Heavenly Father,

 

There was a whole different standard of delivering the news when I was younger.  It might have been more boring, but reporters knew they had to have several sources to validate their facts before publicly broadcasting something as the truth. If something was reported as news, it needed to be substantiated before it could destroy someone’s life, or cause chaos and division. The more addicted our culture has become to drama and entertainment, the more “news reports” have evolved into rapid sound bites, quick clips, tainted and slanted opinions and analysis, and half truths or full-out lies designed to grab the largest audience. Apparently bad news gets a whole lot more attention than good news so our view of the world we live in can easily skewed and feel out of control and hopeless. Of course, we really do have to deal with the reality of bad news and good news…

 

The bad news is…there is a lot of real evil in this world—people will use, kill, abuse, destroy other people’s lives for their own selfish motives.  This world is full of lies, gossip, slander, malice and manipulation that will devour others.  There are wars, movements, groups, and individuals who stir up hatred and division and trouble. Innocent lives are killed, maimed, deeply wounded from disregard for anyone else. Suicide, depression and hopelessness threaten to drown out the goodness. The bad news is that we are all part of the bad news. There is not even one single solitary soul who is without sin. That means not one of is free from the penalty of sin which is death. Not even one of us will ever be holy and pure enough to live in peace with God Almighty forever. Now, that is BAD news! The worse news ever!

 

The GOOD News is that You didn’t leave Your people to self-destruct. Lord, You made a way where there was no way. You delivered the Best News ever when You sent Your own holy and pure Son Jesus to die so our sins are forgiven! Even though He was “God in the flesh,” He was also the Son of man, fully capable of sinning and yet He did not. He knew Jesus was the only One who could walk through this sinful world untarnished, able to resist temptation so He could be the perfect sacrifice for our sin. The Good news is it is finished and we are guaranteed eternal life with You where there will never be bad news at all. All we have to do is believe and accept the BEST GOOD NEWS ever. The bad news is we stand condemned by our own choice when we do not choose the Good News. Father, I will focus on the good news and report the truth to whoever will listen and accept.

 

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“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”   Luke 2:9-11

 

“You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”   Acts 10:36

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”   John 3:16-19

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-

Father God,  am I still living under the bad news …or am I ready to listen and believe in the Best news ever?…

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,
This world is so noisy and full of chaos. Non-stop news consistently tries to rattle our nerves. Continuous conversations on social media and cell phones clamor for our attention and response. Deadlines, arguments over issues, conflicting reports, background noise, and earphones always filling our thoughts with subliminal messages. In fact, it seems most people are so used to noise, they feel uncomfortable with silence, but it can be soothing to the soul.

Even prayer can be so crammed with requests and words that we leave prayer before being still and ready to hear You, Lord. Forgive us for always be too distracted to sit and enjoy Your presence, for being so busy talking or writing our prayers that we never stop to listen to You. It is good to sing songs and praise You with loud cymbals and music, but we also need to just be quiet and still sometimes.

It is so sweet to simply sit outside in the quiet of the day and bask in Your glory, to soak up Your goodness, to savor Your company, and just know that You are God. I can spill out many words and when I slow down to take a breath, You can say so much in the silence.

Your peace pours over me and Your tender presence reassures me. You restore my soul as I simply revel in who You are. All the fears, worries and trials of this noisy life melt away in the stillness of Your quiet presence. All that vital information everyone else is screaming at me dissolves in the wisdom found in Your quiet presence. How I love You, Lord. You are the Maker and Sustainer of all. You know all things and have all we need. Help us be still and quiet so we can hear You above all the noise of this chaotic world.

 

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“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,” 1 Timothy 2:1-3

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’” Psalm 46:10

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord Jesus, help me be still…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father God,
I’ve been sheltered-in-place for about eleven weeks. I’m usually going places, working hard, and interacting personally with a lot of people. During this pandemic sheltering, my life has slowed to what would appear to some as a standstill, but my roots in Christ are growing deeper once again. I was called away from the world for a long period once before. It was a different kind of isolation at that time in my life, but I recall the deep growth that took place during that particular period, as well. It was definitely a more stressful time with a terminally ill husband, four kids to raise and the licensed in-home childcare. Though there were plenty of people around me in that other isolation, I looked to You to help me in that desperate time. And You were so faithful to help me.

Now, here I am again- closed away from the world, with much more time to not be rushed in the quietness of Your shelter. How I love being still and quiet with You- praying in much more depth and with a greater peace, knowing You are at work in the sheltering-especially in those who turn to You during this time. For one who grew up with hard work woven deep into my DNA, it is still taking a lifetime to understand that the greatest, most powerful work is done in this quiet time in Your presence. This is when I learn that You love me for who I am- not for what I do. You can use me for Your eternal purposes when I get my own plans, schemes, ambitions out of the way. This is where I learn to hear Your still small voice which instructs me what You want me to do. When it is Your will, there is a sweet peace and rest –even in the “work.” Perhaps, it’s because I know it is Your work and does not depend on me- other than to obey and trust You will give me all I need to do it.

Yes, I do love sheltering under You, learning to trust You more, follow Your lead, love You more deeply, and simply enjoy who You are and the miraculous gift You give us through Jesus Christ that allows us to live with You even here on earth. Who am I—with all my quirks, faults, mistakes, sins, and rebellious attitude that wants to sneak back in—that You would make a way for me to come freely into the Holy Shelter of Your Presence? Who am I—that You would sacrifice Your own Son Jesus Christ—to give me that honor and privilege? Who am I—that I would not take the greatest opportunity ever given—to find every way I can to shelter in Your Holy presence?

 

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“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:1

 

“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Psalm 61:3-4

 

““Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Jesus in Matthew 23:37

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me be willing to shelter in You through Jesus…

Heavenly Father,
Most of us are staying safe at home during this pandemic…yet even our home doesn’t feel safe due to the ongoing reports of death, fear, and despair blasted over all kinds of media. Yet there is a safe place reserved for each of us where no one, or no thing, can touch us. This safe place can be entered any time or anywhere. Sometimes, it means fighting off all those dark menacing voices and closing the door behind us. It requires us to be still and know that You are God—and to shift our focus from all the doomsday reports to Your absolute goodness. Our quiet safe place is holy and clean, but we can enter for we have been personally cleaned and sanitized by Jesus’ blood on the cross. Our purity was paid for by His death on the cross once and for all so we can enter freely. This is the time to accept His gift to us…

 

We may be covered with seen and unseen sin. We might look Ok, but we are stained with the sin that is worldwide. We are both carriers and infected by sin. Not one of us is clean enough to enter Your throne room, Lord. Not one of us can receive eternal life without Your purification. Jesus was the ONLY ONE worthy to be born as a man and yet walk unblemished by sin through this world. His pure blood was willingly given on the cross once and for all. It seems too good to be true. And yet, it is. All we have to do is accept His eternal cleansing as we bow humbly at the foot of the cross and let His pure and holy blood pour over us and make us pure so we can enter into eternal life with You!

 

Father, thank You for the eternal cure to this world of sin. Thank You for my eternal life which is promised to me now and forever more. Thank You for the knowledge that death, a pandemic virus, sin, or nothing at all can separate me from Your love. I can walk in this world a little longer until it is my time to be forever with You. I can also step away right now—from this chaotic world into the sweet peace of Your throne room with You. All is well! You are my peace and joy in this pandemic. You are my safe place. Lord, how I want others to find You through Jesus Christ!

 

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“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

 

“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.’” Revelation 5:9

 

“This is my (Jesus’) blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I realize I need a Savior from sin. I accept Your gift of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior now…

All Powerful Heavenly Father,
You have tried to warn us of approaching danger and trials over and over again…but we choose not to listen. All throughout history, ever since sin entered into the world, You have told us there would be hardship. You sent Old Testament Prophets to warn Your people in times before Christ… Jesus warned us (even as followers) there will be persecution, famines, earthquakes and wars…It is part of life in this present world. You never told us You would take away our suffering. You sent Jesus to take away our sin so we can have the promise of eternal life where there will finally be no more suffering.

Jesus came to suffer as one of us yet He has overcome the world! He is with us, helping us to overcome through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Father, that He will never ever leave us or forsake us. As we submit our lives to Him, He lives in us enabling us to overcome. Father, I have no doubt that this pandemic was meant to kill, steal and destroy…but I also have no doubt that You are with us in the very midst of this pandemic to bring Your abundant life…so that is what I am praying for…

I pray for every single one of these to submit their life to You, to draw closer to You, to persevere through this pandemic with the hope and strength that can only come through Jesus Christ: for the nurses, doctors, CNAs, Housekeeping, Respiratory Therapists, First Responders and all others who are fighting this pandemic on the front lines…for those who are assisting with the daily needs of others- Nursing home personnel, grocery store workers and vendors, truckers, farmers, food servers, bankers, truckers, teachers, clergy, social workers…for those who are finding ways to help others through this: mask sewers, delivery people, neighbors…

May we all turn to You and realize our great need for You. We were created to need You and love You. We were designed to need and love one another. Father, through this pandemic, let Your glory shine brighter than ever as You bring new life from suffering. Take away our complacency, ingratitude, grumbling, spirit of entitlement, disregard for You, our God and Creator. Let this be a time of revival and turning our hearts, minds and souls to You. In Jesus’ victorious name, we pray. Amen.

 

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“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:17-19

“News about him (Jesus) spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 4:24

“I (Jesus) have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, during this pandemic, I pray for…

 

Heavenly Father,
My son sent me a photo of the weights his gym is letting him borrow during this quarantine period. He and his wife do heavy strength training and their plans are to continue at home during the pandemic. My husband and I are going through some intense exercise training during this time…along with millions of others around the world. Our faith is going through some heavy-duty training. Each day brings new burdens to be lifted up to You, Lord. Some seem far too much to bear… but that is where the growth takes place to go further than we have gone before. We might be fearful our knees will buckle under the weight…but You give us Your strength…

My daughter-in-law may be a beautiful young mom, but don’t let her looks fool you. She has become a giant in the strength department. My son got her lifting along side of him. I have watched them grow in strength and endurance from their consistent and faithful lifting. I think back to all the toils and dangers You have brought me through so far, Lord. Each one has given me a chance to exercise my faith in You. Every time it was far more than I could handle, but as I hold those heavy weights up to You—each time my faith in You has increased.

It is not that You have grown stronger. Lord, You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yet my faith in You has grown stronger with each increase in challenge. My frail body, mind and emotions may not be able to handle any of this…but You have been with me and encouraged me to trust You each time…and You have never failed. It is totally amazing what You can do through me because of Jesus Christ.

Many of us are facing huge weights even above and beyond the social distancing…but You are with us. As soon as we take our stance and lift that weight to You, Your incredible strength flows through us and we are surprised that we can do far greater things than we could imagine because You are with us! Thank You for this opportunity to exercise our faith in You, Lord!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” Hebrews 12:11-13

 

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” 2 Thessalonians 1:2-4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I lift up these weights to You, acknowledging I need more faith in You…

 

Glorious Heavenly Father,
We can never get to the bottom of Your love! Your love and power go far beyond what we could ever get away from. Your everlasting love fills every bit of heaven and earth and space itself. Your love created all that there is and ever will be. Your love knew us and thought of us long before we were even conceived. You have loved us for generations and will keep loving us for all eternity. You loved us before we ever took our first breath and will still be loving us when we take our last. You will love us when we no longer need breath—but will live on Your love alone. There is never a time You don’t love us even when we have not loved You…even when we have sinned against You. Your love is all-encompassing and bigger and mightier than we can ever comprehend.

You love us when we disappoint You, when we rebel against You, when we complain, when we hurt others whom You love…You love us when we neglect You, when we try to live our lives without You, when we think we know better than You, when we hear Your calling and turn our backs, when we think we have You all figured out, when we put our faith in other short-lived things besides You, when we love this world and all its temptations more than You, when we choose hate and judgement instead of love and grace, when we doubt our worth when You love us so much, when we believe in ourselves instead of Your eternal power and glory.

The only thing that blocks our receiving Your eternal love is our own selfish will which refuses to accept the eternal love You sent us through Jesus Christ. When we finally surrender our own selfish will and accept the greatest gift of love You’ve ever given in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, our eyes are opened. We begin to see and believe in Your love. We can count on You, trust You, hold fast to You, Lord. Your love forgives us, renews us, restores us, teaches us, molds us, prunes us, holds us, guides us, corrects us, encourages us, emboldens us, empowers us, humbles us, works through us…

I will never ever stop discovering more of Your love. For all eternity, I will be falling more deeply in love with You, Lord. I can see Your Love because Christ lives in me and even loves through me. I can only love You because You loved me first. I can only love others because Your love lives and grows in me. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) All love flows from You, Lord…and there is no end to who You are! How rich it is to live in Your eternal love. and to love You back with my feeble yet ever-growing love!

 

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“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

 

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.” Psalm 36:7-8

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I accept the love You gave me through Jesus Christ…Help me grow in Your love…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
Your love is outlandish! How incredible that the Lord God, Maker of all the earth and everything in it and all the galaxies should love me so tenderly?! You are always with me, meeting my every need, satisfying my desires, singing over me, protecting me, guiding me, watching me when I am asleep and when I am awake! I try to love You back in a way that honors a love that was willing to send Your own Son Jesus to be born as one of us, to live and die for the penalty I deserved for my sin- so I could be with you for all eternity. I try to set aside time just to be with You alone and enjoy Your presence…and yet I am so easily distracted by the most ridiculous things. I have this chance, this opportunity, this honor to come to You at any time. It was paid for at the highest price ever paid. And yet I neglect or take this gift for granted. You, Lord, loved me first. I can never out-love You. I would have no comprehension of what love really is- if not for You loving me first. But I truly want to make You my first love…

Not the amazing kind of first love I encountered with my parents loving me as a tiny baby…not the first love of that little boy (forgot his name!) in kindergarten who professed his love for me and mine for him…not the unconditional love from or for my brothers…not the true love from my high school sweetheart Steve, who I went on to marry(I didn’t forget his name!)… not the even the breath-taking love I’ve known holding each one of my newly born children or grandchildren or the love that continues to grow…not the surprising love I thought was not possible—to love another husband after the death of my first (his name is Tex, I mean Dwight!)…not the love for so many friends and even strangers. There are so many experiences of love both received and given that I am eternally grateful for, Lord. And they all flow from You! Yet I want You to be my first love..

Lord, it seems the only way we can know true love is to first experience it and receive it from You through Your eternal gift of Jesus Christ. I’m glad to know that You realize how frail our love is compared to Yours, yet You give us the capacity to give and receive it like You do. I long to love You more, Lord. I desire to keep You as my first love; for when I do, I am capable of loving others so much more. I love because You love me first!

 

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“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

 

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-38

 

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” Revelation 2:4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I loving You as You deserve?…

Heavenly Father,
What a treasure we have been given in the ability to come to You at any time with anything through prayer and yet we often neglect this highest honor and responsibility. Many prayers are shot up to You in desperate need- even by those who supposedly don’t believe. There is a difference between a one-time prayer and a life lived in prayer. There is a difference between a prayer from our flesh and prayer in the Spirit…but it has to start somewhere! So when does a prayer from our own selfish will change to a prayer in the Spirit?

I know it’s probably different for everyone because we are all such unique people -designed and loved by You. Yet praying in the Spirit involves living with Your Holy Spirit in us. It begins with believing that Jesus died for us on the cross. It is believing that our old life/ nature/ selfish will has been crucified with Jesus. Jesus sends the Spirit to live in us in a resurrected life that is much more real than this earthly life. It is knowing that He really lives in us and through us. I know it’s crazy, but to pray in the Spirit is not just asking You to make my wish come true. It is being still in Your presence. It is praying for the richer things of the Spirit that might come even from very challenging situations. It is trusting that You are at work in me, and in others, bringing about Your Kingdom that is high above this earthly life.

Praying in the Spirit is knowing it is no longer my blood that runs through my veins, my goals to obtain, my answers to problems, my demands…it is Your Spirit running through my surrendered heart and soul. You said that the prayers of a righteous man can accomplish much…but I realize that there is nothing righteous about me. The only righteousness in me was given to me by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. I am a new creation in Him. Your Spirit truly lives in and through me. I find myself praying in whole new ways and trusting You in all situations. Praying in the Spirit is yielding to Your will/ Your intercession/ Your answers/ Your amazing work. There are times, I am tempted to slip back into my powerless prayer life so I have to re-surrender to Your unseen powerful Spirit. What a crazy mysterious plan You have- to work in and through our prayers in the Spirit. Thank You for this amazing gift, Lord! Let me get myself out of the way so Your Spirit can flow through me.

 

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“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 6:18

 

“If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for He lives in with you and will be in you.” Jesus’ promise in John 14:15-17

 

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I accept Your sacrifice on my behalf for my sin of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Let me die to my old life and let Your Spirit live in me…

Heavenly Father,
On the last day of 1999, when most people thought the world might end when it turned midnight and started a new century, my family filled a time capsule. It was actually a large empty popcorn tin. My husband and I and four of our children from ages 9-14 filled out a questionnaire and placed a memento in that capsule that we all agreed to open in twenty years. We actually opened it on Christmas day this year since that was when we were all together at the same timer. What a fun and enlightening experience we had opening that time capsule for the first time in two decades.

The questions we each answered 20 years ago included: “What I think will happen in the next hundred years, What I hope to accomplish in the next 10 years, My greatest prayer for my family and friends, Note to my future children or spouse…” It was remarkable to see these letters written by children and read by the same people as adults! What a joy to see how many things had come true (except maybe the prediction of playing Major League Baseball and having a dream room with his three brothers still in the same room sharing bunkbeds!) It was like we all slipped back in time!

Memories are a powerful thing. They become a part of us and help make us who we are. It is good to look back at memories (even the painful ones at times) because we can see how far we’ve come and how love lives forever. Yet we are not created to live in the past. You made us to live fully in the right now- with an eye always on our final goal—our finish line—our eternal Home with You!

Father, as another year changes on the calendar, I thank You that I can see You have always been with me—through every moment of my life—that You have a Home waiting for me that goes far beyond what I can ever imagine where there will be no more time constraints…Most of all, I thank You that I know You are with me now and are always will be. I can rest in that assurance. I can count on You to not change or leave. Let this old year end and a new year begin- I LOVE living with You right now in this moment and forevermore through Jesus Christ!!

 

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“For he says, ‘In this time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2

“You are my hiding place (my time capsule); You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

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Prayer Prompt-
Father, Give me eternal life through Jesus to live with You right now and forever…