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Hephzibah

For the Greatest Lover of My Soul

YOU are the greatest lover of my soul.
There is none like you...


I have loved you with an everlasting love. - Jeremiah 31:3
You have never failed to make me smile...
and You never run out of ways to surprise me...
It is either with a sunset, a song or a love letter that you affirm me.


No one else comes close to you... 
You have given me pure joy that I could not fathom.
My unworthiness and unfaithfulness to you did not stop you from loving me and pursuing me.
You always want the best for me and you never give me up despite me giving up on myself...


Why do you love me so much? 
I could not find any reason except that you love me unconditionally and selflessly...

The thought of your great love brings me to tears... 
I don't deserve it but your grace has chosen me to receive it...

This morning is one of those sweet days when you have called me a sweet endearment.
This name which expresses the tenderness of your  love for me.

"Hephzibah"
"my delight is in her."

The love that you have for me, gives you delight? 
You always make me blush like no one else could do...

You have a tender and wonderful love for me.
You called me
"Hephzibah, your delight is in me."

You have said that you would take away my rightful name which is "Forsaken,"
and would call me by a new name, a name which you would choose.
You chose "Hephzibah" (Isaiah 62:4)
I will no more be called Forsaken;
neither shall my land any more be termed Desolate:
but I shall be called Hephzibah.

Out of your abundant love, you delight in me.

You are my hero!
"you took pleasure in me and beautify me with the gift of your salvation.."
Psalm 149:4

You're the greatest lover!
I am precious in your sight... and you have loved me...
Isaiah 43:4

You're the most generous suitor I've ever had!
You have always wanted to bless me.

Youre the sweetest ever!
You always make sure that I know that i am your delight... And that I  enjoy your love and grace and faithfulness.

You are always open to me.
You blessed me with the experience  of loving other people to the point that it causes a delight in my heart, an inexplicable joy?

The truth that you take pleasure in me - that you not only love me,  but  delight in me... 
and is speeding the days when I shall be with you in fullness of joy, in the fullness of Your joy. 
That is the blessing!

You blessed me everyday.
You have blessed me more than I  realize.
You are blessing me more than I  even know.

I love you coz you alone deserve it
You loved me even if I don't deserve it

I am fully persuaded from your Word that I  will find joy and blessing in my life.
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Moral Lessons of The Avengers Movie 2012

Trisha Sebastian watching The Avengers Movie 2012
The Avengers Movie 2012 in Imax 3D


To be honest, I do not watch movies often since I prefer reading books than watching TV or movies. Although, at times, I enjoy the excitement and thrill that suspense and action movies give. I also enjoy watching super hero/fantasy type movies due to its kindness triumphing over evil and moral messages. They are not inspirational movies, but I love that they encourage both kids and adults in their own way.
The Avengers Movie 2012

The Avengers

Here are some of the moral lessons that I have learned from the International Box office Movie The Avengers 2012.

Moral Lessons of The Avengers Movie 2012


1. Be humble.

Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love. 
If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all. (Mark 9:35)

The Avengers Movie Ironman / Tony Sparks
Ironman
In the movie, Ironman, was serving for the wrong reasons.
Ironman wants to be glorious. 
But aiming for the glory never got him anything that he wanted. 
The other avengers just saw Sparks for who he really is. 
Which is a Self-centered Glory-seeking wanna-be -hero.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
Of all sins, pride is the most subtle and most destructive. 
Pride is the root of most sins.
It is the cause of the fall of Satan and the human race. 
Pride is the exaltation of self.
It is thinking too highly of self. 
It gives an undue sense of own superiority and independence. 
Pride causes most conflicts when it causes a person to seek personal recognition and glory, even at the expense of others. 
For even Jesus came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

2. Truth will always prevail.

People will see who we really are, No matter what front we put up.
If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. (1 Corinthians 3:12-13)
There are no secrets that wouldn't be exposed, and no ulterior motive that wouldn't be unknown.  So let's always check our hearts and thoughts and guard it for it is the river of life.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:45)

At the end of the story, Ironman's motives were corrected.

It was out of his unselfish love for Piper that made him give up himself sacrificially for the safety of the universe without thinking twice.
At this moment where he chose to die to one's self was the moment that he was exalted and recognized as a hero.  

The reason why Ironman changed brings us to the next moral lesson:

3. Love conquers all!


Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8)
The love of Ironman for Piper made him unselfish. 
Love is very powerful. 
The Love that I am talking about here is not the typical worldly love where there is lust and malice.


Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. It's genuine love... Love that believes the best in other people.(1 Corinthians 13:7)



Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)


Love is the same reason that the once antagonist, in the story, transformed into a protagonist. 


An unconditional love expressed to the Soviet-spy Black Widow Natalia "Natasha" Alianovna Romanova. 



In this movie, Black Widow mentioned that Hawk eye disobeyed orders that commanded him to kill Black Widow. This had transformed Natalia "Natasha" Alianovna Romanova.



Mercy changed Natasha Romanoff into being a protagonist.


4. Forgive.



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


Black widow changed because of the compassion that is shown to her by Hawkeye. 
Hawkeye was ordered to kill her, but his not going with the orders added a new team member in the avengers.

As Christians, we should always be slow to judge other people and see how we were once sinners and it was out of God's grace and mercy that we are saved.


But he who has been forgiven little loves little. (Luke 7:47)


I believe that there is always one person that God uses to save another Christian. - a Christian who is so in love with God overflowing with His love joy and peace who was compelled to share this great news of salvation. 


It is my prayer that we always choose to be this Christian to another person, that we will always be a blessing who will lead other people to Jesus, and not the other way around.


It is also by this personal experience of salvation, that Black Widow had a strong faith that Hawkeye could be back to His senses. 


It is a deep conviction, that made her not give up on Hawk eye.

5. Be strong in conviction.

One of my favorite scenes in The Avengers  is the exchange of quotable quotes between Agent Phil Coulson and Loki. Here are some of the lines:
Agent Phil Coulson: You're gonna lose.
Loki: Am I?
Agent Phil Coulson: It's in your nature.
Agent Phil Coulson told Loki that he will lose. 
As Christians. we can confidently say the same thing to the enemy. We've got the victory! But do we really know which team we are on?


They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:18-24)


I pray that we will always be able to stand firm. To always have that strong conviction and unshakable faith - that no words or lies can make us believe otherwise. 


I have learned that it is necessary to be purposeful and intentional on knowing Jesus. It is through knowing Him personally, that would make us fall in love with Him deeper and trust in Him more.

6. Know your enemy.

We should understand our enemy, so that could know what weapon we could use against it.


For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)


Either you belong to the champion’s team or you belong to the loser team.

To win the battle, know which side we belong to, we need to understand how our enemy operates, and know what type of weapon to use.


Avengers
In the movie, we saw how Loki can easily manipulate the avengers. Loki usually feed lies to them when they are left alone with him.


It is in division, that the enemy gains power. We also saw how Loki made them turn against one another - just like the enemy, who will use our friends, to control us.


In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

7. Speak the Truth in Love.

There will be times that we would need to speak the truth in love to a fellow Christian. Just like Captain America who rebuked Iron Man.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  (Ephesians 4:15)
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Ephesians 4:25)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

8. Fight the Battle with the Right Armor.

Put on the armor of God.


Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)




A summary of the Moral Lessons in the Assembly Begins (Marvel's The Avengers) movie could be found in Ephesians 4. 



Ephesians 4 talks about the Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ. 
In this book, Paul urges us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. To make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. So that we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
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The Lucky One

I just got done with my Zumba Class with Robert Caguimbal, when Czar invited me to watch a movie with her. It was a spur of the moment, but it was blessed indeed. We watched "The Lucky One" in Promenade.

The Lucky One Movie stars Zac Efron who plays as Logan,  a U.S. Marine Sergeant who returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with a mission of meeting Beth, a woman from a photograph that he haven't met yet and doesn't even know. He ends up taking a job at her family-run local kennel where their love story started out.

I love this Quote from The Lucky One:
“Everyone has their own destiny, not everyone makes a choice to follow it, I’m lucky I did.” -Logan (The Lucky One)
Trisha Sebastian
Merienda Break in Cafe France after watching the movie.
Trisha Sebastian
Catching up with Czar and meeting her friends.
Trisha Sebastian
A spur of the Moment Movie Date with Czar

Lesson from The Lucky One Movie: Logan told Ben, Beth's son, that Marines will have to watch each other's back if they want to survive. 
 “Like Marines look out for each other in combat, we have to protect our fellow man too"

Trisha Sebastian
Date with Czar
Cafe France Natural Orange Juice
I love this Pure Natural Orange Juice from Cafe France.
Trisha Sebastian
Capping off our Date with a Dinner in Almon Marina.
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Sin is a Thief

Have you been struggling with sin lately?





Be honest with yourself.  To struggle means to "fight against", "put forth effort in order not to give in".  Stop lying to yourself. Struggling does not mean that you are actually committing the sin even while you are trying not to. You probably mean that you have struggled, but you have been defeated. This is being defeated not struggling.

You probably have been defeated. However, defeat is not a way of life. To struggle means that you are not on the losing side of the struggle.  

God warned Cain that Sin is crouching at his door. (Genesis 4:7) Sin is still the same way today; it desires to have you, hiding at the door of your life waiting to attack you.

Sin is a horribly dangerous thing to play.

I used to take sins lightly.

I praise God that He has the power to overcome evil and turn all things to work out for the good of those who love Him. I thank Him for placing the desire in me to make a deliberate choice not to play with it.

Sin has to be uncovered.

When I get into sin, I get ashamed at the things that I've done.
Guilt and shame made me want to cover up my sin because I don't want anyone to know about it. However, Sin doesn't go away like that. It has to be uncovered. 

Grace is not a license to sin. The cross should rather lead us into desiring not to have anything to do with sin first and foremost. Christ on the cross is something that should be enough to make me hate sin. 

Sin in a Christian's life is different.
A Christian claims to follow Christ.
Sin is more than serious. 
Sin is not something that we must try to hide.

A Christian can and should confess sin.
A true Christian can overcome sin through the power of Jesus Christ. 
In Him, there is success. Through Him, a Christian could succeed.

Sin is a thief that robs joy.
It takes away salvation and more!
It destroys intimate relationship with God. 

Sin takes away credence.
It removes courage to stand before God.

Sin gives a sense of guilt which ruins your self-esteem. 

Sin condemns.
Sin forces a person to focus on one's shortcomings.

Sin is an indelible stain on the soul.
It takes away purity and innocence.

Sin snares  and enslaves.

Sin has consequences which displace comfort and makes life difficult.

Sin is a thief, wanting to catch you off guard.

Below is a CCTV video which shows how my ipad2 was stolen.

The video shows a great determination from the culprit.
The thieves were not the typical antagonist that we see in films, wearing black with masks as we expect them to be in the movies. 

Same with our enemy, Satan would not show up on its red pointy overalls with horns and tails carrying its pitchfork. Satan, being the greatest deceiver, knows how to present sin in its irresistible luring form, capturing people to do His will. He is naturally wicked, opposing God, His people, and His truth. Satan is persistently in opposition to your best interest. He is relentless to the point of tempting Christ directly to compromise for worldly authority and power. (Luke 4:5-8) 

Satan could easily trap anyone when caught off guard. 

 His deceitful nature stands in bold contrast to the truth for which Christ stands (John 8:32,44). 


The great falsehood which he uses so frequently is that good can be attained by doing wrong. This lie is apparent in practically all his temptations (Genesis 3:4-5). As the great deceiver, Satan is an expert at falsifying truth (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

He brings disorder into the physical world by afflicting human beings (Job 1-2;2 Corinthians 12:7;Hebrews 2:14). Sometimes God allows him to afflict His people for purposes of correction (1 Timothy 1:20). 


However do not fear.
Satan is destined to fail in his continuing rebellion against God. 
His final defeat is predicted in the New Testament (Luke 10:18;John 12:31;Revelation 12:9;20:10).

The death of Christ on the cross is the basis for Satan's final defeat (Hebrews 2:14-15;1 Peter 3:18,22). This event was the grand climax to a sinless life during which Jesus triumphed over the enemy repeatedly (Matthew 4:1-11;Luke 4:1-13). 


Satan probably rejoiced in the death of Christ, believing this to be a victory for him, but like all his victories, this one, too, was short-lived. When Jesus rose from the grave, Satan was once again defeated.

The final victory will come when Jesus returns and Satan is cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:1-15). Strength for a Christian's victory over sin has also been provided through the death of Christ. We have assurance that "the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). 


However, such personal victory depends on God’s grace and power in our lives and our will to offer resistance to Satan's temptations (Ephesians 4:25-27;1 Peter 5:8-9). 

To win this battle against Satan, God has provided the power of Christ's blood (Revelation 12:11), the continuing prayer of Christ in heaven for believers (Hebrews 7:25), the leading of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16), and various weapons for spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:13-18).

While there are some people having trouble to admit that Satan exists, his presence and activity should be able to explain the problems of evil and suffering. 


Satan exists and his main job is to oppose the rule of God in the affairs of man. Allow the struggles of life to give you the ultimate meaning of life which you so desperately desire. Let it spiritually build your wisdom and knowledge drawing you closer to God and away from Satan.

Guard your heart, mind, and thoughts at all times.
Protect your most precious treasure which is your relationship with Jesus Christ.


Sin is Sin's Punishment itself.



Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.(Jeremiah 2:19.)

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CCF GoSat

First time to meet the CCF GoSat Family.
Trisha Sebastian Dinner in Yaku after the Vesper Worship Service with CCF GoSat People
Dinner in Yaku after the Vesper Worship Service with CCF GoSat People
Trisha Sebastian Fellowship in Podium with the CCF GoSat People
Fellowship in Podium with the CCF GoSat People


Trisha Sebastian having Dessert at Cafe Breton with CCF GoSat People
Dessert at Cafe Breton with CCF GoSat People
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Are you a Christian?


Last Saturday, we were asked in our Dgroup if we would lie if someone asked us if we are a friend of Jesus during the crucifixion.

Or if we would lie if someone asked us "Are you a Christian?" while we are in Libya.

I was thinking about it when I was reminded that this wasn't just asked in the old times or in countries where Christians were persecuted.

Some of us might have encountered this same question from our home, workplace, relatives, friends or even from people we meet in the church.

There could be a time that you have experienced this condemnation, that you just wanted to say that you are not a Christian just so you could stop them from pressuring, stressing and discouraging you with their condescending words.

I had my share of those judgemental questions, and at many times in my life, I almost just wanted to answer back that I am not, just to make them stop.

I thank God that He convinces me of sin with a positive hope of change.



At times, I try to look at myself and begin to believe the lies of the enemy. The lie that I could never change and I'm hopeless. During these times, I lose focus on Christ's amazing grace and awesome power.

But reading the word of God reminded me that there is no condemnation to those who are in Jesus' which means that our sins are forgiven — past, present and future.

When we feel tired of trying to be good trying to give glory to God, we should remember that there is nothing else that we could do to add to God's glory, but He shares with us His glory when we accept Him in our life.

It is really impossible to live a Christian life, but we could do all things through Christ who strengthens us. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.

Another question that we were asked in our Dgroup was, "Would you tell the truth if it would cause you your life?".

I guess there are moments that It is easy to say Yes, where I can boldly say Yes just like Peter when he boldly declared that he would never deny or disown Jesus even if he had to die with him.(Matthew 26:35) However, we all know what happened during the crucifixion. 

Logically, with my stable emotions right now, it is easy for me to say that knowing that God could easily give back to us anything that He asks us to give up, believing that He could give me life, give me back my life, and give me eternal life, it is only rational to consider it worth dying for.

But with my natural flesh, I know that I could not do anything with my own willpower. Even my faith I could not boast of. And It is  just with my grateful heart that God who began a good work in me, in you and in Peter, will be faithful to complete it. I thank God that His faithfulness is not based on my own faithfulness, but on His very Holy nature.

He calls us to make a decision to change by relying on His power. 
He asks us to walk away from evil, not by trying, but by trusting.

What is keeping you from trusting Him?

I have chosen you and not rejected you.(Isaiah 41:9)

Christianity is not a work that we do, but our relationship and intimacy with Jesus, which produces the qualities and the surrounding influence by it. We must maintain our relationship with Him, allowing nothing to ruin it.

Our friendship with God starts when we realize our poverty and accept that everything is a grace from God.

As Christians, we are not here for our own purpose but of God's.
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You are Chosen


I remember a few years ago, being a new Christian, a friend of mine asked me, how come the bible say that God chooses those who will trust Him and those who would not be in Him?

Does it mean that there are people who are just destined and doomed to go to hell?

It was a surprise for me to hear his question since I have not really read the entire bible yet. But, good thing that he asked because it gave me more reason to want to finish reading the entire book.

A lot of things have already happened since that day. I have not yet finished reading the entire bible, but have tried to read it once in a while, whenever I have a spare time or whenever I feel like it.

However, God had orchestrated different events in my life, carefully placing and allowing people and circumstances in it. He loves me that much that He refuses to settle for mediocrity for me.

When I first received God in my life, and decided to live for Him, I thought I was the one doing all the chasing, but looking back at my life, It is amazing to just realize and see how God has been with me all along, and has never left me ever since.

"I have loved you with everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

Jesus declared He is the bread of Life and whoever comes to Him will never be empty or starving. All that the Father gives him will come to Him, and whoever comes to Him, He will never drive away. No one can come to Him unless the Father who sent Him draws him and He will raise that person up on the last day.

Jesus already knows right from the get go, who is going to betray Him or believe Him.

My conversion experience may be my decision based on my own free will. However, my commitment to follow Jesus is less likely to be the work on my part but a stunning victory on His part. He fashioned everything about me in His own mind, placing me in certain time and place.

My conversion experience may be a decision based on our own free will, but looking at this verses, our commitment to follow Jesus seems to be a lot less pronounced working on our part but a stunning victory on His part! He fashioned everything about you in His own mind. He placed you in a certain time and place.

Whether you believe this or not, God loves you. He wants you to sense the love that paid every debt of your sins. He wants you to experience the freedom, joy, peace and tranquillity that you have never thought possible.And thinking about this, simply makes rejecting Him, too foolish.

Take a close hard look at your life and be honest with yourself. How did you get into the state that you are in right now?

Honestly, I still do not have any answer for my friend's question. Nevertheless, I am glad to think that I love the role that God gave me in His remarkable story. I am very much grateful that He gave me His grace to share His glory to other people.

Looking back at your life, could you say that if God really is author of your life, that you would be grateful for the role that you are playing right now?

You are chosen!



"How could the initiative lie on my side? If Shakespeare and Hamlet could ever meet, it must be Shakespeare's doing" - C. S. Lewis.
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To all My Friends

If you don't find me spending much time with you as we did before...
That means you're doing fine compared to someone else...

I would most probably pass up spending some of your good times with you
than miss out sitting beside you on your bad times...

Because at the end, it's not how many photos of you and me were tagged together,
birthdays and gifts we gave each other,
trips and tours we've traveled together that matters...

But the number of troubles that we both overcame and how tough our friendship is after that.

It's not how much bible verses and quotable quotes you've shared to me that matters...
but the compassion, acceptance and love you'd shown me when I was struggling...

It's not how much memories we have shared but how good you made me feel each time we share those memories...

To be continued... Speaking from my heart #emomomentswithsha
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Submission to Spiritual Leaders

Romans 13:1-2 is such a comforting verse. It is very much comforting to know that Our Loving God is sovereign at all times.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 

Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1-2)

It is a comforting verse that our Loving Father, who did not spare His own, is sovereign even to the governing authorities above us. It is comforting to know that the God who graciously gives us all things is the one who established their authorities over us. 

I understand how critical it is to trust over to someone your very life. And it is only necessary that we responsibly choose and wisely decide before we put our complete trust to anyone. And I thank God that He sent someone faithful trustworthy, reliable and Holy such as Jesus.

Having leaders who are human in nature, they are imperfect too. It is imperative that we have our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Committing our decisions to God establishes our plans. (Proverbs 16:3)

It is also imperative that we pray for them. Being a spiritual leader is not difficult, it is impossible without God. And being humans like us, spiritual leaders also go through hard times, temptations, troubles, and trials. It is our utmost responsibility to ourselves to pray for our spiritual leaders for our very own benefit. 

Focus on God's Grace
Spiritual leaders are still human, who have their own weaknesses. 
When things do not go as we wish them, remember the grace that God brought you through. Trust that He who began a good work in your spiritual leader will be faithful to complete it. Speak the truth in love to them as you would any Christian brother or sister, and pray with them. 

I submit to my spiritual leader because that is the very reason that I joined my spiritual group. They help me see things that I still do not know as a Christian, helping me develop godly convictions, and teaching me the truth. 

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. (Hebrews 13:17)
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