“Is God Really in Control?” My thoughts about the Caroanavirus

How much of the national anthem do you know? The very last stanza talks about God, and is a prayer for our nation. Have a listen.

Here’s a brief history of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The historian’s name is David Barton. He’s the founder of WallBuilders: an organization dedicated to preserving our nation’s history. I first heard about him when I was watching an episode of Dr. Charles Stanley with my mom. Dr. Stanley is the founder of InTouch Ministries. He’s a television minister my mom has watched for years. I come from a very strong Christ-following household. My mom is very particular about who she listens to when it comes to learning about the Bible. She only listens to a few well-known ministers. The rest of the time, she studies the word of God for herself.  David Barton preached a sermon titled, “Is America a Christian Nation?” You can Google it on YouTube. I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding David Barton’s work. Some people think he’s made a lot of mistakes in his videos, and that he’s been misleading people. I can tell you this: If David Barton wasn’t truthful, Charles Stanley wouldn’t have invited him to be a guest speaker at his church. Charles Stanley is a strong, solid Biblical teacher, and so is David Barton. If you have questions about his work, contact him directly, or listen to the podcast below to point you in a good direction for the right resources. Here’s a link to David Barton’s biography, as well as the biographies of the people he works with.  About Us 

Also, here’s a link to the WallBuilders library. You’ll find many of the historical documents that helped shape our nation: Presidents’ speeches, sermons. proclamations, and more. There’s even a written transcript, along with a live telecast recording, delivered from the Apollo 8 astronauts on Christmas Eve in 1968. It’s titled, “Christmas Prayer from Lunar Orbit.” The astronauts are taking turns reading from different parts of Genesis chapter 1. Doesn’t that sound fascinating? Listen to it and read it here. You sure don’t hear or see that on television today! David Barton’s organization has many of the original, complete, handwritten documents that our school textbooks leave out. In school, we’re only told part of the story. It’s interesting to me how in today’s culture we try to avoid talking about the one who history itself belongs to in the first place; God is the one who formed the earth and gave us life. In Isaiah 48:13, God says:

“Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together.”


Here’s another verse:

Genesis 2:7

“The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

How could God’s word be any more straightforward about what He meant for our nation?

Lord, forgive us when we exclude you from our lives, and thank you for putting people like David Barton on this earth to educate us, and remind us not to forget about you! Amen.

Here’s a podcast that talks about the national anthem and the life of Francis Scott Key in greater detail. When special guest Dr. Sheli Manuel talks about her book she wrote, she says, “It’s called Grace Wisher Fingers That Sing. It’s all about Grace Wisher, a young lady who had been born on a slave plantation in Virginia who came to freedom and desired to be an indentured servant at the Mary Pickersgill house.  And she sewed the stars onto that flag of old glory at Fort McHenry that Francis Scott Key was writing about that night. I think this is so important because I was working on this book and working with the Star-Spangled Banner Commission, the government commission, during the bicentennial on our resolution.  And the U.S. Senate gave us unanimous vote on that. And I was studying the story of Grace Wisher at that time right when the Freddie Gray riots broke out in Baltimore.” Doesn’t that sound intriguing? Hear from someone who was actually there! Here’s the link to her website: http://singitamerica.com/


Hi everyone. I decided to write a special message in light of what the news is talking about with the coronavirus. Let’s face it: We live in some pretty scary and uncertain times right now. People are afraid to go anywhere for fear of getting the virus. Even as Christians, it’s hard not to be frightened. We look around us and we hear the news headlines and we might think, “Am I next to get the virus? Is God really in control?” Those are good questions. I mean, many things have been stopped, and it seems like the whole world has been turned upside down. Hence the sign in the picture above.

First, Yes! God is in control! Remember Psalm 139:16b says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” The very same God who created the universe and said, “Let there be light,” (Genesis 1:3), knew this was going to happen, when it was going to happen, etc.

I know the next thing you’re thinking: “Why would such a loving God allow something like this to happen?” Again, that’s a good question! I don’t have all the answers because I don’t have the mind of God. I do know one thing: We live in a culture where people like to be very independent. Even independent from hearing about the things of God. Many times, throughout my life experiences, I’ve noticed God will use tragedy in our lives to get our attention and get us to turn back to Him. Look at how He pulled me through my birth. That wasn’t a coincidence. God didn’t say “oops” then and He’s not saying “oops” now. Instead of always asking why, I like to ask, “Lord, what are you trying to teach me through this?” Maybe this is one of His ways to get people to turn back to Him. If you look at our nation’s history, many of our founding fathers were Christ-followers. Many of the patriotic songs have stanzas that refer to God. These days, you don’t hear about it. If you’re curious, you can Google it.  I’ve also included many links throughout this article if you want to scroll through it and look at them. The patriotic links are at the top of the page. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Suffering such as the coronavirus tends to humble people and make them realize the simple things they take for granted, like washing hands. Just when you think it can’t happen to you, it does.

As I’m writing this article, I’ve recently found out a disabled friend of mine from Joni and Friends Family Retreat possibly has the virus.  He came in contact with a coworker who might have the virus, and now, there’s a chance he might have it. The family is pleading with people to please take the warnings about social distancing seriously. It can happen to anyone! The good news is, my friend knows the Lord and has that true peace that passes all understanding that the Lord talks about in the Bible. He knows the promise of Psalm139:16b, and knows that God never makes mistakes. Even if he can’t see the big picture at the moment, everything in his life has a purpose; including getting this virus. His life is in God’s hands. For the person who doesn’t know the Lord and doesn’t have that true peace, all of a sudden that person is crying out to God saying, “Lord I need you!” He says, “I’ve been waiting for this moment. Let me show you how to have true peace.”

So how do we learn to have peace in these uncertain times of social distancing? Go to websites such as biblegateway.com and read the Bible or listen to it being read to you. Come visit my blog. Look up patriotic songs, listen to all the stanzas and read the stories behind them. Listen to some worship songs on YouTube. If you have kids, Jana Alayra has some great music with motions. For the really young children, those who are in preschool, kindergarten. and under, Mary Rice Hopkins has some great music that has motions also. She and her friend, Darcie Maze, have put together some comforting videos with puppets during this time. Focus on the Family has a great radio drama series for kids who are ages 8-12. Listen to Adventures In Odyssey here. If you and your family know someone who has a disability, Joni and Friends has a Kids’ Corner on their website. Their goal is to help kids understand how they can befriend them. They have videos, coloring pages, games, and more. It’s a great way to keep kids active at a time like this. Watch my videos and leave a comment; I’d love to see a conversation get started about this. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here. Leave Bible verses on your friends’ Facebook pages. If you have to go to the store, be patient bearing one another’s burdens in love  (Galatians 6:2). As Christians, let’s hold each other up in prayer as relationships with loved ones are strengthened, and be a light to a darkened world. Remember, Yes! God really is in control!

Dear Lord.

Help us as Christians to show a darkened world how suffering displays your goodness at its very best. Show us your purpose in allowing this, and give doctors and other medical professionals wisdom and direction to wipe away this disease, if it is your will. Heal our friends and loved ones who have it. Let us learn from each other as we hear and share our stories. Help us to begin to take the advice of medical professionals seriously so that we, as a nation, can stop the virus in its tracks. Give the medical professionals extra protection so that they don’t get sick themselves, and give them wisdom to properly diagnose the people who have this virus. Give us willing hearts to be people who follow and respect the laws our government has put in place because you put those people in the positions they’re in for a reason. Those laws were meant to help us; not to harm us. Help us remember that this is only for a time. At a time like this when people would have questions, let us be people who are willing to give an answer for the hope that we have. Help us to fix our eyes on you and run the race with endurance; keeping our eyes on the prize, awaiting our crown of rewards for our service that has been done in your name until we meet you face to face and you say, “Well done my good and faithful servant; welcome home.” In the meantime, show us how you are the Lord of peace at all times and how we can have peace in every way. Lord be with us all. I pray for those people who have not yet put their trust in you as their Lord and Savior. I pray they would do it now, and not wait for tomorrow. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Your word says that you number our days.  Give our hearts a longing for that deeper, spiritual kind of healing only you can bring. Show us how a huge weight of responsibility is lifted off of our shoulders when we let you be in complete control of our lives, and surrender all to you. For those of us who have turned away from following your ways, forgive us. Give us that quiet, gentle nudging that leads us to repentance and help us to turn our hearts back to you. After all, you created our inner most beings in our mother’s womb. Without you, we’re nothing but dust. Help our nation to come to true repentance and return to the principles our country was originally founded on. Heal our land.

In Jesus Name,


Author’s Note:  I have included two websites about my friend,  Gabe Murfitt, that I mentioned in my article. Here’s a website for his  foundation, and here’s a website he has dedicated to motivational speaking.  I’ve had a chance to hear him speak in person; he’s awesome! Information about Gabe keeps changing rapidly as I’m writing this article. I recently found another update on Facebook about Gabe. He’s doing much better, but he still has to be careful; the fight is not over. The more I read previous Facebook posts on his page, the more it sounds like he never had the virus. Gabe had similar symptoms, so the doctors decided to be extra careful and take all the necessary precautions such as hospitalizing him for a while, running some tests, and isolating him, and everyone else he came in contact with. That is proof of how serious the virus can be if people get it. I’ve even heard many stories of people dying from it on the news. Here’s the latest update about Gabe in his own words:

“Hi everyone. I just wanted to update you all on how I’m doing. My coworker’s Covid-19 test came back negative! I’m also feeling much better. I will be returning back to work tomorrow. Just wanted to thank everyone who sent messages and were praying for me. I really appreciate all of you! I especially want to thank my amazing mother in law Jennifer Zandecki for taking care of me and being my quarantine buddy! I hope everyone continues to follow the stay at home orders as there is still a potential risk my wife could get sick. Thanks again to everyone and apologies if I didn’t respond. Been quite the week. Stay safe everyone!”

Gabe mentioned his wife being at risk because she’s pregnant. Please keep Gabe and his family in your prayers. If his story doesn’t demonstrate how God is in control of all things even at a time like this, what does? God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.  Amen! Thank you, Lord for watching over my friend Gabe, and using his life as an example during this time to show how us you really are in control of all things. God, you’re so good!


Works Cited

“The Star-Spangled Banner (Full Version with Lyrics).” YouTube, 20 Aug. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXbbEA26Ec4.

David Barton, WallBuilders. “History of the Star-Spangled Banner.” YouTube, 4 June 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDKfw8nysLA.

WallBuildersLive. “Is The National Anthem Racist? The Truth Behind Francis Scott Key and Our National Anthem, With Shelli Manuel.” WallBuildersLive, 21 Nov. 2017, https://wallbuilderslive.com/francis-scott-key-national-anthem-shelli-manuel/.











































Behind the Scenes of The ABC’s of Contentment

Hi everyone, today happens to be a really fun day. As you know I’ve been doing a series called “The ABC’s of Contentment.” I’m almost done, and so I decided to put together a behind the scenes video/blooper video of what goes on when I’m filming these videos. It’s fun but let me tell you, it’s not easy! Sometimes some pretty funny things can happen. You know, I say things I shouldn’t say accidentally, or I’m pointing to something and something falls apart, Etc. etc. etc. I think you know I’m talking about. You’ve seen it when you’ve watched movies or T.V. That’s like the funinest part, right? So first here’s the behind the scenes people who help me put together these videos. This here is Jessica. (Jessica) Hi. (Rachael) She’s my makeup artist, my producer, she’s one that takes care of the lighting on the computer makes sure my face looks good. And this is Traci. (Traci) Hi (Rachael) She’s the one who I work with her during the week she’s the one who helps me memorizes my scripts to make sure I know what I’m going to say every Saturday and like I said, this is a fun day. And as you can tell we have fun doing these. And this is my dog Lady. She’s the one that you’ve sometimes heard in the background bark. She barks when she hears a noise or my mom comes home and I’m talking right in the middle of a video. So that’s everybody and then as you can tell from the hats, as you can tell from the hats we have fun here. Merry Christmas, Happy 4th of July, let your imagination fly high. Bye bye bye everyone I hope you have fun watching as much as we have fun putting this together. Bye.
B is for Blessing. Hi everyone. Thanks for joining me for my second video. (Traci) Rachael are you practicing? (Rachael) Yeah Traci, I volunteer at my local hospital. Many times I’ve heard people (Traci) Are you sitting up straight and looking into the camera? I’m going to come poke you. (Rachael) Yeah yeah yeah. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test time
Hi everyone welcome to week three of (Traci) Rachael Rachael this is how you do it you hold it up here. (Rachael) I know what I’m doing Traci give me back the paper I’m
(Jessica and Rachael) and mercy mild God and sinners reconcile. Joyful all ye nations rise. Join the triumph
Hi haha everyone and welcome to hahaha
That is why for Christ’s sake I delight in (Traci) weaknesses (Rachael) weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties for when I am str streaking then I am strong. (Traci) Did you just say streaking (Rachael) Oops I meant to say weak.
(Rachael) Just kidding (Jessica) You realize the first thing that they’re going hear in this video is just kidding (Rachael) hahaha oops
(Jessica) Okay so you’re working and Rachael will be talking and talking and then she’s goning to read blah blah blah blah blah come on so forth and so on and so on and so on and now the mouse isn’t working wait now maybe I have to go over here
Please stop (Jessica) Wait wait I gotta make you laugh.
(Jessica)Oh oh fine I’ll let you talk. About how we’re trash (Rachael) hahaha were not
Hi everyone and hahaha sorry haha welcome to week haha week 14 you know putting these videos together produces a lot of laughter. Me and Jessica have a lot of fun haha together. Sorry about that anyway we are on week hahaha
One body, one Lord, one father overall, One spirit in our hearts, one body many parts.
Hi everyone welcome to week uhhhh 16 of haha
(Rachael) hahaha (Jessica) On wings like eagles (Rachael) haha (Jessica) They will run and not grow weary (Rachael) Haha Jessica turn it off (Jessica) Nope come on sing it (Rachael and Jessica) hahah (Jessica) those who hope in the lord will renew their strength. Come on I don”t hear you singing (Rachael and Jessica) Those who hope in the lord will renew their strength. They will sore on wings like eagles. they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint
(Rachael) Like a pirate hat. (Jessica) You’re on. (Rachael) haha
Hi everyone and welcome to the ABC’s of Contentment. Today’s letter is R. R stands for Rachael, or uh Rachael, Roberto, Renew and R can also stand for ARRGH! hahahah (Jessica) hahaha (Rachael) So anyway I’m hahaha Okay we’re getting serious now hahahah (Jessica) hahaha
Hi everyone and welcome to week 18 of the ABCs of contentment today’s letter is R. And R can stand for Roberto, renew and as you can see from what I’m wearing, R also stand for Arrgh. Ahoy matey, Ahoy shipmates
Xmas hence all my Christmas attire the shirt, the hat, my earrings
Jeremiah 45:8 (Traci) No Rachael it is Isaiah. (Rachael) I knew that, I know the verse. Get over and get on my lap, I will show you crazy.
In my mother’s womb stop right there (phone ringing)
(Jessica) Are you ready? (Jessica and Rachael) In Hebrews 12:22-24. You have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly. To the church of the firstborn
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Z is for Zion

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 26 of the ABC’s of Contentment. We made it to the finish line. Today we’re on the letter Z. Z stands for Zion. Zion is a mountain. It’s thought of as the mountain of life. We have two verses today and the first verse that goes with this is Hebrews 12:22-24. It says, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” I did it! Yay! If you didn’t already know, it’s not often talked about in the church, so let’s just say it’s been kind of a challenge to memorize that verse this week. But as you can see, I just did it! So yay, that’s an accomplishment! Ta-dah! Then we’re going to talk about two mountains. First there’s Mount Zion, which is thought of as a mountain of heaven, hence that verse; and then there’s Mount Sinai, which is thought of as the mountain death. The first place that Mount Sinai is mentioned is at the beginning of Exodus chapter 19 when the Israelites are coming out of Egypt. The Lord is talking to Moses and in chapter 19 verses 12 and 13, He says, “Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty strong warning from God. I know my middle name is “Danger,” but if I lived back in biblical times, even I wouldn’t want to approach that mountain. But you know what? Let’s face it: I find myself on Mount Sinai more than I would like to be. Any time I let sin sink into my life; like when I have a bad thought. You know, even though I have enjoyed doing my video series, it’s not always easy. Sometimes verses can be difficult to memorize. I’m the type that my mom has trained me to be concerned about time. So I want to get things done, I want to finish this or that on time, and my friend Jessica is always telling me, “Breathe.” Sometimes to memorize verses, she and I make up songs. And sometimes I get a little frustrated, but I have to admit it works. And then there’s times when we’re getting ready for the video, and it’s funny that we’re talking about The ABC’s of Contentment, because you would look at me behind the scenes and you would think that I’m not very content right? That happens. But somehow, I’m always able to pull it together, and with the strength of Jesus, I can do all things; including memorize these verses so I can share them with you. You know, I write a script so I can memorize throughout the week what I’m going to say, and then what I write half the time is almost never what I say; but that’s okay. A lot of what you hear comes from my heart. And that’s the important thing, right? God knows the heart and He knows that I’m climbing my way up to Mount Zion. No one is perfect; except God, that is. The question with the Christ follower is, are you on the path? Are you on the path to Mount Zion? Joni put it this way when she did a broadcast about Mount Zion and Mount Sinai. She said, “Did you know that biblical scholars believe that Mount Calvary and Mount Zion are in the same mountain ridge – it’s all one large mountain?” Isn’t that amazing? But then again, so is our God. That’s how badly He wants to have a relationship with us. He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross. Jesus carried our cross, carried our weight of sin and climbed all the way up to Calvary, so that we could one day be in heaven with Him. Are you ready to trust Jesus and climb all the way up to Calvary and make your way up to Zion? Jesus has everything we need. The question is, will we let Him be our guide? I know for me personally, if I didn’t have Jesus in my life, I could not climb up Mount Zion by myself; I’d fall off a cliff. The weight of this world is too much to handle alone. There’s even a song called, “We’re marching to Zion” by Isaac Watts. I’ll leave a link so you can listen to it in the description when I post my video. Well that’s it everyone. It’s been fun. Thanks for joining me for my series. But you know what? Even though we’re at the end of the of the alphabet, you can still come back next week because I’m going to have a special video. Bye, God Bless, and march on to Zion!

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Y is for Yield

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 25 of The ABC’s Of Contentment. Today we’re on the letter Y and Y stands for the word Yield. The verse that goes with the word Yield is Isaiah 45:9 where it says, “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?” Kind of an interesting verse, isn’t it? Giving a humorous illustration? It asks some good questions. I know this sounds a little silly, but think about it; here in America, we live in such an image conscience society. The girls are told through TV ads that, to look perfect like models, they should do things such as buy this or that hairspray, have curly hair, straight hair, wavy hair; the list goes on and on. Guys are expected to have buff muscles and be strong and tough. I have no problem with beauty products. I have no problem with being thin and being strong. There’s nothing wrong with being healthy. I’ve even worn makeup a couple of times on occasions. What I have a problem with is when there’s those people that, on a daily basis, spend 5 or 6 hours in the bathroom just getting ready for school, work, etc. The reason your favorite stars look the way they do is because of technology in the studios. Everything you see in magazine faces is being touched up. Nobody looks like that in real life. Think about it; if you made something, how would you feel if that thing you made (like a vase-what we’ve been talking about the last couple of weeks) talked back to you and said, “I don’t like the way I’m made.” Now relate that back to God. How do you think God feels when we do the same to Him by buying every beauty product the world offers on T.V? Have you ever considered the fact that Psalm 139 says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? When we buy every single beauty product the world has to offer, we’re telling our Creator God that He made a mistake. The one who made us; the one who made the universe in the first place. The one who said, “Let there be light and there was light.” I don’t know about you, but I sure can’t speak and something is automatically created. I wish! Unfortunately, for me to be able to create something, I have to give it time and effort. My hands have to learn certain movements because I have cerebral palsy. Think about God from His perspective. When He made each one of us, you and me, He spent all that time on each one of us. We weren’t just thrown together. Then for us to spend hundreds of dollars on beauty products that the world says work (and then you find out that they don’t, and then there’s all these side effects); don’t you think something’s wrong with that? I do. But that’s just me. That’s just that’s just my opinion. I don’t know. Maybe my opinion is different because I need help with things like dressing and combing my own hair. So even though sometimes I’d like to look a little better on a daily basis, maybe I don’t focus so much on it because I have cerebral palsy. I need help, I don’t have time, and there’s other things I should focus on. The way my birth happened, I guess I’m just glad to be living; thankful for each day that I’m alive, thankful that God keeps my heart beating, thankful that I can share these messages and start this series that we’re almost finished with. I don’t know, I want to yield and give my heart and my life to the Lord, and I want to make sure that people know that. There’s a hymn called “Have Thine Own Way” that I’ve heard Joni talk about which I think goes perfectly with the word Yield. There’s about four stanzas in the hymn and the stanza that goes perfect with that is, “Have Thine own way You are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will while I am waiting yielded and still.” Amen. You know what? Let’s pray. Dear Lord, we live in a society where there’s a lot of distractions. T.V. ads are calling for our attention. Forgive us when we spend hundreds of dollars on beauty products at the mall that the world promises will make us look and feel better, but Lord, those promises are false. Thank you that your word is true. That you are the divine; the creator. You’ve done such a beautiful job with this universe. Thank you for all you’ve created. Thank you for creating me and allowing me to live. Please help us remember that you never make mistakes. Another part of Psalm 139 says we were created in our mother’s womb. That’s special; to be created in your mother’s womb. Thank you for the time that you spent on all of us and help us, instead of focusing so much on what the world says, focus on the abilities and talents you gave us all. Help us to find ways that we can use them to honor you and share the gospel. Amen. That’s it everyone and I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for joining me. I’ll see you next week when we talk about the letter Z and Z will be for Zion. Bye. God Bless.
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X is for Xmas

We wish you a merry Xmas, we wish you a merry Xmas, we wish you merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Hi everyone. Welcome to week 24 of the ABC’s of Contentment. Today we’re on the letter X and X will be about the history of Xmas. I just love Christmas. Hence, why I’m wearing all this Christmas attire. Notice my blouse, my red turtleneck, my bracelet, my earrings and my Santa hat? I’m ready for Christmas from head to toe. Now the only thing missing is at the very bottom; I need some red and green shoes. If Christmas were the only holiday on the calendar, that would be fine with me. If I had the proper hand dexterity, I would open my own Christmas shop and make a whole bunch of ornaments and other decorations. But anyway, getting to the video. Like I said, we’re going to have a history lesson. Why write Xmas? You know, many Christians get upset when they see the abbreviation of Xmas because they think that our culture is using another way to take Christ out of His own holiday and I can’t blame them. For a while, I thought the same thing. Until I read a book by a guy named Ace Collins called “Stories Behind Christmas Traditions.” In it, he talks about three main reasons why they used Xmas and where it began. I thought they were cool and so I thought I’d share them. So here we go. The first reason was that many of the first Christ followers were Greek. The Greek name for Christ is Xhristos. Spelled the Greek way it’s X- R- I- s- t- o- s. Many of the first Christ followers only had a very basic education, and so even though they could read, it was hard for them to recognize their own name on a document; X was the best thing. That was what they recognized. Also, clergymen at that time taught that X was a symbol for the Christian faith. Just like today we have the Christian fish, the X was their symbol at that time. X marked places where people could go to worship, it also marked places where people died and were remembered. The second reason was resources. Paper and ink were not as easy to come by as they are today. They didn’t have modern conveniences, so Xmas was used as an abbreviation. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century that Christianity began to spread to Europe and Xmas first began to appear in Catholic writings. The third reason was that Xmas was a symbol of faith and for people who died. X marked the spot where they died. Many of the early Christians were hung for their faith. They were burned. X was used as a symbol to remember them and a time of celebration. X was also a symbol of the cross. It wasn’t until the 1800s that Christmas became a national holiday and retailers tried to use it as an abbreviation on their signs and packages. They also tried to honor the early Christians and use a symbol that people could understand. Unfortunately, today a lot of people don’t know the Greek language, and these reasons are not often taught in many churches, so a lot of people don’t know about them. But this is one of the very first Christmas traditions started, and the people that died for this would be proud to see it being carried on into modern Christmas. Again, I don’t blame people for getting upset about the term Xmas. I did too because I didn’t know the reasons until I read the book. We have a lot to learn from the early Christians. They laid down their lives for Christ. If it came down to that, if somebody asked you about your faith, would you be willing to do that? What gift can you give Christ our Savior this Christmas season? Think about it. I’m going to leave a link to a song in the description called “I’ll Give Him My Heart.” I hope that it will make you think and provoke some good emotion as you think about what gift you can give our Savior this season because He’s given so much. Let’s close in a word of prayer. Lord, thank you for sending Your son Jesus to Earth as a baby. Help us to be content like the early Christians, to learn a lot about contentment, sacrifice, and devotion, and give Him our whole heart; because He deserves it. He deserves our all. Amen. Well, that’s it everyone, and I’ll see you next time when we talk about the letter Y. Y will be for Yield. That’s it and thanks for watching. Bye, God Bless.

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W is for Will

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 23 of The ABC’s of Contentment. Today we’re on the letter W, and W stands for the word Will. There’s two verses today. The first verse is James 5:14 where it says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” The second verse is James 4:14b-15 where it says, “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” Again, today’s word is Will and this is a very touchy subject. Some Christians could look at those verses and they could say, “Shouldn’t we expect miraculous healing? The age of miracles is still with us, right?” That’s a good question. I’ve done a lot of research on the subject. As you know, one of my favorite spiritual mentors is Joni Earecksom Tada. I mention her a lot because she’s been very influential on my thinking throughout my life when it comes to subjects like this. She actually went to many faith healing services when she first had her accident and she wrote a pamphlet called, “Where’s My Miracle?” When we’re done and I upload the video, I’m going to leave a link to the pamphlet in the description. In it, one of the first things she says is that the age of miracles is still with us. She says the mistake in this line of reasoning fails to understand the purpose for miracles in the New Testament. Miracles had a special place at the time of Christ because they proved who He was and who He claimed to be- the Promised One of Israel. Miracles had a special place at the time of the apostles because they proved they too were who they claimed to be. She goes on to talk about how all of this was happening before we had the New Testament written down. So anyway, we live in a society where we want everything to be a quick fix. However, God is not required to stick to a formula. Just because He did something in the Old Testament times, doesn’t mean He has to do it the exact same way now. Look at me. Do I believe in miracles? Yes. Take for instance my birth. The way I survived when I was two months premature; that shouldn’t have happened. The only way that can be explained is a miracle of God, and I’m alive to tell about it and proclaim His good news. When I had the surgery, we didn’t know that it would turn out as well as it did. But God did. The same thing happened when I was born premature in the Neonatal Unit. God had His hand on the doctors. He knew how things were going to turn out. He had a special plan. God worked through the doctors as I believe He works through people today. However, people have come up to me over the years and they’ve prayed for me many times as if prayer is what’s going to make me rise out of my wheelchair. You know what? I appreciate prayer because I do need prayer to deal with my disability on a daily basis. But people cannot make me rise out of my wheelchair. It hasn’t happened and I don’t expect it to. Does that mean that I did something? No. Does that mean that my birth was caused by a sin my mother committed? No. It means that God had plan, God has a Will, God has a purpose, things turned out the way they did, and that’s okay. I have to be thankful that I’m living, that I’m able to do what I’m able to do, and just have thankful heart. Here’s another example of a miracle; a story that my friend Jessica shared with me. Another church that she went to a while ago had somebody who was deaf in both ears, which means she couldn’t hear at all. So people prayed over her, and Jessica’s dad and the kids started talking and she was covering her head. He was like, “Are you okay?” She said, “They’re talking too loud.” So then, just to make sure that he wasn’t crazy, he started talking to her softer and softer and she could hear him. Again, the only way stuff like that can be explained is by miracles of God. So why does God allow some people to be healed and some not? Or is it just the way we think of healing in our society? I don’t have all of the answers. I don’t have the mind of God. But I do know that, like I said, God reserves the right to heal or not heal people physically as He sees fit. If He believes that physical healing is how they’re going to serve Him best, then He will. However, if He doesn’t feel that physical healing is the best thing for them, then He won’t. He is in control of all things. That’s what sovereignty and God’s Will is all about. Another great speaker, Elizabeth Elliott (she is in heaven now) said, “God’s will is never exactly what you expect it to be.” Amen. I know that. I’m a living example. My biggest problem with faith healers on T.V. is that people have a tendency to give them all of the credit. As if the faith healers are God, and God is not. In my mind, if those people really had that gift, (again, I’ve done a bunch of research) why are they making money healing people? Why are they going on extravagant vacations? They should be using their gift to honor the Lord and bring glory to Him, not themselves. When I was born and doctors didn’t think that I would make it, my mom and my family said, “Thank you Lord.” That’s what I wish people would say more often, but they don’t. They tend to give credit to the one human being as if they’re God; and only God is God. If it wasn’t for God pulling me through my birth, I wouldn’t be here today. It’s only because of God, by His grace, that I’m still breathing; even with some of the health issues I face with cerebral palsy. I don’t expect in my case (while I know healing can happen) the cerebral palsy to go away; and that’s okay. Instead, I’d rather study God’s Word and just learn how to make my joy complete in all circumstances that come my way. That’s what I’m really stressing in the series; how do you make your joy complete in all circumstances? Even when God doesn’t give you everything you ask for. It’s like, think about when you were a child. You knew Christmas was coming and you had toys and gifts that you wanted, but did you get everything on your Christmas list? No. Even when you went to the store with your mom or dad, did you get that piece of candy all the time? No. Why not? Because a loving parent doesn’t give you everything that you ask for. The same goes with God. Just because we ask for healing, and there’s nothing wrong if we ask Him for healing; the Bible talks about it. That doesn’t mean that God’s going to give it to us all of the time. My concern, and that’s why I started this series, is that as Christians, we tend to pray for healing; and that’s it. While praying for physical healing is not a bad thing, it shouldn’t be all that we pray for. If we don’t get that physical healing, like I think of that physical healing that the doctors thought I would receive when I had the surgery, we should be praying, “Lord, can you please help me learn how to live with this? Show me how to live and get through it; depend on you and be a blessing to others.” I hope that makes sense. I think I covered everything. Now let’s see, and that there’s my friend Jessica who who’s behind the scenes. She reminds me and keeps me on track. Just like Jodi says in another quote from “Where’s My Miracle?” She says, “On a scale of one to ten, how quick are you to ask God to remove that painful situation from your life? On the same scale, how quick are you to share the gospel with others? Remember, God saved you so that you could share the gospel with others. And your painful situation may be His best platform to showcase that.” Remember, if He doesn’t heal you, it’s not about you. It’s for His glory; to bring glory to Him. I think that says it all. Amen. Now let’s close in prayer. Lord, please make my desires the desires of your heart. Give me compassion for those who have greater afflictions than mine. Help me to be made selfless. Give me patience and endurance as I learn to pray according to your Will. Thank you that you’ve brought me to a place where I can accept the Cerebral Palsy as a gift and remind me on a daily basis, through your word and through people, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for healing me, not physically, but spiritually, because our world needs more of a spiritual healing than a physical healing. In Jesus name, Amen. That’s it everybody. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next time when I talk about the letter X and X will be about the history of Xmas Bye. God Bless.
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V is for Vase

Hi everyone. Welcome to week 22 of The ABC’s of Contentment. Today we’re on the letter V and V stands for Vase. I told you I’m going to give you a condensed version of what I did for my Awana girls about how becoming a Christian is like becoming a Vase and give you a gospel message, so that’s what I’m gonna do. Here we go. First, here’s all the pieces that I made when I learned how to make a Vase. Again, this took 11 weeks, and all these pieces could represent how even when we come to the Lord and start becoming a Vase, growing in the Lord and getting to know Him is a process. It doesn’t just happen overnight like things do in the movies. Here’s the finished product that I made, and here’s a yellow one that my friend Jessica made. The reason I’m showing two different colored Vases is to show that not every Vase, not every life, is going to be the same. Sometimes we’re going to have different experiences and learn different things, even as Christians; but that’s okay. The important thing is that we grow in the Lord and get to know him; and when our time comes, we get to meet him face to face in heaven. The question is: are we ready for that? I once saw something on Facebook that a friend of mine had said, “Christians are people who are walking each other home.” That’s so true. Our goal is to help each other along. If we were all the same, relationships would be boring because we would have nothing to learn from each other. We’d all be robots. God never intended for us to be robots. Instead, he intended for us to be Vases. I’m using the Vase analogy because I thought it was appropriate. Remember Romans 9:20-21 that says, “Lord, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” There’s a lot about pottery in the Bible, so I thought it was appropriate; here we go. Here’s the gospel. God had planned for us as humans to have a relationship with him and be together in heaven in paradise where everything would be perfect. When He created Adam and Eve, He only gave them one rule to follow. Can you imagine if you only had to follow one rule? That would be great, wouldn’t it? I think so. Anyway, they only had one rule to follow, but they fell. God said in Genesis 2:16-17, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” One thing that you learn about God and His Word is that when God says something, He means what he says. God is not a liar. Anyway, all they had to do was follow that one rule but they failed. So because of that, we humans are like broken Vases because of sin. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of glory of God.” So the Vase (our relationship with God) has to be repaired. In order to help repair the Vases, God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” So now that Christ died for us and rose again, there’s hope! The Vase can be repaired! Yay! Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Then after we accept Christ as our Savior, we begin to be transformed into that beautiful Vase that God meant for us to be in the first place. Psalms 51:7 says, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” From the day we accept Christ as our Savior, until the day we get to heaven, God is always working on us to complete that work that He started when we first became a Christian. Until the day we get to heaven, we’re like unfinished Vases. To become that finished Vase we have to do our part; it’s not all up to God. So how do we begin to become a finished Vase? Well, like I said, we meet with other Christians and learn from each other. Read his word and pray. We actually spend time with God and get to know Him. Philippians 1:4-6 says, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Now the Bible doesn’t say anything about become a Christian and your life will be smooth-sailing. No. Just because you become a Christian doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. Look at the Apostle Paul; even when Saul became Paul, he got thrown in jail many times because he was preaching the Word of God. But he still never went back on his faith; even from inside the jail cell. He wrote letters to other believers to encourage them because he knew what it was like to be in the big bad world. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, the Apostle Paul says, “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” See my strong muscles? Let’s face it: even though God forgives us, it’s not always easy for us as humans to forget the past. We all have things in our lives that we could look back and say, “I wish I hadn’t done that. What did I do that for?” As the Apostle Paul stated in that last verse, just because you become a Christian doesn’t mean you yourself forget what you did. The Vase may have blemishes, but it’s those blemishes that God uses in our lives to help us minister to others and show us how far we’ve come. The more you get to know the Lord (and this is why it’s so important to spend time with him in His word), the more you’ll be saying, “Thank you Lord for not removing those blemishes from my life. Thank you for what you brought me through. Thank you for who you are. Again, I could go on and on. So this is a condensed version of the gospel and if you’re interested in seeing the full lesson I did for the girls, come to my YouTube channel and look for the video titled, “How Becoming a Christian Is Like Becoming a Vase.” Thanks for watching everyone. If anybody has any questions about what I said, when I upload the video, feel free to leave questions or comments below. I’m here to help okay? Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week when we talk about the letter W and W will be for Will. Bye everyone, God Bless.

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U is for Understanding

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 21 of The ABC’s of Contentment. If you’d have seen my laughter this morning, that is what contentment is all about. That is what happens when you’re content and joyful in Jesus. So anyway, like I said, it’s week 21, we’re on the letter U, and U is for Understanding. The verse that goes with the letter U is Proverbs 3:5-6. This is a famous, often quoted verse, and it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Amen. This is a principle I’ve seen to be true in my life over and over again. One of the areas I saw it in was back in 2017 when I was working on learning how to make a vase for the lesson I did for my Awana girls. I did it for 11 weeks, and every week that I did it with Jessica, we put up a picture, I put it on my blog, and I wrote a short devotional. If you’re interested in checking it out, it’s on my blog. It’s a picture, a short devotional, and if anyone is a Sunday school teacher, I added activities for kids to do. So if anyone wants to use it as a curriculum, you’re welcome to do that. Anyway, moving on. I saw this to be true when I was learning how to make a vase. Little movements can be hard because of my limited hand dexterity. One of the things I first had trouble with was learning how to get the right heighth for the vase. We got to week eight and I finally learned how to get the right heighth for the vase. I worked on what’s called internal and external rotation, which is this. See, this is internal; now this is external. I know, it’s a simple movement, but when you have something like cerebral palsy, learning to do little things like that take time. That was a great day! That was a day when Jessica hardly helped me at all. I did the vase almost all by myself! However, that day Jessica took the picture just in time. Shortly after she took the picture, then I had a hard time getting my fingers to wrap around the play-doh. It was as if once we took away the containers, my brain said, “What’s going on?” My brain was used to doing internal-external rotation with the containers, but not by themselves. When someone has something like cerebral palsy, that’s what happens. When I’m used to doing something a certain way with my muscles, things take time. Change takes time, I should say. So of course, I’m going to leave a link to that great day on my blog. But like I said, the reason it looks so good in the picture is because my muscles had just been warmed up, so my mind was still fresh as to how it should be done. The same thing happens in Christianity. We don’t always Understand what the Lord is doing in our lives, but that’s okay; we just need to trust Him and know that He will reveal His perfect plan and His perfect timing. Again, I’ve said this many times, so I’m sounding like a broken record, but I don’t care. The question, the thing is, there’s always a lesson. Are we willing to learn that lesson and are we willing to see what that perfect plan is? His perfect timing; are we going to trust Him? Lord help me to remember that everything that happens in my life is in your will, and that your will is perfect. When I don’t Understand what’s happening in my life, help me to remember that. Thank you that in Your Word it says that someday I will understand and there will be no more tears. I look forward to the day when I will fully understand your ways. Amen. By the way, I forgot to mention that Joni talks about this in one of her radio broadcasts. There’s a song called “Someday He’ll Make It Plain” by a guy named Adam Geibel. I’m going leave the link to that broadcast in the description as well as a link to week 8 on my blog and you can look at it. Some things aren’t meant for us to Understand until we get to heaven and that’s okay. Like I don’t fully Understand why God didn’t allow the surgery I had to work 100% and let me walk without the walker; but I will someday. I look forward to that day. Well, that’s it everyone. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next time when we talk about the letter V and V will be for Vase. Vase is going to be the week that we that we talk about a gospel message. I’ll show you a condensed version of what I shared with my girls. Bye. God Bless
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T is For Timing

Hi everyone, and welcome to The ABC’S of Contentment. Today is week 20 and we’re on the letter T, and T stands for Timing. The verse that goes with the word Timing is Ecclesiastes 3:11 where it says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what the Lord has done from beginning to end.” I’ve seen this to be true in my life time and time again; over and over. One of the first places I’ve ever seen it to be true is when I had that surgery that doctors thought was supposed to give me the full ability to walk without a walker. Trust me, there’s times I could look back and I wish it did. Even though I did the exercises the therapists said, the message that communicates with that part of the brain just wasn’t there. For some reason, the Lord said no. He had another plan. But I have to be thankful that I am walking. With that, other things can happen. Like I’ve said, I volunteer at the hospital. I’ve been doing that for 12 years. I volunteer at church with the Awana program. I’ve been doing that for 19 years. This year I’m on a new adventure. Usually I’m an assistant at Awana. This year, I’m a full-time table leader. I’m really being stretched as I’m learning how to teach my 5th and 6th grade girls on their level and getting them to memorize scripture, while at the same time making it fun for them. The Lord is teaching me a lot this year; and in God’s Timing. I’ve learned that when it’s fun, and the kids are motivated, they’ll memorize scripture. I’ve also seen the principle of Timing to be true with my mom when I was born. When I was first born, even though she was a Christ-follower, my mom was angry. She harbored angry feelings toward God because of the way I was born. She says when she talked to people, that was often her wake-up call that she had a lot of spiritual growing to do in the Lord. It’s not until someone (like my mother) goes through a situation like that, that they realize that they have a lot of spiritual growing to do even though they’ve walked with the Lord for years. The person that says, “That Jesus stuff is not for me,” it’s not until they go through something like waiting to hear whether their loved one is going to live or die in the hospital that they’re crying out to God and praying to Him for the first time. Because the Lord softened my mother’s heart, I came close to the Lord at an early age. Thank you, Lord and thank you, mom. She’s a good example of how in God’s Timing, everything is made beautiful. Though I can’t walk like I’d like to without my walker, I’ve realized everything has a purpose. I’ve also seen that as I search the scriptures and through other people that I’ve met. If I had the full ability to walk like I’d like to, who knows the kind of places I would go? Who knows the kind of choices I would make? Would I even care about spiritual things in the same way? Would I be doing this series? I don’t think so. Would I be helping with Awana? I don’t think so. I look at our society today and I often think that we’re too independent for our own good. I think that’s why we want to take God out of so many things. One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of the word Timing is an old song I heard with a fictional character named Psalty the Singing Songbook. The song is called “In His Time.” I’ll leave a link to the lyrics in the description when I upload the video. Through my many hardships and the challenges I still face today, the Lord has shown me that everything is beautiful in His Timing. I could go on and on. This could be a long video. I’ve seen how everything is made beautiful. My dad died of a massive heart attack in 1995 and I grew even closer to my church family. All the verses I memorized in Awana have really helped me through the years. Because of so many things that I’ve seen, I’ve seen so much light that there’s no way I could doubt the Lord. There’s so much I’ve seen that I could say everything really is made beautiful in His Timing. The question is, are we willing to wait to see what that beautiful thing is going to be? There’s always a lesson. Are we willing to learn that lesson and be moldable? Lord thank you that through my trials and tribulations you show me that everything is made beautiful in your Timing. Please give me patience as I continue to go through many trials and continue to show me that everything is made beautiful in your Timing. I can’t wait to see the other beautiful plans you have for my life. Amen. Well, that’s it for the letter T and I’ll see you next time when we talk about the letter U. U will be for Understanding. Bye everyone, and God Bless.
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R is for Renew

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 18 of the ABC’s of Contentment. I hope you’re enjoying the series. I am. Today’s letter is R and R can stand for a couple of things. It can stand for Rachael, or it can also stand for Renew. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today; Renew. Usually, I end with the song, but today we’re going to do things a little bit differently. Today’s song goes with the verse, so we’re going to start with the song. I found a song by a lady named Jennifer Shaw. It’s called “Those Who Hope in the Lord.” So here we go.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will soar on wings like eagles
They will run and not grow weary
They will walk and not be faint
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will soar on wings like eagles
They will run and not grow weary
They will walk and not be faint
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
Isaiah 40:31”

If you didn’t already guess from listening to the song, the verse is Isaiah 40:31 and it says exactly that. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” This is something I have to do daily; Renew. Let’s face it. For the most part I have a positive outlook about life and about my disability. But sometimes, I’m not going to lie to you sometimes having cerebral palsy, it can be difficult. I have other special needs friends who have CP (which stands for cerebral palsy) and they have a lesser degree of it. Sometimes I look at them and I think, “Why can’t I be one of them?” For instance, why can’t I be the person who after that surgery I had, has the full ability to walk without a walker? Why can’t I be the person who is able to comb their own hair and dress themselves? Why can’t I be the person who’s able to drive their own car and get themselves around town, and just get themselves out the door independently? If I’m not careful, the list can go on and on. I could have a real bitter heart. Sometimes my mom has to stop me and remind me of her famous saying, “Rachael, remember to focus on what you can do not what you can’t.” It’s at times like that that I have to remember the impact that my disability has had on different people in the community; such as people at the hospital. So how does my strength get Renewed? Well, it gets Renewed by reading God’s Word, remembering verses like the one we’re talking about today, and also remembering scriptures that we’ve already talked about; like the one we talked about in week four when we talked about D is for Displayed. In John chapter 9, the disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned? Was it this man or his parents that he was born blind?” and remember Jesus said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” When I remember scriptures like that, and then I remember people like my friend Joni Eareckson Tada who every morning when she gets up says, “O Lord may I please borrow your smile?” When I remember things like that, my strength is Renewed and then I can shine and be a light for Jesus. Again, it’s only through Jesus that my strength is Renewed. Without Him, I am nothing. It’s not something I can do by myself. Lord help me to remember that on a daily basis. Thank you that when I turn to your Word, my strength is Renewed. Thank you that I can run and not grow weary, walk and not faint, help me to soar and be like an eagle. Amen. How about you? Are you tired today and need some extra strength? Are you ready to give up? Instead of turning to Extra Strength Tylenol, or some other kind of medication which has terrible side effects, how about turning to Jesus? He will make you soar like an eagle. He will give you more strength than you could ever imagine. I promise. Well, that’s it for the letter R and I’ll see you next week when we talk about three words for the letter S: Sanctify, Organize, and Surrender. It’s what’s called the S.O.S. principles. Bye. God Bless.
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