How Can I Keep from Singing: You Are My King (Amazing Love)

It’s a song that’s been done by several great recording artists:  Newsboys, Hillsong United, Chris Tomlin, and Phillips, Craig, & Dean.

Album Cover Credit:  www.amazon.com

When you come across a great song like “You Are My King (Amazing Love),” it’s easy to see why everyone wants to do their own version of it.  That’s what’s so great about Christian music.  An artist may be known for writing or recording a song first, but one of the greatest compliments to a Christian songwriter is that many artists want to record it.   The fact that a song speaks to so many individuals and allows so many people to worship through a certain song is something that is almost exclusive to Christian music.

Image Credit:  http://academiaparainfo.wordpress.com

Let’s face it, “Firework” is signature Katy Perry.  “Unchained Melody” is The Righteous Brothers straight up and down.  “Love Me Tender” will always be an Elvis classic.  Songs like “You Are My King (Amazing Love)” are so inspiring that anyone can make them their own.  Songs such as these are just classic praise and worship.

Album Cover Credit:  www.amazon.com

Out of all the versions from which I could choose, I chose the one by Newsboys because I heard them do it first.  It’s their version that first brought me to tears.  It’s their version that made me visualize the great sacrifice of Jesus and how what He did for me allows me to be royalty, for the spilling of His blood makes me His child.

Image Credit:  www.mne.com

 This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.  John 3:16-18 (The Message)

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“You Are My King/Amazing Love” (Newsboys)  http://youtu.be/NJrcwzBlaXw

Related Articles:

“Take 5 + 1 with newboys’ Jeff Frankensteinhttp://backseatwriter.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/take-51-with-newboys-jeff-frankenstein/

“Amazing Love”  http://karenhancock.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/amazing-love/

“You Are My King:  Additional Verses” http://christianity201.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/you-are-my-king-additional-verse/

If You’re Weighting on Me…

Image credit:  www.justcalendar.org

Today, it’s been two months since I started my journey back to a healthier me.  My goal was to lose ten pounds by Easter, which I did not do.  By Easter, I had only lost 9.4 pounds.  I did lose ten pounds by the next week, April 16th.  I currently weigh 193 pounds, so at this two-month mark, I have lost eleven pounds.

However, my clothes fit like I’ve lost more than eleven pounds.  Perhaps that’s because I’ve lost some INCHES as well as POUNDS.  My current waist measurement is 38″ (that’s three inches lost in two months) and my current hip measurement is 41″ (that’s four inches lost in two months).  My chest measurement remains 38″ (no change).

I’ve been asked exactly what I’ve been doing for the last two months that is different from my lifestyle before.  So I’ve made a list of the changes I’ve made.  They may not work for everyone, but I feel that these are the biggest contributing factors to my weight loss.

Photo Credit:  www.foodbeast.com

  1. I eat breakfast every day. I have fallen in love with the new BelVita Breakfast biscuits. One pack has four wafers that total 220 calories. BelVita was developed for diabetics and provide whole-grain, nutritious, sustained energy that REALLY lasts all morning.  There is no high fructose corn sugar, hydrogenated oil, artificial flavors, or sweeteners.  My favorites are the blueberry (made with real blueberries) and golden oat flavors.  These wonderful biscuits are made so that they release continuous fuel to your body throughout the morning.  I enjoy them with a piece of fruit and a cup of coffee.
  2. I drink forty-eight to sixty ounces of water daily.  Besides using a Brita water filter on my kitchen sink, I found these great water bottles at Kohl’s department store that are equipped with a filter in the mouthpiece. (See below.)  I keep them filled and in the refrigerator.  If the water tastes good, it’s likely you’ll drink more of it.
  3. I exercise three to four times a week.  I like to walk and I do modified yoga-style strength-building exercises that don’t interfere with my chronic pain.  If it hurts, I stop.  I use one-pound weights that I can hold in my hands.
  4. I don’t buy chips, ice cream, or anything else that tempts me to keep in the house on a regular basis.  If it’s not in the house, I can’t consume it.
  5. I eat fish at least three times a week.  I love tilapia and cod (baked or grilled).  I spend time searching for recipes that are easy to prepare and full of flavor.  I love watching “The Chew” on ABC because the hosts really try to introduce healthy recipes that taste good.  My favorite fish recipe is Michael Symon‘s Fish Tacos.   (Go to http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/Fish-Taco-Michael-Symon?printable=1 and you’ll find a printable, easy-to-follow copy of this recipe.)
  6. I eat a variety of foods.  If I had to eat only salads or only steamed broccoli, I’d be gorging on Breyer’s Pralines-n-Cream ice cream inside a week.
  7. I watch my portion sizes and believe that I can have anything IN MODERATION.  If all I can think of is “ice cream” or “pizza,” I treat myself.  Take it from a woman who has eaten half-gallons of ice cream in one sitting MANY times, portion control can be done.  That way, I get a taste of what I’m craving and can still feel good about it.
  8. I made myself accountable to someone other than me.  It started out with weekly weigh-ins with my mom and graduated to being accountable to anyone who reads this blog.  Now that people know I’m trying to lose weight and be healthy (and even though it’s just ten pounds, it’s noticeable), I have to keep it up or give it up.  I don’t do well with “public” failure, so being accountable to others keeps me on track.
  9. I pray and read my Bible daily.  I don’t know why I find it so hard to pray for me, but in the past I have tended to pray for everyone else but me.  Two months ago, I started a prayer journal with my name on the front.  I don’t put prayers for anybody else in that book — only me.  Slowly, I’m getting over whatever it is that’s stopped me from going to God with personal, intimate requests that just involve me.  I can see God working on my behalf already.  I urge you to spend more time in prayer for YOU.  You can’t be of much good to your family or anyone else unless your needs are met.
  10. When I get off track, I don’t wallow in disgust and self-pity; I get up and get back with the program.  Let me assure you that I’ve started over a hundred times in two months.  There were at least two weeks during this time that I didn’t lose anything because I failed to exercise.  It’s my own fault that I didn’t make my Easter goal.  But I refused to pout about it and let it de-rail me.  It’s not an all-or-nothing thing.  It’s a lifestyle change and change for me at fifty is coming harder for me than when I was thirty.

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My New Favorite Water Bottle (from Kohl’s)

Photo Credit:  Sandy Rosser

So, those are the ten changes that I feel I’ve made since February.  I’d like to hear from you about any tips or tricks that are working for you now or have worked in the past.  Feel free to share your successes in the comment section.  If you’re having trouble, let me (and others who read this blog — I’ve got some real prayer warriors who are an interactive part of the LBTK community) pray for you.  I ask that you continue to pray for me.  I’ll be back at the end of May with my next update.  My goal for the next month is six pounds. 

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To Give You Hope

I love to collect quotations that are life-affirming and hope-giving.  I value the words of several Christian authors:  Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Max Lucado, and David Jeremiah are just a few.

I feel the need to share some hope and affirmations with you because I have been given hope anew in recent days.  I write these kinds of quotes in my journal or on bits of paper.  I find them on the internet, in posts from the blogs I follow, and from scripture.  I post them around my house on index cards or I include them in correspondence to friends and family.  I hope something I share today will be just what you need to hear today.

Photo Credit:  http://yorkshireshepherd.blogspot.com

With God, every day matters, every person counts, and that includes you.  (Max Lucado)

You can change your world by changing your words.  (Joel Osteen)

Let your “mess” be a “message.”  (Joyce Meyer)

Every set-back is set-up for a come-back.  God wants to bring you back better than you were before.  (Joel Osteen)

Photo Credit:  www.thepioneerwoman.com

Don’t waste your time relying on the unreliable.  (Joyce Meyer)

God’s blessings are always better than what we’d choose for ourselves.  (Beth Moore)

God’s efforts are strongest when our efforts are useless.  (Max Lucado)

Unhappiness does not come from the way things are, but from the difference between how things are and how we think they should be.  (Creflo Dollar)

Image Credit:  http://pastorhigdon.wordpress.com

When our lives are filled with peace, love, and joy, people will want to know what we have.  (David Jeremiah)

We cannot “tame” the Lion of Judah (Beth Moore)

God gives us hopes and dreams for certain things to happen in our lives, but He doesn’t always allow us to see the exact timing of His plan.  (Joyce Meyer)

No matter what our circumstance, we can find a reason to be thankful.  (David Jeremiah)

Image Credit:  www.alvalyn.com

Do you have a favorite life-affirming, hope quote?  If you do, please share it in the comment section.  I can’t wait to read what means most to you.

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How Can I Keep from Singing: Never Once

Fear.  That’s what I lived with last week.  A fear that that shook me to the core.  And Satan had a field day.

Image Credit: www.mariaerving.com

It started on Tuesday with Kelly’s visit to the orthopedic surgeon.  Since going through chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) last year and being in remission for almost a year, he has suffered unexplained pain in his ankles, knees, and left shoulder.  The news from the doctor wasn’t bad in and of itself — a partial tear in the muscle in his shoulder, a tear in the labrum, and signs of arthritis which are a little advanced for a man of fifty.  Dr. Newman feels like physical therapy will be of great help in managing the pain and he didn’t recommend surgery.  Our question was, could Kelly return to work in law enforcement and be able to pass the Police Officer‘s Physical Assessment Test (POPAT) that is required by NCSU Campus Police policy?  Dr. Newman said not immediately, but in time perhaps Kelly could go back.  He wants to check on the problems that Kelly is having with other joints.  It’s a wait-and-see kind of thing.

But, we had no time to wait and see.  Kelly’s job had been open at the NCSU Campus Police Department for over eighteen months.  Since this is not an on-the-job injury, the university needed an answer about his future employability.  Kelly had a  decision to make:  return to work by today, April 23rd,  (and be able to pass the POPAT in two weeks’ time) or the university must begin to separate him from employment.  (Which is a fancy way to say “We’re relieving you of your duties.  You no longer have a job.”)

Although Kelly is on extended short-term disability at the present time, it’s a not a guarantee for him after August of this year.  He’s five years away from retiring in law enforcement and after twenty-five years of service to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and NCSU Campus Police, I saw the pain of this realization in his eyes.  And it made me so angry.

Photo Credit:  www.pbase.com

My anger was like a bull fresh out of the gate at the rodeo.  I bounced around the ring, exploding on everybody that came in contact with me.  I had a huge argument with Kelly.  I ignored Claire.  I railed against NCSU and how cruel they were being to a faithful employee who didn’t ask to get sick.  I couldn’t even bring myself to call my parents and explain what was happening because I wasn’t sure that they wouldn’t be caught on the savage horns of this anger that just kept swelling and writhing inside me.  When I sat down to write my posts on Wednesday and Friday, I had nothing.  No good word was sent my way.  It was as if I had never written a single thing in my life.  I was blind with rage and in no condition to share anything with anybody.  God knew this.  In retrospect, it was a good thing that He withheld His words from me.

So, last Friday night, I let God have it with both barrels:

“So, you brought Kelly through the cancer only to send us to financial ruin.  Is that how it is, God?”  I yelled this aloud to an empty living room because no one in my family could stand to be around me.

And God whispered, “For I know the plans I have for you.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

“Do you even care what we’re going through?  Do you not see how much we are hurting?  What is going to happen to us?” I whimpered as the tears began to stain my cheeks.

And God whispered, “I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you.”  (Hebrews 13:5b, NLT)

I fell on my knees and raised my hands to the sky, crying, “What am I supposed to do, God?  We’re stretched financially just about as far as we can stretch.  What do you expect me to do?”

And God whispered, “I expect you to do nothing.  I will handle it all.  I’ve told you before:  Trust in [Me] with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek [My] will in all you do, and [I] will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)*

By this time, I was so weary from the weight of my fear, all I could do was cry.  I cried because there were no words for the pain.

And God whispered, “Come to me, [Sandy] you [are] weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT)*

I promise you, I felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit surround me.  It felt like a hug.  The tears subsided and I suddenly felt the shame of losing my faith — of not believing God.  I begged Him for forgiveness and the heavy weight of the fear lifted.  In its place, God gave me this feeling of calm.  Suddenly, I knew that everything was going to be all right.  I can’t tell you how I know this, but as Joyce Meyers loves to say, “I know that I know that I know that I know.”

Joyce Meyer

Photo Credit:  www.pastorsschool.com

I keep a journal for each family member and for my church, community, nation, and world.  It is my habit to find Scripture and write them into a prayer in the notebook of the person for whom I’m praying.  I picked them up and thumbed through them.  Did you know that each Scripture God used to answer me during my little meltdown was Scripture that I had prayed for someone else during the past month?  Now, that’s a “God-incident” if I ever saw one!

Image Credit: http://kristelpaula.tumblr.com

The writer’s block that the fear had created dissipated over the weekend.  God reminded me of Matt Redman‘s “Never Once.”  (I’m pretty sure God wants this to be my theme song for the time being.)  Matt once said that this song came to him spontaneously at a time of great transition for him and his family.  He had just sold his house in Atlanta, Georgia and the entire family was moving to England.  His future was uncertain and yet, the words to this marvelous praise song came to him and he sang them in the middle of a living room devoid of furniture and walls that echoed back the chorus, “You are faithful, God, You are faithful.”  It speak volumes about trusting God in the unknown because He’s been with us through every valley, every stuggle and proven Himself to be faithful in every circumstance.  It describes this season of my life perfectly.

Image Credit: www.musicaw.com

Over the weekend, I realized that NCSU is only doing what they have to do to run a business (and it is a business that sometimes must function by rules that might seem unfair).  Please don’t start a letter-writing campaign to NCSU — we believe we are fully in God’s will now.   I find a great deal of comfort in the fact that the folks in Human Resources are fully prepared to go to bat for Kelly where his disability is concerned.  In further conversations with the Chief today, Kelly found that if he’s cleared for duty, he can re-apply to work at the university again.

But that may not be God’s plan.  Other people have approached Kelly about possible job openings that are right here in Fayetteville so that he wouldn’t have to make the hour drive to and from Raleigh several days a week.  One of these jobs is law enforcement-related.  Kelly is qualified to do this job and there are people in position to help him get hired, if it’s God’s will.

Image Credit:  http://timbee.tumblr.com

I don’t have any more answers than I did when I went temporarily insane last week.  I just don’t know what’s going to happen.  And that’s okay because my God is faithful and He’s given me His peace over whatever this season in our lives may bring.  I can truly say, “You have brought us thus far, Lord.”

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“Never Once” (Matt Redman)  http://youtu.be/e02UNZRsdSQ

*All substitutions in these verses of Scripture are mine.

Related Articles:  “Face Your Fear”  http://morninggloryinspirations.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/face-your-fear/

“Prayer of the Broken Vessel”  http://breadforthebride.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/prayer-of-the-broken-vessel/

“Faithfulness”  http://adamlott2012.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/faithfulness/

“Faithful”  http://legacydevotional.net/2012/04/20/faithful/

Remembering Dane Everhart

FAYETTEVILLE, NC — Dane Everhart, 19, of Fayetteville, died Friday, April 13, 2012.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Manna Church, 5117 Cliffdale Road.  Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home in Fayetteville.

He is survived by his father and step-mother, Michael and Sandra Everhart; his mother and step-father, Dee and Barry Gregory; siblings Geran, Trey, Shanna, Brett, and Amy; and grandparents, Gerri and Gus Thomlin, Margaret and Willie M. Gregory, Jr., and Earl and Glenda Selover.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to www.loeysdietz.org

(Obituary Credit:  The Fayetteville Observer, www.legacy.com/obituaries.fayettevilleobserver)

 

Dane Everhart and His Father, Michael

He was only nineteen years old and yet, he had already made an indelible mark on the world.  Last Friday evening, we lost Dane.  His death has paralyzed our community.  He was a 2011 graduate of Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville, NC.  He was a freshman at East Carolina University this year and he planned to major in biology.

Friends at ECU held a candlelight vigil for Dane.

One of my dearest friends, Dot Norris, went home to be with the Lord a couple of years ago after a long, arduous fight with cancer.  She was funny, with a quick wit.  She was also a loving and dedicated child of God and she loved Dane dearly.  They shared the same strength of character, zest for living, and devotion for God.  Dane loved Dot as well.  Despite their age difference, Dot and Dane “got” each other.  Dane was always smiling and ready to give a hug.  “That child is so sweet, I could eat him with a spoon,” she once commented to me about Dane.

        

                               Dane with friends at Cape Fear High School

Dane was diagnosed with Loeys Dietz Syndrome (LDS) about three years ago.  LDS is a genetic condition (see www.loeysdiezt.org for more information) and affected Dane’s heart.  We were ever-mindful that Dane could have an aortic aneurysm rupture but ever-hopeful that a surgery when he reached the age of twenty-five could increase his chances for a long, active life.  LDS restricted his activities but it didn’t define who Dane was.

My fondest memories of Dane include singing together in the praise band, In Touch, at Culbreth Memorial UMC.  When he and his family were led to move to Manna Church, their presence was missed in our little group.  (Check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/culbrethmemorialumc and see Manna’s webpage at www.mannachurch.org)   Dane was our drummer.  I loved the fact that Dane, his father Michael, and his step-mother Sandra, served our church by being active members of In Touch.   It was truly a family affair and it was a pleasure to sing praises to our Lord Jesus with them.  The song I’ve chosen for today’s HCIKFS post is “Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone.”  It was one of the last songs In Touch learned when the Everharts sang with us.  If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I love Chris Tomlin‘s music and this just happens to be one of his most moving songs.  The words of its chorus touch my soul:

My chains are gone.  I’ve been set free.

My God, my Savior, has ransomed me,

And like a flood, His mercy reigns,

Unending love, amazing Grace.

ECU Friends Honoring Dane

The world is a darker place because the light that shown in Dane is gone from our presence.  But I know that he has truly been set free and is no longer confined by the chains of this world.  While we shed tears for our loss, Dane is walking in heaven with Jesus, with a new body that can never again be touched by disease or pain.  I’ll bet he arrived in heaven with a huge smile on his face.  And I’ll bet Dot Norris met him on the shore of the Jordan River Friday night.  He probably gave her a big “thumbs up.”  I look forward to seeing them both again one day.

 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.  Revelation 21:4 (New Living Translation)

Resting in the Arms of His Savior

DANE EVERHART

MARCH 31, 1993 – APRIL 13, 2012

“Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)”  http://youtu.be/p8YRapsaRfE

All photo credits are from Dane’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/daneeverhart#!/profile.php?id=1759558410

Don’t Worry. Trust Jesus!

Photo Credit:  http://capubianco.wordpress.com

The Beach Boys sang, “Don’t worry, Baby.”  Stevie Wonder sang, “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing.”  Bobby McFerrin (and Bob Marley) sang, “Don’t worry.  Be happy.”  These are only three of 3, 473 songs that came up when I did a Bing search for “songs about worry.”  While all those may be well and good, my Savior has a few things to say about not worrying that mean a lot more to me than any pop song ever could:

“Don’t ever worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Everyone is concerned about these things, and your heavenly Father certainly knows you need all of them. 33But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.  So don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:31-34 (GWT)

Bobby McFerrin Photo Credit:  www.pacificmozart.org

How I fail at the “not worrying” directive!  For the last twenty-four hours, I’ve been holding on to some fear and worry about a situation that simply cannot be changed by my worrying.  My thoughts about it have been incessant.  It’s left me with a queasy stomach and a lack of appetite, which might be good for my diet (which I will be giving an update on next Wednesday, by the way) but it’s not doing too much for the increase of my faith and belief that God is in control.

So, I’m giving it up.  I’ve had a little cry and begged God’s forgiveness.  I know that my doubt goes against the whole of my “Believing God” Bible study that is coming to a close next week.  Perhaps Satan is trying to make me believe that I’ve been wasting all of my study time with Him and Beth Moore, but I’ve decided to throw it back in his face.

Image Credit:  www.barnesandnoble.com

If you don’t know the five-statement pledge of faith about believing God, here it is:

  1. I believe God is Who He says He is.
  2. I believe God can do what He says He can do.
  3. I believe I am who God says I am.
  4. I can do all things through Christ.
  5. The Word of God is alive and active in me.

So, take that old devil.  I will not be shaken anymore.  I will not spend anymore time in fear.  I will concentrate on how God is going to take care of the problem without any need of my worry to help Him along.  He’s got this all by Himself.

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The Apple of His Eye

Photo Credit:  http://tearingoffthemask.wordpress.com

I have begun a new relationship with my granddaughter, Joshlyn.  I am now her primary caregiver while her mother and father are at work during the week.  While it is hard work, it is a labor of love more than anything.  I love to hear her coo and laugh.  She looks like an angel when she sleeps.  And when she is wet or needs a diaper change, she is not shy about letting you know she’s in distress.

Yesterday, Kelly and I were running some errands with Joshlyn in tow.  While we sat down to get a quick bite of lunch, we put her car seat on the table.  She proceeded to work her “baby magic” on everyone in the restaurant.  The owner of the Honey Dew Deli stopped by our table and commented, “What a beautiful little girl.  I’ll bet she’s the apple of your eye.”

My daily bible reading today included Psalm 17.  I was delighted at the reminder I found in this passage:

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;  Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. Show Your marvelous loving-kindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You;  From those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye;  Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.  Psalm 17:6-8 (NKJV)

I am thrilled to know that I am the “apple” of God’s eye.  As much as I love Joshlyn, I know that God loves me even more.  He hears me when I pray.  He shows me his “marvelous loving-kindness.”  He has saved me from death with the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.   He gives me protection under the “shadow of His wings.”

Do I think it’s a coincidence that I heard the use of the phrase “apple of your eye” twice in two days?  No.  There are very few coincidences in the life of a child of God.  I like to call these reminders of God’s omnipresence “God-Incidents,” for I believe He reveals Himself to us in big ways and small ways.   The big ways are more easily recognized because they’re, well, BIG.  It’s sometimes easy to miss the small ways, so you must be vigilant and watchful.  Some of the most meaningful lessons God has taught me are through that “still, small voice” in which He speaks to me.

Photo Credit:  www.med.ubc.ca

If you believe that He is always with you, then you must embrace the idea that He wants to communicate with you.  He made us to be loved by Him and to love Him in return.  We learn to know God by communicating with Him — listening and responding.

God is waiting to catch your attention!  Don’t miss the “God-Incidents” He’s preparing for you!

Related Articles:  “The Hat Rack”  http://faithrises.com/2012/02/27/the-hat-rack/

“The Direction of Your Thoughts”  http://busymomof03.org/2012/04/11/day-98-the-direction-of-your-thoughts/

“Have Women Got It Wrong?”  http://abtwixt.com/2012/04/10/have-women-got-it-wrong/