ministry

Loud sounding gong? A Word on ‘harsh’ prophecies

Delivering a prophecy that seems harsh to our modern sensibilities doesn’t make you a loud-sounding gong without love, contrary to the absolute tripe being taught today.

There was once a prophet who said things like:

Generation of vipers! (Matt. 12:34)
Though you are exalted to heaven, you shall be brought down to hell. (Luke 10:15)
I will profess to them ‘Depart from me, ye who work iniquity, for I never knew you.’ (Matt. 7:23)

He also cursed a defenseless tree for not having fruit.

Who was this mean old ogre of a prophet?

JESUS.

Today’s teaching on how the prophetic must always be uplifiting would condemn JESUS as not having love.

The truth is that we often fail to understand what the Bible teaches because we read it the way it’s been erroneously preached to us. Prophecy is for edification, exhortation, and comfort, but this does not mean it will always be comfortable.

In the US Marine Corps, my Drill Sergeants edified me, getting me into the greatest shape I’ve ever been in. They exhorted with tremendous intensity. Their training is now a comfort when there’s an emergency or danger of any kind.

Some may argue that we’re still supposed to be gentle, but not all situations call for what we now regard as gentle.

Feel free to call me harsh.

The lake of fire is harsher than anything I could possibly say to you.

Am I your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

Why we don’t need to ask for an Open Heaven

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
 
I never need to ask for an open heaven because the Veil of the Temple was torn when Christ died. I am The temple of the Living God, and heaven is already open for me, not because I asked, nor because I somehow deserved it, but because the Blood of Jesus has made it so.
 
Nor do I live by my own faith. God forbid, for my own faith would fail many times over before I could finish my journey. Indeed, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. This is why I can do all things in Christ. He promised that HIS grace would be enough, and it is.
 
He loved YOU.
He gave Himself for YOU.
He put His Spirit in YOU.
 
Every prayer you could ever set before the Father has already been answered at Calvary.

Mentoring Emerging prophets

Some prophets ‘turn to the Dark Side,’ so to speak because of a lack of specific Mentoring for their calling. The emerging prophet needs sound discipleship and oversight, as well as safe and accountable environment in which to exercise his gift. Over the years, I’ve mentored quite a few prophets who felt frustrated in their church because they’d hear from God but were actively discouraged from using their gift, or because they weren’t learning how to handle the revelations they were receiving. Still others found themselves overwhelmed with demonic attacks for which they received little or no real support. Pastors, the devil wants your prophets! It is best that you give prayerful consideration to how you might safeguard them from the specific threats they face.

Now, what you do with regard to this may vary, depending on any specific guidance that the Holy Spirit may give you for your particular flock. Nevertheless, here are some things you can do with emerging prophets:

  1. A weekly prayer gathering for the prophets with mature leadership to oversee it.

  1. Specific time set aside for the prophets to exercise their gifts outside of the regular service times, with prophecies being judged and constructive feedback being given.

  1. Prayer assignments for the prophets.

  1. Prophetic assignments.

  2. Specific Bible study assignments to further their personal development.

  1. A dedicated team of intercessors to pray for the prophets.

  2. Thorough training on the gift and office

Remember, as a leader, it’s your job to defend the flock, and a big part of that is by ensuring that your emerging prophets are not seduced by the enemy.

Want to plant a church?

If you are thinking to plant a church, think instead to plant a community rather than an institution. When Jesus addressed the churches in Revelation, he addressed them as communities by city, as a people, and not as an organization.
 
Christian leaders tend to create institutions because the primary driving force of their church plant is the fulfillment of a vision that revolves around their own life and ministry rather than around the life of Christ. Leaders, YOUR vision isn’t enough. YOUR anointing isn’t enough.
 
Man-centered ministry is the reason you can see a man raise up a church of 30,000 but almost never produce one member that is his equal, never mind one who can go on to greater works. Some of your sons, at least, ought to outdo you.
 
Abraham was given the Promise,
Isaac was the progenitor of the specific bloodline for the Promise.
Yet it was Jacob who became Israel, and the nation promise to Abraham is named after him. Wait. What?
 
That’s right. God promised Abraham a nation, but named it after his grandson.
 
Israel fathered the nation, but his sons populated it.
 
Judah received the prophetic word about kingship, but it was David that established that Kingdom.
 
David established its borders, but Solomon built its magnificence to the point that ancient writings in Tibet speak of the splendor of Solomon. Even so, the Seal of Solomon to this day is called the Star of David.
 
For all his splendor and wisdom, even Solomon did not get to complete the Promise.
 
The Promise was ultimately fulfilled in Christ alone. Remember what Galatians 3:13-14 says:
 
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
 
So we see that fathers receive most of their honor through their sons, not through their own lives. If this is not proof enough, consider this:
 
 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
 
Even the very ministry and Lordship of Jesus is for the glory of His Father, and I am sure Abraham isn’t upset that Jesus fulfilled the Promise God made so long ago.
 

Why YOU aren’t Prospering


 

 
Have you ever wondered why it is so many prophets try to convince you that they key to your prosperity it giving THEM money, yet year after year, decade after decade the saints stay broke? Let’s discus the REAL reasons why you’re not prospering the way you could be, and how to turn that around NOW.

Judges 1 – The Pursuit of YOUR Calling


Judges 1 tells us alot about God’s relationship with His people and the pursuit of His calling for your life.

Don’t let anyone take your crown!

Do you know YOUR mission?

The mission of the church was never to merely build impressive buildings in which we can gather together for an entertaining time of shallow ‘worship,’ and preaching that is more motivational than it is foundational.
 
Leaders, will you dare see beyond your own motives, past your own goals, and even beyond your well-meaning but limited present perception of the vision God gave you?
 
I challenge you this day to turn down your plate, get on your face, and clear your calendar to seek God like never before.
 
Can you become desperate for a depth of fellowship with God rarely seen in this world, one that will transform our lives, family, and ministries into the unshakable, undeniable, incorruptible, sick-healing, demon-vanquishing, blind eye opening, miracle-working, dead raising light of the world that it could be if we could only just get delivered from US?

Romans 9 – The Sovereign Grace of God in Christ

Grace isn’t just forgiveness and forbearance, it is the divine influence which is intended to bring the Lordship of God into our life. You don’t have to live in defeat, because Christ provided not only forgiveness, but the power to become the sons of God. Let’s talk.

 

Romans 7 – The MYTH of the Dual Nature

For so long, many of us in the church have been taught that we have a dual nature, and that we just can’t stop sinning. Usually, Romans 7 is cited as the ‘proof’ of this, when, in fact, Romans 7 describes live WITHOUT JESUS CHRIST. How do we know this? Romans 8 goes on to tell us that we’ve been freed from the law of sin and death described in Romans 7. Let’s talk!

Social Media Ministries are causing a Panic!

 
Popular preachers like Jonas Clark have been for some time writing articles about how social media ministries are somehow renegades and not real ministries if they are not part of the institutional church system. In one recent article, Clark seems to suggest that those who minister via social media without being connected to a local church, or without immediate local accountability, have a ‘jezebel’ spirit. In this video, we examine this logic and see if it really makes sense.

Does God disapprove of those who minister primarily or only via social media?

Does a minister have to be a member of a local church or accountable to local church authority?

Does having local church membership prove the validity, authenticity, and soundness of a ministry?

Some Biblical leaders who were not a part of the religious system of their time include Amos, John the Baptist, and Jesus.

In the case of Jesus, the religious establishment had him crucified! Let’s talk.

Don’t choose style over substance

All too often we who are in leadership make the fatal error of placing style before substance. It’s good to want to communicate well, and to present your message and conduct yourself with excellence, but sometimes we put far more emphasis on how we package what we have to offer than on what we’re offering. Often this is a symptom of a lack of depth in our relationship with God.
You don’t need to look like Apostle Knowitall or sound like Bishop Big Shot. When you’ve been in the presence of God, you don’t need to sound or look or act like anyone else, because a genuine experience in a consistent practice of the presence of God and a relentless pursuit of unbroken fellowship with Him will pervade what you say with the authority and majesty of God.

Useful Idiots


Let’s face it. Samson made bad decisions, and God used him in spite of his bad judgment and lack of reverence for what God had given him. Similarly, many of us are stuck on stupid in a lot of ways, and like Samson we end up thinking we’re doing well because God has used us…


Here we continue our study of Samson as a powerful example of what it is to be a useful idiot within the Kingdom. That may seem harsh, but close observatios of Samson’s decisions reveals some serious defects of character which we can readily see in today’s church.

When I was a kid, I thought Samson was SO cool, but as a man I think he’s a jerk! Samson was so arrogant and irresponsible that God had to use his mess to get him to actually USE what God put in him. Let’s talk about how we can avoid being a useful idiot in the kingdom.

Is the Prophet ‘better’ than the teacher?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The very first reason why God inspired apostles and prophets to write scripture is DOCTRINE, also known as teaching.

Thus we must understand prophetic is not ‘better’ or more important than teaching Yes, the Apostles and Prophets are the foundation of the church, but remember this: they are sent to preach the gospel and to TEACH people the ways of God. Think about this for a moment.

To even be a prophet, at some point someone had to TEACH you how to speak. Someone taught you to write, to communicate, and so on. How would you recognize the word of the Lord if you’d never learned to speak?

When a prophet comes with a warning, for example, like Jonah did, the people who heard the warning LEARNED that God was displeased, and that judgment was coming if they did not repent. Thus very often the prophet teaches, even if he’s not expressly a teacher.

Remember also that Jesus taught more than he preached, and in the end preaching teaches, because it often introduces new information to those hearing it. Thus teaching is inseparable from the apostolic and prophetic office.

Now, let’s also understand something about someone who is a teacher, but neither apostle nor prophet nor evangelist nor pastor. They are not ‘lesser’ than the others. Do not despise the teacher, and learn not to look at the prophetic office some somehow more desireable. Yes, we ought to desire to prophesy, but when Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 14:39, he taught this in the context of pursuing the gifts in the context of exercising the love of God, which is never selfish, and too often when we look to the prophetic as more desirable not because of its kingdom function and purpose, but because of our ego and the vain desire for recognition.

I challenge you today to examine yourself and your perspective of the prophetic.

How to Prophesy, Part 2

So often many of us want to prophesy, but don’t understand that God reveals his secrets according to specific criteria, including but not limited to:
1. Those who need to Know
2. Those who serve Him
3. Those who can be trusted with secrets

The prophetic a tool to build the church, and a weapon against the enemy, but it is NOT  a toy. If you really want to prophesy, learn to respect the things of God, keep your life clean, and make yourself useful to the Kingdom.

What Jesus had to say about being Religious

I know a lot of preachers today will use the word ‘religious’ like it’s a cussword, but what Jesus had to say about being religious may surprise you.

Do you want your vision to really grow?

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” –Proverbs 29:18

There is a direct correlation between a righteous lifestyle and clarity of vision. I know, preachers, you love to use this verse to convince the people that they need to be under your vision in order to achieve their destiny, but that’s not what this verse is dealing with.

While your vision as a leader may be instrumental to their walk, there is a vision God intended for their life, their family, their career, their influence in the world. Your highest function as their leader after watching for their soul is not to find some clever way to cajole or manipulate them into fulfilling your vision, bt rather equipping them to insure the fulfillment of theirs.

Oh, shepherds of the house of the most high! How long will you preach on the value of serving and not serve the underlying purpose for which God brought those people to you in the first place? Do you not see how great a sin there is in serving yourself?

If you only knew how your vision would grow if you would but repent of this.

Your children will tell on you!

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:4-5)

Many of the principles that apply to our natural children hold true when it comes to our spiritual offspring. They are indeed our fruit, and bear seed for the next generation. In both cases, our influence helps to shape the kind of people they will become, for good or ill. An apple tree may not appear as such to the untrained eye, at least not until it produces some fruit. Likewise, there are often aspects of our purpose, our vision, and even our character that may not become apparent until it finds expression in our spiritual children. Furthermore, just as new strains and varieties of apple may come forth from later generations descended from that same tree, there can be characteristics, good, and bad which may not show up until our spiritual offspring have had a chance to produce some of their own.
I do not resemble either of my parents. In fact, when my brother and I once worked at the same facility, our co-workers had originally thought we were friends because we share no resemblance at all. However, I have been told that I am nearly identical in many ways to my grandfather. I did not grow around him and only saw him for a few days during a trip to Puerto Rico when I was three years old. Nevertheless, I smile, laugh, talk, and walk like him, I have been told, and share the same height. Unfortunately, I also apparently inherited his unique gift for exaggeration, and the Lord dealt with me for years until I finally broke the habit. At the same time, I am persuaded that there was an anointing upon his life that was passed on to me that has, in my life, found expression.
These things I say both as encouragement and admonition to those of you called to lead God’s people in whatever way He has called you, that there may be some beautiful things that Lord will do through the people you serve, so take care how you prepare your arrows. Likewise, let us ever be mindful of our influence that we prepare them well, not only for their immediate role in the vision God has given us, but also for the specific call upon their life.
In this respect so many of us in leadership find ourselves guilty of a truly heinous crime: we have, in many cases, developed people only just enough to be of immediate usefulness to our vision, our ministries, and sometimes even our own personal agendas. I once knew a leader who had in his church at least 5 people called to function as apostles, and more than a dozen called to be leaders with their own ministries, but he would not disclose this to any of them,and used a variety of tactics to actually prevent their further development. He was known to frequently say “Don’t get too hot, because I got some wet blankets.”
In his case much of the motivation for this was simple jealousy arising from an incident in years’ past when a trusted minister actually attempted to take over the church. Because of this, a powerfully anointed man of God called to raise up many leaders and bring clarity, focus and consecration to many others became jealous and controlling, and this eventually robbed his ministry of much of its potential.
What can we learn from this? Arrows are made for shooting. When God gives spiritual children to care for, it is our sacred duty to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and to release them into His purpose. That purpose may involve continuing to be a part of the work He gave us to do, or it my very well involve them picking up and heading to some remote corner of the globe, but whichever it may be, we had better shoot that arrow, and mind our aim when we do.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

A great deal of what God has called us to do in the lives of His people is to provide them with guidance. In modern terms, think of your spiritual children as smart bombs and you’re God’s ballistics engineer installing the guidance systems. Remember, that we are to train them in the way they should go. God has not called to raise spiritual couch potatoes, He has called us to raise up a people who will do His will. Part of our own walk of faith is trusting God enough to let our “kids” grow up and move on, even if that means they must leave our church or ministry and seek out a purpose that is divergent from that of our own call.
All this having been said, what testimony will your spiritual offspring bear? Will they resemble you in deep consecration, or in having none at all? Will they preach a word in season, inspired by God and full of His power, or will they have empty words full of men’s wisdom? Never forget that a father will often gain most of his honor through his sons. Abraham was the father of the faith, but he never conquered Canaan, but David did. David conquered the Promised Land in a way that even Joshua did not, but he could not build the Temple, that was given to Solomon to accomplish. Generations later, the great Promise was fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phillipians 2:5-11)
God’s glory in redeeming man from the Fall was accomplished and expressed through His Son, and we as leaders ought to always bear in mind that Christ is to be our example in all things. Let us then therefore humble ourselves, be obedient unto death, deny ourselves the questionable privilege of personal agendas, and shoot the arrows the Lord gives us, that we may see God’s glory manifested as He has purposed.

Points for Consideration:

1.What are some ways in which you can improve your aim with the “arrows” God has given you?

2. Consider the people God has given you to lead, or called you to lead, and prepare a definitive outline for their spiritual development.

3. Take some time to consider a particular person under your care, and pray about their specific development and what the Lord would have you do to to give them direction.

4.Do you plan for the future development of the budding leaders in your midst? If so, name 5 elements of how you intend to develop them, and determine whether in truth such development has been progressing. If not, prayerfully consider what the Lord would have you to do in the interest of specific discipleship for His people.

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7 Keys to Prophetic Protocol  examines the seven basic elements of scripturally sound protocol for perceiving, disclosing, receiving and judging prophecy. If you want to grow in the prophetic, and gain greater clarity of revelation, this concise guide will change your life and ministry.

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Spiritual authority?

You will never have to lecture people about your spiritual authority as a congregational leader if your character commands respect and inspires trust.

Preacher, work harder on YOU than you work on your sermons, and you’ll stop struggling to lead.

Validating ministries?

The insistence by church leaders that your call must somehow have their endorsement to be ‘validated’ is often nothing more than man’s jealous attempt to retain control over people. usually the reasoning behind this is that a genuine calling will always be recognized by established authority. In Jesus’ day, the recognized authorities were the law scholars, the Pharisees, the saducees, and a priest…hood whose high priest was chosen by the Roman government… and these people were the ones who had Jesus crucified. The truth is that while sometimes leadership will validate your call, very often they will suppress you or even try to set you up to stumble.I’ve known leaders who preach this covering/validation doctrine, and they were some of the most jealous, controlling people I’ve ever known. I recall one night when an invited preacher hadn’t arrived yet, they stalled by asking if anyone had any testimonies. An unassuming young man raised his hand and told of how he encountered an insane homeless man with a shin that was crooked because it had broken years ago and healed poorly. The young man prayed for the leg to be straightened, and commanded the spirits in the man to leave and never return. The next time he encountered this man, he was in clean clothes, in his right mind, working a job, and walking on a STRAIGHT leg.

The look on the presiding preacher’s face was one I’ll never forget. Rather than glorifying God right away, envy took hold of his features before he dismissed that powerful testimony with insincere praise toward the God he claimed to represent.

Leaders, you should want the folks in your church to work greater miracles than you do. Never forget that fathers always acquire most of their honor through their sons. Disagree? Just remember that every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord for the glory of God the Father. Lay your jealousy and personal agenda aside!

If God has really called you, it may very well happen that no established leader will ‘validate’ that call. The pastor of the young man in the example above actually went to great lengths to make sure that the young preacher would not be welcome anywhere in the region. Don’t look for man’s validation. Obey God’s call.

Protocol and the prophet

The prophet can be said to have many functions, including but not limited to prophesying, intercession, giving counsel, or even governing a nation, but if we are to gain a basic understanding of the underlying principles of prophetic protocol there is one truth that must first be grasped. The entirety of the prophet’s purpose will always center around two things: perception and disclosure.

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Prophetic stewardship

“An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.”
-Proverbs 20:21
In a very real sense, part of the function of a prophet is often as a steward of destiny. We are often entrusted by God with revelation concerning the purpose, plan and promise for His people’s future, and as such, we must take care in how we administer the disclosure of what God has revealed.

One of the most critical errors a prophet can make is to deliver a prophetic word at the wrong time. In fact, a real word from God given at the wrong time can do more damage than a word from the devil. Why? A genuine word will witness to the spirit of the person receiving it, and it can easily result in their acting on that word prematurely, or other errors and sins of presumption that can in turn harm their faith when acting on that word fails to produce the expected results.

God is only ever required to finish what HE started, and so even when dealing with a real word of the Lord, we must be certain that its disclosure occurs as God has directed.

Your vision should be bigger than you

One of the reasons people leave churches is that our basic paradigm of what constitutes a church is fundamentally flawed. We tend to build an organization rather than a community, an institution rather than an embassy of the kingdom. Because of this kind of focus, the foundation of a ministry is usually centered around one person, who will usually style themselves as some sort of visionary, when all the while they are blind to the fact of their lack of omnipresence. No real vision from God is ever intended to be confined to your preaching, teaching, and plans… in fact, a genuine vision from God will make it necessary for you to be inadequate to meet its needs and carry out its mission. Moses led Israel out, but they had to be trained for war, and Moses did NONE of the fighting. This never means you should lay every burden on the people, but rather that you are intended to so equip them and intercede for them that victory is inevitable.

 

Old Testament vs New Testament prophets?

Some will say that the ‘Old Testament’ prophet was more predictive, or that New Testament Prophet is really just in place to confirm things God has already told you. However, the NT prophet isn’t always just in place to confirm. I’ve often told people things they had no clue were going to happen, usually with them insisting I was wrong until it came to pass. John, the writer of Revelation, wrote a whole book of predicting prophecies. The prophecy of Agabus in Acts 21 wasn’t a confirmation to the disciples; the narrative makes it clear that they didn’t know until then that Paul was headed for more trouble than usual at Jerusalem.

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Never use God’s Sovereignty as an excuse

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

–Revelation 20: 12-13

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God does NOT clear the guilty

And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty ; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’ children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

–Exodus 34: 5-7

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There are no idle details in the Bible

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

–Isaiah 28:10

The written Word of God was established as a witness to mankind of God’s purpose, plan, and design, and as such, there is no part of it that is unimportant, trivial, or meaningless. Some may challenge this by reciting some passage or other that may not be readily understood by this or that person, or even passages which seem to merely record lineage, names, and seemingly minor events. However, passages containing family histories can contain some interesting, as well as revealing, facts.

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There are no idle details in the Word of God

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

–Isaiah 28:10

The written Word of God was established as a witness to mankind of God’s purpose, plan, and design, and as such, there is no part of it that is unimportant, trivial, or meaningless. Some may challenge this by reciting some passage or other that may not be readily understood by this or that person, or even passages which seem to merely record lineage, names, and seemingly minor events. However, passages containing family histories can contain some interesting, as well as revealing, facts.

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You become what you think

“As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 27:3
When I was 15, I was about 5’3″ and just under 120 lbs. However, I was determined to become really strong, and because I had a lot of trouble gaining weight, I decided I would get stronger without getting any bigger.

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