photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
Many people are enduring multiple storms right now. There seems to be a path that just keeps pounding the same areas over and over with tornados, hail and flooding. The pictures and videos of entire Oklahoma towns and farms under water along with homes destroyed by tornados are difficult to see. I am so grateful that most of the tornados are small and do not stay on the ground for long. There is more severe weather predicted today. These series of storms remind me of all the storms I have endured in my life.

When I was a young mom, we moved into a single-wide mobile home out in the middle of a pasture with no trees to block the wind. About a week after we had moved in, everyone was sound asleep when I was wakened by a powerful gust front that was blowing our little home with such force that I knew the next gust would literally blow it apart. I didn’t have time to wake my husband lying next to me or my two small children at the far end of our vulnerable home. All I could do was cry, “Jesus!” You immediately calmed the wind so there was not even a breath of it blowing. It was a calm beyond any calm I had ever known. I will never forget You calmed the wind for me! Everyone else slept through it.

I have been through hundreds of raging storms since that time long ago—some weather-related; others were financial, fire, suicide, health, life and death, relationship-related… As amazing as the time You calmed that dangerous wind for me long ago, it has been even more amazing how You have given me Your incredible peace through the midst of short outbursts or long-enduring turbulent storms which seem to never end.

It is a peace that comes from knowing You are with me—no matter what—through beautiful calm days and every kind of storm. Lord, I pray those in the storms see that You are with them.

 

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“A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was in danger of being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke Him (Jesus) up, saying ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ He asked His disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.’” Luke 8:23-25

 

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 127:28-30

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

*****

 

Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me to call to You in this storm I’m facing…

Heavenly Father,
Recently, my family experienced a family misunderstanding which went to a whole new level. I was fully aware of the attack and at once began praying. I also asked others to pray with me (without divulging many details). I was amazed how many people responded by asking for prayers for their own family divisions. Someone told me that they had never seen any family act like this. I was immediately reminded that as soon as You created marriage and family, the fighting began.

I also remembered that our enemy is not flesh and blood but the spiritual powers of darkness. Satan prowls around waiting for the right opening. He knows that family can hurt us more than anyone else. That’s why his favorite target is marriage, families and churches. He also knows those entities are Your design for love’s strongest ties. If he can whisper, “He always hurts you this way!”… “She always loves them best.”… “They will never understand you.”… “They don’t love you or they wouldn’t hurt you this way.”… or one of his thousand other flaming arrows that hit where it can do real damage—if we let it.

Father, I refuse to let the enemy’s attack fool me. I will fight back with love and prayer and forgiveness. You always win the fight when we hold our hands up in prayer to You through the battle. Even when I need others to pray with me; when I need them to help me hold my arms up in prayer through the conflict—keep me from telling too much about the details of the attack. Forgive me when I fall prey to the enemy’s scheme and begin to believe the family member is my enemy. I will not fall for that! I love my family and will fight for them. I love You! I am trusting You to fight this battle for me and my family. That is why I am focusing on You and not the attack.

Through this particular battle, I have been reminded how far You will go to save Your precious family—Your beloved children. You sent Jesus, who was completely innocent, to take all our blame and shame and hurtful sin against You. While we were still sinning against You, Jesus quietly and willingly went to the cross for us. He didn’t tell us we were wrong. He didn’t try to tell how right He was. He was spit on, accused, slandered, misunderstood, denied and rejected by the very ones He so dearly loved. He was left alone. In His death. The enemy thought he won. Yet Jesus gave His very life and was resurrected so we could spend all eternity experiencing the depth of Your love. Your love always prevails!

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“Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured the hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:2-3

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, who do I think my enemy is? Who is my true enemy?


Heavenly Father,      Surrender may seem like an action of defeat to the world, but I am learning that it can be the very moment of victory! Most of the time, defeat is pictured as someone who is beat down and helpless in battle and there is no way out so they must raise a little white flag in hopes that the enemy will be merciful. I am trying to surrender before I get so beat down and hopeless—trying to fight battles on my own that You never designed me for. I have definitely lost those battles I tried to take on with my own strength.

                Many times, I have found myself down in the trenches with attacks drilling me from every direction. There was no way out until I held up my little white flag and surrendered –not to the enemy—but to You, my Savior. It is so freeing to discover the peace and joy that comes from not trying to handle things my own way but by surrendering to You. You are always ready to lift me up and renew me. You always have a plan that far exceeds my own silly little schemes. I have always been awed by how You turn the battle completely around when I surrender to You, Lord.

                It’s funny how many times I have sung one of my favorite songs, “I Surrender All.” I really mean it when I say it. I believe I am surrendering it all to You. My hands are raised as I lift it all up to You. The burden becomes light as I trust You to take whatever it is and have Your own way. What joy there is in knowing who my King is, and the power He holds over anything I can possibly face. Yet, over and over I find myself surrendering a new area in my life (or even at times the same area again and again.) At different times, I have surrendered my dear family members and friends one at a time to You, my health, someone else’s health, finances, work, pride, writing, earthly stability, my future, hurts, mistakes, misunderstandings…The list goes on and on.

                Here I am again today, surrendering to You and trusting Your infinite love for me and others. Let Your will be done.

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“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.”  Psalm 69:1

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Father, what do I need to surrender to You today?

Heavenly Father,

I know elections can bring out the passion in people on all sides—no matter how they vote. Here it is the day after the elections and You are still God! You still reign. You have your eternal plans which last long after any man-made promises or schemes are forgotten. It is good for people to listen to candidates and make their choices for who they believe will make the best leader. It is wise to study questions on the ballot and make choices. With all the ugly fighting and hurtful words that fly around in the heat of an election, it is wise to be humble as both the winner and the loser. The vote is counted. The results are in. Now we need to live in peace with the choices which have been made.

My four and five year old grandkids play on a soccer team. They know how to have fun playing, enjoy one another and the game, and relish in the cheering on the sidelines. They also know how to show respect while winning and losing. The parents from both teams make a human tunnel for both teams to go through while giving high fives for a great game. The day is not ended upon whether or not they win or lose. How nice it would be if there was no name calling, ugly rumors spread, hatred for those on the opposing team… how much more respect could we have for one another if candidates and their supporters kept their passion for their beliefs, and not let that passion turn ugly and personal toward their opponents. What if we had respect for those who believe another way would work better? What if we loved those who disagree with us and us with them?

Father, our enemy is not flesh and blood (Whether it is family, a spouse, ex-spouse, co-workers, neighbors, political parties, or anyone else with skin on.) Our enemy is the one who likes to stir up hatred, division, disagreements. It is good to have passion for what we believe. It is better to have love for those who do not believe as we do. Lord, I love You passionately. Yet that passion means nothing if I don’t love others. And You tell me to love others—especially those who appear to be my enemies. Yes, it is the day after another election—and You still call on us to love others.

 

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“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”  Ephesians 6:10-13

 

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as Your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:44-48

 

“Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see  and disapprove and turn His wrath away from him.” Proverbs 24:17-18

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how I can love and pray for those who disagree with me…

Heavenly Father,

Real relationships are a struggle. It takes a lot of work to truly try to get to know the other person’s inner soul and for them to understand who you really are. The struggle happens no matter what the relationship is- husband/wife, parent/child, siblings, friends, neighbors, coworkers, fellow believers, teacher/student, boss/employee…the list goes on. Time, energy, patience, kindness and understanding are all parts of building love relationships with those around us. It is a two-way street, but we only have power over our part of the relationship. Yet, our part with Jesus in it covers more than we can imagine.

At times, it may seem easier to have a pleasant short “relationship” with strangers because it doesn’t involve the struggle of going deeper. But it’s worth the struggle to go deeper—to love those who are a part of our daily life in a deeper more eternal way. I’ve been going through a struggle lately that has involved several relationships. Each of those was important enough for me to wrestle through. I have been bringing them to You, Lord. And as always, You help me through my growing pains.

When I explained to You how I’ve been working so hard to love them but they don’t seem to understand me, You gently showed me how I can understand them more. When I whined that no one understands me, You tenderly reminded me that You “get me” better than I even understand myself. You pointed out that it was just as important to share my soul with them as to understand theirs. When I complained that it seemed as though they didn’t even want to try to know me better, You didn’t say anything…

Your silence reverberated in my soul. How often do I truly try to get to know You better—to understand You—to get to know Your heart? How often does it seem like a one-sided relationship to You, Lord? You do all the giving and the loving, and we just want more. Father, it is worth the struggle to me to go deeper in my relationship with You. It is worth it to discover more of Your heart by reading Your word, by spending more time just listening to You, by keeping my eyes open to see Your glory all around, by thanking You for Your indescribable love and blessings, by worshiping and praising You in and out of church, by writing and singing to You, by learning from You, by following Your lead every single day. You gave Your all when You sent Jesus to die and rise again for us. There was no way we could ever have eternal life with You or even begin to understand You without You giving everything. It may take a struggle on my part to keep seeking to know and love You more deeply but it is so worth it.

 

*****

 

“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, nor 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. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way 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.”  1 Corinthians 2:9-12

 

“How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake I am still with You.”  Psalm 139:17-18

 

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:12-13

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, I want to seek more of You…

Heavenly Father,

I have rocked a lot of babies to sleep in my life—between my own, grandbabies, great grandbabies and who knows how many at work! I can usually rock almost any baby to sleep. I tell my co-workers that it’s either because I’m boring or calm. I’m not sure which. Some babies are naturally more laid back and easy to put to sleep. Others…well, it can be a real battle. Yet I almost always win!

The babies who fight against sleep need rest more than the others. The sleepier they are, the crankier they are. They squirm, cry, thrash around, hold their bodies rigid, arch their backs to get out of your arms…anything to stay awake. If their eyelids almost close from exhaustion, they immediately start moving to try to revive themselves. Yet, if I remain calm and think loving thoughts over them, sometimes quietly singing to them, and hold them gently yet firmly to calm them down, they sooner or later drift off to sleep. More than once, I’ve raised my hands in victory because I won the fight. It’s not so much that I am proud of winning—it’s that I know they need the rest. They (and everyone around) will be able to enjoy life so much better if they get a good rest!

Father, now that I have bragged on my ability to get babies to rest, I have to admit that I often thrash around when faced with an obstacle. I start fighting and frantically attempting to figure my way out. I squirm with worry or anxiety when what I really need to crawl up in Your lap and let You hold me until I can rest in Your care—until I can relax and trust You to handle whatever situation I am facing. I know You have to hold me really tight sometimes until I give up and surrender into Your sweet care. You know what I really need. Every time, I am finally still in Your arms, a sweet peace overwhelms me and I can rest in Your love and trust Your care for me.

Now, there are times when I stand up and try to lay those babies down in their cribs, they immediately start fighting again. Father, I’m so grateful that Your arms are big enough to keep holding me while You do everything else You do!  The best place to be is in Your arms!

******

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

 

“”He who dwells in the shadow of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

 

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.”  Psalm 23:2-3

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, hold me until I calm down and rest from…

 

Heavenly Father,

For a long time, I have asked You to lead the weekly Bible Study growth group I facilitate. It’s always an adventure to watch how You lead. It never goes like I expect. I’m always surprised by the ways You teach all of us. The latest lesson You are leading us in has been through these “hawk attacks” as I go on my morning walks. There have been a series of attacks starting with a silent hawk zooming from behind with great power right on the top of my head! There has been a fair amount of fear try to keep me from walking as there have been more threats on sequential walks—but, Lord, I know You don’t want me to give in to fear.

So besides yelling at them and shaking my keys, this morning I pulled my long ponytail up and wore a straw hat. The huge birds were still out in full force all around me but I felt protected. As I walked past one scene of attack, there were four of them sitting high on the dead branches protruding high above the live part of the tree. Right as I walked past, a car drove by in the otherwise deserted street. I felt Your timing. They would not attack while something so large and powerful was there. As I passed by the first painful point of attack, there just happened to be four young people I had never seen walking together on the other side of the street. They passed by exactly at the very point of attack. They were talking about Jesus and said His name several times!

Father, thank You for the reminder that You are always with me protecting me. You won’t let anything through unless it is somehow for Your glory. All I need to do is be on alert for the attacks that are certain to come; be dressed in Your armor; overcome fear with the knowledge that You are with me; keep around other believers; and trust in Your protection, timing and angels; and use Jesus’ name to ward off the enemy. Help me to keep on walking with You (and to finish the lesson on “weapons and armor” that I didn’t know I was teaching—but You are leading for tonight! Just following Your lesson plan, Lord!)

 

******

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:10-18

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.”   1 Peter 5:8-9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me where I’m being attacked right now and help me stand in Jesus Christ…

Heavenly Father,

I started my 45 minute walk with You early this morning in a quiet neighborhood before the sweltering Oklahoma heat took over this day. It was so perfect. The skies were overcast with clouds providing shade from the intense sun—yet also making it possible to catch a glimpse of Your glory! I had just taken a photo of the sun, which I can usually not look at, peeking through some clouds. It was a sweet picture of Your powerful glory shining through. We may not be able to look directly upon You, but we can see Your glory all around when we look. Probably ten minutes later, I was still basking in Your presence while walking…

In the quiet morning with no traffic, I heard something come up behind my head and it hit the top of my head with such power that it almost knocked me down. While reeling from the physical and mental shock, I watched a large bird fly from my head! I couldn’t believe a bird could have that much power! It was too large and hit too hard to be a blue jay, which are known to swoosh down and attack. I watched the large wing span soar up to the tip of a tall tree not too far from me. It was a hawk! I couldn’t believe I had been attacked by a hawk. I caught a glimpse of my shadow, and saw my hair bouncing around in a “messy bun.” He must have thought I was an animal. Without stopping my walk, I yelled at him, “I’m not an animal!”  Then I jangled my keys at him just so he would know for sure. I continued to make noise with my keys for at least half a block in case he tried to swoop down on me again.

Lord, You reminded me we shouldn’t be surprised when attacks come. They often come when we are basking in Your glory. It can sometimes seem to come out of nowhere, threatening to knock us to our feet. That’s why we need to be prepared and not let the shock of the attack get to us. I knew You were with me; that no matter how much force the attack seems to have, it has no eternal power over me; that I can use Your words to fight with and I can keep on walking with You, trusting You no matter what is going on. The attack might hurt—like my head from the powerful blow of a bird. But I am Yours and You are mine. So I will keep on walking, enjoying Your powerful glory. I’ll just be on guard and prepared to ward off attacks in Jesus’ name!

 

*******

“Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’” John 11:40

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:13-14

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand…” Ephesians 6:10,11,13 (just read all of it!)

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Lord, help me be on guard and ready to stand with You when the attacks come…

Taken by Chris Barton this morning west of Terry Watson’s house.

Posted by Janet Barton on Friday, April 13, 2018

Heavenly Father,

Today is another historically high fire danger alert due to drought and high winds, with fires in Oklahoma already consuming over 200,000 acres. The smoke and ash blew into Oklahoma City from 80 miles away causing severe issues for those with repertory challenges and giving us city folk a taste of what our rural neighbors are going through. The photos of burnt-to-the ground homes, livestock and vehicles are heart-breaking. Thoughts of those attempting to fight the fire under such dangerous conditions are unimaginable. I know of at least one death from someone fighting the fire. Lord, as devastating as these fires appear, I hold on to the hope to come!
There are many who are in the fire today—not just those in NW Oklahoma fires…but those caring for a terminally ill loved one or a special needs family member, those who are in the military wondering what comes next, those who still live “under fire” from previous military fights, those who recently lost a loved one to death, those who are waiting on a diagnosis, those with a mental illness, those who were recently laid off from their job, those who were attacked and robbed, those who are in a domestic violent situation, incarcerated, or in a financial firestorm, or in the midst of any kind of fiery battle. There is hope both in the fire and after the fire. Our only true hope is in You, Lord, realizing Jesus is with us in the fire.
The fire may seem out of control… and it most certainly is out of our control, but You have promised to never leave us or forsake us. That includes in the midst of the fire! Father, we have all seen the lush new growth that comes out of the ashes. We hold on to You and are trusting You to bring forth that new life in us as the fire burns away. We pray for everyone in the line of fire and ask that You cause lush new eternal life to spring forth from what the enemy meant for destruction. Help us to hold Your hand as we walk through the flames and on the charred aftermath. Then let us take joy in our life with You which cannot be burned up.
*****

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2
Jesus walks with us in the fire when we trust in the Lord as shown in Daniel 3:24-28: “Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”

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Prayer Prompt-
Lord, I trust You as I walk through the fire of…

 

Heavenly Father,
My heart has been heavy all day. About four years ago, our dear friends, the Hostetters, moved to start a wonderful Christian School in the city of Beau in Cameroon which is in Africa. We keep up with what they do there through Facebook. This young couple has come stateside to give reports several times, and we pray for them on a regular basis. They have been asking for more prayer lately because of the unrest there. It stepped up to a critical point in the last few days. One group wants to take over their city to make it their capitol and create a separate state. There are killing and beatings all over the place—of children and adults. Our young friends and their children are trapped in their home. They cannot make it safely to the American Embassy and the Embassy cannot send anyone to them. One of their relatives and some supporters have been encouraging them and praying for them through a private group message via social media. Today it got so bad, they wanted the world to know what was going on there. They asked us to post it and contact our representatives. So we did.
The sad reality is, that after speaking to US government officials, is that there are similar stories in different areas in the world. People get caught in unsafe areas. They knew the risks when they went there…and they chose to go anyway—to share the good news. We have a whole lot of people praying for this family, and I’m hoping more pray with us as they read this prayer. Father, will You do what our government cannot? Will You send protection to surround their home. Father, we also pray for the sweet children and families from their school and all the deep friendships they have made there. The internet has been cut off now. There had been threats that if anyone told the outside world what was going on, it would mean imprisonment or death. We have had no contact since 3:30PM our time. But we know, that You never lose contact. Father, give them Your peace, strength and hope as they trust in You. We pray for peace in this ugly civil war.
Father, the government official I spoke to gave me several similar instances around the world. Lord, I pray for those who live in volatile areas. I especially want to lift up those who left the safety of their homeland to live in unsafe areas to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Help me be more willing to share what You gave us in Jesus Christ, even though my life is not threatened.
*******
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11
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Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, Please give this family your peace and strength, along with all those who face danger for Your sake…