Butterfly in the Spring

Journey of Healing

10 Beauty Secrets That Won’t Hurt Your Pocket

Did you hear that over $426 billion a year are spent by women on beauty products?

There aren’t enough lifetimes nor money for a woman to try all the ubiquitous beauty advice, products, and services peddled from every corner of the eye.  But no need to part with cash today!  The Ultimate Beauty Book has costless yet priceless tips on how to be beautiful in “your inner woman”, that part of ourselves that gets renewed day by day even as our dust-destiny beckons and reminds us in the mirror, line by line, that beauty and youth are fleeting.

2 Cor 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

God’s standard for beauty is not external but internal.

1Sam 16:7 (NIV) But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Prov 31:30 (MSG) Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-GOD.

1Pe 3:3-4 (MSG) What matters is not your outer appearance-the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes, but your inner disposition.  Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.

This ought to be a great encouragement in the quest for beauty because while we do not have a say on the direction of  beauty externally, internally we do!  Here are some tips based on The Ultimate Beauty Book, the Bible.  After all, God is Himself the Author of Beauty so His Word on it is an authority.

1. DETOX. Detoxification is that important process wherein we rid ourselves of toxic substances that harm us.  While a major detox does a body good, we need to continually, intentionally refrain from taking in all these common toxins as they are part of our old nature.

Photo from IsleStyleLiving

Photo from IsleStyleLiving

James 1:20-21 (NIV) Because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

2. HYDRATION.  We can’t survive without water for long. We especially need it during exercise and when we are anywhere near fiery furnaces.

Photo from Crossmap

Photo from Crossmap

In the realm of the spirit where the inner woman prospers, by faith in Jesus, we become princesses—children of the King of Kings, He promises us that rivers of living waters will flow within us; the Holy Spirit guides, empowers, and helps us in our daily struggle to walk according to the will of God, in godly behaviour becoming of His princesses.

John 7:38-39a  (Jesus said) Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.  By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.

As the marshmallow encouragement for the gratification delay of our naturally self-oriented will, we can look forward to our sure hope that our passing sorrows will one day be over!

Reve 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘He will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

3. DIET.  “You are what you eat” also applies to our inner being.  What we feed our soul, we are.  God’s Word is our pure spiritual milk, necessary for the spiritual growth of our inner (wo)man.

Photo from DailyLifeVerse

Photo from DailyLifeVerse

1Pet 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

If you and I ate only during Christmas and Easter every year, I don’t think we will survive. If once a week buffet on Sundays only and not have any intake the rest of the week, I wonder if we would survive.  We are at our best physically when we eat food regularly daily; so will we be spiritually with our spiritual food, the Word of God.

4. EXFOLIATION.  Exfoliation is the (1) removal of scales from the surface; or (2) growth as if by unfolding leaves.

Photo from DermaDoctor

Photo from DermaDoctor

As with outward renewal, inward renewal involves the removal of those old natural-self ways to make way for God’s nature to unfold in the new self.  In a progressive metamorphosis like the caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly, we keep getting changed into a better, godly person inwardly by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Eph 4:22-23  You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires to be made new in the attitude of your minds.

In seeking, abiding in, and obeying Christ, we are new creations.

Photo from MissionTeamNYC

Photo from MissionTeamNYC

5. RADIANCE.  Common in beauty product ads are the words Glow. Luster. Dazzle. Shimmer. Luminescence. Radiance.

Photo from Groupon

Photo from Groupon

In the bible, there was someone whose face was radiant but it wasn’t because of any beauty product.  It was from having a conversation with the Lord.

Ex 34:29 (NIV) When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

Rev 1:16b Jesus’s face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

Having an abiding relationship and communication with the Lord allows a continual trade-in of our toxins for His treats: instead of poverty, brokenness, captivity, darkness, mourning, despair, ruins, devastation, shame, disgrace— healing,  freedom, comfort, beauty, joy, restoration, double portion, inheritance, reward, salvation, robes of righteousness, adornment!  The heaviness and gloom can’t help but be lifted!

6. YOUTHFULNESS AND AGE-DEFIANCE.  Trends in toys, fashion, and entertainment reveal

Photo from Smudgetikka

Photo from Smudgetikka

the measure of haste the young have to become mature although it mature ratingis not as heavily directed towards helping the needy, looking for remedies for social ills and making the world a better place, or learning how to make godly choices; instead, it is manicures and makeup (cosmetic “maturity”), sex and violence, perhaps stemming from media and online entertainment that sometimes  give the shaded notion that those are what the “Mature” can finally do.

For the mature in age, on the other hand, you would not find any products that hasten more maturity but an abundance of products and services that offer age defiance and youthfulness.

Photo from ThisWayUpEzine

Photo from ThisWayUpEzine

In the good book, maturity points towards full development of integrity, intimate relationship with God, and godly wisdom which are classically beautiful for any age.

Psalm 103:5 God satisfies our desires with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 92:12-14 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree…planted in the house of the Lord… they will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.

7. WARDROBE.  Ever been enticed by the “Must Have” lists from wherever there is print space?  The items from “What You Must Have” list of 1970

Photo from catrionaofthesea

Photo from catrionaofthesea

must be somewhere in this pile:

Photo from Flickr

Photo from Flamesparrow

Here are some timeless, ageless wardrobe suggestions which do not hurt your pocket:  In Style: Love  ;  New Wardrobe for the New Year.

8. ATTITUDE.  You’ve heard the cliche “Attitude is Altitude”.  attitudeThese are the attitudes that are suggested by God’s Word: Humility, Perseverance towards God, Gratitude.

Humility:  Phil 2:3-5 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.

Perseverance Towards God:   Phil 3:14-15  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you.

Gratitude:  Col 4:2  Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.

9.  SELF-ACCEPTANCE.  They say that even the most beautiful women of the world have something about themselves that they are not happy with.  Have you noticed that you barely see ads for tanning products in the Philippines where the “typical Filipino” has the beautiful morena (tan) skin? What is a hit here is Skin Whitening. You would think people in predominantly Caucasian countries such as the US would be happy with their light skin but what sells there are suntan products.  People seem to prefer what they are not or don’t have.

1 Thess 5:18  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  

Pastor Peter and Deonna Tanchi, teachers on Biblical Parenting, say that it is important to instill in children acceptance and gratitude for the things that they cannot change such as family, race, physical characteristics, history.

Psalm 139:13-14  For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Photo from MyDailyBooster

Photo from MyDailyBooster

God is our Designer. He is the Designer of all designers.  He is not mistaken.  Everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made.  People with disabilities, inabilities—or other features humans may reject— are beautiful to the Lord.   DOVE_4_real_beauty

10.  EXERCISE AND SELF-DISCIPLINE.  What the body needs, the soul needs as well.  We need to exercise our spiritual muscles to get strengthened spiritually.  No pain, no gain.  If you don’t use it (spiritual muscles), you lose it.

The apostle Paul gives this reminder, not to outdo others but to outdo oneself.

1Cor  9:24-26 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

===

There we have it:  beauty tips that won’t hurt our pockets from The Ultimate Beauty Book, the Bible.  The never-ending chase for beauty can wear us out in every way.  Maybe that’s why God revealed kingdom secrets to us in all things— even in the department of beauty— so we can rest in Him.  He cares even about the number of hairs on our heads!  We are so loved by Him.  How could we not be secure?

Here, a final prayer for us from the apostle Paul:

Eph 3:16  I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.

 

 

 

 

Praise the Lord, My Soul (Psalm 103)

Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases,
who redeems my life from the pit
    and crowns me with love and compassion,
who satisfies my desires with good things
    so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

 

A Sex Video Worth Watching

This is  the best sex video everyone should watch (by Christian Vision)

Fifty Shades of Grace

 

Fight For Your Families

Beloved, there may come opposition to your rebuilding your family. We are not unaware of Satan’s tricks to give you feelings of discouragement or defeat  or a new offence as a bait for unforgiveness; his ultimate goal is to steal your peace and joy, to kill your hopes, to destroy your family.

There might be well-meaning loved ones who have not been immersed in God’s Word/will for your family. They might feel sorry why you are suffering and you deserve better or that you have done enough or that you shouldn’t be a martyr.

Then there are those who are captive to do Satan’s will who actually sow attacks or help the devil in scheming to let your spouse stumble or who carelessly give comments or act as accomplices to divide your husband and yourself or your family members.

Stand firm on God’s Word.   Remember that this is not a struggle against people but it is against principalities, Satan himself.

What you do impacts your spiritual legacy for your children.  I encourage you to stand in the gap in prayer for your husband and children that they may be saved.

This verse struck me during our recent church fast:

After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and daughters, your spouses and your homes.

Nehemiah 4:14 from Pinterest

Nehemiah 4:14 from Pinterest

And I found a study surrounding this verse from Pastor Steven J. Cole.

https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-4-responding-opposition-nehemiah-41-23

May it encourage you to keep on keeping on!  Jesus is interceding for you. The Holy Spirit of God intercedes for you to act in accordance with God’s will.  God hates divorce for He wants godly offspring.  If God has said that what He has put together, let no man separate, if the Alpha and Omega, (apart from Whom there is no other god), is for you, who can be against you? No one. Not even Satan; he is a defeated foe.

Know there will be opposition to your effort. But know Who is on your side.  Keep on keeping on!  Stay in the will of God. Abide in Him. Stand strong on His Word.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will never pass away.

When God Used a Cat To Cure My Prodigal Thoughts

Some time ago on the way home, something caught my attention.

white cat skinny looking almost at me

It was a skinny white stray cat.  It wandered and started surveying some trash that had been laid by the street.

white cat by garbageIt slid under a bush rather quickly

hidinguntil it was well camouflaged against a wall.

white cat camouflage by wallI realised a threat had come along.

dog

When the big dog was gone, the cat continued wandering about.

white cat middle of street

It went through a hole in a gate of a home.

walk into a gate

That time long ago, I had wandering thoughts of entertaining possibilities of running away from God.   When I saw this cat, it grabbed my attention because we have a cat at home who looks like this:

lux on my bed

Our cat sits on my bed, communicates with me, has his needs met, has access to my personal spaces although I don’t let him into the kitchen and dining room because I don’t want him to access human food and start to beg for it or scrounge for it which I think will make him into a nuisance.  He has his proper nutritious food given to him; he doesn’t deserve to be a nuisance.  I also don’t let him into the bathrooms because he used to think that the toilet bowl was a big drinking bowl.  I don’t want him to drink contaminated water.

lux on the throne

My home staff know that he is part of our household and is protected and cared for.

Two things came to mind.

First, if our cat ran away when the main door gets opened, he could one day end up like that skinny stray cat.  A cat can choose to get curious and discontented. So can a person. If I ran away from my Owner who loves me, cares for me, protects me, even disciplines me to behave like His own, I could be like that cat, giving up a loving relationship and fellowship for trash and hazards.

The second thought that came to mind was that my children could be like that stray cat.  They need a loving home where they know they belong to come home to, where they are secure.  It would not be wise for me to run away from God to unravel the foundational threads of home my children’s lives are built on.

I remembered a talk by Vicki Bentley based on this verse:

Proverbs 24:3 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

I thank the Lord for answering my small group leader, Princess’s prayers that He shepherd my thoughts towards Himself.  He can use  a cat to speak to me.

 

 

What’s On Today’s News That We Should Be Watching?

Sharing with you this talk by Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz:

What Time Is It? - Anne Graham Lotz

Other Videos from Patterns and Promises Prophecy Conference 2014

To Fast or Not to Fast?

I would occasionally hear that this friend or that from another church was fasting for the day. I respected it but didn’t see my need for it. When I was younger, my mom used to assign a helper to stand by my side to shell and pick out my crab so that I could eat the meat without struggling. I used to have an entitlement-to-exceptions mentality with the fasting and abstinence thing. I might get thin or weak or sick, so why bother?

But when CCF held a fast some time ago, I realised that Jesus Himself fasted because He knew He needed spiritual strength to fulfill His purposes.  If He is God and He fasted, why shouldn’t I?  The Fasting Booklet issued by CCF discusses the other reasons for fasting such as growing in sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit, spiritual revival, aside from being beneficial to our health.  (It also outlines the types of fast, preparations for fasting, cautions —the need to check with one’s doctor if qualified to fast—, guidelines during and after the fast, breaking the fast, and devotions.

I also encountered a book by Every Nation Philippines‘s Pastor Joey Bonifacio, The Mystery of the Empty Stomach from CSM Publishing:

joey bonifacio mystery of empty stomach-1

joey bonifacio mystery of empty stomach

a surprisingly delightful and easy read that made me excited to fast.  Chapters of the book:

1 Unveiling the Mystery; 2 From Duty to Delight; 3 From Deprivation to Desire; 4 From Desperation to Devotion; 5 From Disorder to Design; 6 from Diet to Deposit; 7 From Drunkenness to Divine Discontent; 8 From Disdain to Discovery; 9 From Divorced to Dearest; 10 Mystery Unveiled.

Excerpts from Pages 25-26:

“The Right Focus.  One of the keys to enjoying a fast is to focus on the right thing, just as a bride who focuses on what she is receiving and not on what she is giving up.  She never thinks she is being deprived.  She knows she is blessed.  She is not saying, “I am depriving myself of my family, my freedom, and my friends.”  Rather, she focuses on what she is gaining.

Jesus’ bride is very excited because she’s been told that His gift is indescribable.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  2 Cor 9:15

Not only are her gifts indescribable, she’s been told they are perfect.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17″

That first time that I fasted, during mealtime, instead of eating food, I read the devotion and started writing down the Scriptures indicated on the booklet.  With a constant “Talk to me, Lord” on my mind, I also read up on related Scriptures. The verses I read started to speak to me directly answering questions I had.  As I continued to read and journal, I started to get enthralled that the God of the Universe was talking to me through His Word.  Obviously there is nothing in me that could earn me this grace but here He was— the gracious, loving Shepherd, Counselor, and Guide— communicating with me as if face to face, as if Friend to friend, as if Father to child.  Going through the Scriptures and personalising them as my own prayers made me experience His love deeply.  I was convicted of my wrong attitudes and gained a fresh perspective of God’s will.  The eureka moments upon finding the treasures in His Word that filled, answered, and satisfied me with Himself carried me over with joy that overrode the physical hunger pangs.  When the stomach growling wave and the food craving came, I relied more on the Holy Spirit to tide me over.  I eventually learned to make vegetable juice to keep my body going.  Joining similarly hungry believers who were fasting physically but feasting on God and His Word also strengthened me.

My fasting reflections from 2007 on the journal book  my friend, Hazel, gave me.

My fasting reflections from 2007 on the journal book my friend, Hazel, gave me.

Since that first fasting experience, times of fasting have become something I look forward to with great expectation for how God will clarify my spiritual vision, strengthen my spirit, and cause breakthroughs and victories in my life.  Not to mention that fasting is a spiritual weapon of warfare.

I discovered the truth from Matthew 4:4  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

This first week of July is Fasting Week for CCF. You are welcome to check out the devotionals, join the nightly worship and prayer via livestream at 7pm Manila Time by clicking “LIVE” on this homepage or listening to the previous nights’ worship and messages.

 

Urgent Call to Prayer – Anne Graham Lotz / Ray Bentley

Prayers from
Anne Graham Lotz

anne graham lotz prayer screenshot
 
Pastor Ray Bentley
ray bentley prayer screenshot

Real Hope For New Life After Adultery: Kay Arthur Testimony

It is a great encouragement to know that as she admits her past of adultery with a married man, she moved on to become one of today’s most respected teachers for living an honest and godly life.

Where Was God? (Thoughts of The Legal Wife)

Where was God?

I’m glad Ann Voskamp asked it because I too had been itching to.

Where was God when the woman who presented herself to me as a friend, who had been calling out to my husband with praises for his business since a year prior, lay herself on a platter for him and within two months of meeting him, already drafted a document for a lawyer to say that if I got linked romantically to any man, that the faithful unsuspecting wife of twenty years whom the husband said was an ideal wife, should leave the home. Where was God when she drafted the letter for my husband to give my very broken and devastated son to tell him that he was better off with his parents divorced? When my husband came to his senses and told her they couldn’t continue their relationship, she convinced him that the pastors he sought who were telling him to do the right thing are just after his money while it was she who spent it left and right to showcase in cyberspace her lifestyle upgrade built on the incalculable anguish and pain that plowed down our family and stole my son’s faith. Lord, didn’t You hear her numerous tearful asking for forgiveness only to deceive and conceal more strategically as though deception and homewrecking  were delicious sport? This after professing “I believe in the same God and scriptures as you.” Lies are what sin loves to eat.

I wanted that one phone call to You… to ask all my burning questions, more like… deliver those “howls to heaven” (as Ann calls them). Could those howls just pleeease releeease (with the force of Space Shuttle Challenger all the way to heaven) the disillusionment and pain of the knife-jagging to the heart?

Lord, where were You? In invisible ink, that’s in all caps. Where was my children’s and my Protector, Defender, and reigning God? How could even just these iceberg tips of vile, vicious, venomous wickedness straight from Satan’s handbook have happened on Your watch? You know its full breadth and depth.  How could You then command me to give thanks in all things? The wrinkle of puzzlement on my forehead from asking the deafening, reverberating “Howwwww? Whyyyyyyyy?” has stayed there.

Ann Voskamp’s calming voice gently whispers in my ear.  Literally. I am listening to her audiobook, One Thousand Gifts.  Yes, I want to learn how to “biblically lament loss”.  Yes, I want to see pain “transfigure into beauty”. How do I legitimately pour myself out like water yet keep my reverence for You? Let me try Ann Voskamp’s recipe.

In that low, slow voice that feels like a balm on my agitated heart, she pronounces “eu-char-is-te-yo”. Thanks -giving. “CHAR-is : Grace;  CHAR-a:  Joy”.  Thanks-giving. In. All. Things. All is grace. This is a gift.

Really?  It looks like a blessing in an extremely good disguise, I can’t find it.  It has camouflaged itself perfectly as anything but.  Ann says, “The remedy is in the retina.”  Show me the gift in this, Lord. I want to see.  I can’t see with the eyes I have. I need Your eyes.

“Name them (the blessings),” Ann says.

Okay…  Well…..    ……………….      ………………………..

For one, You truly give Your children better alternatives to murder.

…….. Second, …..You have the last say, the last Word, and the last laugh.  That’s what Steph said the message was last Sunday at the service she attended.  No one can stand against You, not persons, not false gods; not even Satan himself—the created being— can stand against You, the Creator.   You are greater than collective human ability to be treacherous. You can not be bribed.   Nothing in all creation is hidden from Your sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before Your eyes to whom we must give account. No one in the history of mankind has ever won against You and no one will.  When the people who have no fear of You (who want to live as though they are destined to be forever in their earthly bodies in this passing world) inevitably go back to dust in this short life… You remain forever.

Third, I can’t change people but You can.  I can’t make a person repent but You can.  Those who are willing to repent, You are able to release from captivity of being Satan’s servants and prisoners; You can open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light,  from his power to Your power so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You.  You are not slow in keeping Your promise as some understand slowness.  Instead, You are patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. You want all the treacherous to be repentant and not perish. You will be the one to draw them near to You.

Fourth, You are a just God who cannot be mocked.  You are jealous for Your glory. You will glorify Yourself.

Fifth, Your mercies are new every morning. You show Yourself through everyday graces.

When I was a flailing child grasping and gasping in my live wire emotions, You gripped my face to look to You, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Strength, my Healer, my Restorer, my Hope, my Light, my Love, my Sufficiency, my Father, my Shield, my Protector, my Fortress, the Lover of my soul.  Your promises last forever and they are Yes and Amen in Jesus Christ.   When I ask anything according to Your will, I have what I ask. You are using what took place for my good. You are the Definer of my life. You are the Refiner of my soul.  I still have a long way to go but You have already taken me out of the miry clay.  You are in the business of restoration.  You picked me up from death and breathed new life into me.  You held me in the palm of Your hand not letting me disintegrate into nothingness the way I sometimes wished to.  Daily, You cleanse me as Your bride, fresh and new.

Your Word reminds me that Your plans are to prosper and not harm me, but to give me a hope and future.  Through suffering, You teach me compassion for those who are suffering, rightly decrease my love for this passing world and increase my love for You and Your kingdom; You give me a deeper glimpse of the suffering Jesus went through for my sake, uniting my heart with His.

You make my peace not some far, far away place, time, nor circumstance but the gift of You— here and now in the raging midst of imperfection and waiting as I am washed by Your presence.

When I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, You were with me, never leaving nor forsaking me, enabling me to get up from stumbling to progressively become Your child not just in position but in experience. You were here all along.

You answer my question, “Where were You?’ You were here. You — the God who was, who is, and who is to come—You are here. You have always been here.  This is a gift.

Is there anything a person can ever hold on to?   When You have removed what can be shaken—that is created things— so that what cannot be shaken may remain, we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken; let us be thankful, and so worship You acceptably with reverence and awe.

============

(Ravi Zacharias answers my same  question “Why doesn’t God stop those who hurt the innocent?”  at 4:55.)

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