Darryl Strawberry – Liberty University Convocation
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Darryl Strawberry – Liberty University Convocation

November 27, 2019


>>DAVID NASSER: Um, I want to take a second
just to introduce to you our next special guest today. You know when you look at Mark
8:36, and it’s so true – that passage of scripture where it says, “What good is it for a man
to gain the whole world, but to forfeit his soul.” And there are times in your life where
you’re sitting in a room, and someone is telling you that you can gain the whole world, someone
is telling you that you can get fame, you can get fortune, you can get influence, but
yet still have lost your soul. And sometimes we sit in a room and we hear a pastor say,
“All the money in the world won’t bring us happiness.” Or you’ll hear, you know, someone
get up and say, “All the fame in the world won’t bring you happiness.” And you’re looking
at somebody who really doesn’t have a lot of fame or doesn’t have a lot of fortune and
so you’re thinking, “Well, how do you know? How do you know that all the money in the
world doesn’t bring you fortune, when you drive, you know, a very cheap car and you
don’t have a lot of – you know, fortune or fame?” Uh, but our next guest can really
speak into that, uh, from a different, very, testimonial kind of platform. Darryl Strawberry
is an iconic name in sports, he is one of the most recognizable, um obviously baseball
players in the history of the sport. Darryl was on the cover of Sports Illustrated – the
cover, seven different times. Four world series, eight-time all-star, rookie of the year when
he kind of went into the majors and um, and you don’t get a whole lot higher in platform
and in recognition, than our next guest, but at the same time his life was filled with
not just incredible highs, but incredible lows as well. Now this was a life filled with
drug addition and imprisonment, and even a personal battle with cancer, and so what you’re
gonna hear today is a testimony of someone who is gonna speak into your life from his
own experience on how, again, what good is it for a man to gain the whole world? But
he is – yet if he’s forfeited his very own soul? And so, I feel like today God has got
a real special word for us, and I want to pray and just pray for you – that God would
just make you available and pray for Mr. Strawberry and then we will welcome the one and only,
great Darryl Strawberry in the house, all right? Let me pray for us. Father, we thank you that, God, through the
testimony of a man, that we can see how tragedy can be turned into testimony, how very bad
news can be turned into good news to tell. Thank you, Lord, that you turn ashes to beauty,
God. That you turn sadness to joy, you turn, Father, hopelessness to hope. And we thank
you that the story of our brother is a real testament of that. In the next few minutes
I pray that we won’t just be hearers of what You did in his life, but that, God, that would
remind us of how you want to do the same in our life. I pray that, God, you’d give us
great ability to hear from you, that we would hear not just Darryl’s words, but that through
them, Holy Spirit, you would speak to us in a way that would pierce our heart and compel
us to action. We pray this in your name. Amen. Can we put our hands together for the great,
Darryl Strawberry!>>DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Thank you, Brother!
Amen, glory to God! Liberty University students, how you guys doing? That don’t sound too good.
How you guys doing? Well I pray that God will bless you, He will – through the words that
He has brought me here to preach the gospel to you. Let us pray. Father, I just thank
you for this time, I thank you for the students, I thank you for everyone that’s here today.
Lord, I just pray that you would speak to their heart, that they will understand that
Jesus is Lord, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the condition of a person’s
life is, you are Lord. You’re the understanding God, you’re the loving God and there is no
one like you. I give you honor and praise and thank you for this great opportunity.
May your power fall upon this place today – may lives be changed through the power and
the blood of Jesus. In Jesus’ great name. Amen, amen. See I, I wasn’t always like this. There was
a time I was a heathen; I was a liar, a cheater, womanizer, alcoholic, drug addict – sinner
saved by grace. Rich, famous – there was nothing I couldn’t do, but I did it all, but I had
nothing. Just like he said, what good does it do for man to profit the whole world and
lose his soul? That was me. I was a man that lived behind community gates, golf course,
million dollar homes, cars. Played in the major league 17 years, achieved everything,
but I had nothing. I just had a bunch of stuff, that’s all it was – a bunch of stuff. And
I think a lot of times we look today and we see celebrities and we wish we could have
what they have. But there’s a price that you have to pay having that. ‘Cause see, the
world don’t tell you, even getting all this stuff is not gonna make you happy. And so
many of us search for it, and so many of us want it. Just like I was when I was young
– I was – I come from a broken situation, broken family – my father was a alcoholic.
He beat me. He said I’d never amount to nothing. But I go on to get drafted – number one pick
in the draft. It’s great to be back in Lynchburg. I played here in 1981. So, it’s good to be
back here. So my father said I’d never amount to nothing, and I go on, I get drafted and
I go on and I start playing major league baseball. I get to the big leagues at the age of 21
– spent two and a half years in the minor leagues – get to the big leagues at the age
of 21. I always wanted to fit in. I always wanted to be a part of what baseball is about,
to be a part of these guys, and I get there and I’m happy. But through the scars before
I put on the uniform, nobody ever saw the scars, ‘cause the scars are real. My pain
led me to my greatness. It was a pain that my father, of the beatings and the alcoholism,
that led me to my greatness. And my greatness led me to self-destruct. ‘Cause I had everything,
but I had nothing. And I think a lot of us think, “If I could only have this house, this
great success, I could be everything that I want to be.” And you probably could in
the natural, but it doesn’t work in the supernatural. So I get in. My rookie in the big leagues,
the veteran player’s first road trip, one of the veteran players told me to go back
to the back of the plane. I go back to the back of the plane. And if you’re insecure
with yourself, it doesn’t matter. If you’ve got issues with yourself, it doesn’t matter;
you want to fit in. And I wanted to fit in just like everybody else – the veteran players
send me to the back of the plane and there it was: he introduced me to cocaine at the
age of 21. And I tried it, and I liked it. And I took a run in my life forever. See I
didn’t really realize how good I was as a baseball player. I could play baseball, but
who am I as a man? I was eight time All Star, four time World Series champ. After my rookie
year, I signed an $8 million contract at the age of 22, and I go play eight – eight more
years in the big leagues in New York win the championship in ’86. Gained everything: millions
of dollars, homes, championships, everything, but I had nothing. And then I signed a $20
million contract and a free agent, and I was miserable when I signed the $20 million contract,
cause I already had cars and homes and stuff. Just had a bunch of stuff. But it was emptiness inside that some of us
probably walk around here, at school and here and we have this emptiness inside, and we’re
missing something, we’re missing the connection. See, I was always missing the connection.
The connection was never great. It was never great that I made more money it was never
great that I had more stuff. There was a connection I was missing, but it wasn’t until I lost
everything, and I almost lost my life through drug addiction, through cancer twice – I don’t
even know why I’m here, but God made it clear that it’s not about me – it’s about
Him. When I think about cancer twice, I lost my left kidney in my second surgery, and I
think about it, I say, “God why are you keeping me here?” God says, “It’s not about you.”
So many of us think this might be about us, and this is for you young students here today
because I have young kids myself in college today – my daughter goes to Connecticut; my
son goes to Mercer. They play sports, volleyball, basketball. My youngest daughter is probably
going to go to any college that plays sports – volleyball, but I don’t really care about
that. What I really care about them, is knowing this man Jesus Christ. That is the most important
thing. See, I’m going to talk about this morning
to you, I’m going to talk about the enemy and I’m going to talk about Jesus. I’m going
to talk about – the enemy’s purpose is to deceive you, to deceive you, that’s his purpose.
In John 10:10 Jesus talks about it. Jesus talks about a thief does not come except but
to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus says I have come that they may have life, and may have
it more abundantly. It’s not until you get a transformation and understand what Jesus’
talking about in His word. And it’s through John 10:10, of finding my identity in Christ
– you’re students, I want you to learn that, I tell my kids, “I want you to find out who
you are in Christ, not who you are and what you’re doing, and what you’re trying to accomplish
here as an athlete – as a student. But who are you in Christ? That is the most important
thing that you should learn while you’re here – is who you are in Christ. ‘Cause if you
ever find out who you are in Christ, you’re gonna find out the purpose why God created
you. ‘Cause your mother and father was just a vehicle, a seed, the seed that got you here.
Well, God created you. And God loves you, and God is love. See, the enemy always wants to deceive us
and make us believe that God is not important. He did it to me for years and years in my
career, in my life – kept me away from God so I wouldn’t know God, so I wouldn’t know
the purpose of life. See, in Matthew 4:4, Satan tempts – tries
to tempt Jesus, but Jesus say, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every
word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” It’s through the word of God that changes
you, liberates you, redeems you, brings you to the greatest purpose that you could ever
come to in life – finding out who you are in Christ. And that’s what he talks about
here in John 10:10 – finding my identity in Christ. What he says – the enemy’s purpose, he comes
to kill, steal and destroy. He comes to steal your identity so you do not know who you are.
He comes to steal your identity so you do not know who you are. See, he didn’t care
about me being rich and famous. He didn’t want me to know Jesus. ‘Cause see, if you
ever know Jesus, you have the victory in life. It is Christ, so he comes to steal your identity
so you do not know who you are. Number two, he comes to kill your purpose
so you do not know why you exist. There’s a greater existence for you besides you just
walking here on this campus – see there was a greater existing for me just putting on
the uniform and hitting homeruns and then winning championships. Yeah, I did a lot of
that, and making millions of dollars. But the devil is a liar. Because he wanted my
soul. See in the end he ain’t gonna tell you he wanted you: “By the way, you’re coming
to Hell with me.” I’m just preaching like it is because I’ve been there already. But
I’ve been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Number three, he comes to destroy your mission
so you do not know what to do. The destroying, and the mission of your life – see the enemy
don’t want you to know who you are in Christ, young people. Because if you ever get to know
who you are in Christ, you will be powerful. You will be greater than you can ever imagine
of yourself being naturally because it’s a spiritual thing – it’s a spiritual birth that
takes place inside of you – there’s a natural birth – that’s the first birth. Jesus told
Nicodemus, I believe it’s in John 3, there’s a natural birth and then there’s a spiritual
birth that comes. And the spiritual birth is greater than the natural birth. And you
need to know that. So that’s why he comes to destroy you, so you don’t know the mission.
See the mission, the mission for all of us, not just you young students – me and everybody
else, the mission is for God’s kingdom, not the earthly things. It’s for God’s kingdom,
what we’re called for – we’re called for God’s kingdom to do God’s will. Matthew 6:33 says,
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Then all these things will
be added unto you.” It’s the kingdom of God! See I get to hear from the kingdom of God,
not the earth! I get to hear from the kingdom of God. I get to enter into God’s kingdom
and hear from Him, and God speaks to me and He fills me with His word, He fills me with
His power. No man can do that, only God. Jesus’ purpose is for you to have peace. This
is Jesus’ purpose. The enemy’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus said in
John 10, on the second half, “I have come that they may have life, and have it more
abundantly.” He’s not talking about stuff; He’s talking about holiness, righteousness,
power, wisdom. King Solomon asked God for wisdom and knowledge
– God didn’t just want to give King Solomon wisdom and knowledge, He gave him the riches.
God is the restorer of everyone’s life, no matter what your condition of your life, God
is the restorer of your life, your situation. I told you I wasn’t always like this. Jesus’
purpose for you is to have peace. Who am I? My identity – my identity in Christ, I have
to come to the place of knowing who I am in Christ. That means, that old baseball player,
that old drug addict, that old womanizer – he’s dead. Just like when Jesus hung on the cross,
Jesus hung on the cross – they didn’t know. See the Roman Empire had no idea who they
was hanging on the cross. They didn’t realize that He was the Messiah, and He would get
up. And they didn’t realize that He would get up, not would He just only get up, He
would get up with all power – all power. So that’s why I said, I had to die to baseball.
Galatians 2:20 talks about it – it says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no
longer I who lives, it is Christ who lives in me.” It is Christ who rules and reigns
over my life. I no longer live, it is Christ that I speak from. And it’s because we’re
Christ – when He hung even on the cross and He shed His blood on the cross, He shed it
for a sinner like me, that I may have life and may have it more abundantly. But they
didn’t really understand Him hanging on the cross – they didn’t realize that He would
get up on the third day, and not only did He get up, He got up with all power. So once
I die, I’m able to get up because I’m resurrected just like Jesus, I’m resurrected to get up
with all power and speak life through His word. It’s the education of the Bible. The Bible
says, “My people perish because of lack of knowledge.” There’s no knowledge and understanding
of God’s word. That’s why the people perish. Number two, Jesus’ purpose is for you to have
peace. Why do I exist? Why do I exist? My purpose? Why am I existing? I ask God that
too, why am I existing? He says, “Because I’m going to use you. That’s why you exist.”
That’s why we are all alive today – to be used greatly and mightily by God. Why do I exist? My purpose? What is your purpose?
Ask yourself around here on this campus, what is my purpose? Why do I exist? Romans 8:28
says, “And we know,” and we know, “all things work together for the good of them who love
the Lord, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Now you guys are here, and
you got a chance to get an education here, and you’ve got the chance to get an education
about God and His word, through the Bible. I didn’t go to school. I came out of high
school, I was at pro ball. I got this from the Bible through the Holy Spirit; the Holy
Spirit taught me the Bible. And He empowered me with the word of God to be able to speak
life into people’s lives, that don’t know their purpose. That’s what Romans 8:28 is all about. And
we know all things – He didn’t say some things, He says all things work together for the good
of them who love the Lord, to those who are called according to His purpose, not my purpose,
but God’s purpose. We’re – we’re called according to God’s purpose. And when you can understand
that you’re called according to God’s purpose, God will use you mightily, He will use you
greatly, no matter what you’ve been through, no matter what anyone else has to say- cause
God has the last say. When you understand God, when you come to a personal relationship
with Christ, there is nobody – students let me tell you something, I’ve had everything,
but I had nothing until I found Jesus. There is nobody like Jesus.
You need to know that! There’s nobody greater than Jesus! Not your education, not your job,
not your father, not your mother – there is nobody like him! Jesus is so cool when you
come into a relationship with Him. What shall I do? My mission – my mission is
knowing the way. I need to know the way. I need to know the way. Jesus said in John 14:6,
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”
We try to get to God and we don’t even know Jesus. ‘Cause He’s the way – He’s already
paid the penalty, He’s already paid the price for all of us. He loves all of us for His
purpose and why He created us. Why you’re going to school here, come to know who Jesus
is, come to know the Bible. It’s okay, don’t compromise. See I tell my kids that, I says,
“You guys gotta learn not to compromise. And you guys got to learn not to settle.” I tell
my daughters the same thing – don’t compromise, don’t settle and get serious in your walk
with God, right now, while you’re in college. Regardless how good, how great you’re doing
in sports – I don’t really care about sports. I’ve played baseball for 17 years; I don’t
even like baseball no more. My life has been transformed and changed to go and preach the
gospel. Can you imagine? That a guy comes out of high school, he becomes a millionaire,
he plays sports and then he goes through all these trials and tribulations in his life
and then God comes and everybody writes me off and says, “He’s a bum.” And Jesus comes
and says, “I want him. I’m gonna use him.” That’s what He does. When everybody else has
something to say, Jesus says, “I want you. Come!” And I came to Jesus. I submitted
my life to Jesus and rededicated – I got saved in 1991 when I had just signed the $20 million
contract. I was miserable. I got radically saved at a conference and the guy said, “Your
life will never be the same,” he says, “all hell gonna break lose in your life.” And he
wasn’t lying, all hell broke lose in my life for the next 15 years. But I got saved, but
I didn’t get discipled. And too many of us get saved and we don’t get discipled and we
don’t know God’s word. And if we don’t know God’s word we go back to the familiar. And
I went back to the familiar, and all hell broke lose. And I went through addiction,
I went to prison – T17169. See there’s no shame in my game. I’ve had cancer twice, lost
my left kidney. Where am I going here? Grace. See one man
brought sin in – Adam. And one man brought grace in, Jesus. It’s because of grace that
I’m able to be here. I don’t deserve this grace, but He’s given it to me because His
grace is sufficient. And a lot of us don’t even – a lot of us don’t understand that.
I don’t deserve grace. Because the wages of sin is death – it’s my sinful way that should
have killed me. The sin I was living in – sleeping with women I wasn’t married to – sin! Oh, I just keep it real. You know, ‘cause
I want people to get well. ‘Cause I went through addiction, and God’s so good. What
the devil meant for bad, God meant for good. I have three recovery treatment centers now
– three! With young people, your age – from 18-25 – in my recovery center addicted to
pills and addicted to heroin. And guess what? They’re dying left and right. ‘Cause, see,
the enemy’s not playing, and we need to get serious about who we are in Christ. We need
to get serious about our walk, ‘cause the enemy – He will take you out of here. I’m
only – I’m only here because I’ve been covered by God’s grace – God’s grace was all around
me. That’s the only reason we’re here. ‘Cause the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy
– everything. He’s not playing. He’s 24/7. You young people, and I tell my kids, you
need to pay attention: the devil is real, and he’s not playing. He wants your life.
It’s not about fame or fortune, it’s about God – it’s about holiness, it’s about righteousness
– this is about you guys living a life of the fullness you can for Christ – finding
your identity, or who you are in Christ. It’s the greatest gift I ever gave to my – had
I known Jesus before I got into baseball, I would have never went into baseball, would
have never wanted to be rich. I would have never, but I know today – knowing the Bible.
‘Cause being rich – all it did was deceive me. And all the famous people you’re seeing in
Hollywood, and you say, “Oh, I want to be like that.” They’ve got a lot of money,
but they’ve got a lot of issues, ‘cause they’re not free inside, and have never been
liberated. And the only thing that can liberate you is the blood of the lamb. John 3:30 says, “He must increase, but I must
decrease.” He must increase in my life, and I must decrease. Because when I allow Him
to increase in my life and I decrease, I get more wisdom, and knowledge and revelation
of the word of God. And that’s where it comes from. That’s where your life’s gonna come
from students – your life’s gonna come, not while you’re here – you can have it here,
but when you get out of here? I tell my kids the same thing – when you get out of school,
real life is coming. Real problems and real situations are coming. What are you gonna
do? If you don’t know Jesus, you need to get to know Him while you’re here. ‘Cause He’s
amazing. And there’s no one like Him. It’s not about being great – it’s about the holiness
of your life, right now while you’re here. Had I had a chance to have someone come speak
to me and teach me about Jesus at such a young age, I wish I would have had a chance to find
Jesus at a young age. It would have saved me a lot of headaches from life. ‘Cause
they’re there. And they’re coming. But the greatest thing that you can give to yourself
while you’re here is to fall in love with Jesus. There’s no one like Him. There’s nobody,
no matter who you’re with, no matter what you accomplish – there’s no one greater than
what Christ accomplished on the cross. What He accomplished on the cross, no man could
accomplish. Only Him – there was only one. God picked Him as a son. When He hung on the
cross, the Roman Empire had no idea who He was hanging on the cross. They said, He hung
on the cross and He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Then
He says, “Father why have you forsaken me?” Then His last words on the cross was, “It
is finished.” It’s done – that’s why I’m able to walk in holiness, righteousness, wisdom,
power and understanding of the word of God. Because Jesus ruled and reigned in my life.
He is Lord of Lord; He is the King of King. Nobody’s like Him. And you can keep searching
– you won’t find it. You can keep searching on for all the success you want – you won’t
find it, but you’ll find Him when you say, “Yes!” When you say, when you say yes to – listen,
students, to me! Please listen to me – when you say “yes” to Jesus, do you know what
that means? It’s a three-letter word, Y-E-S. It means you enjoy salvation. You get to enjoy
salvation. And it’s free! It’s not about a man that had all the riches, the lights, the
cars the Mercedes. Living on high community gates, life, toxic home – went through two
wives and kids like a tornado because I was self-centered, egotistic, and you know what
ego means? It’s a three-letter word. Easing God out. That’s what an ego does – that’s
what pride does – it eases God out. It doesn’t let God in. So it’s time for you guys to understand
your purpose in finding your identity – why are you here? Why are you walking around this
campus and, yeah you’re going to school and that’s amazing! Students, you guys are important.
Your next steps in life are real, cause if you don’t take the right step, the Devil’s
gonna destroy you. Cause he’s not playing – it’s not a game. And I don’t know if you’ll
make it back. But I know with Christ, 1 John 4:4 says, “Greater is He that’s in me than
he that’s in the world.” It’s the great one that lives inside of me, that allows me
to rule and reign over the enemy. The Bible says no weapon formed against me shall prosper.
I’m more than a conqueror, through Christ Jesus, not through me, not through anything
great about me – we all look good on the outside, but on the inside I’m dying. We all look in
the mirror and look at ourselves every morning; we get up, “Oh I look great but what is my
insides looking like?” That’s what it really all boils down to students. You’re important
to God. God wants to use you, just like He’s using me. Noah got drunk, Jacob lied, Rahab
was a prostitute, David had an affair – God used them. It’s about God in your life. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able
to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that
works in us.” It’s the great power that works in us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “All things have
passed away, behold all things have become new.” I’m a new creation in Christ. I’m
gonna ask the musicians to come up – the band, as I close. I’ll ask them to come up and play
softly. And I just want to ask you today, students that are here, is your heart right
with God? Have you surrendered your life to Christ? It’s the greatest gift that you can
ever give to yourself – to surrender your life to Christ. This is not about anybody
else – I almost missed because I was worried about what everybody else was thinking. It
wasn’t until I surrendered my life to Christ, I became great. It wasn’t just being – I wasn’t
just great being a baseball player – that’s nothing. But I’m talking about surrendering
my life to Christ, and asked Him, “Lord? Help me! Lord I need a savior. Lord I need
to repent. Lord I need to ask you to forgive me!” He’s a forgiving God, He’s a merciful
God. ‘Cause I thought I was getting away with all the things I was doing and all of
my sinful ways, and you know what the Lord told me? He says, I need to let you know,
I saw everything you were doing. He sees it all – He sits high and He looks down, because
He is Lord, and He’s – He’s a just God, but He’s a righteous God too. He’s a loving God,
He’s a merciful God. Look at me, old broken me, He spared me – He deposited this whole
book inside of me. Never went to college, never went to school. God said, “I want to
deposit my Spirit inside you – it’s gonna dwell in you, and you’re gonna preach the
gospel. I said, “No, I’m not.” He said, “Yes, you are.” I said, “No, I’m not!” He said,
“Yes, you are!” And He left me, He says okay, “Go ahead, keep running!” I kept running!
And I kept getting further and further away from God. What I’m trying to say to you today
– don’t be like me, don’t disobey God. ‘Cause, see, God had to bring me to my knees. And
that’s a really, very difficult place if God’s gotta bring you to your knees. Come to Him
– He’s love. He already knows the condition of your heart. ‘Cause He’s God. He knew
the condition of my heart. Don’t think that everybody in the Bible didn’t have problems
– they all had problems. He told Jonah to go to Nineveh, Jonah goes the other way to
Tarshish. God throws him in the fish three days and nights. He says, I told him to go
to Nineveh to preach the gospel to a city that – to tell them to repent from their sins. Peter denied Christ three times, so when I
think about the condition of our hearts and the conditions that we’re in – everybody had
some kind of condition. I think about John 5, when this particular man sat at the pool
of Bethesda, he sat there for 38 years – everybody else used to jump in the pool and get well,
healed by angels, healed by jumping in a pool when angels – and they got healed. This one
particular man sat there for 38 years. Don’t sit too long students! He sat there for 38
years – Jesus didn’t ask Him about his condition because Jesus already knew His condition.
Jesus asked him one- one thing. All Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?” That’s
what He asked him, do you want to be well? That’s what Jesus is asking you today, do
you want to be well? Do you want to be free? Look at me – a man that was broken, liberated,
free! God restored me, multiplied me, made me rich again. I don’t even take the money
– I take the money and I help people. I put it into my ministry ‘cause I help people,
‘cause I care about souls! I care about people being well. ‘Cause I know the enemy
is deceiving people. Sing it, hallelujah. That’s your call. Now if that’s you, I want
you to come down ‘cause I want to pray for you. It’s my day to pray for you, so when
they start singing the song, if that’s you, don’t worry about what anybody – I want to
pray for you! I want God to heal you, I want God to cover you, I want God to bless you.
Not with money, I want Him to bless you with His Word, His riches. As they start to play,
if that’s you, the pastors will be down here for you- just come down, and let us pray for
you.

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