Reach

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This week’s prompt for Five Minute Friday is REACH

GO

Reach

Climb

Touch

Sense

Enveloped

Forever @ Home

Loved

Embraced

Forgiven

New

Never needing to

Oh, that I would just remember that with every step I take while here on this earth.

STOP

 

Every Thursday a one-word prompt will be announced here on my blog at 10pm EST (and continuing through Friday).

Those who’d like to participate in Five Minute Friday will write for five minutes on the topic of the week, post it on their own blog and link up @ katemotaung.com

This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.

 

Photo by Evan Butterfield: Will the Circle be Unbroken; Natural geometry in Meadow Lake, Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois @   http://www.flickr.com/photos/emb/239223358/

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

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You may be asking yourself how this relates to the title of this post.  Give me a minute please.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;  for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.  1 Peter 1:22-25

 word = rhēma

ῥῆμα

…that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, a word

God’s Word is powerful.  It touches us in our hearts, souls, bodies, and minds, if. we. let. It.  It is alive, uttered by the living voice of God.  God Word opens us to His ways, teaches us obedience and how to abide.  It grows us to be more like Christ.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

To us, the words on the pages, those 1300 plus pages or so, are made up of the letters of the alphabet.  Each letter has a name and a sound.  Some letters stick together and make another sound.  Some letters say more than one sound.  The written language must make some kind of sense to the one learning to read it so that he or she can read it.  Those letters make words when placed together.  Then the words are placed together to become sentences, and then paragraphs, then chapters and books.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”  Revelation 1:10-11

John wrote what he saw and heard.  The disciples, the kings, the prophets, the apostles wrote what they saw, what they were taught, and what they heard.  Alphabet becomes God’s Word and we read it and know that we are reading the Truth.  Not every alphabet letter placed into a word, sentence, paragraph, etc. is the Truth.  We need discernment and that comes from listening to and for the Holy Spirit.

And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.  This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:4-5

As a retired teacher and children’s librarian, and now a private tutor to young primary-aged children, I teach them how to read.  This is the love of my professional life.  These children begin with the alphabet, progressing from there.  Children are delighted with rhymes and songs and stories.  They learn in all sorts of ways but the day that those sounds become words is the day that the reading light bulb goes on and a whole world is opened up to them.

Bear with me here and then follow me to the end, if you will…  : )

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As parents, teachers, and people who care about children, we want them to grow in the ways of the LORD.  We want them to know Jesus intimately.  As adults, it is our task to teach them, not only how to read, but how to love one another, to fellowship with the LORD.

God has called parents to teach children His Word: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  Deuteronomy 6:4-7

LORD, we lift up our praises to You for You are Truth.  Your Word is Truth that we can see and read in these times.  We can know Jesus in our hearts, but we were not one of those in the first century to walk and talk with Him, The Living Word.  So Your written Word is for us today and we are ever grateful.  May we look upon each word and know that it is all from You…to us.  May these words come together with the help of Your Holy Spirit that we would then be able to understand, following in obedience to You.  We pray in the Name of Jesus, The Word.  Amen.

 

 

Photo:  http://www.365promises.com/daily-promises/2014/3/3/promise-62-monday-march-3-2014.html

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. & John Archambault:  http://books.simonandschuster.com/Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom/Bill-Martin-Jr/Chicka-Chicka-Book-A/9781442450707

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSTX-1cd32Q&list=UUzSLCh1aTTlXStchMnpszvg

Tough Decisions in Caregiving

I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to share what I learned over the fifteen years of caring for my mother, my precious Mama.

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As a caregiver, there are constant decisions that must be made and many, if not most, are tough ones.  Relying upon God is so important when making these decisions for they affect a loved one, ourselves, and often others in the family.  If you are the one to make such a decision for someone who has lost the ability to do so for him or her self, truly turn it over to God.  Don’t try to go this alone.  Sharing your concerns with a spouse, a grown daughter or son, a brother or sister, (depending upon whom you are caring for) may be a step in the right direction, but sharing it with the LORD is the way to get His dependable answer.  He will direct the path intended for all concerned.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:6

Praying is the key, a must. The quiet time we spend with God in prayer is precious time.  God can reveal His plan to our still, calm, and quiet body, mind, heart, and soul.  God is our Stronghold, Tower, and Refuge.  Ask Him questions.  Share your feelings.  Tell Him your frustrations and struggles.  But be quiet, cease striving, and know that He is God of all, including you and the one you care.

“Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”  Psalm 46:10 

Once His guidance is clear to you, it is time to move forward.  Whatever decisions need to be made particular to your case, you are not alone for God is walking with you.  You may need to research the assisted living or nursing home facilities in town.  Maybe you have to go to the state office where Medicaid is handled.  You might need to seek the advice of an eldercare financial planner or attorney for the procedure to shelter some of the income if one spouse must go into a nursing home while the other one must continue to be able to live comfortably, or you may need their advice to qualify your care recipient for Medicaid.  There might be a shift in medication with new side affects so making an appointment with the doctor to discuss these changes may give you reassurance of the physical or mental safety for your loved one.  Possibly, you might choose to search out those side effects by looking online at Physician’s Desk Reference (PDRhealth) or read those tiny words on that thin paper attached to the medication.  If you are working, you probably need to find out about the Family Medical Leave Act, how and when you can take time off to help your parent, child, or husband without being afraid of losing your job.  These are but a few of the many issues that can creep up and lead to caregiver overwhelm.  Take each one to the LORD and then, with the LORD, you can move ahead one step at a time.

Breathe in God-peace as you take each step.  Absorb God-love into your very heart.  Feel God-comfort as He wraps His arms around you.  You need and deserve these God-wrapped gifts; so does your loved one.  As you walk in His will, He is with you.

A dear one in my life was caring for her husband with Alzheimer’s disease. His mental abilities were diminishing quite rapidly and decisions were needing to be made, one after another.  This dear one, his wife, had been caring for him alone since the diagnosis, but the ground seemed to be moving faster than she was able to keep a steady gait.  His behaviors, his memory-loss, and more had left her worried about his safety and the safety of others as he crossed their paths.  Her stress level increased daily, thus increasing her own health concerns.

She went to the LORD.  She spent time looking at local facilities that would take an Alzheimer patient.  She had her daughter go with her to the ones that were the choices she would make if and when she needed to place her husband in one.  Then fears arose:  how would others perceive her if she placed her husband in a nursing home?  Would they consider her a failure in her wifely duties?  Was she not strong enough to do this job even though she seemed able?  What about the cost?  Could she afford this?  Would she need to create a trust for the money issues?  Where would she get that legal help?  Was her husband eligible for Veterans benefits since he served in World War II?  All those “what if” questions crept into her heart and mind and did not seem to vanish.  Both she and her daughter went to the LORD on the husband/father’s behalf.  The LORD strengthened them, giving answers to these many questions as each one arose.  When the time came, she filled out one application to a special care nursing home.  She received a “go-ahead,” but at the last minute, the door closed.  She applied to a second facility.  They required her husband to be admitted to a psychiatric ward for evaluation for which she was willing.  After a week in the hospital, after a number of issues were resolved, her husband was able to be placed in the second facility.  Proper medication had been determined while in the hospital, and his adjustment to the medications and the facility began to smooth out.  God was with them.  The place and the timing were His.  The whole family agreed that the right thing was done.  And the wife had relinquished her guilt and burdens to the only One Who could carry them.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Making such decisions are stress-filled and can leave the caregiver exhausted and spent.  Plus, the physical strain of being on duty 24/7 if living with the care recipient, as well as the emotional roller coaster ride, take their toll on the caregiver’s body, mind, and life.  For this dear one, the strain of carrying these many concerns along with giving care to her husband was wearing her down faster than the Alzheimer’s was taking him.  She needed help.  And her help was in her LORD. 

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help.  From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.  Psalm 18:6  

Father, as we come to these cliffs of decision, we may find that we must jump or back up and wait.  LORD, we pray for Your Fatherly guidance.  We ask that You lead us, holding us near to You.  May our physical ears and heart-ears be open to hear You.  May we be willing to leap forward into Your loving and secure arms or wait with the patience You give us.  Thank You for loving us through these tough decisions and for reassuring us that, with You, nothing is impossible.  You are our Ever-Present God, our All-Knowing LORD.  You deserve our worship and our praise.  We fall before You on bended knees and lift our voices to You in awe, knowing that You already know how it is all to work out.  Your plan is perfect.  Thank You, Abba Father.  In the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen.

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Postcards of Hope

I have been blessed to share a ray of hope from my experience with my Mama over on Stories of Hope in God (no longer running online).

Anita Hunt “runs the Scattering the Stones Christian ministry … a place of peace, praise, and prayer, with the aim to encourage you; focusing on the gifts of grace, joy & hope, with a thankful heart.”

 

She and her husband “live in the beautiful county of Dorset in England.”

Anita shares that she “had the pleasure of studying at Bible college, gaining a degree specialising in Theology and Pastoral care.” She says, “God called me to be a Christian writer sharing His love, hope, and Good News in 2011. My heart’s desire is to walk alongside those who are in pain, reflecting God’s love and grace, and share the Hope of the world (Matt 12:21).”

Stories of Hope in God is a part of her ministry and is a special place to sit awhile.

Hope-in-the-Lord

My story…

“I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”  Psalm 13:6 ESV

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“How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever? 

How long will you hide your face from me?
 

How long must I take counsel in my soul
 and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
 

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”   Psalm 13:1-2 ESV

I would cry the first line of words out over and over again as I would leave the nursing home where my mother had to spend the last five years of her life.  She took a terrible fall, shattering an ankle and the bones in her lower leg.  So after surgery, she would never be able to fully walk again, although she could stand up momentarily and get around in a wheelchair.  Previously, as well, her mind had slipped into a roller coaster of dementia-ridden fear, repetition, accusation, jealousy, confusion, and hallucinations.  The diabetes she got at age 55 turned to Type 1 at age 85, making her insulin-dependent until the day she died at age 98 years and 10 months.

I loved my Mama dearly.  She loved me, my sisters, and her one and only grandchild.  She lived near me the last fifteen years of her life.  I watched and lived my Mama’s life daily.  I loved to see her smile, hear her laughter, feel her motherly arms around me.  A mother’s love is mighty precious.  As her mind diminished, I found it most difficult to watch her change from a proud and strong woman to a dependent and often confused woman.  Mama raised us three girls alone after Daddy died from Pancreatic cancer.  We were only 12, 10, and 7.  She had her hands full raising three girls in the 1960s and 70s, but she did it.  She was pleased and proud of us all after we got through those rugged teen years.  She loved us through the hard places though and never gave up on any of us.  She was one of those gals during World War II who went to work for the war effort.  She married a Navy doctor.  She owned a dress shop.  She took care of herself, physically and mentally.  She was just an amazing lady.  But over time, not much it seemed, she changed so much that the mother I had always known was vanishing.  She had vascular dementia.  So as this disease diminished her mental abilities, along with the physical struggles, I came to see my Mama was just as vulnerable as I had been when I was a child.  She needed to be handled with respect, dignity, and loving care.  She needed strength when weakness overtook her.

As her daughter, I came to know a mother who I was quite unfamiliar with, but wanted to know.  I wanted to learn how to be the kind of daughter who could also give her the best care.  The nights when she would be so angry over something imaginary, or when her blood sugar would be extremely low and she needed to be hand fed, or the times when she would scream at a hard-working, poorly-paid staff member, I would be all torn up inside.  I was the one who needed care sometimes.  Yet, I would hold up while I was with her, calling upon the LORD to calm me and her.  When I would leave for the night, I would walk toward my car and cry out to the heavens, “How long, O LORD, how long?”  Not that I wanted her to die for I would (and do now) miss her terribly, but watching her mind go through so much, getting a very odd and extremely painful cancer the last year of her life, continually left me in stress and anguish over my Mama.  It all went on and on, and I just wondered if God had forgotten about her, about me.

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
  Psalm 13:3-4

But He had not.  God never left either of us.  The number of Mama’s days were in God’s hands.  God was our strength.  He is the LORD Who sees, Yahweh Roi.  He knows and sees all.  God was drawing Mama closer to Himself all along through prayer, through the precious witness of a kitchen staff member who would share her Bible study on Mom’s clear-minded days, and through the divine appointment of a Christian caregiver who came to be with Mom two nights a week so that I could spend those evenings with my husband.  And I know that God, Yahweh Roi, took her to heaven on that final numbered day.  He also drew me closer to Him through His Word, through the love of my husband, through His children on staff, and through quiet moments with Him as I sat with Mama during her sleeping times, or when I was on my knees in prayer before Him, or when I was alone with His Word on my lap.  Yahweh Roi, the LORD Who sees, never left me nor my Mama.  Drawing near to Him grew my relationship with the LORD and gave me peace and hope as I drew upon His power and might.  Through His love and hope for Mama’s future and mine, I have been reassured of His Presence and Omniscience in my life.  I know that I have a hope in the LORD that is truly unsinkable.  I can sing with joy for He, indeed, dealt with me bountifully.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:5-6

Father God, I do rejoice and sing to You.  You truly have dealt with me bountifully and lovingly for I never walked alone through the many years caring for my mother.  During the hard times, you were with me, even when I forgot.  During my weaknesses, you never stopped holding me up.  As I walked around unknown corners, I would find You there waiting for me with the caress of Your Godly love.  Oh, Father, You have blessed me beyond my thoughts.  I know that my mother is with You and that I will one day be there too.  Your bountiful gifts never ceased even when I could not see them.  I look back and know that You were always there.  You are my God Whom I trust and sing to today because You have sustained me, loved me, comforted me, answered me, and, most of all, tenderly cared for and brought salvation to my Mama.  In the Perfect Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

…..

 

befuschiasig

 

 

Fill

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“Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away?

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?”  declares the LORD.  “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD Jeremiah 23:23-24

Yes, God fills all.  He is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient.  He is the beauty of the earth, the laughter of children, the joy of a new mother, the love between us, the peace around us.. He is the constant filling and filling to where I am never empty when I allow Him to fill me.   He gave His Son to be the Living Water that I should never thirst again.  His Son is also the Bread of Life and I shall never hunger for anything.  He fills me up. 

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In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Isaiah 6:1

And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”  Isaiah 6:3

He fills, is filling, and has filled for always and always.  The whole earth is filled and is full of His glory.  Hallelujah! 

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As I am being filled to overflowing, may the Word of the LORD, the likeness of Christ, be spilling out of me onto those I touch each day.  Amen. 



I am joining Five Minute Friday @ Kate Motaung’s “heading home.”

If you’re new to 5MF or haven’t participated before, here’s how it works:

Every Thursday a one-word prompt will be announced here on my blog at 10pm EST (and continuing through Friday).

Oh, and before the prompt is revealed, many like to connect on Thursday evenings on Twitter at the hashtag #fmfparty.  Come join!

Those who’d like to participate in Five Minute Friday will write for five minutes on the topic of the week, post it on their own blog and link up the post here (via the InLinkz button at the bottom of the post).  Make sure you add the actual permalink to your specific post, and not your blog’s homepage (e.g. http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/ and not just katemotaung.com).

This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.

Just write.

Also, the most important rule is that you visit the blog of the person who linked up before you and leave some encouragement.  That’s the most fun of all, and the heart of this community.

One more thing: I’ll be choosing one post each week to feature in the sidebar of my blog the following week, as our Featured Five Minute Friday.  Be sure to check it out!

Photos and Graphics:

http://www.heartlight.org

http://www.jenniferrothschild.com

http://www.wallpaper4god.com

Consider Your Ways

 Make me to know Your ways, O LORD;
teach me Your paths.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God of my salvation;
for You I wait all the day long. 

Psalm 25:4-5

I ask God for His wisdom, His Truth, His ways.  I want to walk rightly in Him, growing to be more Christlike with each day.  I ask.  I receive when I am listening, when my heart is right with my God.  The peace of God covers me.  I am able to handle so much that goes on around me and in me.

BUT THEN … I let too much of the world in and so much of God seeps out through the cracks and crevices of me.  The peace escapes and I no longer feel the close connection with God.  Busy-ness of the days, violence of the world, struggles in extended family, chaos, weariness, pain, media’s negative news, it’s short blips on the screen giving us the shallow news of the day…all of these burden me and I allow them to pull me down.  Instead of giving them to Jesus, as He asks me to do, I hang on and think I can handle them alone, be strong, lift the weight alone.  But I am wrong.

Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.

You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.

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Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD.

You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 

Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. Haggai 1:5-10

God calls upon me to consider my ways.  What am I doing that keeps me from knowing His peace and His love every single day, every single moment?  I am ignoring His ways and busying about my own.  I allow the world to infiltrate the beauty that is God that dwells within me.

The Israelites put off building God’s temple.  They procrastinated.  They ignored the message that this was the time to rebuild the temple.

The Hebrew figure of speech for this phrase is literally “put your heart on your roads.”  Haggai asks God’s people to consider what direction their life is headed, and if they really want it to continue that way:  living with a small payoff for their work in the fields, never enough to eat or drink, clothing that does not keep them warm, or earnings that just don’t pay for it all.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Working two jobs, or barely making enough to pay the bills or working hard yet without a finished product of fulfillment?  Is my heart on God’s road for my life or mine?  Is my heart headed toward the righteousness that God calls me to?  He calls me to be holy for He is holy.  Am I headed that way?  Is my heart wide open to the call of God and am I able to hear Him with the ears of my heart?

In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.”

Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet,

“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?   Haggai 1:1-4

Due to self-centeredness, me-first, God pulled away the dew, the moisture for the crops to grow.  The drought stifled all that was to grow in the ground.  He wanted the attention of His children.  He does that today with me.  The air seems dry because I am not listening.  I am filling my life with worldliness.  He stands aside while I “handle” things my way.

Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce.

And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”   Haggai 1:10-11

When ‘my world’ seems like it is caving in or bulging out, I realize that I must come back, crawl back, to God.  He waits for me.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:33

Sometimes, I have set my priorities all wrong.  I am seeking me first rather than my Creator.  I have given God a backseat in my life rather than the driver’s seat.  I treat Him with less dignity and reverence than He deserves.  I am seeking to fulfill all that I need rather than let God clothe and feed and shelter me.   My doubtful faith draws me into the ways of this world.  I cannot provide for myself without Him.  I can never do it all by myself.  His Word in Matthew 6 tells me not to be anxious but seek Him first, to depend upon Him for all my physical and spiritual needs.  I listen and am reminded to consider my ways, seeking God first.  FIRST.

“Consideration is only as valid as the change it produces.” Ransom Maggard

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD.

Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD’s message, “I am with you, declares the LORD.”

And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.  Haggai 1:12-15

I want to learn Your ways, Father God, and pray that You teach me, but I am and will consider my own ways for I want to be in Your will with each step.  Oh, God, I love You and pray that I learn and listen and breathe in Your love and life and wisdom and ways.  You are my God and there is no other.  I pray I am learning from Haggai and will keep learning.  Teach me, Father, for You are with me.  I am obedient to Your voice.  Amen.

 

quote: Ransom Maggard @ The World is Not Enough

The Sweetness of a Friend

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Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.  Proverbs 27:9

A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.  Proverbs 17:17

But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend Psalm 55:13

…and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.  James 2:23

With all of the heaviness of this world, pressure from around us, a little lightness can bring a smile.  : )

May God pour His love and light, His gentleness and kindness, His peace, hope, and comfort upon you as you walk in His ways. 

Caring through Christ, ~ linda