Queen Esther's Blog

Selective Thinking

I was just thinking…

Learning to control our thoughts is a process that leads to freedom from an imprisoned mind shackled by life’s challenges, past experiences, and seemingly senseless situations.

Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici freedigitalphotos.net

Photo Credit:
David Castillo Dominici. www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

What are you thinking?

I honestly don’t know what you’re thinking as you begin reading this, or what you will think after reading this essay. Nevertheless, my intent is to encourage you in the disciplines of your thought life by applying selective thinking—choosing your thoughts based on biblical truths.

I’m sure you will agree that trying to control thoughts about even the simplest things of everyday life can be wearisome.

For example, when my 17-year old son was sure he found his first and only love, Bianca, he charted their month-to-month anniversary on the wall calendar. Their artistic creativity was exchanged through love letters, notes, and on scraps of papers I found throughout the house… (Yes I was a snoop if that’s what you want to call it!) But there’s really no “right to privacy” law in my house).  After finding all this, guess what I was thinking?  Thoughts flooded my mind like a broken levee… Oh, no! This relationship cannot be that serious!   What is he thinking? He should be thinking about graduation, college, and career.

My thoughts were out of control. I told myself to calm down. I knew if I didn’t redirect my thoughts I would become a weary, overprotective mother.  Anxiety and uncontrollable emotions would eradicate any hopes of logic reasoning or spiritual insight.  I could not predict his hormone reactions, nor manipulate his thinking process. The truth is, I really didn’t know what he was thinking. Therefore, rather than wasting time trying to manipulate his thoughts and make assumptions, I talked to him. I asked him about his thoughts on love and relationships.

I told him and showed him what God’s word said, and I personally modeled the way in my attitude and actions. I am not naïve. I knew he was not sharing all his thoughts. Did you share all yours with your parents when you were a teenager? Right… Nevertheless, my responsibility was to teach him the importance of selective thinking; help him learn how to apply biblical principles in his relationships. It was my responsibility to show him that every aspect of life, especially his personal life, is governed by the power of his thoughts—positive or negative. Ultimately, he would have to learn how to manage his thoughts, or they would become the master of his life good or bad, right or wrong.

Controlling our thoughts through selective thinking empowers us to:

  • Manage life without becoming emotionally bankrupt.
  • Patiently endure adversity by redirecting our thoughts toward God and His Word
  • Be victorious over every situation knowing that God’s got your back.

Let’s consider Apostle Paul as our example along with his instructions recorded in Philippians 4. Although he was imprisoned in a Roman jail, he wrote this letter of encouragement to the church at Philippi. He was definitely in a situation where his perspective could have been distorted by his hardships. Unless he had controlled his thoughts through selective thinking, discouragement and disappointment would have been his daily doses of medicine.

How often do we let unfavorable circumstances be the energy that propels negative thinking?

In fact, studying Paul’s life, we learn that we cannot allow our mind to be imprisoned by negative thoughts of adverse circumstances. Using selective thinking to control our thoughts enables us to stay encouraged and encourage others to stand firm through difficulties. If Paul had focused on the “down-side” of his situation and restrained his thoughts to the same, he would have given up on sharing the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ. No doubt, he would have aborted his divine mission. Instead, he chose to live in God-consciousness—seeing from God’s perspective and relying on his personal knowledge of God. Consequently, he experienced the peace of God in the worst of situations and could help others do the same (Philippians 1:12; 4:4-7).

Guess what?

We can experience this same peace in the midst of adversity through selective thinking—choosing what we think about.

Paul closed his letter to the Philippians with the formula for securing the peace of God through the application of selective thinking—choosing your thoughts.

Here is what he said,

Finally…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8).

Also, what I find that’s equally important is Paul’s example of leadership. (v.9), “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

We Christians should not only be selective in our thoughts, but we must remember that our conduct and conversations reveal our thoughts. We are all leaders whether we hold positions and titles or not. We are examples.  We are Christ’s witnesses. Therefore, we must model the Way, Truth and the Life so that others can practice what they have learned from us, received or heard from us, and most definitely seen in us.  Need I say, we should be modeling Christian character? Perhaps you’re thinking what a petty example to use my son. But ultimately the point I want to make is this: Even in the simplest things of life we must channel our thoughts so that we add value to our life, our relationships, and our decision-making.

Learning to control our thoughts through selective thinking positions and empowers us to

  • Offer encouragement to others
  • Be insightful and apply wisdom and knowledge
  • Teach and instruct others in God’s Word to live purposeful and victorious lives through Christ.

 After all, what we think is central to who we are, what we do, and how we live.

I was just thinking…

If every Christian accepted a leadership role, by modeling Christ-like character in daily simplistic living, using selective thinking, applying biblical principles, and obeying the Word of God, we could change what the “world” thinks about Christ.

And the Presence, Peace, and Power of God would be manifested in and through us to advance the Kingdom of God.

I was just thinking… What are you thinking?

 

©2007 ©2015 Queen E. F. Phillips. Revised. All rights reserved. Permission granted to use for non-commercial use without written permission. Credit must be given to copyright owner.

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When There’s No Light at the End of the Tunnel

How long is a little while?

The struggles in life has a way of making you feel there is no end to the tunnel.  Darkness seems to cover you like a blanket with no sign of a light.

lightendoftunnel

Unashamedly I admit, over the last fifteen years I asked consistently, “Lord, how long is the pain of betrayal, broken relationships, grief from the loss of loved ones and possessions going to last?  When will the struggles end?” Needless to say, He did not give me a specific timeframe.  Instead, He always reminded me of His Word.   After a while, I stop asking how long and started rehearsing the promises He had given me.  My attitude changed. The more I meditated and spoke aloud His Word over my life and situations, the more my anxiety was replaced by God’s peace.  Still there were nights I cried myself to sleep, but I never stopped rehearsing the promises. I held on to them regardless of what I felt, saw and experienced. I believed God!

Like me, have you looked for the light at the end of the tunnel and wondered how long your troubles would last?

Just know you are not alone while traveling through your tunnel a little while longer.

I posted the following status to my Facebook page earlier this week.   Reading it again the next day or so was like getting a burst of energy from an energy drink.

Your suffering is temporary. Go through the “making” process.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 NIV.

During the time Peter wrote to the Christians, persecution was not just confined to the churches in Asia Minor. Christians were suffering from intense persecution almost everywhere in the known world of that day because they were preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. Peter wrote to remind and console them and us too.  He was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write and encourage them to emulate those who had successfully gone through the test of suffering.  It is important and beneficial to surround yourself with people who have successfully endured some dark days of suffering and can offer you the encouragement you need to stand firm and not give up.

Suffering on this earth—although it appears to be endless—is temporary.  It is much easier to focus on the uncertainty of the length of time we will suffer.  Only God knows the duration of our sufferings.  He sovereignly defines the ‘little while’.  No one’s time of suffering is the same.  Remember Job? He suffered the loss of all things, including his health.  Through it all, he held on even enduring the criticisms and misunderstandings of his friends.

Your suffering is temporary. God through the “making” process.

The duration of your pain will be different from others, but the focal point should not be the time frame.  Focus on the promised outcome after the set time (little while) of suffering is completed.  After you have suffered a little while, here are four (4) things the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself do:

  •  Restore you.  Whatever is broken or missing, He will mend and repair so that you are complete. However long you suffered, afterwards you will be restored.  Your restoration may be physically or spiritually.
  •  Establish you. Suffering affects our mental health; our thoughts are usually focused on our condition and circumstances.  It’s easy for spirits of depression and oppression to control our thinking. God will make you stable in your mind; you will need mental stability. He will make you strong in mind. A strong and stable mindset is essential to your well-being physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  •  Strengthen you.  Suffering affects you emotionally; therefore, God will make you firm in your emotions. Where you are emotionally weak and unsteady, He will strengthen your soul.
  • Settle you. Because your whole being has been shaken by your suffering, God will settle (establish) you.  He will lay again a firm foundation to uphold you so that you are stable in all your ways, not wavering, but confident in the God of your salvation.

Why would God do all this after you have suffered for a while?  Because it was never God’s intention for us live in a place of darkness, defeat, disappointment and discouragement .  Again I ask, remember Job?  At the end of Job’s suffering, however long it was, God restored him and all he lost with double.  God’s desire from the beginning has always been for our good. His will is for all mankind to live victoriously through faith in Jesus Christ (John 10:10). His desire is that we be ‘whole’ human beings in a loving relationship with Him.  All that He allows to happen in the life of His children is scripted with purpose. It is usually in times of suffering and adversity that we draw closer to Him through prayer and supplication.  Moreover, He draws closer to us. During suffering is not the time to become bitter; look to God for the better.

Yes, the struggles in life has a way of making you feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and darkness covers you like a blanket with no sign of a light.  But, we must remember the promises while traveling through the tunnel of darkness. Get in the Word of God because the entrance of His Words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130). May you be enlightened and encouraged by this post.

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Your turn..

What will you do when it seems like a ‘little while’ has turned into a long while in a tunnel of darkness?

Will you admit that you focus more on ‘how long’ rather than promised outcome after the suffering?  If you admit yes, what will you do differently after reading this post?

Meditate on this Word: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  -Romans 8:28

 

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When God makes you laugh

familylaughing

 

Has God made a promise to you that made you laugh because it was so unbelievable or you thought it was impossible?

Sarah laughed within herself when she overheard God’s conversation with her husband, Abraham, outside their tent. She heard God make a promise that she would have a son (Genesis 18:10).  God had made this same promise to Abraham twenty-four years earlier after Ishmael was born as result of their plan to make the promise come to pass. 

Now is the perfect time to remind you of this: When God gives a word (makes a promise) man does not have to devise a plan to make the promise come to pass based on human ingenuity. God alone is responsible for the fulfillment of every promise that He makes.

When God made the promise to Abraham twenty-four years earlier Abraham laughed in disbelief too. According to Genesis 17:17, he fell on his face and laughed and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is 100 years old?  And shall Sarah, who is 99 years old, bear a child?”  Furthermore, Abraham had the audacity to say to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”  It was if Abraham was asking God to accept his plan as a substitute for His.

oldcouplelaughing Both Abraham and Sarah laughed because they believed it was impossible for them to conceive due to their age.  They could only see the possibility from a natural perspective.  Seeing from the natural perspective rather than God’s perspective will always cause us to laugh out loud or within our heart.  We have a serious problem with taking God at His word no matter how unbelievable it sounds.

Think about it.  Laughter is a natural response to an unbelievable, unnatural idea. When someone says something to you that sounds absolutely ridiculous how do you respond? Yep! You laugh.  And in the case of Abraham and Sarah, it was their natural response to a promise that was beyond their finite comprehension and wildest imagination.

Not only did Sarah laugh at giving birth in her old age, but she laughed at the “idea” of having pleasure with Abraham in their old age (Gen. 18:10-12).  However, God poses this question: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”  The answer then and now is emphatically no! What God has spoken will come to pass. Abraham and Sarah found that out.

At the set time of which God had spoken He visited Sarah and she conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age as He said (Genesis 21:1-2).  The laughter that expressed impossibility, disbelief and improbability of the promise was turned into an eternal truth throughout the ages. The birth of Isaac, which means “laughter” resulted in laughter that expressed joy, fulfillment and consolation that answers the question we should declare even now: “With God nothing is impossible!” There is nothing too hard for the LORD!

What has God promised that made you laugh?

If He promised, He will bring it to pass. When the promise is spoken, you will laugh with joy too and declare with confidence that nothing is too hard for the LORD.

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No Needs Greater

6111322_origToday as I read several prayer requests I realized that people have so many needs. Many share a commonality—prayer for family, children and relationships, which reminds us of our commonality as human beings divinely connected by the Creator.  Whether we are quick to admit it or not, we are not that different when it comes to relational needs and desires.  We all have a need to be connected; a need to be loved, a need to feel safe and significant.   As I read through the prayer requests, ninety percent of them wanted prayer because there was a relational need that affected them mentally and emotionally. And they believed that prayer works.  I could sense the heaviness that weighed on their heart.  Knowing their situation, the feeling of powerlessness almost overshadowed me. Instead I refocused my attention to my assignment—intercession and prayer. In essence, realizing the magnitude of their needs intensified my prayer to God on their behalf.  I had to remind myself that no need is too great for our GREAT GOD—the Creator of the universe.  As a matter of fact, when it seems our needs outweigh our resources and overwhelm us, it is an opportunity to experience the miraculous power of Almighty God.

More recent than ever before, I am reminded of God’s promise to Abraham that he and Sarah would have a baby in their old age. God Himself asked Abraham, “Is anything too hard for Adonai?” (Genesis 18:14, CJB). Although it was twenty-five years later, it came to pass Isaac was born.

I am convinced that there is nothing too hard for God!  He wants us to ask…make our requests (specific needs) known to Him in prayer.

“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.  And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for” (1 John 5:14-15, NLT).

Do you have a need? Pray…ask God…believe.

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Building Up the Wall

theWordofGod
Ezekiel 22:30 (NIV)

Devotion by Rev. Ross Adams

30 “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.

Commentary:

The wall spoken of here is not made of stone, but of faithful people united in their efforts to resist evil. This wall was in disrepair because there was no one who could lead the people back to God. The feeble attempts to repair the gap–through religious rituals or messages based on opinion rather than God’s will– were as worthless as whitewash; only covering the real problems. What the people really needed was total spiritual reconstruction! When we give the appearance of loving God without living his way, we are covering up sins that could eventually damage us beyond repair. Don’t use religion as a whitewash; repair your life by applying the principles of God’s Word. Then you can join with others to stand “in the gap” and make a difference for God in the world through prayer and intercession.

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If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can at this moment confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead. With this action, you are saved! Be sure to read your bible, get connected to a fellowship of believers in and followers of Christ so that you may grow in knowledge of and in relationship with our Lord. If you desire, please contact me directly, as I am willing to assist you in any way that I can

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Forgive them

Devotional picGood morning to all, and Happy Martin Luther King day to you as well. Today’s verse comes from the New Testament Gospel according to Luke NIV. In recognition of MLK day, I’m using a quote from his book as today’s verse  “Strength to Love”.

Luke 23:34 NIV

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Commentary:

Notice that Jesus could have said, “Father, get even with them,” or “Father, let loose the mighty thunderbolts of righteous wrath and destroy them,” or “Father, open the flood gates of justice and permit the staggering avalanche of retribution to pour upon them.” But none of these was His response. Though subjected to inexpressible agony, suffering excruciating pain, and despised and rejected, nevertheless, He cried, “Father, forgive them.” Thank you, Father, for forgiving me of my sins that put your Son on the cross. Is there someone you can forgive today? Or is there someone that you have transgressed against and need forgiveness? Reach out today and forgive or ask forgiveness. Happy MLK day.

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 If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can at this moment confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead. With this action, you are saved!  Be sure to read your bible, get connected to a fellowship of believers in and followers of Christ so that you may grow in knowledge of and in relationship with our Lord.  If you desire, please contact me directly, as I am willing to assist you in any way that I can.

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Generation to Generation

Devotional pic

Good morning to all, today’s verse comes from the Old Testament book of Judges NIV.

 Judges 2:10-11

 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.

 Commentary:

One generation died, and the next did not follow God. Judges 2:10-3:7 is a brief preview of the cycle of sin, judgment, and repentance that Israel experienced again and again. Each generation failed to teach the next generation to love and follow God. Yet this was at the very center of God’s law (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). It is tempting to leave the job of teaching the Christian faith to the church or Christian school. Yet God says that the responsibility for this task belongs primarily to the family. Because children learn so much by our example, the home offers the most effective place to pass on the faith to the next generation.

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If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can at this moment confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead. With this action, you are saved!  Be sure to read your bible, get connected to a fellowship of believers in and followers of Christ so that you may grow in knowledge of and in relationship with our Lord.  If you desire, please contact me directly, as I am willing to assist you in any way that I can.

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Unachieved Goals? What now?

Goals ConceptDecember 25th is in the past, what now? All the gifts have been opened; perhaps many family members are already gone back to their homes. Hopefully, you had a great time of fellowship and fun making good memories for a lifetime.  Since yesterday is gone and a New Year is only days away, what are your expectations for 2015? 

Every year resolutions are made and goals are set for the New Year, some good and meaningful, some with serious intentions. No doubt, you have done the same.  The desire is deep within your heart, but the will to do has been a losing battle. It seems that every time you make one step forward, you end up falling three steps backward. In essence, your setbacks push you closer to “Cliff Give Up.” What now?

Here is my resolve to this “seemingly” setback.

Answer this question: Did you fall off the cliff?

If you’re reading this post, the answer is no!

What now? 

Keep pressing forward.  Keep setting goals. Keep planning. But remember many are the plans in our heart, but it is the Lord’s purposes that will prevail.  In essence, our goals should be purpose driven. 

Although you may not have reached the goals you set for 2014, do not give up. Keep running!  Keep pressing forward.  However, make sure the goals are purposeful and not selfish.  Set goals with the intention of investing in the lives of others, which will add value to your life, and will ultimately bring glory to God.

As I continue on my faith walk with Christ, my perspective on life’s perplexities and setbacks has changed dramatically.  Instead of meaningless goals, frivolous, and self-gratifying resolutions year after year, I resolved to set eternal goals and run toward them to fulfill my God-given purpose.  I can be assured of achieving my eternal goals by activating my faith in Christ.

As apostle Paul said, “I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.  So all of us who are spiritually mature should think this way…” 

What now? For me:

  1. Refocus.
  2. Reevaluate
  3. Set purpose-driven goals with others in mind

 For you, what now? 

 

 

 

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This JOY: The Spirit of Christmas

JoytotheWorldImagine for a moment a clear bright starry still night. Shepherds are watching over their flock.   Suddenly their space is invaded by the brilliance of blinding lights greater than that of a football field at night. A chilling fear freezes them like an ice sculpture. And then an angel reassures them, “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

The spirit of Christmas can be surmised in the message of comforting news heralded by the angel to the shepherds.  The angel’s presence was so profound it was frightening. The splendor and majestic ambiance had to have been breathtakingly terrifying.  Although the angel’s appearance was frightening the message was calming. It was good news sent forth to bring great joy to ALL people, not just for a season, but for an eternity.  This Joy can only be described as “great”.  There are no words in the English language to articulate its depth…it is the Joy powerful enough to resurrect the lifeless soul.  It is the Joy that emanates from the Life that has no beginning and no ending.  Nothing can compare to this Joy. This Joy will silence doubt, calm fears, and mend broken hearts.  This Joy is so overwhelming that tears flow without reason, and can only be explained as “joy unspeakable.”

The spirit of Christmas emanates Joy.  Christmastime reminds us of God’s Good News—“Joy to the world!”    The JOY God desires for us is NOT based on circumstances and situations, but on the Gift of Salvation to all mankind through His Son, Jesus the Christ—Savior of the world. I announce to you, the JOY OF CHRISTmas is Yeshua, (which means `ADONAI saves). May the Joy permeate your home and family this Christmas and throughout the coming year in 2015!

 

©2010  ©2014 Queen E. F. Phillips

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Holiday Season Pain

“I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.HopeforHolidays
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.  They will put their trust in the LORD.”

Psalm 40:1-3

 

Since my past experience with holiday season pain, I am sensitive to the emotional and spiritual needs of people during the holiday season.

I believe “holiday season pain” can be the worst. I also believe this time of the year strikes a chord of caring and great concern because I understand the heartbreak caused by the death of a loved one during the holiday season.  For me, it was the death of my mother the day after Christmas. Although the holiday pain is not so piercing now, I still remember it as if it was last night, although it has been 11 years since I experienced the “first” worst day of life, December 26, 2003, 12:01 a.m.

The pain was excruciating just at the thought that I would be left alone!  It had always been my mom and me. She was the greatest example of a single mother at a time when it was scowled upon especially in a small country town haunted by gossip and lies. Nevertheless, she stood strong as a woman of faith in God and in the power of His might.  She overcame much adversity and emotional pain.  Now that I always seek to see things from God’s perspective, I choose to believe that God favored her with grace and mercy by extending her life far beyond the doctors’ prognosis.

My dearly beloved mom July 12, 1932 - December 26, 2003

My dearly beloved mom
July 12, 1932 – December 26, 2003

Amazingly, her physical pain was lessen to compensate for all the emotional pain she had suffered throughout her life. For that, I am grateful!  It was from this spiritual perspective and grateful attitude that sustained me in days prior to her transition, and certainly afterward.  Yes, there were days I did not get out of bed. Sorrow almost paralyzed me! Yet, the Holy Spirit within me fought against the spirits of depression, rejection and abandonment that were already lurking to consume me.  Thank God for the work of the Holy Spirit!

 Like the psalmist, I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my desperate cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the sinking sands of sorrows. He set my feet on solid ground.  His Word was my Rock, the foundation that steadied me as I walked day by day trusting Him to help me get through each day. He gave me a song to sing; praise became my weapon of defense against the fiery darts of discouragement and feelings of loneliness. While darkness vied to rule my soul, the Light of the Word penetrated the darkness.  The Lord raised me up. I felt His unconditional love. I embraced His invigorating Presence and became addicted to it. I was revived; I was restored from my brokenness.

 To this day, I am persuaded that there is nothing greater than being in the Presence of the Lord.  I became convinced that my mother had to be enjoying the fullness of God’s Presence in glory! I chose to believe that she was ready to be absent from her decaying body and to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8; Rev. 14:13).

 I can identify with you.  Because of my painful past during Christmastime and having to face the New Year without my mom, I know how bad it hurts. The onslaught of emotions pierce your heart and you feel helpless and hopeless. Believe me.  I know!  Here is the good news. Since I experienced the supernatural peace and comfort of God, I can inspire others and encourage you to trust the Lord to carry you through your difficult days of sorrow and grief one day at a time.  I am a witness that God will help you when you cry out to Him.  If He did it for me, He will do it for you.  He does not love me any more than He loves you. Have faith in God to have hope for the holidays!

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows].” Psalm 147:3 AMP

Signed: Broken and Restored

 

 

 

 

 

 

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