James Merritt - House Rules
One of the most powerful governmental bodies in the world is the United States House of Representatives. Now, contrary to popular opinion, let me make something clear to you if you know your civics and history, we are not a democracy. How many of you know that? We're not a democracy. Greece is a democracy, we're not a democracy. We are a? We're a Republic. Under law we follow the rule of law. And that's what makes a body called the House of Representatives so very powerful, because all laws pertaining to revenue have to originate in the House of Representatives. This country can't spend a nickel, not a dime, not a cent, unless the House of Representatives approves it.
Now what I didn't know and you may not know is one of the most powerful committees in the House of Representatives. A matter of fact, it may be the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives is called the Rules Committee. So why is it so powerful? it's responsible for the rules under which bills are presented to the House of Representative. In other words, it is the committee that holds the reigns on all legislation. So it influences the introduction of a law, the process of the law being debated and adopted by the house. This committee is so powerful it has a nickname, it's called the Traffic Cop of Congress. In other words, they control the red lights and the green lights. It is a powerful committee. It lays out the conditions under which any debate or amendment can be offered in the process.
So in other words, if you're a Congressman and you come up with this brilliant idea, I think we ought to pass this law. I think this law would be fantastic for our country to adopt. It may be. But you've got to go through the Rules Committee to even propose a law. And then when you propose a law, guess what? They're going to let you know if you can put it on the floor, they're going to let you know when you can put it on the floor, and they're going to let you know how you're to do it. But it goes deeper. They have rules of decorum. There are certain things you can do on the floor of the house, and there's certain things you can't do on the floor of the house if you want to be heard. If you want to introduce a law, if you want that law to be debated, discussed and passed, you've got to follow the rules. In other words, there are rules that you have to follow and you have to observe in order to conduct yourself in such a way that you're allowed to even be on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Now, why do I go into all of that detail? Because when I read that I thought to myself, you know, there's another house. It's called the House of God. And the House of God also has house rules. And just like the Congress, is made up of a corporate body called, you know, the House of Representatives, God's house has a corporate body is called the church. And the church has made up of individual members. And they're called Christians. And there are house rules on how the church ought to conduct it's business and there are rules of the common on how individual members ought to live and how we ought to treat each other. And what you're going to find this is only when the church follows the house rules as a body. It's only when you and I follow the house rules as individuals can the church's mission be accomplished, can the impact of the church be maximized and the most good be done.
Well, guess what? In a book called Colossians, and I encourage if you brought a copy to look in the Bible, in the book called Colossians, which is about halfway through the new Testament. In the third chapter, a man by the name of Paul actually laid out the house rules. Both for the church as we come together as a corporate body, he says, this is how you ought to conduct yourself when you're in here. Then he says, and by the way, there's a way you ought to conduct yourself when you go out there. So there's a way ought to do business in the church, corporately. And there is a way we ought to do business outside the church, individually. when I was going up, you'd probably like my, you know me when you were growing up, my mom and dad had house rules.
Okay, for example, I could not come to the table without a shirt on. You know how kids like to do that, right? Not my house. You can't do that, right? You could not eat a bite till you said the blessing. It was yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am, no ma'am. There were certain house rules if you're going to live at our house that you have to observe and you had to follow. And oh, by the way, my mom and dad expected me to observe the same rules outside the house that I observed in the house, because they understood that the way that we live our lives outside the home will reflect the kind of lives we live inside the home. So all of that is to say we're in a series if you're a guest of ours for the first time.
We've been in a series in the book of Colossians that we've called Guardian of the Galaxy. Because one of the things, one of my favorite books of the Bible is Colossians and the reason is more than probably any book in the New Testament, it is just laser focused on Jesus. And the whole thing if you said, well, what is the book of Colossians all about? I can tell you in one sentence, Jesus Christ is the ruler and the controller of everything and everybody. Period. There's not one random molecule out there on its own. There's not one piece of matter out there that's doing its own business. Jesus is the ruler and the controller of everything and everybody and he has set the house rules. This is his church. It's not my church, it's not your church, it's his church. And Jesus has said, there are certain house rules we need to follow both corporately as a body and individual as Christians. There's a way we ought to do business in the church, and there's a way we ought to do business outside the church.
So as we begin this study, we'll put something up on the screen, and if you take notes, this is one of those things I wish you would write down maybe in the front of your Bible and I want you to never forget it because if I've ever read anything that's absolutely true in all my years ministry, this is the truth. The best argument for or against Christianity is the Christian life. The best argument for or against Christianity is the Christian life. I absolutely believe that if Christ has made the difference in your life that he ought to make. And I love what Dr. Rogers used to say, my mentor. He used to say if your religion hasn't changed your life, you better change your religion. If Christianity has really changed your life, if Christ has really changed your life, you should say it, you should witness, you should verbalize it. We're going to talk about that in a moment, but you ought to show it. People should see by the way you live, by the way you conduct yourself, by the way you treat others, there is something different about us. Listen, we are not only to be witnesses we're to be part of the evidence.
So with that in mind, what are the house rules? There are three. Number one. Paul said, "Let the peace of Christ regulate our character". Let the peace of Christ regulate our character. Here's rule number one, here's what he says. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Since as members of one body" that's us, "you are called to peace. And be thankful". Now I'm going to be honest with you. When I was working on this message, this was such a welcome scripture because we're living in a time right now, let's be honest, it's hard to find peace in this country. And whenever you do find it, it seems to be in pieces. There's not a lot of peace in this country right now, but Paul's not referring to the kind of peace that we all wish that we had, you know, between each other or even between nations. He's talking about a peace, listen, that can only be found in Jesus. He said, let the peace of Christ.
You know, the last gift that Jesus gave to his disciples before he went to the cross, Do you know what it was? Peace. Just before he died, just before he went to the cross, here's what he said to the disciples. "Peace I leave with you". This is my going away gift. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you". Now listen to this. "I do not give to you as the world gives". He said, this is not the world's kind of peace. "Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid". The peace I'm talking about this morning is not the kind of peace the world gives.
You know, any, by the way, any peace you find in this world is temporary. It won't last. That yeah, you might find peace for a while in a pill. You might find peace in a while on the bottom of a bottle, you might find peace for a while in someone else's bed, you might find peace in a while in working over time, you might find peace in a while in buying that lakeside home or that beachfront condominium. You might find piece of while on a vacation get away in the Caribbean, but I'm telling you, that peace won't last. It will wear off. There's only one kind of eternal peace and Jesus gives it to us. As a matter of fact, there are actually three kinds of peace. And I want you to ask yourself right now, do you have all three of these in your heart? First of all, there's what I call vertical peace. Vertical peace, what do you mean by that? Vertical peace is peace with God.
By the way, that's only available to Christians. If you're not a believer in Jesus Christ, I don't mean to be offensive, I don't mean to be ugly on cult, you do not have peace with God. You don't have that vertical peace because until you come to Jesus Christ, the Bible clearly teaches you are at war with God. Because sin separates us from God, but here's what happens. The moment you give your life to Jesus Christ, guess what? God signs a peace treaty. God breaks down the barrier that has been separating you and me. God eliminates all hostilities because that's why Jesus died on the cross. That's why Jesus came back from the grave to tear down that barrier, so you could experience peace with God.
As a matter of fact, the same man that wrote these words was a man named Paul who experienced that peace. Here's what he said. He said, "Therefore, since we've been justified through faith". That is since we've received Jesus Christ. Since we've trusted him as our Lord and savior, "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". So the first kind of peace is vertical peace. Peace with God. But if you have vertical peace with God, then you ought to have internal peace. Now, what is that? That's the peace of God. That's the piece of getting up in the morning like I did this morning and know my sins have been forgiven. I have eternal life. I'm right with God. There's nothing between my soul and Jesus. I have unbroken fellowship with him. He's in complete control of my life. He's working out everything for my good and I can trust him for everything that happens to me.
I've got that internal peace. This is where it really gets relevant and this is where it gets real. If you have vertical peace with God and you have the internal peace of God, then you also have to have horizontal peace with others. Horizontal peace with other people. Peace with others. If I look, if made peace with God, and I've got the peace of God, I ought to be at peace with you and you ought to be at peace with me. So well, how does that happen? Well, Paul just told us. He said, here's why it works. You've got to let the peace of Christ, what did he say? Rule in your heart. You got to let that peace rule in your heart. That word rule by the way is very fascinating. I told you I liked, you know, I was an athlete growing up and I love to play sports even to this day. And I love to watch sports.
Well, this is an athletic term. And that word for rule literally means to umpire. And it refers to someone who always makes the final call on what is right and what is wrong. I was reading the other day about an umpires convention. And there were 3 umpires they was talking about how do you make difficult calls? You know, when players have to make hard calls sometimes. Well, the first umpire said, "Well, I call them the way I see them". And the second umpire said, "Well, I call them the way they are". The third umpire shook his head and he said, "Boys, they ain't nothing till I call them". Well, let me tell you something. You don't know what you're doing with what you're saying or what you're doing and how you're acting is right or wrong unless the peace of Christ that rules in your heart says it's right or wrong.
So to live out the truth of what Paul is teaching, here's the two hard questions I'd like to ask you right now. You ready? When you're about to do something or say something, is this how a person who at peace with God would act? Before you say it, before you do it, before you respond, before you react, before you reply, is this how a person who's at peace with God or with Christ would act? Number two. If I do this, will I still have the peace of Christ in my heart? If I write that letter, if I say that word, if I take that action, will I still have the peace of Christ in my heart? The truth is, if you and I are at peace with Jesus then we should be at peace with each other. He is in control of all our actions. So I just want to make a strong statement. You cannot. You cannot have the peace of Christ in your heart. If you're bitter, if you're unforgiving, if you're holding a grudge, if you're unkind, if you're un-Christ like toward anyone for any reason. You cannot have the peace of Christ in your heart. Paul says, let the peace of Christ regulate our character.
That's rule number one. Rule number two. let the proclamation of Christ saturate our community. Let the proclamation of Christ saturate our community. Now Paul turns his attention from individual Christians now he come back to the church, to us gathered right here right now. He says, okay, here's what I want you to do. He says, "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you," and don't miss this, "as you," who's he talking about? He's talking to you, not just pastors, you. "As you teach and admonish one another," how? "with all wisdom," how do you do that? Really interesting. "Through Psalms, hymns and songs from the spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts".
Now I'll tell you what don't, I want you to kind of let that soak in for a minute. Do you know what Paul just did? There're very few snapshots in the New Testament and how people did church 2000 years ago. This is one of them. If you'd walked into a church service 2000 years ago, here's what you would have found. They let the message of Christ dwell among them richly and they admonished one another and they taught one another with wisdom. How did they do that? Psalms and hymns and songs from the spirit. I mean, it's really a fascinating picture, but notice it all centered around the message of Christ. Well, what does that mean the message of Christ? Is that the words that Jesus said, or is that the words that would set about Jesus? Well, the answer to that is yes. That's what it means. It's the words that Jesus said and it's the words about Jesus.
Now here's the situation. Everything we know that Jesus said, and the only way we know what Jesus said is found in that book. Right here. The word of God. So that's what he means by the message of Christ. So here's what house rule number two is. House rule number two is real easy. How do we do business in the church? How do I treat you as my people? How do you treat me as your pastor? How do we treat one another? You let the word of God guide you. You let the word of God lead you. It all centers around the word of God. By the way, that word dwell, he says, "Let the mentions of Christ dwell among you". You what that word literally means? It's a sweet word. It means to feel at home. If there's any place where the word of God ought to feel at home, it ought to be in the church.
By the way, let me just say this while I'm in the neighborhood, I would never ever try to tell anybody where to go church. Okay? That's not my business. That's totally your business. But I will tell you this. If you go to a church and that church is not saturated with the word of God, you ought to saturate that church with your absence. If that church has not saturated with the word of God, you ought to saturate that church with your absence. There's one place where anybody and everybody should say, word of God you are welcome here. I don't care if the truth hurts. I don't care if it's difficult. I don't care if it's hard. I don't care if it goes against the grain. I don't care if it goes against public opinion. Word of God, you are welcome here. We want you to rule in our church. And whats true of the church, it's true of the Christian.
So let's make it individual. Do you make the word of God feel at home in your hearts on a daily basis? Now just stay with me. Do you make the word of God feel at home in your heart on a daily basis? You said, well, I hope I do. Hold on. The word of God cannot dwell in you until it gets into you. The word of God cannot dwell in you unless it gets into you. Nobody will ever feel at home in your house if they're never allowed into your house. No one will ever feel at home in your house if they're never invited into your house. So what am I saying? You know what I'm saying. That's why every one of us who claim to know Jesus ought to be reading this book every single day. And I said this, and I'll say it again and again and again, I will never understand ever why anybody who claims to Lord Jesus and they claim Jesus as their Lord, and they claimed Jesus as their life. I'd never understand why they never pick up this book and read it.
Why they never read Jesus's words. They never listened to Jesus' voice. They never learned Jesus's teachings. Think about this. If you had a buddy of yours and he claims to love his wife, he claims to love his wife with all of his heart. But if your friend would never read the texts that his wife sent him. if your friend never returned a phone call from his wife, or he never called her. If you're friend really just never even showed up at the house never spend any time with that spouse, you'd have to say, "Man I'm not sure really how much you love her". I don't really get that. I don't know if you love her like you say you would, every text you'd want to read. You don't want to hear her voice. You would want to feel her presence. But then Paul says something I'd never really considered.
So buckle your seatbelt. House rules are tough. He says, listen to this, We should teach and admonish one another. What a lot of people have always thought, no pastor that's your job. No, my job is to teach you and admonish you to teach each other and admonish each other. That's my job. You're to teach each other. You are to admonish each other. Every church member, every Christian shares those same two responsibilities. It's not just me. We are to teach and admonish each other. Now what's the difference? It's real easy. Teaching is that positive presentation of the truth of God's word. These things you ought to do. Admonishing, that's the negative side. These are things you ought not to do. When we warn each other, when we stray from the truth, we disobeyed the truth. I say, here's the problem. There are a lot of churches out there. They love the teaching part. They don't do the admonishing part. We don't want to offend anybody. Don't let anybody away. Don't upset anybody.
People are too valuable. And we do the same thing as believers. We do the same thing as individual Christians. We're good with encouraging and edifying and uplifting and teaching you. You're doing great. But when a brother's in sin, when a sister's in sin, when someone's not living the life they ought to live, well, we can't judge them. We, you know, we can't do that. but Paul says we need to be instantly admonishing as well. So let me just give you a little test and let's just see how you're doing. If a Christian friend came to you thinking about getting a divorce, would you know what biblical truth you should share with them? You said, well, that's your job. No, that's your job no just mine. Here's another one. Suppose two of your unmarried Christian friends are considering moving in together? Would you be wise enough and bold enough to confront them with what God's word says about it?
Here's another one. What if a non-Christian friend told you, they were curious about Jesus and Christianity? Would you know enough scripture and how to use scripture to lead them to Christ? Here's one more. Suppose someone in this church is expressing views that are racist, demeaning, degrading, discriminatory, would you be able to share with them a biblical perspective on why that is wrong? And what may shock you is wake up time. That's your job. If you're a believer, it's just as much your job as my job. It's every Christian's job. And then Paul says something else, and this is something I've never really thought about for. He said, now here's how you here's one way you do it. Okay? Through Psalms and hymns and songs from the spirit. I have to be honest. I had to put all my stuff down when I was working on the sermon.
I go, how in the world, where does that come in? I mean, don't take this wrong way but some of you ought to go to preaching because you're singing probably worse than your preaching. I'm thinking, okay, how's that working out? I mean, what do you mean songs and hymns and spiritual songs. Here's what he's saying. Paul is telling us even something about the songs that we sing and we take this seriously by the way in our church. Songs ought to communicate sound theology. Songs ought to communicate biblical doctrine. Songs ought to really be truthful. And they should always be centered on what? The message of Jesus. So this is just a good place to remind you, by the way, if something's I know you know but we forget. You know, the early church didn't have drums. They didn't have guitars. They didn't have keyboards. They didn't have sound systems and there's nothing wrong with any of those things. And I'm grateful to God that we have them.
Tim used the double award-winning worship writer who wrote "Here I Am To Worship". Tim Hughes tells a story about a time he was in South Africa. He was working with kids and he was leading worship. He was just 18 years old. And he didn't have any of these modern age to worship. They didn't have a keyboard. They didn't have a guitar. They didn't have a drum. They didn't have any little sound system, no nothing. And he thought to himself, how in the world are we going to worship? I don't have anything to worship with. I want you to listen to what he said. "The place was filled with some of the most beautiful singing he has ever heard. As these believers began to sing out of the overflow of their hearts. At that moment I learned something, worship isn't about music; it is about Jesus". Can I get a witness to that? It is about Jesus. It's not about this or than it is about Jesus.
Now here's the point. Here's what Paul is saying. As the bride of Christ, two things are true. Number one, we belong to each other. I want to tell you something. Some of you this is going to depress you so badly. We're stuck with each other for eternity. We belong to each other. I'll tell you something else. We need each other. There's no such thing as lone ranger Christianity. we are not just to guard our own purity, makes sure we're doing right, we're to guard each others. We're accountable to each other. Paul says the proclamation of Christ should saturate our community.
Then rule number three, we're done. Let the praise of Christ dominate our conduct. Let the ways of Christ dominate our conduct. Now Paul wraps it up with a simple statement, but you talk about powerful. You talk about life-changing, you talk about convicting, at least for this preacher up here. I want to tell you this verse got my attention because when I really delved into it and realize what it meant I said, "Man, this is a life changer. This is a game changer". Here's what he said, "Whatever you do". Now, think about that. Write it down no matter what it is. "Whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him".
Now that raises a big question, what does that mean? What does it mean to do everything in the name of Jesus? Well, let me tell you what it doesn't mean. It doesn't just mean you just kind of put a tag on what you're doing or a tag on what you're saying. What it means is whatever you say and whatever you do should always line up with the character of Jesus. You know why? Because a person's name and a person's character are always linked together. You know this, but I'll just remind you. One of the ways that corporations and businesses and stores merchandise their products, they've done it for many, many years. You know what they do? They get a well-known personality to endorse it. And a well-known personality to use it.
Why did they do that? They want them to lend their name and their reputation to whatever they're trying to sell 'cause businesses know how it works. When you find someone that the public trust or the public likes or the public admires and they say, well, I use this product, I like this product, I never go without his product. They think, okay, if you do it, I need to do it. If you use it, I need to do it. And they're more likely to buy it. Give you a great example. Probably the best example right now still going.
Tiger Woods became the first professional athlete ever in history to earn over $1 billion in his career. Think about that now. Tiger Woods became the first athlete ever to earn over $1 billion in history. He passed that mark six years ago in 2014. Little secret. He didn't earn that play in golf. 88 percent, $880 million of that billion did not come from playing golf. It came from what? Endorsements. Not playing golf. In fact, in one of his highest years, he made in one year $62 million. Think about that. $62 million. Listen to this 96 cents out of every dollar was from endorsements. He didn't make it playing golf. And just, if you don't think this works, ask Nike if it worked. They knew something. Tigers aren't every minute, you know what they pay tiger every year? I think he's got close to a lifetime contract.
Nike pays that. Listen to this. Nike pays him 25 million bucks just for his name. Every single year. They've made hundreds of million dollars. In fact, he gives his approval. Here's exactly what Paul is saying and its a radical thought. Here's what he's saying, in word or did, whatever you say or do, whether it's the word that comes out of your mouth or work that comes out of your hand. He said you ought to do it with the approval of Jesus. So here's the question that Paul was asking? You are ready? Here's the question. Would Jesus sign his name to what I'm about to do or what I'm about to say? That's the question. Would Jesus signed his name to what I'm about to do or what I'm about to say? In other words, you're about to say something, wait a minute. Would Jesus say that? You're about to do something. Wait a minute. Would Jesus do that? Would he sign his name?
Well, know, he wouldn't say it then neither should we. Well, know, he wouldn't do it then neither should we. So we wrap this up. How do you really know? How do you really know what the peace of Christ is regulating your character? How do you know that? How do you really know if the proclamation of Christ is saturated in our community? How do we know that? How do we really know if the praise of Christ is dominating our conduct? You're ready for this? You know what Paul says is a surefire sign? It's right here in the passage I bet you missed it. He said, here's the surefire sign. You'll be a thankful person. You'll be a grateful person. Everyday will be Thanksgiving day for you.
Cause notice Paul repeat something three times in this passage, watch this. He says, "Be thankful". Verse 15, "Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts". Verse 16, "Giving thanks to God the father through Him". Verse 17. "When you're at peace with God, you got peace of God". When you're at peace with others, when you're in the word of God and the word of God is in you. When you are determined today, just today, everything I do, I'm going to do it in your name. Everything I say, I'm going to say it in your name. If I keep you can't sign your name to it, it won't be done and it won't be said. When you live that kind of life, you will be thankful in every situation.
So good news, everybody close their notebooks and you can turn your app off and just give your full attention right up here. All of you watching at home just hold on. Just keep drinking your coffee and listen, Corrie Ten Boom, some of you have heard that name, most of you probably haven't. She was a beautiful Christian lady. She was a Christian, but she was a Jewish Christian, She lived back in Germany during World War II and she was one of those people that survived the Holocaust. If you ever get a chance to read her story you ought to read it. She and her sister Betsy were separated from their parents by the Nazis. And they were removed to Ravensbruck the most horrible of all the Nazi death camps. Well, when they removed to their barracks, they found that not only was it overcrowded, people were sleeping in floors, people were sleeping under bugs. I mean, it was just wall to wall.
She said to top it all off, she said their barracks were literally saturated with fleas. Just fleas there with biting their legs, biting their faces but couldn't even sleep because of the fleas. Well, they'd been there for a few weeks and I mean, it was just so tough. Well, every morning they would get up and they'd read their Bible. A lot of those people were Jewish didn't know the Lord, but they get up they'd read their Bible. Well, one morning she and Betsy were reading their Bible and they read this verse 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus". In everything give thanks, everything for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
So Betsy looks at Corrie her sister and says, "Corrie, lets thank God for the fleas". Corrie Ten Boom said, "I almost did what the Nazis wanted to do". She said, "Have you lost your mind"? She says, "Corrie, this is what God says. Lets give thanks for the fleas". So they bow their heads and they thanked God for the fleas. Corrie Ten Boom says, it was the hardest thing she ever did. Well, as the months went by, they began to notice how easily it was to conduct Bible studies and prayer meetings, because the guards would never come into the barracks. They never interfered. They would watch them from the outside. They knew they were reading their Bible but they wouldn't do anything about it. And then one day they learned the reason why the guards would not come into the barracks. You want to take a guess? The fleas. The fleas.
A house full of thankful people is not just a happy house, it's a holy house. It is the kind of house that God deserves. It's the kind of house that God feels at home in. And it's the kind of house we'll have both in the house and outside the house when we follow the rules of the house. Would you pray with me right now? With heads bowed, with eyes closed. And I want you to listen to me those of you're watching online right now. This is the most important time for some of you in your life. I want to ask you a simple question. It's an easy question and don't lie. You don't need to. Right now, this moment, where you are, can you look yourself in the mirror and say you are at perfect peace in your heart?
Let me tell you why. That's a great question. You're lying to yourself if you say you do, if you do not know Jesus Christ, you cannot be at peace. You can't. Because until you come to Jesus, you are at war with God. Your sin is a barrier between you and God. That's why Jesus Christ died and came back from the grave to break down that barrier. I think there are people listen to me right now and you'd be honest. No pastor, I'm not at peace with God. I don't have the peace of God cause I don't have peace with God. You know I'm talking to some of you right now. You tried everything right. You tried the drugs. You tried the alcohol. You tried jumping around bed to bed. You've tried the big salary. You tried the nice things. You've tried the cars, the watches, the house, you've tried it all, but still no peace. You're right.
Only the peace that Jesus gives will last. And you know what? You can have that piece right now. You say I can't, yes you can. If you'll just pray this prayer with me right now. Just say Lord Jesus, I want peace with God. I want to sign that peace treaty. You've already signed it in your blood I'm signing it today with my faith. I believe you died for my sins. I believe God raised you from the dead. I believe you're alive right now. Lord Jesus come into my heart right now. Save me. Forgive me of all of my sins and Lord for the rest of your life let your peace rule in my heart. Let me live my life in such a way that everything I do, I will do it in your name and I'll do it with a grateful spirit. Thank you for hearing my prayer. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for giving me eternal life.