Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Running For The Prize – Again

Running

Today, I was reading some comments from one of my previous posts on running.  The comments were from readers of various posts.  One reader had some nice things to say.  I began to think what an appropriate post for January 1, 2018.  Running for the Prize.  OK, OK, yeah, I will be using an old post for a new post, again. The Blog Post Etiquette Police can advise me after the fact.

Let me start with saying I AM SO GLAD 2017 IS OVER!  It has been a trying year, to say the least!  I feel like I have been running and running and running all year.  My family has gone through a great personal loss and my health has taken hit after hit after hit.  I just know 2018 will be better.

Running for Self or Spirituality

I do feel, from time to time, that I am “Running for the Prize”.  Sometimes it seems a spiritual prize and at other times, it’s just running for the prize to just finish the day and to get home to my quiet house with my father and my Zuckie (my standard dachshund).  My home – my Solace .

If you know me at all, you know that I do love my home.  I love to be at home and I love my family.  So, with that said, I will tell you that I do long for the time when I finish this race that we call “life”.  When that occurs for me, I will be home where my heart has always been.  In the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  But until that day, I will continue to run this race on earth.  Striving to make the most of each moment in this race for the prize.  Striving to forget the past and pressing on towards the future because that is where the prize is.

Philippians 3:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

So, with that said… I will continue with this old post made new, once again.

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Running for a squeaky ball

Have you ever seen a dachshund race?  Oh My Goodness!  It is the funniest thing I have ever seen!  I follow a little dachshund on Facebook and he is quite the celebrity!  His name is Crusoe and he is from Canada.  He was in a “wiener dog race”Crusoe and he finished 3rd and the prize was a squeaky ball!  (see it here and if you still want more see his blog… here)  It is so much fun and the funniest thing to watch!  If you know me at all you know I L-O-V-E love dachshunds and everything about them!  These races are so funny because these little guys are so excited at the starting line.  They are so wound up to get going on that race and for what?  To get a squeaky ball!?  Not much of a prize as far as you and I are concerned… (or Zuckie – one of my dachshunds – for that matter.  He does not like anything that squeaks!  He doesn’t like noise… loud trucks, loud anything and especially sirens).

Running with Vim and VigorWIENER DOG RACE 2

But let’s focus on how the dachshunds begin the race.  These little guys are so excited and so ready to get going!  Excitement, anticipation and readiness are the traits you see in them!  They are full of joy and life!  You know we run a race too!  Every day!  And we run the race for a far greater prize than any squeaky ball.  We are running for the prize of an imperishable crown

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Striving for a Crown

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. ThRUN FOR THE PRIZEus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

We should be running for the prize daily!  So shouldn’t we begin our daily race the way these little dachshunds begin their race?  With excitement, anticipation and readiness?  We as Christians, in our walk with the Lord, should be filled with excitement, anticipation and readiness.  If we meet every day with that frame of mind we cannot loose!

Our Helper

Jesus left us a Helper which is the Holy Spirit, our closest friend!  That means He can help us throughout each day!  I have a friend at work that when she gets there and walks to her desk we speak the “Good Mornings”.  Then we ask one another the usual “how are you doing?”  We usually say…”Blessed and Highly Favored!”  and yesterday I added “…because I am a child of the King!”  If we truly believe this we can meet each day with an attitude of excitement for what God will do in our lives that day, anticipation of how it will change us or someone around us and readiness to be used for the Kingdom of Christ.

Daily Running Challenge

Try it out!  When you first wake up in the morning, focus your mind on God and how He has blessed you by giving you another day to tell someone about Him.  I love this scripture:

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

 He has blessed you with another day to breathe the air of freedom we have here in America – and that is so precious and hard to come by to others throughout the world.BLESSINGS

Therefore, thank Him for all the blessings you have whether it be a little heartbeat at your feet (human or animal) or a job, or a vehicle to drive, or a nice soft (or firm) bed to sleep in, or food on your table or any number of things!  You choose!  Focus on what blessings God has bestowed on you in your life and not the worries, problems and trials you face each day and THANK HIM FOR THOSE BLESSINGS!  I know… I KNOW if you do this you will feel better and you will be ready to run the race for the day!

Psalm 95:2-3 tells us

“2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.”

The Song – Hezekiah Walker – Every Praise!

 

CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT

What would we do without the Holy Spirit? Could I live without the Holy Spirit? Can you live without the Holy Spirit?

I had this thought earlier today and it was flack left over from a short conversation I had with someone. In this short conversation I was explaining that I had heard – in my spirit –a promise that God had given me. The promise was a simple but very important one for my life. I explained how excited I was that I can now see the answered prayer and the promise or vision that I had been given coming to fruition by me starting a new job on June 1, 2015. That person almost chided me with their question… “You mean you heard directly from God? You, yourself, heard God speak to you directly?” This person had a bit of a sarcastic tone to their voice and I simply said “Yes, in my spirit. I heard Him talk to me in my heart or spirit. Just like you do, right?” The person never answered me, just changed the subject. Now this person is a Christian – as far as I know – I do know that he is a preacher… so I would hope that he is a Christian… but you know… that is not my call. God is in charge of that, so I will not judge or try to assume anything. But I still love this person deeply and pray for them all the time.

Let me explain a little about what I heard from God last year. You see, I was working in a call center and had been for about two years. I knew it was time for me to move on to a job that suited my skills and abilities more but nothing seemed to be breaking for me. If you have read any of my posts in the last few months you may understand what I am talking about. I have experience in Project Management and Training and due to a lay off in 2009 and the market being flat, flat, flat… I could not get a job and the call center was the first thing that was offered to me after being on unemployment for 2 ½ years.

Now the call center was a proving ground for me, as I have said in the past and at the particular time that I was praying to God for some direction and help with the question… “When, Oh God, am I ever going to get out of this call center and get into a job that suits my skills more?” I was praying with every fiber of my being. I wanted some sort of word or sign or something from the Lord that He indeed had a plan and was going to open another door for me. Well, He did speak to my heart. I heard in my spirit … from The Spirit … “Leah, you will be in another job by June of next year.” Well, that was all I needed. It gave me hope, encouragement and a peace about my near future because “next year” is this year 2015. Tomorrow is the first day of my new job and lo and behold it is June 1st. Yes, I believe that is what God meant when He whispered that into my heart last year.1-Corinthians-3-16-Gods-Spirit

With that said, I will also let you know, if you don’t know already, that I pray throughout the day, as you probably do. I try to stay in constant contact with the Holy Spirit because He was given to us by Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the third Person in the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – as the Bible says.

2 Corinthians 13:14

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

I use a great website from time to time to help me with various questions or topics. The website is GotQuestions.org. It has a great article entitled What does the Bible teach about the Trinity”. Click the title to read the article. It helps with scripture too.

Jesus told the disciples that it would be better if Jesus left this earth because the Holy Spirit would come and be our Helper and Guide. Here is the scripture.

Gifts-Fruits-of-the-Holy-Spirit_Website-Banner-1bq9mx8John 16:7-11

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

So you see, the Holy Spirit, to me, is a Helper and Guide in my daily life. Sometimes moment by moment. I could NOT live without the Holy Spirit! If Jesus said He was sending a Helper and Guide, I believe Him. I have experienced it first-hand… the wonderfulness of the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is an overwhelming feeling to know that the Creator of it all is listening to my thoughts, feelings and fears. He also talks to me… no not audibly where anyone else can hear, but I hear Him in my heart, or in my spirit. It is a peaceful, comforting voice with compassion and tenderness. To know He lives in me is unbelievable and Oh So Amazing. As the song goes…

You are Amazing, More than Amazing. Forever our God, You’re more than enough, You are Amazing!12    Trust The Holy Spirit To Lead The Way

Listen to this wonderful song and worship this Amazing God! It has the lyrics so you can sing along.  It is a wonderful song about how Amazing our God is.  Just click the link to play the video.

 

The Video – More Than Amazing – Lincoln Brewster

I personally could NOT live without the Holy Spirit and I don’t know how Christians … those that profess to know Jesus and have accepted Him as their personal Savior… live without Him. The Bible says…

John 14:15-18

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Jesus said that He (The Holy Spirit) will “abide” with us forever. He will be with us and in us. So… no, I could never live without the Holy Spirit because He lives in me. Let me add a caveat to that statement… I have lived without the Holy Spirit… yes, and it was NOT living… it was existing. Existing in this “world” just making it through day by day. Holy-Spirit-Blog-BannerNever had the joy and peace I have today! So I guess it would be best stated… I could never “AGAIN” live without the Holy Spirit in my life! I have tasted the sweetness of the relationship with Him. Once you experience that sweetness and fullness of joy, you never … NEVER … want to go back to just existing!

OK, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will “abide” with us forever.

Now the definition of “abide” is:

to have one’s abode; dwell; reside:

or

to remain stable or fixed in a state

Now to put that all together… it sounds like to me the Holy Spirit has his abode or dwells or resides inside us. He remains stable or fixed.slide-52

No, I could not live without the Holy Spirit. I hope you cannot either. He loves you so much! After all, He calls you His beloved.

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HOLY AS HE IS HOLY

Holy… have you ever wondered what it would be like to be Holy?  To be Holy as He is Holy?  God calls us to be Holy.  Read on and find out what God has laid on my heart,

As I sit here this morning and wonder what God wants me to share with you today, I am reminded of a story I read this morning in an email about an old cowboy visiting a big, beautiful church. It’s funny… when I read that story in that email God instantly laid on my heart to share it with you along with its message. I thought, at first, surely God has something else to share so I went to my list of older topics that I have never shared online before. I found some great ones. However, God just kept saying… “These are not for today.” After the third one, I figured I better listen to God and share this one. Yes, sometimes, I question God when I hear His voice. I am not sure why… but I know I can because He loves me and wants me to be as real as He made me. So I guess I will continue to do that from time to time.

Today’s topic is about appearances… keeping up “Appearances” vs. being real. So as the story goes…

“One Sunday morning, an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim COWBOYshirt and boots that were worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn-out old hat and an equally worn, dog-eared Bible.

The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and fine jewelry. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled by his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.

As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. “Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship in church.” The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.i-RhGqkqR-L

The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the cowboy and said, “I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church.”

“I did,” replied the old cowboy.

“And what was His reply?” asked the preacher.

“Well, sir, God told me that he didn’t have a clue what I should wear. He said He’d never been in this church.””

I know we have aPicture1ll been in “those churches”. The ones that have a beautiful building, beautiful people, great choir and the pastor even preaches what seems to be an “OK” message… but there just seemed to be something missing there. As the folks in this little story were, they just seemed more interested in what they and everyone else was wearing. The men talked of their stocks and boats and cars and the women seemed to be worried more about if their shoes matched or if the purse matched the shoes or if it was a “designer” purse, etc. Oh and then there is the conversation about which daycare, school or club you belong to. They all seemed to be concerned more about what this world had to offer than what God wanted to say.

We as Christians can get wrapped up in the “trappings” of this world so easily. If we keep our thoughts and eyes on what the world has to offer and not what is eternal, it will drag us down into the “muck and mire” of a daily “grind” and not allow us to experience the freedom of knowing God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. God calls us to be Holy! lev-11-44-web-watermarked  1 Peter 1:15-1615 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

God wants us to have the freedom of not worrying about “things” on this earth. When we quit worrying about everything here and just know that God has our paths set out for us and we just have to pray, seek and find Him in every moment of every day, then things of this world and the worry about them seem so … well, unnecessary. God loves us and wants the best for us here and in Heaven. We cannot hold on to things here and expect to live victoriously though. He calls us to be Holy as He is Holy!

God is Spirit. God is Eternal. God is Holy. God is Love. Picture2He wants us to look to Him for everything we think, say and do. When we finally “get” that… there is peace. It doesn’t matter anymore about this world and its offerings. We have that peace that surpasses all understanding!

Call out to God today and ask for that peace. Ask Him to help you be Holy as He is Holy. Tell Him you want His peace and to forget the things of this world. Tell Him you want to trust Him for His provision. He wants to hear from you. He loves you so much. After all, He calls you His beloved!

The Song – Holiness – Tom McCain

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THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND HIS FLOCK (Part 9)

In yesterday’s post, (here’s the link to yesterday’s) I ended talking about how the  Good Shepherd goes before us and knows every bit of where He is leading us. He has gone before to make sure it is safe and to find those places where there are pitfalls and dangers, He is there and always will be, to guide us through the valleys of our life. So we can “fear no evil” in the path He leads us on.

Today’s post is about “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me”. Learning about sheep and their shepherd has been one of the most interesting things I have learned in a long time. staff-and-rodThe book “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23” is what I read recently and have gained a lot of knowledge about all the things a shepherd goes through and must do to have a healthy and flourishing flock of sheep. The author of the book was once a shepherd and has first-hand knowledge of this profession. The “instruments” or tools used by the shepherd are few. The Rod is one of the most important ones because it is used for protection and correction. The author recounts times when he has seen another shepherd use his rod to defend himself against dangerous things, such as snakes or coyotes, etc. It can also be used to help examine the sheep as they come out of the corral. He says that the shepherd has each sheep pass by him individually and he inspects them before they go out to graze. The rod is used to part the wool to see if the skin is ok, or to see if there are any problems below the wool that need attention. After careful inspection and all being well, the shepherd allows the sheep to pass on by and join the rest of the sheep in the pasture. This process is called “passing under the rod”. It is not a bad thing, because it can be the time that the shepherd needs to determine the sheep’s condition. A very valuable time indeed.6678294_f520

To compare that to Christians, I also understand that The Word of God is referred to as “The Rod”. His Word definitely has its time with us. As we read the Word and learn more and more about what God has to say to us we are washed clean by His Word.

Psalm 119:9How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.word

The Word parts our hearts and makes sure it is clean and ready to receive The Word of God. The more we read and study the Bible the closer we get to God.

It is also used as a protection for us. When we know The Word of God, we can use it in our daily life as we come across various problems and situations. Also, the schemes of Satan will test our patience and when we can recall scripture and speak the name of Jesus, the devil must flee! So, The Word (the Rod) of God can be a protection to us as well as something that cleanses us.

Ezekiel 20:3737 “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;

This is a link to a website I found that talks about the rod being a symbol of God’s Word.

The Staff is also an instrument that the shepherd uses. The author of the book says that the staff is only used by shepherds “in the care and management of sheep – and only sheep.” “It is designed, shaped, and adapted especially to the needs of sheep.” “No one in any other profession carries a shepherd’s staff.”dreamstime_15995043

Another quote from the author about the staff. “Just as the rod of God is emblematic of the Word of God, so the staff of God is symbolic of the Spirit of God. In Christ’s dealings with us as individuals there is the essence of the sweetness, the comfort and the consolation, the gentle correction brought about by the work of His gracious Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit that Jesus told us He would leave for us guides and directs us as we go along our daily lives… that is if we have accepted Jesus and have recognized His authority over us and our lives. The Spirit of God is a comforting presence in most Christian’s lives. I personally have experienced His presence and welcome Him all the time!  __holy_spirit_in_you___logo_by_toddlazaro-d3c4zbn

The author tells about one of the ways the staff is used by the shepherd. When a ewe gives birth, sometimes the lamb needs to be brought close to the mother. If they get too far apart during the birthing process the shepherd takes his staff and gently picks the lamb up and lays it next to the mother instead of getting his scent on the lamb by picking it up himself. He said that the ewe may reject the lamb if the scent of the shepherd is on it.

Another way it is used is to bring the sheep closer together. If there is wayward sheep that needs to be brought back into the fold, the shepherd can gently touch the sheep on the side to guide it back to the proper place.Sheep_in_Potocari

The last way it might be used is to draw the sheep unto himself. The shepherd has intimate relationships with his sheep. He spends a lot of time with them. Sometimes there is a shy one that will not come close to him as the others do. He uses the staff to gently pull it in close to him to get him used to being handled and loved on.

So you can see how the staff is a symbol of The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit draws us together, as Christians, so we can enjoy the fellowship of one another. The Holy Spirit also whispers to our hearts “This is the way, walk in it”, Isaiah 30SONY DSC:2121 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand. Or whenever you turn to the left.” and the Holy Spirit draws us close to God so we can have sweet fellowship with Him.

Yes I can say “…Thy Rod and Thy Staff, they comfort me.” I call The Lord my Shepherd. Have you called out to Him today? Is He your guide, your help, your comforter? Talk to Him today. He is waiting to hear from you. He loves you so much! You are His beloved.

The Song – I Have No Doubt – Point of Grace (I have included the lyrics below for you)

The Video – I Have No Doubt – Point of Grace (I have included the lyrics below – because the first 4 lines of the song are not included in the video)

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I HAVE NO DOUBT

Sometimes I don’t know where I’m going
Where the road is leading me
Life can be full of so many changes

So many uncertainties
But there’s one thing that’s constant in this heart of mine
It’s knowing that You’re gonna love me, come rain or shine

I have no doubt
That You will never leave me
That You’ll be there to keep me safe and warm

I have no doubt
No matter where You take me
That nothing can separate me from You, Lord

I don’t know what You’ve planned for tomorrow
Or what lies up ahead for me
Pleasure, pain, worry or sorrow
Today is as far as I can see

You may see fit to take me
Through the valley, Lord
Or on the mountain
It makes no difference where I go

I wanna run away
From that voice that I hear calling
But I’ll be quick to answer and obey

Nothing could separate me
Nothing could ever separate me

Songwriters
GREER, TOMMY/CHANGE, CONSTANT

TIDBITS OR THE WHOLE THING

I like potato chips way too much.  I found a particular kind that I really like and I can’t find them all the time in the store but when I go I always look for them.  They are Ruffles Queso chips.  They are spicy and oh so good.  I like the big chips you get when you first open the package and as you work your way down to the bottom the chip sizes decrease… and by the time you get to the bottom, you are dealing with just crumbs… which is typical with any chip.  However, I will sit and eat the crumbs just like the big ones. IFThe little tidbits are just as good as the big ones.  Tidbit or whole, matters not to me.  I like them all.  I like them so much and I think I could eat my weight in them if I allowed myself to.  I just don’t because … well, they are just not good for you.  It’s kind of like the Werther’s Coffee Caramel story.  I am on the “hold back” side of eating them.  If you haven’t seen the post on Werther’s and the Word check it out.

I have found a comparison here, as you knew I would, with reading or listening to God’s Word.  I have fallen in love with God’s Word!  I don’t just “like” reading it.  I LOVE it!  Whether it be a short scripture (tidbit) or an entire story (whole thing).  It sinks deep into my soul and refreshes me every time I open His Word and allow God to speak to me.  The only way I can explain the feeling it gives me  is it is refreshing, fulfilling and satisfying to my soul (Jeremiah 31:25).  In every story, chapter, sentence and word, I hear God speaking to me.  I hear Him saying this is My love story for you.  It is an amazing thing to read about the people in the Bible and see all the adversities some of them came through because they loved The LDEER-WHITE TAIL-DRINKING-ELKS BAY7x7ord!   Psalm 42:1-2 describes it very well…

“42 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?”

As I am typing God is speaking to my heart more and more on ways to compare the tidbit or whole thing.  When I hear God sometimes it is just one word.  Sometimes it is a sentence and sometimes He tells me more.  Whether it is a word or the whole thing it is all precious to me.  My heart leaps for joy and tears fill my eyes when I hear His voice.  Psalm 28:7 explains a little more.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

Tidbits or the whole thing is good in prayer too!  Sometimes, like I have said in the past, I could only get a few words out of my mouth to offer up as a prayer.  I like to call those “Breath Prayers”.  I borrow the phrase “breath prayers” here from a dear soul that is in the presence of Jesus now – Tom Dooley.  (He had a radio show called “The Journey” here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex some time ago and I heard that phrase first from him.)  Sometimes, I pray all day long (in my spirit) and am in conversation with God throughout the day from sun-up to sun-down until I lay my head on the pillow at night.  God hears even our one word prayer.  He knows our heart and knows our mind.   I ran across this quote the other day and it is so perfect for this topic.  Here it is:

“CertaiVICTOR HUGOn thoughts are prayers. There are moments when whatever be the attitude of the body the soul is on its knees.” – Victor Hugo  

I really, really liked that when I found it because as I am sitting there at work I glance down at my prayer list or a thought of someone comes to my mind, I offer up a prayer – if I am able – otherwise, I know my soul is on its knees and the Holy Spirit is interceding for me.  You see God knows our hearts and minds and the Holy Spirit helps us – as Jesus said He would in John 16:13 – in even those little things such as prayer thoughts to God.

There are so many other ways tidbits or the whole thing is able to be compared here.  As you go through your day God will reveal various “life” things to you as long as you stay connected to Him.  Staying connected is sometimes hard in this old world because of all the distractions, but He promises to always be there.  He will never leave us!

I challenge you today to reach out to God.  Pray for God to help you understand His Word and speak to your heart through His Word.  As it says in 2 Chronicles 7:1414 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”   God is waiting to hear from you.  After all you are a child of The King!  You are His beloved!

Stay connected through God’s Word and prayer.

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