January 22, 2018

Hello My Name Is

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Hello, my name is regret
I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget

Hello, my name is defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief

Oh, these are the voices. Oh, these are the lies
And I have believed them for the very last time

Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King

I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life

What love the Father has lavished upon us
That we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King

Matthew West

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When you look in the mirror…what do you see?  When you talk to yourself…what names do you call yourself?

In the morning, when the alarm clock goes off late and the lunches aren’t made and that pair of shorts that she just had to wear…well, they aren’t quite dry….  Your name becomes ‘failure’.  You say things like, “I ALWAYS mess up everything.”  “I will NEVER succeed at this mom thing.”  But God says: “You are My child and I love You”

The LORD appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.
Jeremiah 31:3

Perhaps you have been struggling with a habit, and you have been so good; and then you have a hard week and you mess up.  You call yourself…”mistake.”  But God calls you “beloved.”  He loves you so much that He sent His own Son to die in your place!

For God loved the world in this way:
He gave His One and Only Son,
so that everyone who believes in Him
will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Perhaps your marriage isn’t what you thought it would be…and everywhere you look, you see everyone else succeeding at their marriage.  Maybe you have been previously married.  You label yourself a “mess-up.”  But God sees you as His beautiful child that just needs to lean on Him a little bit more.  He wants you to know that nothing is impossible when He is involved!

For nothing is impossible with God.
Luke 1:37

Next time that you are tempted to call yourself names, make sure to use the ones that your Father gave you!  And if you don’t know any, please read His love letters to you in His Word.

Because you are…

  • loved
  • wanted
  • redeemed
  • forgiven
  • free
  • embraced
  • beloved
  • white as snow…and so much more!

And most of all, you are HIS!

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Let us pray: Dear God, Your voice is the only one that matters.  Thank You for loving us so much and for sending Jesus to die in our place. Lord, some days we believe those lies that the enemy whispers in our ear and we get so discouraged.  Please forgive us for allowing these words to define us for You have already named us and claimed us as Yours.  I pray today that Your voice is the only one that we hear and that the names we call ourselves from now on only come from You!  Oh Lord, You are our Fortress and our Provider.  You are the only constant in our lives and we trust in You!  We love You and praise You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Do Something

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I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “Somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine, shine, shine, shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No, we won’t stand still
No, we won’t stand still
No, we won’t stand still 

Singer/Songwriter: Matthew West
 
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This song seems more relevant in today’s society than ever before.  You cannot turn on the news, get on Facebook, or even have a conversation with a friend without hearing about something negative.  I know that as Christians we are called to make a difference, but there are times in our lives when we do not know what that difference is.  We don’t know exactly what we’re supposed to be doing in this troubled world.  
I’ve often asked God “What am I supposed to do?”  This song answers that question for all of us; we need to do something.  Whether it is large or small in our eyes, we need to step forward and do something.  Whether it be our home, our job, in the community, in the church—we all have a place.  And I’ve learned that there is no place that is more important than the other.
Dear ladies, please take the words of this song to heart.  We have been tasked with, we have been blessed with the opportunity to make a difference—a difference that will give glory to God.  It is easy to become discouraged and feel as if we are such a small part of life…how could we make an impact?  But we have to remember that we have a power behind us that is unmatched.  God is our strength.  
Next time you think about the difference you were called to make, take time to pray.  Connect with the One who gave you the task in the first place.  He will give you clarity and direction.  We are His hands and feet and we are called to do something.
 
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Dear Heavenly Father, the idea of stepping out and doing something can be daunting.  We are Your hands and feet, but sometimes we don’t know what that is supposed to look like.  Thank You for Your guidance and direction. Thank You for trusting us to do something.  In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Day One

Well, I wish I had a short-term memory
Wish the only thing my eyes could see
Was the future burning bright right in front of me
But I can’t stop looking back

Yeah, I wish I was a perfect picture of
Somebody who’s never not good enough
I try to measure up but I mess it up
And I wish I wasn’t like that

I wish I wasn’t wishing anymore
Wish I could remember that nobody’s keeping score
I’m tired of throwing pennies in a well
I gotta do something
Here goes nothin’

It’s day one of the rest of my life
It’s day one of the best of my life
I’m marching on to the beat of a brand new drum
Yeah, here I come
The future has begun
Day one

Well, every single day Your grace reminds me
That my best days are not behind me
Wherever my yesterday may find me
Well, I don’t have to stay there

See my hourglass is upside down
My someday soon is here and now
The clock is tickin’
And I’m so sick and tired of missing out

It’s day one
And here comes the sun

Every morning, every morning
Every morning, mercy’s new
Every morning, every morning
Every morning, I will fix my eyes on You
Every morning, every morning
Every morning, mercy’s new
Every morning, every morning
Sun’s coming up, the beginning has begun

Starting over, I’m starting over
Starting over, I’m starting over, starting now
I’m starting over
Starting over, I’m starting over
Starting over
Starting over, starting now
I’m starting over

Matthew West
Written along with Pete Kipley

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There is something to starting over—the past is the past and there is a new day to try again.  Our God is the God of second (and third) chances and so much more.  He has so much grace and mercy to shower on us freely and promises that we can cling to when we are struggling.

On the day that we cross over from death to life, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Day in and day out we are guided in our words and actions, but there are times that we do not choose to obey those nudges and we make choices that we aren’t happy about.  God forgives always and He asks us not to go back there—the past, that is.  We are to go forward with joy and know that something good will come out of it and that your Father erases them, over and over.

His Word is so full of hope and promises to claim. Here are a few:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 NKJV

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Let us pray: Dear God, You are our joy and treasure.  Your love is neverending and Your promises always come true.  You give us fresh starts over and over and You never turn us away.  Oh Lord, thank You for Your mercy and grace.  Thank You for wiping our tears and giving us a new hope for the future.  Give us strength and courage to keep walking in faith and to never lose hope.  We love You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Healing Has Begun

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You have carried the weight of your secret for way too long
Thinking if there is a place called forgiveness you don’t belong
Oh, but freedom can never be found behind those walls
So just let ’em fall, just let ’em fall

Oh, the healing has begun
Oh, the healing has begun

How long has it been since you felt anything but shame
Child, lift up your eyes ’cause mercy remembers your name
And those tears you’ve been holding back, let ’em fall down like rain
‘Cause today is the day, yeah today is the day

Oh, the healing has begun
Oh, the healing has begun

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Just lift your eyes
Lay it down
What once was lost
Has now been found, oh

There’s a world full of people dying from broken hearts
Holding on to the guilt, thinking they fell too far
So don’t be afraid to show ’em your beautiful scars
‘Cause they’re the proof, yeah you’re the proof
Oh, the healing has begun

Songwriter/Singer – Matthew West along with Joseph Houser

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I heard this song for the first time Saturday night at church during communion.  It touched me on so many levels, and in so many ways, I would have to write a book to explain it all.

Matthew West has said this is a song about healing and forgiveness…about embracing the gift of grace.  This song reminds me how grateful I am that “…mercy remembers [my] name.” The Psalms tell us:

The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.
Psalm 34:18 AMP

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

We all have broken, shattered pieces of our lives.  Things we regret doing, things that make us feel guilty and ashamed.  Jesus came to heal us of spiritual ailments as well as physical ones.  I love this part “So don’t be afraid to show ’em your beautiful scars, ‘cause they’re the proof, yeah, you’re the proof….”

I have often asked God not to let my pain be in vain.  Isaiah 61:1b (AMP) tells me: “He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound….”  Sometimes it hurts to reveal those scars.  Sometimes it is scary to open yourself up to others.  But just imagine what it would be like if doing so helped someone else begin to heal!

The part that really touched me this weekend is the “Oh, the healing has begun.” I have sung that refrain over and over and over again in my head.  There is a person…a situation…that I have been praying for and about for years.  This song is something they really need to hear and believe.  God showed me He is using my pain and my scars to begin their healing.  And those words were confirmation that God has indeed begun the healing in them.

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Thank You, Father, that Your healing in us has begun.  Let our pains, our scars be a light of hope to others.  In Jesus’ name I ask this, Amen – It Is So!

(Never Gonna) Steal My Joy

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I look at my life and I still can’t believe it
How could I make it to where I stand now?
You don’t understand, I was up against the whole world
And all I could feel was it breaking me down
But out of a hopeless situation
There came a song of redemption

Life may push my heart to the limit
But I won’t let go of the joy in my soul
‘Cause everything can change in a minute
And the world may try
But they’re never gonna steal my joy
No, they’re never, no, they’re never

So get up, stand up and rise above it
If every plan that you made go so wrong
You don’t have to give into the struggle
You may be down but don’t stay there for long
In every hopeless situation
There is a song of redemption

The world may say you’re never gonna make it
The world may say you’re not strong enough to take it
But I don’t care ’cause of the joy of the Lord is real
And they’re never gonna steal my joy,
Never, no, never 

 Songwriters: Sam Mizzell and Matthew West / Performed by Mandisa

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‘Get up, stand up, and rise above it’!!!  We were never meant to live a defeated life. Not when we have Jesus on our side.  ‘The world may try but they’re never gonna steal my joy’!!  Our joy can only be stolen if we ALLOW it to be….

Joy is not dependent upon our circumstances.

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;
at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.
Psalms 27:5-7 NIV

Joy is possible when we feel secure in the Lord.

Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of Your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalms 4:6-8

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Heavenly Father, Thank You for the fullness of joy that can only be found in You…for Your faithfulness in all circumstances…and for the strength to conquer whatever life brings.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!!!

Thrive

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Here in this worn and weary land
Where many a dream has died
Like a tree planted by the water
We never will run dry
So living water flowing through
God, we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire

Just to know You and to make You known
We lift Your Name on High
Shine like the sun, may darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

Into Your Word we’re digging deep
To know our Father’s heart
Into the world we’re reaching out
To show them who You are
So living water flowing through
God, we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire

Joy unspeakable
Faith unsinkable
Love unstoppable
Anything is possible

We were made to thrive

Songwriters: Mark Hall and Matthew West
Performed by Casting Crowns
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We were made to SHINE and THRIVE in this world
We were made to stand out in a very lost and lonely world…

I LOVE this quote by Joyce Meyer:
What does it mean to be more than a conqueror—You already know you’ve got the victory before you ever get the problem.

AMEN!!! We are victorious in every situation because of HIM!!  We weren’t made to JUST survive…we were made to THRIVE!!!

They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
Jeremiah 17:8 ESV

Like a tree living by the water, we will NEVER run dry!!! What a promise!!! Can I get and AMEN!!! If that doesn’t give you some encouragement and hope…I don’t know what will! That is SO our God!!!

Because of Him we can have joy unspeakable!!!

Without having seen Him, you love Him;
though you do not [even] now see Him,
you believe in Him and exult and thrill
with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.
1 Peter 1:8 AMP

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Oh Heavenly Father, thank You for this awesome word…that we can have joy unspeakable and that we will NEVER run dry in this worn and weary land..Into your Word we are digging deep! May we show the world just Who You are by the lives that we lead. May We thirst more and more for you!!! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!!!!

The Motions

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This might hurt, it’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care if I break
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all-consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions

No regrets, not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

Take me all the way
(Take me all the way)
Take me all the way
(‘Cause I don’t wanna go through the motions)
Take me all the way
(Lord, I’m finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way

~  Sing this song with me as our prayer and worship today.  ~

Songwriters: Sammi Zell, Jason Houser, Matthew West
Performed by Matthew West 
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The question on my heart for myself and for you is this:
Are you going through the motions
or are you walking with an all-consuming passion?

I want to live with abandon and give all that I have in this life!!!  When I get to the end of my life I don’t want to have any regrets.  I want to invest, with my whole heart, all that I have.  And not miss any opportunities that God gives me each and every day.

Last night I had the opportunity to go to a Toby Mac concert, and he shared this thought:  “With every opportunity and people you meet along the way you either drain them or lift them up.”  When I ponder this question it really makes me want to use the most of each and every opportunity I am given each and every day to speak life into the lives of others.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 18:31 ESV

What we speak and how we act will reap fruit—it can either be good fruit or bad fruit.  The choice is ours….

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Father, I pray that we will be women completely living with Your all-consuming passion; living with abandon to serve You, and to make the most of the opportunities You give us.  May we not be women who just go through the motions!  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!!!!

Forgiveness – Matthew West

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

~  Listen while you read, please!  ~

It’s the hardest thing to give away and the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel when the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word—”forgiveness”

It flies in the face of all your pride, it moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free”

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness, forgiveness
Help me now to do the impossible…forgiveness

It’ll clear the bitterness away, it can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you—Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible—forgiveness
I want to finally set it free so show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me—forgiveness

~  Matthew West  ~

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It’s the hardest thing to give away and the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel when the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word—”forgiveness”

Sisters, do you want the most of what God has planned for you?  Do you want to feel the FULL expression of God’s love?  Then you have to step out in faith and forgive. This song by Matthew West came to mind last night after praying for a choir member who is going to see his dying, aged father this weekend for the first time in over 30 years.  He is going to forgive his father, and seeking forgiveness himself.  This song would not leave my mind all night, so I figured God put it heavily on my heart and mind because he needed me to share it with you all—and also make sure my own plate is clean.

It flies in the face of all your pride, it moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’—Forgiveness

Some of you may feel offended or irritated that I would suggest that to feel the full measure of God’s love that you would need to forgive others.  You might be thinking right now of a person who you should forgive but don’t want to.  You know of someone that justifiably deserves your anger for all of the wrong committed against you, right?  I don’t know what you’re going through.  That’s true…I don’t.  (But God does.)

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness, forgiveness
Help me now to do the impossible…forgiveness

You see, God does understand.  He sees your life.  He sees you’re hurt.  He knows the pain that has been brought on you by others.  But He says to lay your cares on Him, to let Him avenge your wrongs—He is faithful to do those things for you, because He loves you.  He also knows that when you don’t forgive someone, the person it really hurts is YOU.  The anger, the emotion, the pain – it keeps you in bondage. When you don’t give that person over to God to deal with, you remain a captive to the hurt you feel.  The circumstance has power of you, not the other way around.  And, in case this hasn’t crossed your mind lately, when was the last time you hurt God?

It’ll clear the bitterness away, it can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you—Forgiveness

Was it yesterday that you sinned against God?  Have you even made it this far into the day before you’ve done something that could separate you eternally from the presence of Jesus?  Do you really understand the power of God’s love and forgiveness toward you?  In 1 John 1:9, the Bible says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God can (and will) forgive us daily.  If you’ve truly felt the full measure of God’s forgiveness—why not extend that to someone else?

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible—forgiveness
I want to finally set it free so show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me—forgiveness

You know, no one said forgiveness is easy.  And you may not forgive others because you don’t fully realize what it feels to be forgiven.  You may not accept the gift that forgiveness is.  But God is here to help you—to help you accept your own forgiveness, and to help you forgive another.  Try it today…and experience freedom from the bondage of hurt!

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Let’s pray:  Dear Lord, thank You for Your abundant forgiveness.  Please help me to forgive others as You have forgiven me.  Help me to extend the same healing power to others as I have received.  Where I am resistant, help me change.  Break down the bondage of unbelief.  Free me from the need to get revenge.  Help me to trust that You will vindicate me.  Help me to see others how Your mercy sees them.  Help me to love those who have hurt me.  Forgive me where I have hurt others and hurt You. Help me to walk in freedom!  In Your Son’s name, Amen.

Hello! My Name Is Child of the One True King

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

~  Listen while you read, please!  ~

Hello, my name is regret…I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life, I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget
Hello, my name is defeat…I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief
Oh, these are the voices. Oh, these are the lies
And I have believed them for the very last time
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I am no longer defined by all the wreckage behind
The One who makes all things new has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life

What love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King
What love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called His children
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I am a child of the one true King

~  Written and Performed by Matthew West  ~

Regret, Defeat, Loser, Unworthy, Worthless….  Are these the lies that you choose to believe???

Yes, there have been times in my life I have felt ALL of those things. But, let me assure you, that YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAST MISTAKES. Praise the Lord for this Truth!!!
I am no longer defined by all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life
Yes, just take a look at my life!!!  My life is a miracle and I am living proof of what Jesus can do in someones life. God has given me a second chance.. My past is not pretty. But I no longer put my focus there…I live in the truth of my redeemed life. Your past mistakes do not define your future with God; praise Him for that!

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
Heb 8:12 NIV

How amazing that our God remembers our sins no more.

To provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the LORD to glorify Him.
Isaiah 61:3 HCSB

Sisters, I encourage you to put the past in the past and let God heal those wounds and broken places and completely restore those years. That you would choose to believe the Truth of who you are in Him and that ‘Amazing Grace’ is the song that you will choose to sing!

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Heavenly Father, I thank You for the promise that You give us a crown of beauty instead of ashes; and I pray for each and everyone reading this that they would reject the lies and embrace the truth of who they are in you and KNOW just how much you love them. Thank You that You meet each of us where we are at and that you remember our sins no more! In Jesus’ name, AMEN!!!