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Dear Shannon,

I love you. May the peace and joy of God be with you this season. God's
gift to me this year was the salvation of Jason and Ryan. Praise God! He
has been so good to me, and I am daily re-dedicating my life to Him. He
is always so faithful and rewards us daily for our belief and obedience
to His Word. I would say that I am consumed with trying to live a
biblical life and am in constant prayer - and have never been happier.

You have been in my prayers - and those of thousands (!) of others -
since May. I think about you often and will continue to pray for you. I
pray about you and what God wants me to do, day by day. My actions are an
important reflection of my faith and love.

One Christian noted that the main message of the Bible (i.e.: Jesus! --
and truth and redemption through belief, love, faith, and obedience) can
be applied to Christian life if we "Pray like everything depends on God
and act like everything depends on man."*

My actions must better reflect my love for you than they have since May.
St. Augustine noted that without prayer, God often "will notů" respond to
our needs and that without prayer man "cannotů" respond to his needs
(which, of course, are only those needs which are associated with
righteous living on this earth).

Our needs and duties are so simple as set forth in Scripture, and caring
for and about our sons and daughters is one of the sacred duties and joys
God bestows on parents. In fact, family relationships are the model of
love used most often in the Bible. I imagine that if God had told Job he
had to forsake all of his blessings except one, Job would have given up
everything except his family - and God would have been pleased because
the love among family members is godly. Job knew that caring for his
parents and children was not only his blessing but his joyful duty.

Do you agree? I understand why the brothers and sisters (like all
Christians) must put God as foremost Master of their lives and serve Him
rather than their families, but I don't understand why they think it is
necessary to forsake their families to serve God. Family fellowship is
good and provides wonderful opportunities to live godly lives in which we
minister at home as well as  "in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to
the ends of the earth." My yearning to be your mother and friend again is
of God, not of myself or Satan.

Gran and many others would be blessed by your goodness and ministry if
you would consider serving Him in Lockhart. Uncle Gilbert's house has
been empty since he died last October, and you and some of the brothers
could minister in an Amish kind of way if you would consider moving to
the farm.

Please pray about this and let me know where God leads you.

May God bless us and guide us,

Mom
dr.townsend@juno.com; 301 552 1400, ext. 257, 202 544 8760, or 202 487
8760

*Of course, everything about which Christians act and pray should have
worshiping, glorifying, and serving God as the primary focus, the highest
priority. I savor the struggle involved in joyfully exploiting the
intimate my relationship with Jesus who faithfully guides me in my
actions so that we can stand before Him with pure hearts, hearts that are
forever His through the grace of God.

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