Proverbs 31, Verses 10-31 - 10 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. 14 She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. 15 She rises also while it is still night And gives food to her household And portions to her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong. 18 She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. 26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 29 “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.
Psalm 91, Verses 14-15 - "Because she loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue her. I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name. She will call on me and I will answer her. I will be with her in times of trouble."
Galatians 5, Verses 22-23 - The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
I HAVE THE SHAPE OF A REAL WOMAN by Michelle Murphy
Real women are diverse in nature. They come in all shapes and stripes, and define beauty inside-and-out.
BE A WOMAN OF DEPTH by Michelle Murphy
I love everything about this Proverbs 31 woman. She is independent. She is strong and courageous. She is charitable, beautiful, wise, and educated. She does good and not evil. She is a woman of faith. She is trustworthy and admired. She is a giver and someone who keeps her word; she strives towards the good. She is a mother and a wife, and the Proverbs 31 woman is kind. Let's be like her - for she is prolific! A prolific life, or a life bearing fruit, often originates from an epiphany or deep realization felt emotionally and intellectually in our lives. It continues and becomes reality because of commitment, expectation & encouragement, and continued inspiration. The Proverbs 31 woman bears fruits by her work, by her actions, and through her commitments. How she arrived here would have to include deep realizations, expectations from within and from others, inspiration, and encouragement or reinforcement. Her sons call her a blessing, and her husband has her in his heart, others admire her - so she has expectation and encouragement/reinforcement from those closest to her.
I believe we ALL ought to strive towards living a prolific life, a life bearing fruit - this article/devotional is specific to prolific women. The points noted in "Be A Woman of Depth" are all about not being shallow as women. I believe it's important to mention because women are often tricked into being shallow. Trickery is often authored by Satan (the adversary) for a reason. Without depth how does one become affected by deep realizations, or moved by spiritual truths? If we are shallow, do we end up with a hardened heart? Do we become debased? Preferring beauty over cruelty in nature is about perspective. Perspective is important to being a woman of depth. Also, remembering where we came from is tied to where we are going, and without remembrance one tends to toss and turn about like a tumbleweed. Leading a purposeful life and seeking God's will go hand-in-hand. We should all strive to be "real women" - whether we are black, white, hispanic or oriental. Every woman's challenge is to use both the heart and mind together. We shouldn't be driven by pure emotion & heart, or purely by our intellect. It is the heart intelligence component which is often missing influence in our complex patriarchal world, and so it is even more important that prolific women contribute in peace-making and decision-making endeavors. And a prolific woman would have developed strong heart intelligence and strong mind intelligence to do so.
Galatians 5 lists nine fruits of the Spirit, which indwells within us as Christians - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Do you feel these 9 action-words are a big part of your life? I selected a few I struggle with to pray for below. Psalm 91 is also an inspiring verse, which above is translated from "he" to "her". It says how women who acknowledge His name are rewarded with protection and refuge in times of trouble. Another blessing from God - a blessing for those striving towards being a prolific fruit-bearing real woman.
Dear God, Thank You for love, joy and peace. I am even more thankful for Your protection and refuge in my life, and take comfort in knowing Your love for me. I feel grateful to be alive even though my journey through life in general has been difficult. I feel as if my epiphanies and deep realizations come from Above, as I can see the very purpose of these experiences to be good outcomes and an answer to my prayers. Praise You all the more! I ask that You continue to work on my heart and mind. I ask that You encourage the indwelling of the Spirit, so that I may have more patience, faithfulness, self-control, and other Galatians 5 fruits of the Spirit. I pray I will always strive towards being a Proverbs 31 woman, so as to maximize the blessings I pass along to others. I am working towards being a prolific fruit-bearing real woman. I am thankful for high expectations and encouragement towards me by those closest to me throughout my life. High expectations also come from You Lord. May You continue to bless me, and keep me as Your own daughter. It is an honor to be a daughter of yours; it is an honor to be a sister, girlfriend, female colleague, aunt, niece, wife, and to also be my mom's daughter. Glory be to God! Amen.
Job 42, Verses 12-17 - And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, and the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers. After this, Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons and his grandsons, four generations. And Job died, an old man and full of days.
Romans 8, Verses 28-31 - And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Romans 8, Verses 36-39 - Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Psalms 55, Verses 22-23 - Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay; the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.
1 Corinthians 10, Verse 13 - No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Hebrews 4, Verses 14-16 - Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 12, Jesus, the Example - Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. 18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. 25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
"When the saints go marching on" is a great musical number. When I think of marching I often think of God's troops on the spiritual battlefield, including mankind and how things play out here on earth. Of course, angels, demons, spirits, deceivers, kings, queens, princes, princesses and potentially other intelligent lifeforms would play some role in this spiritual battle. As God's people, do we have battle scars? You should as we are ALL called. The Daily Message is about being called as a warrior in God's army, encouragement for God's people, and some difficult truths and how-tos for warriors.
Hebrews 12 discusses the example of Jesus and the difficulty and discipline one should receive as a Christian (Hebrews 12 in the Daily Reading). It is an introduction to the reality warriors face. The difficult part of being in God's army is that we must endure in its many forms. Thankfully we having a loving Father that brings us along in a similar manner to a perfect earthly father.
Women and men today are engaged in warfare at every front whether they are engaged in spiritual battle, raising another generation against the odds, or raising the bar worldwide for God's Laws - love, morality, justice, righteousness, responsibility, peacemaking. This takes discipline and Godliness.
There were many battles in the Bible. Warriors fought and continue to fight on a variety of fronts. (1) The story of Job is about when God allows Satan to ruin Job's life. Job's life is terrible on all accounts but he still respects God, despite God allowing Satan to do this to him. We see much later in the story that Job is awarded again a good life from God. He certainly endured battle scars! (Verses from Job listed in Daily Reading.) (2) "Wrath of an Archangel" (my poem in photo) discusses an intense battle where archangels are full of wrath, and for a righteous reason ensued in battle. Working through persons on earth, these angels are later celebrating a victory with God. Psalms 55:22-23 is a good match for this poem. (3) We can also think of Jesus being tempted on various occasions, or (4) when Jesus casts out demons. These are trials or battles requiring direct confrontation with Satan. Satan is always powerless when we choose the path of Godliness. (5) The adversary may be the Pharisees of the day, or Pharaoh from the past, or corrupt leadership from past to present, small and large. Anti-Christs is plural for a reason. (6) Don't forget when the people are wicked, such as in the Old Testament. Whether Sodomites or Israelites, one nation went into captivity of another, or conflict ensued between God and His people directly. Wicked groups and nations defiant to God have continued to exist ever since. Most often God's people are not isolated from the destruction of the people around them, and it is very difficult to endure, especially when there is forewarning and knowledge that is ignored.
Passages 1 Cor 10:13 and Heb 4:14-16 provide helpful advice to the warrior-lady and warrior-man on temptation, confession, mercy, grace and endurance. God calls us towards the difficult life, but the reward is great. Romans 8:36-39 discusses being slaughtered, and many early Christians were. But the verses also promote the hope and blessings outside this life.
In short, it is not easy being a Christian for life, or to take the path of a Godly person. Battle scars come to all God-seeking Christians. Raising children and passing down good moral traditions, and teaching that with success is no easy task. Getting involved in a campaign or project, teaching or giving time to charity, and promoting God and/or His Laws - its all stellar work for the Lord! Dealing with your own demons and those of others is tough work! Engaging in spiritual tasks like praying, forewarning, loving, caring, rebuking, helping, peacemaking and edifying is our calling and part of the endurance race we run as Christians! These warrior activities are not easy and require a lot of us as times. Battle scars!
Dear God, I have many battle scars. Life as one of your soldiers has its ups and downs. I have become disciplined and able to endure heavy hardship. I am glad not to be among the early Christians who were slaughtered, yet many today still face violence as Christians; I pray for a quick end to their plight. Remind me when I ask or pine for new things in my life that it may line up with Your Will, that it may be a campaign, project, job or responsibility that may further Your cause and brings good tidings to many men, women and children. I appreciate your grace and mercy, especially when on the difficult road towards the unknown. May God's army be a most righteous army in all the earth and in the heavens. "Oh when the saints go marching on!" Oh may those marching days always be counted as glorious! Glory be to God! Amen.
Psalm 40, Verse 8 - I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”
Psalm 143, Verse 10 - Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Matthew 6, Verse 10, from the Lord's Prayer - "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven."
Matthew 26, Verse 36-44 - Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.
2 Titus 2, Verse 19-21 - Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Genesis 2, Verses 16-17 - ...the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Genesis 4, Verses 4-7 - ...the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
I attended Alcoholics Anonymous for many years as a heavy drinker. The time was not wasted, and I overcame my issues. It was in big part, or full part, the doing of God. I often struggled with Steps 3 and 11, somewhat puzzled at how turning my life over to God could be realized and prevent me from following bad instincts. It is true that since the fall of Adam and Eve that we have known within our very beings the difference between good and evil, between righteousness and unrighteousness. However, our instincts and patterns of behavior may often trump our inner-knowing, especially before we dedicate our lives to God, and especially if our parents practiced and taught us unGodly behaviors. Our inner-knowing may not be what comes to mind as we decide our actions in our daily lives. We must practice being a righteous person before it becomes instinctual, and even then we know mankind's instincts are never perfect, for "the flesh is weak." Step 11 in Alcoholics Anonymous is key and pertains to a life of prayer; it is only through prayer that we can realize answers to our prayers. Being a vessel to God requires doing what is righteous, but reinforcement is needed. In the Old Testament God gives Israel the Law; in the New Testament Jesus fulfill's the Law. Besides righteous actions we need guidance on how to best move forward in our life plans, so that we may glorify God in some pursuit or another. In answer to prayer, God's will for our life can be revealed to us through the Spirit. It is vital to read and absorb the Word, know God and His commandments, and study the example of Jesus and other saints and Christians. These are tools to inspire us. In Jesus's last days he was depressed and prayerful. He spoke to God three times in prayer about "Your will, not Mine". Even the Son of God struggled with this mission, because he was also a man. So what does that tell us about us - fully man and fully woman? It tells us it is difficult to honor God in our actions; it is not easy to glorify God. We need constant dedication - knowing the righteous path God would have for us, and then following through.
Dear God, I confess I have not prayed enough for direction from You in my life. I have also not prayed enough to know You more intimately so that my faith would be strengthened and I may better understand Your direction for my life. And I struggle with righteous daily living - having a limited sense of my God-given purpose. I am sometimes wavering in the wind instead of being a solid rock. Help me to know Your will for my life, and to develop better patterns of behavior so my daily living is righteous. Remind me that "Your will, not mine" does not mean my life will be all sugar and roses. Jesus suffered and He is our number one example. I pray that I will be a better servant of God and honor You the remaining days of my life. I pray that my life up until this point has been pleasing to You in some ways. Glory and honor are Yours. Amen.
Psalm 46, Verse 10 - "Be still and know that I am God."
Quotes from I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack
"Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance."
"Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance."
Quote from Broken Heart by Sarah McLachlan
"Are we just drops of rain falling for a little while?"
Quotes from Blowin In the Wind by Bob Dylan
"How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?"
"How many times must a man look up before he really sees the sky?"
"The answer [to the above] my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind."
Quotes from The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
"Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk to you again."
"In restless streets I walked alone."
"And the people bowed and prayed to a neon god they named."
"The words of the prophets are written on the subway halls and tenement halls."
Lyrics to Amazing Grace
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see. T'was grace that taught my heart to feel, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed. Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come. T'was grace that brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home. When we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun. We've no less days to sing God's praise then when we first begun. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see."
Dreaming of Blueberries, poem by Michelle Murphy
She wrinkles her lips dreaming of blueberries
How does one dream of blueberries when a babe?
Only knowing of the suckling of the breast,
And the warm pure mama’s milk, summery, gold.
She dabbles in the dreams of her ancestors,
Her mother, her father, her Italian greats and English roots.
She dreams of cinnamon sticks and galloping horses,
Windy days and stormy rains, meadows and great big oak trees.
All the things we would like to see in Heaven.
Dream on, dream until your dreams come true.
As we age a little, we have freedom and duty,
We wake up for life with a readiness about us,
While we sleep – we plan, we pine, we heal.
Sleeping beauty, she schemes and projects,
Onto a radiant platform left by her forefathers.
Kissing the blossoms, batting the eyelashes,
With no fear, she is soon ready to wake and triumph.
Babies are born thinking and pondering everything in sight. At night, we often continue to subconsciously think or process by dreaming. Humans were made to think, and ponder, to pine, to plan, to do, and to create. As women we may carry a created life inside of ourselves, and both men and women may raise a young child into adulthood. And while some believe knowledge and intellect is reserved for the elites, the poets and the "thinkers", it is all of us that are called to determine for ourselves our beliefs, our faith and our actions. We may up until this point carry over in the ways of our ancestors - grandparents & parents, and we may not question much - not since the questioning days of childhood anyway. We may also rebel against our upbringing, culture or village-ways, and adopt something new without much thinking other than to rebel or follow. This is just instinct and reaction. Epigenetics tells us the past comes through our genes for maybe 14 generations (including our mental outlook), yet science also says we can develop a new footprint starting any day going forward - we can make a line in the sand and walk over it at any moment like a new person and begin re-wiring ourselves. Pondering the big questions in life is a duty of every human being - not just once or twice but throughout our lives. Most humans have faith in something, but questioning and testing that faith throughout our journey will only deepen it and bring it to maturity. "Are we just drops of rain falling for a little while?" is a deep intro to one of my favorite songs. It likely stems from a songwriter who was suffering with grief. We tend to reflect during times of suffering, which is the way God has often worked through my life. And yet we often ask God why bad things happen - the answer is obviously right there. For finding you in the silence is a beautiful experience that often coincides with someone's first acknowledgment of God in a mature way, but when we are not prone to listening we may find truth during hardship and suffering. To triumph righteously we must not be deaf to the words of prophets, or to what is "blowing in the wind" - we must accumulate truths and essential answers in our life. We must develop faith ("develop" being a verb or action word). We do so through experience and listening. We must be hearers and doers of the Word, not just readers. Knowing about God, His Son, the Word, being prayerful, and doing good, plus living righteously - these things are the fruit that is born of our reflection and faith. For "be still and know that I am God," but also be ready to walk alone in restless streets in search of the truth. An amazing grace will meet you there, in the stillness or on the streets - and bring you along.
Dear God, I was born a curious and rebellious child, and was both a learner and an instinctual reactionary throughout most of my youth and adulthood. And yet I have walked alone on the restless streets, and thought and pondered further about my faith and other essential truths. For some time now I have thought that the truth is overrated (and much knowledge is), but there are essential truths that we must all seek as part of our lives here on earth. It is a blessing to find You in the stillness, and to stand for righteousness. I pray for an even deeper faith for myself. There is no way we are "just drops of rain falling for a little while". It is clear to me that Your hand is in everything and Your presence omnipresent. I pray that others are brought to their knees if it is required for them to find You in the restless streets, and that others be blessed with knowing You in the silence. There is a blueprint for humans in our origins to think, ponder and overcome - thank You for making us that way. I pray that mankind overcome much and bear great fruit in Your name. Thank You for Your amazing grace; without it we would all be lost. Amen.
1 For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
John 3, Verses 16-19 - “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Romans 12, Verse 2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Genesis 1, Verses 26-28 - Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
In Psalms 8 David is in reflection on how absurd it seems that this powerful God has such an interest in men and women. I imagine this is because David himself sees that mankind is undeserving of such love. Yet men and women have been put just a little lower than God Himself. Myself, I have a predicament of always standing up for mankind, thinking often that the gods and God are too harsh in their thinking. Yet John Chapter 3, Verse 19 reminds me that men and women often love the darkness and commit evil deeds at will, despite the fact that the Light has come into the world. We should ponder on how many people shun the truth for a lie, dismiss doing what is right, and commit a wicked deed or intentionally hurt others for "shits and giggles". We should also seriously reflect on our own actions and intentions in this world. The ways of this world are not generally good, and we ought not to be conformed to them. So the answer to this, "God, what is man that you take thought of him?" is two-fold. We are in part undeserving and having a tendency towards evil and wickedness. However, we are also made in His image - and so we have much ability to create good and rule justly and be splendid ourselves. We have the ability to make the decision to renew our minds daily and care for others the way He cares for us. There is so much to being human which is pitiful, and yet so much that is majestic and awesome. Dwell on the awesomeness about men and women for they have achieved the great, glorified God and accomplished the unimaginable; but also reflect on the wars, death and suffering brought about by the havoc of wicked people. Mankind's situation is not a simple one and much improvement is needed - more Godly people are needed in this world.
Dear God, I can either be a half cup full or half cup empty person on my view of the world and all that is in it, especially when reflecting on the situation of mankind's existence and history. No matter what I must reflect within, be attracted to and tell the truth, and commit everyday to doing what its right. I praise You and thank You for Your commitment to men and women, and children in this mysterious world where darkness still has a way of blueprinting its way into our lives and the lives of others. Thank You for sending us Your Son and also the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. I pray that the Light overtakes the darkness in as much of the world as possible until the final judgment takes place. I pray that mankind wakes up to the greater reality and absorbs the truth so that justice and peace will prevail in areas where it does not today. Thank You for Your love - towards me, towards others, towards man in general. In Jesus Name. Amen.
A Poem - Finis-en avec moi, mon ange! (Finish me off, my angel!), by Michelle Murphy
The world is dying, people are passing.
Or going elsewhere, to Hell.
I'm grieving, there's a pit before me,
There's nothing tangible that tastes good left.
I'm about to take a dive.
Yet if I focus my faith on two things:
A will to live, and faith in other people's goodness,
I can carry on.
I have no spirit right now for a religious life.
I only have this tightly bound leather,
Holding together some organs and blood,
Trying to revive my stone heart.
I am bruised, I am broken, but soon
I may find some motivation
To come back from the dead,
From the stone grave located in my chest.
Pray for me!
I quit a show today I didn't totally come
To terms with until recently.
Am I on Stage?
I give up on inspiration - if it will only leave me alone!
Inspiration sourced from others driving me down,
Down a long spiral staircase to the pit.
I'm about to take a dive!
From whom does this sourced knowledge originate
That is in my head?
While You ban torture, I am tortured by day.
Day - the time when the sun is supposed to shine brightly,
And for good cause.
Instead it reveals and reveals and reveals -
No privacy here!
Depart from me, the One, You -
You who summons about frivolous tasks,
Stay gone from my head,
Lord make it so!
And Lord free me from my own thoughts too.
Hear my groans and grunts.
I miss my heart, I hate my mind,
All that seems left is some good lipstick,
And cheap beer.
That's all there is of value in Hell.
Sunshine - shine no more!
Instead leave me alone!
There is no glory in this work.
Finis-en avec moi, mon ange!
(Finish me off, my angel!)
Give me more courage.
Tomorrow is another day...
[one tear finally rolling down cheek]
It's a broken Hallelujah!
I wrote this poem under the influence of suicidal tendencies. I had a moment where all was lost from my faith except two small things: (1) a will to live (kind of), (2) hope in the goodness of others (a.k.a. there is some good in the world); else I had given up completely on beauty, goodness and God. I was over-burdened, often in sheer terror mode, and mentally plagued. The poem started out a prayer for death - to be "finished off by the angels", but is interlaced with glimpses of hope and motivation for something better on the horizon. And then a last stanza that offered a clear choice to death - a cry out to God for courage. My heart softened just enough to get a tear, resulting in what I call a broken Hallelujah (like praising God on your knees in a broken state). And so the will to live triumphs in a poem with suicidal notes. Praise God!
Dear God, I do not wish to see tomorrow and pray for death. But I see an alternative. If you can give me more courage then tomorrow will be another day. If you can soften my heart I may be moved to tears, and my burden may become bearable again. If you can give me peace of mind and send the demons away from me, I may live a long time. Deliver me from the pit of Hell, wake me from my nightmares, and inspire me to notice the small blessings in life. Remove the thoughts and goings-on that torture me by day, and allow me a good reprieve when sleeping by night. Else, send your angels to finish me off. I want to live, and I need good people in my life. My faith is weak, but I can hold onto those two things. Stay beside me around-the-clock as Satan is tempting me this very moment, and I am spiritually weak. I do not deserve Your blessings, but ask humbly on my knees for Your help! Amen.
The Soul of the World, by Roger Scruton, Excerpt from Chapter 5 Facing Each Other - "A sincere kiss is willed. That is true, at least, of the kiss of affection. In the kiss of erotic passion, however, the will is also in part overcome, and in this context the purely willed kiss has an air of insincerity. The sincere erotic kiss is both an expression of will and a mutual surrender. Hence it requires a kind of government of the mouth, so that the soul can breath out from it, and also a surrender there, on the perimeter of one's being. Hence the kiss is the most important of desire - the moment in which lovers are fully face-to-face and also totally exposed to one another. The pleasure of a kiss is a matter not of sensations, but of the I-You intentionality and what it means."
Song of Songs 1, Verse 2, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine."
The Clouds Are More Beautiful, My Personal Creed, An Excerpt - "I believe a smile is not a grin, that a smile can only be experienced not explained. And that too many people have not experienced enough smiles."
Quote by Bob Marly - "The best curve of a woman is her smile."
Quote by Mother Teresa - "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."
Anonymous Quote - "Sometimes a hug is worth a thousand words."
Quote by Maya Angelou - “Every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.”
New Testament Bible Popular Greeting - "Greet one another with a holy kiss."
Number 6, Verses 24-26 - "May the Lord Bless You and Keep You, May the Lord Make His Face Shine Upon You And be Gracious Upon You, May the Lord Lift His Countenance Upon You And Give You Peace."
John 3, Verses 16-17 - “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
1 Corinthians 13, Verse 13 - "But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love."
My husband often says what he loves about me most is my laugh and my smile. My laugh and smile are forms of affection that I share with him, friends & family, and acquaintances & strangers. There are many intimate and warm moments I remember with loved ones where smiling and laughing was the response in my heart, and I was rejoicing. Sometimes this rejoicing was minimal, but it stood out from the darkness that had otherwise engulfed my life. The erotic kiss of super-intimacy is often glossed over in our super-sexed up culture, but with an awareness about it I believe it may be one of the most vulnerable moments between a man and a woman in a relationship. It bears the kind of intimacy that says I'm in my raw form here. And yet greetings - either with a holy kiss or by handshake - express a different kind of affection - often one of respect and regard for the other person. Its a polite kind of greeting with a form of physical touch often between friends or acquaintances. The last form of affection, the hug, can be very intimate and therapeutic, and at the right time can turn someone's personal dark experience into something that can be shared and felt by two or more. I agree "a hug [can be] worth more than a thousand words".
In my personal creed, "The Clouds are More Beautiful," I say, "I believe a smile is not a grin, that a smile can only be experienced not explained. And that too many people have not experienced enough smiles." It is affection for one another that binds the human race together - through family bonds, friendships and even many strangers. It is affection from God that binds the Heavens and the angels to us here on earth. From Numbers 6, "May the Lord Make His Face Shine Upon You" is an awesome phrase - His Face Shining on Us is a very warm kind of affection - a super-smile so to speak from Heaven. In the world, there are places where darkness has a foothold in people's lives - these are places where Faith, Hope and Love do not abide. Some people have not experienced enough smiles or enough affection. This can occur behind closed doors in a home, or within a dark organization, or under unethical slave-like conditions legal or illegal. Genuine smiles, hugs, warm greetings, laughter and edification on God and faith are the arrows we should be shooting that direction with our bow. Real affection is lacking in our own culture in various pockets, as suicide rates and mental illness are at near all time highs. Many cite loneliness as a major factor, especially among the elderly who suffer from these problems. Make yourself a promise today - I will smile more, I will greet more, I will hug more, and not just more, but with true affection and cause.
Dear God, Greetings to You with a symbolic holy kiss. I thank you for my husband, and the times we've shared ourselves in the raw - intellectually, emotionally, or physically through kissing and deep hugs. Our marriage has held up through turbulent times and these embraces carry us through, along with a dedicated prayer life. I thank you for my sense of humor so when I'm experiencing dark times I can contact a friend and share a few laughs and get some respite. I think of others who face dark days and hope that I can be sent their way without missing an opportunity - to give a genuine smile, to bring about some laughter, and to provide a hug or pat for them who need a little affection today. I pray for the world, especially areas where darkness seems to have overcome so many - places where faith, hope and love do not abide. Make those areas known to Your people so we may train up with bows and arrows and bring light to bear. Your people shall Overcome, and help others to Overcome as well. Lord, hear my prayer and petition. Amen.
Exodus 4, Verses 1-16, Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’” The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. But the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand--“that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” The LORD furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. “If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. “But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” Then Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? “Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.” Then the anger of the LORD burned against Moses, and He said, “Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. “You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do. “Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him.
Psalm 62, Verse 1, My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation.
Psalm 15, Verse 3, He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
Psalm 34, Verse 13, Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit.
Psalm 35, Verse 28, And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness, And Your praise all day long.
Psalm 39, Verse 1, I said, “I will guard my ways, That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle While the wicked are in my presence.”
Psalm 137, Verse 6, May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.
Job 27, Verse 4, My lips certainly will not speak unjustly, Nor will my tongue mutter deceit.
Philippians 2, Verses 9-11, For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Matthew 15, Verse 11, It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.
Ephesians 4, Verse 29, Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
James 1, Verse 26, If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
James 3, Verse 5, So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
Ecclesiastes 3, Verse 7, A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak.
In youth we learn these simple mantras, often repeated from parents to children. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." "If you don't have anything kind to say, then don't say anything at all." These are both basic lessons - one is that we can bounce back from mean words directed towards us, and the other to bridle our own tongues so we are not directing mean words towards someone else. Yet as we become more mature as Christians we have Biblical knowledge to lean on. The Psalms and Proverbs have a lot to say about our words, and I've selected a few verses above from the Psalms, from the mouth of David. The Psalms themselves were the songs of Jesus - sang frequently at Jewish gatherings, including songs of worship and wisdom. And the wisdom on using our mouthpiece is this: "Guard your tongue!" James 3 discusses just how powerful our tongue can be, and the example from Moses is perfect for expressing that power. For Moses and Aaron were given direct messages from God to direct God's people and to warn the enemies of God, and those words are given in the Bible, the Word of God we have today. What proceeded from the mouths of Moses, Aaron, David, Jesus, Paul and hundreds of other Biblical characters is indeed more virtuous and pure than what proceeds from the mouths of our most revered leaders today. As Christians we have a duty to edify, rebuke and love with the words that proceed from our mouths. And concerning the addressing of the wicked: (1) at times we are to be silent or to muzzle our tongues in the presence of the wicked, (2) at other times God may call us to rebuke Satan himself. Always be prayerful about what proceeds from your lips and stay after the ways of God to help keep your tongue tempered. Keep in mind it is our mouths that exalt and worship God. Jesus Christ is our Lord and we shall not be ashamed to declare that.
Dear God, During intense times I either seek to do what is right, or give in to Satan. My mouth often follows my actions and thoughts and vice versa. My goal is to be a Proverbs 31 wife, a whole sustainable woman, and an example to others. To do so, during intense times, I must temper my tongue and be prayerful about what proceeds from my mouth. When times are less intense I am even more likely to get lost about in the daily shuffle and I need Your help then too. Guard me from temptations - both in actions, thoughts and words. Give me the constant courage to declare unashamedly that I am a Christian and follower of Christ. Bless me so that I may have the ability to correctly edify, rebuke and love both my friends and my enemies. I will prioritize worshiping with other Christians to glorify Your name. Glory be to God. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Genesis 1, Verses 26-28, "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' God created man in His own image in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' "
Genesis 6, Verse 5-8, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Ecclesiastes 3, Verses 1-8, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven 2 A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. 5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. 6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace."
Isaiah 61, Verse 10, "I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For he has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness."
Luke 2, Verses 9-11, "And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.' "
1 Peter 1, Verses 6-9, "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Christ Jesus; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls."
There is an appointed time for everything. God builds us up and He tears down. We can see this theme in Genesis above and then throughout the Old Testament in God's dealing with His people the Israelites. When God tears down, judges with severity or destroys it is because of the wicked. Yet God is pleased with Noah, just as God is pleased with the anointed throughout history. In 1 Peter 1 it is acknowledged that Christians will be distressed and face various trials - distress has been a topic of several of my previous devotionals. But we do not perish through these trials, but find ourselves in a position of having a saved soul. There is much to rejoice about in both this life and the life after our passing away. Good news and great joy is found through salvation in Jesus Christ who was a "great joy which will be for all the people". The years 2016 and 2017 have been times of upheaval - both spiritually, politically and economically. But these times should also be a time for the righteous to rejoice. Satan may be roaming around these days, yet the world is always preparing for judgment and there is much to rejoice about during prophetical times. For while much has been ignored, much has been heeded and we know Jesus did not sacrifice in vain.
Dear God, I tremble when I read about times when you have dealt with man in a severe manner. The world is still full of wicked people. However, I see during my lifetime a "falling away" and also a "clinging to" by regular people. I've given witness to great upheaval among our "kings" and seen Satan manifest himself in a very powerful way and then be overcome from strength that can only come from You. When the final judgement comes about my hope is that Jesus Christ can say that men and women were prepared. I pray that I may be part of that preparation so that many may rejoice in having a saved soul. Today I am especially joyful towards You God and Your plan for me - I feel as though I am special in Your eyes and want to be a warrior for Christ. Thank you for my life and I look forward to more rejoicing with Christ in Heaven. Let the righteous rejoice today. In Jesus Name. Amen.
The Grief I Bear on a Mid-Summer's Morning
poem by Michelle Murphy
There's no light peeking through the clouds this morning,
Just a slow drizzle of light everywhere and dew,
The bugs and birds aren't even making their music
Neither am I.
But I feel touched within my soul.
Yearning for days not too long ago,
I weep for the past and do not hope much
For the future. But I will - Soon enough.
For now, I remember those days, those people, those things,
And it stirs something inside of me.
A teardrop rolls down my cheek and my chest swells.
Good memories get mixed up with flashbacks of hellacious times.
Those times that bring me to this moment of mixed moods.
I yearn for what I can't have, but am starting to move on.
I honor the past, but almost seek a better way in the coming days ahead.
There's a glimmer of hope on the horizon this morning.
The only thing holding me back from joy is this pounding headache,
Made of heartache and intrusive thoughts that un-still my mind.
Yet death is part of life. And it can be a beautiful thing to not
Only imagine a reunion with those from our days past, but to
Know as a Christian it is a real thing. "Enough so" do I believe I will
Have a future of peace one day in Heaven, that I partially seek to
Move there myself. But hurting myself is not the best option.
And even "enough so" isn't enough because this temporary hell
I go through right now, seems as if it will never pass.
Is Heaven really the bright shining star I will see one day?
This mid-summer morning I process and wait.
Time is complex - more so than I ever imagined, slow
As it may be at times it is not only a curse but a blessing.
I will see beauty around me again. I will wait to see it again.
I think the birds are finally making music outside.
Psalm 23, Verse 4, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
UMYF Benediction, Numbers 6, Verses 24-26
"May the Lord Bless You and Keep You
May the Lord Make His Face Shine Upon You
And be Gracious Upon You
May the Lord Lift His Countenance Upon You
And Give You Peace."
We can be going along in life in contentment, spending time with our loved ones, living in the moment and planning for the future. The security of this framework of living can come crashing down in a moment's notice, no matter how strong we are. When this occurs we can feel terrified and out-of-control. Life resets but we have to develop a new framework, all the while missing our loved ones who have passed or the life we once had before something major changed. Twice in my life I have lost nearly everything, but in due time I find a way to count my blessings again. That time period in-between can be gut-wrenching and we can feel like we are living in some sort of quasi-hell. This devotional is to honor someone I love very much who is gone from my life, yet I know I will see them again. I have intrusive thoughts of bad memories - memories of what happened to cause such a great loss, and that is normal. The number one thing I can say about women I admire is to "be OK" no matter what - being a strong woman is an important quality and I strive for it. "Wait for me. Love you. Miss you." is a message we often send our loved ones who we hope to see in heaven when we pass away. The moment of death and passing on is a beautiful thing for a Christian and during difficult times we may seek it with jealousy. God offers us comfort during times of grief. He knows our thoughts and He plans for our future. The poem above is an out-pouring of my feelings during a difficult period. Writing can be an essential way to process out difficult feelings. My message to those that are grieving - either the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of something you hoped for, is this: "peace be with you".
Dear God, When life turns upside down and I find myself grieving major losses in my life, my mind is troubled and my heart anxious. I appreciate the blessings that have come my way all throughout my life, including the inclination to be a strong woman. At times, however, I have coped with turmoil in unhealthy and self-destructive ways. I ask You for strength and peace in remembrance for what has happened recently. That is the best way I can think to honor those in my life that have passed. For me it is not about moving on, but pressing forward in a way that is healthy and admirable. Shine your light upon me and keep my footings firm - I want to be a "new woman", a "Godly woman" and a women that appreciates the blessings of this life. Life may never be the same, but it shall never be a curse. In Jesus Name. Amen.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.