I hadn’t thought of it like that. But, perhaps she was right.
I should get it. I am owed it. I’ve missed out, been singled out, treated poorly. Suddenly, she confirmed my worst fears.
I’ve been taken advantage of.
In a split second, her statement touched an open nerve, exposing all I-don’t-have, but should. The words grabbed me hook line and sinker. They make me want to get mad, to fight. Maybe, with some effort to get what I really deserve; I’ll feel 100% happy.
What do you feel you deserve? What have you been passive-aggressively implying you’re owed?
I suppose, under the cover of my steel lid, I’ve been slowly simmering with the idea I deserve respect, answers, and kindness from people. I deserve them to pull through for me. I deserve their help.
Yet (and this is the part that really gets to me – and hard to embrace), Jesus didn’t demand much. Jesus wasn’t known for saying he deserved things – even though he deserved everything. Actually, rather than taking what he deserved, he gave to the world what they didn’t deserve – his very own body.
He got broken for me, when he could’ve stayed enthroned, without me.
If Jesus is my role model…
If I really follow him…
I deserve nothing… but, through Christ, gain everything… the ability to love… to receive grace and to delight in the journey of being with God... …it is more than enough.
It really is. It truly is.
I lose peace when I start to think otherwise. I lose freedom too.
I can do nothing on my own…I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. Jo. 5:30
It’s a war of the world for the heart. There’s a tug one direction saying: fight for yourself. Then, there’s the Spirit’s tug the opposite direction saying: Die to yourself and live with me. And, there’s God’s truth saying: While you are silent, I’m fighting for you. (Ex. 14:14)
What if we gave up all our ways – to seek God’s? What might happen? I wonder what might happen to the world if – instead of fighting, we started loving? Call me simplistic or idealistic, but somehow, I not only think this is what God calls us to do, but he, in the process, sets us free to do.
The power isn’t in getting, but in giving.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. Prov. 10:12
Love never fails… 1 Cor. 14:7
Quick-fire Prayer: May I have eyes from above to shed love. May I not seek to gain the world, but extend a hand to it. May I fight not for my ways, but give up all my ways, in order to find Jesus.
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Hannah was deeply loved yet she carried around a haunting emptiness. In a time when a woman’s womb was wound up tightly to her worth, Hannah’s barrenness must have flashed “broken” like a neon sign in a dark alley.
Not only was Hannah unable to conceive but her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, had children. Not only did Peninnah have children but she provoked Hannah bitterly about her closed womb (see 1 Samuel 1:6).
Have you known that sting? It’s salt in the wound when you are lacking yet someone nearby holds the very thing you long for. Maybe they aren’t hanging it over your head but deep down you struggle to celebrate with them.
Maybe you are dealing with infertility and Hannah’s account hits a little too close to home? Or maybe you long to birth a book, or have more money in your account, or receive a clean bill of health, or to live somewhere else, or for your husband to be more attentive, or to even have a husband?
No matter what leaves you empty, I think we can all relate to the ache that Hannah carried.
She had a life-giving longing and yet, year after year, she was left unfulfilled.
Have you been there? I have. Like Hannah, I longed for a baby to hold. I had three children at the time but God birthed a deep desire to adopt a child. I assumed my God-given desire would be granted in no time; I was wrong.
Some nights I crept into the empty nursery and rocked. The tears fell and my arms ached as I longed for this baby. Where was this little life that had been conceived in my heart so many months ago?
It is hard to trust God in the dark places, when you can’t see a way out of the tunnel and you wonder if the secret desires of your soul can even be seen at all.
But in those difficult times, we can bring our desperation to the Lord and trust Him with it.
Our desperation can give birth to dedication.
My prayer is that we learn from Hannah, not so much that she finally received what her arms ached for, but that in her anguish she poured out her soul before the Lord (see 1 Samuel 1:15).
-She allowed God to see the depth of her pain (vs. 15). -She didn’t run from God but ran to Him and asked for intervention (vs. 11-12). -She believed God could do what she had asked of Him (vs. 17-18).
Now it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the Lord’” (vs. 20, NASB).
Be assured the Lord hears you when you pour out your soul to Him. You can trust Him with the tender places of your heart.
Have you wanted something so badly that it ached? And then to make things worse someone else had what you were longing for. It is irritating and painful, and can leave you hollow; fighting for hope amidst the heap of ashes at your feet.
Left unguarded your ache can drive you away from the Lord or it can drive you to your knees.
Hope can be found at Jesus’ feet. He willingly died on the Cross—and rose again—so that you can be emptied of sin and filled with His Presence.
Like Hannah, may your desperation give birth to dedication as you cling to His unchanging hope despite your circumstances. May Jesus’ love light the way through the gray as you take the next step towards Him.
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Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Through her writing and speaking, Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.
Things didn’t work out. They went south. They broke down.
Isn’t it funny how when things break,
what also breaks in our mind
is how God views us –
and how we view God?
We tend to think like this:
1. God is punishing me.
2. God is showing me how wrong I handled this.
3. God is taking this away because I don’t deserve it.
4. God is angry at me.
5. God doesn’t really want me to be happy.
6. God doesn’t hear me.
7. God doesn’t care about my feelings.
8. God isn’t tapped into what I need right now.
9. God’s plans don’t work well for people.
10. God forgot about me. He has many more to worry about.
*Bonus: I stink – and God knows it.
What we think about God, tends to define how we feel through life.
What do you tend to think about God?
A heart becomes unsettled when, rather than seeing problems as windows, letting in the air of new faith,
we see them as things God uses to slam us.
I do it all the time. Somehow I figure God has gone moody again and is well-done-and-over with my shenanigans. With this mindset, the swirling winds of conflict, complications or conditions unfavorable are bound to erase feelings of peace and comfort.
Does this happen to you too?
Do you tend to lose the image of a good God?
God is good (Ps. 136:1). Whether I believe it or not, God still stays exactly the same.
6 Ways God is Good:
1. He works alongside those who wait for him. No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” Is. 64:4
2. Like a daddy caring for a sick child, he doesn’t sleep, but watches non-stop. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Ps. 121:3
3. He needs nothing, but can give everything. God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, but he himself gives life and breath and everything. Acts 17:25
4. He shows himself strong for those who persevere in trust. The eyes of the LORD run through the earth, to show himself strong for those who trust him. 2 Chron. 16:9
5. He delivers us so we can glorify him. If I were hungry, I wouldn’t tell you. Call on me, I will deliver you. You will glorify me. Ps. 50:15
6. He meets our needs according to his stockpiles of overflowing treasure. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19
What I am coming to terms with is – the alarm of sinking feelings sounds in order to awaken us to the reality of faith-stampeding lies. Finding the lie means finding truth. Finding truth means we can look at it and decide if we’ll continue to hold it or decide to stomp it down.
Will we believe that God is for us, not against us?
Not in words, but via our heart and in action?
The difference is tangible.
The results are palpable.
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Tomorrow, we will venture through the little notecards of truths that you can pull out of your pocket when your mind goes haywire. Hope you can join me!
Faith is easy when life is simple. Faith is tested when life gets infested.
Infested with: trials, trauma, ticks, testing, tainted people, tiny bank accounts, T-Cell Cancer
Then, we start to lose our marbles, we run after them as they spread left and right and downhill and diagonally. We think that somehow they are our source of pleasure, our primary need, our must haves to stay in this competitive game called life. When they go wild, we go wild. We zig and we zag, frantic with the what ifs, the how comes and the if onlys. We run tired with metastasized doubt.
Just the other day, my bag spilled out.
Kids were going to bathroom in places they never should go.
Water was being poured faucet-to-floor.
Shoes were being protested as we headed out the door.
Bad news was arriving via telephone.
Later, I sat in my car, zoned, and seeking: “Dear Lord, please help me right now. Send me some encouragement that will uplift my heart.”
I stared out the front windshield, a tad dazed, yet I still saw it, a beacon of hope, a blessing in the making and a little valentine from God – I was sure this card tucked under the wiper was the answer to all my days wrongs.
“God, this must be it. What is on that card, you have written for me, to encourage me. Please Lord, let it be.”
I plucked the card out and, with excitement, read it, sure of my oncoming peace. But, what it said shocked me, it nearly broke me, “Alert: You park like an idiot.”
And, boom! There it was, the hammer that broke the frozen dam of pent up wild, the final condemnation I needed to lose and the final word on what was already written up as horrendous day.
Have you ever been there? Just needing a little pat on the back, only to get a great whack?
What I never considered, until I got the chance to consider how much of a parking idiot I really am, is that no one ever really knows our situation.
While that person placed a card on my windshield to help all mankind, they had no idea that a man of my kind was near her breaking point. They had no idea that I parked the car like that because kids will not be able to open the backdoor if the car is too close. They had no idea that leaving two littles in the center of a crazy parking lot to back up and load them in is frankly idiotic. They had no idea that my head was going to explode from the pressure of all the marbles that were already hitting all the walls of discouragement.
How often do I judge someone before I know?
How often do I see bad moves and curse the person for not moving another way?
How often do I miss the chance to love and lift for a decision to kill and destroy?
That person had the chance to change my whole day for the better, I bet they had no idea.
All the same, in that moment, for a split second, another marble came loose. It was the marble with the name God on it, for a split-second it started to roll – away, far far away.
I watched it. Would I get it? Not sure.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Ro. 8:28
I know this verse, but sometimes it is hard to believe this verse. Sometimes it is hard to live in the eye of tornado and still keep an eye on truth.
Truth like: God cares less about wiping our feelings clean and more about wiping our souls clean. God sometimes let’s us go through the fire, so we get a chance to see the miraculous undoing of our self. God is holding our heart, even when we lose heart. More important than earthly mayhem is spiritual peace. Mania makes us motivated to find it. People don’t drive our standing in God’s Kingdom, Jesus did.
If I stop chasing marbles, I start to get back into God’s game. I start to think strategy, promises and peace to myself. I start to find life abounding in the face of myself rebounding.
I start to think of how all this bad is made for all God’s good.
I start to feel calm again, steady and ready to stick solidly to all that really matters in this world.
Sense starts to boil up from all the nonsense – and that is enough for me.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3
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I know you say: You are with me, you strengthen me, you help me, you take my hand and keep me from falling. (Is. 41:10)
I know you say these things, I do.
But, do you really see me? Because sometimes I feel alone.
And sometimes, I look for your uplifting voice to be carried in by a messenger of your life-giving word. Sometimes I look for that. I watch for it. I wait for it’s arrival.
Is that bad God?
Certainly, I don’t want to get all of man’s approval only to lose yours.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10
If we are seeking our utmost for our highest,
we won’t demand utmost from our neighbor.
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Mt. 6:1
With God, our plays to be seen, only result in us being unseen. Our dreams to look good, only steal our good robes and crowns. A heart that is set on the scale of perceptions, is simply led in deception.
Yet, the crumb-size difference between reliance on man and reliance on God resides in the heart. Its always here that we can magnify our intentions to see if there is any true value in our pursuits.
The heart that says, “God you are my master. I am serving you at all times” is the heart that God pours into. God uses all of his resources to healthily build into this kind of person: two of which are his Word and the word of others.
And, boy, you know I need it, sometimes, don’t you God?
God has placed us in a world among man for a reason. God is the author of a timely spoken word for a reason, because he wants to fill our heart – with him.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Heb. 10:24-26
Sometimes, it’s that detailed word or a shared celebratory victory dance
that beats off despair, discouragement and doubt.
It’s the fist bump with a co-laborer
that often brings God’s next big dream to the surface.
It’s that small word of love that wipes away
the tears of “I can’t do this anymore.”
At times when you feel like you can’t lift another foot.
When you don’t know if your making a difference.
When you can’t understand how God could use a person as jacked-up as you.
When you are unsure if his great purpose will ever be fulfilled.
It’s those times, encouragement is vital, called for and a great power play in the toolbox of God.
If we need these words, these confirmations, then how much more might others need them too?
The other day, God dropped this at my feet (literally), as I was walking my son to his Vacation Bible School. A cross was lying on the floor by the door, it said:
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Ps. 138:8
God will fulfill it. He will do it. He will bring us through.
But, how often do we listen to the other voice, “God won’t do it. He will drop us. He will leave us. We can’t do it.”
Who reminds us of this truth-line? Do you remind others? They are dying for it.
God calls us to broadcast this truth with a megaphone – not in a shy, guilty or self-seeking way, but in a loud, proud and glory-inducing way.
For, the time is now. The stakes are high. The purpose is huge. The call is great. The hands must unite. The people must pull together. The sisters and brothers must live like sisters and brothers, because God’s church is waiting.
The bottom line is, I need you sisters and brothers. If I want to keep going on this thing called perseverance of faith, I can’t do it alone. You can’t either.
We all need that little push to push us beyond our own self. Christ did it when he died on the cross to push us into the unreachable places of hope and he calls us to do the same here on earth – to push others into new hope.
Hope that spreads faith,
then spreads his power,
to spread new purpose.
The more we spread it, the more God ends up spreading his own love on the slice of our heart that needs it most.
So, I ask you all with the most humble heart, will you come alongside me?
Will you come alongside others?
Will you upbuild the most prized possession of God – the church – the most active movement of Jesus Christ on earth?
This means speaking thank you to that person who can’t do it alone.
This means sharing how a message impacted you.
This means offering a small act of kindness to the one who constantly gives week after week.
This means sending a verse of love to one who may be on their last leg.
This means keeping in prayer those who always keep you in the faith.
This means generating faith in those who are starting to feel weary.
Encouragement is more than lip service
it is active service to those in need.
It is your way to get involved in building the church up so high that it reaches the full heights of heaven. #UROCK is a day of encouraging the encouragers. Whether it is your pastor, women’s minsitry director, worship leader, bible study teacher, mentor, favorite radio host or whomever, send them a tweet, FB message or email using #UROCK to tell them how much they mean to you. Offer them a prayer, a hope or a verse – it may make all the difference. Learn more.
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I am good at organizing my faith. It means I line up all the little pieces of my life in a straight line and expect them to fall like perfect dominos.
I expect my plans to fall into place. I expect that the dominos will hit the ground – and not me as I sin. I expect that my perfectly placed pieces will keep my faith in a straight line.
Perhaps, this is why I feel so devastated, so demolished and so pushed over when I do wrong. It is as if all my attempts to control my faith, my sin and my progress press on my shoulders, compacted and ruined.
It’s nearly back-breaking.
How can God’s ways be light when this work seems so hard?
Is this light-load wording really even truth?
Because if it is, I am living by a lie. Again and again, my faith falls and I do too.
But, what if? What if? I am looking at everything all wrong?
What if my inability to carry, isn’t so much because of him – but, because of me?
One with the weight of shame,
can’t really pass out the grace of Christ.
One whose hands cover her face,
can’t let God hold her hand.
One who laying down in despair,
can’t see up in hope.
One lining everything up,
can’t help but take everything personally when it all falls down.
And, in a heart-pumping way, I can’t help but think, maybe this line of thinking is real progress.
Because my way = the wrong way. God’s way = a chance to see his work at play.
God’s way is his Word and it restructures our approach:
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy. . . Jude 1:24
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude 1:20
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5
And he said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace. Lu. 7:50
He makes us stand before his presence.
He grants us joy. He keeps us from stumbling. He holds us in the love of God as we pray in the Spirit. He increases our faith as we ask him. He makes our faith win when we rely on him.
We don’t need us, we just need him. We don’t need strategy, we just need prayers. We don’t need plans, we just need the Spirit. We don’t need holy roller practices, we just need help.
Every time, we need his help.
All the time, we need his help.
Every hour, we need his help.
Bottom line, as our heart cries out for faith by his Spirit, he will keep us and help us. He makes our load light as we lay our load on him.
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Just yesterday, I watched my husband and son in the pool. For them, it was fun and games. Laughs flew left, water flew right, my son bounced up, yet all that splashed into my heart was fear.
Cold, bitter, shiver-inducing fear.
Fear that erases smiles and creates armors of protection.
Fear that ruins snap-shot moments in families.
“I am not as good of a mother as he is a dad.” “My son really doesn’t like being with me that much.” “I stink at connecting.” “I can’t seem to approach him right.” “He will never love me.” “Let’s be honest, I am not really that good of a mother.”
Drenched with inadequacy, my fears were ready to send me out to fight or on a far-off flight.
All that seemed to bubble out of my heart was the idea that I am not lovable, not worthy and not good enough. It made me want to march right out to say, “Hey, what about me? Do you all even see me? I am good too! (imagine the hands on the hips)”
And, let me tell you, there would be consequences if I wasn’t acknowledged.
That’s how demands of “what about me” work. These ploys serve as the antithesis, the foil and the opposite of love. They topple down opinions, values and truths of others to erect their own statues of needs.
They basically say:
Hey, you, it’s all about me.
If I can’t fill that hole inside me, I will beat around the bush until I get what I need.
You better or I’ll ___________ .
If all else fails, I’ll simply shut down shop and take off!
Far from any cooler soaked victory, my feelings place me on the sidelines as if I play for team “better luck next time.”
Better luck, loser momma!
Why must I always be the winner? The SUPER MOM to the rescue?!
Perhaps, luck isn’t what I need, Jesus is.
It’s not super amazing, double with a half-twist dive into family praises that transforms me, but God’s entire wrapping over my life, my heart and all the steps I take. Because, the hard and fast truth is that some days, I will feel like a Super-loser (_____) (momma, worker, friend, spouse, sister, daughter, church member).
But, I can’t help but think that there are other loser _____s out there who need an understanding shoulder on which to rest their head. I know I need theirs. Because, there will be days, I won’t feel good enough and there will be days they won’t be good enough too.
When we open up our hearts to share “I-am-not-good-enough” moments, they become the passing point to the love of Christ.It is as if the doors of the drawbridge open and Jesus sails straight through to our precise destination of need.
Yet, so often we shut this part down. We say, “I am a loser today, I better put on some makeup.”
But, Jesus never said he cared much for makeup. And, he doesn’t care much for us making ourselves over with fake products to get what we need. They don’t work to well at covering shame anyway!
Winning status’ aren’t on his play board either- unless it’s about pouring out the victory that has already been won in Christ.
He has heard our prayers, now he wants our heart.
Jesus, convicts my heart. The truth is it’s not about my feeling good, looking good or winning good, but it’s about you loving good through me.
“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Mt. 20:16
Jesus models this so well.
He takes the those limping like the least of these,
to make them the most of these.
He rides in on a donkey, with the power of God behind him, to save the world.
He gets down onto a dirty floor, cuddles up next to the grime of another’s feet
and shows us the way.
Jesus never said, “Yo! Over here! See me! See my height, my stature, my awesomeness.”
He never said, “You better be perfect.”
He never said, “You will never feel bad.”
He simply says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
So, as I start to put on that can-never-match-up cape, I hope I can stop to remember:
1. The Word of God drowns inadequacy with the promises of God.
2. Jesus tramples the idea that we should beat ourselves down for who we are today. He came to rescue us this way.
3. Less makeup = more chances to make up with our faith-floundering heart. Then, we can send it out to make up the world with the markings of Jesus’ love.
4. I would be a loser if it wasn’t for Jesus, but he stripped me of that status when he died on the cross, forever securing my title of “victorious in him.”
Bottom line: Jesus doesn’t care so much about feelings of superiority or even adequacy, as much as he does about his all-nourishing adequacy.
There is no one like him,
no one above him,
no one who can match him, or beat him or control him,
no other name reigns like his.
He is the everything of all we want to be…
he is the gate that opens to the humble road
that leads to the ultimate filling place of our deepest desires.
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Bloggers, are you attending She Speaks? Let’s meet for breakfast first thing Friday at the Embassy Suites (people not staying can still eat or have coffee there).
If you are going to She Speaks, there are 2 things to do:
1. Please RSVP here for the morning #RaRalinkup get together/breakfast.
2. Join the #RaRalinkup FB page to exchange more details and specifics.
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It’s a lonely place. A-no-one-cares-about-me place, an I’m-never-going-to-amount-to-anything place, an I-will-always-fail kind of place, a God-will-never-use-a-girl-like-me place.
It’s risky, because this hole of hopelessness can easily become a trapping cave-of-no-return. A cancer that grabs the anesthesia of alcohol, addiction, disorders, complexes, shopping, porn or whatever else if not careful.
Due to my past struggles with this place, I’ve realized, you have to watch for the invitations to this place of isolation.
Because this place makes you miss Gods’ face – and it leaves you in disgrace.
It makes God small and problems big.
It takes shame and guilt and places them on the centerstage of the heart.
It places you so deep into yourself, you can’t see others that need you.
Our God is not a haunter and taunter and he never developed a hell-hole like this.
Now I know, I have to run like the wind
when the devil starts to lure me in with lies.
I run hard, and I run fast because even the smallest step into that blackness
includes a return trip with miles of internal turmoil.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7
Sometimes we think our resistance is recognizing this place or praying against this place or throwing some truth out against this place, but oh no, my friends, it involves even more…
We aren’t called to sit around and have a light coffee before we leave,
we are called to flee- ASAP!
We aren’t called to go through the motions of life, but to eyes open and to kick ourselves into high gear.
We aren’t called to wait for a rescuer – a knight in shining armor. We already have one – his name is Jesus – and we are already rescued.
And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Mt. 5:30
God is not afraid of instructing us to take big measures against our small steps into these dwelling places of lies. This means we see beyond our world, into the transcending world around us. We become aware, looking, understanding, interpreting, searching, fighting and surrendering. We flee.
We flee by not throwing out verses, but by letting them become the knitting of our heart.
We flee, not by praying for our will, but by praying for his.
We flee, not by accepting or excusing sin, but by rejecting it.
We flee, unveiling our heart of agony to our maker. (Feelings aren’t bad, but distrust of God is.)
We flee by choosing the right counselors to instruct us when we become blind in our life.
We flee by letting go of the tide of our emotions, to grab on to the ocean of God’s truth.
We flee by extending grace to ourselves on hard days.
We engrave these truths upon our heart like stone:
We are more than just conquerors in Christ Jesus. Ro. 8:37
Nothing can overtake us, because God has overtaken the world. Jo. 16:33
There is no weapon forged against us that can prosper. Is. 15:47
We know nothing can really ever come against – no cancer, no abuse, no financial issues, no heartache, no agony, no marital issues, no heartaches, no _______.
We know it doesn’t matter,
because if we’ve lived it, he has beaten it.
So, dear friend, be not discouraged, but be wildly encouraged: If he conquered the world, he can conquer your agony, your despair, your hopelessness and your fears.