I’m Back

I was doing so good for a while there and then life happened….don’t you just hate it when life interrupts what you have going on?

There I was, being diligent, working out in the morning and after work writing a devotional 3-4 days per week.

And then…poof… I disappeared.

Well, not really. Like I said life happened. I have on a regular basis some dizziness. It’s annoying but not really life altering. But then every once in a while BAM it gets really bad. To the point that I can hardly function. And that’s what happened to me.

I used all my energy to get through the day and then went home and rested hoping it would get better or go away. I had millions of tests done and in the end the dizziness is just part of Fibromyalgia. Which sucks!

I was looking for real answers, not a “This is just part of your disease,” answer. So I’ve been dealing with that. This past week the dizziness has gotten a lot better. So that’s nice.  But that’s where I’ve been, basically trying to survive my dumb body. And what I do when this happens is try to deal with it.

I believe that you have to grieve. I grieve every time some new aspect of my diseases are known or when doctors give me a new disease or affliction. I grieve who I used to be. I grieve what my body used to do. When I first got the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), I grieved that a pain-free life was gone. You have to grieve, otherwise you slip into a depression that won’t go away. I may be sad for a few days, but I’m not in my grief and sadness every single day of my life.

My favorite phrase is, “it is what it is.” Seriously, that’s how I move on with my life. I grieve for a bit and then say, “it is what it is.” There is absolutely nothing I can change about my diseases but I can change how I react to them. Some days they make me lay in bed and some days they are a blip on my radar.

Most days my RA is there but it’s not screaming at me. This past week and a half my left hip has been yelling at me. I don’t know what I did, if I did anything, but it hurts like crazy. But then this afternoon it stopped hurting. Why? I have no clue. I didn’t do anything different it just stopped hurting. That’s my body. Sometimes it hurts all over, sometimes it hurts in one or two places and sometimes it doesn’t hurt at all. It is what it is.

So you have to grieve, you have to accept it and then you have to figure out how to “get on with life.” How are you going to get on with your life? I’m going to get back to writing devotionals because it’s actually fun. It takes time, for sure but it’s also fun, to think creatively and not just about deadlines.

The take away: To get through the messy parts of life you have to grieve what once was, accept it and then figure out how to go on. God can help you with it all.

Psalm 46:1-3 NIV “God is our Refuge and our Strength, an ever-present Help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not Fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it’s waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Colorado pic (Photo by Tammy Waggoner)

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God Cares About You

“For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'” Acts 17:28 NLT

Sometimes life is pretty exhausting. We get up, we exercise, we get dressed, we go to work, we work, we come home and then have no energy to do anything else. This is how I felt today. It was a pain filled day. I haven’t being feeling well, I think I’m getting the dreaded summer cold. Plus I’m pretty sure I’m having a Fibromyalgia flare and my muscles and nerves are spasming like crazy. And when I got home from my exhausting day, I didn’t want to write a devotional, I wanted to sleep.

I was less than an inch away from giving up for the day and not writing this, but then I thought, “What does God want you to do?” Well, God gave me the idea, so he pretty much wants me to get off my exhausted rear and write.

Do you have days that start exhausting and don’t stop being exhausting? What’s the thing that motivates you to keep going?

 

God is definitely the thing that keeps me going. I have Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, High Cholesterol, Venous Insufficiency, Kidney stones, etc and the only thing that keeps me getting out of bed every morning is God.

For in him we live and move and exist. I don’t know how people make it through their day-to-day without God. He is my rock, he is my strength, he is my strong tower.

We are his offspring.  He made us, we are his. I’m not a mom but I am an aunt to 5 fantastic kids and I love them with every fiber of my being. So I cannot imagine how much more God loves us. He created us from the beginning and cares for us much more than we care for our loved ones, more than you love your kids or your dogs or your nieces and nephews. His loves is indescribable.

He is our everything and we are his.

Has God ever comforted you? Have you ever felt his love pour right into you? If not I encourage you to pray for God’s comfort, peace and love when you need it.

Lord, thank you for spending time with us again today. We are so very lucky to be called your children. We thank you for that honor. Lord you know what tasks get in the way of doing what you would have us do. We ask that you would remove our exhaustion and any other stumbling blocks that are in our way. We thank you that you give us the strength and perseverance to face each day and to keep moving in your will. We thank you for your love for us, for the gifts that you freely give us like the gift of comfort and the gift of peace. We pray that those who need to feel your love, your grace, your peace, your comfort, your healing would feel it now. That they would know without a doubt that their existence comes straight from you and that their life comes from you. We thank you for all that you do in and through us on a day-to-day basis and ask that each day would be a blessing in your sight. We ask for all these things in your precious, loving, life-giving, comforting name, Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.

trust in the lord

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Sometimes we cannot pray for God to bring our own comfort and we need a little help from outside sources like my friend Laura. Laura has helped me many times to hear and see what God was trying to say to me and as a Spiritual Director, she can help you too.

 

The Lord Hears You

“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”  Psalm 34:17-18 NLT

Another suicide has hit the media. I don’t know about you, but when I hear that someone has died of suicide my heart weeps. A childhood friend’s dad, died of suicide when I was teenager. A high school friend’s husband died of suicide. My sister’s friend’s husband died of suicide last year. And people I don’t know or hear about are dying of suicide every day.

My heart is weeping for all those left behind. My heart is weeping for all of those who took their lives, seeing no other way out. My heart is weeping for all of those who are effected by thoughts of suicide, even this very moment. If that’s you, please get help. There are lots of organizations available to help you, these are just a few.

Crisis Text Line

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

To Write Love on Her Arms

Please get help. If you had a broken arm you wouldn’t walk around without getting a cast or surgery or medication, please treat your mental illness the same.

Prayer works absolutely but God made the profession of therapist knowing we would need extra help. He made the profession of scientist to discover and develop medications knowing that sometimes we need more than just to talk it out. God gave people the idea to start support groups, understanding that, knowing other people going through the same thing as you helps. God made and gave us all the tools we need to deal with depression and the struggles in this life. Please get help. Please.

Lord, please be with every sad and depressed person who is reading this. Fill them with your love Lord. Give them your peace and push them to seek out help. Lord, please be with everyone who is reading this, that knows someone who is depressed. Help them to be an open heart, an open mind, an open friend that someone who is sad can talk to. Help them to see when talking isn’t enough. Help them to help those that they love. Lord, please be with all those that won’t read this, help them to get help, to seek out a friend, a family member, a therapist, a doctor and you Lord. Help us all, to help each other just a little bit better. Lord, please be with us all, as well grieve and deal with the loss of someone who died of suicide. Lord give us your strength, your wisdom, your peace, your comfort, your knowledge and your guidance as we do our best to be there for each other. We thank you Lord for spending time with us. We ask that you be with us in the coming weeks, months and years as we stand by someone who thought of suicide, who was left alone because of suicide and those that survive suicide. Please be will all of us. We ask all these things in your loving and sweet name, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

loved

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Fruit of the Spirit

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” Galatians 5:16-26 NLT

I had a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary who said, “pay attention! It says Fruit not Fruits.” How often do you hear people say, “The Fruits of the Spirit?” These are not separate “fruits” to strive for but one big fruit, which is probably why I like this print so much. It’s one fruit with all the parts listed in it.

So that means that the goal is not to simply master one of these but to master them all, so that your fruit can harvest. Let’s take a look at the list again: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. What in the list do you find easy? What do you find hard?

For me love is easy when the person is easily loved. I read a newspaper article earlier today where a man with Developmental Disabilities who was supposed to be in a safe place but was used, abused and eventually murdered. It’s hard to love the people who did that. So I guess I have to work on love some more.

Joy, comes from the anguish, heartache and grief of difficult situations. So getting to joy is not fun but joy in itself is good. I still think some days I need to work on letting more joy into my life.

Peace, this feels pretty easy until I start worrying about something. Most of the time I am peaceful but when I’m not, it’s easy to pray to God and ask for peace.

Patience…oh boy. I really need to work on patience. I feel my sinful nature coming up when I’m impatient. I don’t have patience with myself, I don’t have patience with drivers on the road, I don’t have patience…. Let’s just say I need to work on this one.

Kindness, I feel pretty confident with kindness. Unless you’re that person on I-70 that cuts me off, then my patience is gone and all you are getting is my anger. Again, another moment when my sinful nature comes up. So kindness is easy when life is easy.

Goodness, again I feel like I have goodness down, until something happens that makes things not so good, then my sinful nature shows up.

But faithfulness, I’m definitely good on this one. I don’t like to brag, but I will for this purpose. My faith in God is strong, it always has been. When I was a child, I had a fight with a friend and was worried that we would never be friends again. I was tossing and turning while not sleeping in my bed and God tapped on my shoulder and I just knew that a) it was him and b) everything was going to be ok. And then I fell into a deep peaceful sleep.

Gentleness, hmm I could probably work on this one too. What can I say I’m a work in progress?

Self-control….I think I’ve explained that I need to work on this, just see above.

Ok, so I need to work on all the aspects of my fruit. What about you? Are you where you think you should be? What do you feel you need to work on?

Lord, we thank you for spending time with us tonight and for showing us what we need to work on and where we are letting our sinful natures rule. We ask that you walk alongside each of us as we work to have better love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We know that we are a work in progress, please help us to remember this as we work on the fruit of the spirit. We know that you give us these things from the Spirit and as we strive to do better at each of them we ask for your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, for we learn best by your example. Lord thank you for all of your gifts and please be with us in the days, weeks, and months ahead. We ask all these things in your precious and holy name, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Fruits

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God’s Perfect Timing

“So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” James 1:16-18 NLT

Before this passage begins is a discussion about temptation and blessings and basically concludes that God doesn’t give us temptation but it comes from our own desires. So don’t be misled when it comes to who brings about temptation.

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. God is perfect, Jesus was the only perfect man because he was God in human flesh. God is good and perfect, and even though we see our circumstances as imperfect, they are perfect because they come from God.

Sometimes what we see as imperfection is when God wants us to lean on him the most. To turn to him with our hurt, our pain, our frustration, our joy, our happiness, our tears, our laughter, etc. God wants it all, from all of us. So if you, like me are waiting for the perfection in the imperfection, perhaps God wants you focusing on other things. What do you think?

He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. Do we trust God to do what is best for us? Can we trust God in our imperfection? Can we trust him in our waiting?

He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. In the eyes of God we are a treasure to behold. Think about your most prized possession, do you care for it? Do you make sure it’s clean? Do you make sure it has all it needs to keep going? That’s what God does for us all. He makes sure we have all that we need for that perfect moment. The perfect moment is His and it is coming in his perfect time.

Take heart, if your are struggling, turn to God and give it all to him. And know that perfection is coming.

Lord we thank you for your perfection, your infinte wisdom and we ask that you give us patience as we wait for your perfection. We thank you for your good and perfect gifts. We thank you, that you never change and we ask that you be with each of us as we go throughout each day, that you would point out what is coming, that you would remind us that you are there. We thank you Lord that you love us so much that we are your most prized possessions. We thank you Lord for spending time with us and being with us each day. We thank for all that you do in and through us, and we pray all these things in your precious and holy name Lord Jesus, Christ Amen.

God is good

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The Real Super Hero

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldy enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:19-25 NLT

 

Thinking of the Salvation of Jesus Christ can, for believers and non-believers, be a difficult concept to understand. But it is somewhat easier to explain if you think of Jesus as not a God in human flesh, and not just a man but rather a super hero. He comes from the land of milk and honey–a land far far away. He swoops down in his cape and as we all throw light beams of sin on him he catches it all and in the last fight against the devil, he takes our sins with him to the grave. And in his death and resurrection we are given new life.

Does it make more sense now? Now that a superhero with amazing abilities has saved the day? But isn’t that who Jesus is, anyway? He doesn’t wear a cape, but he still heals the hurting. He didn’t swoop down from heaven but was instead born to a virgin. He doesn’t carry light beams of sin but he still died as man to save man from sin. He still rose from the dead so that all may have eternal life. He is our super hero.

This passage talks about how Jesus made us clean, how his death gave us freedom from sin. But it also goes beyond that amazing act to remind us that God keeps his promises. The author wants us to go beyond being saved to encouraging one another and to motivate each other to acts of love and good works.

Isn’t that the whole point of being a Christian? Who remembers that song from when we were kids “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine?” The light is the light of Jesus. It’s the knowledge that we are saved. We shouldn’t hide this knowledge but should rather, let it shine for all the world to see. You should share the salvation in act and in deed like through acts of love and good works but you should also share your knowledge so that all through Jesus Christ can be saved.

Do you have someone in your life that needs to hear of Super Jesus? Do you know someone that needs to be saved? If so pray to God that the opportunity to talk about Jesus will come about and that you will take the opportunity to share God’s love.

Lord, we thank you for your salvation. We thank you for the gift of freedom from sin. We pray that as we go through our day to day, we will find someone to talk to about you. We pray that as opportunties present themselves that we will be open to the opportunity and let you lead. We ask you to watch over us and help us to be better stewards of your kingdom. Lord help us to encorage one another and motivate each other to acts of love and good works. Lord, we thank you so much for your sacrifice for our sins. Lord, we thank you for spending time with us and ask that you would continue to be with us, day in and day out as we do our best to spread your salvation, love, compassion, peace, kindness and good works. We ask all this in your name Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Savior

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Harvest of Blessing

“Dear Brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. Don’t be misled–you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone–especially to those in the family of faith.” Galatians 6:1-10 NLT

When you read this passage what sticks out to you? Is it that we are all to help each other back on to God’s path when we are sinning? And while helping that we are not to fall into temptation as well? Is it that we share in each other’s burdens? Is it that none of us is too important to help another human being? Is it that focusing on helping others will keep us from trying to be better than anyone else? Is it that we will always harvest what we plant? Is it that we should not get tired of doing what is good? Is that by doing good we will reap the harvest of blessing?

What’s great about this passage is that it speaks to all of us. We are, each one, responsible for our own actions and for helping those around us and with an air of humility, knowing that we are not too important to help. Wouldn’t it be great if we went to one another asking for help when we get too close to our sin? Alcoholics do this when they get too close to having another drink. But I can’t think of any other group that is self-aware enough to say, “hey, I feel like sinning.” But wouldn’t it be wonderful if they did or if we could see when someone is about to sin.

Like, “ooh I see Jenny is thinking impure thoughts I better go see if she needs my help.” But that’s not exactly something you can see. You might be able to see, “oh wait a minute, Micheal looks like he is going to gossip, I better go stop him.” But really how much of our sins are visible? I don’t know about you, but I try to hide my sins. I mean it’s not like I walk around waiving the red flag that signals that I will be sinning soon. But wouldn’t it be nice if there was something like that, that would help us prevent sin.

It’s only when our sin becomes visible that we seek help. And sometimes our sin is so great that reaching the end of our rope or rock bottom is the only thing that makes us reach out to others. This is of course the perfect time to help others but wouldn’t it be great if we could prevent sin? I think this actually might be possible because when we help others, in the moment when they need us most, we open the door for them to need us again. We open the door to us needing them as well. Starting a relationship by helping each other is how we prevent sin in the future. The starting of the relationship is the planting. We are planting seeds of love, of compassion, of forgiveness, of trust, and like the author says, whatever we plant will grow to harvest.

Lord, please help us to be more aware. Help us to stop and look and listen to those around us and help our focus to be on each other and not just “getting the work done.” Lord, help us to be better Christians and better friends and better sisters and better brothers and better moms and better dads and better wives and better husbands and better cousins and better aunts and better uncles and better grandparents and better kids to all those around us, those we know and those who are unknown. Lord, help us to reap the harvest of blessing. We thank you Lord for spending time with us and we ask all these things in your loving name Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Cross

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Finding Safety in God

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and will protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91: 1-4 NLT

Where do you find your rest? Rest doesn’t mean sleep. It means, where do you go to feel at peace? Where do you go when hard times hit? Do you go to God? I absolutely do. Some one tells me something is going on with them and I say, “I’ll pray for you.” Then I follow that up with actually praying for them. When something is going on with me, I go to God. He is my rest. Worrying about the problem won’t do me any good but bringing it to God and laying it at his feet will. And when I lay my problem at God’s feet I find my rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety.

He is my God and I trust him. Do you trust God? Do you trust God to be there? Do you trust God to keep you going, to give you strength? Do you trust God to give you love? Do you trust God to get you through the hard times just like he helps you through the easy ones?

He will rescue you from every trap and will protect you from every deadly disease. What do we take from that? I think it’s about putting your faith in God. Believing that he will rescue you from no matter what ails you. But it’s hard to talk about protection from disease or deadly disease because some people get sick, even good and faithful Christians get diseases and die. But what I choose to take from it, is that God won’t leave you in your disease. He will give you peace and comfort and the strength to face it.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Beautiful imagery yet again. We will soar on the wings of eagles and God will cover us with his feathers and shelter us in his wings. When I think of this I see a beautiful embrace or hug. God will wrap his loving arms around you and provide protection, shelter and love. His promises to never leave are your protection and armor in your life.

Can you think of an area in your life where you need to fully trust God? Can you think of one thing that you could lay down at God’s feet and leave there, trusting that God will take care of you? Want to give it a try now? Close your eyes and picture a cross or Jesus standing in a room. Now picture your worry or your fear or your trouble, name it. Now walk that worry or fear or trouble over to the cross or Jesus’s feet and leave your trouble there. Ask God to keep your trouble and to not let you pick it up. Trust God to take care of your trouble and to take care of you.

Lord, we thank you for spending time with us today. Lord help us to lay our troubles and worries at your feet and to not pick them up again. Help us to trust you Lord. Give us your peace and your comfort so that we can feel your protection. Thank you for not giving up on us Lord and for helping us to trust you more. Thank you Lord for meeting us where we are and coming along on our journey. Lord be with us each day going forward and help us to put all our trust in you. Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Trust

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Getting Stronger with God

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Do you ever feel powerless? Do you feel weak? If I had to pick an area of my life where I feel powerless it would be my health. I was talking with a co-worker today and we were talking about how we feel like our bodies are letting us down as we get older. Tonight, even after working out and taking some meds to help with pain, there isn’t a joint in my body that isn’t yelling at me. My back is yelling, my knees are yelling, my elbows are screaming and my feet are crying. I feel absolutely powerless when it comes to my body, especially when it hurts.

Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. When I feel powerless or weak God gives me new strength in him. He reminds me it’s not always like this. Some days are better than others and even though today is bad tomorrow might not be. He pushes me to workout when I am exhausted. Reminding me that keeping fit will help, even if it doesn’t help today. I find my new strength in God. I pray for him to give me strength.

The author here isn’t just talking about physical strength, he’s talking about strength to fight the battle or run the race. We put on the full armor of God and can now fight the battle before us. The battle for justice, the battle for love, the battle for being and feeling safe, the battle for God.

They will soar high on wings like eagles. Isn’t the imagery in the Bible just fantastic? Every time I read that sentence I picture an eagle soaring through the sky. Can you imagine soaring over your problems?

They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. God gives us the strength to fight the battle, to fight the illness, to fight the exhaustion, to fight the injustice, to fight for love and to fight for God.

Throughout the Bible and throughout our lives God gives us what we need. He gives us peace and comfort, he defines love and shows us how to give it, he gives healing in many ways, he shows us his strength and gives us his strength when we need it. God is in every moment of your life and is there to give you all that you need.

There’s a saying that goes, if you ask God for patience he will give you more opportunities to be patient. God gives you what you need, the tools you need to live your life, but if you ask for strength be ready for God to give you opportunties to become stronger.

Do you feel exhausted in your life? In your faith? Are you weary? Go to God because he can help you, he can give you power and strength so that you can soar on wings like eagles, so that you can run and not grow weary, so that you can walk and not grow faint.

Lord, please be with us when we feel weak or powerless. Remind us that you are there Lord. Give us what we need in this moment and in all the moments to come. We are ready Lord for your new strength, to soar like wings on eagles, to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint. Give us your strength and your power as we go throughout our days, today and every day with you Lord. Thank you for your strength when we need it most it is in your loving and strength giving name that we pray Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Strong

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