Healing Testimony By Dave Moore

This is the fourth blog in my series on healing. Follow these links if you would like to read the first three messages in this series:

Is It God’s Will To Heal You?

Pray For The Gift Of Healing

“God’s Grace” By Dr. Dorothy Hooks

Today, I want to share a story I read in Dave Moore’s book “The Father’s Love.” In his book, Dave shares how a frantic cross-country search for his missing son led Dave into the arms of His Heavenly Father. At the end of the book, Dave shares several miraculous stories of healing he and his family experienced. I want to share this story of God healing Dave and Dorinda’s son, David. May it bless you and increase your faith!


 Story taken from page 98-99 in “The Father’s Love” by Dave Moore:

Not long after David received Christ as his savior, he became close friends with our youth pastors, Justin and Jaime Stewart. Both David and Justin are very sports-minded young men. They soon formed a flag football team, which played in an indoor league. I became the cameraman who recorded their games.

One night early in a game, David was running hard covering a receiver on defense. As the ball was coming down, David jumped in the air to try to intercept the pass. The receiver’s feet bumped David in the air knocking him off balance. David came down on his back, flipped over and ended up on his hands and knees.

Justin immediately ran up to him to see if he was okay. He then prayed over him. David slowly got up and walked back to the huddle. He played the rest of the game. When the game ended, David came up to me and I noticed that his voice sounded different. I asked him if he felt sick. He said that he didn’t.

The team was going to Justin’s house to watch the film from the game. I told David that if he started to feel worse to call me. At 1:00 a.m. David called. He said he felt okay but that Justin said he sounded worse. He was going to go to the emergency room.  I jumped out of bed, dressed, and met them there.

David seemed to be fine except for the sound of his voice. He sounded like he had a cold. We waited three hours before being taken back to see a doctor. After examining David, the doctor started acting nervous. He went outside the room and soon the nurses came back with a crash cart, the kind used to restart someone’s heart.

Dorinda walked in, followed by the doctor. The doctor said that he was ordering x-rays. Soon the x-rays were done and the doctor came in with the news. He said that David had a hole in his esophagus and that he also had a broken neck. He had called the hospital throat specialist. They planned to put a tube down David’s throat to find the hole in his esophagus. They would then do immediate surgery.

I was shocked. I told David that I needed to go outside and call people to pray. When Dorinda and I reached the parking lot I remembered something that I had told others when they needed God:

“When you need God, get on your face and tell him you need him.”

Right there in the middle of the road I fell on my hands and knees and cried out to God to heal my son. After a few minutes we made a few calls and went back inside. The doctor had come to place the tube down David’s throat to find the hole. He looked very concerned as he began the procedure. After a few minutes he began to look puzzled. Then he looked at me and smiled.

As he started shaking his head side to side he said that it didn’t make any sense. There was air behind David’s lungs. The only way for it to get there was for there to be a hole in his esophagus. But there was no hole or at least there wasn’t one now. Just then another doctor came in with a second set of x-rays of David’s neck. The break that they saw in the first set of x-rays was gone. God had healed David.

The specialist soon came into our room. She said that they were admitting him into surgical intensive care. She would later tell me that when the emergency room had called her, the first question that she asked them was, “Is the patient still alive?”

She told us that with this injury, if there is not surgery within one hour, one hundred percent of the patients die. Of those who received surgery within the hour ninety percent still die. David never had any surgery at all. God again had shown His miraculous power by answering prayer and healing David.

After several days, the doctors finally decided to discharge David. Four doctors, including the specialist, came into his room. They told us that they knew that we were Christians, so they could give us their opinion. They said that they had no explanation for what had happened to David except that God had healed him. Praise my God!

*You can read more about Dave and connect with him at:

Website: www.thefatherslovebook.com

Facebook: The Father’s love page

Dave’s facebook page

Twitter: The Father’s Love

LinkedIn: Dave Moore

 

 *Follow this link to read all the messages in this series on healing.


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Healing Guest Blog: “God’s Grace” By Dr. Dorothy Hooks

This is the third message in my healing series. Follow these links if you missed any of the previous messages: “Is It God’s Will To Heal You?” and “Pray For The Gift Of Healing

Today I want to welcome my guest blogger, Dr. Dorothy Hooks, as she shares a powerful teaching and personal testimony of renewing our minds and walking in God’s grace and healing.

 

  “God’s Grace – Walk In Grace So You Can Grow In Grace”

 

Scripture is from 2 Cor 12:9-10:

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (www.biblegateway.com – NIV).

God has already provided everything we will ever need to live in this natural realm; through Jesus. Before Jesus died on the cross, everything concerning us was taken care of; every sickness, disease, emotional trauma, financial situation, etc. – in essence everything that would try to cause us to lose focus on God, Jesus has already taken care of it.

When Jesus said, “It is finished,” that is what He meant! Jesus told us in John 14:33 to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world; greater is He who lives in us than he that lives in the world (1 John 4:4). We are unstoppable! Nothing can hold us back; nothing can stop us from receiving the grace of God but our own selves.

When we have received the grace of God, we must grow in it. You might say, “How do I grow in grace?” You grow in grace by transforming your mind to the truth of God’s Word. We must know God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; by knowing the Trinity, we will know what our inheritance is – what our covenant benefits are. Until our minds are transformed (Romans 12:1-2) to what Jesus HAS done, we cannot walk in God’s grace.

Once our minds are transformed, we will be able to receive and apply the Word of God, which is health to our flesh, to every circumstances and situations in our lives (Proverbs 4:22). It is very important for our minds to be transformed because negative thoughts can nullify God’s grace; they will hinder us from walking and growing in grace. It’s not that God’s grace is not present to do what needs to be done in our life, it’s just we cannot receive because of our thinking.

For example, you go to the doctor and he/she tells you that you have an incurable disease; what would you do? Do you allow what the doctor said to override what God’s Word said which is “by His stripes we are healed?” No! It may be a fact that test showed you had that disease, BUT truth (the Word of God in Isaiah 53:5) says, “By His stripes we are healed.” That’s the report you should believe!

God’s healing grace has already been given through Jesus no matter what sickness, disease, infirmity, emotional illness or whatever tries to come against us; Jesus has already taken care of “IT.”

To help encourage you, I want to share a personal testimony with you. In April of last year, I went to Urgent Care because I was having chest pains and shortness of breath. Although I went, I knew who was my healer; Jesus. After the test, the nurse came in and told me I had a blood clot in my lungs and the doctor wanted me to go directly to the hospital by ambulance.

I almost began to panic but the Holy Spirit gripped me and I heard myself saying, NO, I do not have a blood clot in my lungs! It came to me that if I would have had it, God would have healed me the night before when my Pastor laid hands on me. Protesting, I went to the hospital and they began to run all kind of tests on me and while I was waiting for the results or should I say, while they were waiting for the results, I knew I was healed, God spoke to me and said, “Whose report are you going to believe?” I immediately said, “I am going to believe the report of the Lord!!!” When the results came back, I had no blood clot in my lungs!!! Why? The truth of God Word overrode the fact of those tests. I heard Dr. Larry Hutton say, “Faith does not deny the truth but faith changes the result.” I believe that’s what happened in my case; my faith in Jesus’ stripes healing me changed the results of the original lab test!

If the Holy Spirit would not have intervened, I would have accepted what the doctor said. This is why transforming our minds to the Word of God is soooooooo important. If I had not had faith in the Word, in what God has already done through Jesus, I would have believed what the doctor’s report said. Thank God I knew, through the Holy Spirit, what He said in His Word and is saying; “By Jesus’ strips we are healed!” God is true to His Word!

Romans 8:26 says that the Holy Spirit will help our infirmities (weaknesses) therefore we must always remember that we are not alone! God will do what we cannot do! We must trust God to keep His Word because He is not a man that He should lie! (Numbers 23:19)

Declaration:

Father, I take You at Your Word; I believe what You HAVE said! I take my faith and use it to access the grace, every spiritual blessing and spiritual gift You have already given me. I receive all of the benefits provided for me through our covenant. Thank You Father, in Jesus’ Mighty, Holy, and Majestic Name, Amen!! Amen!!!

Today, let’s make up our minds to transform our minds so we can embrace the grace God has given us! It is ours and we receive it NOW!

Shalom,

Dr. Hooks

Dr. Dorothy E. Hooks is a Licensed Minister, Author, CEO/Founder of The Lula McGrady Foundation, Inc. – a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit  organization & Abused Woman Ministries, Inc. and qualified Christian Counselor who specializes in abuse recovery for battered/abused women and their children in Lake County FL. She is also an over comer by the grace of God from the bondage of domestic abuse herself; so she can identify with abused women. Not only did God deliver Dr. Hooks from the bondage of seven abusive marriages but also from childhood issues (abandonment, rejection, neglect, sexual assault, etc.) which caused her to become a co-dependent and allow herself to become a victim of domestic violence.

Dr. Hooks is recognized by the State of Florida’s Attorney General’s Office as a Designated Victim’s Advocate, has completed the State of Florida’s Foster Parent Training, is a Radio Personality, and Speaker.  Dr. Hooks also conduct training workshops, group trainings, individual training sessions and counsel women via telephone/email domestically and internationally, to educate women on abuse and how to recover from it using her program, “Abused Woman Recovery Program” (AWRP) through her online school, Abused Woman Ministries’ Inc. School of Healing.

Dr. Hooks is passionate about helping the homeless (especially homeless veterans), women of domestic violence and their children, divorced women, unwed teenage mothers, and teenage high school dropout girls.

Visit us now on the go! Abused Woman Ministries Inc. School of Healing now has a mobile site and can be viewed on your Smart phone!! http://m.recovery4abusedwoman.org/

www.lulamcgrady.org – Website

drdehooks@lulamcgrady.org– Email

You can also follow Dorothy at:

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

Abusedwoman.org

www.abusedwoman.ning.com

www.recovery4abusedwoman.org

 

*Thank you, Dorothy, for sharing this wonderful message of renewing our minds and walking in the grace of God—His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing!

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2
*Follow this link to read all the messages in this healing series.



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Monday’s Blog: “Every Time a Bell Rings, an Angel….” By Bryan Ridenour

I want to welcome this week’s guest blogger, Bryan Ridenour, as he shares this wonderful message:

“Every Time a Bell Rings, an Angel…..”

By Bryan Ridenour

(I posted this entry two weeks before Christmas, but feel it’s appropriate to share this blog as my son approaches the one year point since his diagnosis of T-Cell Lymphoma.  Since sharing this in December, my son joined the ranks of those in remission!  However, he still faces another year of maintenance treatment and chemotherapy.  We’d appreciate your prayers.)

Zuzu Bailey: “Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”
George Bailey: “That’s right, that’s right. Attaboy, Clarence.”

I hear this dialogue every year as I watch my favorite Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Yesterday, my family heard a bell ringing in the pediatric oncology clinic followed by wild and raucous applause and cheering. My wife and Noah looked at each other, curious about the happenings behind closed doors. I happened to know the reason for the celebration. Every time a pediatric patient completes his or her prescribed course of treatment, the cancer survivor rings the bell and general hoopla erupts!

As the party winded down, a child-life specialist walked through the waiting room and looked at Noah. “That’s going to be you in a few months.” She smiled. I secretly wished for a time machine….

After a few minutes, a nurse pulled Noah’s chart and called his name. Noah, my wife and I walked through the doorway into the corridor leading to the examination rooms.  There, beside the bell, stood the girl celebrating. The medical staff swarmed around her, family members flanking her on both sides. The girl pulled the rope and rang the bell once more. Everyone cheered again for good measure.

That bell signified a milestone.

That bell announced the finish line.

That bell celebrated life.

In some ways, that young lady sprouted wings yesterday. I do not know her religious affiliation or background, but I do know this, if she knows Christ, a certain passage from the Bible speaks relevantly to her situation: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)

Yesterday a bell rang, and a young lady strapped on her wings.

Today, she soars….

 

 

 

Bryan’s a Child of God, Husband, Father to four fantastic children, serves as a youth and children’s pastor and loves to write.  He hopes to one day publish a series of children’s stories.  He hopes you’ll come visit him at brvan.com often.  (And yes, it’s a “v” and not a “y”.)

You can also follow Bryan on Twitter @youthpastorbry

 

 

*Thank you, Bryan, for sharing this beautiful message! We rejoice with you and pray for your son’s continued healing!



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Monday’s Blog: “When The Formula Doesn’t Work” By Rita Schulte

I want to welcome this week’s guest blogger, Rita Schulte, as she shares how trials and suffering in this life have a purpose. Be sure to follow her blog and leave her an encouraging comment below.

 

WHEN THE FORMULA DOESN’T WORK— WHAT’S NEXT? Moving beyond shattered dreams and unmet expectations

By Rita Schulte

     Sometimes the happy ever endings of life we so desperately desire don’t materialize. When that happens, it’s easy to lose heart. We express our protest to God by asking the traditional “why” questions. We want answers, believing they will lend meaning to our pain, and pour God sized truth into our feeble hearts to begin the healing process. If there was a point to all this, maybe loss wouldn’t be such a bitter pill to swallow. Surely God would not have us waste our sorrows without some grander purpose, some deeper meaning—maybe even a reward for all this mess. After all, scripture does say that our confidence will be richly rewarded (Heb. 10:35). Is that the point—we suffer through pain and loss so that we can have a bigger crown in heaven? What reward is Jesus talking about? Is it eternal life or is it something more?

I believe it’s much more. Our idea of victory or reward is usually focused on our achieving a set outcome. So, victory over pain generally means that our marriages get restored, Uncle Joe gets healed of cancer, or our kids come to know Christ after years of rebellion. Those, we believe, are the payoffs for a godly life of prayerful obedience.

There’s only one problem. The formula A + B = C doesn’t always work. Why? Because it leaves out a very important detail—the sovereignty of God! God doesn’t use cookie-cutter formulas to make life work. That’s far too impersonal. And it’s in the trenches of life that we find him. Our losses are divinely fashioned to drive a sledgehammer through our nice, neat theology. God uses the loss, pain, and brokenness we experience to expose our need for the only thing that will ultimately satisfy—Jesus.

When we become Christians, many of us were led to believe, “If you do this, you’ll get that.” Accept Christ, go to heaven. Raise your children in the church, get a holy Christian family. I know; I lived most of my Christian life that way. It’s a life of controlling, orchestrating, and trying to do everything right. If it works (and it does for some people), we risk falling to pride and self-righteousness. If it doesn’t, it leads us to ask the “if only” and “what if” questions that eventually drive us mad: “If only I had been a better parent.” “If only I had tried harder in my marriage.” “What if my mother hadn’t died when I was so young?” Yet there’s no life to be found in ruminating about past failures or future outcomes. That negative, self-defeating thinking profits us nothing. The griever is left feeling lost, confused, angry, and sorely inadequate.

When what we’ve spent a lifetime planting doesn’t seem to grow or flourish, we can easily become discouraged. Whether it be our marriages, our careers, or our children’s lives, we feel ultimately responsible that things didn’t work out as we so carefully and painstakingly planned. We ask ourselves if we would we have invested so much of our hearts in the process if we had known the outcome would be loss. I think the answer has to be yes, because it’s what God has called us to do—and ultimately we will answer to him. He calls us to be obedient, not to focus on the outcomes—that’s his business. When we try to assume his position, we are heading down a slippery slope.

 

Our Losses Matter to God

There are losses in our lives that we may never fully understand, and we have to decide if we can live with that. It’s about surrendering the “right to know” and trusting Christ as our security anyway. It’s about giving up the mental pictures of how our lives should have played out, what the outcome should have been, that are often radically incongruent with our present reality.

God never said we wouldn’t suffer. In fact, he says just the opposite throughout the Bible. The grief journey almost always leads us back to the age-old questions about suffering. Does a good God really expect us to shoulder the burden of loss and suffering? As difficult as it may sound, the answer is yes, because our sufferings unite us with Christ. They give meaning to what Jesus did on the cross because they give us someone real to relate to.

When Jesus said in the garden that his “soul sorroweth unto death,” we get that. When he says everyone deserted him, we know what he’s talking about. Each story he gives us that is recorded in Scripture is about real people who suffered real pain and loss so that we will not grow weary and lose heart. Why should we be exempt from walking in the places where they have trod? The writer of Hebrews reminds us:

Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. (Hebrews 11:35–38)

Where was God when these precious saints were suffering such profound loss? Didn’t he care? In fact, he cared enough to devise a plan of reconciliation with the only perfect sacrifice he could come up with— himself.

So what about the answers we may never receive? Or maybe the ones we don’t like—what do we do with those? If we knew the answers, would it really make a difference? Would we see God’s heart differently? What is God’s ultimate purpose for us in experiencing grief?

Wrestling with these questions is as inevitable as the tragedies in our lives, but if we’re stubborn and unyielding in our search, we will find something far more valuable than answers—we’ll find the very heart of God. How? By discovering what God does in the process of watching our hearts break: he gives us his. Our pain is given meaning because we don’t experience it in isolation; we share it in relationship with Christ.

That’s the first thing we need to see about our losses—they matter to God. He is not some cruel taskmaster who is unsympathetic to our plight; he is a high priest who sympathizes with all our weaknesses, and who has been tempted in every way just as we are (Hebrews 4:15).

This shared suffering, God being with us, gives a context for us to fight for our lives and our hearts. Lest you think I’m overdramatizing, let me explain by way of a simple illustration. In the Disney film The Kid, Bruce Willis plays Russ Duritz, a guy who appears rich and successful and yet is really very empty and lonely. He has spent most of his adult life trying to forget his childhood and the painful memories that wounded his heart. Enter eight-year-old Rusty, who Willis initially thinks is a hallucination, but who won’t go away. He is sent to help the grown-up Russ work through some unfinished business. Little Rusty is very unhappy that big Russ turns out to be a loser, and he sets out to replay events in his life to expose the lies he has believed about himself.

One of Russ’s most painful memories occurred at his school playground, where a group of bullies beat him up. Little Rusty takes Willis back to that place, but today, as he goes out to replay the scene, something powerful happens. He knows that the grown-up Russ is standing there with him to face the bullies. Sensing his presence, young Rusty the kid is able to stand up to the bullies and win the fight. Here’s what we notice: when someone is standing with you in the fight, during those times of sorrow and suffering, the bullies don’t seem so big, the darkness isn’t so black, the fear isn’t as paralyzing, and the fight is worth fighting. In the life of believer, that that someone is Jesus.

So the next time you’re tempted to be discouraged that the life you have carefully tried to orchestrate didn’t turn out the way you planned, remember this: the story isn’t finished yet and God always has a better ending in store!

 

Rita A Schulte is a licensed professional counselor, author and Host of Heartline Podcast and Consider This now airing on 90.9FM in Lynchburg, Va and 90.5 FM in NC. Rita talks about cutting edge issues effecting the hearts and lives of all of us out there with the leading counselors and writers in the country. Follow her at http://www.siftedaswheat.com/ on Twitter @heartlinepod and her blog at http://www.siftedaswheat.com/blog

 

*Thank you, Rita, for reminding us to keep our eyes on Jesus, not on our circumstances! He is with us in this fight!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).


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Monday’s Blog: “Being The Light In The Darkness” By Mark Hunter

I want to welcome this week’s guest blogger, Mark Hunter. Mark is a former atheist who gave his life to Christ in January 2010. You can download and read his touching testimony for free on his website “Awakening From Atheism.

With Easter coming up, I thought it would be fitting to share this message I read recently on Mark’s blog: 

Being The Light In The Darkness

By Mark Hunter

Today I wanted to very briefly touch on the influence of faith especially amongst those closest to us. I was drawn to read 1 Peter 3:1-2 recently in a book and it struck me that this was precisely what happened to me after initially coming to God. When I met my girlfriend, now fiancé, it was her demonstration of simply “being” who she was that won me over. I was so awestruck by her attitude, personality, conviction, optimism, positivity, can-do work ethic, unconditional love, guidance and support. These are just some of the compliments plucked out of the air that I can throw her way. When she explained the root of who she was, as someone who has complete faith and total trust in God, I said to myself “I want to experience the same as that please! I want to feel better. I want to be better. I want to change. I want to live!”

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives (1 Peter 3:1-2) .

These verses, I believe, can actually apply to anyone with a testimony of faith for others to witness. There is nothing more powerful, in bringing others to Christ, than personal testimony. It is what is responsible for peaking the interests of my own family, friends and co-workers. You need do not much except simply be who you now are. A life lived for Christ becomes readily apparent for all to see. Those who are blinded to the truth will dismiss it without consideration or will focus on wisdom rather than faith. Those who are open, receptive or curious will have that interest peaked. They will ask you questions, often, and sometimes very subtly. It is important once you witness such curiosity that you engage with them as soon as possible.

When I spoke to my fiancé I had a lot of questions but, more than anything at all, it was her demonstration of life itself that drew me into faith. Sure we can be positive, focused, etc without faith but when you don’t have such great character traits in the first place they can be exceptionally hard to create and maintain. It takes huge amounts of personal willpower (for most people) to generate and (especially) maintain it. Why run on your own batteries when you can easily plug into to the power grid that is faith? I didn’t expect much to come out of it at the time but in reading the Bible and having my fiancé as a strong mentor in my life made all the difference. My personality began changing almost instantly. Life, in this world, was no different but my ability to manage and cope with it increased dramatically. Depression faded away and disappeared all together. Joy and love returned to my life and now dominate my existence.

I ask any unbelievers who read my blog to take a look at any real Christian in their life… whether that is a family member, friend or co-worker. Take a close look at their character and ask the following questions. Are they happy or depressed? Are they focused or lost in life? Are they positive or negative? Are they able to cope with stress and difficulty or are quick to anger and argue? Are they kind and compassionate or cruel and unkind? Are they always helping others or not? Are they always giving and supporting or are they unhelpful and closed off? Do they avoid social ills or jump right in? Then they need to ask the same questions of themselves. A true Christian would reflect positive answers to these questions. An unbeliever, whose morality is not in question here, would struggle to do likewise. It’s not impossible, of course – and I am generalizing, but it’s rare. As a Christian we are the light in the darkness. Don’t hide your lamp under the table – let others see it brightly illuminating.

You can follow Mark on:
Website: “Awakening from Atheism”
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mahunter
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/atheist_convert
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/markhunter1975

 

 

*Thanks, Mark, for reminding us to let our light shine before others that they may see our good works and praise our Father in Heaven ( Matthew 5:16).


 

*To celebrate the resurrection of Christ, I am giving away my book “You Can Have a Happy Family” for FREE download on Kindle on Amazon this Tuesday & Wednesday (4/3-4/4).

“If God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and saved us from our sins, He can save your marriage!”


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Monday’s Blog: “Facebook Devotions and Anemic Christians” by Lori Hatcher

I want to welcome this week’s guest blogger, Lori Hatcher, as she shares her inspiring message with us. Lori is a great writer with a sincere heart for the Lord. I just posted a review on her encouraging new devotional book: “Joy in the Journey ~ Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms.” If you are a homeschooling mother, this book is a must have!

I pray Lori’s message today encourages you to put God first. We have so many distractions today that pull our attention away from God. This message is a wonderful reminder to keep our priorities straight and put God first each day.

 

Facebook Devotions and Anemic Christians

By Lori Hatcher

It seems we are busier than ever. Finding time to read God’s word and pray seems to be more and more challenging. Oftentimes, after we’ve checked Facebook, our email, and our palm pilots in the morning, there just isn’t time for devotions.

But like skipping breakfast in the morning leaves us hungry and unprepared for the physical demands of our day, heading out the door with no spiritual “food” in our souls leaves us empty, malnourished, and unprepared for the spiritual demands of our day.

I believe our generation struggles even more with having a consistent quiet time because there are so many distractions in our lives.  Social media is a huge challenge.  Many of us wouldn’t think of walking out the door without checking email or Facebook, but don’t think twice about heading out without checking in with God.

Each of us face different competing distractions.  Pastor and speaker Chip Ingram gives a great example of making decisions in advance to help keep our priorities in order in his Bible study “Balancing Life’s Demands.” He shares how he set a goal to spend time in Bible reading and prayer every morning.  To help him be consistent, he decided in advance that because eating breakfast was very important to him, and he would never dream of leaving home in the morning without eating breakfast, that he would not allow himself to eat breakfast in the morning unless he had already read his Bible. His desire to eat breakfast helped motivate him to have his quiet time each day. It also put a priority on reading God’s word. By putting time in the Word ahead of anything else, it set the tone for his whole day.

My temptation has often been good literature. I will find myself spending an hour or two reading a book, but will reach the end of my day without having spent any time reading the most important book of all, the Bible. To help myself be consistent in having a quiet time, I decided that I will not read any other reading material until I have first read my Bible. This decision helps me keep first things first.

What competes with your time with God?

Is it television? Facebook? Surfing the internet? Talking with friends? Even good things can squeeze out the best thing of all. I challenge you to identify what is squeezing out your time with God, then reorder your priorities in order to put God first.

I know God will richly bless you for it.

“But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness,  and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

 

Lori Hatcher is a transplanted Yankee living happily in the south with her husband, David, a youth minister, and faithful, four-footed friend, Winston. A 17-year homeschooling veteran with two young adult daughters, Lori has written a devotional book, Joy in the Journey — Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms, available soon from Lulu.com.  A Type-A personality who is learning to be still and sit at God’s feet, Lori writes from the overflow of her heart as God speaks to her.  Visit her blog, Be Not Weary, at http://www.lori-benotweary.blogspot.com.

 

*Thanks, Lori, for sharing your wonderful message with us and reminding us to put God first daily!

If this message blessed you, be sure to leave Lori an encouraging comment below. 🙂

 


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Monday’s Blog: “Tongue in Cheek” by Kerry Johnson

For the next few weeks, I have some wonderful guest bloggers lined up ready to share their inspiring messages. Today’s message is by my dear friend Kerry Johnson. She’s also featuring my article “God’s Unmerited Favor” on her blog tomorrow. Be sure to swing by there. Kerry is a phenomenal writer with a beautiful heart for the Lord. I pray her message on the power of the tongue blesses you as much as it’s blessed me.

 

 

Tongue in Cheek

By Kerry Johnson

 

“Would you hold that thing down?”  In my Novocain and fear-induced state, the words sounded surreal.  The entire left side of my face was numb, and drool was dripping out of the corner of my mouth.  The dentist looming over me was concentrating deeply on his task when he muttered the sarcastic words to the hygienist suctioning out my mouth.  The “thing” getting in his way was my tongue.

I have a personal confession to make.  My tongue is on the big side.  Okay, it’s very big.  I’ve frustrated dentists, grossed out elementary school friends, and even won a contest with this tongue—a who-can-touch-their-tongue-to-their-nose contest.

I can.

What exactly is the tongue, and what is its purpose?  The tongue is a powerful muscle on the bottom of our mouths.  Its main function as an organ is tasting food since much of the upper surface of the tongue is covered in taste buds.  It’s made up of groups of muscles and, like the heart, it’s always working.  The tongue is also able to expertly bind and contort itself to form letters when we speak.  That’s the kicker. The tongue is absolutely necessary for speech.

I’ve come to realize the amazing power and deadly influence my tongue can have.  It’s the bridge between my heart and thoughts directly to the people around me.  The tongue can be a tool to inflict pain or make someone’s day.  It can bless and it can curse.

As God laid this on my heart to write, a fearful uncertainty settled in my chest.  Not me, Lord.  The excuses came fast and furious.  Lord, I am the LAST person who should write about taming the tongue!  Hypocrite is spelled M-E.  Lord, I have diarrhea of the mouth!  Please don’t ask me to do this!

Still, I felt God pressing on my heart to write about my tongue.  And when I read Proverbs 21:23 one morning, the words washed over me like a holy fire: “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (NKJV).  Was I guarding my tongue for Jesus?  I want to guard my tongue in order to protect my soul – for You, Lord.

What kind of words do I say?  Or, for the writers out there, type?  Words that bless or words that curse? “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2, NKJV).  Am I wise or a fool?  Gossip, slander, and lying are foolish and self-serving.  They cause harm to the speaker and the hearer, and they’re welcome ammunition for the devil.

Words spoken in love, praise of others, expressions of gratitude, and encouragement build others up.  “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24, NKJV).

Many verses talk about the tendency of our tongues to be perverse.  The word perverse means something – or someone – that has turned away from what’s good or right and has become corrupt.  “He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil” (Proverbs 17:20, NKJV).  Our heart condition is evidenced by the words coming off our tongue.  “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4, NKJV).  I pray my tongue will be a “tree of life” and not cause me to “fall into evil.”

When we criticize others, who are made in God’s image and whom He loves as much as He loves us, we’re using our tongue for evil.  How can I use my tongue for God? How do we learn to have a “wholesome tongue” and keep it from causing harm?

There are three important exercises we can do with our tongues to glorify God:

The first exercise I recommend is not using your tongue.  How I struggle with this!  Remember as a child when your mom told you to, “Bite your tongue?”  Though I wouldn’t recommend that, I do recommend keeping your tongue still and giving your ears a workout instead.  “He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.  Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Proverbs 17:27-28, NKJV).  Go on a word diet and listen instead of speaking.

Words are compared to arrows shot out of a bow because they fly fast and furious, especially when they’re emotionally driven.  “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19, NKJV).  Generally, I’ve found the higher quantity of words, the lower quality they become.  I’m learning to be more like my quiet, thoughtful husband – talk less, listen carefully, and consider more before speaking.  The result is less complaining and criticizing…less “word garbage.”

The second exercise I recommend for the tongue is using it for good—for God.  In the words of Peter Parker (aka Spiderman), “With great power comes great responsibility.”  We house power in our tongues.  Using that power for the encouragement and edification of others is God-glorifying and trains our hearts for selflessness.  “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29, NKJV).

Allow the Holy Spirit to add a measure of joy to someone’s life through your words.  Encourage a friend by complimenting their family or children, praise their parenting or homeschooling success, or pray together.  Edification can also be a word of encouragement in the Lord or a Bible verse that was helpful for you in a similar situation.

As a wife and mother, I seek to align my life with Proverbs 31.  “She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26, NKJV).  When we mix godly wisdom with edification and coat our words in love, God can accomplish much through us as mothers, wives, and friends.

Finally, the most important activity we are to do with our tongue is praise God.  “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25, NKJV).  Only through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross can I ever be considered “faultless.”  He is the most precious gift ever given or received!

How can I not give Him constant praise as a result?  “Praise the Lord!  Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 106:1, NKJV).

Although God doesn’t need our praise, His Word testifies that He wants to hear from His children.  “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15, NKJV).  Praise and thanksgiving offered to Jesus will lift our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances and onto Him where they belong.

I’ve learned that praising God has a wonderful purpose.  Our faith is strengthened and purified when we praise Him in the dark moments of our lives.  “I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue” (Psalm 66:17, NKJV).  When I’m speechless before God, whether through the trials or the blessings of this life, praise should never cease to roll off my tongue for Him and the wonders of His works.

After all, Jesus’ actions were drenched in grace for me, and my life should be drenched in praise for Him.  Ultimately, my prayer is that my tongue will speak life-giving words from my Savior.  David said at the end of his life, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2, NKJV).  For if the Word of the Lord is always on our tongue, we won’t have to worry about “holding that thing down.”

 

Kerry Johnson lives in sunny Tampa Bay with her loud and very ticklish family. Patient hubby Trevor and their two bouncing boys, Cole and Chase, give the best hugs ever. She’s been published in Sanctified Together, Granola Bar Devotionals, and Tampa Bay’s Overflow Magazine, and recently completed her first novel. She has her Bachelor of Science in English Education and enjoyed 7 blessed years as a stay-at-home wife and mom. She’s passionate about her family, exercising, chocolate, reading and writing, and especially sharing the love of Jesus through her writing at http://candidkerry.wordpress.com/.

 

 

*Thanks, Kerry, for this powerful and timely message on guarding our tongues!

If this message blessed you be sure to leave Kerry an encouraging comment below. 🙂

 

 


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Monday’s Blog: Glen Adams of Vertical Connection Ministries

I am starting a new series next Monday titled: “Ignite the Fire.” This will be a powerful series that will ignite your Spirit on fire for Christ. You don’t want to miss it!

Today, I want to introduce Glen Adams from Vertical Connection Ministries. He shares his inspiring testimony and how God is using his ministry to unite the body of Christ.

 

 

By: Glen Adams

God is so amazing. There was a time in my life when I was falling apart. I learned that my wife had an affair, and our newly born son was not my own. Later she filed for divorce. Feeling crushed and alone, I began to drink. My daughter, our second child, was young. My wife took the children from me, and I did not see them very often. I left the church and my drinking became a past time every weekend.

One night I met someone who showed me kindness. We went out a few times, and I soon learned about her drug use. She had me take her places that made me feel uncomfortable, and rightly so, she had friends who were selling her drugs. One morning I fell to my knees and wept, with tears flowing down my cheeks. I felt totally defeated. That morning I experienced the love of Jesus like never before. He raised me up, set my feet on solid ground, and helped me see myself as he saw me.

God has placed a call on my life. When God does something great in your life, and transforms your life, there is a price that comes with that experience. For me, he called me into ministry, using what he showed me, which is the love of Jesus. Jesus taught me about love, and he taught me that no one is so far away that they can’t be reached. I could have been overcome, but Jesus saved me.

I remarried, and my wife, Melissa, has become my ministry partner. And my relationship with God has been completely restored, far beyond what I ever could have dreamed of.

 

 

During the really hard times, I wrote letters to God, and was amazed how quickly he responded. The time I remember most was just before my divorce. I cried out to God, “I don’t know what to do. I know you hate divorce.” God responded, “Son, you have rightly spoken. I hate divorce, but I love you more.”

I have learned the importance of prayer, not speaking, but listening. The day came when the Lord told me that I have gone as far as I can go alone. A week later, I was in the music section at Wal-Mart when I met Melissa. We went across the street to have coffee at Applebee’s. And 7 months later we were married and starting to work on and pray about the vision God had given us for ministry.

It seemed that things were looking up, but then Melissa began suffering from migraines. Medical costs began to add up and we were getting deeper into debt. We had to sell our house to pay the medical bills, but we had no place to go. Because of our bad credit, no one would rent to us.

We were ready to close on the sale of our house. I took a day off work to look for an apartment. We were backing out of the driveway when my father called. He told me the old farm house that I grew up in was empty, and we could have it if we wanted it. He gave us the first 3 months’ rent free. And he agreed to subtract the electric and heating oil from our rent. What a blessing it was. We paid off all our debt and Melissa’s health improved dramatically. God provided.

Now, we are walking through the valley again. On July 20th, I injured my back at work. I had two back surgeries and was to be off work for 6 months. But then I  lost my job just before Christmas. We have been working with a lawyer to get worker’s compensation. We went to court, and we are still waiting on a decision from the judge.

The doctor told me I will never work again. We are now working with our lawyer to apply for disability. I have no income, and I’ve had to borrow $8,000 to live on until all this is settled. We are also looking at over $200,000 in medical expenses, due to my back surgeries. We are praying the settlement will be in our favor, and we believe God will provide again. He provided before, and He will again.

Even during all this, our focus has been on ministry, and making a commitment to full-time ministry. I feel in my spirit that God is ready to move again. This time the word that comes to mind is: “God’s Justice.” I can’t wait to be able to write the rest of the story. I am praying that others can see Jesus in us as we reach out to them.

 

 

Vertical Connection Ministries is about truth and being real when it comes to how we advocate for Jesus. We want people to know that our life experiences have given us a gift of compassion, being able to relate to people who are going through the valleys in their lives.

Vertical Connection Ministries has several parts: Awaken Praise Band, Mobile Clothes Bank, and we work with other local ministries such as The Filling Station, a local coffee house, to bring people together. It is our belief that Christians must come together in unity before Jesus can return.

We are seeing a growing movement of Christians holding worship events involving different denominational churches. All together, we work to lead the lost to Jesus. The Mobile Clothes Bank provides clothes for everyone, not only the poor, but everyone. The basis of this ministry is to support and help one another, and the clothes bank offers us the means. We are connecting the clothes bank with local food pantries, and in doing so, people of all walks of life can be supplied with food as well as clothing. We also hope to be able to provide furniture for those who cannot afford to buy furniture for themselves.

The vision has different parts, and different parts of the body of Christ filling the needs of the community. It isn’t about Vertical Connection Ministries. We cannot supply every need for every person, but we can be a part of a greater purpose. If we can only begin to understand and see the power of a unified body of Christ. If we could begin to understand how much more we could accomplish if only we would work together rather than separately.

 

 

In July of 2011, Vertical Connection Ministries/Awaken Praise Band had agreed to do a community project in Harrisonburg, Va. We planned to have music, give away clothing, face painting, and a car wash. I injured my back just weeks before the event, and I was unable to fulfill my obligation to the sponsors. I called my friends at the Filling Station Coffee House and informed them of my dilemma. They called their friends, and together they pulled off the event. Members of 3 different bands came together to form a music group and provided the music for the event. From what I hear, they were great.

The event didn’t die because of the unity of believers. They saw the need and stepped up to help when I could not. They died to self to fulfill a greater need. In the center is Jesus Christ, and around Him are all of us working together to fulfill the purpose of Jesus. This is the heart of Vertical Connection Ministries.

When I was at my lowest point spiritually, it was not the church that helped me out of the pit. It was Jesus, and my relationship with him. The key that opened the door for me was a relationship, and from that relationship I have become who I am today. Jesus did not judge me, he showed me His love. This is what we are called to do, not judge, not try to fix everyone, but to show love, just the way Jesus showed his love to me.

The outside is not going to change until God changes the inside. We need to understand that, and we at Vertical Connection Ministries strive to keep this in the forefront of everything we do. My wife and I work together as the co-founders of the ministry. My wife sings and edits what I write. I have the words, but she has the gift to put them together.

I work as the sound man for Awaken, and as general manager. I also do all the graphic work for advertising. Another part of the ministry that I am still developing is putting together computer graphics to put a visual to a Biblical truth. The success of Vertical Connection Ministries is not the sole efforts of Melissa and me. We have been in ministry for 6 years, and starting our 7th. It has never been about me being in control, but about us working together and encouraging others to use their gifts, alongside us, for the purpose of Christ Jesus.

Facebook has become an open avenue for me to share the word of God. I have committed to sharing scriptures, photos, and visuals to communicate our need for Jesus Christ in our lives. I seldom share my thoughts because I cannot add to or take away from the word of God. I post what I feel led to share, and trust God for the rest. It’s not about me. It is about God. You can find all my visuals on Facebook on the Awaken group page. Please feel free to visit.

As I am preparing to go into full-time ministry, I felt this was the time for me to share my story with you. I pray it will encourage you where you are in your life. Don’t ever believe you are too far gone that Jesus can’t reach you. He was able to reach me, and he can reach you as well. Was it easy? No, but it was well worth the effort.

You can follow us on our website: verticalconnection.org, Linkedin, and Facebook. If we can be of any help to you at all, feel free to e-mail us at glenandlissy@gmail.com.

 

Thank you, Glen, for opening your heart and sharing your wonderful testimony of God’s grace with us.

Be sure to follow Glen and his ministry on the links above. Don’t forget to subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts so you don’t miss my upcoming “Ignite The Fire” series.

See you next Monday! God bless!

 

 

 

 


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Monday’s Blog: Speak Blessings

A dear friend of mine recently reminded me of the importance of guarding our tongues. I was putting myself down a bit to my friend when he replied, “Speak blessings over yourself and others or else remain quiet.”

He’s right. Every time we open our mouths we sow good seeds or bad seeds. If we can’t sow good seeds into our lives and the lives of others, then we need to remain silent.

If we kept note of everything we spoke to ourselves and others throughout our day we would quickly see which seeds we’re sowing. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

We reap what we sow. If we sow negative seeds they will produce bad fruit in our lives. If we sow positive seeds they will produce good fruit in our lives.

What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.

—Matthew 15:11

I decided to go on a fast this month from junk food. I chose to fast from junk food to remind me to cleanse my mind from “junk” thoughts, and cleanse my mouth from “junk” speaking. I wanted to fill my body with healthy foods to remind me to fill my mind with healthy thoughts and fill my mouth with healthy words.

This isn’t easy of course. I’ve already failed a few times and I’m not even halfway through the month. But I know it’s something I need to continue to do if I want to see God produce a fruitful harvest in my life and use me to bless others.

…Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love….

—Hosea 10:12

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

—Colossians 4:6

I found this message written by Kat Heil (www.katheil.com), author of “Say What You Mean: Because You’ll Have What You Say (Kat’s Recipes For Life).”

She wrote, “Take control of your life by thinking about and talking about what you want to happen. Don’t just sit back and see what comes.”

Her book description says:

Words are your life’s story and it matters greatly what you say.  What you say is Vital to your wellbeing.  Not only do the people around you hear what you say, but YOU HEAR what you say as well.  Your words are the direction for your life.  Be it physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social or financial.

Your ears take in every word you speak.  And every word you speak goes out to accomplish its intended purpose.  YOU were made that way.

Your words, thoughts, beliefs, behavior, and visualizations are interconnected.  You can’t put your FOCUS in one direction and live your life in a completely different direction.

Achieving your dreams and goals can be entirely possible for YOU if you will align your words, thoughts, and beliefs in the same direction.  Your behavior is a direct result of what you believe and perceive.  Your mind will visualize the image you give it.  You have control over what you say, what you believe and what you expect in life.  If you expect success, your mind can picture it. Ask any Gold Medal athlete.

You can change the way you’ve been talking, but first you have to know what you have been saying.  If you’ve been speaking defeat and failure over your life for the past twenty years, it will take some time and practice before that will turn itself around, but the good news is that wrong words and thoughts can be turned into right words and thoughts.”

Note: Thanks, Kat, for kindly allowing me to share your quotes.

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**Prayer for the week**

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for reminding us of the importance of guarding our tongues. We ask that You continue to fill our hearts with love so that our mouths would speak blessings, not curses. Help us to hold our tongues when we’re tempted to sow negative seeds. Help us to cast down negative thoughts and keep our minds focused on You.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

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*If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

*Come back next Monday as I share more of God’s Truths and the reasons behind the Truths.

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.


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Monday’s Guest Blog: Ashley Ormon

I have a guest blogger this week. But I first want to announce the winners of last week’s book giveaway. I will be emailing the winners as well. Thank you to everyone who entered. I enjoyed reading all the verses and my kids enjoyed drawing the two winners:)

 The WINNERS are….


Mel at Trailing After God

Dave Moore – author of The Father’s Love.

Congratulations, Mel and Dave!! You both will receive a copy of Warren Baldwin’s book titled, “Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs.

**************************************************************************

 

This week’s guest blog is by Ashley Ormon. I read her article in Proverbs and Wisdom’s newsletter. I asked her to share this message because I think we often forget the benefits we have when we live for Christ. Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7). I pray this message will bless you as it has blessed me.

 

Receive What God Has Given You

By Ashley Ormon

 

  Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

—Psalms 103:2

It would be weird for you to have a job that offers health benefits and forget you have them when you’re sick. It also would be abnormal to get robbed and not remember you can call the police for help. Yet, all too often, we do this. As children of God we are entitled to a wealth of benefits, but forget that we have them.

Too many times, myself included, have I seen children of God suffer from illnesses and colds when Psalms 103:3 clearly states we have the benefit of having a God that “heals all of our diseases”. We carry around sin forgetting that if we only ask for forgiveness, our sins will be taken away.

God says that people perish because of a lack of knowledge and when we aren’t constantly reminding ourselves of “all of his benefits”, we suffer. We pray day in and day out and hope that things will get better; when instead, we should be walking and receiving everything God has given us. You wouldn’t go to your boss and ask him for health benefits if you already had them. So why do we constantly ask God for peace and live stressful lives when God told us in 2 Tim. 1:7 that He has given us the spirit of peace, power, and a sound mind?

When David sung this Psalm he said, “forget not all his benefits (emphasis mine).” Meaning, we remember that God will clothe us, we remember that He is always with us, but forget about the rest of the blessings He’s provided. My heart truly goes out to all those depressed and broken-hearted. I encounter too many individuals who are unsatisfied with life, but the Bible says that if we delight ourselves in God, He will give us the desires of our heart. And God clearly has given us life more abundantly and gave us much joy!

I urge you not be like the prodigal son who suffered instead of asking his father for forgiveness. You see, when the son remembered that he could be forgiven and still could receive his father’s benefits, he was able to live a better life. Don’t be a prodigal son or daughter wandering out there suffering because you’ve forgotten the benefits God has given you.

When you became a child of God, your Father in heaven blessed you with gifts, talents, benefits, and promised He’d always be there. So if you are having a difficult day, do forget your morning coffee or your phone on the kitchen top, but please, oh please, do not forget the benefits God has blessed you with!

Recommended reading: Psalm 103

 

As a Christian for many years, Ashley Ormon is fully conscious of the life-changing impact an individual can have in putting God first and developing a close relationship with Jesus Christ. You are welcomed to visit her website and community, Proverbs & Wisdom (P&W), where she writes to encourage you, empower you, and enlighten you on how to become a more successful and wiser individual. Please experience the lovingkindness her Facebook community entails and the encouraging words sent out by her on Twitter!

Note: Thanks, Ashley, for reminding us to take hold of everything Christ has given us!

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