Tag Archives: love

Week #44 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

  1 Corinthians 16:13-141 Corinthians 16:13-14
English: World English Bible - WEB

13 Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong! 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

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“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”

What does it mean to do everything in love?  Let’s apply this to our relationships.  Why would I take that leap? I am doing it because  here in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he starts and ends addressing relationship issues within the church.  1 Corinthians is full of rich instruction that crescendos with his description of what love is meant to look like in our relationships.

How do we apply the “Be” and “Do” statements in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to our relationships?

Be on our guard in love…….

Stand firm in the faith in love………

Be courageous in love……….

Be strong in love………….

Our relationships have times that call for us to be on guard,  to stand firm in our faith, to be courageous, and to be strong is part of living a life of love like Jesus.  All throughout his ministry on earth he left examples of how to love people well with strength, courage, and standing as a firm guard of the faith.   Love fulfills the greatest commands and knows no boundaries.

 I have room for improvement how about you?

Love is….. kind, patient, it rejoices in truth, it always–protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres– never fails.

Love is not…… boastful, envious, prideful, self-seeking, angered easily, or delight in evil.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week #37 Philippians 1:9-11

Philippians 1:9-11Philippians 1:9-11
English: World English Bible - WEB

9 This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense to the day of Christ; 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

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“And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”

 

This weeks verse is also my prayer for each of you who read this post. I encourage you to embrace this prayer for your family and loved ones as well.

Keep growing daily in the love of Christ. 

Be intentional ~ Be Strong ~Be Courageous ~ Be Careful ~ Be Ready in the Lord.

 

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week # 21 Ephesians 2: 8-10

Did you have an opportunity to share your story last week?  If not, I’m sure an occasion will be presented soon.  I love the way last weeks verse, Matthew 28: 19-20Matthew 28: 19-20
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19 Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

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, compliments  Ephesians 2:8-10Ephesians 2:8-10
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8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

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(if this is your first time joining us click here to read more).  Both of these scriptures direct the focus in our life to Christ working in us for the purposes of God’s kingdom.  How does your story boast of God’s handiwork?

Sometimes that is an easy question to answer and other times it is difficult depending on the season of life we are in.  When our answer doesn’t come easy we should take time to reflect on how the Lord has worked in our lives in the past.  A purposeful pause might be just what we need right now as we are on the edge of entering the second half of 2017.

A good place to start might be with asking ourselves how has God’s free gift of grace impacted our lives?  Our answer to this question will reveal if we are accepting His grace freely and are living according to what He has created us, in Christ Jesus, to do.  An honest reflection requires us to start by defining God’s grace according to His standards.  Why?  Because, it tends to get muddled up when we try to define it within human parameters.  What do I mean by muddled up?

Well, we tend to want to continuously tie an “if– then” condition to grace.  For example, in my Sunday School Class, an illustration of restaurant tipping is often used to differentiate between God’s grace and an individual’s grace standard.  God’s grace standard is given freely without connection to if the individual deserves His grace.  God graciously provided salvation for us before we did anything to deserve it.  We receive God’s grace through faith, of any size, by accepting His offer and trusting His ability to freely gift us eternal salvation.

The tipping illustration places us in a service providing restaurant.  The person serving our table has a level of faith that their customer will provide a “monetary tip” for services rendered to the best of their ability.  What should our standard for tipping our server be?  As a paying customer we have been conditioned to measure the service provided by various personal standards.  How often are we trapped by our engrained service standards and “tip” based more on what they deserve rather than freely tipping with grace to bless our server?  From the conversations in my class I can tell you grace tipping is more of an acceptation rather than the standard. This topic is met by  some of the following comments:   “If I get bad service how is the person ever going to know they are terrible?”  or “I only give what they deserve, I shouldn’t have to tip, it’s the owners job to pay their staff.” This is meant only as an example— please don’t feel judged if your not a grace tipper.

I hope you didn’t get lost in this illustration.  The point I hope we will all take away is—- grace is given without consideration of merit and in many cases extended when by all measure when not deserved.  God’s free grace is absent of any “if or then” calculations.   But,  if we are focused on living life still trying to “deserve or earn” God’s grace.  Then, our understanding could be compared to believing that God is more like the paying customer who gives grace based on what we have done or are doing.  Does this belief align with scripture?  According to Ephesians 2:8-10Ephesians 2:8-10
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8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

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the answer is, no.  Paul states very clearly that we are saved by grace through our faith in God NOT by anything we do beyond freely receiveing it all, because even our faith comes from God.

If our very faith, is the basis of receiving grace, comes from the Lord what is our role?   I propose that it is to act on the faith we are given through belief in Christ and to obey his commands.  Jesus gave us our first step when he revealed the greatest commands of the Lord in Matthew 22:36 -40Matthew 22:36 -40
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36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

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—  first, to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and second to love your neighbor like you love yourself.  When we obey these commands(John 14: 23 -24John 14: 23 -24
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23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him. 24 He who doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words. The word which you hear isn’t mine, but the Father’s who sent me.

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) it leads us into deep relationship with the Lord, increases our faith, and pours out into our love for him, ourselves, and our neighbors.  When we embrace the faith He has given to us we are able to live out His commands in love through His free grace.

Personally the concept of free grace was not one that I embraced immediately when I first believed Jesus is my Savior.  I spent many years believing that I had to earn God’s grace.  As I held onto this belief I felt like I couldn’t measure up or do enough for God and others.  My feelings of inadequacy became the substance of the walls that I built.  Barriers that separated me from experiencing God’s free grace and who He wanted to be in my life.  I blocked His love because I didn’t feel like I was good enough.  I couldn’t forgive myself, so I questioned  how or why the God of the universe would forgive me, love me, or even listen to me?  It breaks my heart to think of all the time I wasted behind a wall of unbelief, fear, and insecurity.  Maybe you can relate to the walls I built in my life or maybe you have other walls built to keep God at a distance.  If you do and are still struggling with this belief my prayer is that you will chose to believe in His unconditional love for you, as His child.  That you will act on the mustard seed of faith He has given you to receive His free gift of grace today.  It is as simple as us telling Him we believe in Jesus His Son and we receive His gift of grace— the key that brings us freedom from our sin.  After that we are free to continue to act on our faith and seek His help to obey His commands.  Now, let the boasting begin— of how God’s grace has invaded our life and caused us to live as the handiwork God created us to be in Christ!

Does boasting always mean through words?  Let’s consider how we can boast of God’s grace by extending grace to others through forgiveness, unconditional love, kindness, and maybe even some grace tipping.

How will you express the free grace you have been given this week?

Who needs to hear your story of grace and freedom?

Join the conversation I would love to hear your ideas!

**If you find your mind wondering back to the question of our source of faith being God himself?  I encourage you to answer your questions.   Here are some digging deeper scriptures for personal study. (Acts 3:16Acts 3:16
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16 By faith in his name has his name made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which is through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

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, Acts 15:9-11Acts 15:9-11
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9 He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, TR adds “Christ” just as they are.”

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, Acts 26:18Acts 26:18
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18 to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

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, Romans 1:17Romans 1:17
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17 For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”

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, Romans 4: 1-8Romans 4: 1-8
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4 1 What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not toward God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as debt. 5 But to him who doesn’t work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works, 7 “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, Whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin.”

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, Romans 4:16-17Romans 4:16-17
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16 For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. 17 As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” This is in the presence of him whom he believed: God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were.

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, Romans 5:1-2Romans 5:1-2
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5 1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 2 through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

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, James 2:21-22James 2:21-22
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21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected;

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) **

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week # 19 James 1: 2-3

James 1: 2-3James 1: 2-3
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2 Count it all joy, my brothers The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”, when you fall into various temptations, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

Life + Trials = Pure Joy

How does that add up?  According to the world we live in it doesn’t.  Why would the writer of James even think to suggest pure joy as our response to facing trials that test our faith?  If you have time to read James 1:1-27James 1:1-27
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The Letter from James 1 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”, when you fall into various temptations, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. 7 For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 But let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position; 10 and the rich, in that he is made humble, because like the flower in the grass, he will pass away. 11 For the sun arises with the scorching wind, and withers the grass, and the flower in it falls, and the beauty of its appearance perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. 19 So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man doesn’t produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls or, preserve your life.. 22 But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone among you thinks himself to be religious while he doesn’t bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

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you will discover that James recognizes the benefit of the different trials in our life as a way of producing God focused perseverance that will achieve three things; mature us in our faith, make us complete in Christ, and  receivers of the crown of life prepared for those who love the Lord.  Our challenges in life have kingdom purpose even when we can’t see clearly while in the  testing of our faith.  Let’s not miss out on the benefits found in persevering through faith in Christ.

Would you agree that life is full of many kinds of trials?  You might be in the middle of one right now and thinking to yourself this concept is crazy.  I’m supposed to be joyful in this!  You don’t know what is going on in my life…..God can’t really expect me to be joyful!   Your right I don’t know what you are experiencing and I pray that you will find peace and joy in the Lord as we continue to explore this counter-culture call to seek after pure joy even in our storms.

What does it look like to either face a storm that is brewing or walk through a storm with pure joy?  I have a dear friend who I have had the privilege of watching and at times walking with her through a hurricane of life’s trials with her children.  I compare it to a hurricane because the intensity would change based on the winds and how close or far away she was from the eye of the storm.  When I first met her I was drawn to her warm smile and fun and relaxed attitude toward life.  There wasn’t any immediate outward appearance of distress.  She was joyful.  When I became aware of the intensity of her trials with her children I was taken off guard.  It was evident that the Lord was her strength and peace as she weathered the hurricane that was trying to destroy her family.  This storm hit land fall when one of her children began making a few bad choices in friends then it led down a path of disappearances, destruction of property, detention centers, and the waves and storm surge created from those events crashed down on the relationships within the family.   Just as she was able to get up to assess the damages from one wave the next child started  down their own destructive path.  As the storm howled and beat on her family she fought to subdue the storm of emotions within her own heart.  Why God? What did I do?  How did I fail?  Why won’t they stop?  Where are you God?  I should have……  Why didn’t I…….  How can I go on…..  Her only peace was found in her quiet time with the Lord and it was there that she found her pure joy in him that strengthens her as her storm rages on.  Her joyful verse is Nehemiah 8:10Nehemiah 8:10
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10 Then he said to them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Don't be grieved; for the joy of Yahweh is your strength.

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b “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

My dear friend has been an inspiration to me to choose the pure joy of Christ to strengthen me and sustain me through my own trials in life.  She continues to preserver through what feels like a never-ending storm.  Her faith and trust in the Lord keep her anchored.  Her joy encourages others to trust and builds their faith and their love for the Lord.  She has defiantly kept her lamp lit and shinning brightly through her storm.  I’m so thankful for her light shining into my life and leading me to the strength of the Lord.

Many times the trials of life leave us feeling alone and in the dark.  When that happens we can turn the light on and strengthen our faith by remembering to turn to the truth of God’s word for encouragement.  Psalm 119: 105Psalm 119: 105
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NUN 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light for my path.

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reminds us that the word of the Lord is a lamp that shines on our path as we walk with the Lord through life.  So if we choose to keep our eyes on how big and faithful the Lord is then our circumstances will return to their proper perspective, small in the hands of God.  We are then able to consider life and it’s challenges through the lens of pure joy.  Don’t let your light burn out stay connected to the light of the world and our faith builder, Christ, and preserver as you shine brightly for him.  Does this mean we will be beaming with a smile all the time as we weather our storms?  No, it means that we can remain steady in the storm, anchored in our hope, able to trust we are secure in our heavenly Father’s care and able to be real with those who genuinely seek to come along side us.  When we are steady in our relationship with Christ it shines through when we find it hard to smile.

Even in the storms of life a rainbow can emerge if  His light is shining through the rain or the tears.  Keep a look out for His rainbows in your life!

Life + Trials = Pure Joy~ Make it true in your life!

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week # 17 Psalm 103:11-12

His love crescendos with his forgiveness of his people; those who fear him.  Our minds struggle to comprehend the vastness of the universe and the complexity of the heavens so no wonder we are left awe struck by the love of God for us.  I personally wander between the solid foundation of my belief in the Lord’s love for me and a slippery foundation muddied by my worldly doubts.  It is my thoughts that take me between the two and make me feel unworthy, undesirable, and unlovable to anyone let alone the King of Kings.  Maybe you can relate to having some of these feeling too.  What are we to do in the times of our life when we question if God really loves us or even wants us?

I have learned over the years that my feelings and emotions are not effective measurements of reality.  More times than I would like to admit my feelings and emotions have guided me to the wrong conclusion and clouded my judgement.  So I’m striving to become better at recognizing my emotional tendencies.  With the intent that I will then choose to redirect myself by asking “what is the truth in this situation?” and looking for the truth.  Often times my search begins with a little prayer to help me focus on seeking the truth over seeking to feel better in my situation.  Philippians 4:8Philippians 4:8
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8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.

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is a verse I turn to many times for redirection.  It is a great reminder for when we are feeling anxious or confused.  It tells us to think on things that are true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.   So when I catch myself questioning my worth to God I have to think on the truth of these two questions:

 Why do I think I’m unworthy?

 What has he told me about his love for me?

Answering these questions will set us back on our solid foundation with God. In most circumstances our feeling of unworthiness stem from some form of sin, confusing circumstances, or painful situation in life.   What is the truth about either of these possibilities?  Are they the answer to the first question?— Why do I think I’m unworthy?

  • Sin:  1 John 1:91 John 1:9
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    9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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    “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
  • Confusing Circumstances:  Romans 8:28Romans 8:28
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    28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.

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    ” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
  • Painful Situation in Life:  Hebrew 12: 7-8  & 11 :  7- “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.  For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—- and everyone undergoes discipline— then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.”   11- “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Each of these foundational truths of how the Lord interacts with his people will help bring clarity to our situation and remind us of the truth of Christ’s love.  This weeks verse describes his love as being “as high as the heavens are above the earth”.  So that brings to question just how far is that? According to a quick google search I found the following distances, at www.space.com, to get our minds going:

  • Earth to the Moon- 238,900 Miles
  • Earth to the Sun- 92.96 Million Miles
  • Earth to  the Andromedia Galaxy- 2.537 Million Light Years

Wow!  Let that sink in!  Just from those figures we should be able to say that the truth is ~ God is out of this world crazy in love with us!  So why do we struggle so much with believing him?   I believe it is because the Lord has an enemy, one of his own beloved creations, satan a fallen angel, who doesn’t want us to believe in God’s love for us.  When we believe and are secure in the depth of God’s love for us the enemy loses his power over us.  Satan will do all he can to minimize our relationship with Christ so he works overtime in the department of clouding our view of the truth about the Lord’s love and forgiveness.  He promotes his lies to get us to buy into his accusations against us leaving us feeling condemned and helpless.  Many times we are left feeling unworthy of  forgiveness from ourselves let alone from God.  That is when we need to address the second question— What has he told me about his love for me?

All throughout scripture the Lord has revealed through his people that his love is enduring and never ending.   Just last week we celebrated Easter the ultimate display of sacrificial forever love.  So what is your answer to this second question?  How do you know he loves you?  One of the many truths that comes to my mind is Romans 8: 31-39Romans 8: 31-39
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31 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who didn’t spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things? 33 Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Even as it is written, “For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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.  This amazing section of scripture is entitled “More Than Conquerors” in my Bible.  It is spells out these truths of our relationship of love and forgiveness with the Lord.

Who is the one who condemns?

No one, because Jesus intercedes for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of God?

No one and no circumstances, because we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.

His love is higher than the nearest galaxy, 2.537 Million Light years, for you and his forgiveness stretches farther than the east is from the west,24,874 miles, on earth alone.  Will you receive it today and for all eternity?

 

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
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23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week #16 Wisdom Builder He has risen!

Happy Easter!  Celebrating the resurrection of our amazing Savior Jesus Christ!!  He is Risen!!!

Love, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion were expressed with unmatchable sacrifice through the life, shed blood, and resurrection of Jesus.  This week we are encouraged to live our life alive in Christ by extending his love to with the world around us.  Ephesians 4:32Ephesians 4:32
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32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.

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inspires us to be kind and compassionate and forgive as the Lord forgave us.   Sacrificial love shown through kindness, compassion, and forgiveness draw others to Christ.  Why?  The very thought of forgiving and not making someone pay for the wrong they have done is counter to our human nature.  Choosing to be kind and compassionate to others who are not responding or treating you the same demands sacrifice and a love that is deeper and richer than the superficial love regularly experienced.    

I find my greatest challenges lie within my family relationships because it is too easy for me to revert to my selfish thinking and internally demand they should treat me differently.   Can you relate?  It’s a struggle that challenges my witness daily.  I’m so thankful that my Savior is perfect in all of his ways and loves me and forgives me through all my faults and failures.

This week let’s be kind and compassionate to others for Jesus just because he loves us so much more than anyone in this world ever can.  God is love and he is alive so we can love others sacrificially  with his love.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week #15 Wisdom Builder John 3:16-17

What is the most extravagant expression of love you have given or have witnessed another show? I posed this question to my family as we were traveling for spring break this week. I love the responses. My son spoke up first and said the movie 50 First Dates”, a romantic comedy where a man choses to love a woman who he has to remind is his wife every morning. Then my husband chimed in with “Team Hoyt” ; a father and his disabled son who did the ironman competition.  Each of those examples of love expressed with visible selfless sacrifice is inspiring. I don’t know about you but they leave me feeling lacking in my own expression of love throughout my life. How about you?

This week we are reflecting on John 3:16-17John 3:16-17
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.

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as we begin the Passion Week leading up to Easter Sunday. These verses carry a familiarity for most in the Christian faith, but John 3:17John 3:17
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17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.

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has had less attention so I’d like us to reflect on theses verses as a pair to fully embrace their message of God’s love.

What comes to your mind when you think of God’s love? I find it difficult to put into words a worthy description 1 Corinthians 13:4-131 Corinthians 13:4-13
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4 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.

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is a wonderful place to start: God is patient, kind, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, rejoices in truth, always perseveres and never fails.   He truly is selfless and has our best interests in mind. He knows each of us even better than we know ourselves and expresses his love for us individually in unique ways.   Much like how we express our love for our loved ones in unique ways based on our relationship and knowledge of their needs and desires.

Consider these thoughts of love. Love exists within each of us to be expressed and received within our relationships. Why, where, and how is love expressed?   We express love because we have or desire a relationship with a person of value in our life. We seek to add value to the relationship by meeting a need or desire for the person or persons based on our observation. Then we act on our desire to express our love by doing what we have determined will best fill the need with our best intentions that requires some level of sacrifice.  For God it was separation and the ultimate excruciating suffering of his one and only son.  In “50 First Dates” it caused a very self absorbed man to chose to stop living his life for himself and live it for the woman he was going to date the rest of his life.  Each placed the needs of another before their own.

Is love always received and perceived as it was lovingly expressed?   Unfortunately no it is not because we live in a mixed up world. Have you ever tried to express love through action or words only to feel it was not received? I have and it didn’t feel very good.

I think of that sinking feeling when I reflect on John 3:16-17John 3:16-17
English: World English Bible - WEB

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.

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. These verses share God’s extravagant expression of love for the whole world with the purpose of bringing salvation, from the perishing of this sinful world, and eternal life in his kingdom.   Only to have many refuse to receive the precious gift as it was intended; in love and free of judgment. So we aren’t the only ones who have experienced our expression of love rejected, God has too.

Why do people have difficulty receiving love? What does it mean to receive love? I think when we are on the receiving end of another persons love sometimes it is clouded by our life experiences, our beliefs, and our current emotional state.   All of these things affect our ability to recognize a loving expression as one of love. We might have a clouded view and miss it completely.  If we can’t recognize a loving sacrifice on our behalf we are unable to fully receive the love given.

My hope is that each of us can confidently say they have received the love of God through believing in his extravagant loving sacrifice. He gave his one and only son to meet the whole world’s need of redemption from the curse of sin. He sent his precious son to save the world by receiving the punishment of God for sin of the whole world on the cross as the atoning sacrifice done in love not condemning but reconciling the world to it’s creator.   All God asks for is for us to receive his love by recognizing his son Jesus as our Savior so we can experience the intended benefits of relationship with him and eternal life.   Let’s make this week one of expressing appreciation for our God’s extravagant love~ giving us his son Jesus Christ!

How are you preparing to celebrate Easter?

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~PrincessSherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week #10 Wisdom Builder Romans 5:8

This weeks treasure verse is Romans 5:8Romans 5:8
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8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

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.  Here we are reminded of God’s demonstration of his love for us.  He chose the proof of his extravagant, never ending love to be one matchless in cost,  immeasurable in accomplishment, and pure perfection all in one.  The one true God displayed his enduring love for sinful humanity when he provided the only acceptable sacrifice— his very own sinless Son, Jesus Christ– required for the canceling out of all the sins of humanity.  God did not wait for us to recognize our sin and then demonstrate his love for us.  No, he showed “his love while we were still sinners”.   This kindness extended by the Lord was done with the purpose of leading humanity to repentance(Romans 2:4Romans 2:4
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4 Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

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) and reconciliation with himself to experience intimate relationship with him once again. A relationship like he shared with Adam and Eve before sin entered our world(Genesis 3:1-24Genesis 3:1-24
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3 1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, “Yes, has God said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You won’t surely die, 5 for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit of it, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Both of their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden. 9 Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Yahweh God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 Yahweh God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above every animal of the field. On your belly shall you go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.” 16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you have listened to your wife’s voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Thorns also and thistles will it bring forth to you; and you will eat the herb of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” 20 The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them. 22 Yahweh God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever...” 23 Therefore Yahweh God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed Cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

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).  I encourage us each to take a moment to reflect on the extravagance of the Lord’s sacrifice to reestablish a direct

personal relationship with us.  How does his sacrifice speak to your heart?

Lent season, a time to reflect on our lives in light of the meaning and results of Jesus sacrifice, started last Wednesday.  Some choose to set aside this 40 days before resurrection Sunday(Easter April 16th,2017) to reflect and even to partake in honoring the sacrifice of Christ with a personally fasting or giving up something to demonstrate their love and appreciation for Christ’s love for them.  (If the concept of lent is new to you find out more at this link http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/lent-101-honoring-the-sacrafice-of-jesus-1382259.html )  

As you have been reading this  reflection, you may be feeling the Lord nudge your heart or even have feelings that you need to do something as your personal demonstration of your love for your Savior.   That is lovely and beautiful.   A good scripture to keep in mind as you reflect on how you will express your love is Psalm 51: 16 -17Psalm 51: 16 -17
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16 For you don’t delight in sacrifice, or else I would give it. You have no pleasure in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

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“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring you it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My scarf, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

 

Lord I pray that we will present to  you the delight of your heart with a personal sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart before you.  A heart that responds to your kindness that leads to repentance and a desire to live in an intimate love relationship with you through the indwelling of your spirit in our hearts.  Thank you Lord for your matchless expression of love toward us while we were still sinners.  In Jesus’ Holy name,  Amen.

Is there a word in the dictionary that describes how you feel about God?  I’d love for you to share it with me.  He is my Rock!

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring“. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Walls or Bridges?

Walls or Bridges?

I was leading a Bible study group through Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer when this “tidbit” rocked my world. I hope you are encouraged. In this study, at the end of each study day, she asks us to write down our “Actionable Intel”(a personal take a way). This particular day we were studying the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Priscilla asked us with each piece of armor, we studied, to step back from our life circumstances and ask the Lord to reveal the spiritual realities influencing our daily interactions and experiences. That day we focused on how the enemy seeks to demolish the peace that God gives us in life. One way he does this is to keep us off balance and distract us from close relationship with God, the people of God, and the other people in our life.

Ephesians 2:13Ephesians 2:13
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13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ.

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– 18 tells us “he (Christ) himself is our peace, who has made the two groups (Israel and Gentile) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (verse 14 parentheses added). Christ reconciled both Israel and Gentile to God through the cross. The cross is the bridge he built to bring the peace of God to mankind for all mankind to have peace with him and one another.

My “actionable intel” for that study day was the following:

“Christ builds bridges of peace~unity~strength~love. Our enemy builds walls of deception to separate~isolate~weaken~spawn hatred. Which architect will you hire?”

This “actionable intel” is a challenge to be alert and ready to stand strong with our “Shoes of the Gospel of Peace” strapped on securely. Living as peacemakers who build bridges in the power of Christ through love, forgiveness, gentleness, and unifying strength.

 

Reflect on your relationships.   Which are they more characterized by tension or peace? The answer to this question will reveal if your life is full of bridges or walls?

 

Reflective Prayer:

Lord we come to you asking you to strengthen us in your love and peace. Help us to recognize the areas where we have worked with the enemy to build walls in our heart, our relationships, and our lifestyle.   Soften our hearts with your love, forgive us of our sins, and restore us to our peaceful relationship with you. Guide and teach us how to build bridges and walk on those bridges with you. Thank you for the bridge of your cross, which secures for those who believe in you, Jesus, that nothing can separate us from you— no wall, no sin, nothing! In Jesus name— Amen

Romans 8:38-39Romans 8:38-39
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38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Nothing can separate those in Christ from God!

What walls need bridges in your heart?  I’d love to hear……

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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Week # 7 Wisdom Builder Psalm 100: 4-5

Happy Valentines week!   Would you agree that love is on the minds of many this month.  I think love is a good thing to keep in focus.  This weeks “Wisdom Builder” tells us how we are to come to the Lord— with thanksgiving and praise.   What reason does Psalm 100:4-5Psalm 100:4-5
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4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, Into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, and bless his name. 5 For Yahweh is good. His loving kindness endures forever, His faithfulness to all generations.

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 give for our adoration for the Lord?  It encourages a worshipful heart response to the goodness of the Lord who is faithful and whose “love endures forever”.

How has the Lord been faithful to you?   Have you been a witness of His enduring love for you and your family?  As you reflect on this treasure I pray it will lead you to express your love for Him with uncontainable praise!  I personally have so many reasons to praise him.  It is hard to decide what to share.  I’m blessed with a healthy family this flu season, with the freedom to study and share openly my faith in Christ, with a God that loves me as I am on the “good” and “bad” days, and with sisters in Christ that encourage me to not give up and be faithful.  God is good and worthy of all our praise!

How have you experienced God’s enduring love or faithfulness?

I’d love to hear about it. So please leave me a comment.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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