July 2, 2015

Culture Shift

girlfriends-4In the past, American culture was built on the morality of Christianity and it was respected. To fit into the culture, you were a part of the church. Preachers evangelized people to a cause—Christianity—because Christianity is the avenue in which strong, moral families are built. That’s true. But the past generation was taught to ask, “What would Jesus do?” “What will He do for me?” If I follow this moral conduct, I’ll be a respected citizen and God will bless my marriage and so forth.

Today, however, “If Christianity is a means to American values, says Russell Moore, America can get by without it, because America is learning to value other things.”

Today’s shifting culture is much different. There is a decline in American morality according to God’s standard and a decline of Christians in the Bible belt where I live. Why? People no longer need the church to fit into the “new” culture. America has shifted her values to a world view instead of a godly view. The world view is the norm and what’s accepted by many. Christianity has become the minor of the two. This sounds bleak but actually it’s exciting.

For the first time in a long time we can evangelize people as the disciples did in the beginning of the church age. (Acts 2)

In the past, according to Moore, the question was, “What would Jesus do.” In other words, we’ve taught people how to live a good moral life. Today, Moore challenges, the question should be the one Jesus asked his disciples,

“Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29)

It’s time we preach Jesus. True faith is based not on good conduct but on the person of Jesus Christ. We’ve forgotten who God is. No wonder many who claim to love God don’t know they are offending Him and His laws.

My words were inspired today by an article written by, Russell Moore, who is the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, about a shift in American culture. His words stayed with me. In order to evangelize America today we need to understand the culture and what people need most—Jesus.

This is my attempt to convey Moore’s words to you. I highly suggest you visit is site. www.russellmoore.com

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June 26, 2015

Peace Rules The Untroubled Heart/FREE Ebook!

When life is hard. When it hurts. When anxious thoughts rule your mind, your heart longs for peace.

Growing up my father had a philosophy when life became hectic. “There will never be any peace until I’m laid to rest.” As a child, I assumed he was joking. Now that I’m an adult, I’m not so sure. Life is hard. Many emotions rule my heart and mind other than tranquility. Like my dad, peace is usually the emotion I sense less when life turns tipsy topsy. This is not God’s plan.

Peace is God’s will. It is not something that should come and go or only be present at certain times. No, peace should govern our lives. Isn’t peace what we all want? Of course, it is. Peace is a state of tranquility or quiet amidst anxious thoughts and emotions. It speaks of freedom. Yes, that’s what we want-sweet freedom. When the things of life haunt us—that stack of bills, new tires for the car, anxious feelings of inadequacy—don’t we long for peace. Good news: We can have that kind of peace. Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Jesus is not talking about the kind of peace we feel when a debt is finally paid. That’s relief. It’s not the kind of peace we experience when we can purchase that big house we’ve always wanted. That’s gratification. The peace Christ gives is satisfying. It’s peace of mind, heart, body, and soul. It’s contentment that no matter what happens, you are in the care of the Almighty.

Sadly, it’s my nature to try and obtain peace by my own efforts. Perhaps you’re like me. We try to persuade God with promises. We even attend church more often than usual. We think: If I follow all the rules and do the things that please God most, then maybe I’ll find some peace. The long and short of it is we’re working at peace instead of resting in it. This reveals one thing—our trust is in self instead of in God.

The Bible has something to say about putting our trust in someone other than God.

“He who trusts in himself is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26.) If we are not actively seeking God’s help when we’re afraid or facing trouble, we are probably putting our trust in our own resources and abilities. Therefore, Isaiah warns, “stop putting your trust in mere humans” (Isaiah 2:22). Doing so only leaves us disappointed and defeated.

In times of doubt and fear, let peace rule. Resting in God’s promises give us the hope we need to stay focused on Him and His faithfulness, instead of on our circumstances. One way we can be certain that we’ve really placed our trust in God is when we experience an indescribable peace. Let this promise from the Lord reassure you today, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3)

This article was taken from my book, An Untroubled Heart: Finding a Faith Stronger Than All My Fear. If it encouraged you, why not read the whole book? Get your FREE ebook TODAY only! Click here

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June 17, 2015

Gaining Christ

 

follow or go with HimCrowds of people followed Jesus, but did you know that only a few left everything behind, their jobs, family, dreams, and plans to go with Jesus? They sacrificed their own lives for the privilege of knowing Jesus personally.

You and I have that same choice everyday. According to Bruce Swaffield, we can either follow Jesus or we can go with Him. We can watch from afar or we can be so close to Him that we see the compassion in His eyes, feel the warmth of His touch, and the depth of His love. To have such intimacy with Jesus we must be willing to go with Him and to value Him above all else.

Throughout your life you’ve had many treasures. When you were small you may have treasured a favorite toy. As you grew, you lost interest in that toy when you discovered the opposite sex. Suddenly, some rock star on a poster captured your heart. Then, when you discovered he married, you tore up all your posters and mailed them back.

Along life’s way you’ve placed value on being in the school play or winning some blue ribbon; on family photo albums and your career. These things gave you joy and delight, but what about today? What meaning do they have? As life goes on we find new favorite things that all the time. Yet, more often than not we assign value to all the wrong things. There is nothing or no one who can compare to the worth of knowing Christ.

The apostle Paul finally understood this truth when we said, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Phil 3:8).

In other words, Paul took a big red maker and slashed the value of His education, trophies and accomplishments down to zero. To Paul, those things can’t compare to the matchless worth of Jesus. Think about it. Paul used to hate the Name of Jesus. Now he can barley put a value on Jesus and the privilege of knowing Him.

We can follow Jesus or we can go with Him when we value Him more above all.

When a person comes to the cross, they gain Christ and they are found in Him. Plus, they receive resurrection power from the dead and eternal life!

Let’s take a closer look at what we secure.

  • You gain Christ: All that He is and all that He has.
  • You are found in Him: You are clothed with the righteousness of God. What does that mean? Joseph M. Stowell explains it this way. Imagine the blazing white-hot fire that burns in the center of a star. Take that brilliance and slip it over your shoulders like a robe. When God looks at you He sees the radiance of His Son—His perfect, sinless, righteous Son.
  • You gain resurrection power from the dead. That’s power not just for the next life but for the now

Is there anything in your life that compares to the value of knowing Christ? We once believed that to be true.

The day you came to the cross you laid all your trophies down for the sake of gaining Christ. You committed not to watch from afar but to go with Jesus. Remember that day? I don’t know what makes us return to our trophies, pick them up and dust them off and set them on the throne of our heart? But when Jesus feels distant we’ve shifted our focus. Perhaps today we need to make Jesus our vision again; to cling to the cross; to count everything else a loss for the sake of knowing Him up close and personal. The choice is ours. We can either follow Him or go with Him.

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May 26, 2015

Let God Carry The Load

 

heavyloadIn today’s world it is almost impossible to avoid stress and pressure. It’s everywhere—in our jobs, relationships, homes, and even in our churches. We are also pressured for our time.

Do you often feel like everything depends on you? Do you ever feel like the whole world needs you all at once? They’re gathered at your front door and they’re knocking, and the buzzer on the microwave is going off, and your phone is ringing, and your three kids feel like thirty-three kids. All you really want is 5 min alone in the bathroom with a bag of Oreo cookies.

Or maybe you fear missing out on opportunities so you stretch yourself thin. With all this stress you start to doubt God. Perhaps you find yourself thinking,

“Is it worth it to get up everyday simply to fight stress?” Or, “Wasn’t Jesus supposed to fill my life with peace instead of pressure?”

Such thoughts come from the enemy. Satan loves to whisper lies into your ears so that it might draw you away from God. That’s why Paul encourages you and me in Hebrews 3:12-14 with these words.

“My friends watch out. Don’t let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God. You must encourage one another each day. We were sure about Christ when we first became his people. So let’s hold tightly to our faith until the end.”

You can experience peace in a world full of stress and pressure when we turn from Satan’s lies and trust in the promises of God.

God never said this world would be easy but that He would be at our side.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor 4:8-9)

This is our hope. No matter what or how much pressure falls on our shoulders we will not be abandoned by almighty God and we not be destroyed.In fact, God wants to carry the load for you. We do that by taking Peter’s advice. “Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). This is my challenge for you today. Cast your cares on the God who loves you! Let God be God and carry your load. He is both willing and able to do it.

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April 16, 2015

More Than Escaping Hell

You must remember what you were saved for. You weren’t saved to become wealthy, healthy, or even happy. You were saved so that Jesus might be manifested in your mortal flesh.

Without Him you can do nothing. You can’t be saved, overcome sin, live for eternity, or have fellowship with God.

You can’t do anything about your salvation but demonstrate it. You do that by working out what God has worked in you.

Most people spend time working at being a Christian and following the rules. This is Satan’s trap. All you’re doing is practicing a religion instead of a relationship.

“But I’m a nice person,” you argue. I go to church. I don’t drink or swear. I do good things for others. “I am a Christian,” you say.

Yes. However these are the very things that stop the flow of the Holy Spirit in your life—doing nice things. All the while you hate your co-worker, you’re sad and depressed, and you find your life down right boring.

You can look like you’re pulling it off, but inside you know how miserable you are—how weak and tried you are. That’s because you’re trying to live the life of Christ in our your strength instead of by the power of the Holy Spirit. How do I know–because I was frustrated with my own Christian life.

I believe the church is failing new believers today by not taking them any further than asking Christ into their life, receiving forgiveness and a paid ticket to heaven.

Jesus said, “I come to give you life, more abundant” (John 10:10). A believer is supposed to be experiencing heaven on Earth. It’s not about getting your ticket and then waiting for heaven. You can have heaven both now and then.

Why are most Christian’s not experiencing life abundance? They’ve yet to surrendered all. Your soul is crying out for more than just escaping hell. That’s because there is a deeper life awaiting you.

You will never experience true fellowship with God, true joy, true freedom and peace until you give God your whole heart. You cannot have the peace of God until you’re at peace with God.

When I threw up my hands and said to God, “I can’t do this anymore. Take my life. I want your will over mine,” my life radically changed.

You see, we work at trying to obtain everything God has ALREADY done for us. Our work is to believe in His death and surrender to His new life in us. Only then can Christ live His life through us. Otherwise the Christian life is impossible to live by your own effort. Only Christ can live the Christian life because, well, it’s His life.

Stop working at the wrong thing. You only need to work out what God has worked in you. Work at allowing His nature to live in and through you. How? Surrender. Then you’ll be surprised when His nature and character come through you words, thoughts, and actions.

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April 10, 2015

Characteristics of a Godly Man

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If you’re a single lady or teenager looking for Mr. Right, I have good news! He’s out there!

One of the greatest problems we have when looking for a Christ-like mate or date, is compromising our values.

We fear, “If I don’t choose someone, I’ll end up an old maid.” No matter how we feel, compromising should never be an option. God wants the best for you. And if marrying is His will for you, then the best is worth the wait!

The second problem is, we really don’t know what a godly man looks like. We have an idea but our ideas can’t always be trusted. Our ideas have been tainted by worldviews.

The bible is the best place to find your man. You won’t find his name listed between the pages of the Bible, but you will find the characteristics of a godly man. When you hide these qualities in your heart, you’ll know him when you meet him. You may even hear God say, “That’s him, girl! Now, go get him!”

Characteristics of a Godly Man

1. A godly man is a just man – Micah 6:8

2. A godly man is a man of mercy – Micah 6:8

3. A godly man is a man of humility – Micah 6:8

4. A godly man is blameless – Psalms 15
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5. A godly man is righteous – Psalms 15
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6. A godly man is truthful – Psalms 15
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7. A godly man does not slander – Psalms 15
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8. A godly man is kind to neighbors – Psalms 15
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9. A godly man despises evil – Psalms 15
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10. A godly man keeps promises, even to his hurt – Psalms 15
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11. A godly man is giving, not greedy – Psalms 15
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12. A godly man is a man of integrity – Psalms 15
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13. A godly man is unshakeable – Psalms 15
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14. A godly man is holy – Ephesians 1:4
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15. A godly man is a doer of the word of God – James 1:25
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16. A godly man is fruitful – Galatians 5:22-23, Psalms 1:3
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17. A godly man delights in the Lord’s commands – Psalms 1:1
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18. A godly man is prosperous – Psalms 1:3
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19. A godly man does not blend in with the world – Psalms 1:1
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20. A godly man strives for perfection in Christ – Matthew 5:48

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April 2, 2015

Will You Rise?

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Mention the word, “Easter,” and what comes to mind? Is it bunnies, Easter baskets and new clothes? Those are part of our Easter traditions. As far as I can remember, my family (grandparents, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, and siblings have colored Easter eggs on Saturday before Easter. It’s a time of great fellowship as we prepare for the main purpose of Easter—celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ our Lord. On Easter morn, we sing about the Resin Christ at church. We celebrate His victory over death and sin. But the question you must ask yourself is “Will I rise?

Will you rise from the darkness, suffering and deaths of your life? I believe you can by identifying with the Christ of Easter.

Darkness:

As Christ hung and suffered on the cross, darkness fell. Yet, He endured trusting that God would shine on Him again.

Will you rise from the darkness of your life?

We’ve all experienced dark days of suffering and pain. Yet, as Christians, we have hope. We know that eventually dawn will rise and the light of God’s Presence will price through our darkness once again and it will be a new day.

When you see the light break, what will you do? Will  you stay in the shadow of darkness? Or, will you rise?

Betrayed:

On His way to the cross, a friend betrayed Christ. Have you ever been betrayed? Perhaps someone you loved and trusted turn his or her back on you and it cut you deeply. Your healing is found in the balm of forgiveness.

In His suffering, Christ called out, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they doing.”

Will you rise? Can you forgive them as Christ forgives you? There’s glory on the other side!

Arrested:

Like Christ, have you ever been arrested and held captive? Have doubts, wounds, ungodly habits, secret lusts, laziness, or hopelessness seized you? Freedom awaits you at the cross.

When Christ died, He put an end to the power of sin over you. Now, you are dead to sin and alive to God.

Will you accept what Christ has done for you so that He can live through you? It’s His life in you that makes you an overcomer. No need to fight the battle alone. Let Christ do the work! Will you rise?

Crucified:

Have you crucified your flesh? Do you daily nail your pride, bitterness, rights, self-indulgence, and sin to the cross and crucify it? One must die to self before she can experience the power of Christ within. Even Christ had to die before He received glory.

The Tomb:

As you lay your old nature in the tomb, you don’t stay there. You rise as Christ did on the third day! You rise to new life!

Some, however, stay in the tomb. They stay close to their old life not really wanting to let go. Like Lazarus, you remain bonded to that old life that is dead and buried.

Lazarus didn’t stay in the grave. Jesus called to Him as He calls to you today. “And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” Do you hear the call of Christ? Will you rise from the tomb?

“And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow” (Matt 28:2).

Risen to New Life:

This is the Good News of Easter! Christ did not stay in the grave. No matter how dark your life may be at this moment, no matter how many times you’ve been hurt, betrayed, or captured by sin, you don’t have to stay there. You can rise!

This Easter you can rise from death to life by the same resurrection power that raised Christ from the grave! Christ Lives! He longs to live in you!

If you would like to know Christ as your Savior and Lord, and rise to new life in Him, I invite you to click on: Know Christ.

Wishing you a happy and blessed Easter! Jesus Lives!

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April 1, 2015

A Door of Hope

 

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I have a promiscuous heart. I’ve never been unfaithful to my husband, but I have been unfaithful to God by allowing my eyes to wonder. It only takes a moment. Before I realize, that moment turns into an hour, then a day, a month, a year. Suddenly, I’ve strayed from God, my first love.

In the book of Hosea, we read about Gomer, a promiscuous woman. Her unfaithfulness broke Hosea’s heart, damping their relationship, much like the people of Israel broke the heart of God by their promiscuous ways. Yet God waited patiently. He pleaded for their return, but the people of Israel wouldn’t listen.

The truth is all of humanity struggles with unfaithfulness to God. It happens like this. One day, I have a wonderful love relationship with God until I let my heart wonder. Suddenly, when I pray, there is no answer. I can’t find release from my burdens even when I confess my sin. I begin to worry if I’ve drifted so far, I can’t go home.

If you identify, there’s hope.

God knew Israel would be unfaithful, but He loved her anyway. Likewise, Hosea loved Gomer. This tells us that no matter what we’ve done or said, God love us.

Gomer was also a promiscuous woman. Her unfaithfulness broke Hosea’s heart damaging their relationship much like Israel broke the heart of God by their promiscuous ways. Yet God waited patiently. He pleaded for their return, but Israel wouldn’t listen.

The Valley of Achor (which means trouble) was a place of “trouble” when the Israelites first entered the promise land, but it was now a symbol of new opportunity—a “door of hope.”

“I will give her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Anchor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, as in the day of her youth, as in a the day when she came up from the land of Egypt” (Hosea 2:15)

God’s love provides an open door in which we can return to Him. No matter how far we’ve strayed, God will always take us back. That’s not a human kind of love. That’s divine love that causes my heart to sing, “Love so amazing; so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all.”

(Micca Campbell, A Door of Hope; Real Life Devotional Bible for Women; Zondervan, 2012, p.1016)

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March 19, 2015

Strength For The Struggle

168276_4870051714587_1561016016_n(Mitch and me today)

I was a single parent until my son was five years old. Those were difficult days on many levels. Most of the time I felt tried and overwhelmed by all my responsibilities. There was no one to share them with me—no one to worry with, plan with or give a bath to my son when I just needed a break.

To make matters worse, we lived in an upstairs duplex. When my son was a baby, it was a daily challenge getting him, his diaper bag and groceries upstairs all at once. I didn’t want to leave him in the house or the car alone so I learned how to pack on the items. Once I climbed to the top of the stairs, my next challenge was unlocking the door. Eventually, I stopped locking my door all together. Not safe, I know, but when you’re a single paren you do the best you can.

Most days I felt like the whole world rested on my shoulders. While I tried to carry the load, I knew I was too weak. The load was crushing me, and yet, I continued to fight. I tried harder. I had too. I had to be strong. If I put down the load, who was going to pick it up?

One day, I came across a familiar verse that spoke to me in a new way.

“My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is make perfect in weakness.”

Suddenly, I realized that my situation was an avenue for me to experience God’s strength. I didn’t have to put on a brave face. I didn’t have to pretend to be made of steal. I simply needed to surrender my weakness to God in exchange for His strength.

This is what Paul did in 2 Corinthians 12:7. He prayed repeatedly about a difficult situation in his life asking the Lord to take it from him. God responded, “My grace is sufficient.” The good news is His grace is enough for you and me too.

If I’ve learned anything in my walk with God it’s that he may or may not remove our circumstances, but He will provide what we need to succeed. He gives us Himself, His power, His strength and His wisdom. God knows what we need before we ask Him, and He’s willing and ready to provide.

When I surrendered my situation to God, my circumstances didn’t change right away but I had a renewed sense of God’s Presence and power in my life. I no longer felt alone. My eyes were opened to God’s activity in the life of my son and me. I felt equip with power to achieve my daily tasks.

That’s not all. I also noticed that Paul not only surrendered his struggles to God, but he adopted a positive attitude as well. “I will boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (1 Cor 12:9).

I’ll be honest. Surrendering my circumstances to God and experiencing his strength in my weakness was more help than me grumbling about my singleness. Complaining was a dead end for me. Boasting in what God can do in me infused my faith causing me to depend on God’s strength more and more. His promise became a reality in my life. For when I am weak, He is strong!

In facing our struggles and fears, it’s vital that we yield completely to God. When we do, God can use our burdens as an avenue for His power and grace.                                                                                                                                                                        

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March 16, 2015

Prayer Brings Peace/Winner Announced

Congratulations to our winner, Amber Chapais at nishgirl_17_411@hotmail.com! You’ve won a free copy of Life Unstuck, by Pat Layton!!

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Fear is one area of our lives where we feel stuck. Because fear is such a powerful emotion, it’s hard to become unstuck. God must have knew we’d struggle in this area so He gave us Philippians 4:6-9. I love this passage of scripture because it gives us tools we can use to loosen fears grip and experience real peace. Consider these words:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peacewill be with you.”

These promises tell us…

1. When you feel anxious—pray. When you turn your thoughts toward God and his great love, power, and majesty, your fears will shrink in comparison. Plus, you can’t focus on your worries and God at the same time.

2. Guard your heart and mind by memorizing scripture. The power of God’s promises will soothe your troubled heart.

3. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

For example: If you think, “I can’t do this job. I should quit.” Replace it with “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

4. Finally, do what Jesus does. Put your faith in God and the peace of God will go with you.

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