in the time of St. Francis.

After his conversion, Francis and his brothers would come to the colony to minister to the needs of the ones infected with leprosy.

They were outcasts, rejected by all and left to die a painful death.

The statue shows Francis kneeling before a man overcome with emotion at the realization that Francis came to bring him comfort and care.

Francis had let go of his old self-serving life, to enter a life of selfless service to others.

When you live in the Presence of the Divine, the One who loves all people and everything, you live in a joy that cannot be taken from you.

I am encouraged by a quote from Brene Brown who said: “Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience.”

In this place of unconditional love in which we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), I am confident that the path of life will continue to unfold in joy.

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Listen to the song of the day “Make Your Way” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Love Unites

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“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers.” – Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “All Are One” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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John 17:22-23

Speaking to God, Jesus said, “I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.”

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Oneness.

You get the idea that this is important!

The oneness that Jesus sees is unfortunately not seen by many people nor is it understood.

Instead, many divide and separate.

They look at the world and judge who is in and who is out.

The person judging, of course, is always in.

This type of dualism is causing great harm.

It’s also delusional because we all are actually one.

There is one God in whom “we live and move and have our being” as St. Paul put it (Acts 17:28).

We all share in the beingness of God.

So does all of creation.

We’re all made of the same stuff.

It’s fear that separates: fear that we’ll be harmed; fear of dying.

But there is nothing to fear because God is love (1 John 4:8).

And no one truly dies because our souls are eternal.

In today’s scripture verse, Jesus speaks of us all being brought to perfection as one.

That’s what Love does!

Jesus said he wanted us to be one as he and God are one.

We need to start seeing the love of God in all people and in everything.

That spark of the Divine is in everything.

As Thomas Merton stated after having his mystical experience in downtown Louisville: “There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

If we truly saw this, truly believed this, there would be harmony instead of chaos.

Allow my words to open your heart.

It starts with you and me, right now, right here.

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Listen to the song of the day “All Are One” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Create

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“Don’t die with your music still in you.” – Wayne Dyer

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Shall We Sing” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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Psalm 149:1, 3

Sing to the Lord a new song. Let them praise his name in dance, make music with tambourine and lyre.

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Singing to God a new song became very literal to me.

When I was mired in inner turmoil over my career in radio news, knowing that I could not continue rehashing bad news and announcing it each day, I was suddenly inspired to revisit my guitar.

I had stopped playing it, more or less, in my childhood.

I had picked it up a few times since, but by the late 1990s I had really not touched it in ten years.

It was the first Friday of March in 1997 when, in the depths of despair, I suddenly heard the words, “Get your guitar.”

It wasn’t audible, just an inner-voice out-of-nowhere.

Following this, I began a slow process of writing songs.

The new-found-creativity sprung through my long forgotten guitar.

Now I have four albums of original inspirational, spiritual music.

I sing my songs as part of my ministry to the sick, shut-ins, the imprisoned, and to anyone in need of a lift.

What is your song?

It doesn’t have to be literally a song.

What are you being called to create?

God, the Creator of all, is still creating.

We are extensions of God through which God makes music, art, clothing, computer programs, business designs, and creative projects of all sorts and kinds.

God’s creativity leads to the sharing of love, compassion, and goodness.

The world is waiting for your contribution.

You don’t have to wait to be perfect, worthy, or acceptable to anyone.

You are already perfect, worthy, and acceptable in the eyes of God.

So, just do it!

The way Creativity channels through you will make it uniqueuniquely you and uniquely needed!

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Listen to the song of the day “Shall We Sing” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Inspire

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“When you make a choice, you change the future.” – Depak Chopra

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Glorify You with Me” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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Psalm 57:8

My heart is steadfast, God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and chant praise.

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There is so much dissension; so much cynicism and vitriol in the world.

It’s easy to get sucked into that maelstrom of emotion.

The ego loves to feel superior and right.

So it’s easy to be taken over by this powerful force.

We see this demonstrated on Facebook and other social media platforms when someone posts something that they know will cause a tribal response.

As the tribe is drawn to hit the like button, many brains are flooded with Dopamine, a chemical released when our minds are expecting a reward.

It’s very addictive.

And it’s very divisive.

The action ridicules another so that someone’s ego can feel superior.

None of us is immune to this since we all have egos.

But simple awareness can lead to a change.

You know, we do have a choice.

We have free will.

We can choose to divide or to unite.

We can inflict pain or we can be an agent of healing.

What if we all decided to work for the general good of all?

What if we all decided to work to bring people together?

God, the Source of all things, is love according to scripture (1 John 4:8).

Jesus told us the greatest commandments were to love God, and your neighbor as yourself.

Love is the main teaching of most religions.

What if we each started the day with a heart steadfast to give God praise?

What if we decided to make all our words and actions ways to glorify God?

Then what Jesus called the ‘kingdom of God’ would manifest in this place and time.

You and I have that choice.

Isn’t that why we’re here?

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Listen to the song of the day “Glorify You with Me” on the Give Praise and Thanks album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Wholly Sacred

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“To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.” – Meister Eckhart

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “I Stand in the Light” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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John 15:9

Jesus said to his followers, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.”

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The love God has for Jesus is beyond any love we can imagine in our earthly bodies.

It’s transcendent.

It’s infinite.

Many Near Death Experiencers speak of getting a taste of this love as they stood in the light of total Love beyond words.

I’ve spoken before about my brief mystical experience following surgery for a ruptured appendix in 1998.

When I was at my lowest point, lying in my hospital bed in the middle of the night, I suddenly experienced a wave of total love.

There are no words to explain it.

It was a moment (or many moments?) of bliss and total peace.

It was as if I was one with everything.

All was truly well.

Is this the love that Jesus speaks of in today’s scripture verses, a love so vast, so deep, so all encompassing, that all pain and suffering cease?

This is the love that God has for us as well, this God in whom we live and move and have our being as St. Paul stated in Acts 17:28.

This love is always available whenever we are present to it.

But we have the choice of whether we will consciously connect with this Love, or whether we will instead be a slave to our non-stop thoughts and ego-generated pursuits.

Love is calling us.

All that’s required is saying yes.

But that also means saying no to our egos’ self-centered ways.

It takes practice.

It takes discerning between our minds’ desires and our hearts’ desires.

Jesus tells us the key: “Remain in my love.”

Practice being present.

Observe without judgement.

Breathe in deeply.

You are literally basking in the love of God.

Alleluia and amen.

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Listen to the song of the day “I Stand in the Light” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Be

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“In the inner stillness where meditation leads, the Spirit secretly anoints the soul and heals our deepest wounds.” – St. John of the Cross

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Breathe” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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John 14:27

Jesus said to his followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

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Jesus offers the peace beyond all understanding as St. Paul would later call it in Philippians 4:7.

In today’s scripture verse, Jesus is offering peace to his followers at the Last Supper as his death loomed, and later he again offered it when he appeared to them following the resurrection (John 20:21).

Jesus offers a peace that transcends this world and all its struggles.

It transcends time and space.

He told us how to access this peace at any time.

Jesus called this deep experience of peace the kingdom of God.

He said that this realm of spacious peace and contentment is within you (Luke 17:21).

Even amid the storms of life, you can turn inward and experience this peace.

Some type of meditation practice such as Centering Prayer is helpful in nurturing this experience.

But it’s always present when you are present, whenever you are truly here, truly paying attention to what is.

This is the experience of the “I Am” as God self-identified in the book of Exodus, the is-ness of now.

This is sometimes called the Christ Consciousness, when you are aware of your connection to everything.

Breathe deeply.

Experience the peace beyond all understanding.

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Listen to the song of the day “Breathe On Me” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Energize

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“Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “You’ll Lead Me” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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John 14:26

Jesus told his followers, “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

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This whole idea of Trinity is mysterious.

It’s really beyond the grasp of our rational minds.

It seems to me that the Holy Spirit is like the energy between God and Jesus, the loving-relationship-itself, the giving-and-receiving itself.

This Loving-Energy is always present in-the-mix of everything that exists.

But we humans have free will.

We have the option of whether we want to tap into this Spirit.

I first must be aware that I have an ego, a mind that wants to run the show, so to speak.

It wants to protect its little construction of “me”, its story of who-I-am.

When I am aware of its game, then I begin to awaken.

Then the real me, my true self as Thomas Merton would have put it, comes to life.

This true self is totally loved and fully complete in this moment.

You can have realizations of this when being awestruck by the beauty of nature, perhaps a stunning sunset.

It’s those moments when everything stands still and the joy of beingness envelopes you.

You can nurture this type of awareness through various methods of meditation such as Centering Prayer.

The Spirit will always awaken you to the unconditional love of the Great “I Am” (as God self-identified to Moses in the Book of Exodus).

This Love is always available inside you.

As your mind surrenders to the is-ness of now, the I Am, breathe-in deeply.

Contemplate this Zen saying: “What, at this moment, is lacking?”

Allow the Spirit to lead you.

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Listen to the song of the day “You’ll Lead Me” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Peace Be with You

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“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” – Julian of Norwich

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Love Will Always Lead You Home” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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John 14:1-2

Jesus told his followers, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

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If you’re going through some rough times, are facing some difficult transition, or suffered a loss, these words of Jesus are comforting.

Just to hear someone like Jesus tell us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” brings peace.

Jesus is addressing the underlying fear many of us are carrying, the so-called ‘elephant in the room’: The fear of death.

Our egos, our minds, do not want to deal with the reality of death.

So our minds will do all they can to divert us from thinking about it.

The ego regards death as total annihilation.

Our culture furthers this avoidance by throwing all kinds of distractions at us, all the glitter that promises more fun and a better life.

Pay no attention to the Grim Reaper behind the curtain!

But the truth is, this earthly, physical life will end.

The good news is, your soul, your consciousness, will not die.

Near Death Experiencers are confirming this.

Jesus showed us this clearly in his death and resurrection.

Love triumphs over death.

We are only here for a season.

Immerse yourself in the human experience.

Receive and give love knowing that whatever you are dealing with: ‘This, too, will pass.’

You are eternal.

Jesus assures us there are “many dwelling places” in the afterlife and he will prepare a place for you and me.

So, take a deep breath, know that you are loved, and do not let your hearts be troubled.

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Listen to the song of the day “Love Will Always Lead You Home” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Glory Be

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“See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see.” – Wayne Dyer

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “The Way You Are” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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John 13:16-17

“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.”

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Jesus said this after washing his followers’ feet.

Despite being the master, Jesus took the role of servant.

He wanted his followers to mirror his actions.

It’s this type of philosophy that got him crucified.

Those holding institutional power, whether governmental or religious, do not take kindly to the idea that they relinquish that power.

To tell people that all are equal and should be treated as such will only make those at the bottom like you.

That is, unless you are awakened to the underlying reality that we’re all connected to the same Source.

We’re all like rays of light from the same sun.

We are spawned by God, or Love itself, and will return to Love.

What we do to or for another we do to or for ourselves.

That’s why Jesus said that whatever we do for the least of these, we do to him (Matthew 25:40).

God is in each of us and we are in God.

As I often quote St. Paul who said that in God “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

This is hard to grasp for people who are operating from the control of their egos.

The ego will create stories all about the little “me” it constructs based on all the stories of your life.

But when all the stories dissolve, when you simply come into the presence of the Divine Presence, right now, right here, you are simply part of the Great I Am.

You are loved and totally accepted.

Can you live from that place of love and oneness with all creation?

Can you share that love equally with everyone and everything?

Then, as Jesus said, “blessed are you.”

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Listen to the song of the day “The Way You Are” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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