September 25, 2017

Nehemiah And The Wall of Jerusalem

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That pen is sitting there in front of you and the paper is calling you to try one more time…. And what resolution did you totally not do last year?  Then we make mental lists of why we CAN’T do anything and before you know it—we have failed before we ever started.  Have you been there?

The enemy, the deceiver, the father of  lies will do anything and everything to steal your joy and take your focus off of what is really important…and his main reason?  To keep you from doing God’s work and to discourage you along the way with your own words of failure.  Here’s an example in God’s Word:

Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews.  And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?”  Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!”  

Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives.  Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from Your sight, for they have provoked You to anger in the presence of the builders.  So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

Nehemiah 4:1-6

God has elected Nehemiah to lead His people in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. Oh how well they were doing!  They had all the tools they needed to be successful and everyone was working so hard.  Then comes the critics…how they ridiculed these children of God.  All of the sudden, these people who once had so much confidence were now questioning their ability to do anything.  They were feeling stupid and wanted to quit.  See, the enemy had come in and attacked right where they were vulnerable.

Have you ever had this happen to you?  God had spoken pretty clear about something He wanted you to do, or maybe He wanted you to lead.  Then someone mentions a fear of yours or puts one doubt in your head…and all that excitement and courage goes out the window.  Now you’re questioning if it even was God’s idea.  You’re about to give up, BUT GOD.  {His voice is louder than yours.}

(Back to Nehemiah….) Nehemiah was wise and He loved the Lord.  He knew how to handle people who would criticize him.  He went to God and had a discussion about all of them.  In Nehemiah 4:4 he says to God,”Turn their insults back on their own heads.” (We as kids may have said similar things, right? “I know you are but what am I?”)   Unlike us, he didn’t talk to his critics or try to defend himself.  He let God handle it.  He shared all of his feelings with his Heavenly Father, His Creator, Who knew him better than he knew himself.  What happened next?

“So we built the wall.
And all the wall was joined together for half its height,
for the people worked with all their heart.”

In other words, satan was defeated at his own game.  What he dished out didn’t take their focus off of what was important; it made them turn hard to God.  Their focus was on the work of their Lord and no one could destroy them.

So this New Year, instead of making impossible lists of goals and setting yourself up to feel like a failure…make another kind of list.  Like one that lists all the ways God loves you and wants desperately to be your Guide and so much more.  And when that doubt is thrown at you, you have His Word to lean on and encourage you.  His own words to guide and direct you in any task that He is asking of you.  You are ready and you are able to do it—you just have to be willing.  I’m going to leave you with some verses of encouragement and I urge you to write them down, post them on your mirror or wherever they are most visible.  And if you aren’t sure if you have Jesus in your heart, I urge you to pray the prayer below with me and take these verses to your heart that are posted below. Please let us know in the comment section so we can celebrate this special day with you.

 

For God did not give you a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8

Cast all your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 55:22

My comfort is my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
Psalm 119:50

The Lord is my Strength and my Song: He has become my Salvation.
Psalm 118:14

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Dear Heavenly Father, I know I am a sinner. I need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus is Your Son and He is the Savior. I ask that You come into my heart and stay. Be my Lord and Savior. I need You to guide me and give me that joy You promise. I’m tired of going this alone. Thank You for the Holy Spirit that I now have to guide me. I love You, in Jesus’ name, amen.

The Forever Gift

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Peace I leave you, My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Boxes and paper, bows and bags…now empty and gifts put away. Stockings no longer hang over the fireplace…they too have been emptied. Is that sometimes how you feel  when this excitement is over—empty?  We stress and shop, make list after list, and bake and wrap; all while playing our favorite Christmas carols. Now it’s over, but does it have to be?

The magic of Christmas is always ours if we love Jesus and seek Him.  He is our Gift of salvation and forgiveness and grace.  He, Who was held on that holy day, holds us today. He walked this earth, healing the sick , feeding the poor and loving the least of these. He went through it all so that we could have a perfect example of how to live and how to love. To forgive always and love everyone. We become the gift to others that He came to be to us.

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

See?  He left us peace in the midst of this hard, dark world.  He left us joy in the midst of turmoil. And oh! how He loves you and me!  The world gave Him such a hard time, and it doesn’t leave us untouched either. But what will we do with it? After all Jesus went through, we owe Him so much. All He asks is that we let Him be Lord of our lives. And to spread hope to this dying world. And because we have His Spirit, we can do His work.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but one of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

And if you put Him before everything, your life will be so much more than you can ever imagine. Every decision you make will be guided by Him and all your days will be ordained by Him. His favor will be all over your life and the joy you will experience will overwhelm you. When your feet hit the floor, hit your knees and ask Him to empty you of yourself and to fill you up with all of Him.

 *    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

And the most wonderful gift of all?  We will forever live with Him after this life!  God’s Son, born to die, to save us, His children. Can you wrap your mind around that?  That someone loves you that much? Well, God does!

Do you know Him? If the answer is no, then I urge you to pause today and still your mind and heart and pray this prayer with me:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I need forgiveness. I believe that You are God and Jesus is Your Son. You sent Him to die in my place so that my sins will be forgiven. Thank You for loving me in spite of myself. And thank You for grace. Come into my heart today and be my Lord, to walk with me through it all. In Jesus’ name, amen.

CHRISTLife — ThirtyEight: Bold and Confident

cl bold and confidentGod chose us.  He also chose us to do His good works here on earth, as we await His return.  And the most amazing thing about this is He seems to choose the most unlikely and unqualified people to carry out His most important works.

Do you know this to be true? And often the response to His calling is, “Are You sure, God? Me? Why?”  Unintentionally we limit Him by what we think we can and cannot do.  For what’s impossible to us is possible with God.  We just have to believe that He has called us and He has a mission for us to spread His Word to the world.

Feeling unqualified?  When He calls, He equips and qualifies us to do that which we so feel we aren’t qualified to do.  Let’s go to His Word and look at some of those He called…and their response to Him.  And how different the world would be if they had felt they couldn’t do it!

God calls Moses:

Moses was 80 years old when he was sent to free the Israelites from Pharaoh.  His response was something like, “Me? I can’t even speak well. Do You really think anyone would even listen to me?”  When Moses finally quit making excuses and obeyed, the way was paved by God through the Red Sea, across a desert and, finally, to the entrance of the Promised Land.  All along the way, God was providing food and shelter and water for these people who trusted Moses with their lives.

Have you ever thought about what could have happened if Moses has said no?

God calls Jeremiah:

Jeremiah was a teenager at the time that God sent him to deliver news to the Jewish people.  Because He was so young, he thought that no one would take him seriously.  But God did.  He said in Jeremiah 1:5,”Before you were born I set you apart.”  For 24 years, Jeremiah was at God’s call, and all he did was write books filled with God’s words. The first one was destroyed and Jeremiah was imprisoned. His feet were in chains and he was thrown into a pit. But God sent rescuers and made a way for all His messages to be delivered.

God calls Gideon:

Last one on my list today is Gideon—and my favorite, I will have to say!  God called him His mighty warrior!  He told him to save His people who were being attacked constantly by their enemies.  He also wanted Gideon to destroy the idol, Baal.  But Gideon, who was working in a wine press, hiding in fear from his enemies, had many excuses as to why he wasn’t God’s man.  He said that he was a coward and how could God use him to fight for His people?  Fast forward…God fully equipped Gideon to do so much more.  He used his weakness to prove God’s strength.

See?  You are ready for any task that God has laid in front of you.  You may not even know what you are called to do but know this—you are called to do great things!  And He will make sure you have everything you need to complete His will.  God calls you to serve with what you have and just as you are.  All you have to do is trust and believe Him,  and love Him enough to do what He says.

  • Matthew 14:22  If you love Me, then look at me. Keep your eyes on me.
  • Matthew 16:4     If you love Me, follow me.
  • Luke 10:37          If you love Me, go and do likewise.
  • John 21:15-17    If you love Me, feed My sheep…tend My lambs.

And remember, there is only one that wants to see you fail. There is an enemy who wants to fill you with fear and lies and keep you silent so you won’t do the Lord’s work. But God did not give you a spirit of fear, “…but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).

He gives you courage.  Courage is what will help you persevere.  And it’s God’s power that resides in you and gives you the confidence you need to go on and accomplish with victory the will of your Father in Heaven.  The Lord is your Shepherd, you shall not want for…anything!

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Conquering Fear

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Dear Megan,

I have been battling crippling fear for sometime now and it is affecting my whole life. I know I am trying to control this myself and not fully giving this to God. I really need some guidance on how to get started with giving back to God what is not mine to take on. Can you help me begin to reclaim God’s truth on my fear? Bless you, KL

My Dear KL,

Thank you for taking this first step to reclaim your abundant life back and not live gripped by fear! You are so right… God does not intend for you to hold onto this fear and He longs for you to release it all to Him! I know, it’s not as easy as saying that so I pray that this post will give you the tools needed to begin to give all of your fear over to your Heavenly Father and begin to stand on His truth!

There are four types of fears:

  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of Failure
  • Fear of Rejection
  • Fear of the Unknown

Many people struggle with one or more of these fears and they can paralyze you and keep you from God’s best. When I begin to work with a client on fear, we focus on this Scripture:

2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

The world would like for us to believe that we have no control over our fears and that our only recourse is to totally avoid all fearful situations. However, with Christ alive inside of us, we  KNOW this to be untrue! God asks us to stand in His strength when we’re afraid. As we focus on His perfect love, we will feel His perfect peace in the midst of every fear-producing situation.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Knowing the truth and acting on the truth is critical to conquering fear. The source of the truth is the One who said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The primary resource we have for finding God’s truth is His Word, the Bible. The first step in applying truth is to identify the lies behind the fears you are experiencing as to replace those lies with facts. John 8:32 says “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

FEAR: “I can’t help this intense feeling on fear!”

FACT: “This feeling is a bluff to my mind and body. It is not grounded in truth.”

Psalm 27:3

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

FEAR: “I have this feeling of doom… a feeling that I am going to die.”

FACT: “The time of death is in God’s hands. I will choose to trust Him.”

Job 14:5

A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.

FEAR: “I’m afraid of what others are thinking about me.”

FACT: “My peace comes from pleasing God, not in pleasing man.”

2 Corinthians 5:9

So we make it our goal to please him

FEAR: “I am hopeless and can never change.”

FACT: “In Christ, I am a new person. Nothing is hopeless.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!

FEAR: “I am so nervous, I can’t think clearly.”

FACT: “God will guard my mind and give me peace.”

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
FEAR: “To be safe, I have to be in control.”
FACT: God is in control of my life, and He is with me step by step.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

FEAR: “I feel trapped with no way of escape.”

FACT: “God always makes a way of escape.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Dare to Dream — Don’t be Stunted by Self-Doubt!

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Dear Megan,

God has placed some pretty big God-sized dreams in my heart, but I keep letting my self and all my doubts and fears get in the way of letting God work to help my dreams become a reality. Can you help point me in the right direction with combating this self-doubt?

~LB

Dearest LB,

…and you KNOW God specifically designed YOU to fulfill these dreams on earth to further His Kingdom! He so wants all of us to get out-of-the-way and give Him full reign over our dreams!  God wants you to rely on Him to guide you and give you strength…for ONLY through Him will you truly reach the potential He has for you!

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Here are a few helpful tips when you find yourself coming across self-doubt:

1. Let go of the need to know HOW you will create your vision of what you want.

You likely do not know how you will create your dream, especially not in the beginning. That is the way it is supposed to be! Your intuition is how the Universe shows you the way to your dream! We often end up doubting ourselves when we can’t see how we can create what we want. Or, sometimes we think of one way to create it and think we aren’t capable of doing that. Let go of this kind of thinking and trust that, if you have a vision that excites you, you have within you what it takes to create it. And trust that you will be given what you need to make it a reality, when you need it.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding

 

2. Remind yourself of how important your dream is to you.

Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes of free time to spend focusing on your vision of what you want and how you will feel when you have created your dream. Let yourself feel these positive emotions and imagine that you have already created what you want and are living your vision. Let yourself get excited, these positive emotions will energize your vision and allow it come to you faster. This reminder of why your vision is important to you can help you set that doubt aside.

2 Timothy 1:7

 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 

 

3. Be a witness to the voice of self-doubt.

As you notice the voice of doubt coming up, watch the thoughts that come up rather than participating with it. Recognize that it is the voice of the part of you that wants to keep you the same and to keep you in familiar territory. Distancing yourself from this voice can help you to gain perspective so you are still in charge and the doubting self is not. Release the need to fight it, simply allow the doubt to be expressed and move on.

Philippians 1:6

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

4. Get the doubts and fears down on paper and out of your mind.

In your mind, they tend to endlessly repeat themselves and keep you stuck. Get out a piece of paper and write out all of the doubts and fears that come to mind. On a new piece of paper write down positive statements around why you CAN create your vision. Maybe you are downplaying your strengths and abilities; list these on this second piece of paper as well. When you are done, read over the doubts one last time, then tear the paper into tiny pieces and throw it away. Read over your positive statements and let the positive emotions and a feeling of confidence take over. Feel free to read these positive statements whenever you need to remind yourself that you are capable!

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.

5. Repeat a personalized affirmation to yourself.

This will instill positive beliefs around your ability to create your vision. Make sure the affirmation feels good when you say it, and it is meaningful to you. The better you feel when you repeat it, the faster it can become your reality. Examples: I believe in myself; I deserve to have what I want; God put this desire in my heart; I am safe, etc. whatever resonates with you. You can also use the positive statements you created in #4 above.

 

Self-doubt is likely something that you will face on the path to your dream, but that is no reason to stop moving forward. Take a few minutes to readjust your focus using the tips above and you will be feeling better and more confident, ready to move forward to your dreams once again! God NEEDS this to be a priority to fulfill His purposes on this earth! 

 

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

 

Captivating: Chapter 12 – “In The World” – “Do Not Give Way to Fear” (pgs 212-215)

People always talk about their “calling.” It’s such a Christian-ese phrase.  “So what led you to that decision?” “Well, I believe it’s my ‘calling’.”  Now, I’m not trying to put down anyone who may have used this word.  In fact, I use the word often.  Typically, after frustration grips my emotions, I cry to God, “LORD, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT MY CALLING IS! TELL ME WHERE YOU WANT ME TO BE! OPEN THE DOOR ALREADY!”

Once I lose the anger, I remind myself of the truth.  And the truth is this: much like the reasons God allows bad things to happen to us, He may have us in a place we aren’t “called” to be right now because He is preparing us for His plans that are to come.

We can’t see the big picture, but God can.  He has you right where you are for HIS reasoning.  It’s also similar to why you may be single and lonely right now.  God has a reason.  God is preparing you for your “calling” every single day you awake.  He’s preparing your heart for something that is to come that will be so worth the wait, the patience, and the persistence!

So the question remains: how do you find your “calling?” In an effort to help you find that answer, our authors pose the following questions: What is it you yearn to see happen? How do you long for the world to be a better place? What makes you so angry you nearly see red? What brings you to tears?

The answers to those questions are different for each person – praise God! And those answers are the desires within our hearts, desires that God set within us even before we were born. Those answers are invitations.

“They are invitations to bring your heart to your Lover and ask Him to clarify, to deepen, to speak to you about how and when and with whom.”

I am reminded of this passage in Matthew 6:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet Your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (verses 25-33).

So maybe you know a few answers to the questions above.  What’s keeping you from pursuing them? What’s keeping you from action? For me, Stasi and John hit the nail on the head when they discussed that terrible four letter word: F.E.A.R.

Fear of failure, fear of disapproval, fear of rejection, fear of vulnerability…I could go on.  But all of these fears have one thing in common—They are not from God.

As we have journeyed this book together, I pray that each of you has found who you are in Christ.  You are a strong warrior princess made to share in an adventure, made to serve and to love.  But no warrior princess can realize her own strength and purpose if she hides away in the castle her whole life.  No, we are called to take risks!  Risk the failure, risk the disapproval, risk the rejection, and risk the vulnerability.

Jesus did that.  And if we are called to live like Him, we must live radically, fully entrusting our lives to Christ. One of my favorite authors and inspirational speakers, Bob Goff, states in his book Love Does:

“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.

Ladies, I pray that each of you will live, breathe, and act that verse. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

2Tim1_7

Praise Him,

Carissa

*****

Let’s Pray:

Father, I thank You for the life You’ve given each of us. I thank You that You have promised each of us a purpose and to use us to further Your great kingdom.  Father, in our days of doubt, remind us that You use all things (and situations) to Your glory.  Lord, draw close to us, reveal Your plans for our lives to us.  We want to know You and serve You more. Father, in Your time, give us the courage and will to pursue those desires You’ve set deep in our hearts.  We love You so much! In Your precious Name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Spend time in prayer today, drawing closer to God, asking Him to deepen your desires and reveal His plans for you. He is faithful; He will answer.

Winning Him Without Words: A Confession

Peter wrote this letter sometime between A.D. 60 and 64. Women in the first century had no legal rights. The husband and father was the ultimate authority over everyone in the household, including his wife. If the husband did not believe in Christ, Peter assured Christian women that they did not have to preach to their husbands. In fact, direct confrontation may even backfire. However, women could still show Christ to their husbands – by their behavior and character – not by their words.

In this section of our book, Dineen relates a story about an encounter she has with a receptionist at the doctor’s office. She was ashamed at her reaction to the situation. She silently prayed, asking God for the opportunity to apologize to this harried worker. The woman comes up to her right then and Dineen is able to apologize.

The best part of this whole story is that Dineen felt led by the Holy Spirit to share this entire encounter with her unbelieving husband. Every detail – even the not-so-Christian parts. And he was proud of her.

He saw the not-so-perfect part of her and he was proud.

How often do you let your husband see the not-so-Christian parts of you? Do you hide your true self from him for fear of what he might think or say? Do you fear that you might “look bad” or “unChristian” if you are authentic, if you really let your hair down and let your unbelieving spouse see everything? Do you think you might give Jesus a “bad name”?

What do you think would happen? Make a list. I’ll wait.

Are any of these things on your list?

  • My husband might laugh at me
  • My husband might mock me
  • My husband might say I’m not really a Christian
  • My husband thinks I should be perfect if I’m a Christian
  • My husband’s words might hurt my feelings

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

The Holy Spirit that the Lord poured into you when you were saved is a spirit of POWER, LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND. There is one thing it is not – a spirit of fear. Even though your spouse’s words or actions may hurt you in the moment, remember that you have a power living within you that is greater than those hurtful words or actions. A power that parted the Red Sea and raised our Savior from the dead. That power is alive in you!

Girlfriends, when we are authentic, our unbelieving husbands can relate to us. They do not feel like they have to compete with this guy named Jesus. They see that we can own up to our mistakes, repent, and ask forgiveness of anyone we may have wronged. But, even more so, they will see that we are NOT perfect – and they do not have to be either. They will see that Jesus loves us anyway, even when we do mess up. And we WILL mess up! It is only through Christ that we are made perfect.

Today is the day, my dear friends. It is time to lay down the idol of perfection. We cannot be an authentic warrior for Christ if we pretend to have it all together. It is through our authenticity that Christ uses us to reach other people with the Good News of his saving grace. Are you ready to let go of the need to be a perfect Christian in front of your unsaved husband and let Jesus use your authentic self for His glory?

*****

Let’s Pray: Father God, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, we come to you asking for your forgiveness. Lord, please forgive us if we have tried too hard to be a perfect Christian in front of the unbelievers in our lives. Align our hearts with yours and show us how to live authentically in front of our unsaved spouses and how to glorify your name through our gentle and quiet spirits. In your holy name we pray, Amen!

Your Assignment: Post the list that you made from the blog assignment – What do you think would happen if your unsaved spouse saw the “not-so-perfect, “unChristian” parts of you? Pray over these things and ask God to show you the truth from His Word.

Have a Blessed Week!

Jennifer

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For the “Winning Him Without Words” Bible Study, you will need the book, your Bible, pen or pencil, a highlighter and a quiet place. You can order the book right through our website by clicking the “sign-up here” button at the top of our webpage; which is also where you can sign up to participate in this awesome bible study!