Last LPL Recap of 2013 – Daytona Beach

Siestas! It will be another five months until you see another post about Living Proof Live. Can you even believe it? I can’t wait to hear how this weekend went from our Siesta Mama. She’s off today resting and recuperating, and rightfully so. I heard a rumor, however, that a fun picture post might be coming your way this week. Woohoo! Until then, here is your last LPL recap of 2013, thanks to our dear friend Rich.

Living Proof Live | Daytona Beach from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

Thank you, Lord, for all you did in the lives of each participant at Living Proof Live this year. You are Healer, Redeemer, Savior, Father, Lord Almighty, Defender, Protector and so much more. May you continue to pour out your Spirit among each of us! We love You so much and are forever indebted to You. You are faithful.

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The Meal of Champions

A couple nights ago I was leaving a friend’s house when we landed on a really serious discussion. It was so serious that I set my purse down and sat back down on the couch. What was so important, you might wonder?

Cereal.

Not just any cereal, y’all, we were salivating over the sugary, good, delicious, unhealthy, childhood cereal that we all secretly dream about while we choose to eat the healthy cardboard junk. Who invented Kashi cereal anyway?

Even as I type this I’m feeling all giddy again.

I went on to explain to my friends that growing up my mom might have well been named the Junk Food Queen. We had every imaginable sugary cereal and Hostess Cupcake you can imagine. I wish it weren’t true. In fact, I’m almost certain that if I were to open my mom’s pantry door today, I’d see remnants of my childhood. (Well, they wouldn’t be THAT expired, but you get the point.) My mother still doesn’t believe in food tasting like cardboard and I don’t blame her.

(I think she got the habit from my Grandpa who, until the day he passed away, would eat Cap’n Crunch nearly every morning. I ate it in his honor the last time he visited, because you better believe he had a box left.)

Since I am now considered a grown up, I try to make healthier food choices, including the cereal I eat. (And let’s be so honest, any evening that includes cereal for dinner is a really good evening.) This means I steer clear of the Cookie Crisp, the Corn Pops, the Cocoa Pebbles, the Apple Jacks, the Cap’n Crunch, the Frosted Flakes, the Fruit Loops and well, you get the point.

(And don’t even get me started on how Lucky Charm marshmallows should be saved for the end of your bowl and then eaten all together. Or the fact that you can buy Lucky Charm marshmallows separately and if that doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what will. If you’re one of those eat-one-marshmallow-with-each-bite kind of person, I don’t know if we can be friends.)

I could name twenty more cereals and add a jingle or a tag line with each one of them.

(Oh, and shall we discuss at large the leftover milk if you’ve eaten Fruity Pebbles or Cocoa Pebbles? It was one of the best parts of the cereal eating experience.)

After our detailed discussion we decided we needed to have an official cereal night. There are a bunch of us that frequently eat dinner together on Sunday evenings, so the rule this past Sunday for all who decided to join was to come with your favorite sugary cereal. I’m not even kidding, y’all. These are adults I’m speaking of. We usually eat very adult meals with an occasional chicken nugget thrown in, but Trix aren’t really just for kids.

I failed to get a picture of our cereal choices Sunday evening because I was too busy eating said cereal, but despite my lack of photographing that particular evening, I struck gold when I reached this aisle the day before and bought myself a box of Cocoa Pebbles. Not for the Cereal Extravaganza of 2013, but just because.

I think I even heard angels singing.

This entire conversation and experience is something I felt so passionate about, I knew I had to share it with you guys. I know how you people get all excited about the little things with us. Even if it’s about cereal.

So can we all just take a moment and relive our childhood by naming off our favorite all time cereal? And by all means, throw the slogan in there, too.

And if your mom never bought you the good stuff, today we grieve with you. But please, for the love of all things normal, go buy yourself a box of Fruity Pebbles.

They even make those gluten free.

Boom.

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That Beautiful Word “Immediately”

Good morning, ladies! Just a quick disclaimer: We recorded this video a week ago Tuesday and are getting a few emails and phone calls about conflicting dates. Just so we’re all clear, Daytona LPL IS this coming weekend, the 8th – 9th and it is sold out! Originally you would have been watching this video last week, so the timing would have made more sense. We are so sorry for any confusion, but hope that helps. Thanks so much for your grace as we are far from slick. Blessings!

That Beautiful Word “Immediately” from LPV on Vimeo.

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 21!

Girls, WE ARE ALMOST THERE!!! In fact, if you set your sights on our celebration in January and you’ve memorized all your verses so far, you have everything you need to qualify. HOWEVER, don’t quit now! If you can memorize 20 verses, you can memorize 24!

I think Lindsee told you in the previous post that I did a video blog for you guys on Tuesday as soon as I came into work after my LPL trip and that thing took until Wednesday night to download. I had missed y’all so much and was so in the mood to spend time with you in the Scriptures. At that point, however, we felt like it should wait until Monday since we had our SSMT post coming up right away. In between, we were ecstatic to extend to you a guest post from a dear sister in the faith, Crista Merrell, who leads women at Bayou City Fellowship where Lindsee and I serve. I hope it blessed you.

I will love Crista forever because she is one of the best friends my daughter Amanda has in the entire world. Pastors’ wives desperately need girlfriends that are trustworthy. And girlfriends that are fun. Crista is both. Crista is also a mighty woman of God. A warrior. She is a servant to the bone and has one of the neatest, most colorful families I’ve ever had the privilege to know. Jesus is gorgeous on them.

OK! On to our task! I’ve not memorized out of the HCSB before but it’s the version LifeWay (my Bible study publisher) asks its authors to use in our curriculum so I spend a great deal of time in it when I’m writing a study. I really love it. I just got in the habit of memorizing out of the ESV or NET. I came upon this verse today as I was cross referencing something for Children of the Day and I adored the translation. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

 

You better believe He is. In case my scribbling is too hard to read, it’s Deuteronomy 10:21 HCSB.

Ok, Sisters, I’m ready to hear yours! I love you so much. If you can carve out about 23 minutes toward the first of next week, we’ll get into the Scriptures together in the Monday post.

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A Guest Post With a Powerful Word

Good morning, lovelies! I just finished applying my mascara, but I didn’t want to wait too long this morning before I hopped on here this morning to share something with you all. Truth be told, Beth and I filmed a video blog on Tuesday, but after much headache and technical difficulties, I didn’t get it downloaded until late last night so, we decided to save it for Monday because of our SSMT post tomorrow. In the meantime, however, we have a friend, Crista Merrell, that is dear to both of us and she also heads up the ministry to women at our church. Yesterday she wrote a powerful post on the Bayou City Blog for our church and I asked her permission to share it on here as well. So, would you ladies please welcome our dear friend with open hearts and minds today?

Thank you so much, Crista, for sharing this powerful Word!

 

In 1818, an anonymously written, dream-based manuscript called The Modern Prometheus about a maddish scientist and his highly unorthodox experiment surfaced in London. You and I know the tale better as Frankenstein, and given the current season, it’s not difficult to conjure an image of Boris Karloff in his 1930s role as Victor Frankenstein’s creature—square head and hulking shoulders, bolted neck and awkward stride. Did you know that Frankenstein isn’t the monster’s name? It’s the scientist’s. But the characters of creature and created are so intertwined that we don’t even bother to separate them. We just call them by the same name: Frankenstein.

Frankly (I couldn’t resist), we can relate to the tangle of Frankenstein and his creature. There’s a familiar scene that plays out in our lives. In Victor Frankenstein’s obsession to create is our drive to achieve something amazing and unheard of. We want to do, know, raise more. And it consumes us to the point of abandoning what we know as truth and the freedom that grace gives us to partner with God in creating meaningful existence in our own lives is exchanged for the illusion of power and control. Frankenstein creates his ugly monster and we build our own monster: sin, selfishness, idolatry.

The last half of the novel finds Frankenstein and his creation in a cycle of death and destruction that tempts the reader to walk away but compels further engagement because of the need for resolution. Both Frankenstein and his monster are driven by the goal of destruction of the other, and the story ends very badly with Frankenstein pursuing the monster to the icy north only to die from illness, the monster to weep for his creator and then to depart further into the icy north to die.

But tell me this: Are you able to fully grasp how far your monster is removable from you? How very separable you are?

I Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” Bad news for Frankenstein, when he laid himself down to die, he never got up again. Good news for you and me, when we lay ourselves down to die we bury our old selves—that sin and selfishness and idolatry, and we can learn to live without the monster of guilt and condemnation hanging around threatening our fullness of life. We get to send it off on a block of ice to be cast far away from us for, as Micah 7:19 says, “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” We trade our sin monster for His great name!

So for all of us Frankensteins, life may be wild and appear loosely chaotic, but it isn’t a horror novel. It’s created by the perfect plan, purpose, and pleasure of a loving God who delights in us unchangingly. And can I hear a “Hallelujah!”…He is the slayer of all of our monsters.

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Living Proof Live – Springfield Recap

Hey Friends! And happy Monday to y’all! The Springfield LPL recap just dropped in my inbox, so that means it’s time to share it with all of you. Thanks so much, Rich! We hope each of you experienced God this weekend in a new way, and if so, please feel free to share it with us!

Living Proof Live | Springfield from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

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Punctuate it with Hallelujahs!

Earlier this week our fearless leader (some might refer to her as Siesta Mama), declared this week to be the week of rejoicing. Regardless of if we wanted to or not, we would “rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice!” (Anybody catch that tune with me? Grin.) I thought it was so appropriate because Sunday morning happened to be an all around joyful morning at church, for no particular reason, so I was kind of already in rejoicing mode, you know, if “rejoicing mode” is a thing.

Fast forward to this morning. Although I do love the peacefulness and calmness the mornings bring, I am not by nature a morning person. I tend to fall heavier on the “night owl” side of that pendulum. This morning, however, was one of those rare mornings that I popped right out of bed with a joy on me that can only come from God. I might even consider it a Friday morning miracle.

I would assume a big reason for my joyful spirit this morning was an overflow of last night, when I was able to attend a Night of Worship with All Sons & Daughters. I mentioned earlier this year that their CD was one of my favorite things, and to this day, it still is. In fact, I’ll bet it never grows old to me. I am but one that is so grateful for the way they use their gifts to lead people in worship, and for their simple pastoral hearts. So genuine, so anointed and so authentic. Many of their songs acknowledge how broken and in need of Christ we are, but then turn it to how good, holy, and perfect Jesus Christ is and the redemption He alone brings.  If you’re looking for some new worship music, their CD is a must-have!

Right before we all sang “All the Poor and Powerless” which they wrote but you also might recognize off of Travis Cottrell’s live CD as well, they read Psalm 22 out of the Message.

I can honestly tell you that as many times as I’ve read and heard that Psalm, I don’t thing I’ve ever heard it out of this translation, and if I had, I certainly haven’t paid attention. It struck me with fresh eyes and fresh faith. I’m pasting it here in hopes that it pierces your heart, too.

As we enter into the weekend, let us rejoice and punctuate the weekend with Hallelujahs! What if we did that long before we got to church Sunday morning? Instead of depending on our worship leader to get us pumped up, we can depend on the Holy Spirit, His word and the rejoicing and Hallelujahs we’ve been exclaiming all weekend. Even if we never get it together, we worship Him! He alone is worthy. Amen? Amen.

22-24 “Here’s the story I’ll tell my friends when they come to worship,
and punctuate it with Hallelujahs:
Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers;
give glory, you sons of Jacob;
adore him, you daughters of Israel.
He has never let you down,
never looked the other way
when you were being kicked around.
He has never wandered off to do his own thing;
he has been right there, listening.

25-26 Here in this great gathering for worship
I have discovered this praise-life.
And I’ll do what I promised right here
in front of the God-worshipers.
Down-and-outers sit at God’s table
and eat their fill.
Everyone on the hunt for God
is here, praising him.
“Live it up, from head to toe.
Don’t ever quit!”

27-28 From the four corners of the earth
people are coming to their senses,
are running back to God.
Long-lost families
are falling on their faces before him.
God has taken charge;
from now on he has the last word.

29 All the power-mongers are before him
—worshiping!
All the poor and powerless, too
—worshiping!
Along with those who never got it together
—worshiping!

30-31 Our children and their children
will get in on this
As the word is passed along
from parent to child.
Babies not yet conceived
will hear the good news—
that God does what he says.”

Psalm 22:22-31 (The Message)

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LPL Siesta Scholarship Tickets – Springfield, IL

Good Thursday morning, friends!

Can you believe this season of LPL is coming to a close soon and very soon? We only have one more conference left after this weekend. Kind of crazy to think about since I feel like we JUST kicked this year off. Anyway, like ususal, we are blessed to be able to give away 20 tickets this weekend thanks to our Siesta Scholarship Fund. These tickets are for those of you who are near our LPL location and have the urge to attend the conference, but cannot fork over that kind of money at this time. We’d love to bless you!

If this applies to you, or if you know of somebody and you live around that area, you can call us at 281-257-3344 or call toll free at 888.700.1999. Please ask for Kimberly and she will hook you up! If you happen to call during the lunch hour, or we miss you for some other reason, please leave a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Thank you in advance for your prayers for this upcoming weekend! Prayer is the work, friends. They literally could not do anything of eternal significance without your intercession on their behalf.

Lastly, for those of you ladies who got to attend the MOPS convention last weekend, I heard that a few of you got to have your group picture taken! So fun. Unfortunately, we only have a side shot because the main one on our dear Beth’s phone disappeared. It’s a mystery, but this is better than nothing, right? So here is your picture girls!

We love y’all!

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Ten Truths for the Teenage Girl – Because It Matters Who You’re Becoming

This past Saturday a sweet woman and a friend I’ve known for some time invited me to a birthday tea she hosted for her 13-year-old girl. Before the celebration, she asked a few ladies to write down a few things to encourage her girl as she is stepping boldly into her teenage years. As I sat and stared a blank document all last week, these ten things came to mind that I wanted to share with her. But as I read them aloud to her Saturday afternoon and handed her the letter for good, I  had the desire and got the blessing to share these ten things with other teenage girls if they had ten minutes to put down some homework, and read a little blog. So, here we are. Of course, this list is just scratching the surface of things we need to be teaching those younger than us, but we have to start somewhere, right? The only thing that is coming between us is a computer screen, but imagine us sitting across a quaint little table from one another sipping on some hot tea. 

Dear _________________,

Life is learned as you live it, but as my mind started spinning, my fingers slowly started typing the things that I wish someone would have told me at 13 years young. And although I’m sure someone did tell me these things, I probably didn’t listen because I probably thought I already knew everything. Grin. So I’m praying that even if these words seems useless or boring to you today, that you would keep them tucked away and read them when life seems confusing or hard.

For years I’ve loved the word becoming. It’s one of those words that I’ve latched onto for different reasons and at times have even desired to start a ministry called “Becoming Ministries”. Don’t tell me you don’t think things like that, too. And if you don’t, well, just humor me. I really latched onto that word in college because I remember thinking that that season would either make me or break me. That who I chose to become in college would influence the rest of my life.

That is true, but what I realize now is that it starts long before college.

The choices you make affect who you are becoming long before you ever get to college.

You are always becoming. You never arrive. That is, until you meet Jesus face to face. Until then, it’s one long (or short the way you look at it) journey of becoming more like Jesus Christ. Because each circumstance and situation we find ourselves planted in is another opportunity to respond like Jesus would.

Hence my love for the word, becoming.

So, as you are becoming a young woman devoted to the Lord, here are a few things I’ve learned on my own journey of becoming who God has called me to be, for such a time as this:

1) God is the author of your story, not you.
That is so much easier said than lived out, but it is the Gospel truth. He has a plan and a purpose for you that is greater than you could dream up or imagine. If you think your dreams are big, imagine how big His dreams must be for you! If He is the author, He knows the beginning, the middle and the end. Nothing is too complex for Him, no detail is left unnoticed, and His timing is perfect. Sometimes life can be complicated, hard and confusing, but that’s why we have to remember that we have the God of the universe in charge of our story.

2) You are beautiful.
I want you to hear that with fresh ears. God made you unique. He made you, you. And He made you in His image. Since you bear His image, I am praying that as people see you, they would see His face shining upon you. Beauty really is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)

Side Note: Yes, it’s okay to like cute clothes, just don’t let that be your measure of beauty. (I mean, let’s be honest, some girls like to shop. Hand raised!)

3) Know the Word.
And know what it says about you. If I’ve learned one thing, I’ve learned that if I can’t always believe what I think about myself, and I can’t always believe what people are saying about me or what the internet says about me,  I can believe what the Lord says about me. I can rest in the truth of His word and the promises He gives.

4) Life Consists of Seasons.
Just like the four seasons come and go, so will different seasons of life come and go. Don’t despair! “This too shall pass.” is true in both sweet and bitter seasons of life. While you don’t need to wish any of it away, remember to savor the sweet seasons, take the joy when it comes and stay faithful during the bitter seasons. Worship in the good times and bad. Jesus will be faithful over and over and over again. It’s in the valleys that God develops your character.

5) Be Humble.
At church my pastor always tells us to “go low”. Going low means being humble, staying humble, becoming a servant instead of searching for the spotlight. Serve, serve, serve. Invest, invest, invest in people. Never get too comfortable in your routine that you can’t go out of your way to help somebody else. Work quietly with your hands and your Father in Heaven will reward your faithfulness. Be faithful in the small things. You’ll never be too good to do something “meaningless”.

6) Be bold.
In a world of social networking, we can hide behind our computer, our phones, or our iPads. Be bold. Learn how to communicate face to face. It’s a life skill that’s becoming extinct, especially to our teenagers. Refrain from posting things online that you wouldn’t say to someone in person. Passive-aggressiveness (posting something for all to see when you only mean it for one to see) is not attractive.

7) True Love Waits.
I don’t mean that in the way you hear it in church all the time. Staying pure until marriage is a gift, by all means, yes, pursue purity. It’s much harder than you think in the sex-saturated world we live in, but whether you believe it or not, it’s possible. What I mean is, wait for a man that will pursue you, not confuse you. (And be careful not to be the one doing the confusing, either. We girls certainly know how to manipulate.) Wait for a man that will protect your purity, not use it. You are responsible for how you present yourself; so present yourself in a way that’s worth protecting. Sex doesn’t equal love, so wait for a man that loves and respects you enough to practice restraint towards you instead of giving into temptation before marriage. Building a relationship and romance takes time, something we’ve lost the art of in a world with technology at our fingertips, so don’t feel pressure to rush things. Remember, before you are someone’s wife, you are first their Sister in Christ, so don’t settle for less than being treated like a Sister. Your future husband will admire and value you. But also remember, there is forgiveness in Christ. You are not your past; your future spouse is not his past. The Lord redeems and renews. Praise God! But be patient in the waiting. (That’s coming from a girl whose story is still being written. It’s not easy at all. Not one ounce is easy. But Jesus is good and He is better.)

8) Pursue Your Calling.
You may not know what the Lord is calling you to do today, and that’s okay. But pursuing your calling is a bold and courageous thing. Run after the things that make your heart swell. Ask questions, ask for wisdom. Be friends with those younger than you, older than you and in the same season as you. Do things you love to do. Make a plan, but keep in mind that you can make all the plans in the world, but the Lord is the one who directs each of our steps.

9) Your Words Matter.
Speak kind words to, in front of, and behind your friend’s backs. And make sure your words and your actions line up with each other. Be honest. Be loving. Be kind. Be generous. A lady named Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Make people feel loved with your words and actions. In a world of email and text messaging, don’t loose the wonder of snail mail.

10) Laugh.
You are never too old or too young to simply stop and have fun on this journey of life. Laugh until your stomach hurts. Laugh with your friends. Laugh with your family. Enjoy life Savor it. Journal about it. Talk about your experiences. Visit places you think are interesting. When all is said and done, you don’t want anyone to remember you as a Negative Nelly. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom and joy! So own that joy, live it out and share it with those around you.

You are dearly loved, my Sister in Christ. This I know, the Lord has a plan for your life that no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind can comprehend or imagine. Believe it. Believe that Jesus is better.

“No one has ever seen,
 no one has ever heard,
 no one has ever imagined 
what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

“3 So trust in the Lord and do good.
Live on your land and be dependable.
4 Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you whatever you ask for.
5 Depend on the Lord. Trust in him, and he will help you.
6 He will make it as clear as day that you are right.
Everyone will see that you are being fair.
7 Trust in the Lord and wait quietly for his help.
Don’t be angry when people make evil plans and succeed.
8 Don’t become so angry and upset that you, too, want to do evil.
9 The wicked will be destroyed,
but those who call to the Lord for help will get the land he promised.
10 In a short time there will be no more evil people.
You can look for them all you want, but they will be gone.
11 Humble people will get the land God promised, and they will enjoy peace.”
Psalm 37: 3-11

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Name the Name

Toward the end of my prayer time this morning, the Holy Spirit spoke 4 words to me with such clarity and fire that I can’t keep them shut in my bones. They are not new but they cannot get old. They are the 4 most well-known words in our Christian vocabulary but they never wear out. These 4 words possess an authority that can speak worlds into orbit, make floors of seas, and send devils off cliffs.

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Let these 4 words resound in your mind, leap from your mouth, and strengthen your step this day. His is the Name that shakes the earth beneath His feet with authority, salvation, affection, and anointing. His is the Name that snaps the chains. His is the one Name that cannot be etched in gravestone. This Name reverberates with everlasting life and extraordinary unction.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…He is before all things and in Him all things hold together…He is the head of the Body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent.”

Preeminent.

In everything.

He is THE beginning. And our new beginning. Our defeat ends with the full conviction of the incomparable Name of Jesus in our bones. Our lack is filled. Our souls are thrilled. Our knees are bowed. Our chins are raised.

We put no confidence in our flesh. We unleash every ounce of confidence we possess toward one game-changing, life-rearranging Name: The Lord Jesus Christ.

THE. There is no other.

LORD. Everything must submit.

JESUS. Yahweh is Salvation.

CHRIST. Messiah, the Anointed One.

Those who want to participate have a 3-part assignment:

1. Write out any ONE verse in the Bible that uses the name of Jesus. His name appears in most of your formal translations around 1000 times so you are wide open. Hunt His Name down. Grab your Bible concordance or get on a website like Bible Gateway and do a word search. You are welcome to use any translation. Choose one verse, write it out in your comment along with where it is found and which translation you used.

 

2. If you have the full conviction and earnest desire to do so, write the italicized sentence below in the second part of your comment and complete the exercise with your own specifics. This is not an exercise in magic words. This is a profession of faith in a matchless Name. We have a Savior. There is no god like our God. No other Rock I know. He cannot be defeated. His power cannot be depleted. Call out His Name over every single thing that is trying to exalt itself in your imagination over the knowledge of Christ. At His Name, let’s BOW.

I submit myself and the following challenges in my life to the unconquerable authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, confessing His powerful Name, and acknowledging His absolute preeminence in all these things:

 

3. Keep confessing the power of His Name and of His Person in the coming days and every time you get that old angst, deliberately swap it for thanks. He who calls you is faithful. He will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24

 

 

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