Prayers and Faith and Love

Grace and peace,

          Matthew 5:43-48   “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

I have heard many people say, “If we were all God’s children nothing bad would ever happen to us.” I have listened and stayed silent as others slander the Father and say, “Why do THEY get everything THEY want when THEY don’t even believe in Jesus as the Son? I pray and I go to church but I get nothing but pain.” What incredibly vain and selfish thoughts these are. I have meditated on these musings myself before and pondered on their validity. It is funny how we ask such questions and get so frustrated by the apparent success of whom many consider “undeserving” when the answers stare at us from the Word, waiting for us to dust off the book many discard and just read them.  In the verses above, we are commanded to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors.

Why does God allow the wicked to prosper while the righteous suffer? First and foremost do not believe for a moment that any one of us is anymore righteous than any other. It is through the blood of the Christ, the Messiah that we are made righteous in the eyes of the Father. Beyond that, read those verses again for your answer to this question. We are asked by Jesus what we gain from only loving those who love us. Everyone loves those who love them! That is the easy part. He calls us to more in His name. To love those who hate us, who curse us, who frighten and oppress us, all those who slander and antagonize us on the street. When a driver swears at you and gives you the finger, when a bully punches a kid for no reason, or when a parent abandons their child, love and pray for them. No it is not easy. God sends rain on all of us, because it is what He expects from us. If He only lifted up those who love Him, He would be a poor example indeed and quite hypocritical, would He not? “Do unto others”, every command and counsel we are presented with in the Truth is exemplified in the person of Jesus who is the embodiment of God. Every act of kindness and every word spoken by Jesus is an example of a holiness we are called to in His name.

We are not God (shocking I know, hit me pretty hard too when I found out) so we do not meet the expectation. Our human emotions and the sin we writhe in and enjoy are blocks shackled round our ankles while we climb towards the King. But while we keep looking up for forgiveness, we seem to forget if we look around, others are in the same battle we are every single day. If we open our eyes to the conflicts within others, we may see the reflection of ourselves there. Not as in a mirror, but as in a pond where we notice the similarities as a vague semblance of what we struggle to overcome. Extend your hand to your brothers and walk together. Our burdens are lighter when we stand as one. Maybe that guy or girl is not just some jerk. Maybe they are in a divorce or just lost a loved one, maybe they are lost in drugs or alcohol or lust or maybe they think they are perfect because they do not do any of that. Pride can be the greatest struggle of all because it is usually disguised so the proud do not even recognize it.

As I look at you, I finally see what I have missed so long while asking questions to which the answers are clear, Jesus waiting, not at the top of the hill as we expect to find when gazing upward but here, among us, pierced hands open waiting for us to let Him carry our burden because He already paid our price. Let the master break your shackles and do not re-chain yourself to the same sinful deadweight we have before. Go to your brothers and show them who can free them as well, so when we all unite on our pilgrimage to the summit, where glory reigns and Light originates, we do so with backs straight and heads bowed not in grief and shame, but in reverence to the King of Kings who brought us forth and showed us how exactly to love and why He grants those who despise Him blessings in their arrogance. Because He does love us. All of us whether we know of Him or not, whether we despise or embrace His teaching, whether we follow or lead, murder or heal, restore or steal are loved and cherished. He wants us all. But to know the Father, we must love the Son and follow His ways. In this life, every decision affects our future. Yet there is but one decision that affects us at the end of our days here. It is never too late to turn from our old selves and encourage those we have wronged, to seek forgiveness from the Father and run in a new, better direction. Life does not always look so bright, but with the Lord there is peace in the storms and a place to hide during the earthquakes.

Do not simply take my word for it, when you read any verses I post, go to your own Bible and read the context they are in as well. “Text without context is a pretext for a proof text”

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in the spirit, serve the Lord.” Romans 12:9-11

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By THIS all people will know you are my disciples, IF YOU HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.” John 13″34, 35

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1,2

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

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Friendship

There is a bond in friendship that is far deeper than any surface tie. True friends are hard to find and even harder to recognize. Friendship between brothers, sisters, spouses, family members and people who cross our paths in life is a rare treasure, more precious than any stone or metal. It is to be cherished as such. Never forget who your friends are. Be quick to forgive, quicker to love and support them, and slow to anger. “A man of many companions comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

Choose your close circle wisely, trust yourself to know who you can trust. Look at their character, not their face and do not be fooled by wolves masquerading as sheep. Listen to wise counsel when you make your decisions and above all, trust in the Lord with all your heart, your soul and your mind. “Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

I love you my friends

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One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing goes right? One of those days where all your troubles finally break through that wall you lock them behind so you can make it to the next night? When your thoughts revolve around past mistakes, or opportunities missed, or just something you want that keeps running further out of your reach. I hate those days. The days you feel…weak, out of place, like you can’t do anything to help yourself or anyone else, no matter how badly you want to. You know the kind I mean, we’ve all been there. The days where you are broken and you just want to lay perfectly still and become invisible so you don’t have to let anyone else down. When you don’t know how you will make it.
I had one of those days. I had my day to cry, to break, to beg Jesus to come back right then and there to deliver me from this life and all its let downs and heart aches, scars and mistakes. I realized in my grief that you can find comfort in the most unexpected of places. Even just hearing a voice you haven’t heard in a long time. I also realized in my pleading with Jesus that I don’t know what real pain is. That is the pain of being alone on this Earth with all humanity against you, the pain of having your body battered and broken. Your spirit longing for home, your mind longing for peace and finding none. The pain of calling,”FATHER!” Only to find His face hidden and your cries answered not by the love and compassion you desperately hope for, but by the bitter mocking of the crowd below as you hang on the cross, your very life dripping down in the blood pouring from the holes and tears in flesh that you do not deserve, but willingly and mercifully accept so the very ones who torment you may have someone to turn to when one of those days hits them full force. So next time you have one of those days when nothing goes right, remember Jesus had one of those days so horrible you can’t imagine and He rose again in glory so He would be there to give you shelter and comfort when you have one of those days. When you feel broken, remember Jesus WAS broken, for you. When you feel alone, remember Jesus was alone, for you. Just as He rose up out of the pits of Hell in triumph, you WILL rise up into His glory. Remember next time you have one of those days, that Jesus had that one day…for you.

I originally wrote this back in 2006, I found it again today and was reminded to keep dreaming even when you feel like you are in a nightmare. Look to Jesus, keep your friends close and remember to ask how their day is when you really want to complain about your own. They may be hurting too, possibly more than you are. An encouraging word from a loved one goes a long way to improving life at its lowest, believe me. Amazing how accurately these words describe the way I feel 7 years after I first wrote them. Amazing how people can be terrible to you and yet when you think about them, you still love them and hope the best for them. Amazing what God can do inside to change a heart when He is asked to and there is real desire for change. Amazing how terrible we can be to others, but God still says, “I love you” and wants us to keep coming closer to Him. I want to share with so many people the love I feel everyday and the grace I have experienced in my life. Share this with your friends, family and followers and tell them Andrew said keep fighting. The one who calms storms and raises the dead is on your side 🙂

With great love

bejoyful

My Turn

I asked you all to pray for me earlier this week. Thank you so very much for your prayers. Now I am lead to pray for all of you, along with myself in this. My heart has been stirred and is now boiling with compassion and hope. I fear I have wasted time in doubt which lead to despair when all I had to do was turn around appreciate the blessings He granted me in His love and grace. For my foolishness I have been forgiven and now I turn to the Lord in strength and love.

         Grace in itself cannot be earned, because it is undeserved kindness or forgiveness. We are granted so much in this life! Even when it seems we have very little, we are always missing something fundamental that we have to be thankful for. Life itself. People everywhere wish they were dead or commit suicide or kill others or simply grow old or sick before laying down, but in all of our final moments we feel the gravity of what it means to be alive. The complexity of life and of breathing this air we rarely think about. The pounding of our heart inside our chest and the pulses of thought racking our brain day in, and day out, through every waking moment and in our deepest sleep. I praise You, Oh Lord, for my breath. Praise You, for my food I ate today when many have none. Let not your light nor mercy be stifled in me but be a beacon, brighter than any sun unto the nations! 

          Father, every one of us live in a self-centered universe seeking our desires and selfish wants and perceived needs. We seek glory and power and money and popularity above Your will. We take what we can when we can whether it hurts someone or not. I do not want to live in a self-made hell. I want to live in You! I want to feel your glory coursing in my veins, flowing beneath my skin and hear Your words pour from my mouth! Long have I lived in darkness and futility letting sin and fear and shame and doubt control my every movement. You have cleansed me of my sin. You have pardoned me and brought me out of shame into the light that all my deeds be seen. I am unafraid to admit my mistakes in praise that you use them to the good of those who love You, Master!

I am unashamed to stand before all of you and say that I am a sinner, but by the grace of God I am whole again and I love each of you as much as myself. You are my family. I pray you feel a joy and contentment and peace that truly passes ALL understanding. An incomprehensible stillness inside that just makes you smile and cry tears of joy in a crowded room without hesitation. Worshiping in openness without reservation excites my flesh! Give them your will in clarity Father! Shine among these people that they see you instead of me. Empty me of me that I may delight in you fully! You are the One and Only. You alone are worthy and Holy. I pray these members seek your face and strive to live holy and blameless in your sight, for you see all we do in secret. Whatever we cannot admit to others, may I not deny it to myself but instead see the truth of my actions and motivations and commit my ways to you! Establish all our paths, Abba. Lay us down in green pastures beside still waters. Restore our souls that we not seek approval of others, but live to serve and make you proud! I love You! In the name of Jesus who gave up our most precious gift to give us more than we have ever deserved.

     1 Corinthians 13   “If I speak in the tonguesof men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

          Matthew 5:43-48   “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

        John 15:5-9   “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.’ “

 

Much love, grace and peace

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Thoughts (chapter 2)

Have you ever had so many thoughts swirling in your head you felt a bit like a blender on puree? Thinking you wanted to say so much but not having a way to do so? Or knowing that it would not make any difference if you stayed silent or screamed from the mountains? Days like this are no fun. What do you do when this happens to you? I had a dream last night, and it threw my head into this hurricane. It was weird. Probably just a dream, but when I see that face, my insides go all crazy for the next day or two. That plus school and work stuff tossed into the mix, its a carnival in here. I do not know what to think or say or do half of the time. I just write. I am praying for you everyday. I hope you are finding contentment. I am so thankful for all of you and the ability to spill onto the “page” and share my emotion and passions. I hope you gain some insight into yourselves and encouragement whenever you read my dribble 😉

When I am at my weakest, His strength shines through. Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Keep that in mind when your insides go insane for any reason. Surrender to the Master’s will and accept the peace He offers. Then go live. Live in freedom and integrity.

Much love

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Lu$T

“Here we go” right? “Another high and mighty Christian boy bashing sex and porn and masturbation and fooling around with my boyfriend or girlfriend.”

Right! and also very wrong. Lust has been a struggle for billions of people and with the world we live in, it is understandable. Everything is sold using sex from food and drink to cars and insurance. Sex is in our movies, TV shows even cartoons and shows for kids! So struggles with lust are understandable but lust is, as it always has been, unacceptable.

I have wrestled with lust of the flesh, lust of the heart, lusting after a woman, after an item I wanted, more money, etc. For now, lets focus on lust of the flesh. Lust is greedy and deceives you. To lust is to want what you do not have, and were not meant to have. Lust goes beyond attraction, an appreciation for beauty, or even a healthy desire for sex. Lust is a promise of pleasure in some form, usually physical, but it is always a false promise. Lust leaves an emptiness when pursued that only gets greater each time we listen to its lies. Lust damages relationships, marriages, families. Sex, is beautiful and I am in absolutely no way against it. But keep it where it was meant to be, in marriage between husband and wife as God intended. Lust is a perversion of God’s gift of passionate sex. What, did you think God is against sex? Not even a little, He created it! Song of Songs is dedicated to celebrating PURE sex in marriage.

The real trap of lust, is that it can never, ever be satisfied. You fall into its snare once, then you want more and more and more until you are so far in you cannot see the light anywhere you turn. We try to fight it ourselves, making promises to God like, “I will not engage in sexual activity for a month” or “I will not masturbate for a year…starting right after this one.” Our willpower is useless against acting in lust. “What do I do! I feel so hopeless!” Find the root of the disease and cut it out. “But isn’t fantasizing about my girlfriend or boyfriend ok? We are in a relationship after all.” That is how it starts, even beyond that, it starts with a single look. Let me throw a verse at you about how much lust is ok. “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:3

Did you read what I saw in there? “Not even a HINT” It starts with a glance, an ‘innocent’ thought, then before you know it, you no longer recognize yourself. I hurt people around me with my lust. People I cared about. People I loved. Love and lust are two very very different things. Ladies, do not listen when a guy you barely know says “I love you”. No he does not. Love is born of trials together and knowing each other inside and out. Sex comes later, after marriage as God intended. Pure sex in marriage is a beautiful thing. You know the person you are giving yourself to will still be there tomorrow. There is no fear of rejection, they married you after all! Sex in passionate, love-filled marriage is one of the most amazing expressions of that passion we have. Lust destroys that. Parentless children, broken hearts, STD’s being passed around to unsuspecting people. All because we could not WAIT to get to know someone, we could not WAIT to experience true pleasure in purity with our spouse. Gotta have it now! I’m sad so I want some physical comfort. That lie has been succumbed to so many times. That physical “comfort” will leave you with shame, fear, emptiness, and a feeling of hopelessness. Trust me. Ooo I have heard people say that before as well to get what they wanted from someone. “Trust me, I care about you” “I won’t think any differently of you” lies. “Trust me” from someone in a sexual situation is a very clear indicator they are the least trustworthy person around you. If you are hurting and someone wants to make you feel good physically to fix it, RUN. They are not trying to help. They are acting out of lust and greed. They want you to make them feel good. Not help you through whatever you are struggling with. I promise. Do not trust me, you do not even know me, ask people you do trust. If they have been through this, they know I am correct. God said, “Not even a hint” not because He does not want us to have fun, but because we are His and Daddy wants to protect His children from the pain lust brings. Good things come to those who wait is especially true with sex. Learning about your potential spouse without sex brings a much clearer picture of who they are. Lust brings confusion and regret to things that should be amazing experiences.

Movies. Sooo many movies are choc full of lust. Tons of recent ones are blatantly about nothing but lust. Magic Mike comes to mind. If you are trying to avoid lust, stay away from sleezy movies and shows that throw naked people at you or have outright sex scenes every ten minutes. Lust is not a battle of willpower or of the mind, lust comes from what is in our hearts! What we let in. Lock the gate. I have said it a few times before in other writings pertaining to other subjects, GUARD YOU HEART. Eyes are the gateway to the soul. Looking in a beautiful lady’s eyes can tell you much, talking to her openly about life and dreams and goals and passions tells me so much more than staring at her breasts and picturing her naked. Not even a hint. Same for ladies to guys. Thinking about his body is where it starts. Lust is a slipstream with a heavy undertoe. You dip your foot in, just to test the water, and WHOOSH! You are rushing, out of control, into the swirling abyss with nothing to grab onto and all the willpower in the world is not enough to float you to the surface, let alone pull you out. Lust is always seeking a new sensual thrill. The only way to avoid being sucked in, is to avoid the river altogether. Not even a hint. When temptation rears its head, run the other way, sometimes literally. Run from that guy or girl who is seducing you. Just get out of the room, out of the house/apartment/dorm, get out of their life if you must. There will always be other people who want you and will say what they think will get you to take your clothes off. Especially using “friendship” to get close to you. “Oh, don’t cry, come lay in my arms until you feel better.” Run.

There will also always be people who truly want to uplift and encourage you. Which is which though? How can we tell who is extending a hand in friendship and who is a viper waiting for your vulnerability to show? WAIT. Not even a hint. Very soon, the viper will start asking, maybe even just mentioning or “joking” about sex with you. When you refuse, they may back off for a bit, but they will quickly try again, searching for you weakest point. Say no, and mean it. Cut the head off the serpent and watch how it squirms and dies. Those vipers, want whatever lovely lady or gentleman comes across them and will do anything to unzip you. When you tell them no, and mean it, sometimes repeatedly until they get it, they will just go to the next person and start their game over again. They are not worth having in your life. I do not want them in mine, I have tricked myself before. Surround yourself with real friends. Deep inside, you know the difference. Listen to that. Be cautious of the “diet mentality” with lust. Cutting back or having just a little lust here or there won’t kill me, will it? Not even a hint. Getting too intimate on a date, watching that movie screaming sexual thoughts into your head, ungodly fantasies, all of it feeds lust. Just like sumo wrestlers, the one you feed more, is the one that wins. The diet mentality sets up a standard lower than God’s that seems more doable on the surface! Just a little every once in a while seems easier than not avoiding it altogether. Even makes you feel good about yourself! At first, anyway. “Yeah, I resisted! I’m sooooo strong. I can let it slip next time as long as I resist MOST of the time.” Nope! Not even a hint.

Willpower is nothing but a faulty life preserver. It will fail. Only the power of the cross can break the power of sin that ensnares us. I am currently reading a book by Joshua Harris called, “Not Even a Hint”. He is a great writer and I highly recommend this book. Here is a quote from him – “Despair or pride about changing won’t work either. Only the motive of grace-trust in the undeserved favor of God-can inspire us to pursue holiness free from fear and shame.”

Here is another two to end our time together today, “Part of the challenge Christians face in a lust-filled world is remembering that neither sex nor sexuality is our enemy. Lust is our enemy and has hijacked sexuality. We need to keep reminding ourselves that our goal is to rescue our sexuality from lust so we can experience it the way God intended.”

“In (The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis) Lewis show the connection between killing our lust and finding life. It feels as though destroying our lust will destroy us. But it doesn’t. And when we destroy our lustful desire, we come not to the end of desire, but to the beginning of pure desire –God-centered desire, which was created to carry us into the everlasting morning of God’s purpose.”

Thank you all again for letting me pour out to you. Is lust something you struggle with? Let the angel of the Lord kill the little red lizard, that is, lust, whispering in your ear that you can rise into glory finally.

Grace and Peace, with much love,

Andrew

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Thoughts?

Have you ever wondered what someone was thinking and wanted to ask them, but could not for some reason? Have you ever wanted to just sit and have a conversation with an old friend you miss simply to hear their voice and see there expressions again? I definitely have. There are some I miss dearly. Who is a person whose thoughts you miss sharing? What would you share with them? Some people in our lives are so easy to talk to. You know those friends who have lost touch but who are still so much a part of you. There are some people you wish were still physically next to you in your walk of life to share your joy and pain with, seeking each others counsel, and finding out what they have learned on your time separated. I love those people. They are special. They are important to you. They are people who have changed your life forever. I love life changers. I NEED life changers. Those are the friends worth having. Well, the ones who want to see us be our best. For me, its people who want to lift me up in Christ and who counsel me in truth and wisdom. Who love unconditionally and never give up on me. Some people change our lives NOT for the better, because we let them. They usually seem harmless enough at first, then you look up and suddenly you are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, trying not to fear and hoping to escape the evil around you, looking for what happened to get you there. Keep your eyes open, and be cautious when you give someone your hand to lead you or walk beside you. Make sure you watch where they place there feet. Is the Good Shepherd the “light unto their path”? Sometimes, people we think are awesome take our hand then, suddenly without warning, their face changes to something sinister, usually without us noticing until we look up from the valley and see them laughing, fangs bared. Take care friends, take care of your friends, make sure your friends want to take care of you.

I have been blessed with discernment, no this is not a matter of pride. I take no credit for the gifts given me by my Abba. (That means Daddy, I am referring to God) I see what many do not, especially in matters of the heart and character. I think most of us know who we can and cannot trust but most of the time, we want to ignore that inner voice thinking, “But they seem so cool!” or “Look how pretty/handsome they are!” Let not the masks worn by wolves trick you into thinking they are sheep.

What an amazing master we serve! The way Jesus instructed us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 is to call God “Abba”! That opens my eyes to a whole new relationship. I am a mere child, walking hand in hand with my daddy, complete faith that He will not let me fall or be taken from Him. My daddy protects me with His life, Daddy tells me who I can trust and who I cannot. He saved me from myself by giving Himself. Thanks Daddy. I can never be grateful enough or repay You, but You did it anyway, because I am not just any child. I am Your child. I serve because I am grateful, because I want Daddy to be proud of me. Do we not all seek the praise of our fathers? Focus on Praising THE father instead.

We are often lead astray by the wrong friends, who encourage me to make wrong decisions. Every one of us has run off the narrow path for some reason or other. Stay alert, test those you think you can trust. Ask Daddy, then obey Him! Test them and their advice or leadership with the Word.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1 God only gives us instruction and correction to protect us because He loves us so much. He hurts when we fall and scrape our knees. He waits endlessly with a beacon to show us the way when we get lost. When someone makes us cry, Daddy is angry with them and wants to comfort us. Daddy wants us to be happy and to love Him. He gives us amazing gifts, we should use them properly, to His glory. Remember it is never too late to go Home.

Wow this has become completely different from what I started writing…meh, that’s cool.

Matthew 10:16 “Behold I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.”

Guard your hearts from the wolves. Share your thoughts with trustworthy friends. Brothers and sisters in Christ, watch each others backs. Jesus was betrayed with a kiss, after all.

Much love to all of you

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