LOVE THAT LASTS FOREVER

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Michael looks into my eyes and takes my breath away. I have no doubt that our hearts were knitted together long before we met. We were made for each other. Thirty-one years after we said our vows on April 27, 1985, our love is stronger and more beautiful than ever.

During the hard years when the children were young and the stress seemed insurmountable, there were times when I actually felt nothing toward the man I had vowed to love forever. The misunderstandings and the hurts had taken their toll on my heart and it all seemed impossible to repair.

I began to understand why God desires that we pledge our love to each other for the rest of our earthly lives. It takes a lifetime to learn the true meaning of forgiveness and how to love unconditionally.

Through prayer and faith, our relationship was transformed. Christ renewed our love and restored our marriage.

With God, all things are possible (Luke 1:37).

After more than three decades, our love is deeper than I could have ever imagined. Christ’s love is the strength of our marriage. Where there is love, there will be beauty because love never fails.

Real and lasting love grows out of hearts that are knitted closely with God. The purest kind of love is filled with patience and kindness. It is not jealous or self-seeking. It does not remember past offenses. It rejoices with the truth. It never gives up on a person, is always full of faith, and will endure the hardest circumstances and come forth as pure as gold. Love that is built upon the rock of Christ is eternal and lasts forever.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” — 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7(NLT)

This piece has been revised from a previous post. The photo was captured the day we renewed our wedding vows in 2010.

A SMALL TOWN SOUTHERN WOMAN

Mema - 12-25-15

Heaven is rejoicing today over the birthday of my beloved grandmother. Mema was born on April 20, 1920 and she entered her heavenly home in February of this year. Although I miss her, my heart is filled with joy in knowing she’s where she wants to be. She lived a long, beautiful life and finished well.

Mema was the classic example of the woman described in Proverbs 31. Her example to me is a priceless gift. The seeds of her love will grow eternally in my heart and in my spirit.

My dad (Mema’s son) asked me to write the eulogy and share it at the funeral. I was so blessed to stand at the podium and share a few thoughts about Mema’s life. Today, in honor of my grandmother’s birthday I’m sharing the eulogy again.

A Tribute to Mema

Anyone who knew my grandmother could appreciate that she was a simple Southern woman who greatly loved her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. It was obvious she treasured being a wife, a homemaker, and spending time with her family. I believe her greatest joy came from serving people and she especially loved serving her family. Mema was very generous with her time and her resources.

My grandmother, Ethel, married the love of her life, Alvin Harper, when she was nineteen years old. Her marriage to my grandfather was one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever witnessed. Her loving devotion to her husband for seventy-two years is an inspiring example to me and for all the women who knew her. She stayed committed and loved my grandfather through the good times and hard times, the way God intended for a wife to do.

I asked Mema to tell me her favorite memory from the life she shared with my grandfather. With certainty, she said her favorite memory was raising their kids and having them come back home to visit when they were grown. Her words and the life she lived revealed what she valued most.

She spoiled the whole family with her meals that were made from scratch. I have vivid memories of watching her spend hours preparing the most delicious Southern cooking I’ve ever tasted. Shortly after we would sit down at the dinner table, she would always apologize for not making the food taste good enough. Everyone at the table would chuckle and assure her that the meal was exceptionally good.

I don’t know of anyone who could make a better breakfast than Mema. One of my best memories is waking up to the smell of her homemade biscuits and gravy. As soon as I was awakened, I would see the table filled with a whole variety of amazingly good homemade food.

Hanging out with Mema when I was growing up was one of my favorite things to do. I was blessed to live right next door to her for a number of years. I learned to be a hard worker by watching Mema work so hard to provide good food and create a cozy home for her husband.

I remember the way she went the extra mile for her family and did things like drying beans every summer and called them “leather britches.” She was very gifted at sewing, quilting, and she could do just about anything crafty. She made dolls and stuffed animals for me. She sewed beautiful clothes for me during my grammar school years. She gardened and canned vegetables and made the most amazing jams, jellies, candies, and homemade popcorn balls. I will always remember how Mema wanted to give us candy or some sort of treat when we were leaving her house.

She had a wonderful way of making everyone in the family feel well cared for. The many times I slept over at her house, she would come to the bedroom repeatedly to bring more blankets and make sure I was warm enough. Now, I have a habit of sleeping with layers of thick blankets because of Mema’s love and concern for me when I was a child.

Mema grew older gracefully and developed a great sense of humor. She often made me laugh with her wittiness. She referred to our family as country folks a number of times. She truly was a small town country girl with a charming personality.

I’ll never forget the many little phrases she would say daily. She would get enthused about the simplest things, and with her country accent she would say one of her trademark phrases: “Well, I wish you would look.” “Heavenly days.” “That’s as old as Methuselah.” “Well, I’ll say.” “I’ll swanee.” “I want you to look.”

I will always cherish the memory of her most used and all-time favorite phrase to say: “That beats all I’ve ever seen.”

Her thoughtfulness, kindness, and her desire to serve people carried over into her elderly years. It was just a part of who she was.

After moving to a senior living facility, she would often show concern for her table mates. She wanted to make sure they were okay and had everything they needed.

Mema blessed the lives of many people at her assisted living home. My heart was deeply touched at the large number of staff members who told me how sweet Mema was. Time and time again they said, “Ethel is a sweetheart; she’s my favorite resident.” After she left the Oaks Senior Living Home, the staff openly expressed how much they would miss her. She will be missed, indeed.

My grandmother’s life greatly impacted me and taught me the value of putting God and my family above all else. I’m grateful that she taught me the beauty and fulfillment that comes from being a wife, a mother, and a homemaker.

When I think of Mema’s life, I am reminded of the scriptures in Psalm 91, verses 14-16.

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Mema loved the Lord and she honored Him with her life. Christ honored her and satisfied her with a long, blessed life.

I can imagine Mema’s reaction when she stepped into heaven. As Jesus and my grandfather greeted her at the pearly gates, I feel certain that she got her first glance and said with the greatest enthusiasm ever: “That beats all I’ve ever seen!”

I’ll love you forever, Mema.

The photo of my daughter and my grandmother was captured on Christmas, 2015.

FINDING BEAUTY IN MUNDANE MOMENTS

Spring - 2016

The routine things of life can weigh us down or they can be opportunities to find the divine in the mundane. Every day is an opportunity to see God’s beauty and His hand working in our lives.

One of the things I love most about Jesus is that He makes the most ordinary days seem absolutely extraordinary. Walking a dog in the park, a trip to the grocery store, or simply doing yard work can be filled with magnificence because of the awareness of God’s constancy in our lives.

Being aware of God’s presence makes life beautiful no matter what.

During the past week, a young mom began chatting with me while I was standing in the check-out line at a store. She told me several things about her little girl and I shared some things with her about my grown children. It was refreshing to talk with her.

As she stepped away to walk toward the exit, I noticed that “JESUS” was written in big, bold letters on the back of her t-shirt. With a smile, I said, “I love your shirt.” While telling me it was a favorite shirt of hers, she turned around so I could read the words.

With bubbling joy, I said, “Those words are written on the key chain that belonged to my grandmother.” She smiled and it seemed obvious that she knew she had blessed me.

As she walked out of the store I said, “God bless you.” My heart was overjoyed over a short encounter with a stranger.

My beloved ninety-five-year-old grandmother passed away in February. My dad gave me Mema’s jewelry box shortly after her death. Tucked inside with the jewelry, there was a key chain with these words: “The key to my heart is JESUS.” The phrase was new to me and the key chain instantly became my favorite. The words reminded me that only Christ can fully satisfy the heart. He fills the empty hole that’s left when a loved one dies.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was chatting with someone I’d never met—a woman wearing a shirt with words similar to the words on Mema’s key chain. I stopped believing in coincidence many years ago.

I believe things that seem like they happen coincidentally are actually divine appointments to reveal God’s perfect love for us.

God used a woman’s kind heart and her t-shirt to touch my spirit. God says He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is present with us always.

If we look for God with our whole heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). We can have eternal joy in all circumstances because of His love and presence.

Have you seen God’s hand working in your life lately? Do you realize how deeply He loves you?

No matter what we’re going through in this broken world, Jesus is enough. He is enough to satisfy the longings we have. He is enough when we are experiencing pain. His beauty is waiting to be unveiled in the most unexpected ways in the mundane moments of life.

LORD,

You are amazing. Nothing satisfies the soul like You do. Let us seek You with our whole heart. Help us to look to You and expect You to meet our needs. Let us see Your hand working in our lives every day in the most amazing ways. Let us gaze upon Your beauty today and always. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”— Psalm 27:3 (NIV)

Photo Credit: My husband, Michael, captured the picture while we were out enjoying a walk.

REDEEMED BY CHRIST’S LOVE

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The sun was slowly slipping behind the horizon while I was driving through the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. As I approached the top of a hill, I saw the most breathtaking view surrounding me. The beauty of the sky and the magnificent view of the spectacular mountains enthralled my soul.

While I was breathing in the beauty, Christ’s presence came to me so powerfully that I felt an inexpressible sense of God’s love. Captivated by the love I felt, I remembered the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

In my heart, it was as though God was saying: My love for you is higher and wider and more magnificent than these beautiful mountains.

With a feeling of awe, I meditated on His perfect love and my spirit soared in His presence. Heaven touched me and drew me close to the heart of God.

In this crazy world, it’s very easy to be in a big hurry and miss the awareness of God’s love. The responsibilities of life can easily rob us of the quietness we need.

Jesus is waiting for each one of us to stop what we’re doing and find the rest we need from the hectic pace of life. Christ beckons us to open our hearts to Him and bask in His love. We don’t have to be driving through marvelous scenery to feel God’s presence. As we practice stillness and prayer, we become more aware of Christ’s love for us.

As we’re celebrating the resurrection of the Lord, it’s a good time to contemplate what the cross really means. Christ died and rose again so that we could live abundantly in His grace.

Because of the cross we no longer need to feel shame or guilt when we mess up. When we stumble, we can simply stand up and ask God to help us begin again. If righteousness could be gained in our own strength, then Christ died for nothing.

We are redeemed by Christ’s love. His love paid it all. Jesus said. “It is finished.”

His love paid the penalty for our sins. This is good news that ought to be shouted joyfully to the world.

Beloved Jesus,

Our hearts long to have more of You. Help us to see and feel how great Your love is. Help us to rest in Your presence continually. We love You. Amen.

“Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

 — Galatians 2: 21 (The Message)

 

 

THE TREASURES OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP

Gift of Friendship - Dawn Camp (3)

Relationships are what matter most in life. We all need friends to walk closely with us. Real joy is found in our closest bonds with the people we love. Only Christ can meet the needs of the soul, but a healthy friendship grows when we each depend fully upon God while offering encouragement and unconditional love to our friends.

After the birth of my first-born child, I learned that I needed friendship more than I ever had before. I was a young mom, feeling overwhelmed while trying to navigate my way through the great adventure of motherhood. Most of my friends weren’t parents yet, and many of them weren’t even married. I was craving friendship with somebody experiencing a similar phase of life.

During that season of being a new mom, I saw an ad in the local newspaper for a support group for mothers. I was intrigued, so I decided to call and inquire about the group. I can still remember the initial phone call.

A sweet voice over the telephone said, “Hi, I’m Roxene!”

I was excited to learn that Roxene was the area leader for the mother’s group. She and I had an instant connection and we had quite a long chat that evening. Our friendship was already beginning to develop.

Within weeks, I joined the group and eventually I accepted the job of co-leader. During the next nine months, the group grew and my friendship with Roxene grew. Things were going smoothly until the holiday season approached and the leadership responsibilities became a burden to me. I wrote a letter to Roxene expressing my concerns and my need to resign as co-leader, and it led to a misunderstanding between us.

Shortly after that, I noticed the warmth in our friendship began turning to coldness. I was faced with two choices. Would I be willing to let go of the hard feelings? Or would I let bitterness begin growing and lose a friend? Being a young woman in my twenties, I had very little relationship experience, but I knew what the Bible says about forgiveness.

In Colossians, it says: “Bear with each other and forgive each other whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

I made the choice to do the right thing. After several weeks with no contact, I decided to call her and make things right. It was awkward and uncomfortable working through our misunderstanding, but it was necessary for our friendship to survive. We talked through our feelings and patched things up quickly.

As I stepped out and chose forgiveness, I could have never dreamed of the blessings that would come from my friendship with Roxene. Through our friendship, I learned that authenticity, patience, forgiveness, and compassion are required for a trusting bond to develop.

The Gift of Friendship - Be Authentic

The depth of our friendship was revealed when my second child was born and Roxene had recently gone through two miscarriages. She was brave enough to lovingly tell me that it was hard for her to be around my newborn son. It was Roxene’s willingness to be authentic that allowed me to work on understanding that she needed extra compassion and time to heal from the pain of her losses. Even though it was a challenging season, it ultimately caused our friendship to grow stronger.

After twenty-five years, Roxene and I are still close friends. We’ve developed a bond like sisters have. We’ve been through the ups and downs of life together. We’ve cried with each other during the darkest seasons and we’ve celebrated together during the joyous seasons of our lives. Laughter and immense joy have filled our hearts when we’ve shared our victories with each other.

When friends become like family, there’s a commitment that requires sacrifice and effort.

I’ve chosen to work hard on developing friendships, and I am grateful I’ve gained a number of really close friends. Each one is unique in her expression of Christ’s love to me.

We cannot be close friends with people without living authentically and walking through their pain with them and cheering them on wholeheartedly in their successes. Friends are meant to be the ones God uses as the vessels of His love.

We know we have a true friend when we are free to be who God made us to be in their presence. We can enjoy sharing mutual love, respect, forgiveness, trust, loyalty, support, and kindness—all of these magnificent treasures of true friendship.

For encouragement in developing stronger friendships, I recommend that you read The Gift of Friendship by Dawn Camp. I reviewed the book in my last post. To learn more about Dawn’s book, visit her website or get your copy here.

Lord,

Thank You for the gift of friendship. Let all of our friendships be built on the foundation of Your love, and use our friendships to establish Your perfect will for our lives. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

This post was revised from an article I wrote in 2008 for a prayer ministry. 

Photos were provided by Dawn Camp. 

THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP: BOOK REVIEW

The Gift of Friendship

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts in life. As a woman who cherishes my friends, I was so excited about reading Dawn Camp’s new book: The Gift of Friendship. I absolutely loved it because it reminded me of the special women that God chose for me to be close friends with.

The Gift of Friendship is a book filled with heartwarming, true stories from various Christian writers. It’s an uplifting book that left me feeling very grateful for the genuine friends in my life.

As I was reading the touching stories, I was reminded of how vital it is to have meaningful friendships. I thought about the definition of a friend that I wrote a few years ago.

What is a friend?

A friend is one who believes in others more than she believes in herself.

She is one who allows her friends to put away all pretenses and lets them be who God made them to be.

She lets others share their weaknesses without being afraid of being judged or lectured.

She celebrates the strengths of those closest to her and brings out the best in them.

She hurts when her friends hurt and cheers when her friends are sailing through life.

She isn’t intimidated by the successes of her friends, but finds abundant joy in seeing every one of them succeed.

A true friend loves at all times and her love never, ever fails.

My definition of a friend comes from my experiences with my own beloved friends.

The Gift of Friendship does an exceptional job of defining and displaying the beauty found in deep friendship. Each story is unique, nurturing, and easy to read. I think it would be a great book to give as a gift to a treasured friend and I really believe every woman who values friendship will love this book. Be sure to grab yourself a copy here.

”A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” — Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)

A SACRED EXPERIENCE

Mema and Amy

My beloved grandmother, Mema, has woven love through every fiber of my being since I was born. Shortly, she will be leaving her earth suit to go to her eternal home, and that love will remain deeply embedded in my soul forever and ever. Nine days ago, she moved into a hospice facility to spend her last days on the earth.

There is something tremendously holy about being present during the dying process of a saintly, peaceful person. It has been a sacred experience. Heaven has come down and touched the earth in that pretty, pale yellow hospice room.

As Mema’s body has weakened, her spirit has grown stronger. I’ve witnessed the power of God over and over again during my daily visits on these consecrated days. Without the ability to speak words any longer, Mema has opened her eyes and smiled at me numerous times as I’ve spoken to her and prayed over her. I’ve known it’s her way of responding to me non-verbally.

While sitting near her bed in the hospice room, her eyes have opened and she nodded her head at times as I’ve spoken to her and caressed her hair. I think my favorite moments this week were when her face lit up brightly and she blinked distinctively each time I said, “I love you.” It felt as though it was her way of saying, “I love you, too.”

The nurses and doctors have been very compassionate and listened as I shared my heart and said, “She’s ninety-five, almost ninety-six years old and she’s ready to go. I can’t complain about Mema’s soon passing,” It was September, 2013 when Mema told me: “I am ready to go any time; I’ve had a really blessed life.” God began preparing my heart then and gave me two and a half bonus years to savor.

There’s a part of my heart that wants to hold Mema here on the earth, but in my spirit I know it’s her time to go. I’m letting her go with my heart enveloped in an indescribable peace. Jesus is holding my heart in His hands while He’s holding Mema in His arms simultaneously. I am praising Him for making Mema’s life and her death so beautiful.

My heart is filled with gratitude for the countless visits with her—especially during the past five years. During these final days, I’m honored to help bring her comfort through her time of transition. Today, I can imagine the angels are singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” over the soon homecoming of my sweet grandmother.

“We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal.”

— 2 Corinthians 4:18

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MY HOME TO YOURS

Christmas Decor - 2015 (8)

As I sit here in the quietness of my home, I’m pondering the real meaning of Christmas. I’m pausing to breathe in the love of Christ and set aside the things I think I need to do.

I believe if we could stand face to face with Christ at this moment, He would be saying: Slow down. Savor this moment of life. Put aside your concerns and simply rest in My love. I was born to bring great joy to the world and to bring perfect rest for your soul. I long for you to take hold of the abundant life I came to give you.

I can imagine the perfect Christmas gift for us to give Christ would be our acceptance of His gifts to us—love, peace, joy, hope, faith, and the never-ending list of heavenly treasures.

May your Christmas be filled with all of the glorious riches Christ has to offer.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank You for the gift of Christ. Thank You for sending Your son to save the world from darkness. Thank You for all that He gives us and how He enables us to live with an abundance of hope, joy, peace, and love. Let us take hold fully of the gift You have given us through Jesus Christ. Let us meditate on Your great love and celebrate our amazing Savior. Oh, how we love and adore You, our Redeemer. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”

— Luke 2:10-11

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!

LESSONS I LEARNED DURING FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS: PART TWO

Store Your Treasures in Heaven

We had just sat down for dinner when my preteen son noticed the bottle of salad dressing was not his favorite kind. Like a typical American kid, Thomas said, “Yuck. I’m not eating a salad tonight if this is the only salad dressing we have.”

At the time, our grocery budget was very small because of our less-than-average income. We ate rice and beans very often and didn’t buy many well-known brands. I had bought a salad dressing for about half the price of the popular brand.

I decided to refrain from lecturing my son during dinner. With patience, I picked up his salad bowl and placed it in the refrigerator while saying, “I’m sure someone else will be happy to eat your salad later on.”

As we sat at the table enjoying our meal together, Thomas got out of his chair and walked to the refrigerator a few minutes later. With a puzzled tone I asked, “What are you doing?”

In a subdued way, Thomas said something like this: I know there are children in the world who don’t have enough to eat. They would be happy to have a salad and wouldn’t be complaining. So I’m happy to eat my salad.

Immediately, tears came to my eyes and a warm feeling washed over me as I realized that my son had grasped a concept I’d been trying to teach him throughout his young life. I rejoiced greatly that he’d learned something around the age of eleven that many people four times his age couldn’t grasp. It was evident Thomas understood gratitude that day. Amazingly, I have never heard him complain about anything he lacked since then. In a society where it’s more common to be ungrateful, my children learned the gift of gratitude during our hard times.

From the day my children were able to talk, I would not allow them to complain. Especially during the times when our income fell very low, I would remind them of our blessings by saying, “We will not ever feel sorry for ourselves. We are so blessed to have a roof over our heads, food to eat, and clothes to wear.” It was important to emphasize the point that we had absolutely nothing to complain about, ever.

Last month, I shared about our journey that led to our financial challenges in “Part One: Lessons I Learned During Financial Struggles.” As we’re in the midst of the Christmas season, it’s a good time to think about what really matters most in life.

Are you discouraged because you can’t buy your family expensive gifts for Christmas? Let me encourage you with some of the great lessons I learned when we were scraping by on a small income.

A grateful heart makes it possible to be joyful in all circumstances.

Gratitude takes the focus off of what we don’t have and places the focus on what we do have to be thankful for. A thankful heart is a joyful heart. I learned to be content in all circumstances when I lived with a single mom as a teen girl. My son and daughter learned to be content as a result of their simple upbringing. At eighteen and twenty-five years old, they are both grateful for everything they have. As a family, we learned that we are very blessed even when we have less than others.

Children thrive in a loving environment even when finances are lacking.

Now that my two children are grown, I can see clearly that raising them without an excessive amount of finances was actually a very good thing. When the environment is filled with unconditional love and joy, children are content with simple gifts. During the years we struggled financially, my children were learning to think of others more than themselves. Instead of having an entitled attitude, my children grew into contented, generous, and compassionate people. I believe growing up with less than their friends helped mold them into people who want to serve others. They give sacrificially by volunteering at non-profit organizations and helping the homeless and other people with unmet needs.

There are many creative ways to live frugally.

It’s not the amount of money we have; it’s how we manage what we have. We learned how to buy things for a fraction of the cost. Making handmade gifts, shopping at thrift stores, finding deals at consignment stores, and buying used items on eBay are some of the ways we found affordable gifts for our children through the years. One year, my husband bought a used XBOX game system for $40.00 along with about five games for our son’s Christmas gift. Thomas was ecstatic with joy about receiving his first game system. During one Christmas season, I found our daughter a “like new” bicycle at our favorite thrift store. Christa was elated about her beautiful, pink bike. She could have never imagined that it was purchased for only $15.00. With my childlike faith, I believe God placed that bike at Bargain City Thrift Store especially for my daughter.

Contentment does not come from material things.

No matter how much a person tries to believe that happiness comes from having stuff, it’s simply not the truth. The human soul has a God-sized place that can only be filled up with God’s love. Nothing can satisfy the soul’s need except for our Creator. Unhappy people try to fill their souls up with things money can buy. That’s why they are not truly content.

Are you feeling the contentment that comes from knowing Christ? I pray you will draw near to God and that His presence in your life will be your greatest treasure. The things of this earth are slowly wasting away. Love, joy, peace, kindness, and generosity are things that will last forever.

May you find your joy in the eternal treasures this Christmas season.

“Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”

— Matthew 6:20

A PRAYER FOR PARIS

Prayer for Paris

The tragedy in Paris makes my heart long for Christ to come and rescue our world. I’m praying that He will comfort the people in Paris and let beauty arise out of their despair.

LORD,

Thank You for Your compassion and Your love for the people in Paris. Keep them in the palm of Your hand and comfort them in their distress. Bring peace where there is fear. Bring hope where there is despair. Let the people draw near to You and find peace in believing in Your power to bring beauty into the brokenness. Let what was meant for evil be used for good. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.” — Romans 15:13

I apologize for not posting the second part of Lessons I Learned during Financial Hardship. I’ll post it in several weeks after Thanksgiving.