August 30, 2015

About coleen hayden

Coleen Hayden – Director of Women's Ministry - Prayer Ministry Leader - Blog Contributor
Coleen and her husband Robert have been married for 19 years and currently live in the Capital District area of New York State. They have one beautiful daughter, Kassia, who is married to Matt, and 4 delightful grandchildren Elijah, Kaylie Joy, Levi, and Rebekah. She enjoys sewing, cooking, and playing the piano.

Wonderfully Made

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For You created my inmost being;
    You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
    before one of them came to be.
Psalms 139:13-16

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Looking out into the night sky
A million stars shining down
And I can see how you’d feel so small
Don’t forget I’m your Creator
You are Mine and I adore you
Nothing else moves My heart like you
You’re not here by chance
You are My design
I did well to give you life

You are fearfully and wonderfully made
Long before you drew your first breath
I knew your name
Surely goodness and mercy
Will follow you forever
For you are fearfully and wonderfully made

Looking deep into your eyes
You’re beautiful
Like no one else
I smile when I think about your face
You were made in My own image
Carefully, My love would finish
Forming you into who you are
I won’t let you go
I’m here with you always
I’ll watch you grow strong because I know

Hidden in my Heart ~ Scripture Lullabies
BreakAway Music

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This Week…Psalms 139:11 and 12

SeekingHimLogo

 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

Psalms 139:11 and 12

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have continued along in our series on this this wonderful psalm, Psalm 139. Our devotional writers have reminded us that even when we ‘are in the dark’, God still sees us.  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In God Sees, Tina wrote about the fears we all have concerning our sins…

We all have that secret sin...you know…the one that, if someone discovers it, we feel they will never love or respect us again.  As believers we can be truly terrified of being found out.  But what if what we thought was a horrific secret wasn’t so bad after all?  What if  all we had to do was confess it to God and ask Him for help us to overcome it?

You see the evil one has a way of playing with our minds.  He makes us think we can’t change.  He makes us think that life is hopeless.  But it is not hopeless.  God created us and He has a vision, a purpose for us.

In God Sees All, Ann reminded us that it is just not possible to hide anything from God….

Our God sees everything and we cannot hide anything from him. He is omnipresence and omniscient (all-knowing).  Indeed darkness and light are all His—He created them.  He is the one who separated darkness and light (Genesis 1).

The good and the bad things we do are bare in the eyes of God.  Therefore whatsoever we do, let us be Christ-conscious not man-conscious.

If I Say, Surely the Darkness will Cover Me

SeekingHimLogo

 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

Psalms 139:11 and 12

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Click this link to listen to a beautiful rendition of this passage.

The Verses Project
written by Gatlin Elms

 

 

 

 

The Steadfast Love Of The Lord

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The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning, new every morning
Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord
Great is Thy faithfulness

Kathy Troccoli
written by Edith McNeill

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But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23

During my quiet time the other morning, I was reading along in a devotional focused on chapter 3 of the Book of Lamentations (here’s a link so you can read it yourself).  The devotional writer was relating how she ‘missed’ the first part of verse 21—‘but this I call to mind.’  And I realized that I, too, sometimes just hurry by those six little words as I focus on the promises given in the rest of this passage. (How about you?)

As I went about my day I kept hearing this passage over and over in my mind as I sang and hummed this tune.  So simple and yet such a beautiful and complex melody!  I love the solemn, somber tone of the cello and the sweetness of the violin (in this recording) as the musicians play along with the pianist.  And, of course, Kathy Troccoli’s beautiful voice.  But what I love the most is that by hearing it over and over, the words—the Scripture—has sunk into my memory and now I can truly ‘…call to mind, and therefore I have hope…’.  Memorizing verses from God’s Word is such an important thing to do.  Here’s why I say that….

Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
Psalm 119:11 NASB

Those two phrases ‘but this I call to mind’ and ‘Your Word I have treasured in my heart’ are each relating to really knowing and treasuring the Scriptures.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:21-26

Almighty God even described Himself as having ‘steadfast love.’  When God met with Moses, and gave him the Ten Commandments, the first thing He did was make Himself known to Moses.

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there,
and proclaimed the name of the Lord.
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed,
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…..
Exodus 34:5–7

Isn’t it AWEsome that what Almighty God told Moses about Himself was that He is

  • merciful
  • gracious
  • slow to anger
  • abounding in steadfast love
  • faithful
  • keeps steadfast love
  • forgiving

…and twice (‘and this I call to mind’) He mentions that His love is steadfast!!!

Throughout the entire history of mankind—from Adam & Eve and all the way along through the Scriptures—we read of the myriad of ways that our Great God has manifested His steadfast love. So, in our pursuit of calling to mind the never-ceasing, steadfast love of the Lord, we would need to remember some examples of His steadfast love. The psalmist spoke of God’s steadfast love many, many, many times.  Undoubtedly, he had this truth ‘hidden in his heart’ and often would ‘call this to mind.’

Psalm 107 (ESV) is a great starting point (you can go here to read the whole psalm, if you like).  Here the psalmist relates quite a number of times (six times!) how God’s steadfast love has redeemed and saved and protected His children. And he reminds them (and us!) to ‘give thanks to the LORD’ for His steadfast love. The final verse wraps it up:

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.
verse 43

Throughout the Bible, God’s people tell of their praise and thanks for His steadfast love. Here are just a few passages…

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.
Psalms 13:5 and 6

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the clouds.
How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
They feast on the abundance of Your house,
and You give them drink from the river of Your delights.
For with You is the Fountain of life;
in Your Light do we see light.
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know You,
and Your righteousness to the upright of heart!
Psalms 36:5, 7-9

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,
the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us,
and the great goodness to the house of Israel
that He has granted them according to His compassion,
according to the abundance of His steadfast love.
Isaiah 63:7

O Lord God, turn not away the face of [me] Your anointed one;
[earnestly] remember Your good deeds, mercy, and steadfast love for David Your servant…
2 Chronicles 6:42

Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
Psalm 32:10

Do you have a favorite verse or two that tells of our great God’s steadfast love?  I would love it if you would please share it with us (in the comment section below)…thanks!

I’m Gonna Lay It Down

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I’ve been lookin’ till my eyes are tired of lookin’
Listenin’ till my ears are numb from listenin’
Prayin’ till my knees are sore from kneelin’ on the bedroom floor
I know that You know that my heart is achin’
I’m running out of tears and my will is breakin’
I don’t think that I can carry the burden of it anymore
All of my hopes and my dreams and my best-laid plans
Are slowly slippin’ through my folded hands

So I’m gonna lay it down
I’m gonna learn to trust You now
What else can I do
‘Cause everything I am depends on You
And if the sun don’t come back up
I know Your love will be enough
I’m gonna let it be, I’m gonna let it go,
I’m gonna lay it down

I’ve been walkin’ through this world like I’m barely livin’
Buried in the doubt of this hole I’ve been diggin’
But You’re pullin’ me out
I’m finally breathin’ in the open air
This room may be dark but I’m finally seein’
There’s a new ray of hope, and now I’m believin’
That the past is past, and the future’s beginning to look brighter now
Oh, cause all of my hopes and my dreams and my best-laid plans
Are safe and secure when I place them in Your hands

Jaci Velasquez
songwriters: Jay Jenkins, Miquel Scott, Lee Dixon, Jacoby White, Jasper Cameron

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This song reveals the brokenness of my heart every single time I hear it…and for that I am oh-so-very thankful!  Each of us has burdens and cares and concerns…some days it seems they are more than we can bear.  To think that they will not happen and that one can walk through this life without them is to deny the Truth.  However, they are not ours to carry or bear on our own.  Throughout the Scriptures, we are told that the Lord will bear them for us.

Blessed be the Lord,
Who bears our burdens and carries us day by day,
even the God Who is our salvation! Selah
Psalm 68:19

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me,
because I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

The burdens, the concerns, the cares of this life can turn into worries, doubts, fears if we do not bring them to our Lord letting Him take care of them.  We are to humbly recognize our great need for Jesus, and all that He has already done and promised to do for us, because He cares for us.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God
so that at the proper time He may exalt you,
casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6 and 7

Listen to Jesus’ admonition and promises in Matthew chapter 6;  as you read along, put your own name wherever there is a , ok?

Therefore I tell you, , stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on.  ,  is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you, , not worth much more than they?
And, , who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?
And why should you, ,  be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.
Yet I tell you,, even Solomon in all his magnificence (excellence, dignity, and grace) was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, , which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry and be anxious,, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?
For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you, ,  need them all.
But seek first of all His kingdom and His righteousness, , and then all these things will be given you besides.
So do not worry, , or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own.  Sufficient for each day, , is its own trouble. (emphasis added)

Jesus’ words are full of action for us to take, true…but not the action of taking care of ourselves. Rather, He tells us to

  • stop being perpetually uneasy
  • look at (and consider) the birds of the air
  • consider the lilies of the field
  • do not worry and be anxious
  • seek first of all His kingdom
  • <and again> do not worry or be anxious

This is not always easy to do…but it is what we are to do in obedience.  It is a moment-by-moment choice.  Will we stop…look…consider…not worry or be anxious…and seek His kingdom OR will we have worry, doubt, fear, be anxious, and try to bear our own burdens, concerns, and cares?

I pray for you that TODAY you will choose to trust and say,
I’m gonna let it be, I’m gonna let it go, I’m gonna lay it down
in Jesus’ powerful name, amen.”
(Will you, please, pray that for me, too?)

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

It has been quite some time since a packet of that kind of famous ‘Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix’ has been in my pantry!  We have been pursuing this healthy but oh-so-yummy POV for about 3 years now.  But it took a little while ’til I realized that there were quite a few additives in that little packet.  (Have you looked at the list of ingredients?  I suggest you do.)  Nowadays I read the ingredient list as well as the nutrition label on every food item I purchase.

However, there is one person in our little household of 2 who simply loves Ranch Dressing.  He enjoys it on salad, of course, but also as a dip…and as a baked potato topping and as a spread on deli sandwiches.  So I continued to try to find (and purchase!) bottles of prepared dressing that were “better.”  But I have only found 2 that are on the ‘healthier’ end…and they are so expensive!  So I did a tiny bit of research…really less than an hour or so…and found that, for less $ and hardly any time, I could mix up a batch that IS healthy but oh-so-yummy!  happy me…happy hubby!

I suggest you give this a try!  Three tablespoons of this mix = 1 packet of store-bought “ranch dressing” seasoning mix.   Also, click here for a great list of ideas/recipes using Ranch Dressing/Dip!

Down below is a recipe using this mix to make Avocado Ranch dressing…really, really delicious!  And made with only two tablespoons of mayo (or, as I make it, with NO mayo)! Enjoy!

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing/Dip Mix

2015-08-24 17.23.03

ingredients:

1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley + 1 teaspoon extra
1 teaspoon dried dill + 1/2 teaspoon extra
2 teaspoons garlic powder or ground garlic flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder2015-08-24 17.08.11
2 teaspoons dried onion bits
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried chives
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoons cayenne (optional)

 

directions:

  • for a finely-ground mix, pulse the mixture in a food processor until it is a uniform consistency
  • stir in the extra parsley and dill for texture (or simply whisk all ingredients together until blended)
  • store in a small airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months

Avocado Ranch Dressing

2015-08-24 17.56.07

ingredients:

3 tablespoons homemade ranch dressing mix
1 ripe avocado (peeled and pitted) *KEEP the pit*
1/4 cup 0% fat Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (add milk to adjust consistency)

directions:

  • in a blender or food processor, combine first 6 ingredients; blend until semi-smooth
  • then, in a slow stream, pour in olive oil continuing to blend together
  • then add 1/4 cup of milk or buttermilk (adding more if needed) ‘til desired consistency is reached
  • store in an airtight container in fridge ‘til ready to serve **place the pit into the container, too**
  • stays fresh about 4-5 days in an airtight container

You are with me in the darkness

SeekingHimLogo

 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to You.

Psalms 139:11 and 12

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Dear Lord, how grateful we are to know this Truth that even the darkness is not dark to You!  Even before time, when You spoke into being the earth and the stars, there was darkness…but not to You!  Truly You separated the dark from the light and spoke into being day and night!  You are the Almighty, the all-powerful, the Everlasting God.  You and only You could do this!  And we are so awestruck and amazed!  May we hold this Truth in our minds and hearts when we are tempted to think we can be separated from You by the darkness of this world…that darkness is as light to You!  You are our Great God, the Creator…we love You and adore You!  And praise You praying in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Charles Spurgeon penned the following prayer…
“If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me.
Dense darkness may oppress me, but it cannot shut me out from thee, or thee from me. Thou seest as well without the light as with it, since thou art not dependent upon light which is thine own creature, for the full exercise of thy perceptions. Moreover, thou art present with me whatever may be the hour; and being present you discover all that I think, or feel, or do. Men are still so foolish as to prefer night and darkness for their evil deeds; but so impossible is it for anything to be hidden from the Lord that they might just as well transgress in broad daylight.

Darkness and light in this agree;
Great God, they’re both alike to thee.
Thine hand can pierce thy foes as soon
Through midnight shades as blazing noon.”

(quoted from Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David)

You Are Light in the Darkness

SeekingHimLogo

 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

Psalms 139:11 and 12

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All Sons and Daughters
written by Jason Ingram, David Leonard, Leslie Jordan
You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken

Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
To You only

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
To You only

All the earth will shout
Your praise
Our hearts will cry
These bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

This Week…Psalms 139:7-10

SeekingHimLogo

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
Psalms 139:7-10

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been reminded of the Truth that we are always in our wonderful God’s hand.  Our devotional writers have shared this understanding with us in the devotions that they have written.  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In Divine Presence, Ann wrote about the comfort of knowing we are always in His care….

“A child of God can never move beyond God’s care, guidance, and supporting strength.  He is with us in all situations in whatever the present and the future brings.

‘Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord.
‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 23:24

His Divine Presence shows us the following:

• with God’s presence we are assured of being protected, strengthened, and well taken care of
• fullness of Joy
• we need to have the fear of the Lord

In Hold Fast, Tina shared by the example of the Apostle Paul how God’s hand holds us, guides us, leads us….

“God had plans for Paul.  We may not see what our path is, but God does. Being trained by the best rabbi and becoming a Pharisee, Paul would know how to explain the plan of salvation in easy, simple terms, or be able to speak for hours defended why Jesus is the fulfillment of these scriptures. I mean, who else is God going to tell (as he did to Ananias):

But the Lord said to Ananias,
‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument
to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings
and to the people of Israel.
I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.’
Acts 9:15-16

Can we be used in this way?  Yes, we can.  All we have to be is willing subjects to go and preach the Word, teach where we can, and spread the good news to all people as God opens those doors.  Who will answer the call?  Pray, seek, learn…and God will use you for His purpose.”

Ancient Words

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart

Words of life, words of hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where ’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home

Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart

Holy words of our faith
Handed down to this age
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ

Robin Mark
written by Lynn DeShazo

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I am not sure if you might be like me…at times it can seem to be so difficult to keep thinking the TRUTH of what God says about myself.  Do you struggle with this too?  Somehow, by God’s grace, we muster up the fortitude and remind ourselves,

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

At times, when I am struggling to believe the truth…and not the lies…I like to tell these thoughts, “I do not believe that!  You <ugly thought> must be obedient to Jesus Christ.  God’s Word says ______ .”  (And then I speak or read the TRUTH of God’s Word.)

We are in charge of what we think!  We control the thoughts that we allow to live in our hearts!  We determine to put the TRUTH into our hearts and minds!   That is exactly what this verse reminds us to do!

Have you ever thought or said any of the following to yourself?

“I look _____ <fill in the blank> … no one could ever love me like this.”
The TRUTH is: I am wonderfully made!

I am fearfully and wonderfully made and wonderful are Your works…
Psalms 139:14

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“I am not important…I have no value to anyone.”
The TRUTH is: I have great worth to God!

Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies?
Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight.
Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted.
Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!
Luke 12:7

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“I can never forgive ____ for  __________!  They don’t deserve it.”
The TRUTH is: I have been forgiven of so much!  Forgiveness has nothing to do with what is ‘deserved;’ it is all about trust and obedience to God.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others for their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Matthew 6:12, 14, 15

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We all have occasional thoughts that are lies.  Sometimes they are long-buried words that have spoken to us in our past.  Sometimes they are strongholds that are in our hearts that we have not dealt with.  Sometimes they are vicious deceptions that the enemy of our souls speaks to us.  It really isn’t too important where the lies/thoughts originate.

BUT what we do when we think those lies/thoughts is vitally important!  We could dwell on those lies/thoughts, harboring them in our hearts and allowing them to fester and grow.  NOT a good idea!  Or instead we could recognize those lies/thoughts for what they are, and choose to refute the lie by replacing it with the truth of God’s Word, and have peace and joy.  A REALLY good idea!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—
practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8 and 9

This is one way to replace those lies/thoughts, “…think about these things.”  These are the things that God wants us to fix our minds on!  Just look at them: whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, of any excellence or worthy of praise…and when we do…we will have God’s peace.  Just what we so desire, yes?  Amen.

Are there lies in your heart that you believe about yourself?  Take a moment…write down two lies on a piece of paper.  Now, bring them to the Light—the light of God’s Word.  Find the Truth in the Scriptures about what He says about you.

{Perhaps you are not quite sure how to go about this…try this:  google ‘God says I am worthy’  Now, try it putting into the Google search engine a phrase that you desire to find what God’s Word says is the TRUTH.  And, if you need help, come back here and let’s work together on it, ok?  I would love to work through this with you!   ♥ }