Devotional 9/22

And remember that the heavenly Father, to whom you pray, has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here (in this earthly world) as “temporary residents. 1 Peter 1:17

The proper response to suffering is to grieve.
Melissa Helser

I’m a heart specialist, not a behavior modification specialist. I am really big on three things: the soul, grace and purpose. I believe in self development and I believe God transforms. I’ve been changed in ways I cannot even believe at times, because the word of God has truly changed me. But in certain areas, I find that it is a slow process and barely any progress. I embrace my own psyche and emotions; I study people and myself, and learned how the heart dictates the will. The heart, mind and the will operate together in deciding how we live and the direction we take. Have you ever stopped to think of gighky educated people, who become homeless or substance abusers? They never confronted their inner issues. The bible tells us in Priverbs 4, ‘guard your heart because it decides the course of your life‘. Show me your friends, I’ll tell you your future. Whats in your heart

Our hearts are the foundational blueprint of our life, our entide destiny is layed out for us according to our heart. For example, a fearful person lives in anxiety of mind. This person has no physical rest, and hesitates to go after any desire they may have- because they hold fear dearly in their hearts. An insecure person, will spend time in nothing else other than seeking love, fulfillment and happiness in others, because their heart is filled with self doubt, worthlessness or self hate. An ambitious person, on the other hand, believes in themselves even if they fail and have to reroute again and again. A heart filled with pride, will resist love and will refuse to change. Many older people I meet, often say they are depressed because they were too afraid to go after their dreams. They had dreams in their hearts, but fear filled a larger portion of it. Families break apart, sometimes because women become mothers and forget to be wives, their children filled a greater portion of their hearts. 

I can’t name what is most disappointing to me, but my heart is filled with disappointment. Being disappointed is not a problem, but letting it consume me is an issue. Being depressed is not the end of the world, sulking in it, is. Grief is necessary, it is part of healing. The truth is that feelings are manageable, just like the mind. God gave us emotions, God has emotions. The bible speaks of God being compassionate, jealous, angry, loving, hating; God laughs, He gets sad and so much more. Jesus even cried, but He did not stay there. 

Not too long ago, God gave me a revelation through a vision about a sister of mine, in Christ. She has had kidney problems, since her youth. And God spoke about her being healed for some time, and how I was healed from depression for some time too. But then we believed the symptoms we felt, in our hearts and the illness took hold over us again. Somewhere along the way our hearts believed in a lie. Sometimes I wonder why God removes people’s desire to do certain things, but He does not do it for others. Or how He heals some people who are sick, but does not heal others. We are not to question God, but to believe according to His word: God is the God of purpose. We are not to resent God, but we are to trust that He is perfecting our hearts to have a heart after His. God  desires for us to have a heart like His own. David had a heart after God’s, and he was not perfect. Since the Lord created us, He understands our emotions, and yearnings.  

God wants us to honor Him in our lives, despite of how we may feel or situations we may face. He wants us to be a mirror of His love, to the world. How can we be effective messengers of God, holding on to impurities in our hearts? God does not reject our brokenness and weaknesses, He wants to deal with them if we are willing to let them go. I like a quote I’ve come accross often, “God can heal your broken heart, He just needs all the pieces“. 

Lets pray: 

Today, I ask you God to take our broken pieces and renew a right heart within us. May you turn our mourning into dancing, and by overcoming these emotional battles, may we help others conquer as well. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Devotional 9/21

and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. John 2:9-11

Jesus saves the best for last

Wine is a very popular term in the bible, and one which is sometimes confused is the miracle where Jesus turned water into wine. Weddings in the middle east usually last much longer than American weddings; they last about one week. During this ceremony Jesus was present, along with his birth mother Mary and the disciples. For some reason the wine finished, but the party had not; so Mary asks Jesus to turn the water into wine. Jesus responds with a shocking “woman, it is not yet my time (to do miracles and demonstrate God’s glory)”. But Mary only walks away, Jesus is obedient to his earth mom and turns the water into wine.

Greek word for wine: oinos

Grape juice and wine are similar, they both come from vines of grape, either white or red (purple). This is the term for the grape juice which is fermented/alcoholic. And this is the same type of juice Jesus made at the wedding feast, the one containing alcohol. This same word is used in Ephesians 5:18, “...do not get drunk on wine…”. This is a Christian dilemma in many churches, even for myself for quite some time. I thought Jesus never drank wine, until my friend brought up a good point: Jesus drank of the cup in the last supper, it was a cup of wine. 

  • Ecclesiastes 9:7: Drink your wine with a merry heart.
  • Psalm 104:14-15: wine that makes glad the heart of men.
  • Amos 9:14: I will bring my people Israel back from exile. “They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine..
  • Isaiah 55:1: Yes, come buy wine and milk…
  • Proverbs 31:6: Give strong drink [as medicine] to him who is ready to pass away, And wine to him whose life is bitter.

Even with these scriptures in the bible, some proclaim that consumption of alcohol in any quantity is sin. Truth is that God is against alcohol, but when it is abused in over consumption, and/or addiction! Same as food, food is good but it is bad when it becomes a source of dependency or illness because of gluttony. My pastor preached once, and he said that Jesus would not have made wine because the people would have been drunk and Jesus would not go against His character to do so. I am sure that he meant well, but it was not a sin for Jesus to create an alcoholic drink. Image result for 2 Peter 2:19

  • Ephesians 5:18: do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
  • Proverbs 23:29-30: Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
  • Proverbs 20:1: Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.

Is it bad that Jesus cared about a celebration? Is it wrong for Jesus to provide something to the people which would provide some sort of pleasure? God is holy, but God is also the God of details. God is spirit, but God the Son (Jesus) is also a man. So He can us physical things, as well as spiritual; He is not ignorant of our needs. Jesus provided a need during this wedding, but He also proved to the disciples that He was a carrier of God’s glory. He did not mean to prove this to them, which makes it even better. Imagine this: somebody has a need or something needs to get done, and you are able to provide the solution. In doing so, you get the praise without even trying to attract attention unto yourself.

For some it is  Well, then again, maybe not! The joy of possessions, lovers, money, vacations, leisure activities, careers or work are things that will not last! Just like the wine finished at the wedding, sometimes God will allow things to end in our lives so that He can give us the best. The host of the wedding banquet declared ‘you have saved the best till now!‘. Hopefully, you and I will both be able to say God you have saved the best until now!

Let’s pray:

Father God, I pray that you would pour new wine into our lives.  Let the old wine, we’ve had for so long finish. And please provide for us some new wine, which will bring you glory. The new wine which represents greater joy, greater love, greater connections, and greater relationships, including our relationship with you. I pray that the years of sickness, lack and mental problems come to their end, and be replaced by health, in our bodies just as our souls prosper and may we see you meet our needs and fill our cups until they overflow. I pray this renewal and conversion in Jesus name, Amen. 

Finished wine: The law v. The new wine: Grace

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Devotional 9/20

“Tell us . . . what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3

 Live each day like Jesus is coming back.
Because one day, He will.

We are not afraid of the rumors of war, the terrible earthquakes and natural disasters because Jesus said they would happen. And He called these days:  “the beginning of the birth pains” (Matthew 24:8). When a woman has been pregnant, she reaches a point where she is ready to give birth, this is the term “birth pains”. Jesus metaphorically states that the end times will be evident in that the world will experience birth pains. Birth pains in the context of how Jesus illustrated it, is what it says in the bible in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Matthew, Thessalonians and Timothy.

  • The gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 
  • For many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. 
  • You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. 
  • For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
  • Then they will hand you over to [endure] tribulation, and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 
  • At that time many will be offended and repelled [by their association with Me], and will fall away [from the One whom they should trust] and will betray one another [handing over believers to their persecutors] and will hate one another. 
  • Many false prophets will appear and mislead many. 
  • Because lawlessness is increased, the love of most people will grow cold. 
  • Some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” (Seduced by demons)
  • In the last days, the character of man will become even more evil with people who actively “oppose the truth of God.”
  • The Jewish temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt
  • Peace Treaty in Israel would be signed which will last 7 years
  • One world government or New world order
  • Spiritual awakening for Israel, God’s holy spirit (as in now) would give them a new heart to understand and obey God (like us the gentiles)

What are we as believers to do?

 

  • We are to pray!! God is a faithful God, if it’s in the bible it will happen or has happened. And nothing can stop it, all we can do is ask for mercy. That God may extend His mercy of protection, even over those people who still need to accept Christ. All that is happening is so that there will be a great awakening to GOD. And by these occurrences people be drawn to God.
  • We are to endure to the end, because this is how we will be saved. 
  • Remain confident that God is in control, and that the things He said would happen- will happen. Trust in God. 
  • Be courageous, that we are not frightened, knowing that there will be more to come
  • We are to increase in love and righteous living
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment to not believe in the false prophets and the false Christs.
  • Guard our hearts and remain un-offended by betrayal and persecution for believing in Jesus Christ.
  • Stand firm on our faith: despite of the destruction around the world with hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars, etc..
  • Spread the gospel: The end will come when the gospel has been preached to every soul.

Let’s pray:

Lord, Jesus, I come before you to please for mercy. Not only for Puerto Rico and Mexico, but to all the nations of the world. We have a guarantee that we will die, it’s the only guarantee we have. But if it is not our time, we know that you have control of it except if we are seduced by the voice of the enemy in taking our own life, according to our will. I pray for a hedge of protection for those who are to come to your path, and may you protect also from sickness and disease of things that may result from dirty waters and the like. I pray for people’s hope in you to be renewed and that their faith in the eternal, to be revived. I pray you would have us all interceding for each other, and to be of physical help with money, food and clothing as well. In Jesus name, Amen. 

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Devotional 9/19

 

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10

We cannot simply train the mind, without purifying the heart.

Where does depression come from anyway? It comes from Satan, who came to steal, kill and destroy all of humanity not only Christians. He plants seeds in our minds, which over time grow into forests (strongholds or paradigms in our minds). But Jesus Christ who is the giver of life, came to destroy the works of the devil. He came to give us eternal life, and an abundant life here on earth. And Jesus said that The Father uproots all seeds that the enemy has planted. Suicidal thoughts visit many of us, some very often and others rarely but it is prevalent in our society. Assisted suicide, for medical reasons have made it even acceptable to kill yourself. Which is nonsense. I do not believe that suicide is an option, not even in cases of terminal illness. One reason of many to defend my stance, is that you never know if a miraculous healing can change the entire course of life.

In previous posts, I have expressed my long personal battle with depression, and my desire to end this life. I am not ashamed of my battles, because I am still here. Depression is a parasite, and it feeds off of the “carrier”. If you think in terms of depression, and act in terms of depression, speaking words of hopelessness, sadness, faithlessness, or isolation- depression will consume you. Take control of your thought life. How? By changing your mind.

  • If someone is ringing your doorbell, what do you do? Open the door right?
  • If you have a mess, what do you do? Start to organize and clean.
  • If the door bell rings again, what will you do? Go check the door again.
  • And if things start getting dirty again, wont you take the time to clean again?

The mind is the same way, it takes work to maintain it clean and focused. The spirit needs peace, so we must seek it: become a peacemaker. The body needs rest, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle: don’t be a couch potato. When there is no persistent intention to heal all three aspects of our being, depression will continue to grip its victims. It can be exhausting, just like anything else in life- but it needs to be confronted consistently. Like a cancer patient going for chemotherapy or radiation, depression needs to be treated (not the same as medicated). Like a patient with kidney failure, in need of dialysis, depression is a detoxifying process. 

  • Suicide statisticsAccording to a  National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2008), in the US there were 8.3 million adults who had serious thoughts of committing suicide, and 2.3 million who made plans to commit to do so.

Today I found out, a 23 year old female from my younger brother’s circle of friends, committed suicide. I couldn’t help but cry. I couldn’t help but ask God, why He didn’t intervene. Now, there are so many people heartbroken with grief, hurting with confusion and suffering with their own personal “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve”.

I firmly believe Christians over-spiritualize depression and dismiss the physical needs of a truly depressed person. I’ve said this before, and I will continue to say it until further notice (if I ever change my mind I will let you know). The reason I push it so hard is because the Christian church wrestles with so much sin, without attacking the core issue. The core issue is the heart!! We cannot simply train the mind, without purifying the heart. And for the unbelievers and wayward, the point of neglect is the spiritual part of our being. The focus is more on the physical satisfaction, while neglecting spiritual needs. Yes we have spiritual needs too.

I always say, and am fully aware of our entire make up: we are body, spirit and soul. 

  • Physically; low levels of serotonin correlate with depression, impulsive disorders, and suicidal people. 
  • Spiritually; the enemy works attacking the attributes of God: God is not real, God cannot help you, you are a lost case, God does not love you, you are worse than the devil, or the popular one- who needs God anyway?
  • And in the seat of our will, mind and emotion; we find an undisciplined soul. An unfulfilled, unsatisfied life is an unhappy, the will is weak. For example, people say where there is a will, there is a way… what if there is no will? Many people have no backbone, and therefore have no goals or ambition, have no direction in life. And then the mind has no focus, which is identified by a wavering undecided thought life. A weak minded person will believe most, if not everything which crosses by it. And an emotionally immature heart, will be tossed here and there, and find its way in the middle of nowhere feeding into emotional highs and lows. Things like being ungrateful, being pessimistic, doubtful, hopeless, etc., are soul issues.

Let’s pray:

Father God, my heart is very sad about these news I received today. I pray you would console those grieving for this soul. And Lord Jesus I pray that she had the chance to repent even if seconds before dying Lord. I pray you would orchestrate circumstance to bring this family and these friends the hope of the gospel, that Jesus came to wash us clean of our sins and offer us a new life, and an eternal life once we are resurrected from the dead. I pray for peace in their minds, and I plead the blood of Jesus over each individual. I arrest the spirit of death and suicide, which is looking for who to devour next. I ask you for mercy in all of humanity Lord. May you continue to strengthen us to fight against depression, sin and disease! In Jesus name, Amen.

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Devotional 9/18

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

For those who believe in God, it can be comforting to believe that God loves everybody. “Even me?” Yes, you, too. I suppose it has to be a matter of faith to believe it, since there’s little evidence, for most of us. God never gave me anything I prayed for, and for most of my life, He never gave me the feeling or even the illusion that God loves me.
Anonymous blogger

What is Love? I think it depends on who you ask. Most of what we know as love comes directly from what we have received and perceived as love. For some, love can be a simple emotion, or a connection, some feel protection or acceptance, and others understand love as responsibility and commitment. I have studied people, it is one of my quirks; I have met a few who are desperately clingy, others extremely detached but both call themselves expressing love (in their own ways). I know people who have serious issues with loving others, being extremely shy and reserved or not being able to love because they are self centered loving only themselves. All the life experienced, teaches us what is love and how to love.

I understand that our psychological and emotional maturity they develops from childhood into adulthood. It is like Pavlov’s Classical conditioning theory. His dog learned that when he heard a bell ring, he would get food. So before actually seeing or smelling the food, he would begin salivating simply hearing the bell ring. He was conditioned to expect, and we can be like Pavlov’s dog. Life has conditioned me to not trust people, even if they claim to love me. So I developed a protective shell around myself, including unhealthy self defense habits in order to avoid being hurt by “love”. I am very much a good hearted person, and a very giving person but I am also very wary of people’s intentions. Even though I have been in long term relationships, I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced real love. Being in relationships, really liking or lusting, even having sex with someone does not mean we are experiencing love.

Image result for perfect loveAnother aspect of ‘love’, is the reflection of love we have received in family relations. For me, its always been a battle to love and receive love, because of my daddy and mommy issues. For many men and women, the image of their parents communicating with each other is what shapes their own relationships in the future. More than 90 percent of abusers and victims involved in domestic violence as children, will develop similar characteristics in time. That’s over 90%! Most of our family relationships, are entangled with strife, anger, jealousy, criticism, rejection or dismissive tendencies; if these are the people that were God given to love us, would our view of Love be whole and not damaged? Believers often say: “Jesus loves you”, and He does. God needs you to know that He accepts and welcomes you, as you are. Just like a partnership in marriage, we marry imperfect people!  It is difficult to accept that we can still be sinners, in our bodies, minds, or hearts- but it is true even with our friends, family and spouses. God forgives us, how can we not forgive others? As a Christian, messing up throughout your walk is almost a guarantee- you will curse, you will lie, you will doubt, you will lust, overspend, you will deny Jesus one way or another but your conviction of God’s love for you should be stronger than any condemnation that the enemy throws your way. We will fail God, just like we fail our friends and family, we cheat on God even if it is not physical- we cheat with our minds and physical desires, we even lust after things with our hearts- just like spouses do. It is not necessary to physically cheat on someone to be cheating, the thoughts or ideas that come into our heads without stopping them equals cheating. We will argue, disagree and even question God, as we do with our parents or spouses too. It is a reality we face on a daily basis. Except that God will not stop loving us, our parents and spouses can reject or dismiss us but God will not.

Our maturity depends on the lies we replace by God’s truth. As Christian, we technically have no excuse to overcome fears and bad habits or attitudes, because as we grow in God- we should grow in nature. It is not easy, but it is possible. This is the same for spiritual growth and secular growth: worldly people (without God) train themselves to be people of integrity and excellence. In the secular world, they understand that our subconscious mind is set to be negative- and instead of using God’s word- they use positive affirmations and instead of using faith, they use the law of attraction (creative visualization).

Let’s pray:

God, I thank you for your love. Even though we may doubt your love and even dismiss your love because it is not often manifested in ways which we desire, I thank you it. I thank you for waking us up, for giving us strength and health, and a sound mind. You don’t have to but you do. I thank you for each person in our lives, who we have had the pleasure of spending time with in conversation or leisure. I thank you for all the provisions, and the needs which you meet. May we grow by your divine nature, which is Love. I pray that you would guard our hearts, from the lies of the enemy, when he would tell us that you do not love us; may we reciprocate the love you have for us back to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Devotional 9/17

For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men while they slumber on their beds, then he opens the ears of men, and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn man aside from his deed, and cut off pride from man; he keeps back his soul from the Pit, his life from perishing by the sword. Job 33:15-18

Only God is able to humble us without humiliating us, and to exalt us without flattering us. 

Ravi Zaccharius

​God made me really sad and upset this weekend. I am even offended. This entire walk with God has been quite the journey. There are highs and lows, good and bad times, moments of joy and moments of deep sorrow. To say the least, I have learned that God’s character is the only stable thing in this life. Even though we may be righteous, set apart for God, serving faithfully or sacrificially, God is still holy. And we are still sinners, who will always need more purification, more sanctification, more love and more consecration. In the bible, the book of Job is one of those books that we can identify with as believers because he was “a perfect man”. If he was so perfect, then why did God allow the devil to touch him? If Job was such a good man before the eyes of God, then why did he lose his kids, his income, his reputation and his health? 

In the bible, Job’s friends went as far as saying that Job had secret sin and that’s why he was suffering. Job too, went overboard and said some pretty disrespectful things to God himself: He even surrendered the idea that God loved him saying “God was his enemy”. I don’t blame Job, I’ve felt this way too and have told God some defiant things myself. In actuality, life and its trials in God’s hands are to humble us, to refine us and to see God in a new way. It’s true that the wicked seem to have better lives than us, the ones who were made ‘righteous’ by Christ. It is not easy to understand God’s ways, because it involves pain: and we associate pain with negativity. But God’s pain is also a seed, which will eventually bear its fruit. For example remember Joseph, he was envied by his own brothers, and left to die in a ditch in the dirt. But then his brothers changed their minds, and sold him to Egypt, where he was then unfairly imprisoned. All this pain, was only a seed waiting to bear it’s fruit. Joseph became Egypt’s high ranking financial adviser, and the supplier of the neighboring nations (including his family’s nation, Israel) during decades of drought and famine.

Sometimes it is hard to grasp the need for suffering, but after some deep meditation I have accepted that we need to be more holy and more righteous. The Lord molds us to perfection, and perfection is to become more like Jesus Himself. Jesus Christ, lived as a human, a poor human, not even rich in status or name. He died as the worst human: crucified as a sinner. His reputation was attacked, His body beaten until disfigured, but today, He is seated in glory with God the father again. Suffering is not the proof of wickedness.

Personally, I believe that Job was borderline arrogant. Job is like many of us, He knows what he has done right: he has been faithful and reverential of God, he pursued and served Him, but he may have forgotten that God tests the hearts of men as righteous as they may be. Even though Job was righteous, “a perfect man”, he was not a sinless man. He was certain of his position in God, and he may have been too trusting of his works and sacrifice that God needed to remind him, He was still the God of grace; the God who is in control, the giver and taker of life. 

I write this, even as I minister to myself. God played me, and it hurt me. But as God knows even the deepest intentions of our hearts, I am positive that He is on my side. I am still mad at God for playing me, but I believe that if He found it timely to rebuke me for something I thought was dealt with, it is obviously not a resolved issue. So I will let God be God. 

Let’s pray:

God, with a broken heart I ask you for instruction and grace to go on. Even though, I face battles which are secret to outsiders, you know my heart and you know the way I take. I ask you for more grace, for all of us who face challenges in this walk. May your grace equip us to face the future and endurance to see the purpose, like Joseph did. I know your word says that ‘all things work for good’ and you also say that ‘what the enemy means for harm, you turn it around for good’; I believe you at your word. I believe you love us enough to accept us as we are, but too much to keep us where we are. I pray for grace to quicken in us a renewed spirit. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Devotional 9/16

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; to godliness add, brotherly and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and brotherly affection with love. 2 Peter 1:5-7

God deliberately chooses those who have been wounded, those with physical or emotional limitations. Then he prepares them to serve and sends them out with their weakness still in evidence, so that his strength can be made perfect in that weakness. 

Christine Caine 

Lord Jesus, you are holy, and mighty: there is none besides you. I pray for this day, believing that you are righteous and nothing happens in our lives unless you authorize it. I thank you for your spirit in us, your comfort and presence. I thank you for the battles you have fought for us, which we know not about. I thank you for the victories you’ve given us, despite of our weakness. I thank you that you reward faithfulness and obedience, and that you honor your word as true. 

I present to you my life, and that of my loved ones, and anyone reading this even if I may not know them, you know them. I pray you would guide us and quiet our minds, and still our souls as we go through the motions of life. I pray for discernment, wisdom and peace to deal with the things that are not in our control. And I pray for love, for our love to increase for you, your word and for those around us. I pray that we would have love, kindness and mercy embedded into our souls. I also pray for meekness and self control, in all areas, including those where we may be impulsive or reactive. I pray for forgiving hearts, and open minds, may we not place you in a box.

In Jesus name, Amen.