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How to Celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as a Hearing Person

How to Celebrate Deaf Awareness Week As a Hearing Person

Most of us, myself included, are hearing instead of deaf. So, we may not give a lot of thought to the important cause Deaf Awareness Month and Week celebrates. But there are a few things we can do to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as a hearing person and bring awareness to the amazing people it represents.

But first let’s learn a few facts about Deaf Awareness Week…

When is Deaf Awareness Month? And Week?

Did you know… September is International Deaf Awareness Month? And the last week of September is International Week of the Deaf, also known as Deaf Awareness Week? Now you have a new holiday to mark on your calendar!

 

Why do we celebrate Deaf Awareness Week?

This special time celebrates deaf history and culture through a different theme each year. Events and activities bring together the whole deaf community, which includes both deaf and hearing-impaired people. And this week raises awareness for the organizations and churches that support them.

What is the color of the Deaf Awareness Ribbon?

The color of the Deaf Awareness ribbon is gold and silver.

When was Deaf Awareness Week first founded?

The answer to this question seems to vary depending on who you ask. So, I’ll give you both answers.

International Week of the Deaf was first founded in 1958 in Rome, Italy and was celebrated during the last week of September each year.

And Deaf History Month started in 1996 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. When two deaf employees working at the library decided to teach their co-workers sign language. Later the library created Deaf Awareness Week as we know it today.

 

Now that we know the facts about this special time, let’s see how we can celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as a hearing person.

 

First, can we agree as Christians, it’s important for us to show the love of Jesus to everyone we meet? I thought you’d be on board for that one! 😊

And second let’s agree that each and every person on the planet is created in God’s image and extremely important to Him. I know you’ll agree to that one too!

But here’s where it gets a little dicey, ya’ll.

Most hearing people ignore the deaf.

I’ve never understood why.

Maybe it’s a fear of looking foolish, or an overwhelming feeling of awkwardness, or worrying we won’t be able to overcome the language barrier and understand the other person, or a million other excuses we come up with on the fly.

Whatever the true reason is, it’s not okay to treat people like they’re invisible.

That’s not how Jesus treated us when we needed a Savior. And it’s not how He wants us to treat anyone else, whether they’re hearing or deaf.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life 

My personal story with American Sign Language

When I was growing up, I had the chance to witness how the deaf are treated first-hand.

My best friend’s parents were both deaf. They were great people, loving, kind, and would do anything for their kids and their kid’s friends.

I loved spending time with their family. Her mom had a gentleness about her and a real knack for making me feel welcome and special. That was a big part of why I loved being with them, because who doesn’t want to feel special, right?

Plus, I loved watching my friend sign for her mom. It was awesome! And it’s one of the reasons I fell in love with American Sign Language or ASL in the first place. Those childhood memories still hold a special place in my heart. They always will.

But there was a dark side to those times too. I remember how the other moms treated my friend’s mom. They chose not to see the loving, sweet person she was. To them, she was an outsider, someone to shun and toss aside at football games and PTA meetings. All because she was deaf.

Thankfully, my mom taught me better. Not by her words, but by her actions. She loved my friend’s mom with the love of Jesus. So, she made a point of sitting with her at those football games, buddying up with her at PTA meetings, and writing notes back and forth with her for hours. Basically, just being the kind of friend, we all want to have. Not because she had to, but because she wanted to.

That doesn’t seem like such a big deal, does it? But to someone who is ignored on a regular basis, being treated like a friend instead of an outcast can mean all the difference in the world.

This story plays out in my mind whenever I’m with someone who is deaf. Because no matter what I may feel on the inside (fear, anxiety, not measuring up when it comes to my sign language skills), I never want to treat someone the way my friend’s sweet mother was treated.

And I’m sure as a loving follower of Christ, you feel the same way too!

Read More: Why Should We Love One Another? 1 John 4:7 

So, with that in mind, let’s look at how to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as a hearing person.

 

#1 Show the love of Jesus

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

                                                                 John 13:34-35

 

If we’ve learned anything from following Jesus, it’s to open our hearts to different kinds of people and to show His love to all of them. That includes the deaf. And this week’s celebration of deaf culture is the perfect time to give it a go.

Don’t worry, it’s not hard to follow this command from Jesus. And it’s even okay if you don’t know sign language. You can still talk to someone who is deaf in other ways. Most can read lips, but if they can’t, all you need to do is pull out your phone and use the text function. Super simple. 😊

Remember, it’s about showing the love of Jesus to someone who needs Him in their life. So, when all else fails, a big smile and a little kindness go a long way!

                           

#2 Donate to Deaf Charities

 

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

                                                              2 Corinthians 9:7

Whether it’s our money, time, or talent, we all have something to give.

Maybe you’ll never cross paths with someone who is deaf. But you can still make a difference in the life of someone who needs Jesus.

Wycliffe Bible estimates that only 2% of deaf people worldwide have “heard” of Jesus. That’s a sad number, and one we as Christians shouldn’t forget about.

God has blessed us with so much, Amen?! In return, He asks us to give of ourselves for His glory. So, please consider donating to a charity that is making an impact on the deaf community for Christ.

Here are a few worthy candidates to think about…

Your local church with a deaf ministry.

Google them, because they are always in dire need of funds and volunteers.

Deaf Bible Society

This amazing organization is working to translate the Bible into every sign language. Yes, there’s more than one! And the people who know sign language as their first language need these translations ASAP.

DOOR International

Both church planting and Bible translation are at the heart of DOOR’s ministry. They believe in a “Deaf reaching Deaf for Christ” philosophy that is evident in their outreach to the deaf community worldwide.

 

#3 Pray

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

                                                                 1 John 5:14-15

Prayer is our most precious resource in a world that doesn’t understand the love of Jesus. And we can have complete confidence that when we pray God not only listens, He responds. It’s the single greatest thing we can do for those who are not saved, including the deaf.

So, set aside some time during this special week to pray for the 98% of deaf people who don’t know Jesus as their Savior.

Ask God to give them an understanding of who He is and how much He loves them. And pray for God to meet their needs far above all we could ask or comprehend.

#4 Buy Master’s Hand Collection Art

 

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

                          Isaiah 41:10

Master’s Hand Collection brings the artistry of sign language and the truth of God’s hand reaching down from heaven to save us into sharp focus. When you purchase art from Master’s Hand Collection, 10% of all profits are donated to one of the charities mentioned above.

Currently, I’m donating to a local deaf church, Bethel Deaf Fellowship. And you can too by clicking on the link. 😉

And most of all, you can be sure I’m in the fight right along with you to bring the love of Jesus to the deaf community. Every. Single. Day!

Together, let’s face the fear and awkwardness of sharing the gospel with the deaf community. And jump straight into the fire knowing these wonderful people need Jesus too.

Because that’s how to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as a hearing person the right way!

Inspiring Hand of God Art from Master’s Hand Collection

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Jesus No Other Name Printable Art
Jesus No Other Name Printable Art

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By |2021-09-18T20:01:45-05:00September 18th, 2021|Christian Life, Deaf Awareness, Sign Language|0 Comments

How to Rejoice in the Lord Always – Habakkuk 3:17-19

How to Rejoice in the Lord Always Habakkuk 3:17-19

Rejoice in the Lord always is more than a hymn we sing at church. For a Christian, it is a way of life.

Here’s what the Apostle Paul told us in Philippians 4…

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

                                                  Philippians 4:4 NKJV

This Bible verse seems so simple. Just rejoice in the Lord no matter what.

But when life takes a turn for the worst, it isn’t so simple anymore.

That’s something the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk knew a thing or two about.

It’s through the story of Habakkuk that we learn how to rejoice in the Lord always, even in the face of adversity.

Habakkuk saw trouble coming a mile away in the form of the Chaldean army. And he knew his people were about to face some seriously hard times.

The basic necessities they needed to survive would become scarce. The food and water they relied on to sustain them would dry up and blow away. Fear and desperation would set in.

But Habakkuk also had confidence that if they put their trust in God, He would see them through.

Recently, I was going through a difficult time too. Maybe it wasn’t as dramatic as an invasion of the Chaldeans like the people of Habakkuk’s day, but it was a crisis in my little world nonetheless.

I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. And it was crushing me.

One day, my to-do list was getting longer instead of shorter. I was stressed and overwhelmed by everything I had to accomplish.

Then, a dear friend sent me what seemed to be a random text. In it, she asked me to read Habakkuk 3.

I immediately sent her a text back and said “OK”, with a smiley face emoji. 😊

But I had no intention of reading it, at least not right then. Maybe later when everything else was done. I was in the middle of a project, and I needed to get it finished.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

However, God saw things a little differently. He pulled on my heartstrings and gently whispered, “You need to read it”.

I answered, “Okay, I’ll read it later tonight when things calm down”.

But God whispered to my heart again, “You need to read it now”.

I sighed as I resigned myself to God’s plan for the day, grabbed my Bible, and started to read…

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

 

The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

                         Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV

Wow! I felt like I’d been struck by lightning!

All these years later, Habakkuk can still cut straight to the point.

It’s easy to praise God and find joy in our salvation when things are going great. And it’s so much harder when life isn’t going our way.

But no matter what situation we’re in, we can still find a reason to rejoice in the Lord.

Read More: Bible Verses about Joy that will fill your heart with gladness!

Habakkuk 3:17-18 reads like a laundry list of terrible circumstances. Each item on the list represents something essential to daily life back then. And their absence would create an immediate emergency.

 

Though the fig tree may not blossom…

Nor fruit be on the vines…

Though the labor of the olive may fail…

And the fields yield no food…

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold…

And there be no herd in the stalls…

Alone, each of these things would be a disaster for Habakkuk and his people. But combined they are a catastrophe of epic proportions.

No fruit on the vine, no crops to harvest, no sheep on the mountain, and no cows in the stalls all mean one thing… starvation, pure and simple.

In our modern world, it’s hard to see how this affects us. But if we look closer and compare these crises to the things we value today, we’ll understand exactly how dire the situation truly was.

Recent events have forced us to deal with exactly the same things our Biblical counterparts did, just with a modern twist.

Coronavirus gave us more than an unknown disease to contend with. Supply chains were disrupted, there was no toilet paper on the shelves, meat shortages became the norm, and people were laid off of work for extended periods of time.

Complete chaos and hopelessness followed.

I imagine this is how Judah felt too. They were no different from us. They wanted to work and take care of their families the same way we do today. The devastation of watching their hard work turn to dust must have left them reeling.

And it leads us to wonder…

How long would we last without our state-of-the-art water plants producing freshwater each day?

What if farmers and ranchers suffered great losses year after year? How would we survive without the food they bring to market?

And if we lost our jobs for good, how long would it take for the money to run out and desperation to set in?

This is where the rubber meets the road.

And just when we think all hope is lost, in Habakkuk 3:19, we see the answer to all of life’s problems…

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!

It’s true, we will always have troubles in this life. There will always be another crisis to tackle. Or another earth-scattering decision to make.

But even if the whole world falls apart right before our eyes, we can still say, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, just like Habakkuk did.

Why?

Because God has promised those of us who believe in His Son, Jesus, we will never face adversity alone. He is always with us. And His joy remains in us no matter what comes our way.

Jesus is the One who gives us the strength to get through the most difficult of times. And because of the joy of our salvation, we are never defeated.

So, if Habakkuk could rejoice always under such dire circumstances, then surely, we can too.

This is my updated, modern-day prayer to trust God and praise Him in every circumstance, good or bad using Habakkuk as an example.

I hope you’ll pray it along with me as we rejoice in the Lord always together…

Even though my house is filthy, company is coming over, and there’s not enough time to clean…

I will praise the Lord!

Even though the bills are piling up, and it seems there will never be enough money to pay them all…

I will rejoice in the Lord!

Even though my health is failing, and I feel weak…

I will joy in the God of my salvation!

Even though I’ve lost a loved one and my heart is broken…

I will rejoice in the Lord always!

Read More: What is the Joy of the Lord? Nehemiah 8:10

There’s no way my friend could’ve known what was going on in my life that day, or how much I needed these words of Habakkuk 3:17-19 spoken into my heart. But I’m so grateful she followed God’s lead and sent that seemly random text.

Thankfully, to God, nothing is ever random. He knew exactly what was happening in my life. And He used this scripture to take away the stress and overwhelm weighing down my soul.

And He replaced them with a song in my heart and praise on my lips.

God is good! And He is worthy of our praise in every circumstance!

Because the truth is… it’s our choice to rejoice.

Knowing that I pray this seemingly simple Bible verse from Habakkuk 3 has shown you how to rejoice in the Lord always! And that you will trust Him in both the good and bad times to come!

Please leave a comment below and let me know your own modern-day prayer of trust and praise.

Joyful Christian Art from Master’s Hand Collection

Joy of the Lord Printable Christian Art

Joy of the Lord Printable Christian Art

Rejoice and Be Glad Printable Christian Art

Rejoice and Be Glad Printable Christian Art

Joy B&W Printable Christian Art

Joy B&W Printable Christian Art

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Did you know that only 2 percent of deaf people have “heard” the good news of Jesus?

When you purchase any Master’s Hand Collection item, 10 percent of all proceeds are donated to deaf ministries around the world. THANK YOU for helping to spread the gospel to this under served community.

May God bless you greatly!

Seeing God's Hand by Master's Hand Collection
By |2021-09-07T16:24:49-05:00September 6th, 2021|Christian Life, Faith|4 Comments

Heartwarming Bible Verses for Fall

Heartwarming Bible Verses for Fall

Each of these Heartwarming Bible Verses for Fall stands on its own. But they are also a great jumping-off point for a new Bible Study, a wonderful start to creating a seasonal bulletin board at church, or a way to teach the children in your life a new memory verse.

Whatever your reason for searching for Fall Bible Verses, I pray you will find inspiration for the season ahead.

Fall is my favorite season! I look forward to this brief moment of splendor God blesses us with each year. The beauty of nature is on full display! The cool, crisp weather. The brilliant red, yellow, and orange colors of the leaves.

Plus, comfy sweaters and festive scarfs. Spicy pumpkin pie and gooey apple cobbler. Everything about fall warms my heart and brings happy memories to mind.

Fall also marks the end of the carefree days of summer. And as we reestablish our routines, it’s a great time to connect with God on a deeper level.

So, wrap your hands around the warmth of a mug of pumpkin-spiced coffee, or the hot drink of your choice, and savor these Heartwarming Bible Verses for Fall. Enjoy!

Psalm Autumn Bible Verses

The Psalms are always the perfect place to find inspiration. Their cries of praise and thanksgiving for a loving God start off our fall Bible verses.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

                                      Psalm 100:4

 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

                                     Psalm 107:1

 

He made the moon for the seasons;
The sun knows the place of its setting.

                               Psalm 104:19


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Fall Scripture in the words of Jesus

There is nothing more powerful than the words of Jesus! And His assessment of the fall season gives us a great lesson in what it means to be a witness all year round.

Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

                                   John 4:34

 

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

                                 Matthew 9:37

 

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.

                                  John 4:35

 

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

                               John 12:24

 

Fall in the Bible and for the Season

These Fall scriptures are favorites for a reason. They speak to the honest truth of the season and help us focus our minds on what is truly important this time of year.

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

                               1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

                                 James 3:18

 

They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;

                                 Jude 12

 

‘They do not say in their heart,
“Let us now fear the Lord our God,
Who gives rain in its season,
Both the autumn rain and the spring rain,
Who keeps for us
The appointed weeks of the harvest.”

                               Jeremiah 5:24

Read More: The Beauty of Autumn Leaves 

Bible Verses about Leaves/Autumn Leaves

The significance of leaves in the Bible can be seen in these Bible verses about autumn. The freshness of green, new growth, to the changing of their colors, all the way to faded and wilted. Each phase of the leaf’s life represents the Christian life. Are we new and green? Or brown and decayed? The choice is ours.

 

They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.

                                    Jeremiah 17:8

 

They’re—

Puffs of smoke pushed by gusts of wind;
late autumn trees stripped clean of leaf and fruit,
Doubly dead, pulled up by the roots;
wild ocean waves leaving nothing on the beach
but the foam of their shame;

                                    Jude 12-13 MSG

 

And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

                                 Matthew 21:19 KJV

 

down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

                                   Revelation 22:2

Read More: the Harvest is Plentiful

Thankful Harvest quotes from Scripture

In Biblical times the harvest meant life. The gathering of food for an entire year after months of hard labor. It was a celebration of God’s goodness and provision.

These days, our idea of a harvest is a little different. It’s family gathering for a feast. Turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie, all laid out on the dining room table. Warm hugs and friendly conversation as we share our faith. But we still celebrate all God has done for us. His goodness and grace, and the way He provides so generously give us plenty to be thankful for.

As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.

                                   Genesis 8:22

 

He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.

                                    Proverbs 10:5

 

Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

                                     John 4:35

 

Those who sow in tears shall harvest with joyful shouting.
One who goes here and there weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

                                    Psalm 126:5-6

 

You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

                                     Isaiah 9:3

 

As you can see there are many Bible verses for Autumn. Each one is a blessing worth celebrating. As you celebrate the beauty of this season through scripture, may the love of nature and the strength of God’s hand guide you this Fall and throughout the year.

Which of these Heartwarming Bible Verses for Fall has blessed you and inspired you for the season ahead? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Fall, ya’ll!

Autumn and Thanksgiving Bible Verse Art

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Christian Art titled Autumn by Master's Hand Collection

Autumn

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Harvest

Christian Art titled Give Thanks by Master's Hand Collection

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By |2021-09-02T16:59:58-05:00September 2nd, 2021|Bible Study, Bible Verses, Christian Life, Fall, Thanksgiving|3 Comments

Power of Prayer – James 5:16

Power of Prayer James 5:16 Why is prayer so powerful?

Prayer is powerful! And the power of prayer is real and tangible. As real as anything we can see or touch. It is a source of strength that we, as Christians, can tap into at any time, day or night. This verse from James 5:16 sums up this incredible power perfectly.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

                                                               James 5:16

 

As I was researching, I came across some articles that claimed the power of prayer is a mysterious force. Honestly, I just don’t believe that. Prayer is not a mystery that we can’t comprehend. Like most things pertaining to God, it is simple and easy to understand.

So, if prayer is not a mysterious force, what is it? And why is prayer so powerful?

Prayer is our direct line to God. When we call on Him, He hears us and He answers. It’s simple, maybe too simple for some people. Maybe they want it to be mysterious and complicated for some reason that is beyond me. But I believe in a God who loves me and wants to hear from me as much as I want to hear from Him. And I believe in the power of prayer too.

Prayer has the power to make things happen. Not because of our own strength, but because we have been declared righteous through faith in Jesus. He alone is the reason that our prayers have power!

 

What does James 5:16 mean?

For the answer let’s look at an example of the power of prayer in action in the next scripture…

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

                                                              James 5:17-18

Elijah believed in God and therefore was a righteous man. He prayed for the rain to be withheld and the Lord answered him. Then he prayed for the rain to come, and the Lord answered again.

Through his faith, Elijah shows us the meaning of fervent prayer and how it avails much. He didn’t just say a little prayer every now and then. He prayed continually and earnestly that God would keep the rain from falling. Then he prayed for the Lord to bring the rain. In both circumstances, the Lord heard and answered Elijah’s prayers. (You can read more about Elijah in 1 Kings)

And because we are righteous in God’s eyes, our prayers are effective and powerful tools too. We just need to practice the same kind of faithful and consistent prayer that Elijah did. Then the results will be undeniable.

Prayer has the power to make things happen. Not because of our own strength, but because we have been declared righteous through faith in Jesus. #Prayer #FaithClick To Tweet

Is there real power in prayer?

The answer is a simple yes. But for us to see the power of prayer in our lives we must first believe in it and have faith in God. This is where the real power comes from… our faith.

Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

                                                             Mark 11:24

 

With His words here in Mark 11:24, Jesus emphasized believing in the power of prayer and having faith that God will not only hear our prayer but answer it also.

Sometimes we pray but we don’t really believe that anything will actually happen. Or we pray and think that our problems are too big, too small, too whatever for God. We have a “wing and a prayer” mentality. Kind of like luck or happenstance. Maybe our prayers are heard and maybe they’re not.

But what Jesus is talking about here is the condition of our hearts. Do we really believe deep down inside that God will hear our prayers? Do we have faith God will answer us? Because if we want to see the power of prayer, we must truly believe in our hearts that He will.

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Beyond just believing, we can have confidence in the power of prayer. Here’s an open invitation from God to us…

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

                                                            Hebrews 4:16

 

Prayer is not a last resort. Even though we may see it that way sometimes. When something bad happens, we try to fix it on our own and only turn to praying once we have failed. (Believe me, I’m guilty of this sometimes too!)

But prayer is not our last hope. Instead, it is our greatest offense and our best option in all circumstances. No matter what is going on in our lives, good or bad, God wants to hear about it. There is no need to worry about if it’s okay to pray or how our prayers will be received. We can boldly take all of our problems right to God’s throne of grace in our time of need.

Learn more with these inspirational the power of prayer verses.

In my life, I have seen the power of prayer many times. But never more than when my mom had cancer. The doctors gave her about three months to live, however, God gave us three more years together. And I have no doubt that it was the power of prayer at work. So many people were praying for my mom. Our family and friends, two whole churches, even people we didn’t know. They were all praying for her.

And guess what… God heard their prayers. He listened and He cared. He knew that our family was in need and He didn’t let us down. It was during this time that God allowed me to experience the power of prayer firsthand. I could see how prayer is the solution to all of life’s problems and how we can have complete confidence in taking everything to God in prayer.

So, you see, understanding the power of prayer is not a mysterious thing. We are simply having a conversation with a loving and faithful God.

Isn’t it amazing to know that the Creator of the universe, the One who spoke the world into motion wants to speak to you? God loves you and He wants to hear from you.

Today, I pray you will claim the power of prayer, find encouragement and strength in it, and see the undeniable results in your life.

Now is the time to declare I believe in the power of prayer!

Get started with these Bible Study and Prayer Journals available on Amazon!

God Is WithIn Me Bible Study and Prayer Journal
Be Strong Bible Study and Prayer Journal for men
Love Never Fails Bible Study and Prayer Journal for women

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Bible Verses About Prayer
Seeing God's Hand
By |2021-08-22T19:38:04-05:00August 21st, 2021|Christian Life, Prayer|5 Comments

Living Water – John 4:10

Living Water John 4:10 What is living water? And what is the main point of John 4:10? Find out three tips to quench spiritual thirst.

What is living water? And what is the main point of John 4:10?

Let’s start with water itself.

Water is essential for our physical well-being. Without this critical element, life couldn’t exist.

And there’s no better example of this than the summer heat.

This summer seems to have flown by fast. But soaring temperatures are still in the forecast, at least for a little while longer. So, as the mercury continues to rise, we naturally look for ways to keep the heat at bay.

We all know the drill…stay inside with the AC on whenever possible, wear sunscreen when we go outside, and most importantly drink plenty of water.

If we don’t, we just might find ourselves lacking the proper hydration and in need of some serious relief.

When the sun beats down, we long for this cool relief water provides. A long dip in cool streams of blue water, or a sip of refreshing ice-cold water. They remind us to replenish our bodies with this life-giving liquid.

But as the end of summer approaches, our thoughts turn to the obligations the coming fall season will bring. Our lives are about to heat up in a different way with a new school year, work, family and friends, church activities and so much more. Honestly, it’s a lot to handle. With each new thing we add to our list, we pour a little more water out of our figurative cup.

Before we know it, we’re caught in the day-to-day grind and feeling spiritually thirsty with a cup that has run completely dry. We become depleted and crave spiritual refreshment. Or as the psalmist so beautifully wrote in these Bible verses about spiritual thirst…

 

My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.  Psalm 143:6

and

 

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.  Psalm 42:1

These two scriptures speak so eloquently to the craving of a thirsty soul, searching for what will restore and renew.

So, the question becomes… Where do you find Living Water?

The good news is, we don’t have to look far to find living water in our lives every day. Here are three tips to quench spiritual thirst when life gets too hot.

 

#1 Jesus is the Living Water so let’s go directly to the Source.

 

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 

“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

                                                          John 4:10; 13-14

Close to where I live, there’s a quaint little town called Eureka Springs. It’s a beautiful place located in the majestic Ozark Mountains. It began as a place of refuge for the sick. People in Victorian times believed the many natural springs in the area had healing properties and would go directly to the water source to be healed. Today, the springs are still flowing, they’re a force of nature that can’t be stopped. And people still flock to the town to bathe in their natural waters.

This is how I see Jesus, He is the source of living water in our lives. He has the power to heal whatever ails us. And He is like one of these natural springs. An unending flow of living water springing up, and a force of nature that can’t be stopped.

The deep spiritual thirst inside of us can only be quenched by knowing Him. So, He offers us the gift of living water which is eternal life. And it’s not just a little drip every now and then. Through Jesus we have an unlimited amount of living water springing up directly from the source, flowing through us, and ready to give a drink to the thirsty parts of our soul whenever we need it.

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#2 Draw from the wells of salvation.

Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

                                                            Isaiah 12:3

 

Digging a well is no small feat. You’ve got to get in there and dig down, deeper and deeper until you find the water shelf where the fresh water lies. But once you hit pay dirt, the well is there for you to draw from every day without fail.

When our lives become like a barren wasteland, we thirst for the joy of our salvation. And sometimes we have to dig down deep to find it.

But the wells of salvation have already been dug for us, all we have to do is draw the water from them. There, deep in the wells of salvation, we’ll find joy and relief from the arid landscape of our lives. So, draw from the wells and refresh your thirsty soul today.

#3 Drink from the Rivers of Living Water.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

                                                          John 7:37-38

As we already talked about, our physical bodies need drinking water every day to survive. Without it we become thirsty and parched. Then, we get cranky and cotton-mouthed. If enough passes by without this crucial element, eventually, we’ll die. That kind of thirst is a terrible thing. And in the middle of a crisis like that, nothing could possibly taste better than a tall, ice-cold glass of water.

As much as our bodies need water to survive, our spiritual selves need living water every day to flourish too. Without this critical element, we’ll wither away.

But we don’t have to thirst spiritually because our belief in the Son of the living God creates rivers of living water that flow out of our hearts.

Faith is the key to keeping our cups full. In the midst of our thirst, Jesus calls out to us, “come to Me and drink.” There is no need to thirst or want. He is there ready to pour living water into our empty cup and fill it full to the brim, renewing our spirits and refreshing our minds.

Is the summer heat making you thirsty, tired or even a little burned out? Are you wondering, where do you find Living Water to quench your thirsty soul?

Jesus said… I am the Living Water. So, go to the Source, draw from the wells, and find streams of living water flowing freely from your heart!

I truly hope and pray you will be blessed by the truth of who He is and by these scriptures as you drink the Living Water of Jesus today!

Have a happy and safe rest of the summer!

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By |2021-08-16T13:02:01-05:00August 15th, 2021|Christian Life, Jesus|6 Comments

Will You Stand Firm in the Faith? – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Will You Stand Firm in the Faith? 1 Corinthians 16:13

Will you stand firm in the faith even when it’s hard? And how do you stand strong in your faith when the world is against everything you believe?

I think we can all agree it’s easy to be a Christian on Sunday. We go to church where we’re surrounded by other people who believe as we do. We sing and worship together, and we listen to the sermon to find inspiration for the week ahead.

The challenge comes when we leave that church building. Waiting for us outside those doors is a world filled with people who oppose our beliefs and want us to be silent.

In their eyes, it’s okay if we believe our silly little thoughts as long as we don’t talk about them or try to persuade anyone else to believe them.

Have you ever had someone tell you that you shouldn’t talk about your faith? I know I have! And it always takes me by surprise.

Yes, they want us to be silent. But our faith is bigger than them and it’s bigger than us too.

Bible verse about standing up for what is right

This quote from Jesus says “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32.

We have the truth because we have Jesus. We know who we serve, and we know what has been done for us.

So, it’s our job and our privilege to share our faith with the people around us. To stand up for what we believe in and tell them the good news so they can have the same assurance of freedom in the Lord Jesus Christ that we have.

Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say in 1 Corinthians 16:13 about this challenge every Christian faces.

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.

                                                   1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV

This is an inspirational Bible verse about standing up for what you believe in. And within this scripture, there are five distinct commands to follow. Let’s explore each one together and discover the meaning of stand firm in the faith.

#1 Watch

As women, we are taught to watch what is going on around us when we’re in a public place.

Our parents teach us when we are young girls not to talk to strangers. When we get a little older, we’re told not to park our car in a dark parking structure or next to a van. They say don’t go on long walks alone in a neighborhood park or on a blind date with someone we just met online.

We’re taught all of this to keep us safe from someone who may want to harm us physically. But this command, “Watch” is directed at our spiritual wellbeing.

Because there are people out there who are against our faith. And they would like nothing more than to cause us to doubt our beliefs. So, we should take this warning seriously. Be watchful and on alert. Be aware of who we surround ourselves with. And be mindful of what their agenda may be.

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#2 Stand Fast

As we just talked about, there are unsaved people out there who would like nothing more than to put doubt in our minds.

But there is another, more dangerous enemy to be on guard against. They are false teachers who sow confusion, not just in other religions, but within our own too.

These false teachers have a watered-down view of Christianity, or what I like to call the “rose-colored glasses” version of the Bible.

And they are not doing us any favors by misleading us about what the Bible says!

It is up to us to know what the Bible teaches and to stand fast in our faith, or as the NIV translation of the Bible puts it, stand firm in the faith.

I love that word, “firm”. It makes me think about Jesus being my firm foundation and the rock that I can stand on no matter what circumstance I face.

I hope when you hear the word firm, you have a similar image in your mind. Because our faith is built on the firm foundation and truth of Jesus Christ.

Our job here on earth is to stand fast in the faith. We are responsible for knowing the truth of God’s word for ourselves, understanding what is in it, and not allow false teachers to lead us astray.

Read More: Jesus is Our Firm Foundation

#3 Be Brave

It’s never fun to be called out and have to defend yourself. I get it, and I feel the same way. I don’t like confrontation either, it’s awkward and uncomfortable.

But we live in a world where our faith will be tested. We will be challenged, and we will be asked questions.

So when this happens, we have to be brave enough to face the challenge head-on. We can be ready with an answer and be willing to share our faith with an unbelieving world because we know the truth of God’s Word.

#4 Be Strong

Our society tells us that we are supposed to be politically correct. We shouldn’t say anything that might offend someone else. If we don’t agree, then we should just be polite and keep our mouths shut.

But God has not called Christians to be silent, He has called us to be strong.

Instead of silence, we should speak openly and plainly about our faith with those people who hold different beliefs and have questions about ours.

And we should be mindful that our words are always grounded in Biblical truth. If they are, then we should be strong enough to speak these truths with confidence knowing that God’s Word never returns void. (Isaiah 55:11)

#5 With Love

The four previous commands are forceful, maybe more forceful than we feel we should be sometimes.

But our Christian love for other people is the most important part of this equation.

Love is what binds us together and our love for the unsaved should be what motivates us to share our faith.

God doesn’t ask us to be judgmental or to beat people over the head with a Bible. Our kindness and love for our fellow man will go a lot farther than browbeating them ever could.

God wants us to show His love to an unbelieving world so that when they look at us, they can see Him.

Together we can show the love of Christ to those who need Him the most. With our love, we can be the beacon of light that shines the way to Jesus.

Read More: Why Should We Love One Another?

Sundays are a great day for us to get fired up for Jesus, and connect with other Christians. But our challenge is to live our life for Jesus every day of the week. When we do the benefits of standing firm in the Lord will speak for themselves.

The quote, actions speak louder than words, is very true. And our actions are important because the world is watching us.

What will they see? Someone who loves them with the love of Christ? Someone who is standing firm in the faith every day? Or are we just casual Christians going to church on Sunday and living our lives as we see fit the rest of the week?

I hope I am not that person. And my prayer is that I will be able to stand fast in my faith when challenged, have love for those people God puts in my life, and share the truth of Jesus with them.

How about you? Will you stand firm in your faith? Have the courage to live for Jesus every day? And share His love with those around you?

I pray you will join me in taking up this challenge to live for Jesus and stand firm in the faith every day of the week!

As always, May God bless you!

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2 Older Comments. (These comments cannot be replied to, but you are welcome to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.)

Sandra J.

10/27/2017 05:41:29 pm

Hi, I’m your neighbor at #FaithonFire and a first time visitor. I so appreciate this meditation from Scripture. Beautiful thoughts, beautiful verse! Blessings!

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

10/28/2017 09:17:41 am

Hi Sandra! I’m so glad you could stop by. Thank you for the encouraging comment. May God bless you!

By |2021-08-31T17:32:49-05:00August 9th, 2021|Christian Life, Faith|0 Comments

What does Taste and See that the Lord is good mean? Psalm 34:8

What does taste and see that the Lord is good mean? Find out with this taste and see scripture from Psalm 34:8

We experience the world through our senses. They give us the ability to understand our surroundings and enjoy life. This taste and see scripture from Psalm 34:8 gives us an exciting invitation to experience the goodness of God through two of our God-given senses…

 

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;

Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.

                                         Psalm 34:8

What does Taste and See that the Lord is good mean?

The sense of taste has the power to take us to unseen places. Sometimes, it’s a faraway locale or a dream vacation in the making. And other times it’s back in time to a special memory of sharing a meal with loved ones.

I love to watch those TV shows about cooking. You know the ones where the host describes what their food tastes like for the viewing audience. The sweetness of a strawberry shortcake, how the spongy cake mingles with the buttery cream and rich berries. The flaky crust and gooey, warm filling of a tart cherry pie. Or a spicy, hot enchilada. The way the flavors burst in your mouth and fill your taste buds with pleasure!

And I love to taste the flavors of my childhood. My Granny made the most scrumptious chicken and dumplings and the most delicious biscuits and gravy imaginable! With each yummy bite, I’m transported to a different time and place. Happy memories of my family gathered around the table, laughing and living life together fill my soul while I’m filling my tummy.

But the sense of taste isn’t something you can learn from someone else. It’s something you must experience for yourself. You can listen all day long to someone describe the flavors, but to taste them, you have to actually put the food in your mouth and eat it.

Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord

In the same way that we can taste our favorite foods and savor them, we can also enjoy God’s goodness. But this taste and see scripture teaches us, if want the goodness of the Lord in our life, we need to be intentional about it. Once we’ve developed a relationship with God by feeding our minds with His Word and by putting our trust in Him, we’ll experience the fullness of God’s blessings toward us.

But tasting God’s goodness is just the beginning! Because…

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Seeing is Believing

The experience of tasting leads us to seeing. And seeing is believing. If we believe in our hearts that God is good, then our eyes will be open to seeing His goodness on display in our lives every day.

God has given each of us many blessings. Through the simple things like getting us to and from work safely every day, to the big earth-shattering moments where life takes an unexpected turn, the goodness of God never changes.

And we’re able to see God’s blessings just like we can see the beauty of a sunset with its brilliant colors fading into each other. The vast ocean with its sandy beach. A babbling brook, cool and blue. Or a rolling hillside, lush and green. Think of all of the amazing sights God has created for us to see!

 

God is good

God is good all the time! And the outcome of both tasting and seeing, is believing in the goodness of God. Through both the good and bad times, God shows His true colors by blessing us with mercy and compassion. Because He is good, we are able to taste and see His goodness surrounding us when we need Him the most. He loves us and wants to share His goodness with us.

So, if you want to see the goodness of God and His and blessings, just taste and see them for yourself today!

P.S. If you need a little more inspiration… This taste and see song always shows me a glimpse of God’s goodness!

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By |2021-08-08T18:57:43-05:00August 8th, 2021|Christian Life, Summer|7 Comments

Race to the Finish – 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

Race to the Finish 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

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. 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. Therefore I run thus: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into submission, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
                                                                                          

                                                            1 Corinthians 9:24-27

During Biblical times, there was an athletic competition similar to our Olympics. The Isthmian Games where held in the city of Corinth every two years. Athletes would train hard and devote themselves completely to the Games. Then, and only then, they would be allowed to compete in an event. Along with the bragging rights of a true companion, the winner would receive a pine wreath crown. The Apostle Paul likened the life of a Christian to that of a competitor in the Isthmian Games. But instead of bragging rights and a crown of pine, after we have run the race, we receive eternal life with Jesus.

There are certain qualities that an athlete must have in order to perform at the Olympic level. And I thought it would be fun to look at some of these qualities and compare them to what we as Christians can do to perform at a top level in our walk with Christ.

First, we need a Goal.

Every athlete has a goal in mind when they practice and when they compete. Without a goal, there wouldn’t be a desire to win or a reason to show up at the competition. That goal is their main focus in life and their eye is always on it. They are always in pursuit of their goal and nothing will stop them from achieving it.

Every Christian has a call from God on their life, and each of us should set our goal on that call. We should be pressing forward or deliberately pursuing that goal. Just as an athlete sets their eyes on the gold medal or a Super Bowl ring, we must set our eyes on Jesus and make sure that He is the main focus of our lives. He is what we are pressing toward. His call on our life is the goal, and nothing will keep us from getting to that goal.

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Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                              Philippians 3:13-14

Second, we must work hard and show Discipline.

It takes hard work to get from the goal to the prize. We tend to think that people are born with a natural ability to be a top-tier athlete. Either you have it, or you don’t. But an athlete needs discipline to reach the top of the podium. It is everyday practice and discipline that makes them able to train their bodies to perform at such a high level. Discipline makes them get out of bed every day and practice, even when their body is tired or injured. Discipline propels them forward when nothing else will. Discipline is what creates winners.

Just as an athlete needs discipline to go from a goal to the prize, we also need discipline in our daily lives. We should be training ourselves by praying, reading and mediating on God’s Word. These are some of the ways that we can work to put our faith into practice every day. When we do, God promises that we will be rewarded for our efforts and our goal will become closer and closer.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
                                                                                          1 Corinthians 15:58
                           
Third, we should have endurance and Perseverance.

A track runner is trained to only see the hurdle in front of them, not to look past it for the next one. They jump over the first hurdle, then move on to the next. Eventually, they get to the last hurdle, and then the finish line is in sight. They show perseverance through each hurdle until the race is over.

That’s how we need to be, focused on what God has put right in front of us. There will always hurdles to overcome in life and many things will distract us from our goal. At times the finish line will seem to be just out of sight. But when we have perseverance and look to Jesus, “the finisher of the faith” we will be able to run with endurance and see the finish line clearly up ahead.  

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
                                                                                             Hebrews 12:1-2

It’s easy to feel weighed down and discouraged. When you don’t see any forward movement the finish line seems so far away. But Jesus has already won the victory for us! And when we set our goal on Him and run the race before us, we will receive everything we need to make it to that goal. We can race to the finish with confidence in our Savior Jesus Christ.

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By |2021-07-18T15:49:23-05:00July 18th, 2021|4th of July, Christian Life|0 Comments

Monday Motivation- All Thy Breakers Psalm 42:7

Do you feel overwhelmed by life? Does it seem like you go from one crisis to the next? The psalmist understood this perfectly when he wrote, All Your breakers and Your waves have passed over me. If it feels like you’re drowning, this Bible Verse for Hard Times has the answer… Turn to Jesus and allow Him to rescue you from the deep!

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The Blood of Jesus -Luke 22:20

The Blood of Jesus Luke 22:20

Nothing But the Blood of Jesus

I grew up singing the song Nothing but the Blood of Jesus in church most Sundays. And I bet you did too. The lyrics of this song have a significant meaning to all Christians. It speaks to the power of the blood of Jesus. However, it’s not something I gave a lot of thought to until it was brought to my attention.

Recently, I was asked, “Why do you sing songs about the blood of Jesus in church? Isn’t it a little bit macabre to sing about blood?”

I admit, these questions jolted me out of my “Christian bubble”. It seems so normal to me to sing about the blood of Jesus. But it’s something we should think about and discuss in detail.

So, today I’d like to take you through some of the blood of Jesus scriptures that shed meaning on the significance of the blood of Christ.

 

What does Luke 22:20 mean?

 

This cup is a new covenant in My blood, which was shed for you.

                                                   Luke 22:20 NKJV

A few times each year we participate in the Lord’s Supper. Or if you’re Catholic you probably do it more often and call it Communion. Either way, it is the remembrance of the body and blood of Jesus.

In this Bible verse from Luke 22, Jesus commanded us to remember His sacrifice and the blood He shed for us on the cross through the Lord’s supper.

Because it’s by His blood sacrifice that we are redeemed and have victory over death.

But why do we need a blood sacrifice, to begin with?

Significance of Blood Sacrifice in the Old Testament

To understand the importance of the blood of Jesus, we need to look at the Old Testament covenant when people lived under the Law of Moses.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.

                                                    Leviticus 17: 11 NKJV

 

God has given blood a significant role to play in our lives. It has the power to atone for our sin.

And before Jesus came to earth, people were required to sacrifice animals for this atonement.

But this redemption was only temporary, and another sacrifice was required to stay within the grace of God.

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Importance of the Blood of Jesus

What does the blood of Jesus do for us? Why do we talk about it so much, even celebrate it? And why is His blood so important?

Because Blood = Life!

If there is no blood, then there is no life.

Just as it is true that without blood in our bodies we will die physically, the same is true, that without a blood sacrifice we will die spiritually.

But there is life in the blood of Jesus.

That’s why God sent Jesus to be our sacrifice. He died once and saved us from our sin permanently.

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

                                                  Hebrews 9:12 NKJV

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Saved by the Blood of Jesus

When Jesus died on the cross a new covenant between God and His people was formed. We no longer live under Old Testament law, and we no longer need to sacrifice animals for our sins.

Under the blood of Jesus and this new covenant, our salvation comes directly from the blood sacrifice of Jesus. And one drop of His blood has the power to save us eternally!

 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.                                              

                                                Hebrews 10:14 NIV

 

Because Jesus is perfect, His sacrifice is also perfect. It doesn’t need to be repeated over and over again.

It is His selfless sacrifice on the cross that washes away our sin and gives us eternal life with Him.

Read More: Why Should We Love One Another? 1 John 4:7

The Precious Blood of Jesus

 

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

                                                  1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

We were bought for a price. Not an earthy cost of silver or gold.

But with the precious blood of Jesus.

He is the Lamb who was slain for us. His precious blood flowing over us cleanses us of all unrighteousness and redeems us of all sin and shame.

Because of His sacrifice, we can call ourselves children of God!

The Blood that Jesus Shed for Me

The blood that Jesus shed is the only way to salvation. And all you need to do to share in this redemption is…

First, believe Jesus is the Son of God.

Second, know He died for your sins.

And lastly, accept Him as your Savior.

He has already done the rest!

Here’s how the Bible Verse from 1 John explains it…

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

                                                   1 John 1:7-9 NKJV

If you are not a believer in Jesus, my prayer is for you to understand the sacrifice He made for your sins on the cross and see His great love for you today.

If want to know what the blood of Jesus can do in your life, or you have questions about what it means to accept Jesus as your Savior… please read “Accepting Jesus”.

You’ll find a list of scriptures that will answer your questions in this short devotional. I also encourage you to talk to a minister at a church in your area. I know they’ll be happy to explain anything I may have left out.

If you are saved, then I rejoice with you that you are redeemed. And your sins are forgiven and washed away by the blood of Jesus!

I pray you’ll be encouraged and uplifted today by this reminder of what the blood of Christ has done for you!

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By |2021-09-18T16:35:12-05:00June 26th, 2021|Christ, Christian Life, Halloween, Jesus|0 Comments

Courageous Bible Verses for Memorial Day

Courageous Bible Verses for Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a special time when we celebrate both the fallen and active members of our military. Through their dedicated service and selfless sacrifice, they have blessed us with the gift of a free society.

As we honor them this holiday, let’s also remember the most precious gift ever given, salvation. Through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we have received a different kind of freedom. Sin and shame no longer have a hold on us. We have been set free from them for all eternity!

These Courageous Bible Verses for Memorial Day celebrate the freedom we have in knowing Jesus, remind us of His great sacrifice and give us the courage to face each new challenge.

May you be blessed with courage, and live free in Jesus today!

 Bible Verses about Sacrifice

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

                                                             John 15:13

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 

                                                           Romans 12:10

 

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

                                                           1 John 3:16

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

Bible Verses about Courage

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

                                                         Deuteronomy 31:6

 

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

                                                          Deuteronomy 31:8

 

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law;  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

                                                        1 Corinthians 15:56-57

 

for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

                                                       1 John 5:4-5

 

Bible Verses about Freedom

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

                                                      Galatians 5:1

 

Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.

                                                     Psalm 146:7

 

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

                                                  Romans 6:22

 

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

                                                    John 8:36

 

With the truth of these Memorial Day Bible Verses, we can live courageously for Jesus and share His love with everyone we meet each day!

I pray you’ll be blessed with liberty and justice knowing Jesus has made you free!

Happy Memorial Day!

Inspiring Printables from Master’s Hand Collection

Victory B&W Printable Card
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B&W Collection Printable Art

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By |2021-05-24T14:30:26-05:00May 24th, 2021|Bible Study, Bible Verses, Christian Life|0 Comments

In His Presence Is Fullness of Joy Psalm 16:11

In His Presence is Fullness of Joy Psalm 16:11

Psalm 16:11 tells us… in His presence is fullness of joy. In this devotional, we’ll examine this scripture and discover the meaning behind it.

What does it mean in His presence is fullness of joy?

For the answer to this pivotal question, let’s read the Bible Verse that reveals the path to true happiness and fullness of joy…

 In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

        Psalm 16:11 NKJV                                                                        

 

 

To fully grasp the meaning of Psalm 16, we need to understand why David wrote this Bible verse in the first place.

When David penned these words, he was facing dire circumstances. He was on the run, hiding out, and waiting for the king’s army to find him and kill him. A painful death seemed absolute.

On the surface that doesn’t sound like a reason to be full of joy.

But David was able to look past the hardship and see the goodness of God.

He understood that true joy doesn’t rely on the outward circumstances we face each day.

Instead, it is a loving relationship with the Creator of the world that gives us a reason to rejoice, even in the worst of times.

That’s why David could say… in Your presence there is fullness of joy!

What does being in the presence of God mean?

Simply being in God’s presence brings joy into our lives.

There is nothing too big for Him to conquer and nothing too small for Him to care about. Whatever comes our way, God and His presence are always with us.

There are two ways God’s presence stays with us.

First, we have an audience with the Ruler of the Universe through prayer. No matter what time of day it is, we can take our troubles to Him and find joy in His presence.

Second, through the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we are in constant contact with our Heavenly Father. He resides in us, and we reside in Him.

It is a blessing from the Lord to reside with Him every day. And because of our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been granted this great honor.

Here’s how Psalm 21 describes this unending blessing…

Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

                                                  Psalm 21:6 NIV

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

What is the meaning of fullness of joy?

 

In the Bible fullness of joy represents rejoicing and gladness. It’s a celebration of who God is and all He does for us every day.

Joy is not a fleeting feeling, here one minute and then gone the next. It has nothing to do with our outward circumstances, or whether or not we feel happiness in the moment.

For Christians, joy is a state of being. Something that remains inside of us no matter what is going on in our lives. And we receive our joy from the Creator of joy, the Lord Jesus.

With gladness and rejoicing, we can enter the presence of God, day or night, and find fullness of joy simply because we know Jesus.

Here’s what Jesus told us about this kind of joy…

 

But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

                                                       John 17:13 NKJV

 

This is the prayer Jesus prayed for His disciples and for us… that His joy would be fulfilled in us.

The scriptures impress upon us the importance of building our joy on the truth of who Jesus is. And not on anything we may find in the world.

By putting our faith in Jesus, we have His joy in us. And by trusting in Him as our Savior, our joy is complete.

Jesus is the true meaning of fullness of Joy!

Read More: You Will Show Me the Path of Life

What is the meaning of at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore?

At God’s right hand sits our Savior, Jesus Christ.

In Him, we find salvation, acceptance, and pleasure, in spite of our current circumstances.

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

                                                      Colossians 3:1 NASB

 

We have a new life in Christ, one that doesn’t end with physical death.

And in this verse from Colossians 3, the Apostle Paul encourages us to keep seeking heavenly things. These are the things that matter, and the things that will last beyond this life.

All of Psalm 16 points to the birth, death, and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus.

And the “pleasures forevermore” we experience, are the things we’ll have when we’re in heaven with Him for all eternity! They are our reward for a life lived for Jesus.

Psalm 16:11 is a moving scripture of praise and rejoicing. It shows us how to live in Christ Jesus, even though we face hardship and pain in this life.

Read More: A Reason to Rejoice and Be Glad Psalm 118:24

What does being full of joy mean?

And in my life, I’ve had a great example of how to live out this joyful Bible verse.

My Granny exemplified the meaning of fullness of joy in so many ways.

She was many things, tough, independent, smart, funny, loving and most of all… full of joy.

No matter what life threw at her, she had joy deep within!

At first glance, it doesn’t look like Granny had a lot to be happy about.

She began cleaning houses at eleven years old to pay the family’s rent. By this time, her father was elderly, and her mother was ill. So, it was up to her to provide for the family.

When she was sixteen, Granny got married and had four kids right away. Life looked like it was shaping up.

But tragedy struck her young family. Granny’s daughter died suddenly at only one-month-old. The same year, she lost her grandmother and her mother. The loss of all three in such a short time was devastating.

Years later, tragedy struck again. Her son was murdered. This loss meant two of her four children were gone before their time. The heartbreak was almost unbearable.

The grieving process was hard for Granny. There were many tears shed and memories shared. And there was, yes, laughter.

Granny wasn’t afraid to cry, but she wasn’t afraid to laugh either.

She reminisced about the good times and talked about the bad without fear. She remembered her loved ones who were gone too soon. And she remained joyful in spite of the hardships in her life.

 

How is it possible to have fullness of joy when everything is against you?

Granny showed me how to do many things in life. But the one I remember most is the way that she shared her joyful spirit with everyone around her.

Like David, she chose to walk with God through every circumstance, good or bad.

Knowing Jesus and walking hand in hand with Him gave her the confidence to live life fully and with joy.

Because she understood the meaning of in His presence there is fullness of joy.

We may not feel joy at times. But we don’t have to look far to find it, because God has promised us that in His presence there is fullness of joy.

If you feel like joy is something out of reach in your life. Enter God’s presence. Pray and ask Him to help you. He will show you the meaning of… in His presence is fullness of joy!

Joy Black and White Bible Verse Wall Art

Joy Black and White Bible Verse Art by Master's Hand Collection

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By |2021-09-16T12:40:32-05:00May 22nd, 2021|Christian Life, Joy|1 Comment

Victory In Jesus – 1 Corinthians 15:57

Victory In Jesus 1 Corinthains 15:57

Do you ever think… How can I have victory in Jesus?

It’s that one simple word, victory, that makes all the difference when you’re facing an uphill battle.

What do you think of when you hear the word, Victory?

Maybe you think of gladiators entering the arena with one goal in mind… total victory. They fight hard, overcome obstacles, and if they are victorious, win their freedom.

Or maybe you think of a Civil War soldier marching through a field, his rifle raised as he faces a brutal battle. His future is uncertain, and he doesn’t know if he’ll ever see home again, but he’s fighting for the glory of the cause he believes in.

In our lives, it’s in the name of Jesus we have victory over the battle in front of us each day.

This victory in Jesus scripture from 1 Corinthians 15:57 paints the picture of a battle already fought and won…

 

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

                                                 1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV

 

Jesus our Victory

Just like a Roman gladiator or a Civil war soldier, Jesus had an uphill battle to climb. Except in His case, the fate of the world was on His shoulders.

I can only imagine how Jesus must have felt as the Romans led Him up to Golgotha. He was facing the pain and agony of the cross, but He was also promised victory over death.

He had prayed for this cup to be taken from Him, but He chose to die a sinner’s death in our place anyway.

On the cross, death and sin were conquered. And just as God the Father had promised, when Jesus rose again, He had the victory! And through His resurrection, we can have victory too!

Read: Jesus is Our Firm Foundation Matthew 7:24-27

 

Claiming Victory in Jesus

Jesus doesn’t keep His victory all for Himself. He gives it to those of us who believe in Him.

As Christians, we are active participants in the victory of Jesus! All we have to do is claim that victory as our own.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the great hymn Victory in Jesus. The lyrics say…

 

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood

But Victory in Jesus is more than a song we sing in church. It’s a way of life for every Christian. We have been bought with and redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

Watch the Victory of Jesus lyrics displayed beautifully in ASL 

As Christians we are active participants in the victory of Jesus! #BibleStudyClick To Tweet

So, let’s look at some more Bible verses about victory in Jesus and see how to claim His victory for yourself each day.

Have Faith and you’ll be victorious in Christ

And this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

                                                                      1 John 5:4-5

 

To be victorious in Jesus, we must accept Him as our Savior. When we do, we no longer live our life for or take comfort in the things of this world. If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for our sins, then our faith in Him has already given us the victory we are looking for.

If you have not put your faith in Jesus, now is the time. Do it right now and claim the victory in Jesus name for yourself!

Find out more about Accepting Jesus

If you are already saved, then be encouraged, you have victory over death and sin through your faith in Jesus.

Believe that God is on your side and you’ll have victory

for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

                                               Deuteronomy 20:4

In this life we will always have hardships. If you are not currently in a crisis, then you soon will be. It may be financial, emotional, physical, or spiritual, but you can bet your bottom dollar you will wake up tomorrow facing some kind of conflict.

But no matter what this world throws at you, God will be there with you, fighting the battle for you. He is on your side, and He will see you through it.

He has already won the battle and given the victory to you!

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

Read: Jesus Name Above All Names Philippians 2:7-9

Prepare for Victory and you’ll win the battle

The horse is prepared for the day of battle,

But the victory belongs to the Lord.

                                             Proverbs 21:31

A soldier gets ready for the battle. He puts on his armor, readies his weapon, and prepares his horse to ride out onto the field.

Just like the soldier, we should also prepare ourselves for the battle ahead. Although, our weapons are a little different, they are just as effective in waging war. Praying, reading the Word, and seeking God’s will, these are the weapons we use as Christians in our spiritual battle.

But no matter how many preparations we make or how confidant we are in our abilities, we must always remember that true victory belongs to Jesus. And we can only achieve victory by placing our trust in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

A victorious Christian life is not a perfect life. We make mistakes, and we have pain and hurt sometimes. But we keep moving ahead, fighting the good fight. Because we know that we have already won the battle. And we have victory in Jesus!

No matter what battle you’re facing…Keep fighting. Don’t give up. You are victorious!

Victory In Jesus Bible Verse Art

Bible Verse art Victory B&W Graphic by Master's Hand Collection

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Did you know that only 2 percent of deaf people have “heard” the good news of Jesus?

When you purchase any Master’s Hand Collection item, 10 percent of all proceeds are donated to deaf ministries around the world. THANK YOU for helping to spread the gospel to this underserved community.

May God bless you greatly!

By |2021-08-29T15:20:58-05:00March 1st, 2021|Christian Life, Jesus|4 Comments

Seeing God’s Hand

Seeing God's Hand

Imagine seeing God’s hand in your life.

What would it look like? How would it feel?

If you move in Christian circles, you’ve probably heard someone say, ”I saw God’s hand in my life!”. It’s a phrase that comes up often in conversations with other Christians or in testimonies given at church.

But what exactly does seeing God’s hand in your life mean? Is this something you’re supposed to look for? Or is it already there?

These questions have been on my mind a lot lately. Because it seems we’re all searching for God’s hand in our lives.

So, in our quest, I decided to write two devotional Bible Studies to help us see God’s hand.

How to See God’s Hand

The first is… 7 Simple Ways to See God’s Hand in Your Life. In it we’ll answer the burning question, how can I see God’s hand in my life right now?

This devotional is completely free to download and written to encourage and uplift you on the journey to seeing God’s hand.

As you work your way through this short (and free 😊) Bible Study, you’ll uncover some simple ways to see God’s hand in your life today…

Filled with scripture after scripture about God’s hand you’ll realize…

A new beginning starts on Day 1, as you learn to Walk Hand in Hand with God.

On Day 2 you’ll discover the true nature of your relationship with God and the simple fact that you are Inscribed on His Hand.

 

Day 3 brings you face to face with the answer to the very real struggles you experience every day and how to be Protected Under a Mighty Hand.

The truth you’ll explore on Day 4 shows A Generous Hand who goes above and beyond to provide all you need.

Day 5 offers hope for your weakest moments. When you are at your lowest you can count on The Strength of God’s Hand.

On Day 6 you’ll learn where real security comes as you realize you’re Secure in His Hand.

 

Day 7 isn’t just a game changer, it’s a Life Changer!  I don’t want to spoil the surprise and reveal too much, but I promise it will turn everything you thought you knew about your relationship with Jesus upside down!

So, I hope you’ll resist the temptation to skip ahead, because each of the six lessons leads up to this life-changing truth!

If you’re ready, claim your FREE copy of 7 Simple Ways to See God’s Hand in Your Life today!

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

What does the hand of God represent?

The second is… Seeing God’s Hand Through the Art of Sign Language. In this art and devotional book, you’ll dive deeper into what Seeing God’s Hand means.

As the title suggests, the artwork I’ve created, Master’s Hand Collection, gives you a visual representation of God’s hand. Because I believe if you can see the hand of God in your life clearly, it will strengthen your faith and encourage your daily walk with Jesus.

Each picture in the collection spells out an inspirational word in American Sign Language or ASL. Those words and the Bible verse they represent are the jumping off point for your deep dive into God’s Word and my way of showing you God’s hand in the everyday struggles we face.

Because the truth is… We’re all struggling with something. And we know if we could just see the Lord’s hands and grab ahold of them, our lives would be changed forever.

I know that sounds difficult…

But what if I told you seeing God’s hand is easy if you know where to look? Would you give it a try?

Through each of the fourteen devotionals and accompanying artwork in Seeing God’s Hand, a new aspect of God’s character and how His hand is working behind the scenes of your life every day will be revealed.

You’ll…

Recognize God’s hand reaching down with Grace.

Find Joy in the healing touch of Jesus.

Discover a foundation of Love God is building just for you.

Receive an offer of Hope to get through any circumstance.

Experience lasting Peace from knowing whose hand you’re in.

Plus, nine more devotions, all aimed at helping you see God’s hand.

By the end of our time together, His hand will become “visible” as you dive deep with me into the truth of scripture and start Seeing God’s Hand Through the Art of Sign Language…

Buy your copy of Seeing God’s Hand Through the Art of Sign Language on Amazon today!

Seeing God's Hand by Master's Hand Collection

The meaning of Seeing God’s hand is simple.

It’s an image of the divine interaction between God and His people. And it’s God’s characteristics, His very nature, that are on display when we feel His healing touch.

And just like the anonymous quote tells us… The more you leave everything in God’s hand, the more you’ll see His hand in everything!

Both of these devotionals were designed to help you along the path to Seeing God’s Hand. I hope you’ll read one or both of them and experience the blessing of God’s hand in your life today!

Because sometimes all you can do is leave it in God’s hands. So, give it all to Him and before long you’ll be able to say… I can see the hand of God in my life!

Hand of God Art from Master’s Hand Collection

artwork titled Love One Another by Master's Hand Collection

“Love One Another”

Christian art titled Jesus Name Above All Names by Master's Hand Collection

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“God of Hope”

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“Faith B&W”

artwork titled By Grace by Master's Hand Collection

“By Grace”

Christian art titled Jesus No Other Name by Master's Hand Collection

“Jesus No Other Name”

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By |2021-08-26T13:02:20-05:00February 25th, 2021|Christian Life, God's hand|3 Comments

Your Labor is Not in Vain – 1 Corinthians 15:58

Your Labor is Not in Vain 1 Corinthians 15:58

What does the Bible say about laboring in vain?

Does it seem like no matter how hard you work nothing ever changes? Are you worn out from the demands of daily life?

Believe me, I feel your pain. We’ve all been there and sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get through it.

No matter how weary or exhausted you feel right now, God doesn’t want you to remain there. He wants you to be energized and ready to take on the world. So, He gave us some much-needed inspiration for a time such as this. Here’s His promise for a worn-out, down-right tired heart.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
                                                                                                                                         1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

What does your labor is not in vain mean?

Let’s break down 1 Corinthians 15:58 into bite-sized pieces and find out exactly what Paul meant when he wrote this Bible verse that says your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

My beloved brethren…

Like many of the promises within the Bible, this one is meant for us, the body of Christ, and not the whole world. God has so much that He wants to give us, but we must be a believer first in order to be partakers of His promises.

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
                                                                                    2 Peter 1:3-4

Steadfast…

We are to be focused on Jesus and to continue focusing on Him even when life throws us a curveball. At times, it can seem to be a hard task, but if we remain steadfast we will see a real change happening. Instead of the daily chaos of life, that steadfast attitude will turn into a peace that stays with us.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
                                                                                  Philippians 4:7

Read: Victory in Jesus 1 Corinthians 15:57

Immovable…

Many people have called me stubborn over the years and I’m sure they didn’t mean it as a compliment. 😉 While being stubborn about silly things that don’t matter is not the right way to be, stubbornness in Godly things is always good. The Apostle Paul is calling on us to not be wishy-washy, but instead to stand firm and keep the faith when it really does matter. We know that God does not change, His ways are always the same. Likewise, we are to be, stubborn, single-minded, and unmovable in the ways of Christ.

God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.
                                                              Psalm 46:5

Read: Will You Stand Firn in the Faith? 1 Corinthians 16:13

Always abounding…

As I read this verse, the catchphrase, “under promise and over deliver comes to mind”. It’s about an abundance of love for our fellow man that flows out of us and covers them with the love of Christ. And it’s about going that extra mile even when we’re tired and exhausted because we want them to understand exactly who Jesus is and what He means in their life.

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
                                                                                   Hebrews 13:16

Work of the Lord…

The work of the Lord is wide and varied. It can mean different things to each one of us. So the question becomes, what has God asked of you specifically? At home? At work? At church? And in any other area of your life? If you are unsure of God’s plan for you, simply ask Him. He will tell you. Then when you have the answer, you can put it into practice in a way that is pleasing to Him.

equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen.
                                                                                   Hebrews 13:21

Not in vain…

Did you know God will reward you for your good works? Whatever we do for the kingdom of God, our labor is not in vain. God has promised to reward us for our efforts. That reward may come in this life, and wouldn’t that be great? But if not in this life, our reward will definitely be waiting for us in the next.

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
                                                                                  Revelation 22:12

When we labor for the Lord we lose nothing and gain everything. He has promised to equip us with what we need for the work He has given us. And He has promised to repay us a hundredfold for our sacrifice.

So, my dear friend and fellow laborer, my prayer for you today is that you will not lose heart when fatigue sets in and that God will energize you for the work ahead. May God bless you and give you rest! And may you see your efforts are not in vain in the Lord!

Christian Art Victory B&W Graphic by Master's Hand Collection

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By |2021-08-29T12:58:23-05:00February 18th, 2021|Christian Life, Jesus|0 Comments

Does the Devil Know Your Name? -Acts 19:15

Does the Devil Know Your Name? Acts 19:15

Does the Devil Know Your Name?

If you’re a Christian the simple answer is yes.

But for a deeper explanation let’s read Acts 19 and uncover the meaning of this scripture…

 

But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”                     

And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

                                                                                    Acts 19:13;15

The devil may seem like a strange topic for us to study. In our society, you just don’t talk about Satan and his demons, unless you want people to point at you and call you crazy.

That being said, the devil and his demons are very real and they are out to take down Christians any way they can.

As Christians, there is an important lesson for us to take away from this verse from Acts 19:14. Its meaning plays an extraordinary role in our lives as Christians.

The words spoken by the evil spirit are very interesting. And they lead us to three very important conclusions.

 

Jesus

First, the demon says he recognizes Jesus.

Satan and his demons were once angels and had direct access to God. (Revelation 12:9) They don’t dispute the fact that Jesus is the Son of God because they know that it is true. They know exactly who Jesus is and what He has done for humanity.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

The Apostle Paul

Second, the demon knows about Paul.

Paul was on fire for Jesus! Everywhere he went he was preaching the gospel and winning people to the kingdom of God. The devil and his demons were very aware of this. If we back up a bit and look at Acts 19:11-12 we can see exactly what Paul was doing.

And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.

As Paul was traveling through Ephesus God was allowing him to perform miracles and cast out evil spirits because of his faith in the Lord Jesus.

When we think of the city of Ephesus, we usually think of the very inspiring book of Ephesians written by the Apostle Paul. But during Biblical times, Ephesus was known as a place full of false magicians and wizards who would use incantations.

When the people of Ephesus saw the miracles that Paul was able to perform in the name of Jesus, they started talking about it and word caught on to what he was doing. Some men (the exorcists in verse 13) decided that they would do the same thing for their own purposes, probably to make money. But they had a problem, they didn’t know Jesus so they couldn’t perform the same miracles that Paul did. They didn’t understand that it was God and the name of Jesus that had the power, not Paul.

 For more about Satan in the Bible read, How to Resist the Devil.

Christians

Third, the evil spirit asks, “Who are you?”

This is the part I would like for us to focus on because it pertains to us too. These men didn’t have a good answer ready for the evil spirit, but as Christians we do! We know Jesus! That’s who we are!

So, back to the question, “Does the devil know your name?” I’m confident that he knows mine! He loves to come around and torment me with my past mistakes. He likes to put doubt in my mind and tell me that I’m no good. And he likes to distract me from the things God would have me to do.

Growing up I was afraid of Satan. Isn’t that what we’re taught? Satan is the bad guy and we’re supposed to fear him. But over the years I’ve developed a new outlook.

I think Satan should fear me! Like Paul, I’m on fire for Jesus and I hope you are too! My goal in life is to lift the name of Jesus high so that everyone will know Him as their Savior.

That might get me brownie points in heaven, but it puts a target on my back with Satan and his demons. But that’s okay with me because no matter what Satan does to me, I will always belong to Jesus. I know that I am forgiven for the things in my past I’ve done wrong, and I will be with Jesus in heaven someday.

Let’s be clear, Satan is actively seeking to destroy us. (1 Peter 5:8) If he can’t destroy us, then he’ll try to cause us to become ineffective Christians. As long as we don’t tell other people about Jesus or do the good works of the church, Satan will leave us alone. But as soon as we decide that we are going to live for Jesus one hundred percent, you can bet that he will know our name.

Because here’s the thing, there’s another word for the devil we should address… accuser.

Satan the Accuser has many tricks up his sleeve, and he will use every one of them to try to hurt us. He knows exactly which buttons to push. For some of us, it’s doubt, or illness, or reminding us of our past failures and sins. For others, like myself, it’s distraction. No matter which trick he pulls, you can always count on Satan to knock you down and kick you in the teeth when you least expect it. That’s what he does best, and he relishes in seeing Christians suffer.

While the devil is our accuser, Jesus is our advocate. He is on our side and fighting our battles every day. He is greater than any enemy we face. And Satan and his demons are no match for Jesus. He is already victorious over the powers of darkness! And because we are saved, we share in that victory.

As believers, we don’t need to fear the devil or listen to his accusations, because Jesus has already defeated him. There is nothing that Satan can do to us that will ever change the fact that we belong to Jesus, and he knows it.

Christians are called to be outspoken about our faith in Jesus Christ. If we speak up and show up for Jesus, the world will hate us just as they hated Him. And the devil will hate us too.

But really, what does it matter if someone as small and insignificant as Satan hates us? Jesus is the Son of God, our Redeemer, and the Savior of the world.

At this point you may be asking… does the devil know my name?

If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the answer is yes! But you don’t need to be scared of the devil or his demons. They are easy to control with one simple word, the name of Jesus!

Satan cowers in fear and hides at the name of Jesus, the name above all names. So, when Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. You know, that whole “lake of fire” thing, where the devil, his demons, and everything they’ve done will be burned to a crisp. (Revelation 20:10)

What would I say if I was asked the question, Does the devil know your name today? My answer would simply be this, “I’m the girl that knows Jesus by heart and I’m the girl He died for!” That answer alone is enough to send the devil and all of his demons running scared.

What would your answer be? Let me know in the comments below.

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By |2021-08-19T14:03:32-05:00January 11th, 2021|Christian Life, Halloween|21 Comments

A Promise of Hope in Uncertain Times

A Promise of Hope in Uncertain Times

Last year God gave me a challenge.

but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

                                                       2 Peter 3:18 

In January, I thought this challenge to grow in grace meant spending more time reading my Bible and more time praying and connecting with God. It seemed straight forward enough.

But by mid-March, our world was turned upside down. And along with it, this seemly simple challenge from God was too.

Truthfully, I totally forgot about it while we were reeling from the impact of coronavirus on our lives. But as we moved through the beginning stages of the pandemic, I realized exactly what God had challenged me to do.

It was bigger than simply reading my Bible and praying more. It was about seeing God for who He truly is. And how no matter what terrible thing comes my way, He is still in control!

This challenge forced me to stretch farther than ever before. And it changed me in ways I never could have dreamed of.

After everything we’ve endured this past year, you’re probably feeling the same way. 2020 gave us a new perspective on life and more importantly on our relationship with the One True God.

If you missed this challenge, don’t worry, you can still read it and take part in it by reading the Bible Study 3 Ways to Grow In Grace.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

Now it’s a new year and a new opportunity to grow closer to God!

This year, God is doing something new. Instead of a challenge, He’s given us a promise.

A Promise of Hope in Uncertain Times!

Here’s the Bible Verse God has placed on my heart for this year…

 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

                                                                                                                      Romans 8:28

 

You might have noticed, the word “hope” doesn’t appear in this verse. But it’s there. Loud and clear.

Within it, there’s a promise of hope in uncertain times. Because that’s exactly what we’re living through.

We have no idea what tomorrow will look like or how long our lives will be this way. So right now, the future seems like a hazy faraway dream. It’s a stark contrast to how we saw the future this time last year. Back then we thought we knew exactly how our lives would play out. We could see it so clearly and plan accordingly.

But even though our lives are in limbo right now, this promise laid out in Romans 8:28 gives us hope that everything we’re going through will turn around. Because that’s what hope is… an expectation that our current circumstances will change for the better.

So even with a hazy future looming over us, one thing is certain… God is offering us hope during the difficult parts of our life and for a brighter future to come.

So, let’s break down this verse and look at each part of this amazing promise of hope in uncertain times…

 

we know…

This verse starts us off on the right foot with a statement, a fact, that we know with absolute certainty who holds our future in His hand.

If we possess this knowledge, then we can have complete confidence that the One who saved us will see us through this hardship.

He reached down and rescued us from the miry pit. (Psalm 40:2) So why do we wonder if He’ll do it again?

all things…

When we read this verse, we usually think of all the good things that happen in our lives. It’s pretty natural to want to focus on the positive and put all of the bad stuff out on our minds. And it’s true, God will use all of the good stuff to bring about His plan for us.

But this phrase “all things” actually refers to suffering. It means the “suffering of the present time”. And if there’s anything we can relate to during a global pandemic, it’s suffering in our present time.

With that said, God doesn’t cause us to suffer needlessly or without reason. There’s always a reason and it’s found in the next part of the scripture.

work together for good…

God’s hand is always working behind the scenes of our lives, putting the pieces of the bigger picture together, and doing it all for our good.

Sometimes we can see what He’s up to and have an idea of what the picture will look like once it’s put together. But most of the time, we can’t.

Instead, we rely on faith, knowing that hope and faith go together like PB&J. We have hope, confidence, that God is on our side. And we have faith, believing without seeing, that God is doing what He said He would, working it all out for our good.

And we don’t need to look any farther than the Bible stories of both Joseph and Job to see this in action. They both suffered greatly. And they both had faith that God would see them through it. (Joseph’s story is found in Genesis 37-45 and Job’s in found in, well… the book of Job)

As we read their stories, it’s good to remember that they only represent a brief moment in their lives. The hardship they suffered didn’t last forever. At some point, God’s hand came into view as He put the pieces together for them.

And believe me, He is going to do the same in our lives! This moment of suffering won’t last. We will get to the other side of this hardship and God’s hand will come shining through in the end!

to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose…

This promise of hope isn’t for everyone. It’s only for Christians. Those who God has called and those who have accepted His offer of grace.

Unfortunately, not everyone will accept this offer. Jesus said… narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:14

But if God has called you into a relationship with Him, and you have accepted His invitation, then this promise for hope in uncertain times belongs to you!

And you have been given more than just hope, you have been called to a purpose. A purpose that is bigger and greater than yourself. God’s purpose, His perfect plan.

All of those plans we made at the beginning of 2020, they were our plans, not God’s. They failed because we were focused on the here and now. And because we couldn’t see the bigger picture the way God does. Now, I’m not saying our plans were bad. I know all of mine weren’t, and I’m sure yours weren’t either. But God has a bigger purpose for us than simply getting by.

He wants us to join Him in His kingdom plan. You know the one, right?…

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

                                                                                                           Matthew 28:19-20

This our purpose and our God-given mission. To take the name of Jesus to those who haven’t accepted the call yet. To show them the love He’s offering. And to see the hand of God putting those pieces together for them, and for us, as He works all things for our good.

If you’re struggling in this present time to see His hand at work in your life, take heart. One thing is this crazy upside-down world is certain… A promise of hope in uncertain times is yours! All you need to do is accept it. Then sit back and watch God’s hand orchestrate it all!

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By |2021-07-04T14:52:40-05:00January 4th, 2021|Christian Life, Faith, Hope|2 Comments

 New Year, New You -2 Corinthians 5:17

New Year, New You 2 Corinthians 5:17

It’s time to turn the page and embrace a New Year and a New You. For most of us, that means making new resolutions to accomplish all of the things we’ve planned and dreamed about all year long.

Now that the Thanksgiving pie and Christmas cookies are gone, many of us will resolve to lose weight. We’ll spend lots of money on gym memberships or workout equipment in the hope of shedding those extra pounds.

Some of us got caught up in the grind at work and now we want to improve our relationships with the people in our lives. So we’ll resolve to carve out more time for those we love.

And maybe some of us will take up a new hobby or plan next summer’s vacation.

But no matter what your resolutions are, they all have something in common. We want to do something new. We want to feel the excitement of the road less traveled and have a renewed hope for a better future to come. These resolutions represent a transformation we want to take place in our lives.

But if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, then an amazing transformation has already taken place.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
                                                                                                  2 Corinthians 5:17

Because we are in Christ, He has made us new. He has cleansed us of our past transgressions, changed us from within, and transformed us into the very likeness of Himself.

He’s given us the ability to let go of the past and move forward into that better future we hoped for. Because of this amazing transformation, we no longer have to think about all of the wrongs we’ve done, the things we wish we had done, or compare ourselves to the people around us. We are a new creation, a spiritual creation. Now we can see the world through spiritual eyes.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

Where will the new year take us? I pray we’ll see through our spiritual eyes the future God has in store for us, and grow closer to Him than ever before!

As you’re making your resolutions this year and striving to maintain them, I encourage you to think about the things you can do to improve your spiritual life as well as those that will improve your personal life.

So, I’ll leave you with this verse we all know so well and the one I will be thinking about this New Year…

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
                                                                                                     Jeremiah 29:11

Happy New Year and God bless!

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By |2020-12-29T14:56:47-06:00December 29th, 2020|Christian Life, Hope, Winter|0 Comments

How to Resist the Devil – 1 Peter 5:8

How to Resist the Devil 1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.

                                                             1 Peter 5:8

Are you on fire for God? If the answer is yes, chances are you’re in the crosshairs of the devil’s devious tactics. Satan’s goal is to devour and destroy Christians just like a roaring lion seeks out its prey. He is constantly setting traps for us to fall into. He knows our weaknesses and how to exploit them. And he will use every weapon in his arsenal to bring us down.

We are under attack, not just from an unbelieving world, but from our greatest foe the devil himself. Satan knows that he cannot have us because we already belong to Jesus. There is nothing he can do that will ever take us away from our Savior. (John 10:29) But Satan can turn us into ineffective Christians so that we won’t share our faith with other people who may also believe.

So, how can we resist the devil and live the life of steadfast faith God has for us? Like any military operation, if we want to successfully combat our enemy we need to understand and recognize the tactics that will be used against us. Here are just a few of the devil’s tricks…

Deception

Lying is what Satan does best. He is the father of lies, so deception is the first tactic he tries. His lies are cruel, and he knows exactly which lie will stop us in our tracks. He will tell us that we’re not good enough, that we don’t deserve it, that we can’t do it, and so many other hurtful things.

Satan wants us to fail and he will tell us whatever it takes to stop us from being effective Christians. But we don’t have to listen to Satan’s lies and we certainly don’t have to believe them.

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

                                                                1 John 4:4

While Satan delights in deception, Jesus delights in salvation!  We can resist Satan’s lies and fight back by knowing the truth. Jesus has already defeated the forces of evil! Our Savior is greater than any enemy we face! And we are already victorious because of Him!

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Temptation

Temptation is everywhere. Some temptation is just from being human, like eating that extra piece of cake. But some temptation is more sinister and comes from our enemy, the devil.

Thankfully, we have this promise from our faithful and loving God…

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

                                                               1 Corinthians 10:13

Temptation will always be around us. But God promises us a way out and the strength to bear up under it.

Discouragement

Satan wants us to be discouraged and he does that by reminding us of our past sins. He will make us feel defeated and like we are already a failure before we’ve even begun. Whether we are sharing our faith, getting ready to go on a mission trip or just going about our day, Satan will try to discourage us from doing what God has asked of us.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

                                                                  Hebrews 8:12

Satan may remind us of our sin, but God doesn’t. God not only forgives our sins, He forgets them. He doesn’t bring them up again and He doesn’t use them against us. So, when discouragement from Satan threatens to take hold of us, we can turn to God and find His love, mercy, and forgiveness.

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Distraction

“If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Adrian Rogers

Distraction is one of Satan’s most effective tactics because it doesn’t look like an attack on the surface. Instead of telling us to do bad things, he’ll create a long list of distractions for us to deal with. These distractions come in many forms. But they are all meant to steal away our time from furthering God’s kingdom, even if it is only for a little while.

Satan is very good at keeping us running around in circles simply for the sake of busyness. He knows that if we’re too busy cleaning up the mess he made, we won’t have time for what God has for us. Sometimes, he will even use good things to distract us from God’s plan. If we say yes to a project that a coworker or friend wants us to do, then we might find ourselves too busy to spend time connecting with God and making His plan a priority in our lives. These distractions are harder to deal with because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Satan knows that too and uses our kindness against us.

No matter what distraction the devil throws at us, we have a weapon to defeat it, the stillness of knowing God.

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Busyness and stillness are opposites just like Satan and God. If Satan can cause us to be busy, then we can’t experience the peaceful stillness that comes from time with God.

But if we see that our time is being stolen by the enemy, we can stop him by saying no to his distractions. We can choose still instead of frantic.

Therefore submit yourself to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
                                                                James 4:7

These are some of the many tactics that Satan uses against us. We can successfully learn how to resist the devil by recognizing his devious tricks. And by knowing God’s truth and submitting ourselves to Him. Then Satan will have no choice but to flee from us.

Stay steadfast in the faith, my friend!

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Living the Life of Job -Job 19:25

Living the Life of Job Job 19:25

For I know that my Redeemer lives.
                                Job 19:25

A few years ago, God told me that I would live the life of Job. Now, that’s a pretty big pill to swallow! And if I’m completely honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the news. No one wants the life of Job, because everything he had was taken from him.

True to His word, God has followed through on His “life of Job” promise to me. I have faced many trials in my life. Loved ones have been taken from me either through death or through broken relationships, my livelihood has diminished, my health has suffered and my faith has been tested.

I can see the parallels between Job’s life and mine. And I find myself referring back to the book of Job for inspiration often. With everything that Job went through, it would’ve been easy for him to curse God as his wife told him to and no one would have blamed him for it. (Job 2:9) But Job trusted God and refused to curse Him no matter what circumstance God placed him in. When everything seemed lost, Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (v. 1:21) This kind of resolute belief Job had, inspires me to get up, keep moving forward and remain faithful to God no matter what circumstance I’m in.

God has allowed my faith to be tested, just as He allowed Job’s to be tested. But He didn’t do it to hurt me. He did it to bless me and teach me the lessons I need to know as I move forward in my life. And with each trial and lesson God has shown me His plan and will for my life in a way I couldn’t see before.

Proverbs 17:3 says “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts.” God allows us to go through trials and He tests our hearts. But He doesn’t do it as some kind of punishment. He knows what is ahead and He is preparing us for it. He is refining us like silver or gold, melting us down to our core, taking the impurities out of our lives and leaving us with all of the good that He has in store for us.

Yes, Job faced many hardships and he was tested. But the lesson that I take away from reading the book of Job is not one of defeat. It’s a story of great faith and triumph over adversity. Through it all, God was there right next to him. He never left Job. He was Job’s mediator and ultimately his redeemer.

The lesson that I take away from reading the book of Job is not one of defeat. It’s a story of great faith and triumph over adversity. #Devotional Click To Tweet

By sending Jesus to die for our sins, God has given us a redeemer and mediator. Right now, this very moment, He is seated at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf. (Romans 8:34) When we face trials and our faith is tested, we can have complete confidence that Jesus is still there, in the fight with us.

It’s been a few years now that I’ve been living the life of Job. It’s been a hard path, full of unexpected twists and turns. But, when it seems that the world is against me, I can take comfort in knowing that Jesus is always for me. No matter what comes my way, I can face the future with confidence because… I know my Redeemer lives!

If you are facing a trial in your life today, I pray that you will turn to Jesus and trust in Him. He loves you and wants to refine you like the silver and gold that you are. To find out more about Accepting Jesus as your Savior, click on this link or go to the Accepting Jesus tab above. Cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7) God bless!

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By |2021-03-10T10:59:15-06:00September 7th, 2020|Bible Study, Christ, Christian Life, Faith|2 Comments

How to Overcome Doubt – Matthew 14:31

How to Overcome Doubt Matthew 14:31

O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
                                     Matthew 14:31

Doubt is a dirty word in Christian circles. It’s something we don’t talk about just in case the pastor is listening. And we pretend that we don’t feel it because we think our friends will look down on us if we admit it. But the truth is, we all have doubt. Every single one of us. I have doubt, and I bet you do too. Having doubt doesn’t mean we are bad or that we don’t love Jesus. It just means that we’re human. Because it’s human nature to doubt what we can’t see. We think if we can’t touch it or hold it in our hand, then maybe it’s not real. Sometimes doubt is just a fleeting thought. It comes to us in an instant and leaves just as quickly. But other times doubt lingers. It plays tricks with our mind, tears us apart on the inside, and robs us of our joy.

Before we go into how to overcome doubt, let’s look at where it comes from. If we can understand the source of our doubt, we can easily quiet it when it comes calling.

#1 Satan

All Christians have an enemy in Satan. He seeks to destroy us and doubt is one of the many tactics he uses against us. He will search for a way into our lives to achieve his goal of utterly demolishing us. Once he has found a way in, He is relentless in his attack. He will slink in, like the snake he is, and put doubt in our minds leaving us feeling hopeless. Then slink off again to look for some other poor soul to terrorize. But we don’t need to fear Satan or listen to his lies. Jesus has already defeated him. However, we need to be mindful of his plan to place doubt in our hearts and minds and learn to recognize his devious actions.

#2 Outside Sources

We are called to live in the world but not of it. But sometimes living in the world leaves us vulnerable to doubt. These outside sources are the things of this world that distract us. They could be the people we surround ourselves with, the things we read or watch on TV, social media, etc. Anything we put into our minds can cause doubt to form if we allow it to influence our thoughts.

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#3 Ourselves

Sometimes our doubt is much closer to home than we would like it to be. At times, we can be our own worst enemy. Our view of ourselves can leave us feeling like we’re not good enough or that we’re a failure. These negative thoughts can cause doubt to creep into our minds if we allow them to take hold.

God, in His infinite wisdom, knows the innermost workings of our minds. He knows we have doubt and He knows that we wonder where He is when everything goes wrong in our lives. He understands our hearts and He has not left us alone to face doubt on our own. We can recognize what causes doubt and quickly overcome it with one simple God-given tool…our Faith!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
                                                                                     Hebrews 11:1

In Matthew 14:31, Jesus said to the disciples, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  The disciples had been with Jesus and they saw Him perform miracle after miracle. They had the unique opportunity of being an eye witness to the ministry of the Savior and they still had doubt!

At some point, each of us made the decision to give our lives to Christ because the Holy Spirit showed us the truth of who Jesus is. Unlike the disciples, we have not physically witnessed the miracles of Jesus. But we know for a fact that God is real and that Jesus is the Son of God because of our faith. We may not be able to reach out and touch God or witness the miracles of Jesus with our own eyes, but we can see what He has done in our lives, around us and for us. We have seen the hand of God at work. This is the evidence of our faith. When doubt enters our minds, we can remember those times when we were so close to God it did feel like we could touch Him. If we look around we will see His goodness surrounding us.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
                                                                                        Romans 10:17

When we become firmly grounded in God’s truth, doubt will no longer have a hold on us. #GodsWord #BibleStudyClick To Tweet

We have the most powerful weapon on earth at our disposal, God’s Word. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and understanding the truth within it. We can grow our faith by reading the Bible and storing it in our heart. When we become firmly grounded in God’s truth, doubt will no longer have a hold on us. Instead of allowing doubt to destroy us, we can simply turn to the Scriptures and lean on the promises of God to get us through. Because God’s word is real!

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”
                                                                                        Mark 9:24

Lord I believe, help my unbelief! Mark 9:24 #BibleVerseClick To Tweet

This is a prayer of a man who had doubt in his heart but still wanted to believe. It’s an honest and heartbreaking cry to the only One who could help him in his suffering. We all know how he felt because we’ve been there, on our knees begging God to help us in our pain and unbelief. When doubt creeps in, we have a direct line to God. We can shoot up a prayer to Him in a second and ask Him for strength and guidance.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
                                                                                         James 5:16

Our prayers are not effective because we have great faith or because we are faithful to God. They are effective only because we are righteous through our belief in Jesus. This is our promise from God… He is always faithful to us and He will hear our prayers when we call out to Him.

Yes, we all have doubt, but doubt doesn’t have to keep us from experiencing the loving touch of God’s hand in our lives. It’s okay to have questions. And it’s okay to ask God to help us when we doubt. But we cannot afford to let doubt penetrate our minds and our souls. We must recognize it for what it is and stop it in its tracks. Our faith is the tool that helps us to overcome our doubt and seek God’s face in times of need. So today, I pray that each one of us will turn away from doubt, seek the Father, and grow our faith in Jesus. God bless!

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By |2020-08-17T15:02:40-05:00August 17th, 2020|Christian Life, Hope|2 Comments

Because of Grace – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Because of Grace 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

This past week my faith was put to the test.  And I’m sad to say that I stumbled and fell. In fact, I face-planted. It was an epic fail!

My family has been planning a big renovation on our front porch for a while now. I knew that this project was going to be bigger than some others we have done in the past. And I knew that it would require a lot of time and physical labor. Because we usually do all of the work ourselves, I wanted to have everything else done and be able to concentrate all of my efforts on the porch reno. As the time to start the project grew closer, I began making preparations for it. I managed to get the laundry caught up, the meals planned and groceries bought, my blog post written and anything else I could think of.

But there was one thing I couldn’t foresee coming my way. Right in the middle of the porch reno, I started to get bug bites all over my body. They were small and itchy and more and more of them showed up every day. We had a flea infestation on our hands! I couldn’t understand why this was happening. We don’t have any pets right now and we treated the yard for bugs like we do every summer. But here I was, covered in flea bites from head to toe. It was awful and we’ve never had anything like this happen before. I was at a loss as to what to do.

I really didn’t want to take the time to deal with it. But it reached critical mass about three days into the reno and I realized I had no choice but to stop and deal with this distraction. Since I was waking up with new bites every morning, we thought that the majority of the fleas were coming from my bed. So, after reading online about how to get rid of my unwanted house guests, we bought some flea powder and sprinkled it all over the bed. The instructions on the powder said to let it sit for a while so went back to work on the porch. We spent the next few hours out in the heat, tearing up the front porch and peering up the joist boards.

Honestly, by the time we came in to vacuum up the flea powder, I was hot, sweaty, itchy and tired. I was really spent. But I couldn’t lay down and rest with all of that flea powder on the bed, so I started sweeping it up. My mind began to wonder, and all I could think about was how miserable I felt. It started as a simple thought, “thanks a lot God, I really needed this right now!” Immediately I regretted that thought. And immediately I wanted to take it back. But there it was, for God to hear. That thought took hold of me and filled me with shame and regret.

This one moment of weakness had made me question my faith. Not because of God, but because of me. If I was so weak that I couldn’t get through this little bump in the road, then how could I ever be an effective witness for Christ?

But God reminded me, I’m not saved because of anything that I have ever done or will ever do. I don’t have that kind of power. I am saved because of grace. Period.

God is good, isn’t He? I turned to Him and asked for forgiveness. He took the shame and regret that consumed my mind and replaced it with this verse from 2 Corinthians. I’ve been thinking about this verse last few days.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
                                                                     

                                                                                                                          2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

The apostle Paul was arguably the greatest Christian to ever live. Yet, he needed God’s grace in his life too. He stumbled and felt weak. But when times were tough, he didn’t give up the faith. He persevered and turned to God for strength. As I prayed, these words Paul wrote so many years ago, became the beacon of hope that helped me get back up and continue on in the faith.

“lest I be exalted above measure”
Maybe I needed to be knocked down so that God could lift me back up. I definitely needed some perspective on the situation. It’s not as bad as I had made it out to be. God has seen me through worse than a few fleas, much worse.

“a messenger of Satan to buffet me”
I knew that Satan was the one tripping me up. He was waiting for a time when he could sneak in and kick me while I was down. I had been on the lookout for him, but he chose his time perfectly. Because in my weakness, I let my guard down. In that moment I felt like he had won. But he did not win. And he will never win. Because I belong to Jesus and no one can ever change that!

“My strength is made perfect in weakness”
My weakness was on display in my heart that day. I let it get the best of me. But as Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” There is so much I can’t do on my own and I need Jesus to give me His strength. In those times, I’m so glad that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

“My grace is sufficient for you”
My salvation comes from God’s power and the saving grace of Jesus, and nothing else. He has saved me because I can’t save myself. It’s God’s grace that gives me the ability to move past this moment of weakness and find strength to persevere. Because His grace is more than enough to see me through.

I never would have thought that something as small as a flea could test my faith in such a big way. While the renovation and the fight against the fleas is not over, my faith is still intact. And after taking time to reflect, I realize… I may have had an epic fail, but God’s grace is more powerful than any moment of weakness. He is always faithful to forgive and restore me to His love and grace just as He promises. And He will do the same for you.

If your faith is being testing or, like me, you’ve had an epic fail, I pray that you will be comforted by the words of 2 Corinthians. And that you will know God’s grace is sufficient for you. He will see you through it, because of grace.

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By |2021-04-30T18:41:36-05:00August 5th, 2020|Christian Life, God, Grace|0 Comments

Path Of Life Psalm 16:11 Devotional

Path of Life 16:11 Devotional

Do you ever ask yourself… “How did my life turn out this way?” Or wonder what the path life is supposed to be? In this Psalm 16:11 devotional, we’ll answer these questions and find the way back to the life path God has for us.

When we graduate from high school or college, we’re just fresh-faced kids ready to conquer the world. We decide on the path we want our lives to take and start the journey thinking only good things will come our way.

Then, somewhere along our life path, we take an unexpected turn. And the next thing we know, we’ve ended up in no man’s land wondering what the heck happened.

All of those plans we made for ourselves seem so far away and that fresh-faced kid is just a distant memory. We’ve veered off the path of life.

What does Psalm 16:11 mean?

David had one of these “how did my life turn out this way?” moments too.

 

You will show me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

                                      Psalm 16:11 NKJV

 

When this psalm was written, David found himself in a precarious situation. His life path had taken an unexpected turn for the worst.

The young kid who started out as a meek shepherd and became a celebrated hero after defeating Goliath was on the run.

David was hiding out in the wilderness because King Saul and his army were looking to kill him. They had just caught up with him and encircled their army around his camp. Death seemed imminent.

You will show me the path of life

Many of David’s psalms talk about the feeling of enemies surrounding him. So, I imagine he must have been scared.

But instead of wondering what to do next, David trusted God to show him the path of life.

Throughout his life, David had experienced both the highs and lows of living a life for God. Because of this, He believed God would take care of him during this critical time. And he knew God’s way was the path of life he wanted to take.

In Your presence there is fullness of joy

Even at his lowest, David could still praise God and experience the joy of being in the Lord’s presence. He understood that joy, real joy comes from knowing God and being with Him every day.

But Psalm 16 is more than just a beautiful lament about David’s own circumstances, he was pointing the way for us to the coming Messiah, the true path of life.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

Walking the Path of Life with Jesus

 

It doesn’t matter what our previous plans were, or the disappointment we felt when they didn’t work out. The path we chose for ourselves when we were young was about this life and what we would become in it.

But God is more concerned with what will become of us in the next life. So, He gave us a path of life to follow.

Jesus is our life path. A path to eternal life. And this scripture is our roadmap to Him…

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

                                            Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV

 

Narrow is the path

You may have noticed Jesus only gave us two choices to take on the path of life.

We’ve reached that critical point in the journey where the road forks off in two different directions. We must turn one way or the other to continue on with the journey. And it’s an important decision worthy of serious consideration.

We can either, turn left and enter through the wide and easy path. This is the worldly path that offers pleasure in this life but ultimately leads to hell and eternal destruction.

Or we can turn right and enter through the narrow and difficult path. This is the spiritual path that leads to eternal life in heaven with Jesus.

Jesus said most people will choose the wide and easy path. These people are just going through life and don’t give their decision much thought. Or they think the choice can be put off for another time.

But tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us, and death may come when you least expect it. By then the choice has already been made and it’s too late. Your path of life has been chosen.

That’s why Jesus urges us to choose the narrow path. He loves us all and He died to save us all. So, He wants every one of us to be the few who find the narrow path.

Yes, the narrow path is a harder, more difficult path to take. And we know Jesus said we will be persecuted for our faith. But our reward is in knowing our Savior and spending eternity with Him.

Most people don’t want to hear this hard truth. Because when they do, they’re forced to choose which path of life they’ll take. And just to be clear, not choosing is a choice in itself, and not a pleasant one.

Read More: In His Presence Is Fullness of Joy

I am the way the truth and the life

The decision to follow Jesus is life-changing. And sometimes change is hard. So, if this life-changing decision is hard to make, Jesus put it another way…

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

                                            John 14:6 NIV

 

This is a bold and clear statement. Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only eternal life.

If we want to see God the Father and go to heaven when we die, then Jesus is the One and only way to get there.

We don’t do ourselves or anyone else any favors by saying otherwise.

The path to heaven is narrow

This is our God-given promise, if we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, then we will have eternal life with Him in heaven.

For most of us, we made the choice to follow Jesus down the narrow path a long time ago. But sometimes it’s good to look back on where we’ve been and how we got here.

The path behind us reminds us of everything Jesus has done for us and how far we’ve come.

And the path stretched out in front of us leads the way to the Savior and gives us something to look forward to.

The narrow path of life may be long and winding but with Jesus, we will get there.

Read More: What is the Joy of the Lord?

Live Life to the Fullness

Like David, we can experience the joy of being in God’s presence when the path of life takes a turn for the worst. And we can see the joy waiting for us up ahead when we’ve reached the end of the journey.

This is the joy we can only find in knowing Jesus. It is a joy that fills us completely and gives us confidence in our faith. It is a fullness of life and a fullness of joy!

So, follow Jesus and live life to the fullness instead of the fullest.

How did my life turn out this way?

Is there something in your life that has brought you to where you are right now? Are you asking yourself “How did my life turn out this way”?

If you’ve veered off the path of life a little bit, it’s okay. The roadmap hasn’t changed, and you can still get back on the narrow path.

Jesus is waiting for you with open arms.

My prayer is for you is that you will remember why you decided to walk with Jesus on the narrow path of life. And you will stay firmly on God’s life path even when the road is rocky. Joy waiting for you up ahead!

If you have not made the decision to take the narrow path, then I pray you will understand the love Jesus has for you and choose to follow Him today.

To find out more about making this crucial decision please read “Accepting Jesus”.

God bless you on your journey through the Path of Life!

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By |2021-09-17T12:59:15-05:00July 29th, 2020|Christian Life, Joy|8 Comments

3 Promises for Tough Times – Jeremiah 31:3-4

3 Promises for Tough Times Jeremiah 31:3-4

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt.
                                          Jeremiah 31:3-4

Tough times will come, they always do. If you’re not in a crisis right now, you can bet your bottom dollar you will be soon. That’s just life.

This is where we find Jeremiah, in the middle of a crisis. In fact, Jeremiah was in a pretty big pickle. God had given him the unenviable task of telling the people that they had failed God and He was about to unleash His wrath upon them. Ouch!

Judah was in a covenant relationship with God. They were His chosen people, yet they chose to worship the pagan god Baal. The king of Judah had been defeated in battle and now the people were the subject of Egypt. Soon, God would allow brutal Babylon to rule over them for seventy years. Yes, tough times were on the horizon for the people of Judah. But instead of turning to God for help, they chose to continue worshiping their false gods and idols.

So, God sent Jeremiah to call Judah out on their wicked ways and tell them to turn back to Him before it was too late. But they ignored Jeremiah’s warning of God’s coming judgment.

Faced with the people’s indifference to his message, Jeremiah had his own choice to make. He could go with the flow and follow the people’s lead, or he could remain faithful to God and His will. In the face of adversity and a growing defiance from the people, Jeremiah chose faith over popularity.

God remained faithful to Judah, in spite of their disobedience. He remembered His promise to restore His blessing. And because of His everlasting love, God showed His mercy on a faithless people and gave them a new covenant.

This story from Jeremiah isn’t just a piece of history from long ago. It is meant for us right here, right now! Just like Judah, sometimes we find ourselves facing tough times. And just like Jeremiah we might be in a pickle.

When tragedy strikes us close to home, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain is too close and the struggle is too difficult. It’s almost impossible to see how anything in our lives can ever be right again. We’re at the crossroads and we have a choice to make. We can decide to turn our backs on God like the people of Judah. Or we can turn to God for help and rely on His promises during the tough times to come.

The Bible is filled with so many blessings and promises from God! Each one of them meant to give us hope for a better tomorrow. Within Jeremiah 31:3-4, there are three promises from God to help us in our time of need. Once we understand them, we can face any hardship with a new perspective and resolve.

#1 An everlasting love…

God loved us before time began and He still loves us now in the midst of the storm we are facing. God’s love for us is an everlasting love. It has no beginning and it has no end.

But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…
                                                                Ephesians 2:4-5

God showed His mercy and demonstrated His great love for us by sending His Son to save us and give us everlasting life. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we have the ability to experience this everlasting and unending love of God.

#God loved us before time began and He still loves us now in the midst of the storm we are facing. Click To Tweet

#2 I have drawn you…

Because of God’s lovingkindness, He stretches out His hand to us and draws us to Himself. Even when trouble surrounds us and all seems lost, God has not forgotten us. He draws close to us in our need.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
                                                         James 4:8

#3 Again I will build you…

Whatever hardship we have endured, whatever sin we have committed, God has promised to rebuild our relationship with Him.

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Christ Jesus. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no
means be put to shame.
                                          1 Peter 2:5-6

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

As Christians, we are the building project of God. He is the contractor, building a spiritual house for us to dwell in. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the building, keeping our spiritual house from crumbling and falling to pieces. God has formed us into “living stones” to be set upon the cornerstone of Christ. Each stone is carefully and deliberately placed, making us the walls of the house firmly set on the foundation of our faith. But our sin tears down the house God is building for us. So, He forgives our sins and builds the house back up again. We are imperfect so, the building goes on and on. It is a continually building and rebuilding of our lives. And it will only be completed once we are in heaven with Him.

Jeremiah’s story is a testament of a faithful servant who endured many hardships yet followed God anyway. Today, his story stands as a reminder to us that tough times will come, but we have a loving Heavenly Father who is always faithful to the end. We may make bad choices or get knocked down, but when we make Jesus the cornerstone and main focus of our lives, we will never fail. God will honor His promises to us. He will show us everlasting love, draw us with lovingkindness and pick us up and build us again.

If you are facing tough times, I pray that you will turn to God and be encouraged by these promises. God loves you, He will draw you to Himself and He will build you again.

God bless!

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God bless!

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2 Older Comments. (These comments cannot be replied to, but you are welcome to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.)

Bonnie Lyn Smith

9/18/2017 03:41:51 pm

Amen! So awesome to find your blog via #FaithFilledFridays! I love this! Tweeting and pinning!

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

9/19/2017 07:26:24 am

Hi Bonnie! Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m glad we could connect through #FaithFilledFridays . And I’m looking forward to checking out your blog. God bless!

By |2020-08-17T12:44:15-05:00July 22nd, 2020|Christian Life, God, Love|2 Comments

How to Praise God in a Pandemic

How to Praise in a Pandemic

Everyone has those special Bible Verses God uses over and over again to speak directly to us.

In my life, Habakkuk 3 is one of them. God puts this scripture in front of me every time I need a little reality check.

Honestly, I’ve thought I was in dire straits before. But the current global crisis we’re living through puts them all to shame. I realize now, no matter how hard I thought I had it, I never knew real hardship until now. And this piece of scripture has never been more relevant than it is during this pandemic.

 

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines:
Though the labor of the olive may fail’
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
                                           Habakkuk 3:17-19

When Habakkuk wrote these words, he knew his people were moving into a time of struggle. Soon they would be without the basic necessities of life. The food and water that was once abundant would become scarce. A safe harbor would be hard to find. And survival would become an epic battle of willpower.

But Habakkuk also knew if they continued praising God even in the midst of hardship, He would see them through this troubling time.

Each part of this verse speaks to the effects of a pandemic on our daily lives.

Though the fig tree may not blossom…

In ancient times, the fig tree was plentiful, and the fruit used to make cakes, candy, or other sweets. For us, the fig represents the creature-comforts, the little luxuries we enjoy. We like them but we can live without them too.

Nor fruit be on the vines:

We turn an important corner in this part of the verse. Instead of missing the luxuries, we can do without, we begin to talk about the essentials. The fruit of the vine became wine, an important commodity back then. It was used not only to drink with dinner but also to purify water. Without grapes, there would be no wine. And without wine no life-sustaining drinking water. Nowadays, we have filtration systems that supply fresh water to our homes and easily accessible bottled water. But when systems break down or truckers can’t deliver, our most essential commodity is cut off.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

 

Though the labor of the olive may fail’

And the fields yield no food…

The people used olive oil the same way we use butter. Without this precious oil, there would be no bread to eat. And without the crops, no vegetables on the table.

 

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls…

Ancient people were not vegetarians (sorry vegans). They relied on flocks of sheep and herds of goats for protein. And without access to these animals, they would starve.

In modern times, we rely on farmers and ranchers to supply both of these sources of food. But during this crisis, they’re struggling to keep up with the demand and deliver their goods to market. Without their hard work and commitment, we’ll struggle to find what we need to feed our families at the grocery store.

Our lives have been turned upside down by a pandemic we couldn’t see coming. Everything we once had is gone. At least for the time being. But there is still hope for us. And it comes in the form of praising God in a pandemic.

Sounds crazy, right?

How can we praise God when the world is falling apart?

Truthfully, if Habakkuk could see the defeat of his people coming on the horizon, still remember the times God saw His people through hardship, and praise Him in such dire circumstances, then surely we can find it in ourselves to do the same too.

Because God has not forgotten us. Our struggle is not invisible to Him. And He is still there in the fight with us.

I was reminded of this while I was taking a shower the other night, (I do all my best thinking in the shower ya’ll) 🛁

God chose that moment to speak words of wisdom into my heart. They’re an updated version of Habakkuk 3, a mirror image of this scripture for a modern time. I’d like to share them with you now. But please remember they are not meant to replace scripture, only to understand it better. Here’s what God had to say to me.

Even though toilet paper is in short supply and I can’t find it anywhere…

I will praise You!

Even though there’s a meat shortage on the horizon and I have no idea how I will feed my family…

I will praise You!

Even though I’ve lost my job and I don’t know how I’ll pay the bills…

I will praise You!

Even though my grandma is on lockdown in a nursing home, I can’t visit her, and now she’s being tested for COVID-19…

I will praise You!

Even though I’ve lost a loved one to this terrible virus and my heart is broken…

I will praise You!

Even though the future seems so uncertain and I’m scared…

I will praise You!

Praising God is more than wishful thinking. It’s a resolve to have faith in hardship. And it’s understanding that even if we lose everything, we still have the God of our salvation.

Our confidence in our loving Father is unshakable because we know He has us in the palm of His hand. And we understand He will give us the strength to face whatever lies ahead.

This is the same confidence Habakkuk wrote about in verse 19.

 

The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Deer never wonder if they’re gonna plummet to their death when they scale a rocky mountain cliff. They instinctively know their feet are made for it. They’re unwavering in their ascent, jumping higher and higher until they reach the top. Sure-footed and confident.

So, let’s keep ascending higher and higher in our faith, believing God is our strength in times of trouble. And allow Him to give us sure-footed deer’s feet as we praise Him through this pandemic.

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By |2020-08-15T13:40:14-05:00April 27th, 2020|Christian Life|0 Comments