Blake Long on Dead Men Walking: New Book "Taking No For An Answer" How To Respond When God Says "No"

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This week Greg sat down with Blake Long. Blake is an author and Master of Theological Studies graduate from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His new book "Taking No For An Answer" drops on 2/1/23 and can be found on Amazon. The book discusses prayer and the responses we receive. Greg & Blake discussed how we should pray, how we should respond, and what we do when God simply says "No" to our prayer. Enjoy! Buy Blake’s book here:,aps,141&sr=8-6 You can check out Blake's blog here: Dead Men Walking Podcast Website & Merch: Show Sponser: Covenant Real Estate:


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Dead Men Walking starts now. Well hello everyone, welcome back to another episode of Dead Men Walking Podcast.
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I just got some of that from the kids for Christmas, and boy, addicted to that. Probably my favorite non -caffeinated drink.
Oh, who am I kidding, it's bourbon. Bourbon is my favorite non -caffeinated drink, but you want to know what, for the time
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We've had a lot of stuff going on, guys, in December and January, so if you kind of took a break from us over the holidays, over Christmas, I know you're spending it on the
Lord's Day, you're spending it with your family, go back and check it out. You know, we had
Doug Wilson on, we had James White on, we had Davis Younts, which was phenomenal.
He's an attorney that works on defending religious liberty and things like that. Just packed full of some really good guests, and if I forgot anyone in that December there, please forgive me.
I'm not saying you're not important, I'm just saying those are the ones that came to the top of my head. I'm 41, and it's very hard to remember things past 24 hours, so go check those out.
But enough of me rambling. We're going to keep moving this along, because this is an interesting one, because this is a subject
I really like. There's a young man reached out to me after I had seen some stuff online.
His name's Blake Long, and he says, is a master... I'm going to read it here, so don't get it wrong,
Blake, OK? What you hear on the other end of it, that's Blake. We're going to properly introduce you, though. Blake Long is a
Master of Theological Studies graduate from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. That's a mouthful. He's married to Shale, and they have two girls,
Jovi and Piper. They're members of Sovereign Grace Bible Church in... Is it Ada? We'll go
Ada, and OK's Oklahoma. Blake currently blogs at theologyandlife .com.
Obviously, we'll link that up for you guys when the podcast comes out, when you're listening to it right now. And he's the author. This is what we're going to be talking about today.
Author of Taking No For An Answer. It's all about prayer. It's Blake Long. How are you, sir?
I'm good. How are you doing? Good. Blake is my new friend. I've known him now for three and a half minutes before the podcast, but we're just going to get right into it, brother.
How about that? Sounds good. Cool. So for everyone and for me, since I've only known you for a short time, give us a little expanded bow.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you come from, maybe even a little bit of your testimony, if you want, and why you wrote the book about this type of subject.
Yeah. So, well, I was again, my name is Blake Long. I am only 28 years old, so I'm no expert on any of this stuff.
It's just something that was near and dear to my heart. But I was born and raised in Ada, Oklahoma.
It's a small town of about 18 ,000 people. It's a college town. So, you know, nine months throughout the year, it's about 22 ,000 people.
Like you said, I've been married to Shell for five years. We've been together for 10.
So it took me five years to pull the trigger. Two little kiddos, one's a three -year -old, the other's a year and a half, and they give us a run for our money.
But, you know, children are a blessing and we couldn't adore them more. Yeah, we go to Church Sovereign Grace Bible Church here in Ada.
We're Southern Baptists, but, you know, by the name, we're distinctly Reformed and we're not ashamed of it.
Been there for six years, so we're steady members there. She's a special ed teacher.
I work for a local nonprofit organization. And that's, you know, that's really trying to think if there's anything more interesting about my life at the moment.
I just bought a car, as you know, about an hour and a half ago. Let me just tell you,
I knew we were going to get along because you called me or you messaged me and said, hey, can we push back the time for this?
And I said, yeah, that's fine. Stuff happens. I, you know, I work in real estate with clients. Stuff comes up. So then when we when we got together here right before that, we started recording.
I said, so what were you doing? He goes, I was buying a car. And I'm like, oh, that sounds just like me. I'll look up and be like, I think I want to buy a car today.
What, I got two and a half hours. We can squeeze that in. And it always goes longer than what you think it's going to go. So congratulations on the car.
So we're talking about the book, the prayer. This is a big subject. This is a big, heavy, weighty subject.
And a lot of people don't and a lot of Christians don't want to touch it because, you know, we have a whole culture in evangelicalism.
OK, and I'm reformed Presbyterian as I and I'll steal this from Doug Wilson. When you say Presbyterian, I have to say, no, not lesbian,
Presbyterian, not those guys. OK, sorry if I'm making you blush, but reformed
Presbyterian. So when we look at the evangelical kind of whole, there's a lot of stuff about prayers that are skewed just theologically to, you know, just whatever you ask, the
Lord is going to give you. And then when God doesn't answer prayers, you have a whole word of faith movement that that says, well, you didn't have enough faith.
That's why you he didn't answer your prayer. You have the whole Bethel movement that says everyone should be healed.
God should answer every prayer about healing and physical and spiritual and mental healing.
So we got all these different ideas about what prayer is. Here you are, a young man with a young family, 28 years old.
And you go, I'm going to write a book about prayer. So what what made you write it about that subject?
Well, it started out a couple of years back. Well, gosh, I guess that was more than a couple.
But I wrote a blog post distinctively about how we respond when
God says no. So really exactly what the book is about. And it was about the story
I put in the introduction, the first the first one about our my wife's first pregnancy ended up as a blighted ovum.
And, you know, to us, I had absolutely no clue what that meant. I was prepared for a miscarriage.
That's still a form of miscarriage, technically speaking. But for those who don't know, it's simply when everything forms, but a baby is had never developed.
So there never was a child. So that we didn't have to mourn a child passing away.
We did mourn thinking we had a child in that respect. So it was one of those things where, you know, we we pulled into the medical center parking lot that morning.
You know, we got a parking spot and we prayed, you know, let this baby be healthy, all of this stuff.
But, you know, at the end of it, we were like, even even if something is wrong, because we're not naive, we know things can happen definitely with first pregnancies.
Even if something is wrong, you know, guide us through all that stuff. And looking back, you know,
I said, God told us no. Now, thankfully, we have two children. So he didn't say no outright.
You know, he just said not yet. But in the moment, it was a no and it was a hard no. And it's just something to get through.
And it just made me think about how we how we think about unanswered prayer. You know, we talk about unanswered prayer and it's really not unanswered.
All prayer is answered. It just depends on if we like the answer or not. Right. Yeah. No, that's that's so true.
And a lot of us get into the mindset of what we want is the right answer.
Right. And I and I think you approach us in the book a little bit, but talk a little bit about kind of the different ways that we view prayer in as much as we we view it as a, you know, a personal wish list to God.
Sometimes we view it as something that we have to do legalistically or ritually to appease
God. I mean, there's all these different thoughts about it. So you're coming from a place a few years ago of having this experience.
Was there something personal when you were in your prayer life or when you were in the word that you said,
I want to expand on this and and kind of explore this idea? Did you see something personally in your life that was either correct or incorrect?
Or what was the real besides that experience? What made you go? People need to really, you know, kind of explore this and chew on this.
It's kind of I can give you a great example, not for us, but we we had somebody in town.
She was thirty eight, thirty nine weeks pregnant and she was going to an OB appointment and somebody on the highway crossed over the middle lane head on collision.
She passed away a day later, but they were able to save the child. But it's stuff like that where you look back and there'll be a branch of evangelicalism that will say
God wasn't in that. Yeah, and that's just so it's not just discouraging, but it's dangerous.
And so I look at that and I talk a little bit about that and the sovereignty of God and the providence of God in the book.
And I try to do it in an encouraging way. And then you also bring up, you know, kind of what you talked about, which I don't really touch in the book, you know, now that I think of it.
But the word of faith stuff, you know, the Kenneth Copeland's and the Benny Hens and all this stuff and treating prayer with God as a transaction rather than just a conversation.
You know, we hear from God and his word and we respond back via prayer. But it's it's so much less about what we can get from God rather than we have
God. Let's be content with whatever he throws our way, whether it's dying in a car crash, unfortunately, or, you know, having a blighted ovum or as, you know,
I can't think of the word. Yeah. As nonimportant as like a job promotion or something like that.
Right. Well, you know, tell me what you think about this. And I've been saying this for years and years.
I think everyone, every just about every Christian I know gives lip service to the sovereignty of God.
Right. Very few of them truly believe in the sovereignty of God until there's an issue, until there's a problem, until they go through something, some type of valley.
Right. The old joke that everyone's a Calvinist as soon as someone dies. Right. Well, it was God's plan was
God's will. It was right. This is what we take solace in. And Charles Spurgeon famously famously said, you know, the sovereignty of God is the soft pillow upon which
I lay my head in times of trouble. Right. So if if Christians and when
I say Christians, a very broad term, believe me, we're talking at length on this podcast about what the word evangelical or Christian even means anymore, because some, you know, 62 percent of people who self -identifies
Christians don't believe that Christ had deity. So that's crazy right there. Right. So when
I'm talking, talking broadly about the Western Church, we we have some real issues with with the sovereignty of God in day to day life or in smaller things that we don't necessarily agree with.
But why wouldn't God give me that job promotion? I was going to glorify him in that. That helps me provide for my family.
Why wouldn't he heal me quicker from this affirmity that would allow me to do these things?
Right. And we we we sometimes then because we're not rightly aligned with what the sovereignty of God is, then sometimes we even blame prayer for that or we just don't pray at all.
I've seen it both ways. And I've even seen it in the reformed community, too, to where they start moving towards almost a nihilist.
Right. Like, well, whatever God's going to do, whatever he needs to do anyway. So, you know, why even pray?
It's going to happen. It is, you know, what will be will be. So what's the from your perspective, someone who wrote a book on prayer?
What is what is the importance of prayer? Then if God's sovereign overall and it's already going to happen and we know that he holds everything in the palm of his hand.
Well, for for you, what's the biblical reasons why someone should pray if you're speaking to another young person?
Well, there's really two huge reasons. Number one is you're communing with the sovereign lord of the universe who by his sheer mercy and grace is also your heavenly father.
So it's just communing with the Lord and experiencing that. But it's also and this is the major thing
I try to get to at the end of the book is our sanctification definitely through unanswered prayer. Prayer is not just something, you know, we talk to the
God about. And it's transactional. And, you know, we only come to him when times are hard.
We don't talk to him when times are easy and stuff like that, which is so easy to do even as Christians. Yeah. Well, we have to understand is unanswered prayer specifically is one of the biggest avenues of our sanctification.
How hard it may be, I don't really know for the specific person, but that's one of the biggest ways he molds us more into the image of a sign is by prayer.
Yeah. No, that's absolutely right. And then to then. So you're talking about unanswered prayers.
What do you do with someone who comes to you and says, well, what about John 15, seven? If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it'll be done for you, because I get this a lot.
First of all, I think that verse is taken out of context many times. And anytime we have some type of skewed idea of who
God is, it is because the hermeneutic is bad. Right. And that person is taking it out of context.
But we have a whole population of Christians that think that if they just earnestly ask for it in prayer,
God should grant it. Where should we where should we I have some ideas where we would take them. But I would think like, where do you think we should take them in scripture?
What should that response be? Because I see that coming up in a lot of the younger generation, too. That's being affected by the
Bethel's and the word of faith and things like that. Well, to be honest with you, I can't think of a verse off the top of my head.
But I just I just go back to the fact that, number one, you talked about the context and the context is always as our relationship as a son to our heavenly father.
So that's the context. And then secondly, is he's not he's never talking about what we just want.
He's talking about our needs. Yeah, I think the same one is with Psalm 37, four, which I talk about in the book when
Oprah just obliterates the point of that passage. Remind us about that.
What did she what she misconstrued? Because she's been misconstruing Christianity or she has.
So she was on the late show with Stephen Colbert a long time ago, and they talk about their favorite verses.
And she brought up Psalm 37, four, which is basically saying that God will grant the desires of our hearts or something along those lines.
And so she, you know, construed it around to say, basically, if I am actively pursuing goodness, pursuing joy, pursuing patience and peace, then all of those things and all those desires of my own heart will come to me.
He leaves God ultimately out of the equation. Yeah. And totally misses the point that it's not it's not that at all.
It is if you pursue the Lord, he will give you basically your desires will align with his and he'll give you those those desires.
Right. Yeah, because it's very interesting, too, that when when people come to me and they say, well, I asked for this thing and I didn't get it.
And God isn't listening to me. And I just say, well, how did Jesus teach us to pray? Right.
It's right in the second line. Our father, who art in heaven, holy, hallowed be thy name.
Your will be done. Yep. So the very first thing we are taught to pray is not our will, but his will.
And just like you said, once the sanctification process, hopefully, as you know, it's a lifelong process.
We never we never arrive until we're in glory, so to speak. Hopefully our will aligns with his will.
So it's kind of this weird thing I've always said with Christianity, too. And with Christ is we always want to think we have all these free will choices.
And it's like, well, even if you're not Calvinistic in your theology, maybe you're a minion, it's still guess what?
He's still getting it in the end because he goes, it's not your will. It's my will, because you're a slave to me now. You're a slave to Christ.
And now I've put a new will in you. So when you when you want something or need something or ask for something, you should be doing it because it's what
I want or need for you. So it's this it's this very peculiar thing where we still think.
And look, we're not going to negate the very many verses. This is God will give you the desires of your heart. And I think there's a dichotomy there that we can talk about, right?
That he is a good father, that he does see desires in our hearts, that he will give us things for our own pleasure and because he loves us.
But let's not get too far on the side of that and go. We get to go to the sugar daddy in the sky and ask him for anything he wants.
But but the but the point I was trying to make was it's ultimately his will.
And that is such a such a more peaceful prayer for me.
When I come to the Lord in prayer and say, Lord, your will be done over this situation.
If it's taken from me, given to me, if it's changed, whatever it is, even if it's a situation or whatever, whatever situation it is, your will be done in that situation and knowing and resting, like we were talking about earlier in the sovereignty of God, truly understanding how sovereignty and providence work together for his glory.
You can rest in that. I mean, you probably had to rest in that in your situation with with the first pregnancy, correct?
Yes, for sure. It was. Yeah. Yeah. Is when you're is when your theology becomes practical and then you really decide whether or not you believe that or not.
And that's kind of I devote a section of the whole whole thing of that in the book.
I think it's the one over thankfulness. But that's kind of what it comes down to, whether it's with contentment, repentance, trust, whatever it is, if we're believing firmly in the sovereignty and providence of God, then unanswered prayer, though it's still that doesn't mean it's going to be hard.
It just means it's going to be bearable. Yeah, no, absolutely. And it's always kind of perplexed me.
Like, how can you get through this Christian life without truly understanding and believing that God is sovereign overall?
Sometimes I look to my brothers and sisters that don't have that theology or that have this kind of skewed image of God, that they're kind of I don't know, they're they're they're kind of driving the train.
Right. There was a popular bumper sticker even before I was born. So it's old, man. It's like 70s and 80s became very popular.
And so God is my copilot. Oh, yeah. Everyone had a match growing up. I remember being a little kid driving.
What? And you go, wait a minute. Just just just think of that theology.
Just a little bumper sticker bumper sticker saying God is my copilot. I'm the one in charge.
Is this chair to help out in case, you know, there's an emergency? I forget to flip a switch or we're heading into a, you know, cliff.
Right. And it's like, oh, my gosh, we have a whole generation of now adults that grew up with that.
Now, heck, now great grandparents that absolutely think God is their copilot in life.
But in fact, not only see the pilot, he's the author and finisher of our faith and everything in between.
Right. So I've always said, boy, isn't that a sad place to be when you have to run to a
God and pray to God to where you're not entirely sure of his true sovereign sovereignty overall?
That's just a horrible place to be in times of trouble, I would say. I will say maybe just to give people the benefit of the doubt.
I feel like I don't know if you watch football at all or at least saw the news because I know it was everywhere. But the the guy with the
NFL, the NFL player, DeMar Hamlin, who sure cardiac arrest in the field. Yeah, I was watching that live.
That was scary. Everybody in the whole universe became a Christian for the next week because nobody had a problem with praying.
And so, though there are you know, we have the gods, my copilot. We have all of this stuff. I'm just like, yeah, that's awful.
That's awful theology. But I do think that when times like that happen, I think people instinctively believe in the sovereignty of God.
I think people instinctively kind of become quasi Calvinist for a little bit. Yeah, that's what I was saying earlier.
It's it's in times of trouble where we go, well, he has a plan. He's sovereign over. That's good. And I'm glad we can realize that.
But what I would like to say, like to see. And I think, you know, even when you have a book about prayer like you do to where those things that that aren't affecting us on such an emotional or physical level so deeply.
Right. That we understand that God is sovereign over those as well. I have seen people just lose themselves over not getting a promotion or a job that they wanted or not being able to go on a trip that they had planned.
And it's like they are so upset and so fraught. And you go, well, God is sovereign over your three day cruise, just like he's sovereign over the death of your grandmother.
And I know that seems weird to say, but it's not because it's practical because like just last year, we my wife and I booked a cruise just for us, for our anniversary.
There you go. It's like three or four day cruise. And we planned and everything and then realized that we had my work.
We had an event happening. So we were like, well, I really need to be there for that.
Or wasn't even the same day. I would have gotten back the night before, which that would have been rehearsal. So I'm like going,
I don't really need to be on a cruise right now. So we canceled it. We still had a good, good anniversary date.
But but then at the end, the thing went virtual anyways. So so my wife was like, you're going to get me a cruise.
Right. It's just stuff like that. Like, I mean, neither of us really sweated it at all. It wasn't a big deal, but it's just stuff like that where there's legitimately people that would.
Yeah. And look, we're not I'm not making this an entire episode just to kind of dog and rag on other believers that don't believe exactly the same way
I do or we do. I'm just saying I do it out of a place of I want you to understand and experience the fullness of the peace that surpasses all understanding.
I truly I truly believe that's what that verse is talking about. When when you almost become, you know, to your nonbelieving friends, you go, oh, no, it's it's good.
You know, I have Christ. It's going to be OK. And they're like, what? Things are falling down around you.
And you're like, yeah, yeah, no, I'm not oblivious to the fact that there's things and look at it might hurt emotionally or physically or whatever
I'm going through. But ultimately, I have Christ and I've had those moments in my life and pretty big ones, too.
But let's shift gears here a little bit, because we have we have people that are your age, younger, older, that listen to the podcast.
And I would say for someone like you starting out, you got a new family. You started with kids right around the same age
I did. Mine are a little bit older than yours now. But I remember that time was just so hectic for me, especially when when they learned to walk and they can get into everything.
They're one, two, three, four years old. You're chasing them around, right? They're wanting, you know, floor time and all that.
How do you at 28 also go, oh, I'm also going to write a book that we should mention will be out,
I think, very soon. And you guys start. We're pre recording this. But when it drops, I think we'll be five or six days away from the release date, which is
February 1st, correct? Yes, that's correct. So you're hearing it here first on Deadman Walking podcast for this book.
How do you find time? Was it difficult to sit down and actually write a book? And what was the how long was the process?
Six months, a year, five years. But tell us a little bit about the logistics of that. I feel it's a good it's a good question.
It's not something I think about while I do it. It probably from from being into my head until the manuscript being officially done, it was probably a year and a half.
Now, how do I get it done? She can probably hear me in her in our room. But my wife was very sacrificial.
I know with the first book I wrote, Gospel Smugness, you can get on Amazon. I'm sorry.
What is it called? Gospel Gospel Smugness. It's about how we display Christlike character and evangelism.
OK, I struggled immensely with making sure that I didn't take time away from the more important things in life, like my wife and my family writing that.
So with this one, I try to make sure I still failed in areas, but I try to make sure
I was writing. I was by myself at home or at lunch or whatever, or most of the time
I would be writing after everybody else was in bed. And so a lot of it was staying up until 11 o 'clock or 1030, even though that's not that late to some people.
It's late to me who gets up at 530. That's why my brain starts working. So no, I'm a night person.
It's late for me. It's just finding the time to do it. And there are definitely moments of frustration.
I probably took two or three months off just because there's frustration. And then you have to work through book proposals.
Obviously, none of those worked out. But so, yeah, I just above all else, if you're passionate about what you're writing, you just got to be committed to finding time to write.
Sure. So do you. So this is your second book, then. You probably should have said that at the top of the show.
I didn't ask that. I was assuming this was your first. This is your second book.
OK, so you said you work for a nonprofit. Is this something is writing something you see hopefully doing full time or is this just a hobby?
It's a hobby. I can't imagine ever, you know, having enough sales with my book writing, at least for it to be full time.
I'd love to write for my on my blog full time. And that'd be my job.
But that's I got I got three people who support me on Patreon. That's it. So we're going to have to get way up.
That happens, but I would I would totally do that. That would be a talk about desire, desires of our own hearts.
I would love to be able to just write full time. Well, put your Patreon limit at one hundred thousand dollars.
Right. And then you just need like three or four people. There you go. You know, it's an it's a you don't need a lot of people.
Just, you know, just a few that don't really support. No, I get it. But, you know,
I would say I would just encourage you, because like I said, I got about halfway through it, about 40 percent of the way through it.
I'm going to pick up the rest of it today and tomorrow. But it was it was very encouraging.
I think it was very well put together. And look, I know, you know, I'm no expert. We just had
Phil Johnson on from, you know, John McArthur's Phil Johnson just two days ago.
That should be if they're listening to this, I think they've already heard that. And he's
I mean, he's edited hundreds of books. So I'm no, no Phil Johnson, right, about anything. But I've read a lot of books.
There's some books I get a chapter to it and I go, I can't take any more of this. I'm going to pull my hair out. Yeah, it wasn't one of those.
So as a as a young man writing books, I would encourage you if it's something that glorifies
God and you seem to be pretty good at it, keep doing it, man. Money, like you said, if it's a passion, too, who cares if you're getting paid for it?
I've been doing this for two and a half years, never wanted any money for it. And now I can't. People are coming out of the woodwork going, hey, you got the numbers.
We want to pay for, you know, subscriptions and this and that. And I never look at that wasn't the goal.
If the Lord, you know, it isn't. I love talking to interesting people about God. And normally they're much smarter than me.
So it's it's awesome. You know, when you're sitting across from a Doug Wilson or James White or Jeff Durbin or, you know, any of these
Phil Johnson, any of these guys, you let them talk because you can learn a few things. So be encouraged.
I would say keep writing. So give us a little more as we wrap this up. Give us a little more information about when it's coming out, where people can get it.
I'll make sure I link everything up to it. But if they if they want to read this book.
Yeah. So the book, it's called Taking No for an Answer, how to respond when God says no to our prayers.
It comes out on February 1st. And it's really so, you know, full disclosure is it's self -published.
Publishing it for my own blog, Theology and Life comes out on February 1st.
It's going to be, I think, 1495. So it's not that expensive. I think
I know you if people want to, they can purchase it directly through me. It takes a little longer to get to you, but you can still do it probably for a discount.
Eventually, it'll probably go to Barnes and Nobles, because I think the Amazon distribution thing does that as well.
Sure. Those are the only places you'll be able to get it. But yeah. Cool. Well, I'll make sure when we get offline here, we'll we'll make sure we get all the correct links and everything for you.
And we'll link it up so people can take a look at it. I know it's going to be coming out a few days before it launches.
So if you had the final word today, what if you have someone listening right now that says, what do
I need to know about prayer? And and what, you know, maybe something you covered in the book, what's a few sentences you'd give someone to sum up kind of the most important things about prayer or what it's for, why we need it or how we should rightly view it?
I think the most important thing I want people to come away with in this book, for example, is kind of like what
I said earlier is it's part of our sanctification. Whether really, whether he answers our prayers or whether he doesn't answer our prayer, it's still to make us more like his son.
And that's the end goal at the end of the day is we want to be more like Jesus. So whether, you know, he didn't answer your prayer, and that means you got some repenting to do or you need to learn how to be more content or, yeah, you know, you need to trust him more.
Whatever the situation is, we need to make sure that we're trying to be in his will, not our own will, because it's very easy to be in our own way and not even realize it.
So we need to be very cognizant of if for deceiving ourselves in that fact, because it's very easy to do so.
Just remaining in the will of God and understanding that this is all part of our sanctification.
I love it. Part of our sanctification. Amen. Truer words could be spoken. Blake, thank you so much for stopping by, sitting down, talking to us on the
Dead Man Walking podcast. Yeah. Anytime you come on, anytime you got something new coming out or if you're working on a new book or you want to work through something, you're always welcome back.
But thanks for coming by. Yeah, appreciate it, man. Hey, guys, thanks so much for listening to another episode of Dead Man Walking podcast.
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