Friday, July 31, 2020

Rhythms and Routines of Christian Life

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No copyright infringement intended

 

I found this article of Dr. Danielle Forshee[1] describing the “Psychological Benefits of Routines” as an affirmation of its value from a medical perspective.  


·      Routine in adults is very similar to routine in children. It is crucial to set routines to enable yourself to get better at the things you do.

·      Routine helps us cope with change, it helps to create healthy habits, and more importantly, it helps to reduce stress levels.

·      Routine helps alleviate stress. Creating routines will allow you to set times for specific tasks, and allow you to set times for fun, or things that you enjoy or make you happy. 

 

Alannah Francis[2] added:

 

Routine is essential if we're to develop a strong and substantial faith and relationship with Christ. When we think about how we're defined by what we do every day in so many other areas of our lives, it makes sense that this carries over into our spiritual life.

 

From a biblical perspective, “How did God provide the means to keep our rhythms and routines working flawlessly each day?” Looking back at Genesis (1:14, NLT), God provided, “the seasons, days, and years.” With this in mind, God marked the rhythm and routine between day and night with the 24-hour cycle on a weekly basis before Adam was created. Ever since that day, everything operated this way. God, in his Omniscience, thought about the pattern for us to live by on a weekly basis as far as daily rhythm and routine is concerned

 

Another significant provision is the Sabbath Day or the 7th Day. This is the day where God rested and declared it a holy day:

 

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. 2On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. 3And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation (Genesis 2”1-3, NLT)

 

Moses, in giving the law, reiterated the Sabbath day principle:  

 

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:8-11, NKJ)

 

What does the Sabbath law mean for us today? Simply put, the Sabbath Day is God’s reset button as part of the rhythm and routines He set up for us to follow. Following the Sabbath Day is not being dogmatic or even about rule-keeping. It’s more than these two things, as many subscribed to. If it’s only these, then we’ve missed the whole point of God altogether. I believe it to be a very simple system intended for our benefit personally and spiritually, from God’s standpoint. God gave us rhythms and routines to follow but also a day of rest from it as a reset. Here are some valuable perspectives on this matter:

 

·      God knew the rhythm of life needs a reset button. In providing one day where we rest, God declared the 7th day as a day of worship, reflection and reset.

·      Observing the Sabbath Day removes our attention to ourselves after six days and instead focused on God, our Creator, who gave us everything for one day. 

·      Having one day reserved as a day of worship impacts our children and their future. What we sow is what we reap.

 

How did the early church follow God’s prescription on a daily basis? Michaelle Justice shared this wonderful insight:

 

In the early church, how they acted in their daily lives and interactions with others defined their Christian life. The ministry of daily life is about living in the Word, walking the path with Jesus whether we’re behind a desk, or pushing our grocery cart down the frozen food aisle. It can be how we act, without words, how we treat others – even those we might only meet in passing as we go through our daily routines. 

 

That’s why, Steve May shared, “The Christian life isn’t about flashes of occasional spiritual brilliance. It’s about day-to-day consistency.” God is concerned with our personal and spiritual health, thus, the provision of a reset for us is given. Try it and you’ll never be the same.

 

Let’s talk again!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Loving our Neighbor and our Enemies

I found this wonderful post, “Ten Commandments of Human Relations” as a way to begin our conversation for our information and guidance:

  1. Speak to people. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting. Smile at people. It takes seventy-two muscles to frown, only fourteen to smile.
  2. Call people by name. Music to anyone's ears is the sound of his/her own name.
  3. Be friendly and helpful.
  4. Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is genuinely a pleasure, and if it isn't, learn to make it so.
  5. Be genuinely interested in people. You can like almost everybody if you try.
  6. Be generous with praise, cautious with criticism.
  7. Be considerate with the feelings of others. There are usually three sides to a controversy: yours, the other fellow's, and the right one.
  8. Be alert to serve. What counts most in life is what we do for others.
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  10. Add to this a good sense of humour, a big dose of patience, and a dash of humility, and you will be rewarded manifold through life. Adapted from the Bible Tract Bulletin.

Jesus stated a very clear commandment in Mark 12:31 about loving others, specifically for those we consider as neighbours: “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (NIV). And if you want to understand who our neighbour is, read the Parable of the Samaritan where Jesus provided a picture of the most unlikely person to assist a person in need during that time. After reading it, I hope and pray it would change the way you approach this matter. 

Jesus stated an unequivocal truth for our modern-day understanding about fulfilling God’s Law daily, i.e., “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Somebody said a wonderful summary of what’s expected of us:

The reality is that I can only ever love and accept others to the degree that I have learned to love and accept myself. What so many of us need from God and loving friends is help to love and accept ourselves in the same way that God loves and accepts us -- totally and unconditionally.

We need to remember that before God asked us to love our neighbour and others, He manifested His love to us through the death of Jesus Christ. While we were considered an enemy of God, He loved us despite our sinfulness. Because of this simple reason, it’s our turn to employ the same mindset of loving others and our neighbours. 

How do we begin? Let’s start in becoming mindful of others above our own interests: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). In dealing with those we consider as our enemies: If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21-22). Why? Jesus provided something for us to consider: 

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:46-47)

Simply means, loving others we like is easier, but it takes a toll on us when our enemies are concerned. In this way, applying Jesus’ words becomes a reality and its application makes or breaks us as believers of Jesus. The only thing holding us back in loving anyone, especially our enemies, is pride, plain and simple. To bring us out of pride, remember how Jesus, at the cross of Calvary, prayed for His enemies and forgave them as well. And no matter what we think or say about it, it’s a choice we must make daily. 

Holly Mthethwa[1] provided some practical ways to love our neighbour as yourself. 

  1. I will love my neighbours, whoever they are, by truly seeing them. I will look past the obvious, the outer shell, and I will look into their eyes, their hearts, and their circumstances. 
  2. I’ll ask for forgiveness for the strongholds within my own heart that keep me from sympathizing with or loving another. If I need to ask for forgiveness from my neighbour, I’ll humble myself and apologize. 
  3. I’ll love my neighbours by praying for them—even if it’s through gritted teeth at first. I will pray for my neighbours, especially the ones I least want to pray for.
  4. I will walk alongside my neighbours. I will rejoice when they rejoice and mourn when they mourn. I’ll bear the burden of the pain and anguish, because I know that Christ is the ultimate burden-bearer, and I’ll shout for joy in tandem with their cries of thanksgiving and praise.
  5. I’ll allow my neighbours to challenge my heart without taking offense or becoming bitter. I’ll accept constructive criticism as the pathway that draws me closer to Christ. 

In the end, we’ll face God and He’ll be asking us how we did in this area. What would you answer then?

Let’s talk again!


  [1] http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/7-ways-to-love-your-neighbor-as-yourself.html

Friday, June 19, 2020

Just thinking out loud...

We are indeed living in the end times. As Christian believers living in his world, how are we to act and react to the various opposing sides vying for our attention? First, what does the Scriptures say about this: "You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. THEY WILL CONSIDER NOTHING SACRED. 3They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good." 2 Timothy 3:1-3, NLT.
Should we take sides in what's happening? Should we adopt the current ideology permeating the landscape of the nations? As a matter of Scriptural fact, we ARE called to become salt and light of the world, therefore, the banner we carry at all times in the Name of Christ. However unpopular it might be, this is our identity. We hate injustice and all sorts of wickedness as people of God, yet Jesus told us about this. The only remedy is God's offer of salvation to everyone.
The Great Commission encapsulates the whole message of God's Kingdom. Many would not hear our message because it is unpopular and doesn't go well with the current trend. As always, God's message is always irrelevant to them and rejected. Is "loving your enemies" irrelevant? To a world filled with hate and anger, it is because loving your enemy is not the answer but destruction of the enemy. This is where we need to make a stand as far as identifying with any movement. Can we reflect Christ's message while carrying another banner with a different message? We need God's wisdom and only prayer counters any attacks of the enemy (John 10:10).
What am I saying? If you are burdened with what's happening, read about it and be informed. Then do what's appropriate as a Christian believer and pray for God's wisdom in all your actions and reactions. If you choose not to be involved, don't just watch but pray for God's intervention.
Until next time!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Living by Faith through God's Grace

In this pandemic, it’s easy to look up to God and ask various questions of inquiry and concern. Some might become frustrated in moving forward without any idea of what’s next. We feel being in limbo at what’s transpiring around us. People are suffering in many ways and feeling helpless. What does the Scripture speak in this time of uncertainty? The apostle Peter reminds us, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10). 

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God is at work even when we do not know how He is doing it. He is the God of all grace and we need His grace to endure a seemingly bleak and unknown future. It is only through God’s grace that we are secured and assured daily. The simple fact is this: God’s grace is His provision especially given to those He called to live for Christ, in Christ and with Christ until we meet Him face to face in eternity. We need His grace to face anything that comes our way. Connecting to God’s grace is our guarantee of sustainability until Jesus comes again. 

G.W. Knight shared this illustration of how grace works:

When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day's pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award--yet receives such a gift anyway--that is a good picture of God's unmerited favour. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.

Allow me to share these great insights in reminding you that God’s grace is sufficient for us at all times and in every season of life:

  • When suffering comes, God’s grace will restore us.
  • When uncertainty comes, God’s grace will confirm us.
  • When pain and sorrow come, God’s grace will strengthen us.
  • When troubles come, God’s grace will establish us.

How do we access such a bountiful supply of God’s grace? God’s grace is always accessible through faith in Jesus. There’s no other way of appropriating it except through Jesus and Him alone. Something mighty occurs when God’s grace and our faith intersect. Grace provides mileage to our faith and faith sees grace ahead to attain victory at all times. Most importantly, it produces great things to those who believe. Remember, nothing is impossible for this who believe sustained by God’s grace. Somebody said these wonderful words to encourage us in our current journey during this pandemic:

He giveth more grace when burdens grow greater, He sendeth more strength when the labours increase; To added affliction, He addeth His mercy, To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace. When we have exhausted our store of endurance; When our strength has failed ere the day is half done; When we reach the end of our hoarded resources; Our Father's full giving is only begun. His love has no limit, His grace knows no measure, His power no boundary known unto men; For out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

In the end, we can only anchor ourselves under the mighty hand of God’s grace and through faith we can overcome anything. No matter what we face, we are never alone because God’s grace sustains us all the way through. Believe it and you will never be the same again.

Let’s talk again!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

JRAM You Tube Channel

If you are looking for videos to encourage you during this pandemic, visit JRAM You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwYHSFRS3cHq1E85SooNmjw

Sunday, April 26, 2020

JRAM Church Online – April 26, 2020 “Shifting Mindsets: Experiencing God’s Best in our Worst Situation”


How does God shift people’s mindset? God has various ways of causing a shift of mindset among the people. Whether through literal imprisonment or through a specific judgment or fear of punishment of death, there’s always an expected response. Hopefully, it is the right response.
JRAM Church Online – April 26, 2020 Speaker – Aldrin Navo – JRAM Senior Pastor

Please click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEesQi1E7_g

Monday, April 20, 2020

Online Worship Service: "Hang On or Lose Heart" - Parable of the Persistent Widow

Because of the delay in the consummation of the kingdom, it is especially important for persistent prayer to characterize the Christian life. This will ensure that a community of faith will exist when the Son of Man comes. ~New American Commentary

JRAM Church Online - April 19, 2020 Speaker - Aldrin Navo - JRAM Senior Pastor

Please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi9fFmDNbJk

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Faith in God’s Reality

William Jennings Bryan shared a powerful illustration in proving God’s reality: 

I have observed the power of the watermelon seed. It has the power of drawing from the ground and through itself 200,000 times its weight. When you can tell me how it takes this material and out of it colors an outside surface beyond the imitation of art, and then forms inside of it a white rind and within that again a red heart, thickly inlaid with black seeds, each one of which in turn is capable of drawing through itself 200,000 times its weight--when you can explain to me the mystery of a watermelon, you can ask me to explain the mystery of God.  

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The main reason many cannot comprehend the reality of God is due to a simple fact: “…anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6b). Belief in the reality of God involves faith in His existence. Although, whether we believe in God’s reality or not, His reality never diminished anyway. Not believing in His reality is our lost not His. 

What do the Scriptures say about God’s reality? We begin with the visible creation. God’s creation secures our faith in an invisible God: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Furthermore, God’s creation strengthens our faith in the power of God’s word: “By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Finally, hear what Jesus described faith in God’s reality: “Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

For everyone’s benefit, having a firm belief in God’s reality is an initial requirement of faith: “…because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and…” Em Griffin shared this wonderful story: 

There's a story about a kindergarten teacher who asked a boy what he was drawing. Without pausing to look up, he said, "A picture of God." The teacher smiled and responded, "But nobody knows what God looks like." The boy carefully put down his crayon, looked her squarely in the eye, and declared, "After I'm finished here they will." 

Next, our belief in God’s reliability is an ongoing requirement of faith “…because anyone who comes to him must believe that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Here’s a story t0 illustrate such truth: The early church leader Augustine was once accosted by a heathen who showed him his idol and said, "Here is my god; where is thine?" Augustine replied, "I cannot show you my God; not because there is no God to show but because you have no eyes to see Him. (Author Unknown). Like Job, we need to see God’s reality during the toughest times of our life. And only with eyes of faith, one sees the existence and reality of God: You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you (Job 42:4-5).

In facing any crisis, the significance of our faith in exhibiting God’s reality becomes much more significant. Why? People must know our faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us (John 3:16). People must see how our faith operates in public scrutiny (Matthew 5:16). Finally, people must encounter our faith by engaging them as Jesus’ witnesses (Acts 1:8). When we know these things, it keeps us aligned in our faith God. Most importantly, people are watching us live our faith life. God is counting on us in displaying the reality of His power daily. Don’t just show it, live it as a witness for His glory.

Let’s talk again!

JRAM Midweek Service - April 15, 2020

JRAM Midweek Service - April 15, 2020

Speaker - Ptr. Genis Misola



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CMFgldjW4g

Sunday, April 12, 2020

JRAM Church Online - April 12, 2020 Resurrection Sunday

JRAM Church Online - April 12, 2020 Resurrection Sunday Speaker - Bishop Efraim Tendero - World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General & CEO

Please click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jramfamily/

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Prayerline: Good Friday Service

PRAYERLINE - April 10, 2020 Good Friday Service Speaker - Edith Mendoza - JRAM Asia Executive Pastor


Please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY5IwZwJvPM

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Midweek Service - April 8, 2020 : Parable of the Ten Virgins

Jesus is coming soon. Covid-19 and many other events are signs of His coming. Watch and learn to have the right posture of preparation for his coming.

Please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1xPByLYL_o

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

JRAM Midweek Service - April 1, 2020

Come join us!



JRAM Midweek Service - April 1, 2020



YouTube link: https://youtu.be/NwZzaPMnv3E

Monday, March 23, 2020

JRAM Online Worship Service – March 22, 2020

Preaching Topic: Lessons and Warnings in the Last Days.

This special worship service is the first ever multi-site online worship service of JRAM Family. No distance shall separate us from the love of Jesus! All His!

Please click here to watch: https://www.facebook.com/jramcanada/videos/2401060836821186/

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Scriptures Brings Assurance

One thing that is certain as we pursue our earthly journey in this ever-changing world is securing an assurance anchored in God’s Word. Why? Just look around and observe what’s happening in the world right now. There’s much uncertainty in every sector of our society. We are experiencing a pandemic affecting many nations of the world. Panic is setting in and fear is gripping many hearts as the days pass by. How do we oppose such negative emotions when we are bombarded with news of uncertainty? 
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Allow me to provide specific things for daily reflection. First, God’s word never fails in fulfilling its intended purpose: So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11). Next, God’s word is reinforced by the power of God’s Spirit: Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6). Lastly, God’s word assured us of eternal life when we put our faith in Jesus: 

The promise of eternal life when we hear His words: Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment. Indeed, he has crossed over from death to life (John 5:24).

The Scriptures are filled with illustrations of God’s Word and its assurance to those who believe. 
·      King Jehoshaphat received victory after following God’s Word: “And he said, "Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). 
·      The Roman Centurion took Jesus at His words: But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. And to the centurion, Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment (Matthew 8:8, 13).
·      The apostle Paul received strength from God’s assurance: But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

How can these examples apply to our time? They are individuals just like us. Although they lived in a different time, their concerns are very similar to ours. Whether our issues are big or small, they show our response leaning towards fear or towards God. You have a choice to make when confronted by an issue larger than us. I implore you to seek God’s Word and find assurance there. If these Biblical examples showed the capability of God in answering their concerns, God is able and willing to provide what you need today.

When you see and read the headlines of today, it seems that everything is downhill. Yet when you choose to trust God, things around you may not change, but I guarantee that you will change. Where do you start? I recommend reading the book of Mark, the shortest of the four Gospels, to discover Jesus. The greatest headline begins in you when you discover God’s assurance through His Son, Jesus. God loves you and He’s waiting for you to seek Him with all your heart and soul. Only in God, we will find the assurance we are looking for in this life and the next. Would you consider His promise to you: Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13, Berean Study Bible).

Let’s talk again!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Suffering and Perseverance

We are living in a time of various sufferings. Suffering is a reality of life we must endure at all costs. Unfortunately, people disdain the concept of suffering simply because of its unpredictability. From a Christian perspective, suffering is expected. The apostle Peter exhorted everyone how suffering produces the God’s grace: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10, ESV).

Randy Alcorn provided his observation about suffering and its purpose from Gods perspective:

God uses suffering to purge sin from our lives, strengthen our commitment to him, force us to depend on his grace, bind us together with other believers, produce discernment, foster sensitivity, discipline our minds, impart wisdom, stretch our hope, cause us to know Christ better, make us long for truth, lead us to repentance of sin, teach us to give thanks in times of sorrow, increase our faith, and strengthen our character. And once he accomplishes such great things, often we can see that our suffering has been worth it.
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Suffering, when fully understood from God’s perspective, is good for us. Adding perseverance when going through suffering adds the faith dimension of seeing God work for His glory and our benefit. H. Jackson Brown, Jr. exemplified how perseverance changes the dynamic when suffering is present: “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength but by perseverance.”

Here are some practical truths to learn as we go through life’s suffering. First, sufferings are part of our life and must be expected in Christian life. However, giving up is not an option. The apostle Paul showed what attitude one must apply: And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9, ESV). In addition, it is best to remember Charles Spurgeon’s reminder, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”

Next, sufferings are an opportunity for God’s grace and power seen and manifested. That’s why we need to “seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11, ESV). Billy Graham described,

People who go through life unscathed by sorrow and untouched by pain tend to be shallow in their perspectives on life. Suffering, on the other hand, tends to plow up the surface of our lives to uncover the depths that provide greater strength of purpose and accomplishment.

The apostle Paul exemplified suffering and adding a huge dose of perseverance. He simply followed Jesus’ example. Actually, Jesus foretold that his Christian journey is marked with much suffering. He responded accordingly with this knowledge on hand. Inwardly, he rejoiced with hope in God’s promises and assurances. Outwardly, he exhibited perseverance during tribulations, and he stood firmly at all times. Most importantly, he prayed constantly and sought help from the Lord without wavering. 

In this New Year, your life may be filled with sufferings similar to or worse than last year. However, here’s something you need to realize as you face another year, “You made it! And no matter how you faced the challenges or sufferings of the past year, God was with you last year and if you allow Him, He’ll be with this New Year!  

If you ask me, allow me to share the Bible verses that became my daily source of facing life’s sufferings with joy and perseverance: 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:22-25, ESV).

Keep looking up to God for help and He will never let you down.

Let’s talk again!