I Am Ready

Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Since he would not be persuaded, we said no more except, “The Lord’s will be done.”  (Acts 21)

Commitment is an odd concept for many of us.  On the one hand, we believe that it is a good thing to be committed and loyal, a person that can be counted on and trusted.  Yet, when it comes time to actually do the committing, we balk.  It could be that we are afraid of committing to the wrong thing. Or perhaps we just value our freedom so highly, that we don’t want to be held back in any way.

This attitude towards commitment has had a devastating effect on many of the institutions that we once held dear. From civic groups and social clubs to sports teams and even marriages, our communities are struggling to find people willing to commit. Trying to plan a get-together for a group of friends can be an exercise in frustration, as people neglect to RSVP and even if they do, they may or may not show up!

Sadly, this tendency has infected the church as well. Research shows that even “regular” church-goers are attending less frequently than in the past. Those who do attend are not as likely to volunteer to help, and when they do it is a short term of service. Please, understand that this is not an indictment, but an honest look at where we are as a people and as a church. I think that this is something that warrants some close attention and self-examination.

I am so grateful that we live in a country where our rights to worship God according to our conscience and the dictates of our religion are protected. However, because our faith is “safe,” we lack the clarifying urgency that believers in other countries and cultures possess.  We can afford to be less attentive to matters of faith and observance because the stakes do not feel as high. We do not have to fear physical harm or criminal/political repercussions. 

However, there IS danger involved when we allow our spiritual lives to take a back-burner.  When we fail to set aside time for daily prayer and worship, our spiritual growth is stunted.  When we do not study the Word in the context of community, we run the risk of mis-interpreting what God is saying, or simply read our own biases into Scripture. When we fail to gather with other believers, we cannot be encouraged and supported and miss out on opportunities to be the encourager! 

Someday, when we stand before our Creator, we will have to give an account for our stewardship of the spiritual gifts that he places within each of us.  The book of Revelation makes clear of the terrible consequence of “luke-warm” commitment. I pray that none of us suffer that fate!

When faced with the prospect of imprisonment, suffering and even death, Paul was unwavering. He had seen the risen Lord.  He had witnessed signs, miracles, and wonders. When others tried to dissuade him from preaching the gospel, Paul was relentless because he knew the importance of the Great Commission and he knew his role in it.  We need that kind of clarity and commitment today!

What is your role in the community of believers?  Do you have one? What spiritual gifts do you possess and how are you exercising them? Have you allowed worldly distractions to take your focus off of Christ and his church? When you are faced with adversity, are you able to say, as Paul did, “I am ready?”

PRAYER: Father, thank you that we live in a context where we are not persecuted for our faith, and we are able to worship you without fear. Help us to fix our eyes on you, on what is truly important. Help us to discipline ourselves, to embrace commitment rather than run from it. We desire to be a part of what you are doing…in our families, in our communities, in our nation, and in the world.  In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen!

“Peace Be Still”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.  (Mark 4:39, NLT)

“Peace Be Still” (by The Belonging Co)

I don’t want to be afraid
Every time I face the waves
I don’t want to be afraid
I don’t want to be afraid
I don’t want to fear the storm
Just because I hear it roar
I don’t want to fear the storm
I don’t want to fear the storm

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea
Till I’m dancing in the deep
Oh, peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see
I will trust the voice that speaks

I’m not gonna be afraid
‘Cause these waves are only waves
Oh, I’m not gonna be afraid
I’m not gonna be afraid
I’m not gonna fear the storm
You are greater than its roar
I’m not gonna fear the storm
Oh, I’m not gonna fear at all

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea
Till I’m dancing in the deep
Oh, peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see
I will trust the voice that speaks

Peace, peace
Over me

Let faith rise up
Oh heart, believe
Let faith rise up in me

 

Are you feeling lost?  Are you facing a storm, and you just don’t have the strength to stand against the waves?  Are you hurting or worried or afraid?

I speak Peace today…over YOU…your heart, your mind, your circumstance, your worries, your hurts, your grief…all of it.  May the peace of God wash over every part of your life.  May it bolster you when you are weak.  May it soften and open your wounded, sequestered heart.  May it find you in your darkest hour and be a light when you are lost.  May it be a reminder of the greatness of our God, rebuilding your crumbled faith and giving you all of the strength you need to stand and say, “Peace be still!  You are here, so it is well!”

Let me tell you a little something about Jesus:  He’s bigger, He’s greater, He’s stronger, and He did not shed His blood in vain.  He came to Earth so that He could reach out to us in a very personal and experiential way.  He stepped out into the masses and got his hands dirty, reaching out to touch the lowliest of all, a direct response to His great love and compassion for humanity.  He was fully man so that He could have complete empathy for us, yet He was (and is…and forever will be) fully God so that He could be a direct line of supernatural power from God the Father to us.  He came to heal, restore, and break us free from the prison of sin…and through His death and resurrection it was all completed and accomplished.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. 

(Isaiah 53: 4-5, ESV)

So let your faith rise up from the ashes, and let your heart truly and fiercely believe that He has taken it ALL and is using every moment, every circumstance, everything that seems wrong, and everything that feels too big, to perfect His work in you.  In the midst of what feels like a storm, just trust Him, and speak His peace over your heart today.

These waves are only waves.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for Your peace.  I am confident, strong, and full of faith because of Your peace.  Amen. 

“Fear Not”

(Psalm 147: 1-5, NLT) 

Praise the Lord!

 

How good to sing praises to our God!
    How delightful and how fitting!
The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem
    and bringing the exiles back to Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
    and calls them all by name.
How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
    His understanding is beyond comprehension!

 

I kept trying to write last night before bed, and I knew I wanted to use this passage, but I just couldn’t get any thoughts together, so I decided to get some sleep and revisit it all in the morning.  Then this morning I wake up to a newsfeed full of reports of yet another tragic, seemingly random, shooting of innocent people…this time on the streets of Las Vegas.  I don’t usually comment on current events, nor do I make it a habit of using the tragedies and horrors that are happening in our world right now as a writing prompt.  Normally I just keep my thoughts to myself and I pray.  I ask God for protection for my family, for peace in the midst of so much hatred and violence, and for His name to be glorified and magnified despite it all.

But today…

In the face of even more death and violence, I want to be of encouragement to you all…because we so quickly go into fear mode.  We begin to wonder, “Am I next?”  We rush out to get guns and permits to carry them (I’m talking to myself on that one), we worry about End Times, and we begin to see our brothers and sisters – our fellow Americans – as potential threats.  Essentially, we allow Satan to have a stronghold on our minds and hearts – we give him exactly what he wants…which is for us to be afraid.

So what I want to say this morning is:  remember who God is.  When we stare evil in the face, remember that our God – Creator, Redeemer, Healer, Deliverer, Soon and Coming King, Alpha, Omega, Lord of Everything – He is bringing back the exiles!  Sometimes it takes heartache and complete brokenness to catapult change and restoration…like a dilapidated, condemned building that has to be torn down completely before it can be rebuilt, or until something new can be constructed in its place.

Don’t ever forget, all of the hurting hearts will be healed, and all of the brokenness will be mended…because our God is making all things new!  It has been promised – a promise of victory!

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!”  (Revelation 21: 3-5, NLT)

There is no denying that every day things are getting worse.  We may not know the minute or the hour that He is coming back for us, but we should have enough wisdom to realize that such a time is drawing very near…but we don’t have to worry or fret when things like this happen.  No!  Though we experience heartache, we can’t allow that to take us to a negative place.  Instead, we have to buckle down and prepare to work harder – reaching out, in love, to a world that truly is lost and dying.

 33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)

So, as for me, I’m going to continue to say, “Praise the Lord!”  All of my days, I’m going to praise Him.  I’ll hand Him my sorrows, because I know He can (and will) turn them into great victories that bring joy unspeakable to my heart.  I’ll trust Him – no matter what – because I’d rather have hope than fear!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I lift up the victims of all of the violence in our country and in our world today.  Specifically, I pray for those hurt and killed today in Las Vegas.  I ask that You send armies of Your people – people who are full of Your love – to reach out and encourage these families as they deal with the trauma and grief in the aftermath of this tragedy.  I pray that Your healing hand would be upon each of them today and in the weeks to come, and may it all be for Your glory and for Your Kingdom.  May we not fear.  May we not give up.  Rather, I pray that Your children are encouraged, strengthened, and upheld in Your hands.  Amen. 

Where Are You Taking Me?

Mark 8:22-25-  And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to Him a blind man and begged Him to touch him. And He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when He had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees walking.” Then Jesus laid His hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

 
When I was a child, one of my favorite places to play was our attic. It was fairly large, very well-organized, and the perfect little hideaway for a gal that liked to dream and imagine. I had a few lamps plugged in up there, a recliner we no longer used, and all my favorite books and journals. It was my favorite place…

Until that night.

I was making my way to the back of the attic… during a storm. I wanted to get all cozy up there and read a little while listening to the rain hit our roof. I was even allowing my little brother and sister to join me. Just as I reached the back, BANG! Lightning hit somewhere not too far away and all the power went off in the house… including my little plugged-in lamps. With no windows and the darkness that loomed about outside, everything went black. I blindly reached for my siblings and led them as best I could out of the attic. We made it out after what seemed like forever, and the fear that had been hot on my trail finally grabbed me. The thought of being alone in that attic in the pitch black sent shivers down my spine. Never again. I decided to try out the front porch from that day forward…

I’m now 28 years old… but I’m not afraid to say that I still don’t like walking around in the dark. I’m still frightened at the possibility of someone… something lurking around a corner that I can’t see. (Talk about a legit case of the heebee-jeebees.) Unless something extremely important demands I do it, I just don’t. Simple. There’s not an overabundance of scenarios that are more unsettling to me.

I can only begin to imagine how this blind man felt in Mark 8. Scripture says some people brought him to Jesus, but I’m sure it was people he knew; people he was comfortable with. How was he feeling, though, when this Man he’d never met takes him by the hand and leads him away from the people, sounds, and streets that were familiar? Living with no vision offered little sense of security, and that all lied within the walls he had always known. Where was he headed now?

Do you ever feel like that blind man? You know Jesus; Who He is and what He’s capable of… but does He ever lead you on these journeys that take you far away from your comfort zone? Of course He does! While I can guarantee that it is never His intention to scare us, I can just as accurately promise that He doesn’t want us to stay in the same place for the rest of our lives. He longs to take us by the hand and lead us out away from the voices that echo all around us; from the walls that have long surrounded and held us captive; from the place that over time convinced us it was okay to live with whatever ailed us.

Jesus, however, knows much better! He longs to give us our vision back completely! That blind man was used to seeing nothing but utter darkness. The first time Jesus touched him provided a better way of living, no doubt. He could make out shapes and sizes and movement. (“I see people, but they look like trees walking.”)  But that wasn’t enough. He spent just a little more time with Jesus and his sight was fully restored! (Then Jesus laid His hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.)

The more time we spend with Jesus the more we’ll learn to trust Him. The more we trust Him, the clearer our “vision” will become. When He grabs our hand and starts directing us down some unknown path, we won’t hesitate to move our feet. We’ll see over and over again how He can offer us restoration like nothing else ever could.

Don’t live with your “blindness.” Don’t settle for groping around in the darkness, relying on the walls you’ve gotten used to. Make your way to the Savior and follow Him wherever He leads you. There’s always a blessing waiting!

 

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for opening my eyes to Your truth. But, God, I know there’s still so much more for me to learn. I long to grow in You, and I understand that in order to know You better, I must follow wherever You lead. Help me trust You more and more. In Your precious name, I pray. Amen.

 

But…what if?

(Psalm 56: 8-11) 8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? 9 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?


FEAR


When I was in the second grade, I checked out a book from the school library called Scary Stories to tell in the Dark.  I knew it was a bad idea but I did it anyway.  I had seen it at the book fair and was not allowed to purchase it, so I thought I would just sneak and check it out.  My curious nature got best of me.  That night, I curled up in my bed with a flashlight and the book and I read the entire thing.  As you can probably guess, I couldn’t get to sleep.  I had entertained fear and now every noise and every movement, to me, was a ghost or demon.  I was too afraid to move, paralyzed by my own imagination, and eventually I had to call out to my dad to come and “help” me.  We both lost sleep that night, and I got into a lot of trouble! 

Isn’t that how it is with us, even as adults?  We allow fear to inhabit our thoughts and it takes up residence there until we eventually have to call out to “dad” (Father God) to come to the rescue.  How often do you greet and entertain your fears?  The truth of the matter is, no matter your age, fear can rule your thoughts and greatly affect your choices when you give place to it.  And that fear, it’s like a stray cat…feed it, and it will stick around until it becomes your pet. 

A wise old Jedi named Yoda once said (yep, I’m using Star Wars reference), “Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”  Maybe you’re afraid of people…people who are a different race, who are foreign, who practice a different religion, people who have been in jail, people who have threatened you, or even people that you just don’t know.  But are we not called to love?  1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 

Fear=Anger=Hate=Suffering 

Maybe you’re afraid of every “what if” and “worst case scenario” that pops into your mind.  Whatever your big fear may be, that thing that festers in your thoughts every single day, you have authority in Christ to banish that thought like the stray cat that it is.  “For though we walk in flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”  (2 Corinthians 10:3-4) 

It all comes down to choice.  You can choose to focus on fear and allow it to grow and thrive, or you can follow the advice that Paul gives us in Philippians 4:8 when he says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” 


PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, Thank you for the wisdom of your word and the ability to understand it and apply it to the real situations in my life.  I’m so grateful that in YOU I have power over fear today and every day. Amen

“I’m no longer a slave to fear…”

(Psalm 55: 4-7)

My heart pounds in my chest.

    The terror of death assaults me.

Fear and trembling overwhelm me,

    and I can’t stop shaking.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove;

    then I would fly away and rest!

I would fly far away

    to the quiet of the wilderness.

I began having panic attacks when I was a teenager.  Certain fears would sweep over me and quicken my breath, tears pouring down my face in a never-ending deluge — the sobs taking over my breathing patterns and forcing me into hyperventilation.  I would literally think, “This is it.  I am going to die.”  There aren’t adequate words to describe the terror that accompanies a panic attack, but it is crippling and overwhelming.  In that moment, the only thing you can focus on is the fear that if you don’t die, you are very well going to lose your mind.  Like a cornered deer, you lose your composure, because all you want is to escape to safety and to be at peace.

Fear is contrary to everything that we stand for as Christians (peace, hope, joy, and the greatest of all things — love).  Fear is our enemy’s greatest weapon, for when all other attempts to destroy and cripple us fail, fear is the one thing that seeps in through the cracks, seemingly unnoticed, and fills in the spaces left behind by our questions and doubts.  Fear is not the vulnerability of the weak.  It is not an indication of an immature and feeble spirit.  It is the weapon that the devil breaks out when all else fails against the tenacious and relentless ones — those of us who have wrestled and won the battles with most other vices. 

Fear is probably the greatest weapon in our enemy’s possession, because it doesn’t have just one face.  It can emerge in just about any situation, and it looks different depending on what circumstance is at hand.  Maybe it looks like a mother who thinks in “worst case scenario” at all times, operating in fear that rides in on the coattails of caution.  Maybe it looks like a loner who regularly cancels plans and shuts people out, who is held back by fear that is disguised as introversion.  It parades around behind the mask of complacency, and other times fear even hides inside our sins and failures. 

If you struggle with fear, please don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking that your worries and anxieties are just a part of who you are and how you are meant to live your life.  Because of the blood of Christ, we are given power over our enemy.  We are joint heirs with Jesus, which means that we share in His power and might.  We have access to all that God has to offer, and victory is but a breath away. 

But I will call on God,

    and the Lord will rescue me.

Morning, noon, and night

    I cry out in my distress,

    and the Lord hears my voice.

  He ransoms me and keeps me safe

    from the battle waged against me…

(Psalm 55: 16-18)

My victory today is that I no longer suffer from panic attacks.  I asked the Lord to stop them, because they were holding me back from living my life — from operating in obedience to Him.  Do I still battle my fears and anxiety?  Every day.  But…I haven’t had a panic attack in over four years.  That’s my triumph. Fear is no longer navigating this ship.  I am no longer a slave.  I claim my victory, for I am a child of God.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me the ability to see beyond the disguises that fear hides behind.  I know that I am safe with You, no matter what may happen — that in every battle, You are with me.  Amen.

Silenced By Fear

(Mark 16:1-8 ESV) 1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

I like to get up early. There’s nothing quite so beautiful as a sunrise on a clear morning. Frequently, I’m outside walking the dog as the sun peaks over the horizon. The birds are singing; the quietness of the morning is soothing and peaceful. It’s one of my favorite times of the day.

I also love morning because it’s a time to reflect. I don’t like to jump up out of the bed and feel rushed; the anxiety of the morning rush puts me in a bad mood for the remainder of the day. Just give me my coffee, the sunrise, some quietness, the friendship of my dog, and I’m good to go!

I’ve often wondered about the happenings at the tomb on resurrection morning. The picture painted in Mark 16 is one of stark contrasts. The women walked together to perform the task of anointing the body of Jesus. Just after sunrise, they begin to ask about who might be available to help roll the stone away so they could access the body for the ritual anointing. And then, when the sun had risen…

The conversation with the angel was enlightening. No, it was more than that. It was transformational. In that short conversation they learned of the fulfillment of centuries of prophecy. They recalled the words of Jesus. After all, He had been telling them to expect this. He was not dead; rather, He was alive. And the angel ended his instruction by reminding them, “…just as He told you.”

But, what happened next was unexpected. “They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” I’m not being critical. I may have reacted in the same manner. But, it still strikes me as an unusual response to the greatest news they could have received. He WAS alive! He had risen just as He said. Could there be better news? I think not! But, instead of telling everyone–instead of running, and screaming, and shouting–they said nothing… to anyone. Why? Because of fear.

As I read this account today, I was reminded of the many times that I have allowed fear to prevent me from experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings. I’ve missed opportunities to talk to individuals about Christ because of fear. Fear is a great silencer. It is the killjoy of the party. It stifles instead of liberating the soul.

Today is a new day. God has provided each of us with a new supply of mercy. We have much to be grateful for. His blessings are abundant. I want to encourage you to celebrate life today. Don’t let fear hold you back. Enjoy the sunrise. Enjoy the Lord!

PRAYER: Realizing that this is the day You have made, I will choose to rejoice and be glad in it. Help me to put fear aside and live life to the full knowing that You are with me. Let me boldly declare the Good News of Your resurrection! Amen.

Fear? Frustration? How ‘Bout Some Favor!

Scriptures references used from Psalm 31 (NLT)

Psalm 31 reflects on three distinct experiences in the life of the Psalmist during a difficult season of life. Scholars believe that this season could represent one of two serious events that took place in David’s life. The first event revolved around the attack upon David’s life by the men of Keilah. More scholars believe that it describes the aftermath of Absalom’s rebellion, and attempt to overthrow David’s kingdom. Either way, the emotions, and the victory are very real, and very clear.

So, what is recorded here for our our benefit?

First, is the description of FEAR. Notice all of the descriptive words used by the writer:

Verse 1: Disgrace, Protection, Save Me.
Verse 2: Rescue, Safe
Verse 3: Danger
Verse 4: Trap
Verse 7: Troubles
Verse 9: Distress, Tears

Do we fear the future? If so, why do we fear it? Sometimes it is because we lose sight of the “big picture.”

I read this week that the smallest coin held in the right position is able to block the light of the sun. Is it not true then, that the smallest circumstance if held too closely can block the eyes of faith from seeing the solution to our problem.

Second, The Psalmist paints a picture of FRUSTRATION. Notice the following observations:

Verse 9: I am in distress, Tears blur my eyes, Withering away
Verse 10: Dying from grief, My years are shortened by sadness, Drained my strength, I am wasting away.
Verse 11: I am scorned, I am despised, My friends run the other way!
Verse 12: I am ignored as if I were dead.
Verse 13: I have heard the rumors. Conspiring against me.

David’s frustration was so real and intense that it actually affected his physical and mental health. It carried the potential to completely undo every good thing in his life!

Without chasing rabbits, let me suggest that this mindset can wear on and unravel anyone! Elijah’s frustrations sent him into seclusion after one of the greatest victories in his ministry! He almost died from a nervous breakdown while hiding in a cave!

We must not allow frustration to steal our victory. We must employ every tool provided by the Holy Spirit to defeat this enemy of frustration!

Finally, the Psalmist provides a beautiful picture of God’s FAVOR! We must learn to declare victory even while still fighting the battle!

Verse 1: Lord, I have come to you for protection.
Verse 2: Rescue me quickly! Be my rock where I will be safe!
Verse 3: You are my rock!
Verse 4: I find protection in you!
Verse 5: I entrust my spirit into your hand!
Verse 6: You are a faithful God!
Verse 7: I will rejoice and be glad!
Verse 8: You have set me in a safe place!
Verse 15: My future is in your hands!
Verse 16: Let your FAVOR shine on your servant!
Verse 19: You lavish your goodness on those who come to you! Blessing them before the watching world!
Verse 20: You hide them; You shelter them!
Verse 21 He has shown me the wonders of His unfailing love!

God’s FAVOR is one of the great promises of Scripture to the Believer. We can expect it; not because we deserve it, but because His grace and mercy provide it.

This revelation can be revolutionary! It will change our destiny if we will reach for it and grasp it in our hand.

What kind of future do you expect? One that is filled with fear and frustration? Or, one that is SMOTHERED in the FAVOR of God? I think I’ll go with the FAVOR!

Verses 23-24 Love the Lord, Godly ones! For the Lord protects those who are loyal to Him. Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!

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