Tag Archives: God’s Ways

God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t!

30 Aug

(This is a re-print from May of last year).

Ruth didn’t know the God of Abraham or that she needed Him. God was working on other situations in the background that would eventually involve Ruth. She was completely unaware that God even existed and certainly didn’t know of God’s plans for her future. She was born into a pagan family, raised to worship idols. Ruth was doomed to a life headed for eternal destruction – unknown to her. A man named Elimelech came into Ruth’s life, by God’s providential will.

Elimelech lived in the promised land of God. A drought caused him to mortgage his land, leave his kinsmen, his friends and his country and move with his wife, Naomi and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. He was trying to provide for and protect them, but shortly after Elimelech moved his family to Moab he died, leaving Naomi and her sons alone in a strange land.

Naomi should have taken her sons and gone back to their homeland at that time. Instead she stayed in Moab and eventually her sons disobeyed God’s commands and married pagan women named Ruth and Orpah, who served idols. After only a few years of marriage, both young men died, leaving their mother, Naomi, and their heathen wives, Ruth and Orpah alone.

Naomi had lost everything except her two daughters-in-law. Since she had nothing left and did not know what difficulties she might face when she returned to her homeland of Judah, she prepared to leave Moab. Naomi called Ruth and Orpah to her side and encouraged them to return to their families. She was trying to protect the young women, but neither of them wanted to leave her. It was evident that Naomi was very loving and kind and that Ruth and Orpah must have experienced and learned of the love of God through her and through their husbands.

It’s hard to imagine a daughter-in-law loving her mother-in-law so much that she would be willing to leave all she knew, including her own mother and other family members. Ruth was so drawn by God’s love through Naomi that she hungered for more. She knew that she would not find that same love from her people.

This is a beautiful portrayal about how the love of God draws men to Himself. The love of Jesus shines through God’s children and draws others to Him. Their hearts begin to yearn for Him. They want to give up everything else to follow Him.

Ruth had experienced a taste of God’s love through Naomi and did not want to go back to her old life. On the other hand, Orpah had the same opportunity. She loved Naomi. She struggled with letting go, but Orpah wasn’t willing to give up her old life or leave her idols and the sinful ways of her people. She could not let go. Her flesh had a strong hold on her.

We can identify with Orpah. She was not unlike us. She loved her family – Moab was all she knew. It was comfortable to Orpah. It was familiar. Although she was torn in her decision, she was unable to let go of her past. She couldn’t step into the unknown. Orpah made a wrong choice. It was a choice that more than likely condemned her. But the choice was hers. We can identify with why she did it. We face hard decisions every day. Will we go with God or go back to what is comfortable?

Letting go of all we are familiar with – stepping into the unknown – that is what faith is.

• Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV

This story is continued – Check back in a few days to see what God had in store for Ruth. Remember, she doesn’t yet know God – she doesn’t know she is actually right in the middle of His will for her life.

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The Rewards of Obedience vs. The Cost of Disobedience

18 May

Obedience Or Rebellion?

1 Sam 15:22-23   22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

As God’s children we want to please Him. Our inner struggle is constant though it might not be prominent. There is a undurcurrent within us that we have become accustomed to. I don’t believe it is because we are bad or purposely rebellious. With me it’s more about sometimes not knowing for sure what the right thing is. Of course, many times it is very obvious what is right and what is wrong, but I want to speak to what is buried deep within our hearts at the root of our reasoning.

I have always been a confident person in most areas of my life. Even as a child I was compliant – always wanting to do the right things. To rebel was not in my nature, at least not to the point of being defiant. When I faced decisions that I believed were wrong, I somehow just couldn’t force myself to comply. In the few times I did, I was in constant turmoil until the situation was terminated.

As I am reaching the winter of my life I can see that even though I was unaware of it, God had a plan for me. (He also has one for you!) Here is proof in a few of my favorite Scriptures from Psalms 139, written by King David:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . .

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.  NIV

Notice starting with verse 13 that God created our inmost being – His eyes saw our unformed body and all our days were ordained for us before one of them came to be! Selah – Pause and calmly think of that.

None of us are here by accident. God made us – He created us with a purpose and He knew today, right now, what you and I would be doing at this very moment. – No words can express the emotion for knowing that.

The Rewards of Obedience

It takes us a while to realize there is more to life that “me.” Seriously? It is human nature from the moment we are born into this world. We spend a lifetime struggling with ourselves vs. the good and the bad.

Recently I had an assignment from God. You might ask “How can you be sure it was from God?” I know because He instructed me clearly to do something I have said at least a million times that I would not do! The interesting thing is that He won’t force me to do it. It won’t even hurt me NOT to do it. In fact, it would be easier for me NOT to do it. After all, I could just chalk it up to “not being sure it was God.” Or, I could just stop thinking about it and move on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but God won’t allow me to do that. It’s that deep, small voice that continually woos me. I can make it go away – at least for a little while. Then, I sense it wooing me again. I then begin to get deliberate in praying about it to make sure I haven’t imagined the entire thing.

God is so good about giving us little sign posts along our journey. If we aren’t sensitive to the Spirit we might not recognize them. We might think “It’s only a coincidence.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to counsel us and to lead us into truth. We have the choice as to whether we listen and follow His instruction or to just ignore it until it goes away.

God’s Instruction to Me

That brings me to my main point – My obedience to that still, small voice could be a life changing event for a child of God who is seeking desperately to find a solution to a great problem. My attitude, though I didn’t realize it was wrong, kept me from even considering offering my help. The reason? – I didn’t want to get involved. It was all about me and the price I wasn’t willing to pay to obey God. It wouldn’t really have hurt me, except that I would disappoint God by my disobedience.

No, that’s really not all my disobedience would do. God made it clear to me that to be disobedient could rob someone of a complete change in their life – a life free from hell on earth. I know it sounds drastic. In fact, it is.

Could someone else do it? I don’t know. That’s not the issue. The issue is will I choose to obey or not? Maybe I am the only person that could help. The consequences of my disobedience could be amazingly wonderful or disastrously terrible.

Think about that for a moment. I did. It kept me awake all night asking God if He was really asking me to do something I was adamantly opposed to doing. I’ve missed God before. Not always on purpose but because I am always still evolving (really). I’ve also missed Him out of ignorance of the Scripture or misunderstanding. Sometimes I’m just rebellious. Ugh! It’s hard to even say.

I learned from Charles Stanley that when God is speaking to you and you are struggling with what you think He is saying to you that peace will eventually develop and you will know God is leading you. If that peace does not develop, I call that a “red flag.” There isn’t a deadline that God can’t push back or overcome. Don’t look at the deadlines – look to the God who created you and made you for this day.

Send Me – Yes, No or Maybe?

God was searching for someone to send to His people and Isaiah said:

Isa 6:8  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me !”
NIV

Have you ever said that? I have, however: I recently discovered that many times my “send me” reply is conditional on  my terms. Goodness! God really has a way to slap us on the wrist, doesn’t He?

I’m hoping you can see that our minds and hearts are so full of the busyness of the world that God’s voice doesn’t always make through to our hearts. It isn’t His fault. It has to do with the condition of our hearts and our natural instinct to rebel. Sorry to have to say it.

The Final Outcome

After struggling with myself and trying to determine whether I had simply lost my resolve or if God was actually trying to get through to me, peace began to develop. Let me add, the peace was in my spirit, not in my head. My mind was spinning with many doubts and questions and concerns about something I had been claiming as impossible for me to do for many years.

But, when I opened my heart and let God – He began to use His sweet Holy Spirit to speak to me in His ways by speaking to me of How Jesus would handle the situation and my purpose for being one of His disciples.

The Future? – What does it hold for this situation? – I don’t know. It’s a little scary. But I know the Creator of the Universe. He made me – formed me from a tiny seed planted within my Mother. He had a plan 69 years ago for what I would do this very day. He’s the One I look to, not the situation I dread. Do I have a plan? No. Do I know what the outcome will be or what will happen along the way? No. Am I nuts? – I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

God has proved Himself to me over and over and over. As I heard from Sunday’s message by Pastor Scott Jones at Grace Church, not all of the amazing miracles and things Jesus did while He was on earth were recorded. I can identify with that because my Father God – My Friend, Jesus – and the Sweet Holy Spirit – are constantly present in my life doing things for me that are too many to count.

He is trustworthy – are you?

 

 

My Inspiration to Blog

19 Jan

I have been working toward writing more. In that regard, I was “studying” about blogging at The Daily Post – Blogging 101. They requested we submit an article to them as to our inspiration for blogging. Following was my response. Thought I might as well share it with my followers.

What inspires me as a blogger: People – All people, everywhere inspire me to blog. I want all people to know God in heaven, like I do. Not that I’m special. I certainly am not. I’m just the opposite. I’m ordinary. Probably not even ordinary; below ordinary. But, I serve a God who loves me just like I am, warts and all. Really. How do I know this? Because day after day, no matter what goes on in my life, He is there to encourage me and lift me up. He is there to let me know I am special – special to Him. That’s all that really matters to me. It’s all that matters because I’ve tasted so many other things that don’t satisfy.

The one constant in my life, the one person who is always there with an open hand for me to come and sit a while, is Jesus Christ, my Lord. He’s not only my Lord, He’s my friend. It’s not as quirky as it might sound. It is so real. That’s the reason I’m inspired to blog. I want everyone to know that God loves them just exactly as they are and has open arms to welcome them – no requirements other than to acknowledge Him, ask His forgiveness of sins, and accept Him. It’s that simple.

There aren’t a list of rules to follow after that. Simply be. One day at a time. Listen with your heart and your spirit. Listen to your conscience. His burden is easy, His yoke is light. I blog to give hope to everyone who might not have any, and acceptance to those who don’t feel accepted by anyone. This inspiration is constant – never-ending.

God Speaks (Part 1)

9 Nov

D0Ib5j36RymFSNPX5X1m_darkoceanGod Speaks

One critical point to understanding and experiencing God is knowing clearly when God is speaking. If a Christian does not know when God is speaking, he is in trouble at the heart of his Christian life!

God speaks through the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways. He also speaks through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church or other believers.

Many Different Ways

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets and in other various ways (Heb. 1:1)

One truth that is evident throughout the Bible is that God speaks to His people. In the Old Testament, God spoke through:

Angels
Visions
Dreams
The use of the Urim and Thummin
Symbolic Actions
A Gentle Whisper
Miraculous Signs
And Others

How God spoke in the Old Testament is not the most important factor. The fact THAT He spoke is the crucial point. Those He spoke to KNEW it was God, and they KNEW what He was saying.

2 Tim 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  NKJV

The pattern in Scripture is that God may not tell you all you need to know in the beginning but He will tell you what you need to know to make necessary adjustments and to take the first step of obedience. What is your part?  – To Wait until the Master gives you instructions. That can be really hard because we want to make things  happen.

If you start DOING before you have direction from God, more than likely you will be wrong.  Bible examples: Noah knew the size, type of materials, and how to put the ark together.  When God told Moses about building the tabernacle, He was very specific about the details. When God called Abraham and said, “Go to the land I will show you” – that was not very specific. That required faith. But God said, “I will show you”. God always gives you enough specific instructions to do NOW what He wants you to do.

When you need more directions, He gives you more in His timing. If you do not have specific instructions from God in a matter, pray and wait.  Learn patience. Depend on God’s timing. His timing is always right and best. Don’t get in a hurry. Don’t skip over the relationship to get on with the doing. When we understand spiritual truth, it is because the Holy Spirit is working in our lives..

When we move from the Gospels to Acts and to the present, we quite often change our whole mind-set. We live as if God quit speaking personally to His people. We fail to realize that an encounter with the Holy Spirit is an encounter with God. God clearly spoke to His people in Acts. He clearly speaks to His people today. From Acts to the present, God has been speaking to His people by the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual truths can only be revealed by God. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God . . . No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” I Cor. 2:9-12

Jesus said the Holy Spirit  “Will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

You never discover truth – truth is revealed.  The Holy Spirit reveals truth to you, He knows you personally and He knows how to speak to you so that you understand.

Mos of this was an excerpt from Henry Blackaby’s book “Experiencing God.” I highly recommend it.

God’s Ways

26 Aug

In today’s society it is hard to hear God above all the noises that surround us.  My biggest heart’s desire is to please God, and to do the right thing – meaning – the thing God wants me to do.

As part of the older generation I find it difficult to keep up with all the social media. There are so many good things about it – I love being connected all the time.  It’s kind of like getting out of the house without getting out of the house, or having company without having to clean the house.

Obviously, there are many “words” flying around us all the time – videos, text messages, emails, Hangout messages, Twitter, Instagram, and so on, and so on. It is easy to take our focus off God’s voice or His Word, with all the other “voices” coming at us – almost impossible to avoid all the “chatter”. Some people even need to have constant music, gaming, entertainment, streaming videos and constant text messages to be at peace.

Hearing God over all that isn’t easy. It can be done, but we have to remember to listen for His still small voice coming from among all the other voices. I suppose it’s kind of natural that as I age I rather like things a little slower, but whether we like things slow or fast we need to reserve a place for God, not leaving Him out.

If we’re too slow we can miss what He has for  us – if we’re too fast, we tend to get lost in all the noise around us. God’s ways are amazing, perfect for us, but we can either be too tired and weary or in too big a hurry to hear what He has to say about an issue. If that happens we can find ourselves in a precarious position. God IS our security. We need to hear Him before we jump off the cliff of indecision – not call out to Him on our way down to bless our jump, or to save us from hitting the ground!

Let’s get it right the first time. The way we do that is to do  it God’s way. Of course, it will probably mean we don’t get to jump in (or off) and then cry out for help. It means we take our petitions to Him first and wait for the answer. We don’t like that word – wait – not in today’s world. Yet, if we walk in God’s ways, we can actually save wasted time by doing it right the first time.

Walking with God is a choice, and being consistent about it isn’t always easy. Sometimes our adrenalin is just rushing and the last thing we want to do  is take a few minutes of our time to talk to God.  We decide to talk to Him on the way off the cliff. The thing is, that few minutes with God could save us so much unnecessary anguish.

Take time to get before God, tune into His frequency even if  it’s just for a minute or so – especially if you have a “red flag” in the pit of your stomach or feel uneasy in any way. The Wi-Fi connection you have with Him is better than any of the others. Just stop a moment and call out to Him – He will reply. He may tell you to be still – to wait. If He does, it is for a very good reason. Listen for Him. Trust Him. Obey God’s ways.

 

Where ARE You, God? How You Can Be Certain God Is Listening.

10 Apr

I have published an eBook which you can find at the following link or you can click on the book cover at the right.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J1906PK.

Where ARE You, God? – is the testimony of a few of the struggles and tragedies that God has walked me through. It also contains documentation of a great many amazing miracles God did for me during this time.

This booklet will encourage anyone who is struggling and questioning God. It will also testify to the fact that even as Christians we are not exempt from adversity. But, if we let Him, God will walk us through the fire and direct every step we take to an outcome that is best for us.

An Excerpt:  At 60 years old, I was taking care of my mother who had advanced Alzheimer’s disease. I was doing all I could to keep my head above water. My financial situation began to fail despite my best efforts to keep things in check. Eventually, I exhausted all possibilities to work things out on my own.

I saw the storm clouds gathering, again. Disaster darkened the horizon. I tried to prepare myself, but there was nothing I could do to stop the disaster from crashing in on me. I faced bankruptcy and foreclosure on the home that God had so miraculously provided for me. 

Nothing in my past struggles prepared me for the frightening ordeal that God was about to walk me through. I had to learn to listen hard to God’s leading—step by step—trusting Him to save me at the very brink of disaster. 

After crying uncontrollably one day, I picked up my Bible and God spoke to me out of I Samuel 12:16 (NIV) “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!”

I felt as though He had seen my tears and my breaking heart and was now telling me He had a great future for me. Yet, here I am at what seems to be one of the most frightening events of my life. And, now, I wasn’t sure what was happening to me.

 

 

 

 

Everyone Is Watching You!

12 Jun

Let’s get back to Lydia. Lydia was raised as a pagan, worshiping idols, but she knew something was missing. She renounced that and became a proselyte (a new convert). God had prepared her heart and upon meeting with Paul, she became a believer. Clearly, Lydia immediately embraced Jesus and her new-found place in His kingdom. Her heart was filled with joy and gratitude and a desire to share Christ. She also immediately wanted to do her part to further God’s message and to minister to His servants.

How could we possibly know all this through the brief mention of Lydia in the Bible? Scripture does not say all of that. Oh! But it does. All throughout God’s Word we learn of God and His ways. We learn through the examples in stories we read about. From that we can determine that Lydia responded just the way God wanted her to. Lydia had no Scriptures to read. She had not heard the gospel before meeting Paul on that divinely appointed day. She hadn’t heard how God wanted her to behave. What she did have now, that she didn’t have before, was the Holy Spirit of God living in her heart in leading her in the way to go!

Lydia had and not read any self-help books or watched any TV preachers, or even gone to church and sat under Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders. She “just knew” in her heart what to do by the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Lydia was also humble, as evidenced by the way she spoke to Paul and Silas in invited them to her home.

Let’s bring this story into the 21st century. We don’t much like being around grumpy, whiny people who are always negative and always complaining. The spirit within us rejects this. There is just something about a joyful, smiling individual who offers encouragement and a positive attitude. Our day is brightened and our hearts changed and uplifted. That’s what God is all about. He is a good God. He has given to us promise after promise throughout His Word. We can learn from the Scripture that loving God and following Him doesn’t promise us a life without trials and tribulations. We may also suffer loss and pain. The good news God has for us is that Jesus came to overcome the world and to make us also overcomers through Him.

God wants us to learn dependence upon Him. He wants us to trust Him and let Him lead us. Our actions and our reactions tell others just how much we love and trust God. We can say it all we want. Our actions may confirm what we say or negate what we say. If you think no one is watching – be aware – everyone is watching.

This doesn’t mean we should do everything we can to make others think more of us or like us more. Actually, that would totally backfire. It may work briefly but in time, it would become obvious. The point is, every life around us is on display, today, in this time, more so than ever. Think about those we see every day and the thoughts that run through our minds as we observe them or listen to them. It doesn’t take long for us to notice things that we like or dislike, or things we agree with or object to. Know that the way we live our lives for Christ becomes clear to those around us. Just be careful not to judge. That is not our place, but God’s.

Let Lydia be an example! Live with an open heart, a humble spirit, the joy of the Lord, a willing and serving heart, and a desire to tell others about God and His love. Lydia was brave, conscientious and hospitable. She had a giving spirit. Lydia had been searching for truth and when she found it she knew in her heart her life was forever changed. She wasted no time opening her heart her life and her home to God’s people.

We can also see through Lydia’s actions that she was wise. Lydia was not presumptuous but humble. She presented herself to the men of God in good taste and in reverence. Lydia was a gracious hostess and not intimidated by these mighty men of God. She was confident, yet respectful in approaching them with an invitation to her home. We can surmise that Lydia was experienced in how to approach people and how to present herself because of her ability as a seller of purple, a much sought after item in those times. But, she did not see herself as inferior to these mighty men of God. Nor did she “get in their face”. She was humble in their presence and wanted to be used by God to do what she could to help them. She started with what she had.

Start with what you have. Don’t wait for something to come along that you perceive to be necessary before you can serve God or His people. He gave you gifts and talents and knowledge that only you have. Let Him use you – just as you are!

God Is Not Like Grandma, He’s Not Old Fashioned or Behind the Times!

7 Jun

Many of us don’t think much about the spiritual side of things. We believe we have our lives under control and we are ready for what comes our way. Conversely, we are experiencing more and more stress and frustration. We have been taught by the world around us that we need to be strong. We dare not let anyone see us as weak.

Perhaps our spiritual condition doesn’t seem like much of an issue. Some of us may even think that our spiritual lives are separate from our daily lives. Definitely not! We may try to keep it separate thinking it isn’t part of daily living. Besides, it’s not cool to be spiritual. Exactly the opposite is true. Our spiritual condition (our heart of hearts) is where our true character resides.

• Prov 16:9 “ In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” NIV

• Matt 15:18-20 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart , and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.” NIV

The ways of God obviously are not the ways of man. If man had his way there would certainly be no suffering. It is imperative that we realize how much we need God every day with every step. We could not take another breath, or another step if He did not allow it. Whether we believe it to be true or not doesn’t matter. Our denial of God’s truth doesn’t invalidate it.

God is always with us, not just for our bedtime prayers, but as we get dressed, eat breakfast, drive to work, and in all else that we do. We can talk with Him at any time about any and every issue. It’s kind of like being at home with a loved one. We are busy in one room and they are busy in another. We know that we can call out to them at any time and they will answer. Only God is not in the other room, He is right with us – wherever we are.

Our conversations with God are not one way. He will speak to our hearts. He will take away our fears and direct us through our every concern, if we will allow Him to.

• John 10:26-27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” NIV

God has His own time-table. It most often does not agree with ours. He is not intimidated by our deadlines. Don’t think that just because He does not work like the high-speed internet that He is old-fashioned and out of date. To the contrary, His ways far exceed that. He created the universe out of nothing. He knew us before we were formed in our Mothers’ wombs. He can handle today’s technology. God is actually the one who gave knowledge to the creators of our technology. What? You think they did it on their own?

Scripture tells us that there is nothing new in the world. Technology was part of God’s plan from the beginning. Don’t think for a moment that we have moved on without Him. No, Friends, He is the one who made it all possible. He is not just our Grandma’s God. God’s miracles and ancient stories of the Bible didn’t stop when the Bible was made into a book with a cover. God is the reason we have progressed to where we are today.

• Eccl 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” NIV

His ways are not outdated. He is the author and finisher or our faith and the reason that we are who we are. We need to recognize His authority. When we read the Scriptures we will find that events do not just happen on their own. God is the force behind them. He places people where He wants them and uses them according to His plan.

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, still operates in our lives as it did in the lives of those ancient men and women of the Bible. They are not fictional like Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland. Rest assured you will not meet those characters in heaven one day. However; you will meet many of those ancient men and women of the Bible there. You will hear from their own lips of their awesome adventures.

God is just as real today as He was when all the events of the Bible took place. He walks with us, covers us like a shield. He goes before us, behind us, beside us. We cannot go anywhere that He is not there.

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