WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Thanks”

How Is God Stretching YOU?

7) Young Woman:Cheryl

God is once again taking me out of my comfort zone! He likes to stretch (mature) His children and to be honest, I like being stretched! I don’t ever want to be stagnant and slow in my spiritual growth. I have tossed the baby bottle of milk aside because I so enjoy feasting upon the prime rib of sold spiritual foods!

I was once a public school teacher (25 years) but God called me into a new career as an author. Boy, that was a shock and a stretch! With God’s help, I wrote 3 devotionals and a Bible study. Non-fiction is now my comfort zone.

Well, now He is calling me to once again use the gifts He placed within me to teach. He has asked me to enter the world of FICTION, or Historical fiction. I am writing a children’s rhyming book inspired by the book of Esther. As of now it does not have a title. I am praying about this and I know it will come to me in God’s timing.

A wonderful illustrator (She is also an author, publisher, etc) has agreed to work with me. Her name is Cheryl Ellicott. Please keep this project in prayer. I would like to see this book in public schools, libraries, and of service to the home schooling network. There will be a curriculum sold separately for 2nd-5th graders.

We are to use the gifts GOD GAVE US for HIS glory and the edification of the Body of Christ. I challenge my readers to use their gifts!! God will see your labor of love and be pleased and glorified. Posted are samples of Cheryl Ellicott’s work. These are NOT for my book. They are posted to show her style.

How is God stretching YOU in 2015? Please share!

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” Colossians 1:9-10 (NKJV)

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Hebrews 5:12 (NKJV)

2) Cheryl Landscape w:Woman and Child14) Sparrow:Cheryl10) Girl w:Bible Cheryl13( Corrie ten Book:Cheryl

A Cup Full Of Hope

*Cup of Hope

How do you see your cup, half empty or half full? Do you predict the worst will happen in any given situation or are you well practiced at finding the Silver Lining? Is your hope resting on Jesus and His love for you? Hope should never be swept under a rug. It is what moves us through our day.

“Look at your problems in the LIGHT of God’s power instead of looking at God in the SHADOW of your problems.” ~ Anonymous

God knows His children well and understands our need for encouragement so He wrote a book full of inspiration, promises, and fortification. According to (bibleinfo.com) there are 3573 promises in scripture. If we claim one promise every day, it would take almost ten years to read them but once.

“Let us read the Bible reverently and diligently, with an honest determination to believe and practice all we find in it.” ~ J.C. Ryle

A visual reminder of God’s promised faithfulness can be seen after a storm. It comes in the form of a rainbow. After the great flood, God created this colorful symbol to encourage Noah and his family. It is a continual sign commemorating God’s covenant with mankind and His promise to never again cause a flood that destroys all life. The next time you see a rainbow remember God is in control.

“I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13 (NKJV)

Jeremiah 29:11 speaks about God’s plan for us and it is not one of disaster and hopelessness. He promises us a hope and a future. However, His plan will include adversity. Such times serve as our training ground in spiritual matters while good times provide us with rest. Both seasons are opportunities to reflect on the faithfulness of God.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

Our perspective regarding storms should be that they are necessary and beneficial gifts. They are private refinement sessions with God. Although the discomfort experienced during our sanctification process is often great, His grace is even greater. Learning to rest during our seasons of testing will produce an inner calm of patience and peace. Others will notice the growth in our character and God will be praised.

Why do we doubt God and His GOOD plans for our future? Why do we forget the incredible love He has for us? Why do we question His plan? Like the ungrateful children of Israel wandering in the desert, we become unsatisfied with the manna He provides and cry out for meat. We forget His provisions are what we NEED. Discontent never improves life, instead it consumes our thoughts and leads to bitterness.

The next time you find yourself tempted to complain about a matter, pause and ask yourself, ‘What will my grumbling accomplish? Will my words inspire and uplift others, or will they cause discouragement?’ Will any good come from your state of mind? If not, make a decision to change your perspective.

Find something (there is always something) to praise within the circumstances you perceive as unfair or offensive. It will be a challenge at first but with a little practice, it will get easier to identify the good all around you. After adopting this new practice you will discover you have a happier state of mind.

Seeing your glass as half full will provide you with enough hope to advance through the darkest of storms. That is the power of a grateful heart. That is the power of a thankful heart. That is the power of a positive perspective. That is the power of God.

“And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:       I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” Genesis 12:9-15 (NKJV)

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9 (NKJV)

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

“We ought not to limit God where He has not limited Himself.”  ~ Jonathan Edwards

“The outlook is gloomy, but the uplook is glorious!” ~ Unknown

God Does Not Compare The Flowers In His Garden

 

Flowers Don't Compete:UnknownYou don’t need to be better than anyone else. You just need to be better than you used to be.” —Unknown

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work”.  1 Corinthians 12:4–6 (NIV)

The refining process—which we must undergo to become what God created us to be—is a continuous one. It involves extreme pressure and, yes, pain. When God turns up the heat to melt gold, dross will rise to the surface. Dross is a collection of impurities. Sin is our impurity.

Hopefully, the refining of our spirit will bring about a forward motion in our walk with Christ. With each new lesson God sends our way, we should grow in our maturity and knowledge of Him. We are not to remain “baby” Christians all of our lives. Rather, we are meant to become mature, able to teach and witness to others.

There is danger when we start to compare our growth to the spiritual growth of others. Just as every child is different in personality and looks, so, too, is each one different in his or her abilities to learn. Growth patterns differ from individual to individual, whether we’re talking about academics or spiritual lessons from our Father.

When we compare our walk to that of another, one of two things may occur. We may become convicted and then inspired to follow that person’s good example, or we may become jealous and fall prey to the lies of the Enemy who jumps at any opportunity to pull down and discourage the children of God.

Just as the physical body has many parts, the body of Christ has many parts, too. Each part is dependent on the other. We need the eyes to see and the mouth to communicate. We need the hands to heal and serve and the feet to travel to far-off lands. All the parts are important. We can’t compare the importance of body parts, because all of the parts are essential and necessary.

Look to others and be encouraged, not condemned. Map your own course of spiritual growth and monitor it to see if you are either growing in your walk or remaining in the same place. You do not want to experience stunted growth. If you see yourself as still requiring milk, like a newborn baby Christian, then take steps to stretch yourself. Allow the trials in your life to bring about your maturity. Then rejoice over the gifts allotted to your fellow brothers and sisters and be thankful for your own personal and unique talents.

A rose is beautiful, but so is an iris. Both are flowers and both are special and unique. However, they bloom in different seasons and have different aromas. They both glorify God, but in different and unparalleled ways.

That is how we are in God’s eyes. We are beautiful and unique flowers in His heavenly flower garden. He adores and treasures each and every one of us.

Here, I provide you with one special Bible verse to meditate on:

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so, the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand,         “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable, we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12–27 NIV)

Are You Wearing A Face of Joy?

*Snowman Face

Are you wearing a face of JOY today??

“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” Psalm 47:1 (NIV)

” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Facing Adversity: Thoughts of Wisdom, Praise, & Promise

_Facing Adversity Cover Final jpg

The last book of my devotion trilogy, Facing Adversity: Thoughts of Wisdom, Praise, & Promise, is now available on Amazon. Here is an excerpt from a devotion titled SUFFERING UNITES US ALL

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Adversity-Thoughts-Wisdom-Promise/dp/1503377989/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417501877&sr=1-5&keywords=Cheryl+Zelenka

“God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. Nobody is insignificant. We are, after all, created in the very image of God. This includes the homeless person living in a cardboard box and the abused child in a home of neglect. We all have a part to play in God’s divine design, and sharing in the sufferings of Christ is part of His game plan.

Suffering is an effective tool God uses to refine our spiritual character. Adversity is permitted, or sent, as a loving gift from heaven above. Perspective is critical here. God gives good gifts therefore trials are beneficial.

So how can our painful moments be of any use? How can something hurtful, shameful, or grievous actually be a blessing? Do not trials teach us valuable lessons? Do we not gain insight, knowledge and wisdom as we muddle through our adversity? Is this not something we can share with others? Healing and lessons of perseverance are not only a witness of God’s grace but also an encouragement to others.

The process of sanctification chips away self-reliance and causes even the most prideful of mankind to cry out for help, help that only God can provide. Learning to depend on the Father is a major lesson in our spiritual walk. When we trust Him with all things and remain peaceful in the midst of an uncertain fate, faith has carried us. Others will notice our manner and desire the same inner peace we exude. Life style witnessing is a powerful tool and useful in the work of the Great Commission.

Suffering unites us all. Each person has experienced pain. Therefore, we can compassionately connect with others through this common bond. No race, creed, social status or level of education can escape the reality of suffering. Because of this fact we have an open door, a first step in sharing the Good News. We can build relationships in many different ways and there is a fellowship of suffering, with Christ Jesus and with others.

Here then is the great blessing found in adversity. Because of the pain you endured, thanks to the grace of God, you are now equipped to encourage and bless others. Your victory over tribulation will give them hope.”

Giving Thanks…. ALL THE TIME!

*Thanks

To have a heart of thanks is to have a heart of praise. It is easy to thank God for times of health and prosperity but it is not so easy to thank God for our times of trials, storms, and adversity. However, we are called to give thanks in All circumstances.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

God designs, plans, orchestrate, permits, and even sends difficult challenges our way. After all, we have to build up our spiritual muscles some how. A challenge from God often comes in the form of a test of faith.

Needless to say the Devil, who is always lurking about, will stick his nose in any situation hoping to implant discouragement. So, put in your earplugs and put on your spiritual armor. The Helmet of Salvation will keep your mind clear of confusion. By cinching up your belt of truth, you will expose all of his miserable lies.

Fruit produced from such tests of faith are well worth the temporary discomfort you may endure. Perseverance is needed to finish the race set before you, and spiritual tests will train you to endure. Nobody likes to eat unripe fruit and with every struggle you face, with God by your side, the fruit of the Spirit becomes riper and sweeter to the taste.

While bravely setting out on the journey He planned for you, the goodness and kindness of Christ will grown within your heart. You will notice gentleness and compassion have extended their boundaries, empowering your love for Christ and others to mature through sanctification. The Holy Spirit working within you is the only explanation for your budding capacity to love. Oh, what joy there is when we realize spiritual growth!

It takes patience and self-control to trudge through difficult times, but the peace of Christ will always greet us if we lift up our needs in prayer. A peace that transcends all understanding is available for every child of God. It is never withheld or out of reach. This peace comes when we surrender our challenges and submit to God’s plan, trusting Him to equip us for every obstacle.

I encourage you to train your eyes to see the goodness of God, trusting that everything you face has God’s stamp of approval. Just as Satan had to get permission in the throne room to test Job, the Devil must also get permission to buffet you. God did not look to destroy Job and He does not intend to test you beyond your ability to weather a storm.

Have faith in God’s intentions and purpose. Decide now to praise Him in the midst of your pain. This sacrifice of praise will give your heavenly Father much joy and cause the enemy much discomfort. It will also serve as a quiet witness to those all around you. Be brave and courageous. Be of a stout heart. Praise the name of Jesus in ALL circumstances because He is worthy of ALL our praise.

DURING YOUR QUIET TIME ENTER HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE. THANK GOD FOR ALL OF YOUR BLESSINGS.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1 (NIV)

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)

“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” ~C.S. Lewis                         

This devotion is from FACING ADVERSITY: THOUGHTS OF WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISE… available the first week of December on Amazon. Check out my other books

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cheryl%20zelenka&sprefix=chery%2Caps

The Promise of Forgiveness

*Jesus Forgives

1 John 1:9 is a PROMISE. We will find forgiveness in Christ if we confess our sins and repent of our ways. This is a blessed assurance. God will never say, “No, I will not accept your confession of sin and heart felt apology. I do not forgive you. I do not want a relationship with you.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

Some of you may know the heartache of unforgiveness. After humbling yourself and apologizing for a wrong, hoping to restore a broken relationship or bring healing to someone, you were rebuffed or ignored. Your cry to be forgiven was not met with love or a consoling pardon. The pain of unforgiveness is heart wrenching. All one can do is act on what the scriptures instruct and pray, leaving the rest to God.

Thankfully, we will never suffer this rejection with God. He accepts our plea for forgiveness and casts the memory of our sin as far as the east is from the west. We have been washed in the blood and sacrifice of the Lamb. Our Creator longs for an intimate relationship with us and since all sin separates us from His presence, He forgives us repeatedly.

We cannot however change people, or their reaction to our sin. We can only work on changing ourselves…. with God’s grace. Because God loves us, He works to perfect and refine our spirits until they eventually reflect back the very image of Christ. This act of sanctification requires man to lay aside pride and self-will. Everyone comes to the place of absolute surrender at a different time in life. Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, we eventually come to understand the necessity for making greater room in our hearts for God.

He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 (NIV)

A conflict between two people means that there are TWO individuals who need to work together on the resolution. One may want change and restoration but the other might not. We can influence people in a positive way by walking in the light, but God alone refines and transforms the heart. If one person is not willing or ready to consider forgiveness, reconciliation is put on hold.

There is always the hope of a restored relationship but sin, even confessed sin, will change an association in some way. We are not like God who is able to forget wrongs and cast them beyond His memory. Broken trust takes time to heal. It takes work and patience, understanding and tolerance. Wounds heal but some scars remain. Maybe the scar will serve as a testimony of God’s healing power, a witness to others who are living in broken relationships.

A restored relationship gives glory to God. It can become even better after suffering through affliction, betrayal, and sin. Love is the healing balm that makes this possible. Love is the greatest gift of all and can cover a multitude of sins, if we are willing to lay down our own pain and offer the wrongdoer (It usually takes two individuals to make a wrong and therefore two are necessary to make it right again) absolution.

Hold on to the promise that ALL of your sins are forgiven when you repent to God, even the unforgiven sins held against you by someone with a hard heart. You are cleansed from all unrighteousness the minute you confess to God. He pardons all unrighteousness and grants absolution. Guilt does not come from God, just Holy Spirit conviction that leads to humble repentance. You have been forgiven. You are forgiven. By the blood of Jesus Christ you are freely forgiven.

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;And I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)

 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

He does not treat us as our sins deserveor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,so great is His love for those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west,so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:10-12 (NIV)

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ~ C.S. Lewis                                 

This devotion is from my book FACING ADVERSITY: THOUGHTS OF WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISE. You will find it on Amazon the first week of December. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cheryl%20Zelenka&sprefix=Chery%2Caps

In God Alone

*Hope In You

An all-powerful and sovereign Creator, who wants to have an intimate relationship with His creation, loves mankind beyond measure. God did not create the human race out of boredom or on a whim. No, He made us for His good pleasure and great delight. His attachment to us is so great that He longs for our fellowship and will one day live among us in paradise. He enjoys our company! Although we are corrupt and sinful in nature, He refuses to abandon that which His breath made alive. We are His. We belong to a King! He made a commitment to us…. we are His beloveds. In Him alone we find all hope.

But I will hope continually,and will praise You yet more and more.”   Psalm 71:14 (NKJV)

Hope is that push that moves us though another difficult day. Hope comes from our faith and it expands as our trust in God deepens. Hope grows when we accept God’s grace and believe every confessed sin is tossed as far as the east is from the west.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

When we need strength God gives us His. Some privileged saints are asked to bear incredible pain and debilitating illnesses, which leave them in a weakened state. Through these precious ones the power of God gives witness to His healing strength, love, and ability to perform miracles. Hope is often found in hospitals and in the presence of the dying. In such places there is hope for healing, hope for wisdom, and hope for eternal peace.

We hope for security but the world is uncertain. Only in the arms of grace can we find stable ground. If we are declared impoverished and found hungry, we can still feed upon God’s daily bread… the living Word of God. With this manna we nourish our spirits, and find rest in the hope and promise of a new and better day.

“You will be secure, because there is hope;you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.” Job 11:18-19 (NIV)

If hope is absent from your life then consider the faithfulness of God. Are you still alive and breathing? Your positive reply means that up until this moment God has faithfully preserved your life for a reason. Maybe you lost a job. There is the hopeful possibility that a better one is in your future. By placing your hope in Christ, you will soon see He has carried you through your adversity.

God did not spare His own Son the suffering of the cross. It was for our benefit that Jesus became man, died, and was raised again. God sent Jesus to redeem us and has exalted Him in the heavens. He is our Victor and blessed Mediator.

Take your burdens to Jesus and pour out your heart. He is the Savior of the world and our only hope. Ask Him to be your guiding light as you attempt to stand and move forward through your storm. Your struggle will have an end but His love and care for you is never-ending.

To persevere is to ascend the mountaintop of God. It is a necessary trait, a requirement if we wish to see the face of God. When you place your hope in the Father, you will always have victory and a supernatural peace.

READ THE SCRIPTURES AND QUOTE BELOW. REFLECT ON WHAT IT MEANS TO PUT YOUR HOPE IN CHRIST JESUS.

“But I will hope continually,
 and will praise You yet more and more.”   Psalm 71:14 (NKJV)

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
 and in His Word I do hope.”   Psalm 130:5 (NKJV)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 43:5 (NKJV)

I asked for strength that I might achieve;
He made me weak that I might obey.
I asked for health that I might do great things;
He gave me grace that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
He gave me poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of others;
He gave me weakness that I might feel a need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
He gave me life that I might enjoy all things.
I received nothing I had asked for;
He gave me all that I had hoped for.                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~ Author Unknown

This devotion is found in FACING ADVERSITY: THOUGHTS OF WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISE. Available on Amazon the first week of December.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cheryl%20zelenka&sprefix=chery%2Caps

Is It Well… With Your Soul?

 

*It Is Well
The hymn “It is Well with My Soul” has always been a favorite. This worship song is just beautiful. It reminded me of the sovereignty of God and His faithfulness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDNi5C0eDS8

Prayer: Brain Tumor Ashes To New Growth

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Those of you who know my story, and if you do not…. well, a brain tumor nearly took me in 2011. My life appeared to be ashes at my feet when I woke up in ICU. No home, no job, away from friends, uncertain financial issues, etc. But GOD IS FAITHFUL! (Read my testimony… on right under My Story)

Even though my future IS STILL pretty much in the dark… I am alive, healthy, working, and serving God. This is a prayer I wrote today. I hope it blesses you and makes you think….

“Lord, I praise YOU for YOUR love and stand in awe of YOUR might. I see now how there is growth coming forth from my ashes. YOUR living Word is such an encouragement to me. Help me to persevere in the new direction YOU have set before me. I know that YOU are the perfect guide and will help to move me forward on my path. Joy and gladness have already filled my heart, for I have all I need…. YOU and YOU alone.”

** Remember there is ALWAYS HOPE! God loves you and has never left your side. Keep praying and trust He has the very best for you!

” For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” Is. 51:3 (NKJV)

*6 Days aver brain surgery/ July 2014 visiting my dog Bubba.

**Me and Bubba

 

 

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