A Prisoner of My Own Mind

This might sound crazy, but I truly believe that every human being has some form and some degree of mental illness. And the trouble we’re having today started way back in the Garden of Eden.
You see, God had this wonderful plan that simply required the human race to love Him, love one another, and live in obedience to Him. Obedience doesn’t mean having to slave and do without any pleasures. It means living life according to His perfect plan. But Eve made the grave mistake of letting Satan, in the form of a serpent, convince her that eating from that one forbidden tree would open her eyes and allow her to be just like God. That’s the very thing that Satan, back when he was Lucifer, the most beautiful of all angels, wanted–to be just like God. Actually, he wanted to be greater than God. Oooops. Not a good idea. Anyway, because Adam and Eve chose to obey Satan instead of God, they were forced to leave the beautiful Garden and live life under the curse of sin. And part of this curse, brought on by an unwillingness to live life God’s way, is mental illness.
I know many people will disagree with me, but I have come to realize that mental illness is one of the results of our unwillingness to follow God’s divine plan for successful living. We worry, we seek vengeance on those who betray us, we run full steam ahead into what we think will bring us tremendous joy and satisfaction only to discover that our plan is totally devoid of God and His perfect love for us. Our bodies and brains were designed by Him to respond to positive thinking and react to negative thinking. By following His perfect plan for our lives, we can avoid experiencing despair, devastation, bitterness, and loneliness.
The depression that came over me was the direct result of my decision not to maintain a close walk with Him. Although I had received Christ as my Savior in 1977, I did not remain diligent and vigilant by studying scripture, starting each day with prayer, and become actively involved in a Bible teaching church. Looking back over the years, it’s now easy for me to see how I actually had set out the welcome mat for the bipolar disorder simply because I refused to live life God’s way. I thought my way was perfectly okay. It most definitely was not. After four suicide attempts and a week in the psychiatric ward, I was ready to make a new start in a new city. That city is Fremont, Nebraska, and God rewarded me with not only a new life but also a new husband and a new church family for emotional and spiritual support.
My heart goes out to everyone who is struggling with any form of mental illness by refusing to allow God to have his rightful place in your life. He is the one who designed your body and your brain. Let Him heal and restore you. His way is perfect. Yours is not.
I’m not claiming to be a mental health practitioner. I’m just someone who no longer struggles with the bipolar disorder. After being diagnosed in 2003, and listening to my husband talk about being delivered from the bondage of alcoholism and meth addiction, I came to realize that God could deliver me from the bondage of mental illness. I invited the Holy Spirit to become my mood stabilizer and allowed the Holy Bible to become my medication. After weaning myself off the pills and increasing my intake of spiritual guidance, I’ve been med free since 2010.
Yes, it can be done, but it does require very strong faith in the healing power of God. I’m almost 55 and never felt more alive!

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Is Bi-Cycling Keeping Your Bi-Polar in Disorder?

This question was presented in an issue of Psychology Today. I have heard of cases where people who thought they had their Bipolar Disorder under control found themselves back in the hospital because they did not have coping mechanisms in place to keep themselves stable.
Coping skills are absolutely vital to maintaining mental wellness. I remember thinking that I had the bipolar disorder beat by the time I was ready to graduate from a women’s recovery program in February of 2008. I was surprised (and a little offended) when a fellow guest at a homeless shelter told me that I was gearing up for another crash. I thought he was nuts.
But my feeling of being ready to take on a challenging job and begin a romantic relationship with an old friend soon gave way to a feeling of failure and incapacitating fear of the future. After a fourth (and final) suicide attempt, I was back in the hospital.
I remember my intake nurse asking me what my hopes were for the future. I replied, “I have no hope.” In my heart I knew that I did have hope; I had received Christ Jesus as my Savior back in 1977. I knew I was going to heaven, and there’s no greater hope than that. However, I felt hopeless. I did not foresee anything good happening for me during the remainder of my earthly life.
When a dear friend and counselor came and prayed for me, God honored that prayer; His Holy Spirit did a special work in my heart, reminding me of God’s unconditional, steadfast, everlasting love for me. He also reminded me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. That prayer renewed my faith and restored my sense of hope.
I remember walking back to my room knowing that I was going to be all right. I didn’t know where I would be going after leaving the hospital, but I was no longer afraid. Since then, I have had times when I felt overwhelmed, discouraged, and very angry. But when those strong feelings come over me, I now know what I need to do. I have to bring everything to God and cast my every care upon Him. I have to start each day with prayer and Bible reading. It’s called “quiet time” with the Lord, and it makes a HUGE difference. I commit the day to Him and trust Him to guide my mind and my heart.
What other people say to me or about me no longer threatens me because I know that my heavenly Father and my Savior love me and are always with me, helping me along.
Since 2010 I have been medication free and am no longer in need of psychiatric care. I replaced psychotherapy and pills with something much stronger and more reliable. I now rely upon the Lord God Almighty to comfort, encourage, and instruct me as I encounter challenging situations.
Being in fellowship with other Christians, attending a church where the word of God is rightly taught, and being involved in ministry work has done wonders for my mental wellbeing. I cannot overstate the importance of surrendering one’s life into the loving, mighty hands of God for the sake of mental and physical wellbeing. He is worthy of our devotion, and He is so very faithful to those who choose to trust in Him.

“Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence. If I say, ‘My foot slips,’ Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:17-19)

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Tighten My Strings, Lord – Being An Instrument in the Master’s Hands

In her devotional One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp writes, “Music is made in stress. A string pulled tight, it has to be plucked, it has to be stressed. Moved from its comfortable, resting position.”
How willing are we to let God move us from our comfortable, resting position? Sometimes that means going through something very stressful, painful, humiliating, or downright terrifying. You might be wondering how God can expect anything lovely to come from that. But we tend to forget that He is the Master. What we call lovely He might regard as prideful. What we perceive as pleasant He might see as slothful.
The only way we can begin to see our lives through His eyes is by getting to know Him. He expresses His heart to us in His word, the Holy Bible. Some of the things He reveals about Himself are surprising; but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can learn to trust the Lord God Almighty no matter how much difficulty comes our way.
In the book of Job, we read a conversation in which Satan tells God that a righteous man will stop loving God if everything he has is suddently taken from him. God grants the devil permission to bring misery into Job’s life. On the surface, this seems cruel. But God sees the end just as clearly as the beginning. He already had Job’s final chapter written before giving Satan that green light to begin wreaking havoc on the man’s life.
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away,” Job said after learning that his children were all killed in a great wind. “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
How many of us would be willing to say those words if we were to receive the news that all of our children had been killed when a tornado struck the school they were in? Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Before leaving the comfort of heaven, Jesus knew how His life on earth would end. But He came anyway. Why? Because He wanted to have fellowship with us, and the only way that could happen was if sin was dealt with once and forever.
Isaiah 59:4 describes our condition as a result of sin. “No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.” We say good things, but there is evil in our hearts. We don’t want to admit it, but sin is present in the life of every human being. The good news is that Christ came to earth to serve as the supreme Sacrificial Lamb so that all who receive Him in faith will be forgiven and cleansed of all unrighteousness.
Job’s faith in God declared him righteous. Contrary to what his friends believed, Job was not being punished. God was using him as an example. An instrument of truth.
Are we willing to allow God to use us as an example? Are we prepared to serve as an instrument of truth? What would we say if we lost everything? After losing his children, his home, his source of income, and his health, his wife told him to “curse God and die!” She hated seeing her husband suffer, but Job held fast to what he knew was true. God was good. And although what He was allowing to happen was beyond Job’s comprehension, Job knew that there was a purpose behind the grief.
“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 2:10-12).
How many of us can lay claim to that? “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Do we truly delight ourselves in Him as David admonishes us in Psalm 37:4? Do we feed on His faithfulness?
There are so many things that entice us away from God. The devil is constantly looking for opportunities to distract us in our pursuit of holiness. In 1 Corinthians 6:12, the apostle Paul tells us, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” We are not naturally strong; we require God’s help in resisting Satan’s attacks.
Sadly, many of those attacks are so subtle we don’t even realize we’re being attacked. The enemy knows our weak spots and is deviously clever in the ways he lures us away from God. Do you know how experts are able to recognize counterfeit currency? By studying the genuine article. Likewise, the only way we can see something as evil is by saturating our minds and hearts with what is good. We must choose our friends prayerfully and devote a portion of each day to the reading of God’s word. Daily devotions and fellowship with other Christians are essential tools in standing firm against satanic forces.
There will be times when God will choose to allow severe challenges into our lives so that we will flex our spiritual muscles and grow stronger. Don’t worry, He knows just how much weight we’re able to bear; He will never overload us. We have His word on it (1 Cor. 10:13).
If you are presently comfortable and trouble-free, you might need to take inventory of your life. Perhaps the enemy is not bothering with you because you pose no threat to him. If that’s the case, you are either not in fellowship with God or you have no relationship with Him at all. There is no such thing as a comfortable, restful life for a child of God. That is not the way He intended us to live. If everything came easily for us, how many times a day would we bother to call upon Him?
When He tightens our strings, it’s not because He takes fiendish delight in watching us suffer. He loves us dearly and longs to hear the beautiful melody that He knows we are capable of making. But when our strings are loose and our lives are devoid of stress, to what are we able to testify? I made a nice little life for myself! I found a really good job and worked my way up the ladder so that I could acquire all these impressive things and make others green with envy! Don’t you wish you could be me? Is that the kind of story people want to hear from us when they’re in the midst of financial hardship or declining health? No, of course not. They need to hear stories about how people learned to rely upon God for their strength and learned to release their unforgiveness so that their prayers were no longer hindered.
Our testimonies are music to God’s ears. Can you imagine what it must be like for Him to intevene in our lives and rescue us from the pit only to hear us say, “Well, it was tough, but I pulled myself up and found a way to put my life back together. I used my brain and figured things out on my own!” This kind of talk is nothing but a clanging cymbal in God’s ears.
1 Peter 3:5-6 says, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” To humble ourselves means to admit that we need His help. Every time we encounter trouble, we need to turn to Him and seek His wisdom, His strength, His compassion. “For without me,” Jesus tells us in John 15:5, “you can do nothing.”
An attitude of gratitude is essential if we want to make music for God. Let’s start each day by thanking Him for His watchful care over us. Maybe the bed or cot we’re lying on is not comfortable and maybe the food being served doesn’t taste good. Perhaps the person we’re working for is impatient and demanding. But there is a bed for us. There is food for us. And there is a job for us. Let’s thank Him for what we do have and trust Him to make things better in time. What He asks of us is to “Wait on the Lord and be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart. Wait I say on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
He longs to hear beautiful music of praise and worship coming from us; but if our strings are loose, nothing lovely will come from us. Tension is necessary. Let’s learn to see it as something good, something that God is using to help us grow and mature in faith. Then, like Job, the tests will seem less like punishment and more like demonstrations of His power, His wisdom, and His steadfast love for us. “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”

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Risky Safe: Life on the Rock

Once you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, your life is forever changed. How much change depends largely upon how much risk you’re willing to take for Him.
Some people dig in their heals and insist on remaining in their comfort zone. They do not want to rock their boat. Others embrace change and are willing to put themselves out there and risk losing everything, counting it all but loss for the goal of that upward call.
The sacrifices we make don’t have to feel like sacrifices. But when our hearts are divided between serving the Lord and serving ourselves, it can get pretty hard to remain faithful to Him.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of people who take fiendish delight in stirring up trouble for believers. And that trouble can be devastating. If we cling too tightly to our home, our family, our job, our friends, and whatever else we like to call ours, we’re going to have a horrendous time recovering from the loss. But Jesus doesn’t want us to take possession of anything but the new life He offers. Everything else and everyone else is His. He wants us to be ready to pull up stakes and move on at a moment’s notice. We are sojourners here on earth. Our eternal home is heaven; earth is merely a stopping point. The life we live down here is a blink of an eye compared with the glorious eternity that awaits us.
Do we want to store up treasures down here and worry about what might get stolen or who might get taken from us, or do we want to keep our eyes stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3) and allow Him to give and take according to His perfect will?
If we are totally sold out to Him, is there any risk involved? When you really stop to think about it, there isn’t. If He is our life, our world, our peace, our joy, our strength, our comfort, our everything, we know He will never leave us nor forsake us. We’ll always be His, and He’ll always be ours. So where’s the risk in following Him and serving Him wholeheartedly?
Oh, but someone might go after my kids! Well, but Who saw fit to allow you to have those kids in the first place? Who opened that door for you? Was it not the Lord your God, your heavenly Father?
Jesus tells us in Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” He goes on to say in verse 33, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
Now obviously Christ is not asking us to literally hate anyone or abandon our kids. He’s asking us to love Him so much more than anyone else that by comparison, what we feel for others seems like mere hatred. What he wants us to hate is that need to cling to fellow earth dwellers and earthly dwellings.
We tend to get comfortable, reluctant to make waves. And if someone else makes them, we tend to pull back. But Who calms those stormy seas? Who is it that knows what we have need of before we even express it? When we cling to the King, we don’t clutch anything else or anyone else too tightly. When our hope is in Him, that hope does not disappoint
Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Whom shall we fear? What shall we fear? If He will never leave us nor forsake us, then where’s the risk in serving Him and giving ourselves completely to Him?
Paul says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The worst-case scenario for unbelievers is to get killed. But for the Christian, this is the best-case scenario because dying means going into His presence forever.
When I was in my early twenties, I remember thinking, I hope the Lord doesn’t come until after I’m married. I’ve got a wedding to plan! And there are countless women right now who are feeling the same way. Some are saying, I hope the Lord doesn’t come yet because my daughter is about to have her first child, and I don’t want to miss that! Others are planning an exciting career change and don’t want Jesus to come back until after that takes place. These events are significant and can bring tremendous joy, but nothing can compare with the joy of going home and seeing the face of our Savior. Oh, to hear His voice and touch those nail-pierced hands!
I remember hearing a young man say, “I’m not coming to Bible study anymore. Every time I get closer to God, something bad happens.” Bad things are going to happen to believers. But it’s all relative, and it all depends on your point of view. Those things that we consider bad are not unbearable if we are fully trusting God to be our covering and our shield. Yes, there is pain involved in following Christ. But the pain for those who die without knowing Him is beyond comprehension.
This life here on earth is a blink of an eye compared to the glorious eternity that awaits believers in Christ.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

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Don’t Look Out, Look Up!

“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, for he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

When we find ourselves in dangerous territory, our natural inclination is to look out, watch out. But when that dangerous territory is in the spiritual realm, it is more important to look UP and acknowledge our total dependency upon God for our help. Look up and cry out. “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Imagine you’re a soldier (which you actually are if you belong to Christ Jesus) and you’re walking through a field. Now, you know perfectly well that this field very likely has mines in it, but do you know exactly where they are? No, you don’t. You’ve never been in this particular field before. But your Commander knows where they are. He knows where everything is. Your seven-star General (Revelation 2:1) is going before you and preparing the way for you. Don’t run on ahead of Him and try to make your way safely across that field! You’ve got your eye on some destination that looks mighty appealing to you, but along the way there are mines that you can’t see. Only God can see them. He knows what will happen to you if you step on one of them.

Now imagine you’re like Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz,” and you’re on your way to a place like the Emerald City. You can see it, you’re almost there, and you know this is where you’re going to find what you’ve been searching for. But along the way, you encounter the enemy. In Dorothy’s case, it was the wicked witch of the west; in your case, it’s Satan. He doesn’t want you to get the help you need, and he certainly doesn’t want you drawing nearer to God. He’s going to distract you with those beautiful poppies that contain opium. He’s going to send something into your world that will make you ever so drowsy so that you will no longer want to pursue the righteousness of God. You’ll want instead to settle into a life of ease and comfort. Suddenly that Emerald City doesn’t hold the same appeal. Now you just want to relax and have fun.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12)

When you find yourself in the thick of battle (spiritual warfare), don’t look out, look UP. Open your heart completely to the word of God and allow Him to instruct you as to what you should do next. When I was experiencing something painful and distressing, I said, “Father, what do You want me to do?” He said, “Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you.” He had some teaching to give me, and I needed to be teachable if I wanted this experience to move me into even closer fellowship with Him. I thought I was already about as close to Him as I could get. I thought I was already a pretty mature believer. But He showed me that I still have a lot to learn. Fortunately for me, my seven-star General is very patient and compassionate. He not only instructs me but also supplies me with the help I need to learn the painful lessons He wants me to learn. And what I learn I am to pass along to others who also are struggling with such issues as pride, arrogance, self-centeredness, carnality, fear, and rejection. Our beloved Teacher/Counselor/Doctor/Attorney is constantly reviewing our case file and providing us with the support and guidance we need in order to develop into people God can use to expand His kingdom. We are not only His bondslaves but also His ambassadors.

If you find yourself on a road that’s treacherous, you might be tempted to back up and go another way. And that may be just what the Lord wants you to do. On the other hand, He may want you to remain on that road but change vehicles. Our minds are like vehicles, and if we are not properly equipped for rough terrain, we’re going to get stuck. Let’s make sure we’re in vehicles that are specially equipped for the challenges we’re going to encounter on this journey of ours. That cute little sports car looks impressive, but will it get you over those big humps or through those deep caverns wrought with weeds and bramble? Maybe the Hummer isn’t as good looking, but it is tough and sturdy for those treacherous roads that lie up ahead. It’s not about looking good, it’s about finishing well.

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

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Wood, Hay and Stubble

I recently came to the conclusion that Satan and his demons are often like termites, silently eating away at the wood in our lives. If we are building our foundation on Christ the Solid Rock, we don’t need to feel threatened by the termites. However, we sometimes allow the wooden (graven) images to become all too important. And when those get eaten up, we sometimes feel devastated. These are things that we have devoted ourselves to but have not committed to God for His blessing. They are in a separate compartment of our lives that we have secretly labeled “DO NOT TOUCH!”

The word of God urges us in Psalm 37 to commit our ways to the Lord and delight ourselves in Him. Sadly, we often delight ourselves in those wooden things that cannot withstand the fire or the termites. If we are not watchful, vigilant, and diligent in our walk with God (devoting time each day to prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship with other believers), we will one day find that the floor has dropped out beneath us. We will experience such devastation that we will seriously wonder if God is even present in our lives. Are we prepared for that?

Exodus 34:1-17 warns us to destroy those wooden images and have no other gods. The Lord’s name is Jealous, for He is a jealous God! We need to be careful that we are not allowing any thing or any person to become more important to us than the Lord. Because He has made heaven accessible to us through the sacrificial death of His Son, Christ Jesus, God deserves to be number one in our lives. If there is anything distracting us from our daily quiet time with Him, any person whose affection and devotion means more to us than God, may we see flashing red lights and hear fire alarms going off! Satan is using those things and people to draw us away from God. Over time we will grow “comfortably numb” as the old song by Pink Floyd says.

In 1 Corinthians 3:9-15, Paul points out to us the importance of building our foundation on Jesus Christ. “If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” Let’s be diligent to store up treasures in heaven and earn crowns that we can cast at the feet of Jesus.

“On Christ the Solid Rock I stand. All other ground is shifting sand. All other ground is shifting sand.”

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Praying the Word

When we pray, do we include scripture?  You can imagine how it warms the heart of God when He hears His children quoting His word in their prayers.  “Dear Lord, please bless my friend as she goes through her day” is rather generic and bland.  Let’s offer up intercessory petitions that truly honor the Lord and utilize the power of His word:  “O Most High, I lift up to You my sweet sister and ask that you remind her that she is precious and dear in Your sight and that nothing is too hard for You.  Thank You for being her strength and her shield, dear God.  You are a very present help in trouble, and I know You are able to guide her through this difficult situation.

Dear God, I praise you for being my fortress and stronghold, for upholding me in the midst of this storm.  I ask that You show me Your glory and help me see Your loving, mighty hand at work in this crisis.  I cast my every care upon You, for I know that You do, indeed, care for me.  Jehovah God, I trust You with all of my heart and I will not lean on my own understanding.  In all my ways I acknowledge You.  I know that I can trust You to direct my paths.  Be glorified, O Rock of my salvation, and hear the words of praise that come from my mouth.  In Christ’s name I pray, amen.

The more of God’s word we absorb and memorize, the more effective our prayers will be.  When we stop to consider the length of God’s love letter to us, why would we limit our prayers to limp, dry petitions that sound like we don’t really care or don’t really trust Him?  We serve such a wise, powerful, and compassionate God; and His word, the Holy Bible, is packed with rich, expressive passages.  When we read them, aren’t we comforted, encouraged, and challenged?  So why would be offer up prayers that fail to ignite the power of the Holy Spirit?

If we know He’s a great God who parted the Red Sea for the Israelites so they could get across on dry land to escape the Egyptians, shouldn’t we be offering up prayers that acknowledge His ability to part our Red Seas and send a swarm of locusts to overtake our enemies when we’re in trouble?  A friend once said to me, “There is so much God is able to do for us, and yet we ask so little of Him!”

Imagine you have this job, and you know the company is in dire need of some really outstanding work in order to keep the business from going under.  You have the ability to perform that task, but no one in management is calling upon you.  You’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get to it right away, but for some reason there is no one approaching you.  Wouldn’t you be saddened by that?  You’re watching this company slowly sink into bankruptcy and you’re just chomping at the bit to come charging to the rescue, but there is no one calling upon you for help.  Don’t they know how capable you are to solve the problem?  The answer, in your mind, is so simple, yet you see so many people sitting around worrying and brooding over the hopelessness of the situation.  You hear others moaning and complaining about how bad things look but they treat you like you don’t even exist.  You’re right there, fully aware of the situation and know exactly what’s needed to restore the business.  Your heart is breaking because no one is acknowledging your ability to help!

The Lord God Almighty loves us with a steadfast, unconditional, everlasting love; and He longs to enjoy close fellowship with each of us.  He sees us skurrying around trying desperately to get everything done that we think needs to be done before bedtime.  How often do we stop, look to Him, call upon His power, wisdom, and compassion, and then trust Him to guide us through the day?  When’s the last time you asked him to glorify Himself in your heart and in your home, your office or your classroom?

Lord, set a guard over my lips that I might not dishonor You with vulgar speech or haughty words of disdain.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptible in Your sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.  I will stand firm upon Christ the Solid Rock, my Deliverer and my Redeemer.  My hope is in the Lord.  I will not fret, for that only does harm.  I will not be afraid.  After all, what can man do to me?


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